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Thread: gearing up...

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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    gearing up...

    As we're all aware, you can spend a lot of money on components...

    Theoretically, the more you spend the better / lighter / sexier your gear gets.

    However, in investigating N+1, I'm seeing that there's quite a bit of variance out there.

    So, I'm interested in everyone's collective experience with fitting out bikes focused on road racing.

    I'd love to see what people use / upgrade to and why, or alternatively find out that there are clear 'best components'
    that everyone has selected.

    Top of my list today is pedals. I've been riding SPD pedals, but having failure issues. I'm thinking of moving to speedplays
    as seeming to be in a good spot for price / weight, so I'd love to hear if there others' thoughts on this.

    thanks,

    Steve
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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I rode Speedplays. I didn't like them. The weight is a bit hidden in that the cleat is fairly heavy. They are easily gummed up if you have to step in dirt. I went to Look Keo pedals for the wider platform and never looked back.

    The downside to the Look pedals is that the cleat does get worn if you walk in them without covers.

    For bike set up...I usually have two race bikes (non TT) in the stable. One is set up stiffer (bars and stem) and with a 130 BCD crank. The other is set up lighter with a 110 for climbing. I like to have the ergonomics and contact points the same on both bikes (saddles/bars/pedals/crank arm length). Wheels get swapped in and out according to course. The bars are different models but the same bends.

    I'm in the process of swapping over to all Ui or Di shifting. While there's a small weight penalty over SRAM, what you gain in lowered maintenance and bad shifts because of mung on cables is worth it (for me).

    So much of this stuff becomes personal...

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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I use Look pedals on my road and track bikes and Egg Beaters on the cross, mtb and fixie.

    I always seem to make the purchases of Looks from xxcycle at the best prices.

    http://www.xxcycle.com/pedal-keo-2-m...k-2012,,en.php
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of the Look Keo Blade: lighter, simpler, and easier (for me) to click into. I always have a set of cleats around, because they seem to wear out fairly quickly.

    Pretty sure any bike I put together from now on will have electronic shifting. Almost went that way with my current road bike.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I have standardized on Shimano SPD SL Dura Ace carbon pedals and I like the Specialized S Works shoes with custom orthotics.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    thanks all... REI carries the low end (Keo plus) pedals for $89, so I can grab them with no shipping
    and get a rebate as well...

    Sounds like most are using one style... Since I'm a ways away from having multiple road / racing bikes I guess there's no rush though.
    Last edited by Esteban58; 01-03-13 at 10:32 PM. Reason: reading comprehension
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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    There's me....no different, I use Look KeO, and just love them. Ex mentioned the cleats getting worn out, and they do. Be prepared to replace a set of cleats once a year.

    I use Ultegra on one bike and Campy Chorus on the other. The TT bike has a mish-mash of componentry. I prefer the Chorus over the Ultegra, it shifts quicker and seems to shift more positively, plus I like the gear ratios on the Campy cassette better.

    Your mileage may vary!
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    Steve - You just opened a family-sized can of worms.

    I'll join the chorus for Look Ko pedals. I've got Ko Classics on four bikes. As mentioned above, get cleat covers with these. If you don't mind getting them online, you can get them far cheaper from UK stores than from your LBS or US-based stores. For instance, those Ko Plus pedals you're looking at go for $43.40 plus shipping (~$7 by my experience) from Ribble. Shipping to LA takes about a week; to the Left Coast it may be a day or two more.

    As for the rest...are you looking at upgrading the Fuji, or buying/putting together another bike? If the former, some stuff may not need upgrading; if the latter, you can get some great deals right now on 2012 stuff (this applies to upgrading the Fuji as well).

