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Old 08-26-12, 10:15 PM   #1
gruntle
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New to Crits....A gearing question

First a little background. Over the winter and limited by the budget of a student/father I decided to splurge for a bike that actually fit me. I replaced my 7 speed 62 cm Bianchi with a 9 speed 58cm Klein Quantum, a 2001 (The last year prior to Trek). I didn't have any real time to ride until mid June, by early July I had my bike fit worked out and started putting on the miles. Two weeks ago I rode my first group ride (100 miles) at a brisk pace. Next I raced the local cat 5/4 Crit. I learned a lot and finished in the back of the lead group. Last Thursday raced again but this time the loop was run CW. instead of CCW like the previous week. The dynamics of hills and the race were totally changed and my gearing was a real issue. I finished stronger despite being a little sick.

So...My Klein is a triple 52-42-30 with a 12-25t 9 speed cassette. The 30t ring and the 25t cog never get used. I actual locked the small ring out with the derailleur limiting screw.
So I'm effectively racing on a 52-42 with a 12-23 8 speed. 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23. The missing 16t and 18t are killing me on the crit.

My hopeful solution...Ditch the triple for a 53-39 double and replace the cassette with a 12-21. This new gearing looks good on paper but I'm concerned there may be practical issues that I don't know about. The 12-21 would fill in a lot of gaps. I don't think I would be jumping from large to small chain rings constantly. What do you think?



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Old 08-27-12, 04:37 AM   #2
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That might be alright if you only use your bike for crits and/or you live in a flat area. Why not just get a new 12-21 cassette and leave the crank as it is, then you have the option to readjust the end stops if you are you are going to do a ride or race where there is going to be some climbing. Since you are apparently on a budget, there's might not be much point in sinking money you could use on race entry fees into converting your bike into a double.
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Old 08-27-12, 06:29 AM   #3
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Although I appreciate the work put in to convert gearing to speed@100rpm, can you do gear inches? (Chainring/cog x 27" = gear inches). It's easy to see where gearing overlaps and it's more commonly used.

I think that you made a good observation re: 16, 18T. I use a cassette with a 16T for races specifically because I find it useful. I've sacrificed the 18T to get a larger large cog so I don't have to shift into the small ring on short hills.

Having said that part of racing is developing flexibility in cadence. I understand that when you're at the limit there's little flexibility (hence I have a 16T) but this is part of trying to expand the quiver of arrows you have for use in a race.

If you're really serious about the crank part you may consider getting a larger middle chainring. Pick something that gives you the equivalent of the 16T but in the 17T. 44T? 45T? If you run a large enough middle ring you can leave the chain there for a good part of the race, and a smaller jump between rings means quicker and more reliable shifting.

A triple has a long BB axle than a double, so if you only swap your cranks your two main chainrings will be slightly outboard compared to a double.
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Old 08-27-12, 09:55 AM   #4
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CDR. I agree being flexible is my fitness is key but at a min I need the 16t or equivalent. The first solution I considered was simply to get a 12-23 cassette that would give me the 16t. As for gear inches the gearing calculations are easily done thanks to Sheldon Brown's site. http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/



The 53-39 in conjunction with a 12-21 is appealing right now because I can get the parts off CL for $160. (have verified low milage on the cassette and negotiated prices down a little) I would address the BB offset in the future. I like the 44t-45t used with the 17 cog. and will look into that more.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bik/3228094955.html
http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/bik/3227369681.html
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Old 08-27-12, 10:17 AM   #5
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this is all red herring that you are at a disadvantage b/c you don't have a 16t. The 90-110rpm band with the 16t gives you 23.94 - 29.26 mph. Guess what, if you go at 105rpm with the 17t, you are at 26.25mph. If you go at 95rpm with the 15t, you are at 26.98mph.

So unless if you are so sensitive to cadence that a 5rpm difference puts you at trouble, this is all irrelevant. And if you are indeed that sensitive, you ought to learn to develop power at a whole range of cadences.

The only time cadence really matters is when it falls outside of your power band and you become physiologically inefficient. Think grinding up a hill at 55rpm or spinning out at 135rpm.
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Old 08-27-12, 10:30 AM   #6
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I have a beater bike for errands, pulling child trailer etc. The Klein is for training and racing. With 42t ring and 23t cog as my lowest gearing I mange the hills here fine, (not the case in the spring time when I dropped into granny gear from time to time) I bummed some elevation data from a fellow rider on our group ride. While these are only modest hills they weren't a struggle for me on the ride.


