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  1. #1
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Clyde gearing question

    Good morning All,

    I bought a new (used) bike at a great price and it's at the LBS being assembled, I'm going in for a fit in two days. It's a Cannondale Synapse Carbon, full Dura Ace. The seller (inadvertantly) labelled it as a compact. It's a standard 52,39 and a 12-25 cassette.

    I'm 260 (working my way down to 210) The question is, Is it a problem having a 39/25 as the lowest gear. Moderately hilly here. LBS said it would be expensive to change the chainring, I think the biggest cassette I can get would be 12-27, and that wouldn't be cheap. Is a 2 gear movement worth it?

    Also, any suggestions as to options for lower gearing? I suppose I should just wait to ride it and see. I'm coming from a Trek with a triple

  2. #2
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Is it worth it? Only you can answer that question. If you can't get the seller to remedy his mistake, just get the bike and ride it and see what you think.

    Looks like you're in Annapolis... I have a compact crankset (50-34) with an 11-25 cassette and I get around fine here. 39/25 might be a little higher than I'd like for some of the worst hills (which I don't think there are many of honestly - the only thing I can think of is climbing the Naval Academy bridge, which is at least short) but I could probably manage. Some of the stuff up near Baltimore like Lawyer's Hill in Elkridge I need a wider cassette for.

    A new cassette would run you 100 - 120 or so, and changing the crank to a compact would be 150 for a new R600, more if you want Dura Ace-level stuff or if you have to pay someone to install it.

  3. #3
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Thanks Lambo, yes the NA Bridge (or mountain) and Rt 2 the other way. I live off of St Margarets Rd which going east is pretty hilly. I think I may need to do something, not sure if going from a 25 to a 27 is going to make a significant difference. Perhaps a compact chainring would be the best albeit expensive solution

  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    A SRAM PG1070 11-28 is only $95.00 at Bikeman.

    A 39/28 gear ratio should be low enough for anything. I'm 250 pounds and ride in the Cascade foothills. I've been rolling a singlespeed recently, with 42/18 gearing (which is about 2x taller than 39/28 in gear inches).
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  5. #5
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    That's encouraging. I'm going to the bike store tomorrow, and I'll check into it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    That's encouraging. I'm going to the bike store tomorrow, and I'll check into it.
    Personally, I'd suggest riding the bike around as-is before you spend any money on it. Much depends on your fitness level and the types of terrain you ride. The area where I ride has quite a few hills and on some of the longer ones I'm very happy to have a compact double (50/34) and 11-28 cassette. This is especially true when trying to get over the last hill or two on the way home from an epic (60-100mi) ride.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Another vote for a compact front crank. If you are not going to get a triple, are a clyde, and have lots of hills, then get a compact. Cannondale makes models with a compact crank, and that LBS should be able to get you a bike with one, one or switch it out at no extra cost. I would expect at least that much from a bike shop before I shelled out the cash.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Yeah...I'm w/sstorkel. Ride it for awhile first and see how it does for you on your regular routes. Any changes you make to it are going to be made after it's already assembled, so it won't save you anything having it done now. Plus, none of us can really answer your question. As lambo said, only you...

    I also am about 260#. I ride a 53/39. I have 3-cassettes: 11-23, 12-25, and a 12-27. Riding in SoCal, I encounter a wide array of hills: rollers, long-long mountain passes, short mountain passes, short & extremely steep hills, long steep climbs. My 12-25 has served me well on many of them. I got the 11-23 for flat races. I got the 12-27 for the King of the Mountain series and the Assault on Mt. Mitchell last year--all extremely challenging rides (100-miles/10,000ft+ each). It really gave me a last bailout gear for when I was tired. I used it alot during those rides.

    I get almost all my stuff at probikekit.com. Cassettes run around $60--$90 there, (usually) much cheaper than an LBS. Check 'em out.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  9. #9
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Wow, now I'm confused. Obviously the best thing for me to do is pick it up ride it and see how I do, But if mkadam can do the Assault on Mt Mitchel with a 53/39 I'll feel like a real wuss if I can't do the hills around here.

    Bike shop won't swap it out, as I bought it used and they are assembling it

  10. #10
    Senior Member Herbie53's Avatar
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    I had a 52/39 - 13/27 combo on my Tempo when I started out. Other than one errant trip to Western MD, that was fine even in the early days.