    My two main bikes have Dura Ace shifters and rear derailleurs (7800 on the Allez and 7900 on the Look) and Ultegra brakes (6600 on the Allez and 6700 on the Look). Both the Allez and the Look were bought as framesets rather than complete bikes, though that happened by coincidence rather than by design. I'm currently building my N+1 from parts I have laying around, so it's going to be a real mutt.
    Last edited by revchuck; 01-04-13 at 08:04 AM.
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I also buy the Keo replacement cleats with the grippers that makes walking a little safer. Regarding cleat wear. I think the business end of the cleats are the slots in the cleat between the shoe and pedal and is not effected by some wear on the outside. A lot of wear on the outside could compromise the integrity of the cleat. I watch for wear on the outside of the cleat where the pedal platform hits the cleat face. Wear in the cleat at that location will allow the foot to move sideways and at high torque could release.

    That's my take, your results may differ.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    I have also standardized on SRAM red components and Quarq power meters. I recently put on a long cage rear der on my R5 when I broke my old one. I plan on using lower gears on my Mount Ventoux climb in July. It has a 4 mile section of 10% grade. According to my simulator, it will take 2 hours to climb the entire mountain at 200 watts at my current weight. I have raced up Sierra Road which averages 9.7% grade and 3.7 miles and it is a tough climb. So I am wimping out and going for easy gears.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
    Steve - You just opened a family-sized can of worms.

    As for the rest...are you looking at upgrading the Fuji, or buying/putting together another bike? If the former, some stuff may not need upgrading; if the latter, you can get some great deals right now on 2012 stuff (this applies to upgrading the Fuji as well).
    Actually, specific choices aside, what I'm noticing in everyone's reply's is that you all are running with at or near the top end gear.

    The Fuji is a loaner, and its a POS. I'm glad I can't upgrade it, as I would start by throwing everything but the wheels away. Having said that, its amazingly quicker than the Trek for reasons that I can't quite quantify - perhaps part of it is frame stiffness, and it could just be a lot more aerodynamic. Its NOT that much lighter, weighing in at a whopping 22 lbs. Its got mostly 105 components, with a funky 50/38/30 triple crank (well, its more like a 50/38/0 crank, as it tends to miss the small ring a lot) and a 12-25 cassette... I'll be happy to un-loan it.

    What I am doing is having a custom bike built, and trying to get my head around all the component choices before I go in to talk with the builder. Plus, there are some things that I'll what to standardize on, pedals being the first obvious choice.

    Eventually I'll have the new bike, set up (at least initially) for longer rides and climbing, with the Trek getting some re-furbishing so that it can be my bad weather bike. I was thinking of going with SRAM Force for the groupset for the new bike for now, thinking that I could hand that down to the Trek when I felt I could justify the upgrade - but one consideration there is whether or not I get the new frame built 'electronic ready' with the wiring and battery mounts and such... it sure does add a lot to the price though.

    A couple of last thoughts: to me it makes a lot of sense to standardize on components to some extent, as you could then swap parts in an emergency, plus you'd have the consistent feel - are there other thoughts about why / why not to standardize?

    And finally, tying back in to what Ex said in his reply - how much flexibility should I attempt to build in to this first 'competitive' bike - for example, obviously?, it wouldn't make sense to use a road bike on the track, but could you take a road bike on a cyclo-cross course, or would that be impractical (e.g. just swap out to cross wheels / tires).

    As usual, thanks for all the well thought out answers.

    Steve
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  12. #12
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I have also standardized on SRAM red components and Quarq power meters. I recently put on a long cage rear der on my R5 when I broke my old one. I plan on using lower gears on my Mount Ventoux climb in July. It has a 4 mile section of 10% grade. According to my simulator, it will take 2 hours to climb the entire mountain at 200 watts at my current weight. I have raced up Sierra Road which averages 9.7% grade and 3.7 miles and it is a tough climb. So I am wimping out and going for easy gears.
    Will you be using the sram wi-fli der? and 11-32 or 12-32 cassette, or will you run the shimano ?12-30? that I think you've mentioned elsewhere, and what crankset?

