i also didnt know that the McDonald observatory is a real place
OP, the reason you're getting some crap is that winning sprints is about much, much more than having a bigger gear than the other guy. And as an inexperienced and frankly probably not super-strong racer, you're not likely to find yourself sprinting in your top gear very often. Even if you are strong, sprints in Cat 4/5 races are almost always launched from much lower speeds than the higher cats, let alone the pros who use 53-11 on a regular basis. They're often starting the sprint at well over 30 mph and pushing or exceeding 40 in the sprint itself*. If you're starting your sprint at 26 mph and reaching maybe 32 or 33, you're never going to touch that 50-12.
On the other hand, pointing out that you can hit 40 mph in a 50-12 at xxx RPM, so therefore it should be no problem to sprint that fast in that gear is misleading. Juniors and trackies have to deal with constraints that the rest of us don't, and while it is possible to overcome those constraints and go really fast, it's easier for most of us to generate the power to sprint that fast in a higher gear. If you regularly find yourself spinning away in a 50-12 in your sprints, going to a higher gear will probably be an easier way to gain some speed than training to spin faster. The best thing to do is both, of course. But I'm guess that this is academic for the OP, whose 12 will be clean as a whistle.
I remember now how quickly BF can get "old" when every other post like this to talk racing is just "HTFU!!!" :-) Thanks for the few valuable posts in here. I guess we'll see how it works next year, whenever I can start racing again...
I wouldn't say any of these comments are telling you to HTFU, rather, they are warning you against over analyzing, and wasting your time worrying about something that will not be an issue for a new racer. Trust me, if you lose your first sprint due to spinning out your 50/12 i'll say im sorry, but until then don't fret over nothing.
I race on compact 50/34. For training, road races, circuit races I use 12/27. It's versatile for training, and the other stuff has hills so....
For crits I use 11/23. Do I use 11? Sometimes yes, BUT I tend to mash when I sprint. Should I be working on spinning? Yes I should and do. Although the main reason for 11/23 is better spacing in gears. I guess point I am trying to make is try it see what works for you, but work on sprinting.
or how strong you are. :lol:
To answer your gearing question, I've read here that, in certain circumstances, a 53-11 gear is good to have, particularly a 50+ mph descent=sprint situation. That may never happen in the lower cats, however. It doesn't seem likely. In 52-14, which is my current high gear, I'd have to spin 173 rpms to go 50mph. The last time I tried to "Sprint" a downhill, I spun out at 40 mph(138 rpms). Maybe I could have gone faster, but I didn't try.
There's no harm in trying an 11 tooth cog. Just read about intervals, and do them. Read about long distance, and do it. Cadence, spinning, mashing, seated climbing and standing climbing. Get stronger and go faster. "Ride lots." :)
For what it's worth, I can't spin out a 52-14 on anything but a descent so far, but I know I'll need higher gears eventually...
Hey random side question about gearing. I'm going with compact for my new bike and seeing as I ride hills a lot I ordered an 11-28 cassette. Is something wrong with that gear range, like does shifting suck? If it works fine, why is it not as common?
shifting is more a function of chain wrap, which is the difference between the two front rings (50-34 = 16) added to the difference between largest and smallest cogs (28-11 = 17, for a total of 33).
most road derailleurs are short cages (can handle less chain wrap), but 33 teeth is still within acceptable range.
i've run compact + 11-32 and had fine shifting, though that can be pushing it on unmodified road derailleurs. (new sram wi-fli stuff could handle it better.)
if you think you need 34+28, you need it, so not much choice. i like having a low gear because it allows me to ride some steep hills on training days when i don't feel like pushing hard…without resorting to dropping cadence to 40 rpm, so i appreciate the need for it.
Go up a big enough hill and the difference between the 27 and 28 becomes apparent.
The faster and more efficient approach is to pedal fast at the top of the hill ( or out of turns) get your speed up quickly and tuck in. Your momentum will accelerate you past the speed that you could easily spin at. A hard, quick effort at the top of the descent, then tucking in, ends up faster than just pedaling all the way down.
FWIW, counting strokes in cat 3 finish videos on YouTube, most of them are won at 105-110 rpm. Pro sprinters are all over the place: 95-115 rpm range for the winners.
110rpm is 36mph in a 50/12.
most FDs are rated for a 16t drop (hence 50-34… and why the mid-compact is 52-36); i haven't tried it, but if you go 53-36 you may see a reduction in front shifting performance. just a consideration for when you make that decision. i don't know the answer.
Yup, I raced on a 50/34 and 12-27/11-25 last year and loved it. Now I have a different crank, 52/36 which is real nice but I hate not having the 16t with it and plan to go with the 12-27t at least for training.
1070 12-28 cassette that gives you the 16T cog. Only the last three cogs are different (lower by 1 tooth each.) I like my 12-27 but I might get this 12-28 if I were to do it all over again. I do notice the difference going from a 34-27 to a 34-28 granny gear on steep grades.
Dunbar - Thanks for the info! Shimano also offers a 12-28 in the Tiagra line. I don't know what the cogs are, but I'm guessing they're the same as the SRAM.