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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 03-21-10, 11:37 AM   #1
raydog
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New post about yesterday's century

This is a followup on my other post, "did a computrainer century yesterday".
That's a week old but I did a real century this week as described at the end of that post.

The purpose of this post is to talk gearing. I just installed a 10 speed Ultegra cassette and lever (removed a 9 speed Ultegra set up). The caviat is that, although I left the triple chainring on, the new front chainring lever is for a front double (which, since it matches the new 10 spd lever, I put it on and adjusted it for just the two largest front rings, ignoring the little 30t third sprocket).
SO, for yesterday's century I rode with the following gears.....front=52t, 42t and rear=12t thru 27t (10 spd). I DON'T CARE WHAT THE RACERS I TRAIN WITH SAY, I MISSED MY THIRD FRONT CHAINRING! I just don't understand why some say, "you don't need that granny gear". I ride with people that have $5000 bikes with double front rings. Are they so much more powerful than me that it's just not necessary?
There were times yesterday when, confronted with a 20 mph headwind, I was lumbering along at 7-10 mph in 1st gear (of my available 20) wishing I could spin just a little faster.
Needless to say, from now on, I'll reinstall my triple front lever and get back to a 30 speed, especially since I'll be pulling a Bob trailer for 800 miles!
OK, one more thing....re: the 10 spd rear cassette, when running along at 22-28 mph on those perfect surfaces (no wind, no steeps) I really noticed the ability to "fine tune" my cadence at a more surgical level than my old 9 speed (attributed to ONE tooth changes in the mid range instead of TWO tooth changes) resulting in a little faster for a little longer with a little less pain!

OK, that's my analysis, love to hear agreement or disagreement! Doyle
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Old 03-21-10, 04:05 PM   #2
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You need to have gearing that works for you, whatever that may be, but it doesn't necessarily require a triple. My Raleigh Sojourn (touring bike) came with a triple (50/39/30) and an 11-34 in the rear, so I've got quite a bit lower gearing without getting out of that middle ring, and very seldom use either the big ring or small ring. I assume the gears are wider apart, but I came to this bike from a single-speed, so I'm not going to notice stuff like that as much as a more experienced rider might, and it works great for me.
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Old 03-21-10, 05:49 PM   #3
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You need to have gearing that works for you, whatever that may be, but it doesn't necessarily require a triple. My Raleigh Sojourn (touring bike) came with a triple (50/39/30) and an 11-34 in the rear, so I've got quite a bit lower gearing without getting out of that middle ring, and very seldom use either the big ring or small ring. I assume the gears are wider apart, but I came to this bike from a single-speed, so I'm not going to notice stuff like that as much as a more experienced rider might, and it works great for me.
That's interesting, comparing your 50/39/30 front 11/34 rear to my 52/42/30 front 12/27 rear. It sounds like your middle front coupled with your biggest rear is where I'd be in smallest front under similar conditions.
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Old 03-22-10, 02:24 AM   #4
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Instead of putting your triple front shifter back on, you could go for a "super compact" double chainring setup. All you'll need is a new middle ring plus some shorter chainring bolts. You could remove the current middle and outer rings and replace them with one, intermediate-size middle ring instead. You can get rings for the middle position with appropriate shifting ramps that are up to 46 teeth in size from TA Specialites. The resulting 46-30 plus 12-27 gearing should be ideal for centuries. If you want, you could even give it a try with your current 42 tooth middle ring, but you may find that isn't big enough at higher speeds; you can even do it using your current chainring bolts if you find some appropriate-sized spacers. If the top gear isn't fast enough for you even with a 46 tooth chainring, then try to sell your new 12-27 cassette to a buddy and buy an 11-26 instead (you basically give up the 16 tooth to gain an 11 tooth, plus the 21-23-26 large cogs I find to be nicer spacing than the 21-24-27). With this setup, you have to shift on the front very little, I like the setup a lot.
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Old 03-22-10, 05:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by raydog View Post
...
SO, for yesterday's century I rode with the following gears.....front=52t, 42t and rear=12t thru 27t (10 spd). I DON'T CARE WHAT THE RACERS I TRAIN WITH SAY, I MISSED MY THIRD FRONT CHAINRING! I just don't understand why some say, "you don't need that granny gear". I ride with people that have $5000 bikes with double front rings. Are they so much more powerful than me that it's just not necessary?...
Most people suffer from an affliction whereby they think that all other people have at least the same physiological make-up that they do. The likelihood of said the infliction appears to be directly correlated with abilities of the cyclist.

In other words, the better / stronger the cyclist, the more likely they are to not understand that others may not be physiologically blessed equally with them ... and as a result, they give you advice that works for them, never even having a glimmer of understanding that what works for them may not work for another.

The most "amusing" of these folks are the ones that parrot "oh, I do understand", and then give advice appropriate for about 5% of the cycling world.

Last edited by skiffrun; 03-22-10 at 03:56 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 03-23-10, 06:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
Instead of putting your triple front shifter back on, you could go for a "super compact" double chainring setup. All you'll need is a new middle ring plus some shorter chainring bolts. You could remove the current middle and outer rings and replace them with one, intermediate-size middle ring instead. You can get rings for the middle position with appropriate shifting ramps that are up to 46 teeth in size from TA Specialites. The resulting 46-30 plus 12-27 gearing should be ideal for centuries. If you want, you could even give it a try with your current 42 tooth middle ring, but you may find that isn't big enough at higher speeds; you can even do it using your current chainring bolts if you find some appropriate-sized spacers. If the top gear isn't fast enough for you even with a 46 tooth chainring, then try to sell your new 12-27 cassette to a buddy and buy an 11-26 instead (you basically give up the 16 tooth to gain an 11 tooth, plus the 21-23-26 large cogs I find to be nicer spacing than the 21-24-27). With this setup, you have to shift on the front very little, I like the setup a lot.
Thank you for you efforts in that comprehensive explanation. Good "based on experience" ideas. I think I did the right thing yesterday (preliminary short ride feels perfect) by staying with the 12-27x 10 cassette and 52-42-30 triple. Also, I went to Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels and Vittoria RubinoPro 700x25c tires. I can't believe the difference in ride from the 23c Armidillos to the Vittorias!
With cages, pedals, computer, tour seat, the bike weighed in at 20.4 pounds! Way lighter than I had anticipated. All that and 30 gear choices! Raydog
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