    I've been looking at that, but am leaning towards a 11-28 cassette with a 50/34 compact crank - the 12-32 or 11-32 gives a nice bailout but I'm finding that I can get up the hills
    well enough with the 30/25 on the fuji (which is 31.5 gear inches), so on a lighter bike, with a lighter engine, 34/28 (32.8 gi) should work just fine. Plus I'm not planning on climbing Ventoux anytime soon

    Is anyone beside Ex running electronic shifting? If so, how's that working for you?
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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Steve, I'm a girl, so I think differently than the fellas do, but I AM mechanical. I'm on speaking terms with turbine engines. If I could afford it, I'd standardize all of my bikes to Campy. I just like the way it works. That's IMHO. There's nothing wrong with Shimano; Ultegra and Dura-Ace are hard to fault. 105 is functionally pretty dern good, too, but it is heavier. SRAM I'm not familiar with, I have heard things about it, but I have no first hand experience with it. My point is that it's all good stuff, it comes down to personal preference.
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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    This is a bit of a sidestep, but I've found (since I started training with structure) that I climb just as mediocre with a 13-26 (or 11-25) cassette (with a standard chainring) as I do with a 12 - 28 cassette (paired with a compact chainring set). I'm thinking of putting a 11-25 cassette on the Look with the compact and riding that. I might even try standard rings on it. Jest sayin.
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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    The big question is: Why are you going custom? I'm 6'6" and all legs. My first road bike was custom, because I thought it was the only way to get a good fit. Turns out not to be true. For most people, I think custom frames are just not needed. They can be nice, but chances are a proper fit can be had without spending the extra bucks.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    pedals: im a speedplay L/A guy for my road bike. I like them alot

    as racer ex said, they do clog up easily if your walking in mud or gravel.

    My mtb has time atac's that use a spd cleat and have room for mud shedding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    I've been looking at that, but am leaning towards a 11-28 cassette with a 50/34 compact crank - the 12-32 or 11-32 gives a nice bailout but I'm finding that I can get up the hills
    well enough with the 30/25 on the fuji (which is 31.5 gear inches), so on a lighter bike, with a lighter engine, 34/28 (32.8 gi) should work just fine. Plus I'm not planning on climbing Ventoux anytime soon
    Steve - Cassette choice is another personal thing, so I'll start my comment with a big YMMV.

    I feel that unless you really need that 11t cog, don't get a cassette with one. It's usually substituted for a more useable one like a 16t. Where I live, there's not much need for a wide range cassette, but I've got some anyway - my two main bikes have 12-27s on them. My next cassette will be a 12-23, and I'll be using that most of the year for most of my riding. It's hillier where you live, so a wide range cassette would be more useful; I'd go with a 12-27 or a 12-28. I think current Shimano rear derailleurs will handle up to 30t cogs. I bought a Tiagra 4600 RD specifically for that reason, though I don't use it now. (It's going on my mutt build.)

    Most of my bikes have Shimano drivetrains, with the exception of my older steel Bianchi with Campy. They work fine. I don't have experience with SRAM.
    Regards,
    Chuck

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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    This is a bit of a sidestep, but I've found (since I started training with structure) that I climb just as mediocre with a 13-26 (or 11-25) cassette (with a standard chainring) as I do with a 12 - 28 cassette (paired with a compact chainring set). I'm thinking of putting a 11-25 cassette on the Look with the compact and riding that. I might even try standard rings on it. Jest sayin.
    I find this to be quite impressive, and I know you've got some decent hills to climb... I've made some progress in this regard as well, but I'm not there yet... I still get to the point where I have to bail out to something low on the longer climbs.
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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    The big question is: Why are you going custom? I'm 6'6" and all legs. My first road bike was custom, because I thought it was the only way to get a good fit. Turns out not to be true. For most people, I think custom frames are just not needed. They can be nice, but chances are a proper fit can be had without spending the extra bucks.
    Its not really fit motivated (although my expectations are that it will fit well, of course), but rather 'build' motivated - I'm not in a position yet to buy the frame and assemble the rest myself. This approach looks like it'll give me the input / control over the component selection that I wouldn't have getting something off-the-shelf.
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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
    Steve - Cassette choice is another personal thing, so I'll start my comment with a big YMMV.

