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  1. #1
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    Where to place my cruising gear for a new drivetrain build?

    I am trying to figure out gearing for new drivetrain and am trying to minimize front derailer shifting, but need to know:

    For a compact crankset, which ring should I be using for cruising on flats? Big ring/small ring?
    Which area of 10-speed cassette should I be in while cruising? Low end of cassette? Middle area of cassette? Where do I place this so I can start working outwards from there?

    Maybe a triple would be better for me so I could stay in the middle ring for everything but the extremes? I want to minimize front derailer shifting. Hilly where I live. I don't know how people can stay in big ring all day around here. I am too weak for that. I currently have a 34/50 and the big ring is too big for me to practically use unless already up to 20 mph or so on flats or downhill.

    I am not a racer. Just commuting and recreational road rides, so no need for anything higher than a 46T big ring I think.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    GT4
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    I too am a rec. road biker, but ride with some pretty competitive guys. You'll usually find me on my big ring (50) and on the middle of the cassette (17 or 18) with a cadence in the mid 70s. I would go to smaller gears but spinning up really burns out my legs. I also live in a very hilly area, but only use my small ring on this one very steep hill (30-40%) going home, the rest of the time, I'm always on my big ring.

    But really, your cruising gear is personal preference and only riding your bike will tell you which one is right for you.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    60 ~70" is a decent cruising gear ..

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    Video, please, of GT4 climbing the 30-40% grade!

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    I am it sure I could walk up a 40 per cent grade. If I let go would i fall to the bottom? maybe its time for a thread to define grades/slope again ...

    as for cruising on the flats, big ring for sure. no matter what size, big ring. its not just for downhill you know ...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    For a compact crankset, which ring should I be using for cruising on flats? Big ring/small ring?
    Which area of 10-speed cassette should I be in while cruising? Low end of cassette? Middle area of cassette? Where do I place this so I can start working outwards from there?
    You will probably prefer to have your favorite flat road gear in the middle of your cassette. That will give you some trim gears in both directions without having to shift front chainrings. Shifting chainrings on a compact crankset is often undesirable because it also involves a shift or two on the back to find the next nearest ratio.

    That leaves would you rather have your flat road gear on the big or small chainring. I say big chainring. If you're trying to pedal up a steep hill and you run out of gears the only alternative is the walk of shame. If you're zooming down a hill and you run out of gears, you can coast.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    I am trying to figure out gearing for new drivetrain and am trying to minimize front derailer shifting, but need to know:

    For a compact crankset, which ring should I be using for cruising on flats? Big ring/small ring?
    There's a lot of personal preference involved. Choose your high & low gears first to establish the range you need. When I do find a flat section of road, I'm usually in the big ring, but I have a 39 innder, so 39 and 13,14 or 15 is pretty common.

    Quote Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
    Video, please, of GT4 climbing the 30-40% grade!
    This is BF. Divide everything by at least 2.
    Last edited by Homebrew01; 01-08-13 at 11:26 AM.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  8. #8
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    For a compact crankset, which ring should I be using for cruising on flats? Big ring/small ring?
    I think the idea is that the 50 is your "main" ring and the 34 is something like a granny.

    Which area of 10-speed cassette should I be in while cruising? Low end of cassette? Middle area of cassette? Where do I place this so I can start working outwards from there?

    Maybe a triple would be better for me so I could stay in the middle ring for everything but the extremes? I want to minimize front derailer shifting. Hilly where I live. I don't know how people can stay in big ring all day around here. I am too weak for that. I currently have a 34/50 and the big ring is too big for me to practically use unless already up to 20 mph or so on flats or downhill.
    What cassette do you have and which cogs do you use most often? If I were in your shoes, I'd take note of the gear combinations you use most often, plug them into an online calculator like www.gear-calculator.com and play around with chainrings and cassettes until you find a better combination. Perhaps downsizing the big ring to 46 or 48T and switching to a cassette that starts with a 13T rather than 11T would allow you to spend more time in the big ring.

