It's been a couple of months since my last check in regarding the Surly Pacer, and there have been some ongoing adjustments to this bicycle. This round has been more focused on the actual gearing of the bicycle than comfort, as I seem to have found a happy place for the time being in regard to comfort.
Surly Pacer comes with a 34/50t crankset up front, and a 12-28t cog in the rear, making it (in my opinion) not much of a climber for steep, long hills. Originally this was intended to be my road-road bike (as opposed to the touring-road bike), so I wanted to find a way to make this a better climber. It will get up hills, but not very fast or easily (Read: Once again, G.E. is at the back of the pack going uphill, not that I necessarily mind being at the rear), particularly taking into consideration its (by my standards at least) light weight. I'm by no means an expert when it comes to proper gearing, but we quickly realized that perhaps a change was in order.
Initially, my thought was to simply get a triple crankset for the front, which would allow for more of a spinning gear, which in turn should make it easier to pedal up hills. If we changed out to the triple, however, this would mean I'd also need new shifters. We also weren't sure that the derailleur would work properly with a triple up front and we were having difficulty finding the correct bolt pattern for the crank, so instead it was decided to look for a larger tooth cog for the rear. I'm always a bit perplexed with the actual mechanics of gearing (I earn very, very low scores on those mechanical aptitude/pully tests). Why a larger tooth rear cog makes the bike easier to pedal always takes me a minute to comprehend (well, in all honesty, often more than a minute). Regardless, I just wanted to make this work, so whatever it would take was just fine by me.
While we could spend more time (and money) in an attempt to find a proper set up, the Pacer has really turned into more of a faster-fun-slightly-longer-ride bicycle for me. I enjoy just buzzing off quickly to a location (if I don't need to carry much - I sense a messenger bag in my future) within 15-20 miles or so, and I can always just make my legs stronger, right? In the end, I think it's a better option to keep the original set up and not mess with the design of the experts, at least not for my current needs (though part of me would like to experiment with turning it into a single speed as well). Ultimately, the Pacer is being returned to its starting point in regard to gearing because it worked its best for me in that original form. I'd rather be slow up hill, than have to get off and walk because I can't shift out of a more difficult gear, or have the system lock up entirely.
I'm certainly finding my groove with this bike and am happy that it's being used more than I initially thought it would. It's definitely fun to ride, spirited, and while I'm sure it doesn't compare to a 10 pound carbon or titanium road bike, it suits my needs quite well.