    I feel that unless you really need that 11t cog, don't get a cassette with one. It's usually substituted for a more useable one like a 16t. Where I live, there's not much need for a wide range cassette, but I've got some anyway - my two main bikes have 12-27s on them. My next cassette will be a 12-23, and I'll be using that most of the year for most of my riding. It's hillier where you live, so a wide range cassette would be more useful; I'd go with a 12-27 or a 12-28. I think current Shimano rear derailleurs will handle up to 30t cogs. I bought a Tiagra 4600 RD specifically for that reason, though I don't use it now. (It's going on my mutt build.)

    Most of my bikes have Shimano drivetrains, with the exception of my older steel Bianchi with Campy. They work fine. I don't have experience with SRAM.
    Thanks - my thinking has been all over the map on this - do you run a standard crankset with that? or compact? (50 x 11 being about the same as 53 x 12) Or do you find you just
    don't need it (I guess the alternative is to just up the cadence?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    Its not really fit motivated (although my expectations are that it will fit well, of course), but rather 'build' motivated - I'm not in a position yet to buy the frame and assemble the rest myself. This approach looks like it'll give me the input / control over the component selection that I wouldn't have getting something off-the-shelf.
    Are you having the frame built from scratch, or buying a production frame and equipping it? If the latter, you'd still have control over which components go on the frame. I agree with AZT - I'd go with a production frame unless your body doesn't fit one.
    Regards,
    Chuck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    Thanks - my thinking has been all over the map on this - do you run a standard crankset with that? or compact? (50 x 11 being about the same as 53 x 12) Or do you find you just
    don't need it (I guess the alternative is to just up the cadence?)
    I've currently got compacts on my two main bikes, but the mutt build will have a 52/39 Shimano 105 crankset. If I decide it's a good idea, I'll just switch out the chainrings on one or both of the other bikes to 52/36.
    Regards,
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    Will you be using the sram wi-fli der? and 11-32 or 12-32 cassette, or will you run the shimano ?12-30? that I think you've mentioned elsewhere, and what crankset?

    I've been looking at that, but am leaning towards a 11-28 cassette with a 50/34 compact crank - the 12-32 or 11-32 gives a nice bailout but I'm finding that I can get up the hills
    well enough with the 30/25 on the fuji (which is 31.5 gear inches), so on a lighter bike, with a lighter engine, 34/28 (32.8 gi) should work just fine. Plus I'm not planning on climbing Ventoux anytime soon

    Is anyone beside Ex running electronic shifting? If so, how's that working for you?
    For racing, I use a 50/34 and typically climb in an 34/23 or 34/21. I am not competitive at lower gears. IMO, this is the fallacy of gearing and racing. One has to be competitive climbing and low gearing is not competitive unless you spin fast. Hill climb TTs and training are different. I use lower gears to spin faster.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    The 53/39 is a great setup for elite 1/2 racers. They need the 53/11 for the slight downhills and have enough power to climb in a 39/23. 50/34 is perfect for the rest of us especially if the local terrain is hilly. However, this is somewhat personal preference and to an extent the coaches' preference. My Russian coaches wanted all except the elite p/1/2s in compact doubles. They wanted more spin.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
    I've currently got compacts on my two main bikes, but the mutt build will have a 52/39 Shimano 105 crankset. If I decide it's a good idea, I'll just switch out the chainrings on one or both of the other bikes to 52/36.
    At one point I was thinking that 52/36 with a 11/12-32 sram cassette might make sense as well although now I'm leaning toward 50/34 11/12-28 - doing a lot of climbing in the mean time to convince myself that I won't be crying for the smaller gear.

    As for the build, I got started down this path from looking at a Rodriguez steel frame (I have 3 kids in Seattle), but I decided buying a bike long distance wasn't a good idea for me.
    So I found a guy in Santa Cruz that builds custom steel frames that I'm committed to working with.

    I was also looking at the customization you can do with a Trek Domane frame trekbikes.com/projectone - but that got out of control price wise very quickly.
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