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Old 08-14-07, 08:30 PM   #1
Motorad
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50/39 Double Crank for Road Bike in SE Michigan?

Wondering, because I've already purchased the gruppo for 50/39 chainring and 12-27 (10-Speed) cassette, for my unassembled road bike. I'm guessing the bike will weigh about 18 pounds assembled, and will be on 700C-25mm tires.

I've been riding my touring bike with 46/36/24 chainrings and (9-Speed) 12-27 cassette since August 1st (about 200 miles). While I did have to use the 24-Chainring and one of the mid-cogs for a road-hill once so far (steep hill for about 30 meters travel), the bike with accessories weighs about 36 pounds. I've been spending about 95 percent of my time on the Saluki's 36-Chainring, and slowly spending a little more time on the 46-Chainring on the flats. Average speed on Saluki for the 200 miles is about 12.8 MPH.

I'm now debating (again) if I should be setting the road bike up with a triple gruppo. But my only experience on SE Michigan roads has been with the heavier Saluki with smaller 650B wheels & 33mm tires. I would appreciate input from the Michigan 50+ roadies, on the drivetrain they use, as far as double versus triple Chainrings ... number of teeth on Chainrings ... and cassette gearing.

Also a generic question for everyone, as far as a compact 50/34 Double Crank ... The weapon of choice has been the FC-R700 from Shimano. Is the R700 still considered better than Shimano's [Ultegra SL] "Hollowtech II Crankset ... FC-6650-G"?
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Old 08-15-07, 12:34 AM   #2
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There is an enormous difference going up hills on a 36# versus a 20# bike
(bottles, tools etc). I ride central AL where we have a few hills with 500-700
foot climbs at 6-9% but most are less, and none longer than 2mi. I used my
30t CW perhaps 0.1% of the annual mileage. Rest of the time I am in the
42t or 52t. I built up a second bike with 50/34 and 12-25 (couldn't get a 12-27) and there
are very few 50-70mi rides I would not take the compact gear bike on. There
is occasionally a bit of strain but not enough to make me want to switch
to all triple. I really dont miss the triple, but keep the bike as a spare. I ride
about 4kmi per year and do occasional century rides and split the rides between
the two bikes.
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Old 08-15-07, 05:23 AM   #3
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The R700 is Ultegra/Dura-Ace class. Shimano intentionally came to the Compact Crankset party late and made a crank that works well with standard derailleurs.

50/39 is a kind of odd gearing set. If you've already committed to a 50 big ring, then the 34 of a compact would seem to be more practical. Most users of a 39 inner ring would opt for a larger big ring.
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Old 08-15-07, 05:37 AM   #4
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i rarely use my triple's small front ring here in SE michigan. I really have no problem with my 'normally geared' double. I think there is nothing here in SE michigan that really requires a triple, though I use mine (a specialized roubaix) because its such a cushy ride. I have a 'normal road cassette' and a compact double (48-36) on my CX bike, that seems to be the sweet spot for me, as it gets up stuff 'round here that might be a tad harder on my other (normally geared) double, however for going really fast, it doesn't cut it.
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Old 08-15-07, 06:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Motorad View Post
Wondering, because I've already purchased the gruppo for 50/39 chainring and 12-27 (10-Speed) cassette, for my unassembled road bike. I'm guessing the bike will weigh about 18 pounds assembled, and will be on 700C-25mm tires.

I've been riding my touring bike with 46/36/24 chainrings and (9-Speed) 12-27 cassette since August 1st (about 200 miles). While I did have to use the 24-Chainring and one of the mid-cogs for a road-hill once so far (steep hill for about 30 meters travel), the bike with accessories weighs about 36 pounds. I've been spending about 95 percent of my time on the Saluki's 36-Chainring, and slowly spending a little more time on the 46-Chainring on the flats. Average speed on Saluki for the 200 miles is about 12.8 MPH.

I'm now debating (again) if I should be setting the road bike up with a triple gruppo. But my only experience on SE Michigan roads has been with the heavier Saluki with smaller 650B wheels & 33mm tires. I would appreciate input from the Michigan 50+ roadies, on the drivetrain they use, as far as double versus triple Chainrings ... number of teeth on Chainrings ... and cassette gearing.

Also a generic question for everyone, as far as a compact 50/34 Double Crank ... The weapon of choice has been the FC-R700 from Shimano. Is the R700 still considered better than Shimano's [Ultegra SL] "Hollowtech II Crankset ... FC-6650-G"?