The 53-39 in conjunction with a 12-21 is appealing right now because I can get the parts off CL for $160. The 39t-21t combos low-low is nearly identical gearing to the 42t-23t that I have been using as my low-low.
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Old 08-27-12, 11:13 AM   #7
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this is all red herring that you are at a disadvantage b/c you don't have a 16t. The 90-110rpm band with the 16t gives you 23.94 - 29.26 mph. Guess what, if you go at 105rpm with the 17t, you are at 26.25mph. If you go at 95rpm with the 15t, you are at 26.98mph.

So unless if you are so sensitive to cadence that a 5rpm difference puts you at trouble, this is all irrelevant. And if you are indeed that sensitive, you ought to learn to develop power at a whole range of cadences.

The only time cadence really matters is when it falls outside of your power band and you become physiologically inefficient. Think grinding up a hill at 55rpm or spinning out at 135rpm.
I would respectfully disagree with the cadence red herring, although I do agree that it's important to try and develop cadence flexibility.

When at the limit (and most would laugh that I'm at the limit in a 53x16 but very often I am, or close to it) 4-5 rpm does make a difference. I'm somewhat cadence flexible when I'm fresh - I'll jump, inadvertently, at 70 rpm but I can spin my 175s at 120 rpm somewhat fluently.

As I work harder and harder my usable cadence range narrows. I have a "before I blow up" and "after I blow up" range. The first is about 110 rpm and the second is about 80 rpm. I found this out in time trials and in stepped FTP tests (before I knew what it meant); I'd go 111 rpm until I exploded, then I'd crawl along at 83 rpm.

Basically I can get by with moderately large gear jumps in training because I don't ride that hard. In races I really want the 16. I'd like the 18 but it's not as important, I'm usually not working as hard if I'm in that gear (i.e. we're going slow) or I'm off the back if I really need it (i.e. I find myself shifting back and forth between two gears when off the back and I look down and see I'm shifting between the 17 and 19).

The 16T is a great gear for flatter crits. It's also good at races like Bethel - I use the 53x16 a lot when climbing the short hill, at least at my heavier weight. When I was lighter I could use other gears (higher while standing or lower and sitting).
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Old 08-27-12, 11:21 AM   #8
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OP I think you're overthinking this. Missing cogs are not killing you in the crit.. my guess is that missing fitness is.

If you're in the Seattle area (is the race Seward?), do yourself a favor and get a 12-25 cassette. For the hill at Seward 53x25 should be enough to get you up the hill.
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Old 08-27-12, 02:23 PM   #9
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Yes I am racing Seward, lots of fun! Bummed I didn't get started earlier in the year. 12-25 is what I have now (9-speed mind you). Should I not be concerned about cross over of the chain line? In my case it will be a bit exaggerated as my large ring is a spaced out a bit more because of the triple. I will look at racing in my large ring more but it will be more like 52-21 or 52-23. I have yet to have any use for my 25t effectively giving me a 8 speed. I imagine with your level of fitness you would have issues with an 8 speed cassette. Am I wrong? Are all the 10 speed carbon bikes overkill and marketing hype? (this a serious question...im not being sarcastic)

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Old 08-27-12, 02:49 PM   #10
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Would you recomend any spacific training to improve power at a wider cadence aside from just riding in a wider range? I have done a little of this on mild climbs. I have rollers for some winter training, cadence intervals on rollers? I will be sure to get in some proper training in prep for next season.
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Old 08-27-12, 02:58 PM   #11
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Sorry, I was assuming a double (53x39). At Seward most people (even in the 3/4's race) are just cross-chaining up that hill since it's so steep, especially when we're going ccw (the shorter/steeper direction). I never wanted to mess with my front shifting in the race so I just stuck to cross-chaining.

So I think if you go the double route (which you should), then you will certainly want that 25-tooth gear in the rear.

