> Personally I like 24-36-46 - usually with a 12-32 at the back.
> If you don't ride extremely steep hills then I suppose the
> 23-36-46 will be easier to set up and probably shift more reliably
> due to the smaller difference in size. I doubt if I would notice much
> difference either way,
I think the "standard" XTR 12-32 setup with a 24-36-46 or
24-34-46 is the best all around mountain bike gearing
available. It's adequately high and low, and doesn't have
any weird gaps. However, the difference is really
marginal. It's more intelligent to replace worn drivetrains
with new LX cranks, at the typical closeout price of $60 or
so. Use these with the corrresponding 11-28 or 11-30
> the only real justification for my having a
> non-compact chainset is that it gives me a decent gear range when I
> put on my road wheels - with either an 11-28 or 11-23
> block, otherwise I would go for a 22-34-44 .
This is a really good point. It would be nice to have a
standard XTR drivetrain, with a 12-32 for off-road use, and
a 11-24 or whatever for road or rail-trail rides. I used to
have DX 7 speed drivetrains, which used a 24-34-46 crank
(sometimes a 22 or 20 with a Microdapter), a 13-30 cassette
for offroad, and a nice STX 7 speed 11-24 cassette for road
riding. It was a good system.