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Old 02-13-06, 08:42 PM   #1
rck
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dilemma

Think of this as a bit of a poll. I'm currently riding a 1990 c-dale 400st, which is fully functional. I've over the last couple of seasons, put on a new 7 speed freewheel, a Thompson seatpost(very nice thank you) a Brooks saddle and a new rear derailleur. However, as I'm doing well on tax returns this year and will probably be going back to work at least part time, I've the urge to drop a few bucks on the bike. My dilemma is in that my current set-up for gearing includes a triple upfront of 50-39-28 and a freewheel of 12-34. I know that this seems a bit extreme but 15 to 20% grades are not uncommon here and my knees are most appreciative.
I would like to buy a new bike but all the gearing involves 52-40-30 and 11-25 and an additional cost for switching out cranksets and rear cassettes and derailleurs. (think road bike) Do I bite the bullet and buy new with the changes desired and keep the old for bad weather riding or do the sensible thing and spend a chunk of change on old faithful-new brakes, new handlebars, and maybe a fancy new crankset? Keep in mind that neither option will affect my ability to afford pie at Irmas.
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Old 02-13-06, 09:32 PM   #2
John E
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Forum regulars know my vote: "Keep your heap."

I could have bought a pretty good new bike for what I have spent acquiring my 1960 Capo and refinishing and updating my 1959 Capo, but every time I ride the latter, or even just look at it, I feel strongly that I made the right decision.
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Old 02-13-06, 09:59 PM   #3
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I'd go with the new bike. You should be able to reduce some weight and even possibly improve ride comfort.

Is another option is to consider a new set of lighter weight wheels??
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Old 02-14-06, 01:40 AM   #4
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Your old stead is getting a little aged-and a new bike will have certain advantages that will make it work better. Any good LBS will come to a compromise on changing and setting up the rear cassette and derailler to run 12/34. Those hills might not be any easier on a new bike- but they could be shorter.

If the chance is there go for the new bike but definitely keep the old one till the new one gets sorted.
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Old 02-14-06, 02:48 AM   #5
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With Campy you can go 12-29 for a cassette. The Centaur is the best bang for the buck over all gruppos. However the 28/34 lowest combination you have is really low. The idea of keeping the older bike for winter riding (beater bike) is the best idea. The one great advantage with the modern gruppo is the Ergo shifters. I am an old school rider (should I say I am an old old school rider) but I find the ergo (or STI if you prefer) is a tremendous improvement for mountain riding.
The thing about getting older it seems as if tectonics has pushed the hills higher and steeper on routes I rode as a younger rider...any geologists out there?
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Old 02-14-06, 11:11 AM   #6
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Factory bike gearing is unrealistic for most of us. Look at the next dozen cyclists you see on the road and notice what gears they're in--hardly any of us really need a 53-tooth chainring, but that's what comes on the bikes because everybody wants to look like Lance. I've been riding for more than 30 years as an adult, and I'm a fairly strong 6'4", 230, and I can't remember the last time I used the big ring in conjunction with the smaller half of the cassette. Even the usual triple, with a 30-tooth granny, is sort of lame if you live in the mountains (I'm near Reno, with 8000-foot passes all around).
When I bought my Rambouillet, I listened to Rivendell (www.rivbike.com) and put on a 46-36-26 Sugino XD triple with 12-28 cassette. It gets rid of the high gears I never used anyway and gives me a real low for those loaded grunts over Monitor Pass, plus many more usable gears in between. If you decide to go with a new bike and want to swap, Rivendell sells the crankset, including rings, for $110, and you may need a new BB spindle. I have 4000 miles on the Rambo and 6000 on an Atlantis with the same crankset, and no issues at all.
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Old 02-14-06, 11:55 AM   #7
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Really depends on what you have now and if you have the resources to make a significant improvement by purchasing a new bike. I know that when I had to make that decision, I really hated the idea of getting a new bike since I had sentimental feelings for the old one (Hetchins bought in Tottenham back in 1972). My decision was "forced" by the fact that I couldn't get any replacement parts for the old Hetch and my fork was bent up in a crash. I still keep the frame around in the hopes that one day I'll be able to reconstruct it. I believe it rode as well or perhaps even better than the new (used) CF Kestrel I got.
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Old 02-14-06, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rck
My dilemma is in that my current set-up for gearing includes a triple upfront of 50-39-28 and a freewheel of 12-34. I know that this seems a bit extreme but 15 to 20% grades are not uncommon here and my knees are most appreciative.
I would like to buy a new bike but all the gearing involves 52-40-30 and 11-25 and an additional cost for switching out cranksets and rear cassettes and derailleurs.
If you buy a new bike, your LBS should swap out cassette for free and give discount on chainring sets.

I would not recommend the 11:25 and 30-40-52. It would be way too painful with your hills.

If going 9 speed you could use the same gearing as you have now. You might consider a 12:32 and 26-38-48 if you want easier hills.
If going 10 speed, I would recommend: 12:27 in back for easier transitions between gears and a 26-39-5x in front. If you don't need the top end, you could use a 24-38-48 for the triple.

I would make the decision on gears this way:

1. what is the hardest hill I need to climb? What gear do I need to ride that hill?

2. what is the highest speed do I want to ride? What gear do I need to reach that speed at my regular cadence?