    Although as a former triple user, I must say that I enjoyed the way a middle ring of 38-42T would play with most cassettes, such that I rarely needed to shift the front. If given a choice between a single chainring and an off-the-shelf 50/34T compact, I'd choose the single!
    Last edited by ThermionicScott; 01-08-13 at 07:45 PM. Reason: OCD
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  9. #9
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Pick single chain ring that works for most of your riding conditions and you won't have to worry about trying to keep the front shifting to a minimum .

    When my triple finally gives up, that's what I'm planning on doing.

  10. #10
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Pick single chain ring that works for most of your riding conditions and you won't have to worry about trying to keep the front shifting to a minimum .

    When my triple finally gives up, that's what I'm planning on doing.
    Right on! What are you planning to use as a chain keeper? Paul?
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Right on! What are you planning to use as a chain keeper? Paul?
    Actually, I'm trying to scrape up the funds to buy another bike that is equipped with a 1x7 or 8 drivetrain

  12. #12
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I spent a year messing around with the same thoughts on my touring bike. As to a single 1x7, 1x8, 1x9, I could also see myself doing that depending on where I lived. The OP said “hilly where they live.” And I would say that might rule out a 1x setup that and them saying they were not the strongest of riders.

    I know in my case my legs are not what they were 40 years ago, the hills haven’t changed nor has the force of gravity. What has changed is my mass has gone up, and mass to strength ratio went down. I might add old knees do better spinning than mashing. That’s the negative effect of time the positive is that technology has greatly improved the ability to select a drivetrain that met my needs. If I was at my peak and lived in a moderately level place a 42 x 12-36 (9sp) would be what I would ride. For that reason I have 42t as my center ring on my triple with the 12-36 cassette. As to using the bike for touring as well as a commuter road bike I needed the lowest granny I could make work and I started with 30t then 26t and ended up with the smallest granny the triple could handle a 24t. I saw little difference in shifting between the 42 and any of the small granny gears so stuck with the one that gave me the lowest ratio and also the best range of granny gears once I shifted down to it. For me it’s not about splitting the usable gears between the two rings, the granny is like a whole different bike. Having the triple crank puts the main ring in the center and allows the full use of the cassette off it with fairly good chain lines. The granny only gets used with the bigger cogs so that chain line is pretty good and I use 6 of the 9 cogs with the granny. Some people leave it at that and don’t even use a big chain ring and replace it with a chain guard. I thought about doing that but decided to try a slightly bigger than my center ring and put on a 45t giving me a 45, 42, 24 crank. The 45t is so close to the 42t there isn’t much difference but it took me to a top gear inch of 100 something I wanted and also gave me a very straight chain line on the 3 smallest cogs, something I can really feel in smoothness. The shift between 45, 42 is effortless. And the added bonus is the 45 gave me a gear exactly half way between what the wide spaced cassette gave me with the 42 alone.

    Experimenting with this touring bike has shown me that in my case once I got the touring bike to my liking it’s also my all around road bike of choice. Having the gearing I need more than made up for the couple pounds a lighter road bike would offer. Someone more race minded would disagree but in my case knowing I have every gear I would ever need and being able to stay in the saddle and spin up anything was what I wanted. Might not be fast but is faster than pushing.

    On another note I have a Cannondale road bike that had a very high road double on it 52, 42 I think. The 42 was what I rode on most of the time and I didn’t have a low enough climbing gear. I was messing around one day and thought I would swap out a mountain triple on it with the granny removed. The triple was a 44, 32, 22 and I tossed the 22. Doing this got me a nice low gear for a road bike and put the 32 right in the middle of the cassette for a great chain line the 44 worked perfect with all the smaller cogs and gave me enough of a top end high gear. I put this on just to try it out on a hilly ride and ended up liking it enough I haven’t put the other crank back on. I did have to lower the FD and shorten the chain.

    So those are my two options to get a lower gear setup.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  13. #13
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    I ride a touring bike for my regular bike.....it's 42/32/20......I could grind the teeth off the 42 and make it a bashguard and never miss it.

    I'm old and feable and everybody that I need to impress is dead or thinks I'm crazy anyway.....
    Last edited by Booger1; 01-09-13 at 12:57 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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