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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-06-10, 12:04 PM   #1
WalksOn2Wheels
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Wow, now I don't feel so bad....

About cruising around in the small ring all the time. Going on the third week of my effort to start commuting, I finally thought to look and see what size chainrings I had on my steel frame commuter. It turns out I'm running a 53/42. My carbon road bike has a compact crank.

I usually go up and down the cassette from one point to another, but I've yet to put it on the big ring while commuting. I'm sure it's half me being out of shape and half the 15-20 extra pounds in commuting trim (the bike, not me).

The SAD thing is this was my first roadbike back when I was 20 and didn't know what shifting gears/cadence was all about. I pushed that thing all over in top gear 100% of the time in the dead of a Texas summer. I figured if I couldn't make it up a hill in the hardest gear, I wasn't doing it right. Of course, it was a relatively flat route, but I regularly did a 32 mile loop averaging about 18 or so mph.

Maybe I ought to take the same approach to commuting. I'll either fall dead or have legs like tree trunks.
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Old 10-06-10, 02:42 PM   #2
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I spent almost all of today in the granny (28t) ring. When my middle 34 ring comes in, I'll probably spend most of my time on that ring (and swap my current 28 granny for a 24 granny).
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Old 10-06-10, 04:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I figured if I couldn't make it up a hill in the hardest gear, I wasn't doing it right.
...
Maybe I ought to take the same approach to commuting. I'll either fall dead or have legs like tree trunks.
Who needs knees? We'll have bionic replacements any year now, right?
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Old 10-06-10, 05:39 PM   #4
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My commuter stays in the 42T middle ring most of the time. Between the extra weight of commuter gear and the extra bit of wind resistance from my panniers, I'm fine with that.
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Old 10-06-10, 08:23 PM   #5
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My road bike had that set up. I had the LBS change it for a 34(?) inner ring, and I am much, much happier.
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Old 10-07-10, 12:53 AM   #6
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So you had 42/53 and changed small ring, now you have 34/53? How does that shift, is it ok? I thought of doing 28/48, but ain't too sure about that, can the front derailer skip 20 tooth up and down? I also ride a Dew Plus converted to Dew Drop. Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-07-10, 12:38 PM   #7
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My road bike had that set up. I had the LBS change it for a 34(?) inner ring, and I am much, much happier.
Swapped to a compact crank?

If not, I believe 38 teeth is as small as you can go on a standard 130 mm BCD crank.
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Old 10-07-10, 12:54 PM   #8
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I'm in the big ring almost all the time.

I mash.
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Old 10-07-10, 01:48 PM   #9
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I've got a 28-38-48 triple with a 28-14 freewheel, and never use the small ring. I do use the whole range from 38/28 to 48/14 on my commute though
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Old 10-07-10, 01:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
I'm in the big ring almost all the time.
i've a got a 53/39 on my main road bike commuter and i'm almost always on the big ring as well. i live in chicago and there aren't any hills to speak of, so the smaller chainring doesn't offer me a whole lot for my daily commute route.

since i'm always on the 53, here's how i use the 6 gear ratios that i actually ride in

53/28 - bad cross gearing, i don't use it
53/24 - bad cross gearing, i don't use it
53/21 - strong headwind
53/19 - fair head wind
53/17 - light headwind/neutral
53/15 - light tailwind/neutral
53/14 - fair tailwind
53/13 - strong tailwind

53/12 - only for down hills, and living in chicago, i don't use it often
53/11 - only for down hills, and living in chicago, i don't use it often

Last edited by Steely Dan; 10-07-10 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 10-11-10, 09:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by whitecat View Post
So you had 42/53 and changed small ring, now you have 34/53? How does that shift, is it ok? I thought of doing 28/48, but ain't too sure about that, can the front derailer skip 20 tooth up and down? I also ride a Dew Plus converted to Dew Drop. Thanks for your input.
Sorry -- should have been MUCH more specific. The bike in question is my vintage Tomasso Roadie. and the LBS fitted a new compact crank, so it is probably a 34/50, though I'd have to go count teeth or find the stampings to be sure :-)

The crank on the Dew Drop is compact, at 28/38/48, if memory serves.

Sorry for confusion.

I should mention that I DO use the granny ring on the Dew Drop on occasion: I have hills to climb :-)
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