Mad bike riding scientist
I don't measure cadence but some things to think about:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
The jump from 13 to 11 is usually made at high speed anyway so you'll probably not notice it too much. If you use Sheldon's calculator and calculate the speed at 90 rpm, the change is from 29 to 34 mph. But when I'm doing that shift, I'm probably increasing my cadence anyway to pick up speed on a downhill and I don't notice it.
For your gearing, I'd make the shift from large ring to middle on the crank before I'd do the 20 to 17 anyway. The change is about the same going from 53/17 to 42/17 as going from 53/17 to 53/20. This is a lot closer than any of the other combinations and makes a good place to switch front rings. However even in the 53 chainring, the difference in speed is is from 19mph to 22mph. I'm not sure you'd notice that much difference. Going down in gear would probably be much more noticeable than going up.
On the 26 to 30 jump, you should be in the middle ring anyway and you'll be going from 10 to 11 mph. Hardly noticeable at all and, usually, you're climbing something and needing to drop to that gear just to keep going up the road. By this time I've usually forgotten about cadence and am more worried about where the top of the damned mountain is anyway
again, thanks all. was going to ride tomorrow, but think will pass if this snow ever gets here
I have almost the same setup - LHT, 11-34, 26-36-46. With the 34 in back and the 36 in front (and no load) I can go up almost any hill without using the granny. That said, I'm putting a 24 on the front before I take it on tour this summer. I climbed a couple of gnarly mountain passes last summer with my old bike. I had a 24 on the front, but not a very big sprocket in back. I was constantly searching for a lower gear that wasn't there. I don't want to have the problem this summer. (I wonder if I should skip the 24 and go for a 22?)
Originally Posted by tpelle
I run a double and have some monster climbs on every ride (I live on the doorstep of the Canadian Rockies). Basically, I've learnt to keep a steady and slow cadence in a decent gear. I'm never at the head of the pack at the bottom but I'm usually at the head or well out in front by the top.
I have a similar philosophy on the trail but middle ringing climbs has lead to a pile of bent cassettes.