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  1. #1
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    CrossChaining....Your Pain Threshold

    Some riders are super-sensitive to tire pressure, others to saddle tilt.....me, I feel the pain of a crossed chain and love the harmony of a nice chainline. Maybe in my cycling childhood somebody casually tossed off the "Don't Cross-Chain Law" and it somehow was scorched into my cycling conscience...a landmine of hair trigger guilt and a fear of cataclismic if uncertain consequences. And this was before relatively wussie and short-lived but expensive 10 speed chains.

    I look down, see the severe deflection from Big Ring to a deeply inside cog...I feel pins and plates grinding and squealing in chiropractic agony (sorta) and I'll even do-- a Double Shift with dt frictions.

    My Question #1: How many diagonally placed cogs do you refuse to shift to except in dire need. I realize some people without souls are insensitive to their chain and observe no limits. OK. What are your limits? On my 9spd I usually declare the 2 farthest cogs "off-limits" most of the time.

    Question #2: A current thread has re-awakened my certain-I-gotta-get-it need for a compact crank. Has anyone experienced chain rub on the inside of your big ring going from your inner 34 ring to an outer cog? [I know, I know...I'm obsessing again.]
    Last edited by CrossChain; 08-31-06 at 06:26 PM.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I like a well tuned drive train as well. Can't say much about the cog thing as a measure or cross chain since the original chainline creates whatever offsets that result. I assume small frames require more attention.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    obession is problematic

  4. #4
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    I like a well tuned drive train as well. Can't say much about the cog thing as a measure or cross chain since the original chainline creates whatever offsets that result. I assume small frames require more attention.
    Short wheelbase/short chainstay with wide drop out spacing to accomodate "wider" cassettes gets some pretty crazy angles. Riding a medium wheelbase recumbent was chainline thoughtless.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    after all this talk about cross chaining..it really freaks me out. If I am in the granny and anything past midway on the rear cog getting smaller, I feel like an alarm will go off. If I am in the middle ring and something other than the middle four cogs, YIKES. In the big ring...middle of the cassette to the smallest or FREAK CITY! If that chain is not straight....I will have to buy new one in only a matter of hours!

  6. #6
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I'm careful not to go over the 5th out of nine gears when I'm in my granny chainwheel on my MTB. Typically, I'll leave the granny and ride the middle chainwheel when I'm in 5th because I typically put a lot of strain on the drivetrain on a trail.
    I rarely ride the granny on my triple roadbike. When I'm in the middle chainwheel, I'll ride the full range of the cassette because I'm rarely putting any strain on the drivetrain.
    I never run small gear to small gear or large to large on any bike.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  7. #7
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dauphin
    after all this talk about cross chaining..it really freaks me out. If I am in the granny and anything past midway on the rear cog getting smaller, I feel like an alarm will go off. If I am in the middle ring and something other than the middle four cogs, YIKES. In the big ring...middle of the cassette to the smallest or FREAK CITY! If that chain is not straight....I will have to buy new one in only a matter of hours!
    Dauphin, forgive me for infecting you with my mental disease! But, on the bright side, with the money you save on chain wear you can buy Seafoam a moderately priced pair of pearl earrings. Or, save a bit more, and get her a double oven thereby maximizing her peach pie output. But, consider the stress you'll live with which may bring on an ulcer which will depress your peach pie input...which may somehow increase our access to this pie-- or at least some of the Spare Tires in your fridge which also won't fit your diet of curdled tofu. The ripple effect here is endless. Have you considered a chainless tricycle?
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  8. #8
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    no, but today I just stared at the bikes through the window....

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Thanks ever so much for the guilt trip. My LBS told me my chain wasn't happy. Really! That's what he said. So, I asked, "How about the high end of high, the low end of low, and anywhere I want on the middle ring?" He agreed, but I sensed some reluctance.

