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Old 05-04-14, 11:36 PM   #26
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Using a 50/34 with an 11-34 cassette. I don't mind the gap between gears, but I also don't mind a cadence between 85 - 100 rpm's. What I do like is having the lower gears for hills, fighting wind and when the body starts complaining during a long hard ride.

After attempting my first century 3 years ago and failing miserably, especially on the climbs, I didn't hesitate replacing the 12-25 cassette for a 11-34. Been very happy ever since.
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Old 05-05-14, 01:48 AM   #27
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I use a 50/34 with 11/28 cassette. I could have used an even easier gear on a couple of hills yesterday...

On downhills I can keep up with the pedals up to about 33 or 34 mph. That's fine with me. I'd just as soon coast at speeds above that, especially if it's curvy.
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Old 05-05-14, 04:16 AM   #28
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mercator - Great calculator and chart. I plugged in my 11 speed and the visual is great. Thanks.
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Old 05-05-14, 04:30 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
I'm 57 and riding 53/39- 11/26 that's for the region I ride.. NE Conn. and Western Mass. I have gone up B17 climb in 39/26 so I don't see a need for anything lower.. But I'm also riding to return to racing as a Cat II and Masters 45+ to 50+. Soon I will be returning to an 11-23 as fitness reaches the goals I had set forth...

Compacts are good if you are in the hills of 10-15% most of the time, personally I would consider a triple so that your rear cassette gearing is closer and therefore more efficient... I don't like the extreme jump in a compact so to me a triple makes more sense...

Hey if the Pro's use a triple on some of the ridiculous grinds in the Vuelta than it says something about equipment choice...

You should 1st figure out where your optimal cadence is ( 80-90rpm ) then consider your terrain and then chooses your gearing for 75% of your cycling terrain... Don't base your choice on what someone else is riding, there are too many factors that are unequal..
Where are you? I ride out of Lebanon/Willimantic with TCC.
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Old 05-05-14, 04:32 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by GFish View Post
Using a 50/34 with an 11-34 cassette. I don't mind the gap between gears, but I also don't mind a cadence between 85 - 100 rpm's. What I do like is having the lower gears for hills, fighting wind and when the body starts complaining during a long hard ride.

After attempting my first century 3 years ago and failing miserably, especially on the climbs, I didn't hesitate replacing the 12-25 cassette for a 11-34. Been very happy ever since.
I like riding at 85-95 generally and 65-75 on most climbs. I really try to use higher cadence to save my legs for the end.
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Old 05-05-14, 07:40 AM   #31
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I'm amazed they can sell standard cranks anywhere outside Florida and Kansas. Absolutely, go with the compact crank and an 11-28 or even an 11-32 if your derailleur can handle it.
^This.

Never in my life ... not once ... have I thought that the lowest gear on my drivetrain was too low. I have, more than once, wished I had a lower gear. And I have a triple (30/28).

I prefer triples for all of the reasons we've all hashed through before. But if you're considering getting a compact, go for it. Even a triplester like myself will admit is is a much less expensive way to try out lower gears.
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Old 05-05-14, 08:17 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Where are you? I ride out of Lebanon/Willimantic with TCC.
I live in Brooklyn, 20 minutes East of Willimantic, usually spend my weekends up in Northhampton / Holyoke Mass....
What's TCC ? Tokeneke Cycling Club ?
I have a former teammate, Luzzio ( From Arc En Ciel ) who lives about a mile away from me, haven't ridden with him since last fall but.

I still ride with Cox / Steadman's out of Wakefield RI..
Wednesday is my 1st planned 5 hour ride, a hilly ride into Hampton/U-Conn/Willington/Woodstock/Pomfret.
I'm seriously thinking about riding the June 14 Vermont Gran Fondo, I've ridden over all 4 of the climbs before but this as a moderate ride instead of racing sounds like fun.... Not that this Gran Fondo course as a One day race wouldn't be epic....

Pm me I'll respond with contact info for rides..
Wednesday's are still my free days as I don't have classes that day, even though my semester is almost over.

