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  1. #1
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    Gearing question

    I'm looking at a road bike for where my main residence is. It's very hilly around here and my hybrid makes it a little tough for me. My question is this: My roadie I have at my other residence has a 12-30 cassette. Most of the bikes I'm looking at have 11-26 or 28 cassettes. My LBS sells Cannondale and Fuji. Are these bikes going to be harder to get up hills because of the lower gearing. Cranksets all seem pretty equal at 50/34.

    Also, what's the advantage of carbon beside lower weight? Does it give a smoother ride?

  2. #2
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Lower gearing makes it easier to get up hills. It's not just the rear cogs or the crankset - it the combination of the two. A lower gear makes it easier to climb. As does lighter weight.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/
    CF bikes can be designed for a smoother ride.
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  3. #3
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Lower gearing makes it easier to get up hills. It's not just the rear cogs or the crankset - it the combination of the two. A lower gear makes it easier to climb. As does lighter weight.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/
    CF bikes can be designed for a smoother ride.
    +1
    But for the CF question, CF can also be designed to be very stiff as well so you need to know what the bike is designed to do. I stiff bike can be easier to climb with as well but not as much fun otherwise.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Yes, you do have some pretty challenging hills out your way. What kind of gears are you using on your current bike? Having a hill climb gear that's so easy that you seldom or never use it isn't a problem. Not being able to grind up a hill is a different story. What other people do or ride with doesn't matter. You're the only person that bike has to make happy. If it takes a triple for you to master the hills in your neighborhood - so be it.

    Honestly, that's the kind of question/service that I think a good LBS should help you with. Are you working with the folks at Scenic Cycle? It's been awhile since I've talked with them but they're good people.

  5. #5
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    my partner's cannondale synapse has the 34/50 crank with 11-32 cassette, we live in a pretty hilly area, she is the original hill slug and gets around quite well with this set up. likes the synapse ride, i think the 25 mm tires help a lot.
    ride long & prosper

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Yes, you do have some pretty challenging hills out your way. What kind of gears are you using on your current bike? Having a hill climb gear that's so easy that you seldom or never use it isn't a problem. Not being able to grind up a hill is a different story. What other people do or ride with doesn't matter. You're the only person that bike has to make happy. If it takes a triple for you to master the hills in your neighborhood - so be it.

    Honestly, that's the kind of question/service that I think a good LBS should help you with. Are you working with the folks at Scenic Cycle? It's been awhile since I've talked with them but they're good people.

    We have good LBS out here- Revolution. Haven't had the chance to get in & talk to them yet, but I'm sure they can hook me up. Just wanted to have a little knowledge going in so I know to ask the right questions.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    Gearing is very important. I believe the 34 front ring along with a 11-28 cassette will get you up most hills quite well. I do believe the weight of the bike also makes a very big dfiference. I tried for years to deny the fact that bike weight changes your climbing to any degree. It does.
    My main residence is in the Little Rock, AR area, but I have a weekend house in the Ozarks (Bull Shoals, AR) with similar hills. I have found a light agressive road bike simply climbs better than anything else. Also, by staying with a cassette with a 28 you can stay with the road type rear derailluer, which gives you a more responsive shifting action. I am sure some will disagree with my take on the shifting, but that is what I have found on my bikes.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    If you are used to a 12-30 cassette and your new bike comes with something else, you can easily swap the cassette for a 12-30.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    I also went to a compact with a 11x32. If you use a medium cage road derailleur 11x32 is no problem. Even SRAM red will have a mid cage rear by July. Right now you need a Rical or Apex to get a mid cage SRAM. I hardly ever need the 34/32 but on real long climbs it gives the legs a rest.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    +1
    But for the CF question, CF can also be designed to be very stiff as well so you need to know what the bike is designed to do. I stiff bike can be easier to climb with as well but not as much fun otherwise.
    I found this with the TCR-C when i first got it. Had Aksium wheels fitted to it and hit a bad patch of road and it bounced sideways across the road. Hit a Manhole cover and the same. But that bike climbs hills. You start them and they are done with less effort but it was stiff and downhill speed above 35mph and it felt lethal. Took a lot of trial and error but it finished up being the wheels. Light bike- light rider and stiff wheels and I could not keep it down on the road. It was not just the Aksiums as I also put on the Ultegra wheels and it was the same. Then I put on the Handbuilts that have a bit of give in them and it started working properly.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moppeddler View Post
    Also, what's the advantage of carbon beside lower weight? Does it give a smoother ride?
    Carbon doesn't necessarily give a smoother ride, more depends on geometry, tyres, etc than just frame material. But it does dampen the buzz you get from irregularities in the road surface, and so can reduce fatigue on longer rides. This is why you'll see lots of steel or aluminium bike with carbon forks.

    As far as the gearing is concerned, there's recently been a discussion of this in another thread. My own view is that once you are talking about needing a sprocket bigger than about 28 at the back, you'd be better off dropping the idea of a compact double chain set and getting a triple. Then you can have the range of gears you want while retaining closer ratios on your rear cassette.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post

    As far as the gearing is concerned, there's recently been a discussion of this in another thread. My own view is that once you are talking about needing a sprocket bigger than about 28 at the back, you'd be better off dropping the idea of a compact double chain set and getting a triple. Then you can have the range of gears you want while retaining closer ratios on your rear cassette.
    This is the problem that I can completely agree with and one reason why I use a 12/25 cassette with the triple. The closer gears on the back feel good and If it is a hillier ride then I can go to the 27. I am not talking a competitive rider in me either but I do like the gear changes to be smooth and feel right. But There are occasions when Situations or Finances will limit your choice of what you can fit. When that occurs then just get the gearing you need and ride it.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moppeddler View Post
    We have good LBS out here- Revolution. Haven't had the chance to get in & talk to them yet, but I'm sure they can hook me up. Just wanted to have a little knowledge going in so I know to ask the right questions.
    A good LBS will have answers when you ask the right questions. A great LBS will ask you the right questions that will lead you to discovering the answers.

  14. #14
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    Well I finally made it into LBS, and the owner skillfully steered me toward a bike that's more expensive and better than what I really need. Not that he had to twist my arm too much. The hills out here can be a bear, so any advantage I can get is very welcome. And I can afford it, so why not.

    Anyway, I ordered a Colgano CLX 3.0. Rode it and fell in love with it. Everything but the seat, that is. We're gonna do an Ellipse Royalgel and be done with that thing. It's got 105 components. We'll swap out the standard cassette for a 12-30. Since Shimano doesn't make a 12-30 in the 105 series, it'll have to be something of comparable quality.. Can't wait to get it!

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Bit different to a Cannondale or a Fuji but I suppose it will do the job.

    On that saddle- I would give it a try. May take a few rides to attune the butt and saddle but it does happen.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  16. #16
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    Sounds nice! I use a Tiagra 12-30 because it was all that was available in that gearing. Works great. I have read that Shimano may start offering this in the higher ranges.

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