    I have a 12/23 on there now, I consider it a "character builder".
    "Today me will live in the moment, unless it's unpleasant, then me will eat cookie." -Cookie Monster

  11. #11
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    sram 11-28 is the way to go for lower cost.. 71.00 shipped price on ebay, good seller, have bought plenty from them over the years

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SRAM-PG-1070-Cas...QQcmdZViewItem

  12. #12
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    Wow, now I'm confused. Obviously the best thing for me to do is pick it up ride it and see how I do, But if mkadam can do the Assault on Mt Mitchel with a 53/39 I'll feel like a real wuss if I can't do the hills around here.
    Don't base your climbing on someone else's ability. I'd cry in a corner every time Beanz posted one of his climbs on a 39/53 if that was the case.
    Most of my distance climbing is done on my brevet bike, which I outfitted with super low gears: 34/46 up front and an 11 - 32 MTB cassette in back. I've been riding my 42/18 singlespeed to build some strength on hills so it translates over to quicker average speeds on the geared bike; but I don't think I'll be swapping out my MTB cassette for the stock 12-27, or putting a standard road double up front any time.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    Wow, now I'm confused. Obviously the best thing for me to do is pick it up ride it and see how I do, But if mkadam can do the Assault on Mt Mitchel with a 53/39 I'll feel like a real wuss if I can't do the hills around here.

    Bike shop won't swap it out, as I bought it used and they are assembling it
    Dude, the steepest thing you're going to encounter is St. George Barber Rd. That's a real hill. Unfortunately, it only last for about 1/2 a mile. Oh well... If you can't make it up in a 39x25, just pull over to the side of the road and cry like a little girl. Then sell your bike and take up knitting or something.

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    Just ride it as is for a while. I've got a 39/26 as my lowest/easiest gear and have been fine so far. And there's some pretty hilly country around here!
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  15. #15
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
    Dude, the steepest thing you're going to encounter is St. George Barber Rd. That's a real hill. Unfortunately, it only last for about 1/2 a mile. Oh well... If you can't make it up in a 39x25, just pull over to the side of the road and cry like a little girl. Then sell your bike and take up knitting or something.
    Wow!

  16. #16
    fishologist cohophysh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post
    Wow!
    Me thinks he's been spending time in the roadie forum
    We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. A.E.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohophysh View Post
    Me thinks he's been spending time in the roadie forum
    Yeah sure.

    Seriously. I've been everywhere from 240 to 175 lbs and never rode anything smaller than a 39x25 except for 1 special occasion 100 mile hill ride. There have been times I've wanted to pull over and cry, but instead, you just gotta stand up, gear down and be tough. Bullick Hollow Rd between Oasis bluff and 620 in Austin is one stretch that comes to mind. I really hate that road. And yes, it's hard to believe the bike won't topple over at 4mph, but somehow it doesn't.

  18. #18
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You don't need any gears at all if you're willing to walk at least part of the way. So in a sense, the question is not whether you need a lower gear, it's really how far you're willing to walk.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  19. #19
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies (mostly)

    Noglider, I guess that's the question. But I guess a big guy on a Carbon DA walking up a hill would be the poster child for poseur

    Best to ride it this weekend. If anyone needs a sweater knit, let me know

  20. #20
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You're a poseur only if you care how people think about how you look. If you're enjoying yourself, you're doing the right thing. If you're improving, too, even better.

    A big guy on a bike looks a lot better than a big guy in front of a TV with a beer in his hand. (OK, those aren't the only choices, but you get the idea.)

    And by the way, I'm a guest here, as I'm not a big guy.

    Tom
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  21. #21
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Hey by the way, which shop is building the bike for you?

  22. #22
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Not building it, just putting it together, and fitting me for it. Bike Doctor in Annapolis

  23. #23
    Senior Member LandKurt's Avatar
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    All this talk is making me feel like a wuss for ordering a bike with a triple. I donít like mashing up hills (and neither do my knees) so Iím looking for a nice low gear ratio so I can keep spinning a decent RPM against as much a hill as possible. I just ordered a Novara Randonee on sale which has a 26 tooth granny gear up front and 11-28 rear cogs. That should give me a low gear of 25.1 gear inches as opposed to the 29.6 I currently have on my commuter. Iím looking forward to seeing how much a difference that makes on the hills.

    As near as I can figure 39/25 would give 42.1 gear inches, which is equivalent to 3rd gear on my current bike. I canít personally imagine tackling much of a hill in a gear like that, but then Iím not comfortable with pedaling out of the saddle. I currently weigh in at 260 myself and am trying to get back into cycling after the winter.
    The upside of hills is the downside

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  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You're not a wuss, LandKurt. You just haven't given up your need for those two lowest gears yet.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  25. #25
    Senior Member LandKurt's Avatar
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    There is certainly room for improvement in my cycling, but once I'm able to climb hills faster it will probably be through higher cadence rather than higher gears. I've got a bit or arthritis in my knees so I avoid mashing the pedals when possible.

    "Whatever gear doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is NOT my motto.

    I was riding with someone last year who consistently pedaled at a much lower cadence than I did (not that I'm all that hot stuff, 80 RPM is good enough for me). I asked her at one point why she didn't use a lower gear on the hills at least. She said that lower gears made her feel like she was in a hampster wheel getting nowhere. Me, I feel like I'm getting nowhere when I'm straining against a nearly immovable pedal in too high a gear. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Ride what you enjoy and makes you feel like you're getting somewhere.
    Last edited by LandKurt; 05-12-09 at 10:49 AM.
    The upside of hills is the downside

    Novara Randonee

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