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  1. #1
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    Climbing gears for old fat guy.

    Late last summer bought a nice slightly used Moser (steel) with all DA, standard gearing. My old (30yrs)bike had been set up for climbing/touring with a couple of big granny gears in back. So, right now climbing is not fun,and despite fantasies to the contrary, I doubt I'll get in shape enough to hammer this setup. Someone mentioned "compact" cranks, with a smaller chainring that would not force me to buy new derailluers. Anyone had experience with this. Thanks.

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    One bike I have has a 53/39 front and 12/25 casette. Another has a compact 50/36 and a 12/26 rear. The difference isn't earthshaking but appreciated. If I did it again, I might do 50/34 instead. I do not know how much chainwheel shifting performance would degrade with the 50/34 Vs 50/36.....that is getting into what Shimano claims is the limit for the front der. 50/36 shifts fine.

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caldwell
    Late last summer bought a nice slightly used Moser (steel) with all DA, standard gearing. My old (30yrs)bike had been set up for climbing/touring with a couple of big granny gears in back. So, right now climbing is not fun,and despite fantasies to the contrary, I doubt I'll get in shape enough to hammer this setup. Someone mentioned "compact" cranks, with a smaller chainring that would not force me to buy new derailluers. Anyone had experience with this. Thanks.
    Don't know a great deal on road bikes, But I have one. I was runing 50/38 on the front and I believe 12/23 on the rear. All I did was change the rear Cassette to a Mountain Bike ratio of 11/28 and this worked fine for me. Depends on whether you have a "Long" or "Short" rear derailler, but it is possible to run the rear cassette to 11/32 on 9 speed, and still get a good spread of the gears, or if 8 speed, I believe there is a 12/ 34 that gives a good range of gears except that the jump into the lowest gear is a bit large. However, your local bike shop (LBS) should be able to advise you on suitable gears for your bikes set up.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caldwell
    Late last summer bought a nice slightly used Moser (steel) with all DA, standard gearing. My old (30yrs)bike had been set up for climbing/touring with a couple of big granny gears in back. So, right now climbing is not fun,and despite fantasies to the contrary, I doubt I'll get in shape enough to hammer this setup. Someone mentioned "compact" cranks, with a smaller chainring that would not force me to buy new derailluers. Anyone had experience with this. Thanks.
    If you do a search on "compact" or "triple", you'll find lots of info here (and a lot of opinionated people as well!). Compacts seem to fit in between standard doubles and triples, but lots of questions about compatability and set up. I'm curious, although so far my double has worked for me (I live in a somewhat hilly area, but none of those 15% grade for 10 miles places).

  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    If you are concerned about exceeding a 14-tooth drop, consider a 48-34 combination, which is compatible with either a traditional mountain/touring 110mm BCD or a "compact." With a 13T or smaller high-gear cog in back, this gives one plenty of top end. (I have a 48-45-34 triple, which works extremely well with my 13-15-17-19-21-23 freewheel on my PKN-10, while providing me superb ratio progression over a gear range of 40 to 100 gear-inches with short-cage racing-style derailleurs front and rear.)
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  6. #6
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    I've just taken delivery of a new GT GTR1 10sp Ultegra, which has an 11/23 rear and a 34/50 (FSA carbon compact) front.
    I love it. It shifts beautifully and there's plenty of hill climbing grunt in the 23/34 combo.

    One small problem is that the chain rubs on the inside of the 50 when in 11/34, which is annoying but not a major drama.

    Great bike and well worth the very reasonable expense.
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

  7. #7
    Tuggo
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    I am waiting for the delivery of a Scott Team Issue that comes standard with an 11 - 23 cassette 10 speed and a 39/53 double clanger with a gear range of 45" to 127"! While this is OK for Lance it is not suitable for my level of fitness and the type of rides I like to do. A coast run of 60 miles involves 6,000 feet of climbing with grades up to 20%. So before I even ride the bike I will change the crankset for a FSA carbon compact 50/34 and a rear cassette of 12 - 27 (the max cog that Dura Ace will handle). This gives a gear range of 33" to 110" with a nice range in each chainwheel. I may never need the 33" but it is nice to know it is there.

    The DA front changer will handle the 50 - 34 easily. But best not to use the 12 - 34 combination or the 27 - 50.

    If anyone is interested in a 53 - 39 DA crankset, unused, let me know.

