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Old 09-17-13, 12:14 PM   #26
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No. Alpe de Huez is a big ring finish. The 39/29 was a race that finished at the McDonald Observatory.
I hope you were sprinting from your drops.

i also didnt know that the McDonald observatory is a real place
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Old 09-17-13, 02:36 PM   #27
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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.
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Old 09-17-13, 05:02 PM   #28
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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...
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Old 09-17-13, 05:10 PM   #29
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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...
Actually, the point here was the you don't need to HTFU, you'll be just fine with that gearing.
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Old 09-17-13, 05:39 PM   #30
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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.
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Old 09-17-13, 07:46 PM   #31
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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.
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Old 09-17-13, 10:55 PM   #32
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Actually, the point here was the you don't need to HTFU, you'll be just fine with that gearing.
Ayup.

You can win on a lot of different stuff in most situations. You give yourself a better chance getting the equipment right. But I rode the last half lap of a cyclocross race on a flat and won too.

OK, bad example. That just shows how stupid cyclocross is.
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Old 09-18-13, 12:44 AM   #33
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or how strong you are.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:15 PM   #34
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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've found that you will learn more by searching through old posts; as in, read A LOT of them. You'll start to get a feel for what's what. Nobody talks to me here, but that's ok. In this sport, you are not real likely to make many friends. That's just how it is.

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...
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Old 10-23-13, 09:58 PM   #35
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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?
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Old 10-23-13, 10:19 PM   #36
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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?
It's what I ride. I think out here you'll find plenty of people with that combo. For races I usually go to 11-25, but for Boonville/Patterson/Hamilton/Copperopolis/etc I stuck with the 28.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:12 AM   #37
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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 sucks' can mean different things to different people, but compact + 11-28 is a fine combination. there are bigger jumps between gears on an 11-28 vs, say, an 11-21 cassette, so if you are the type who likes to really fine-tune cadence you have less options.

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.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:25 AM   #38
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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?
Aaron - Actually, it's pretty common on new bikes and should work fine. Personally, I prefer a 12-27. It has a 16t cog that's missing on the 11-28, and IMO the 16t is more useful than the 11t...but then it's mostly flat where I ride. I don't think I'd notice the difference between a 27t and a 28t cog.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:29 AM   #39
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Go up a big enough hill and the difference between the 27 and 28 becomes apparent.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:51 AM   #40
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Go up a big enough hill and the difference between the 27 and 28 becomes apparent.
No doubt...that's why I have a bike that can take a 12-30.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:58 AM   #41
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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.
You don't have to spin 173 rpm to descend at 50mph. In most circumstances, if you're hitting 50mph, you're better off tucking in and coasting. It takes a huge amount of energy to accelerate from 49 to 50mph, and its not efficient.

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.
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Old 10-24-13, 07:31 AM   #42
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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.
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Old 10-24-13, 08:54 AM   #43
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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.
This is the driving factor for me switching to a 12-27t cassette when it comes time to replace my current 11-26t (pretty soon) as well as swapping my little ring to a 36 or 38t. Standard cranks + sf/marin hills != good low effort training. Unless I want to ride in circles for 2-4 hours at a time (polofield track).
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Old 10-24-13, 09:08 AM   #44
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This is the driving factor for me switching to a 12-27t cassette when it comes time to replace my current 11-26t (pretty soon) as well as swapping my little ring to a 36 or 38t. Standard cranks + sf/marin hills != good low effort training. Unless I want to ride in circles for 2-4 hours at a time (polofield track).
agreed. using cadence to keep power in a (low) zone is annoying.

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.
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Old 10-24-13, 09:11 AM   #45
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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.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:26 PM   #46
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agreed. using cadence to keep power in a (low) zone is annoying.

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.
Thanks for the heads up. I'll make sure to take that into consideration. 52/36 seems to be the likely solution.

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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.
Great to hear, I'll likely be following suit.
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Old 10-24-13, 02:12 PM   #47
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You don't have to spin 173 rpm to descend at 50mph. In most circumstances, if you're hitting 50mph, you're better off tucking in and coasting. It takes a huge amount of energy to accelerate from 49 to 50mph, and its not efficient.

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.
You are probably right. I know I don't have the power to accelerate to 50mph. I just threw that out there because it's been tossed around. At this point, I don't really need more than 52-14.
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Old 10-25-13, 04:13 PM   #48
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Aaron - Actually, it's pretty common on new bikes and should work fine. Personally, I prefer a 12-27. It has a 16t cog that's missing on the 11-28, and IMO the 16t is more useful than the 11t...but then it's mostly flat where I ride. I don't think I'd notice the difference between a 27t and a 28t cog.
FYI, SRAM makes a 10sp 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.

12-27: 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27

12-28: 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-25-28


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Old 10-25-13, 04:33 PM   #49
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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.
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Old 10-25-13, 07:45 PM   #50
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I don't know what the cogs are, but I'm guessing they're the same as the SRAM.
No, unfortunately it doesn't. Shimano apparently doesn't have much regard for the vaunted 16T cog. They don't even give you a 16 on their 11sp 11-28 cassettes (fortunately SRAM does with Force 22.)

Tiagra 12-28: 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-28

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