As for carbon bikes, I like mine! =] Fwiw I started racing on steel (10 sp); it won't hold you back, nor will the amount of gears you have (assuming the top/bottom ends are normal).
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Old 08-27-12, 03:00 PM   #12
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Would you recomend any spacific training to improve power at a wider cadence aside from just riding in a wider range? I have done a little of this on mild climbs. I have rollers for some winter training, cadence intervals on rollers? I will be sure to get in some proper training in prep for next season.
No, I would not focus on cadence at all. At least not so early in your career.

Just focus on finishing races at higher and higher placings, no matter what cadences you end up with. At least that's always been my approach.
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Old 08-27-12, 03:26 PM   #13
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Can you remove the granny ring and use a shorter BB? If your crank is Octalink you can still get BBs. 52/42 is fine for crits.
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Old 08-27-12, 03:33 PM   #14
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10 speed (or 11 speed now) carbon bikes will help but the difference is incremental. Bike fit, wheels, and tactics count more.

If I had to run 9s I'd run an 11-23 as I do now and lose the 16. If I had to run 8s I'd run an 11-21 and lose the 23.
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Old 08-27-12, 04:35 PM   #15
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Should I not be concerned about cross over of the chain line? In my case it will be a bit exaggerated as my large ring is a spaced out a bit more because of the triple. Am I wrong? Are all the 10 speed carbon bikes overkill and marketing hype? (this a serious question...im not being sarcastic)
1. FWIW one guy on my team said that 9 spd bikes have the most efficient chain line out there - your triple aside.
Check out Vockler's TT bike from the 2012 TDF too.

2. I think 10 spd is better, but not that much better. I'm not a great rider or anything, but I've been running a 53/39 with a 12-27 all season long (10 spd) without any complaints. Every time I've been dropped it was because of positioning and ability not gearing.

Tangent... 11 spd is starting to piss me off. I do NOT want to buy new hubs/wheels for that extra gear.
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Old 08-27-12, 04:39 PM   #16
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Fwiw this is not a flat crit, there is a (short) climb involved.

But I guess if you down-shifted up front, a 21/23 could work.. but then again I don't think anyone around here would want to face our hills with a 39x21/23 in the rear as your easiest.
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Old 08-27-12, 05:15 PM   #17
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i climb in my 39/17 all the time
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Old 08-28-12, 05:43 AM   #18
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Remember that he has a 42 up front for now.

If you want to change over to a standard, you'll have to change the BB as well. If you think you're going to be exclusively training and racing with this bike and never touring, then I'd swap the crank to a double. It's worth the investment. My criterium cassettes are 10sp 11-23. I do a lot of hilly criteriums and never needed more than a 23, but I may be a little stronger than you.

Does your Klein have a replaceable derailleur hangar? I raced one one in the 80's that didn't. I mangled it in a wreck and a new one had to be welded on at the factory. I sold it right afterwards.
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Old 08-28-12, 06:20 AM   #19
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Cadence drills - it's usually spinning that taxes me; I push when I get tired. I used to go out on easy rides and try and average some ridiculous cadence (120 rpm avg). It meant close to no effort spinning, tough to do in CT. I used to do this on rollers too, avg 120 rpm for an hour. Since cyclocomputers back then couldn't ignore zeros it meant riding most of the ride at 125-128 rpm.

For low rpm it's more about strength. My favorite big gear drill is one a euro-pro friend taught me - big gear (52x12 in your case), 10 minutes, 60 rpm or so, avoid too steep or too long hills (but otherwise go over hills and such), seated. Spin for a bit in a low gear after to loosen your legs. I only ever did one "interval" but he'd do a few/half-dozen.
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Old 08-28-12, 06:31 AM   #20
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Converting your bike from a triple to a double is not that bad...It can be done relatively cheaply....

I did it with my old 2004 Spec. Roubaix...swapped out the cranks and BB....The 105 triple shifter was double compatible and I continued to used the long cage RD...Now that I think about I'm pretty sure I bought a new FD as well...

Never had an issue running it this way and everything was bought used so it really didn't end costing much...
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Old 08-28-12, 09:36 AM   #21
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i climb in my 39/17 all the time
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Old 08-28-12, 10:40 AM   #22
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what can i say
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Old 08-28-12, 10:41 AM   #23
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Does every thread always have to be about you? Sheesh.
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Old 08-28-12, 10:48 AM   #24
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Old 08-28-12, 02:24 PM   #25
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Good to hear, this is first priority on my bike. Wheels next once I have a real income.
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