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  1. #1
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    cassette for racing (compact crank)

    Hello,

    I plan on racing for the first time this year. So far I've only raced in tri's. Anyway...in addition to my triathlon races, I'd like to do one crit and one road race (hilly). I'm running a compact on my roadbike. Do I have to switch to a standard to keep up? Or are racers able to get by with a compact (I don't expect to win). Also...right now I'm running a 11-23 cassette. It has worked pretty good. I'm wondering though if a 11-25 or 11-27 might be better for hills? Can I just use a compact(50/34) crank plus a 11-27 cassette for just about any race I plan on doing? Or is that an awful compromise?

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Locally, we have a couple race courses where a 50 x 11 is not high enough to stay in contention. One is an auto racetrack that often finishes down a dragstrip with a 25mph+ tailwind assist. Another is a hilly course where you can crack 50mph+ on an extended descent if you can deliver some power at those speeds. But if you're a first-time racer, start with your compact and see how it goes. Just don't give up your 11 in back.

    As for cassettes, can you try out your existing setup on the racecourse? Personally, I like the 11-23 because it includes every cog from 11 to 17 before starting into multi-tooth jumps, so I can stay near my preferred cadence. But then again, you don't want to be halfway through a race and find that you've overextended yourself and need a lower gear to keep your head above water, either.

    If you do get a wider-range cassette, plan to get a new chain for it. You'll need more length to handle a 27 or 28 for sure, and it's best to keep your chain and cassette at similar levels of wear.

  3. #3
    Glimmers of form esammuli's Avatar
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    I went from 3->2 and 2->1 using a 50-34 with either a 11-23 or 11-26 cassette. You should be fine in the 5's.

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    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by esammuli View Post
    I went from 3->2 and 2->1 using a 50-34 with either a 11-23 or 11-26 cassette. You should be fine in the 5's.
    +1 (not that im a 1) you shouldnt worry about gearing, you'll almost always have more than enough of a gear.

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    thanks!

  6. #6
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    if you really wanna cover your bases, i had good results as a 4 with a compact crank with a 52 and a 36, and a 11-23 and an 11-26 for steeper, longer efforts.
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

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    Senior Member graphs's Avatar
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    ^ that's my plan for this year. Going to order the chainrings this month.

  8. #8
    BALM Co. 2005trek1200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badhat View Post
    if you really wanna cover your bases, i had good results as a 4 with a compact crank with a 52 and a 36, and a 11-23 and an 11-26 for steeper, longer efforts.
    Is that what you used for Sunshine and Rist last year?
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  9. #9
    cmh
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    I've used a 50x34, 11-23 for all my racing Cat 5 through Cat 2. I've been undergeared in 2 races. Big tailwind in one, big downhill in the other.

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    I use an 11-27; no problems.

  11. #11
    Senior Member milliron's Avatar
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    Should be noted that the 50x11 is actually a bigger gear then the 53x12 that a lot of people run.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    I use a 50/34 and 12-27 for everything except the Everest Challenge where I use a 12-30.
    I've not had high enough gears once, in a race that featured a long slightly downhill section with a really stiff tail wind. Normally on descents I have to draft larger riders anyhow so not being able to pedal isn't a problem. But in this race the tailwind negated most of the effects of the draft. I can spin the 50x12 to 40 mph to get on someone's wheel but I can't do it for 20 minutes.

    I'll bring an 11t cog next time.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Depends on the terrain. I use a 53-39, with a 12-25. I would only use an 11 a few times a year. I'd rather stick with the 12 and have 1 more cog in the middle that would get used all the time.
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  14. #14
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2005trek1200 View Post
    Is that what you used for Sunshine and Rist last year?
    i think so, yeah.

    i made the switch earlier in the season but i dont remember when.


    as side note, i ended up with a full sized crank on my new bike this year and took it out for a group ride on saturday and realized, within an hour, without counting or checking, that the cassette was a a 12 instead of an 11. the 12 was a noticeable limter, even with the 53 vs the 52 i've been riding for a year. only on downhills obviously, but it was still annoying.
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

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    Senior Member ttusomeone's Avatar
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    Last year was my first year racing and used a compact crank with an 11-26 rear cassette. I felt like I did fine with this setup. However, I will say that I changed to a standard crank and can tell a big difference (I like it much better and fell like I can maintain a cruising speed in the pack easier). I don't know how much of this is in my head vs. actual difference. For your first year, you'll be fine...if you want to get more competitive in the following years, you may want to consider making the switch.

  16. #16
    fair weather cyclist pjcampbell's Avatar
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    1I use a 34-50 with 13-26 and never have been dropped do to spinning out.

    Big downhill can be tough... usually end up tucking and coasting. 50x13 @ 120 rpm is 36mph on a flat .

  17. #17
    Gunner. robncircus's Avatar
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    I race with a compact and it's not the crankset that makes me slow. I use an 11/27 casette.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    With an 11-23 cassette on a 50/34 compact crank, you are basically running similar to a 53/39 with a 12-25 cassette. The only problem with compact cranksets is they drop chains more easily because of the smaller diameter small ring. If you are into spending money, you'll be fine on a 53/39 and it'll be a bit more reliable, but you are probably just as well off keeping what you have and racing for a while.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member RudeSiggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by esammuli View Post
    I went from 3->2 and 2->1 using a 50-34 with either a 11-23 or 11-26 cassette. You should be fine in the 5's.
    I went from 4->3 and 3->2 these past two years with 50-34 and those same two cassette ranges. That was 2 seasons, about 50-some races, including Green Mountain Stage Race, which has some of the most varied terrain/conditions you can get. You'll probably be fine with what you've got. I can also say that I only used the cassette with the 26 in three races - two local climbing competitions (one where I didn't need it) and also the queen climbing stage of GMSR where you head up App Gap.

    If you find you need gears anywhere, it'll be a bigger cog in the back for uber steep climbs (climbs = longer than hills). That's a simple and relatively cheap cassette swap compared to new chainrings.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    The only problem with compact cranksets is they drop chains more easily because of the smaller diameter small ring.
    Once you get used to it, it's not a problem. It's a user cognizance issue. You just have to shift either earlier or later on the hills than what you're used to with bigger rings. If the OP has always ridden compact, he'll be used to the shifting.
    Last edited by RudeSiggy; 01-14-11 at 01:13 PM. Reason: added pablum
    Currently riding on a 2011 Specialized Tarmac Pro SL3 with SRAM Red and either Roval Fusee SL or MAVIC Carbone SL wheels. Check out my blog: http://sigberto.blogspot.com and give Gamjams some love, too.

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