3. Now, knowing the top gear and lowest gear, what middle ring and cassette will give me the easiest ride.

If you have more questions about this, just post.
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Old 02-14-06, 01:33 PM   #9
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I faced a similar dilemma. The good news is that since I didn't need a bike right away, I could spend plenty of time shopping around. This enabled me to get a leftover (just about this time of year, come to think of it) at a tremendous savings. And I still have my other bike, which I use as my rain-commuter-go-to-the-grocery-store set of wheels.

I've always ridden a fair amount, but the new bike definitely kindled a desire to jack up my mileage, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your significant other. Don't ask me how I know this.

I think Hiyo Silver has some good thoughts on gearing.
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Old 02-14-06, 01:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velo Dog
Factory bike gearing is unrealistic for most of us. Look at the next dozen cyclists you see on the road and notice what gears they're in--hardly any of us really need a 53-tooth chainring, but that's what comes on the bikes because everybody wants to look like Lance. I've been riding for more than 30 years as an adult, and I'm a fairly strong 6'4", 230, and I can't remember the last time I used the big ring in conjunction with the smaller half of the cassette. Even the usual triple, with a 30-tooth granny, is sort of lame if you live in the mountains (I'm near Reno, with 8000-foot passes all around).
When I bought my Rambouillet, I listened to Rivendell (www.rivbike.com) and put on a 46-36-26 Sugino XD triple with 12-28 cassette. It gets rid of the high gears I never used anyway and gives me a real low for those loaded grunts over Monitor Pass, plus many more usable gears in between. If you decide to go with a new bike and want to swap, Rivendell sells the crankset, including rings, for $110, and you may need a new BB spindle. I have 4000 miles on the Rambo and 6000 on an Atlantis with the same crankset, and no issues at all.
I agree with you on the 53. I do use it when I drop down out of the front range roadways, but otherwise it is worthless. I went to a 50/40/30 on my triple and use the 50 more often and the 40 is close to my 39 I use on the double chain ring bikes. I found that TA chainrings fit on the Campy crank sets and when I replace the 53 I will be going to a 48, 49, or 50 on the double cranksets. Your advice is great.
I live in Colorado and will be out in California for the Death Ride next July. I will be going down to Santa Cruz for some riding in the coastal range. I lived in Santa Cruz in the 60's and 70's and rode there and in the Serria Nevada a lot. Monitor pass is one of the passes that I frequently rode. Good riding in 06 and beyond. DK
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Old 02-14-06, 06:56 PM   #11
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VERY few of us need anything higher than 100 gear-inches (52/14 or 48/13).
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Old 02-14-06, 07:40 PM   #12
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What would be wrong with a Cannondale T-2000? You would get rear cogs of 11-34 and a triple up front with a 26/36/48. This should be more than adequate for your riding
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Old 02-14-06, 08:22 PM   #13
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Gents,
It seems to me you guys know this gear stuff all right.
Try this. I have 650c wheels with 178 crank arms and 56/42 CRs and 8 speed 12-25.
I just don't seem to be able to climb the hills like I did a few years ago, which is really 20 lbs and 3000 miles/year ago. I'm not sure what to up grade to. Oh, right I'm getting the mileage back up too.
I'm considering compact carbon cranks. What size?
What CRs would give me the right ratio with the 650c wheels?
Is there a formula that would help me calculate the right gearing?
Got a web site for me to reference?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
I gotta go.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:46 PM   #14
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What is your bolt circle diameter? If you have modern road standard 130mm, you can replace that 56-42 combination with something saner, such as 48-38. This will drop your low gears by 10 percent. Next, look into replacing the 12-25 cassette with 13-27 or 12-27. Your new gear will be noticeably lower than your current low.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:49 PM   #15
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Gearing for your 650C (26") wheels is the same as for 700C (27"), except all of your gear ratios run about 4 percent low. Thus, the 48/13 high on my mountain bike is a 96.0-inch gear, whereas the 48/13 on my PKN-10 works out to 99.7 gear-inches.
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Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
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Old 02-15-06, 10:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
VERY few of us need anything higher than 100 gear-inches (52/14 or 48/13).
John E, With grades of up to 21% no matter how short the ride-I need more than a 48/13! I think that I will keep the heap and shop for an additional toy. At work they are getting tired of listening to me talk of new bikes and old. Just buy the d...m thing and shut up! (what a bunch of philistines) They're thinking being that if I buy I'll have to keep working to pay for it. Of course what they do not realize is that if I do buy new and have to work more to pay for it, I'll have a new whine-about a new bike and no time to ride because I'm working to much.
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Old 02-16-06, 09:32 AM   #17
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John E, With grades of up to 21% no matter how short the ride-I need more than a 48/13! I think that I will keep the heap and shop for an additional toy. At work they are getting tired of listening to me talk of new bikes and old. Just buy the d...m thing and shut up! (what a bunch of philistines) They're thinking being that if I buy I'll have to keep working to pay for it. Of course what they do not realize is that if I do buy new and have to work more to pay for it, I'll have a new whine-about a new bike and no time to ride because I'm working to much.


Nothing like "Christmas" in March!! Have fun shopping, comparing and testing. That process is always a lot of fun. If you don't go that route you'll always be second guessing yourself and the folks at work will REALLY get tired of hearing you whine....
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