    For whatever it's worth, I have more hills than horsepower. My smallest ring is 28teeth, and the 9 cog cassette is more widely spaced than usual. The upshot is that in the absence of a big hill, that little ring is a more or less cosmetic attachment. It's a cypress sx, by the way. Am I going to have to refine my techniques one more time?
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Whoa, guys, I'm really sorry. The harbinger and prophet of doom here. People are feeling guilty, destructive, etc. Some of you will probably take up power-walking in a pink sweatsuit with hand weights.

    I can see it now: Cycling Forums member strays into path of cement truck while staring down fixedly at his chainline.

    I take it all back. It's only, after all, a chain. Even if it cost you the price of a dinner out, and if you lose power through transfer inefficiency, and maybe wear gear teeth micro-incrementally, and look like some kind of newb, and so on. No big deal. Forget it. Really.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  11. #11
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    Not only the chain, the teeth on the chainrings and cogs take a beating, as well, when cross-chained.

    I was riding with a guy once who stayed in the big ring all day, even in these rolling hills. I swear there was smoking aluminum and steel chips dropping from his drivetrain on the climbs,hell, I was afraid to draft him. I think the riders behind us were flatting.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I must have a very high pain threshold. I like the big ring and don't care at all about the chain alignment.

  13. #13
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    Hi Crosschain. I'm with you on this and it must have come from riding during my youth. However, I notice that most if not all of the people I ride with don't seem to care about acute cross chain angles.

    As for the compact question, I've only ridden my new Pinarello about 30 miles, but I did in fact notice that acute cross chainingg was not causing the usual scraping noises that one would expect with a double or triple.

  14. #14
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    All this angst! All this guilt! All this worry! And even brainium behaved! I smell a new disease developing here on BF. We better call in the CDC (Cycling Diagnosing Clinic) to investigate. "Crosschainstrepicoxispetrimorphus," failure to ride due to undue fear of full gear utilization. Apparently it is highly contageous! Forget the Bird Flu! Do we need to call in Dr. Livingston Diego?
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    FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com

  15. #15
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    On my Bent... no issue what so ever, cross chain to your hearts content. On my CX bikes I pay attention to this of course, but I don't think it's quite as critical as a standard road bike due to the longer chain stays typical on CX bikes.
    Carpe who?

  16. #16
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    No pain and guilt here!! Spinning a gear is spinning a gear to me. However, from a pedaling efficiency perspective I do have certain points where I'll change chainrings, That is one of the reasons I enjoy having the gear indicator to help me know when to shift chainrings.

    Typically I'll drop down to the 39 or the 34 when I need to go to a gear that is 2 gears below midways. So, I'll usually ride in the middle gear of the range and one below it, but if I need to drop down even further I'll usually go to the lower chainring and then shift up in gears.

    The exception is when pulling a group up a "rolling" hill (versus steep hill) using a 50/34. Since the pace line is generally pretty tight and I'm trying to keep the pace brisk and constant, I'll stay in the 50 and continue to shift down as far as the next to the last gear. I don't use the last gear in the big chain ring ever and if I have to be in that easy of a gear I've dropped off the front of the group anyway!!!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Chain Line

    By habit I shift in a way that I am usually only a few places out of line at any given moment, but this is really NOT such a big deal. You guys need to get a life if this is all you have to worry about!

  18. #18
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1
    You guys need to get a life if this is all you have to worry about!
    Now, now..... it was a valid post. We do have a life and cycling is a large part of it.
    Carpe who?

  19. #19
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    52/39 and 13-14-16-18-21-24-28. I don't use 52x28 or 52x24 (39x18 and 39x21 give the same gear inches). I also don't use 39x13 or 39x14 (52x18 is close enough to both).

  20. #20
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampy™
    Now, now..... it was a valid post. We do have a life and cycling is a large part of it.
    I find it meaningful at work to think of my tasks as 52x12, or sometimes a 39x26.....and of course degrees of effort or working at pace in between. I enjoy "sitting in" with friends or "dropping" the boss' attention. I lunch in the feed zone and don't "love" my girlfriend so much as hit my "maximum heart rate" with her. Going to visit the ex-in-laws was simply known as "The Hell of the North".

