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Old 06-04-07, 09:06 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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Big Ring question

Since I've been riding Ruby Roubaix, I've noticed I stick pretty much to the middle ring. Occasionally, if ther'es a long enough hill, I might pop down to the small ring. But rarely have I ridden in the big ring. Do most roadies spend a lot of time in the big ring? Am I missing something? I keep meaning to give it some pedal time, but I keep forgetting. Maybe tomorrow. Meantime, should I be riding most of the time on the big ring to maximize my experience?

The rings are 50-39-30, btw. 12-27 on the back.
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Old 06-04-07, 09:21 PM   #2
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Depends on whether or not you are comfortable with the cadence and speed you are riding at.

Ie: If your traveling as fast as you want to and the cadence is Ok then stay on the middle ring. If you want to travel faster then its up to the big ring. Takes more energy though to sustain that speed over distance. Its like the transmission in your car. Don't worry about it, just use the gears necessary for the job at hand.

If you don't need the big ring for the speed your travelling, don't kill your knees. Stay on the middle.
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Old 06-04-07, 09:24 PM   #3
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If you are riding in the higher gears of your 2nd ring, then you could switch to the middle gears in the big ring, as they are about the same. See how high you can go & still maintain your cadence without mashing.

The lower gears on the big ring are well down into the range on the middle ring. There's a lot of overlap. No need to stay on the middle ring exclusively. But then again, there's no need to use the big one if you aren't spinning out while in the middle one.
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Old 06-04-07, 09:43 PM   #4
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Good advice above, Deeg. You only have one set of knees and one spine. Don't let 'em blow up.
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Old 06-04-07, 09:47 PM   #5
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50+ is slightly different from other more performance oriented forums. Dont get caught up in the "status" thing of being in the big ring all the time. (ugh.....me heman bike rider.....strong.....go fast) Use the equipment on the bike to YOUR ADVANTAGE
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Old 06-04-07, 09:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
....
The rings are 50-39-30, btw. 12-27 on the back.
'stock' - OTR bike? sure itz notta 53? you do a swap?

that 39 is as close as it getz to 'Leatherman' on a bike, specially with a 12/27.

big ring is for comicbook heros

visualize whorled peas
or go to http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/ , put in your numbers, I groove on 'gear inches' rather than gain ratio for my gear units.
print out the ittybitty chart and tape to your stem.
That there gear-inchworms is the 'apparent' size of your rear wheel in whatever 'gear' you happen to be in.
So when it sez "78", it means a 78 inch diameter wheel.
So when youz pedalin along in your 39-15, youz actually toolin along with about a 69 inch rear wheel. Try it in a 53-17 (82 inches) and then a 53-15 (92) and so on...
soon enough you'll prolly be able to 'visualize' what a 53-12 might feel like, or a 30-23... a lot sooner than you can visualize those whorled peas...
and den, all-of-a-sudden, one day, you'll ride up to one of doz steep pitches that litter most of Sandy Eggo, and KNOW that you'll really whan to pop it into that 48 inch gear when yo hit the start of that climb...
den you'll be a comicbook hero
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Old 06-04-07, 09:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx
50+ is slightly different from other more performance oriented forums. Dont get caught up in the "status" thing of being in the big ring all the time. (ugh.....me heman bike rider.....strong.....go fast) Use the equipment on the bike to YOUR ADVANTAGE
True that. I stopped by the Road Forum tonight for some reason. Lotta testosterone. Lotta wannabes. Lotta people who probably won't be riding when they're 50+, I'd reckon.
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Old 06-04-07, 10:04 PM   #8
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You mean the shiny one? People use those things?

My big ring only has 50 teeth and I only use it on long flat stretches or long downhills.
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Old 06-04-07, 10:05 PM   #9
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I also have a robaix, I live in a hilly area, I probly do 90% in the middle ring, 8% in in the granny,hit the big on long down hills when I'm feeling ambitious. In high school I had a 10speed and really didn't know what the little ring was for. Youth is wasted on the young.
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Old 06-04-07, 10:06 PM   #10
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Heed the advice above and you'll be fine.

I'm mostly a spinner so it's the middle ring for me, except for long downhills or tailwinds.
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Old 06-05-07, 12:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
You mean the shiny one? People use those things?

My big ring only has 50 teeth and I only use it on long flat stretches or long downhills.
Well MY big ring only has 46 teeth, and it's got over 12,000 miles on it with nary a speck of dust. The middle ring covers just about everything. I usually coast/spin downhill after a climb, so I rarely use the big ring even for that. I just replaced my middle ring, and it looked like someone took a grinder to it. The big ring is still so pristine, I was embarrassed to have the shop guys even see it!