Hey, Motor! Interesting -- I use a 52/42/30 triple with a 13/26 on my Woodrup, which is about 27# all told, and didn't end up needing the 30 often, say out on Huron River Drive (Ann Arbor). My 22# (?) Mondonico now has a 52/42 with 13-32, and that is broad enough for me in this Washtenaw County area including hillier stuff like the Hell of a Ride. It will be getting a 53/39 soon. My trek has a 52-40 mated to a 13-34, which is always low enough.

I also haven't had any injuries and if I recall you have, so you might be starting back in a buildup mode. When I was building up to my now stellar level I used the triple broadly, and I had a 14-28 on the Mondo, which was not low enough.

Downriver is pretty flat, and except for minor but sudden climbs out of river or creekbeds (where you could stand) I would probably be fine all year on your suggested gearing.

Do you know how to calculate gearing? It's pretty straightforward.

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Old 08-15-07, 06:52 AM   #6
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I'm not familiar with the terrain you ride but you'll probably be okay. I ride both the 53/39 and a 50/34 and the 39 will work for most terrains-except very hilly with longer climbs. I'm not sure but it would probably not be hard to replace the 39 with something like a 36 as another option. The 50/34 compact would allow you to use that setup for all types of terrain, however. Even riding some steeper hills in the mountains.
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Old 08-15-07, 08:57 AM   #7
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I'm not familiar with the terrain you ride but you'll probably be okay. I ride both the 53/39 and a 50/34 and the 39 will work for most terrains-except very hilly with longer climbs. I'm not sure but it would probably not be hard to replace the 39 with something like a 36 as another option. The 50/34 compact would allow you to use that setup for all types of terrain, however. Even riding some steeper hills in the mountains.
SRAM Force has a new 10 speed 11/28 rear cassette out. I am trying to get one but they are in short supply. I think the 11/28 is perfect with a 50/34. It overcomes my objection to loss of the top end with a 50/34 and 12/27. However, it is not clear how well the SRAM 11/28 will work with Shimano or other rear ders.
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Old 08-15-07, 09:09 AM   #8
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I ride mainly around northern Oakland Co. and Macomb Co., and while there are no really long hills, there are some short steep ones where I use the granny gear. We're definitely a lot hillier than the Downriver area. My Specialized Sequoia has Sora 8-spd parts with a 52/42/30 and a 12-25 cassette. However, I'm planning on upgrading it to 105 10-spd and will be using a 50/39/30 crank and a 12-27 cassette. I have no idea what the bike weighs.

I do agree that your 50/39 seems a bit closely spaced. Most doubles I've seen have 52 or 53 on the outer ring.

I could probably get away with a double, but I'm in it mainly for fun and exercise, and will take all the help I can get on the hills (such as they are), and into the wind.
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Old 08-15-07, 09:38 AM   #9
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SRAM Force has a new 10 speed 11/28 rear cassette out. I am trying to get one but they are in short supply. I think the 11/28 is perfect with a 50/34. It overcomes my objection to loss of the top end with a 50/34 and 12/27. However, it is not clear how well the SRAM 11/28 will work with Shimano or other rear ders.
I like the looks of that combination also but SRAM states that their Force and Rival cogs are an exact 3mm for each step. This would require cogs, rear derailleur and shifters????? Thats my current read subject to new information.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:08 AM   #10
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I like the looks of that combination also but SRAM states that their Force and Rival cogs are an exact 3mm for each step. This would require cogs, rear derailleur and shifters????? Thats my current read subject to new information.
Check out the new Trek Madone and equipment offered. I remember seeing a SRAM cassette with Shimano der. My plan was to get one and test it. If if does not work, send it back. My LBS mechanic wants one as well.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:10 AM   #11
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Do you know how to calculate gearing? It's pretty straightforward.

Road Fan
One thing I could do, is look for hills with my touring bike, and see if I can sustain a pace over them without exceeding the lowest gearing of the (Pig-In-A-Poke) 50/39 gruppo w/12-27 cassette. I could calculate which cog on the Saluki's 36-Chainring would roughly equate to the PIAP's 39-Chainring and 27-cog.

If you know of some hill-candidates in the SE area, I could do some dry runs using a simulated gearing for the 39-Chainring with 27-Cog. I may have to follow you up some dry runs, in case you need to cattle-prod me to the top.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:28 AM   #12
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I ride mainly around northern Oakland Co. and Macomb Co., and while there are no really long hills, there are some short steep ones where I use the granny gear. We're definitely a lot hillier than the Downriver area.