    Brian

  8. #8
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    After you get the bike and ride it, tell us what you think of the gearing. Is 34x27 low enough? Here a 30x23 is not quite low enough.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    One small problem is that the chain rubs on the inside of the 50 when in 11/34, which is annoying but not a major drama. ...
    That is NOT a problem, as you definitely should not be riding in the small-small or large-large combination.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacktom
    I am waiting for the delivery of a Scott Team Issue that comes standard with an 11 - 23 cassette 10 speed and a 39/53 double clanger with a gear range of 45" to 127"! While this is OK for Lance it is not suitable for my level of fitness and the type of rides I like to do. A coast run of 60 miles involves 6,000 feet of climbing with grades up to 20%. So before I even ride the bike I will change the crankset for a FSA carbon compact 50/34 and a rear cassette of 12 - 27 (the max cog that Dura Ace will handle). This gives a gear range of 33" to 110" with a nice range in each chainwheel. I may never need the 33" but it is nice to know it is there.
    So why didn't you just buy a frame set and put the drive train of your choice on it?

  11. #11
    Tuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943
    So why didn't you just buy a frame set and put the drive train of your choice on it?
    Buying a complete bike is much cheaper than buying the individual pieces. It may be fun to buy the individual pieces and assemble the perfect bike but it ain't cheap!

    If I can sell the DA crankset, it should pay for the compact; the cassette I can always use the individual sprockets as spares.

    Brian.

  12. #12
    Tuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    After you get the bike and ride it, tell us what you think of the gearing. Is 34x27 low enough? Here a 30x23 is not quite low enough.
    Will do. However my present road bike gearing is 38/28 or 36" and this is a struggle at the end of a long day and a 20% grade. 30/23 is 34" versus my 34/27 of 33" so not much difference. As I lose weight and gain fitness the situation does get better. I am now 30 lbs less than at Christmas and I am doing much better most of the time.

    I firmly believe you should aim for a gear train that gives you one gear lower than you might need. It does not have to be used but it is there if you need it. With a 30 tooth chainwheel and, I assume, a long cage derailleur to go with it, it is easy and cheap to put a new cassette on with a larger big sprocket. You could then design a ratio to suit your needs and could go as low as 30/34 or 23" with which you could climb a wall!

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    20% grade? Are you talking about straight up on the city streets?

    And my understanding of Shimano cogs is that you can't just swap them from one cassette to the other. Not all of them work with each other with the ramping system.
    Last edited by zacster; 03-19-05 at 10:16 PM.

  14. #14
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    Hey Caldwell, my man, try front chainrings of 39/42, forget the dinner plate 52/53, go 13 to 26 rear cassette and all will be goood in the garden, even on the road, it works for me although I don't climb any Swiss mountains, even Alpine passes. Good luck and just get out and do it.

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    Forgot to say I use 175mm cranks too, it works for me, I only stand 5'8 1/2" tall with 29" inside leg?

  16. #16
    Tuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster
    20% grade? Are you talking about straight up on the city streets?

    And my understanding of Shimano cogs is that you can't just swap them from one cassette to the other. Not all of them work with each other with the ramping system.
    No city streets, these are the back roads over the coastal range, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz; beautiful cycling country.

    And you can swop all 7 thru 9 speed Shimano sprockets (see Sheldon Brown), they may not change quite as smooth as a complete hyperglide setup but for touring they work fine. The newer hyperglide sprockets will need a few minutes work with a file to reduce the larger spline so it fits on the old style bodies.

    You cannot put 7 thru 9 speed sprockets on 10 speed cassettes because the 10 speed sprockets are thinner.

    Brian.

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    28 front - 28 rear - that is as low as I can go with a Campi Veloce Triple Front (28/42/52) & 13-28 9sp Veloce cassette & Veloce long cage derailleur on road bike.... (swapped 30t front for 28t - no real problem)

    24 front - 34 rear on touring bike - RSX 24/36/48 crank and 11-34 Shimano cassette & XT long cage derailleur...

    Seattle has lots of hills to drag my old 200+ body over.

    Good luck.

  18. #18
    Tuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    After you get the bike and ride it, tell us what you think of the gearing. Is 34x27 low enough? Here a 30x23 is not quite low enough.
    Have now received, built and rode my Scott CR 1 Team Issue and installed the 50/34 compact crank and the 12 - 27 cassette. It is all that I had hoped for and with the lighter (15 lb!) bike and the lower ratios I climb hills like a billy goat. This may be in part due to the exhileration of a new state of the art bike (I am like a teenager with his first lightweight) as much as the gear train but, whatever, it is great fun. I can climb 20% grades that were a struggle before.

    All old guys and gals should seriously consider this option for road (not touring) use before going to the added complication of a triple.