Cheers
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Old 05-05-14, 10:14 AM   #33
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TCC is Thread City Cyclers. There are approx. 135 members and we ride every Saturday morning out of the North Windham School on Rte. 203 near the intersection of Rte. 6. We have A, A-, B+. B, C and Beginner rides. There is also a website that I will post for you.
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Old 05-05-14, 10:15 AM   #34
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Thread City Cyclers
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Old 05-05-14, 11:59 AM   #35
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I use a compact double 50/34 with various cassettes. I used to have a 52/39/30 Shimano triple which was nice and worked great. And I have a 53/39/30 triple on the tandem.

On the top end, a 50/11 is a big gear and generally all that I need even to do low cadence intervals on flat to rolling terrain and the 50/11 is bigger than a 53/12. The first cycling coach I used (I am back with him this year) wanted me on a 50/34 primarily since I am a trackie. He wants me spinning faster.

On the low end, 34/XX just offers a lower gear than the 39 by a few percentage points. For me, it is not about whether I get up the climb but is my cadence optimized for the effort since I can always stand and climb using a bigger gear.

Being competitive is another matter. In road races or fast group rides, climbing speeds are faster and many times I am in the big ring so low gears are useless or one is off the back.

When I climbed Mount Ventoux, my lowest gear was 34/30 and for the 4 miles of 10% grade, I could have used a lower gear just to spin a little faster and take some of the pressure off my legs. I do not think it would have changed my climb time or VAM.

Eventually, I will change to the 11 speed technology and that will provide me with all the gears I need with a couple of cassettes.

IMO, having low gears offers no downside and one can always increase the cadence and keep the climbing speed the same.
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Old 05-05-14, 12:53 PM   #36
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My Trek 1500 had a triple (52/42/29) with a 9-speed cassette (lowest 24 I think). My Domane 4.5 has a 50/34 compact with an 11-28 10-speed cassette. So far I have not missed my triple.
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Old 05-05-14, 07:31 PM   #37
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OP-if you convert to a 50/34, look at the gear inches of an 11-32 cassette. The 50-11 is a harder gear than a 53-12 as I recall, and a 34-32 is an easier gear than a 30-27 (triple). If you go with that combination (might require a new rear derailleur) you can ride just about anything. Even a 12-28 is a good choice and a 12-30 might be even better. You can probably do either of those cassettes without changing the RD.
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Old 05-05-14, 08:47 PM   #38
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OP-if you convert to a 50/34, look at the gear inches of an 11-32 cassette. The 50-11 is a harder gear than a 53-12 as I recall, and a 34-32 is an easier gear than a 30-27 (triple). If you go with that combination (might require a new rear derailleur) you can ride just about anything. Even a 12-28 is a good choice and a 12-30 might be even better. You can probably do either of those cassettes without changing the RD.

If you have a Shimano RD (Ultegra), I believe it will require the long/medium length (GS version) RD in order to use a rear cog larger than 28. So that 12-30 (10 speed) or 11-34 (11 speed) will need the proper derailleur.

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Old 05-05-14, 10:36 PM   #39
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I have NOS Sora 8 speed gear on my flat bar road bike and use a 50/34 with the Shimano HG51 (AW) 11/32 cassette. It's not a mountain cassette and has a more even gear spread. Now it's not a narrow range cassette for use in the pack, but this is more of a touring bike. You can use a mountain bike rear derailleur, but the New Sora rear was designed to handle this cassette. Easy setup index shifting double with a bulletproof 8 speed chain.

11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32t

Works for this 68 year old.
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Old 05-06-14, 05:22 AM   #40
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I have a 50/34 with a 11-28. Note that it has the 16 cog. On the flats it is the 50x15 or 50x15. I rarely use the 11-13 cogs.

11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-25-28

A 42/28 or 44/30 mountain double would be a better fit but the smaller chain rings and the fixed front derailleur braze-on won't work.

