I'm looking forward to my 22nd racing season.
Having been old school up to this year, I am wondering why manufacturers don't offer a little more
gearing variety - on the low (granny) end. For instance, I think an 11-23 would be more useful if
the largest cog was a 24. A three cog drop to the 21 is not very radical. The common 21 to 19
isn't bad and is about the same jump as 24 to 21 or 22 to 19. Had the bike not come with
the 11-23, I would have gotten a 12-25 or 12-23 to start.
Back in the old days, we had 6-speeds which meant that gearing had to be customized for
different terrain. I had about 7 setups I used. A 12-14-16-18-21-24 for mountain stages and
13-19 for flat RR's, TT's and crits. I especially liked a 12-13-15-17-19-22 for rolling hill RR's and
the same only with a 14-13 instead of 12-13 for training.
New cogsets are great because from 17 on down you have a straight block. Two cog jumps in
this area are too radical. 21 down to 19 is fine, but 23 to 21 doesn't make sense (to me).
The differnece between 23 and 24, assuming a 39 chain ring is enough to be the difference
between spinning or flailing up a hill. Standing up for more than a 30 seconds or so at a time on
a long grind isn't too efficient.
Same could be said for a 25T, where the drop to 23 then to 21 makes even less sense.
I think Shimano, finally at 27, drops to 24 and then 21 to preserve the 17 to 12 straight block.
A great ratio would be 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-26 for 9 speeds and the addition of an 11 for 10's.
That would cover just about every situation. I know, I know, why not get a triple? I don't (won't!)
race with a triple and shouldn't have to. Not when just a few minor changes (single 26, 24, 22 cogs
available?) is all it would take.