    Naturally, I like to keep my cycling confined to just one compartment of my life.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  21. #21
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Cross-chaining isn't something I normally notice. I shoot for a respiratory target by way of desired cadence. If I'm not breathing hard enough, I shift to a harder-to-pedal gear. On my MTB, since I normally stay on the big ring in front, I'm normally in the middle of the rear cassette. On my road bike, since I have only a single ring in front, I'm also normally in the middle of the rear cassette. Cross chaining - not an issue.

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Cross chaining is expensive and is inefficient. I don't like wasting money and I need all the efficiency I can get. Saying that- I have just got a road bike and the quietness of the drive chain is fantastic. You can soon tell when you should be changing front sprockets. In fact- that is probably why I don't use the Large ring on the triple. That 52 would probably mean that with my higher cadence- I would probably be riding in the larger rear gears if I used it on on our hills so the 42 gets used more than any other.

    I have friends that once they get to the Big ring on the triple- they stay in it. 44/34 on the mountain bikes does make rather a lot of noise. I often get ridiculed for being in granny at the start of hills that I would probably make in middle ring but once again, 32/32 is a lot of noise. Far better to be in 22/ 22 and be pulling the equivalent gear.

    Incidentally- My front Derailler on the MTB is a lowly Acera. Been on since new and never caused a problem. So Why did I upgrade the Tandem to XTR? A lot of money for something that was not necessary. Any one else use a low grade front derailler without any problems?

    Edit. Something I just thought of and that is Cassette ring wear. I try not to cross chain but still wear out rear cassettes at an alarming rate- On the Tandem it only lasts about 1,000 miles and the solo is only about 1500. The rings I wear out on the 9 speed 11/32 cassette are the 3 smallest ones. I swear that these are used so rarely that They must be made of a different material. These are the 3 that are detachable from the main body so I might be right in this. So why does my riding partner always wear out the two biggest rings on his cassette. He is the one that gets into his big ring and stays there so puts these two rings under strain, and I am normally in the middle ring. He does cross chain onto these two rings and I don't know where I am going wrong.
    Last edited by stapfam; 09-01-06 at 03:09 PM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    I have a triple, I stay out of big-big (53/26) and little-little (30/13) to avoid crosschaining. I stay out of the next 4 bigs and the next 4 littles for gearchanging efficiency (they duplicate what's on the middle chainring).

    On the middle, I often run middle-big (42-26) with a very small amount of noticeable crosschain grinding, and I live with it and don't worry. If it's ever really bad, I'll buy a new chain, chainrings, and cassette. I love that since Eli Whitney we have had standardized interchangeable parts, and I'm willing to pay the price.

  24. #24
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrossChain
    Going to visit the ex-in-laws was simply known as "The Hell of the North".
    Carpe who?

  25. #25
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Bianchi: 50-42 / 14-16-18-20-23-26: avoid 50/26
    UO-8: 45-42 / 13-15-17-20-23-26: avoid 45/26
    Capo 1: 47-38 / 13-15-17-19-21-23; avoid 47/21 and 47/23 (spindle is a bit long)
    Capo 2: 49-45 / 14-16-19-23-26; avoid 49/26
    Schwinn: 48-40-28 / 13-15-17-19-22-24-26; avoid 48/26, 48/24, 28/13, 28/15

    My first bike with aluminum chainrings, my 1971 Nishiki, trained me not to cross large-large, in which it ran extremely roughly and noisly, under heavy protest.
    When I converted it to 15 speeds, I selected combinations which made the two cross-chain combinations redundant and unnecessary:
    Nishiki: 49-46-43 / 14-16-19-23-26 (Plug it into Excel -- this provides a VERY smooth 13-speed progression from the mid-40s to the mid-90s.)
    Last edited by John E; 09-01-06 at 04:58 PM.
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