70% of my riding is in the 16-20 mph range and only maybe 1% is done at 30+ mph which is where a 44x11 or 42x11 would spin at 95rmp or thereabouts. A 44x11 is the same as a 52x13, remember when that was a big gear?
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Old 05-06-14, 06:11 AM   #41
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Then, go back to an 11-28, or 11 and lower, and add the compact - best of both worlds....
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Old 05-06-14, 02:18 PM   #42
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My policy as it applies to me is:

If I don't have a low enough gear, I get off and walk.
If I don't have a high enough gear, I coast.

But I believe in over-kill. I have an 11-32 cassette on my hybrid and recently switched to a 42/32/22 crankset because the 48/38/28 didn't get low enough for my bulk on a recent road ride.
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Old 05-06-14, 03:11 PM   #43
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I converted to compact cranks several years ago and have never gone back. My heavy-touring bikes still has a triple but the road bikes I use the most all have compacts. Both the bikes I ride on mountain roads (sometimes steep!) are set up with a 34 x 32 low gear.

Works for me, although (as with anything) YMMV!

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Old 05-06-14, 07:39 PM   #44
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A compact wouldn't be low enough for my riding - I ride recumbents exclusively (can't get up out of the saddle) and sometimes ride steep Southern Indiana hills. That plus my single bikes each weigh about 30 pounds and the tandem is at least 45. All three bikes came with 30-40-52 triples and 11-32 cassettes. Switched the tandem's little ring to a 28. None of my bikes have too-low gearing.
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Old 05-06-14, 11:52 PM   #45
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I had already been investing in a retro styled Sugino compact for my '86 Trek when I read one of the forum posters complaining that his most common flatland gears that he used were too often in the crosschain zone.

And I had already been worrying about myself winding up on similar gears too often so I referred to one of the gear calculators to pick some optional chainrings to keep everything in the relatively straight chainline area where I do most of my flatland cruising.

Mike Sherman's Bicycle Gear Calculator

Since I'm not planning on long touristy climbs nor play above about 95 gear inches anymore, what I wound up with for my needs was a 46 / 36 to replace the stock 48 / 34 (had to use MTB rings which works for me as I'm still using the wider 8 speed chains on my '80s bike). That old fashioned 10 sprocket difference between the 2 chainrings also makes the transition easier for my friction shifting as an added bonus. I'd been going back and forth, front and back, with the trimming for decades and had it down to a fine art but it's nice to spoil myself again with just a straightforward jump between the two rings.

In short it works for my needs and I'm always comfortably out of the crosschain zones.....ymmv

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Old 05-07-14, 01:06 AM   #46
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I'm wondering what gears most of you old timers are using. It's hilly around here where I ride and I presently have a standard crank (53-39). I recently changed my cassette from an 11-23 to a 12-29 and it helped a lot. If I changed my crank to a 50-34 do you think that it would be overkill or would I benefit more? Thanks for any advice.
Well, you would certainly be getting (one or) two more usable lower gear/s.

If your budget allows, why not try it out? At worst, you can simply switch back and sell the crankset you don't want, or keep it in a parts bin.

Personally speaking, I think a traditional crankset: 53/39 or 53/42 is too high for a beginning rider and for many if not most non racers.
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Old 05-07-14, 04:23 AM   #47
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Since I assembled the bike with Record 11 speed, I didn't want to spend the money on another Record crank so I went with the cheaper Chorus compact. Some time ago I substituted the Record 11/23 cassette with the Chorus 12/29. Don't know if I'll try to sell the original drive train or keep it just in case I want to switch back. It may be nice to have since it only has about 300 miles on it.

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Old 05-07-14, 05:09 AM   #48
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Frank, keep the extra drive, you might want to base a build around it later on. I let a triple crank set, I had removed in a swap to a road double, go a few years ago and now wish I had it around at times (gave it to a person for a build for his disabled wife.) Unless you need some spare cash or have a friend that can use the bits hang on and see what comes up in the future. Just a random thought in an otherwise empty cranial chamber.

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Old 05-07-14, 06:30 AM   #49
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Good advice.
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Old 05-07-14, 09:02 AM   #50
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Without a 50/34 and an 11-34 cassette it would be next to impossible for to ride down here.
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