Last edited by Big Paulie; 06-05-07 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 06-05-07, 12:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Since I've been riding Ruby Roubaix, I've noticed I stick pretty much to the middle ring. Occasionally, if ther'es a long enough hill, I might pop down to the small ring. But rarely have I ridden in the big ring. Do most roadies spend a lot of time in the big ring? Am I missing something? I keep meaning to give it some pedal time, but I keep forgetting. Maybe tomorrow. Meantime, should I be riding most of the time on the big ring to maximize my experience?

The rings are 50-39-30, btw. 12-27 on the back.
Is that a 105 set up, Gary? I have the same triple and same cassette on my Bianchi.
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Old 06-05-07, 04:04 AM   #13
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I think it depends somewhat on where you are riding. If going through the burbs with stop & go, slow down, speed up etc., I'd pretty much stick to the middle ring.
If you are out "cruising" on level ground with few stops, I'd go big.
Reason being-
1-Big with gears 6-7 probably gives you a little better chain line then middle w/ gears 9-10. You could pretty much just eyeball this to verify if true for YOUR bike.
2-Bigger ring & cogs = a few more teeth to support the "load" on the chain, + chain "pivots" slightly less on larger dia. sprockets. That theoretically should prolong drive componant life.
3-If you are "cruising on M-10, you don't have as much flexibility to quickly go up 1 more gear in case the headwind decreases.
Just my $.02
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Old 06-05-07, 04:15 AM   #14
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MTB has 44/32/22 on it and even on the road I find the 44 big enough and only use 44/11 downhill. OK the road bike is faster, but I have 52/42/30 and 11/28. I ride in that 42 more than any other. IF I get to a flat bit then I will move up into the 52 but flat bits only happen on the coast. Then downhill I get into the 52 and get speed up and coast. Crosschaining may occor in the 42 with the 1st or second gear but I find that I get more crosschaining in the 52 on 6th, 7th and 8th gear.
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Old 06-05-07, 04:39 AM   #15
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This is still why I like the 50/34 compact double. I actually get to use all the gears and I get the benefit of not having to setup the triple front derailleur.

It also makes the bike easier to pick up and put on the rack.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:07 AM   #16
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90% middle ring, 7% large ring, 3% small ring (but I sure need it for that 3%). LBS wrench looks at me after looking at the bike, "You do almost all of your riding in the middle ring, don't you?"

I use the large ring for downhills.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:27 AM   #17
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I have no hills and ride my 52 95% of the time. I never focus on what gear I am in or really my speed. I only watch my cadence and HR. I keep my cadence at 85-90 usually and if I fall below 80 I shift, if I go above 95 I shift. Simple as that for me.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:30 AM   #18
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I'm sure it all depends on the terrain and lay of the land we ride in and the cadence we use-hence the need to know gear inches. I wonder how much of DG's routes are hills, therefore the need to ride in the 39.

In the area in the Piedmont Carolinas it is mostly rolling hills and we can use either 53/39's or 50/34's. We ride a lot in the large chain ring-but it also depends on the type of riding you're doing. There are times when folks were pushing so hard I run out of gear on a 53/12. On the other hand, last night I went out for an easy 20 miler and spent a lot of time in the 39 into the wind.

The key is to just monitor Heart Rate and Cadence and use whatever gears puts you in the zone you want to ride in.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:33 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
Heed the advice above and you'll be fine.

I'm mostly a spinner so it's the middle ring for me, except for long downhills or tailwinds.
+1

I usually switch to the big ring for longer flats without strong headwinds. Of course I have had a couple "senior moments" when I didn't realize I was in the big ring
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Old 06-05-07, 05:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Since I've been riding Ruby Roubaix, I've noticed I stick pretty much to the middle ring. Occasionally, if ther'es a long enough hill, I might pop down to the small ring. But rarely have I ridden in the big ring. Do most roadies spend a lot of time in the big ring?
I got a compact crank set with 50/34 chain rings. I'm pleased with it. 50 seems high enough for me and 34 is plenty low . . . . and I don't have to mess with a triple crank. There are a few times when I would like a 52 but I can live without it for the low 34.
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Old 06-05-07, 06:02 AM   #21
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Big Ring - Does Not Compute
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Old 06-05-07, 06:13 AM   #22
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It's hilly enough here that I use all my gears. 52-42-30 and an 11-32 cassette. But the big ring by far the least. One thing you can count on though, when it's big ring time, its a big time.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:33 AM   #23
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When I was riding rear cogs with 5, 6, or 7 gears, I used the big ring much more often. Today, however, I find that I rarely move to the big ring.
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Old 06-05-07, 08:40 AM   #24
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I seldom use anything except the big ring. I like pushing big gears, I've been doing it for years and it suits me.

As far as it making me a "heman bike rider" or a "wannabe". I just don't see it.
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Old 06-05-07, 09:07 AM   #25
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Plus for the talwinds. If you like going fast sometimes, try the big ring with the tailwind. It's fun. Forget about what roadies say about the big ring. Just do it.
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