I do agree that your 50/39 seems a bit closely spaced. Most doubles I've seen have 52 or 53 on the outer ring.

I could probably get away with a double, but I'm in it mainly for fun and exercise, and will take all the help I can get on the hills (such as they are), and into the wind.
The furthest north I've ridden is Redford Township, around 5-Mile and Telegraph. Not real hilly there either.

The riding I'm starting to enjoy is a 35 mile round trip (takes me four hours): Set a start point (e.g., Wyandotte, MI) ... and then plot a road course South of Wyandotte that will keep me pedaling and then returning at the start point.

Another issue I need to consider with the drivetrain: Century rides that the League of Michigan Bikers will sponsor. I'm not sure where those century rides would be ... but would you need a triple such as a 50/39/30 to sustain a century on LMB-sponsored centuries? Or would the roads on the LMB-sponsored centuries be so bumpy that I would be better off using my heavier touring bike ... instead of my lighter road bike ... on the LMB-centuries?
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Old 08-15-07, 12:02 PM   #13
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Check out the new Trek Madone and equipment offered. I remember seeing a SRAM cassette with Shimano der. My plan was to get one and test it. If if does not work, send it back. My LBS mechanic wants one as well.
Checked the manufacturers data sheet from SRAM (specs for manufacturers to use to determine compatability). The Force and Rival 10 speed rear derailleurs are speced to work with SRAM or Shimano 10 speed cassettes but only with SRAM shifters. That implies that the cassetts have the same spacing and are interchangeable but the shifters and derailleurs use a different cable pull ratio to get there. This would be similar to the SRAM X.0/.9/.7 vs Shimano in the MTB world. I think you will be fine on this cassette but I would like to know how the "missing tooth" at the chain transfer point feels.
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Old 08-16-07, 06:42 AM   #14
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SRAM Force has a new 10 speed 11/28 rear cassette out. I am trying to get one but they are in short supply. I think the 11/28 is perfect with a 50/34. It overcomes my objection to loss of the top end with a 50/34 and 12/27. However, it is not clear how well the SRAM 11/28 will work with Shimano or other rear ders.
I am running the 11/28 with a 53/39 with Campy Record. It works great. I have climbed many mountain passes with it and it does fine. The 53/11 is the only chance I have to keep up on some of the descents.
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Old 08-16-07, 12:45 PM   #15
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The furthest north I've ridden is Redford Township, around 5-Mile and Telegraph. Not real hilly there either.
Two nice and (flat) organized rides coming up are the Peach of a Ride near Memphis (MI, not TN!), which is mostly lightly-traffic two-laners just below the Thumb area, and the Blue Water Ramble starting in St. Clair and taking you on both sides of the St. Clair River, including ferries across to Canada and back. For both rides, you have choices of several routes for mileages from 40 to 100 miles, plus rest stops with great food. The BWR has a really nice lunch stop on the Canadian side right alongside the river.

I'll be doing the BWR for sure and maybe the Peach ride as well.
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Old 08-16-07, 09:38 PM   #16
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Two nice and (flat) organized rides coming up are the Peach of a Ride near Memphis (MI, not TN!), which is mostly lightly-traffic two-laners just below the Thumb area, and the Blue Water Ramble starting in St. Clair and taking you on both sides of the St. Clair River, including ferries across to Canada and back. For both rides, you have choices of several routes for mileages from 40 to 100 miles, plus rest stops with great food. The BWR has a really nice lunch stop on the Canadian side right alongside the river.

I'll be doing the BWR for sure and maybe the Peach ride as well.
Thanks DougG. When are these two rides, and are there online sites to get more info about rides ... to include registering to take part? And more importantly, when is lunch served on the Canadian side, eh?
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Old 08-16-07, 09:40 PM   #17
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... I do agree that your 50/39 seems a bit closely spaced. Most doubles I've seen have 52 or 53 on the outer ring. ...
By modern standards, an 11-tooth drop is indeed close, but I run even closer setups on all of my bikes: 50-42 on the Bianchi, 47-38 on Capo #1, and 3-tooth half-steps on Capo #2 (49-46, my all-time favorite) and the Peugeot (45-42, for commuting).

Ask yourself whether you really need a 130-inch 53/11 top gear (I don't; something in the mid-to-upper 90s works great for me).
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