    Brian. (a Clydesdale)

  19. #19
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacktom
    Have now received, built and rode my Scott CR 1 Team Issue and installed the 50/34 compact crank and the 12 - 27 cassette. It is all that I had hoped for and with the lighter (15 lb!) bike and the lower ratios I climb hills like a billy goat. This may be in part due to the exhileration of a new state of the art bike (I am like a teenager with his first lightweight) as much as the gear train but, whatever, it is great fun. I can climb 20% grades that were a struggle before.

    All old guys and gals should seriously consider this option for road (not touring) use before going to the added complication of a triple.

    Brian. (a Clydesdale)
    Congratulationms on your success with your new bike. Sounds great.

    I must disagree about the characterization, which I see so often, of a "triple" being a complication or whatever.

    I have ridden with a triple for 6 years now on three different bikes, and it has never been complicated or a problem.

    Why do people contiuously represent triples as a problem or not worthy of using?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I have trouble on some hills with a triple, and that has me using a 30 upfront with a 27 in back. Sometimes I use my older bike, with a 28 up front and 32 in the back. I still have trouble on many steep hills. Which roads are you taking that are 20%?

  21. #21
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I'm with you Dnvr. I looked at the gear inches using a compact (I'm now using a 30/27) triple and just can't handle going with the higher gearing of a 34/27. I've used a triple for 4 years now and other than a little more weight I couldn't do the steeper climbs any other way. My legs tremble enough already after some of the steeper climbs. My hat is off to those that can do it though--maybe if I drop another 10 pounds......

    I did install Dura Ace shifters and have Ultegra derailluers so my shifting is flawless and there's no chain rubbing. Basically, I LOVE MY TRIPLE!

  22. #22
    Tuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Congratulationms on your success with your new bike. Sounds great.

    I must disagree about the characterization, which I see so often, of a "triple" being a complication or whatever.

    I have ridden with a triple for 6 years now on three different bikes, and it has never been complicated or a problem.

    Why do people contiuously represent triples as a problem or not worthy of using?
    My new Scott has STI brifters, the first time I have owned what must be the most significant advance in road bikes since clipless pedals. But I am still getting used to them.

    When I was trying different bikes, I rode several triples although only briefly. My trouble with triples is I had difficulty trimming the front changer so the chain does not rub. I was riding 9 and 10 speed Shimano Ultegra and DuraAce STI equipment. I was not riding big to big or small to small ratios.

    Also, with my new job as apprentice bike mechanic, I have the most difficulty adjusting the front derailleurs on STI triples, particularly on the cheaper equipment.

    I have never had a problem with down tube friction shifters and my triple equiped touring bike with friction barcons is a snap to adjust the front changer no matter what rear cog you are using.

    So this is why I am not comfortable with triples and STI shifters.

    Am I the only rider who has this problem?

    Brian.

  23. #23
    Tuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    I have trouble on some hills with a triple, and that has me using a 30 upfront with a 27 in back. Sometimes I use my older bike, with a 28 up front and 32 in the back. I still have trouble on many steep hills. Which roads are you taking that are 20%?
    Ther are hills in San Francisco that would floor me even on my tourer with a 24 tooth chainring and 34 tooth rear cog (a 17" gear!). But I watched a young 120 lb roady fly up the approach to Coit Tower today as though he had wings. It was probably 30%!

    But in the South Bay many of the roads in Belmont, San Carlos and Redwood City are at least 20%. And once you get out to the hills on either side of Skyline Blvd many of the hills are 20% or so. Admittedly, these are for fairly short stretches.

    Try the roads near Empire Grade (Ice Cream Grade, Alba, China Grade, Orbit) or one closer to my home, Joaquim Road near the top of Alpine.

    For a complete list of 'interesting' hills to climb on the SF Peninsula check out Western Wheelers site on hills http://www.westernwheelers.org/main/...imbs.html#Loma

    Brian.

  24. #24
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    I'm 49 and 200 lbs. (That's old n' fat no?) I built a road bike last year with a triple 28-38-48 up front and a mountain bike XTR derailleur in the rear with an 11-34 cluster. It worked great climbing over all the passes (up to 12K feet) on the Ride the Rockies last summer even in spots where more obviously fit and younger guys were walking because of their high gears. The crank is a cheap Nashbar "trekking" crank. Dirt cheap and not that much heavier than the fancy ones. You can't use an 11-34 with road derailleurs, they only go up to 28 teeth on the cogs. The XTR is just as light as an ultegra triple derailleur and shifts fine with a 105 STI shifter.

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