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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 10-15-05, 01:23 PM   #1
Niloc
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Help with drivetrain selection... Please!?!

Hi folks, I'm a fairly new poster to these forums, and I appreciate the expertise available.

Here's my dilemma (bear with me):

I just bought a Bianchi Cyclocross bike online - its a '97 Crmo reparto corse. The seller is offering me the choice of two cranksets: the ultegra triple (52-42-30) that's currently mounted or a Dura-ace double with kinda odd rings, 53-40. Its got an ultegra 12-25 cogset in the back. I've got to decide ASAP.

I plan on using this bike for my everyday around-towner as well as the odd rec-ride (half-centuries etc.) and maybe a little trail riding. I may try an entry level cyclocross race this year if I can get some practice on the bike. I'm a 35yr old Seattlite in fairly good shape, but am certainly no road racer. I currently ride around on a Softride roadwing with 53-39 in front and 13-26 in back, I don't mind this set up although I certainly stand up for some of the Seattle hills. Here's my thinking so far:

The triple: would get me plenty of range for commuting, fun rides etc. Also I've got my first kid on the way and the granny could help me haul a bike trailer around. However it seems like a liability for racing and also I like a double for just sprinting around town lightly loaded. I guess for a race I could lock the deraillear over the middle ring and swap the big ring for a chainguard? Of course then I'd want a wider spread in the back, and highest I could go is 27t without swapping out the derailleur as well.

The double: is clearly geared too high, so I would have to swap out the chainrings, but lowest I can go is 38(right?) matched to say a 48 or 50. For the cost of two chainrings maybe I could spend a bit more and get a compact crankset with like a 48-36, at least I could use the same BB as the DA (I think). The current cogset would then probably be OK.

Any comments?

Also I've got speedplay frogs. How well do these work in a CX type application?

Thanks very much - Colin
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Old 10-15-05, 01:28 PM   #2
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The double with a 48/38 would be fine for CX. For the rear cassette a 12-25 would be fine with that set up. The Frogs are a decent pedal but might you have trouble clipping in if you ride in a lot of mud.
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Old 10-15-05, 02:42 PM   #3
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Thanks sherpa. Is there any problem mating a 38t to a Dura ace crank? Which brand is recommended? Also would non-pinned and ramped make any sense? They would be harder to shift, but might keep the chain on better in rough conditions.

-Colin
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Old 10-15-05, 02:44 PM   #4
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The triple: would get me plenty of range for commuting, fun rides etc. Also I've got my first kid on the way and the granny could help me haul a bike trailer around. However it seems like a liability for racing and also I like a double for just sprinting around town lightly loaded. I guess for a race I could lock the deraillear over the middle ring and swap the big ring for a chainguard? Of course then I'd want a wider spread in the back, and highest I could go is 27t without swapping out the derailleur as well.
I use the triple Ultegra on my ultra-light racer, I don't see how it can be a liability as such. No problems reported here on that gruppo either.
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Old 10-15-05, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niloc
Hi folks, I'm a fairly new poster to these forums, and I appreciate the expertise available.

Here's my dilemma (bear with me):

I just bought a Bianchi Cyclocross bike online - its a '97 Crmo reparto corse. The seller is offering me the choice of two cranksets: the ultegra triple (52-42-30) that's currently mounted or a Dura-ace double with kinda odd rings, 53-40. Its got an ultegra 12-25 cogset in the back. I've got to decide ASAP.

I plan on using this bike for my everyday around-towner as well as the odd rec-ride (half-centuries etc.) and maybe a little trail riding. I may try an entry level cyclocross race this year if I can get some practice on the bike. I'm a 35yr old Seattlite in fairly good shape, but am certainly no road racer. I currently ride around on a Softride roadwing with 53-39 in front and 13-26 in back, I don't mind this set up although I certainly stand up for some of the Seattle hills. Here's my thinking so far:

The triple: would get me plenty of range for commuting, fun rides etc. Also I've got my first kid on the way and the granny could help me haul a bike trailer around. However it seems like a liability for racing and also I like a double for just sprinting around town lightly loaded. I guess for a race I could lock the deraillear over the middle ring and swap the big ring for a chainguard? Of course then I'd want a wider spread in the back, and highest I could go is 27t without swapping out the derailleur as well.

The double: is clearly geared too high, so I would have to swap out the chainrings, but lowest I can go is 38(right?) matched to say a 48 or 50. For the cost of two chainrings maybe I could spend a bit more and get a compact crankset with like a 48-36, at least I could use the same BB as the DA (I think). The current cogset would then probably be OK.

Any comments?

Also I've got speedplay frogs. How well do these work in a CX type application?

Thanks very much - Colin

I have an Ultegra triple. Works like a dream - cannot see the disadvantage of it.
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Old 10-15-05, 03:24 PM   #6
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I'm sure the ultegra triple is very nice, I don't have a problem with it per se, but triples seem to be highly discouraged in the cyclocross world. Are you guys saying you use 'em for cyclocross just fine? Of course this bike will get a lot of use besides cyclocross, hence the dilemma. I guess I'm now wondering if a compact double would be a good compromise - of course thats not one of the options so I'll have to shell out if I want to go that way!

-Colin
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Old 10-16-05, 05:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niloc
I'm sure the ultegra triple is very nice, I don't have a problem with it per se, but triples seem to be highly discouraged in the cyclocross world. Are you guys saying you use 'em for cyclocross just fine? Of course this bike will get a lot of use besides cyclocross, hence the dilemma. I guess I'm now wondering if a compact double would be a good compromise - of course thats not one of the options so I'll have to shell out if I want to go that way!

-Colin
Can't speak for anyone else, but I'm saying I use Ult triple for everything just fine, including racing. I really can't see why there would be a problem. It's a personal choice at the end of the day.
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Old 10-17-05, 06:04 PM   #8
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Ok I ordered it with the Dura-ace double, so I'm looking for 38 and 48 or 50t chainrings, any suggestions for brand, store?

I'll ride it with the 12-25 cluster, but I'm thinking a higher geared cluster might be good for racing courses with a lot of muck and hills (common in the NW) has anyone made up a 13-27 with ultegra cogs? Thats not a cluster shimano offers.

Thanks again, Colin.
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Old 10-21-05, 10:56 AM   #9
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I am not a cross racer and am just in the process of buying my first cross bike.

It seems to me
that the anti-triple stuff is mostly "image" based; the only reason I've really heard from anyone
is weight, but the difference in a Centaur triple vs. double is neglible (10g difference for derailleur, 80g for
the cranks). A hundred grams (1/4 pound) is simply *not* going to make much difference, IMO. Fart before the race or something.

However, I plan on using my new cross bike for some mtn-type riding, and I think the extra range (and extra selection)
will be great (I have a road bike and centaur triple-based touring bike, too) for off-road stuff and some of
the steeper gravel hills around. Granted, I'm not interested in racing and more in the greater number of routes
which become available on a cross bike, but hey. I guess if a few hundred grams is going to make or break
your racing (or your quads), go for the double. Otherwise, an extra 9 or 10 gears is what I'd go with.

Also, if you're planning on longer rides (I do some occational randonneuring), having some nice, low gears is Very Nice
when there's a steep hill at the end of, say, 10 hours of riding...
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