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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 06-07-07, 12:32 PM   #1
dzinehaus
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single 53t or single 42t am I insane?

I'm installing a 53t with a 170mm crank on my bike to cross with. Am I nuts?

I know it will be a lil tough for clearance, but asid from the crank clearance is there anything else I should look for?
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Old 06-07-07, 12:39 PM   #2
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just a 53 for cross? you must be very strong. or, it's pancake flat where you ride.
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Old 06-07-07, 12:48 PM   #3
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ummm not strong, but road riding im always on a 48 or higher, and on the highest cassette gear (12), and don't usually go past the 16 (for when I'm clibmbing hills) That's why im doing a max 5 speed convert with a single instead of a compact double. To me it seems to be about the same final result. My secondary goal on my cross bike is to turn it a single speed.

I could most definately be wrong about a single with a 5 speed to be the same as a compact double.
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Old 06-07-07, 12:59 PM   #4
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Yeah, I like nothing better than turning big gears on the road, but that really doesn't translate to riding a cross bike up a rutty, wet, muddy hill. It would also seem like a tall order to get a good start in a 53. I dunno, I've seen pros do it. That's why they're pros.
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Old 06-07-07, 01:07 PM   #5
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well thats a word of encouragement... hahahahah. ever been to montreal?
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Old 06-07-07, 01:08 PM   #6
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yep. never biked there tho.
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Old 06-07-07, 04:28 PM   #7
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What's your cadence? It sounds like you're a major masher.

But if you have legs of steel, more power to you!
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Old 06-07-07, 04:57 PM   #8
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I really wouldn't know what my cadence is, I never thought to measure it. Personally I just find extra gears excessive doubles / triples w/e. But this isn't elitist bs talk and IF IT DID COME OFF AS ELITIST BS....

sorry...I am no elitist by far.

Just that I would rather do as much of the mashing myself then let the bike do it. I figure a couple of lighter gears for when I really am not strong enough to pedal up hill. Even at that... it's cross right? If you can't bike it, climb it.

Last edited by dzinehaus; 06-09-07 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 06-07-07, 05:55 PM   #9
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mmm, yeah, but if everyone else can bike it and you're running it, then that really bites.
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Old 06-07-07, 06:27 PM   #10
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I guess at that point it just means I either gotta be stronger in the legs or faster on the feet, have a lighter bike or gear my bike more for cross.

Last edited by dzinehaus; 06-09-07 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 06-07-07, 07:22 PM   #11
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or you could gear your bike for racing cross?
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Old 06-07-07, 07:46 PM   #12
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hahahah...

well I figure a 42t is small enough for cross, am i wrong? I'm still debating on a 53t single or using a double 53/42 and shaving the 53 and converting to a bash guard.
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Old 06-08-07, 07:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzinehaus
hahahah...

well I figure a 42t is small enough for cross, am i wrong? I'm still debating on a 53t single or using a double 53/42 and shaving the 53 and converting to a bash guard.

I'm going to try to write this so that it's clear that this is my experience and doesn't read like some of the puffery that gets posted about racing. There are a couple of things I do well in cross, and way too many things that I'm mediocre at. I am an extremly strong climber. I'm very light (I'll race in the 130s this year probably). I very rarely run into guys that I can't make suffer on short climbs. I also have strong starts. Everywhere else I'm mediocre, and guys pay me back. I get shelled on long flat sections. Guys tear me to pieces in technical sections and in corners. I'm lousy in sand. I'm working hard on these things over the summer. I just want you to get the idea that I'm being fair when I say I can push a gear up hill.

I stripped my bike and ran a 36 in front with a single guard and a jump-start, with a 10-speed 12-25 here in New England last year for 20+ races and 12 practice races. I generally felt like I was set up well for most courses. I wished I had another gear sometimes on pavement.

I will likely try a 39 in front early this season to see if I like that better and then decide before the heart of the season.

This is in response to the idea of you racing. If you are riding a cross bike for something else, then YMMV.
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Old 06-09-07, 06:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92degrees
I stripped my bike and ran a 36 in front with a single guard and a jump-start, with a 10-speed 12-25 here in New England last year for 20+ races and 12 practice races. I generally felt like I was set up well for most courses. I wished I had another gear sometimes on pavement.

I will likely try a 39 in front early this season to see if I like that better and then decide before the heart of the season.
ok, so 42 with the 53 shaved off as a bash guard seems good from what you are saying. Im fairly light also and will be training for the next few seasons before I even race.

I'm thinking of running a 11-15. Any thoughts on that? Do you find you really need the extra low gearing, or do you find it excessive?
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Old 06-09-07, 10:50 AM   #15
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I was in doubt about writing a reply because I guess you're trolling. 53 in front and a 11/15 in the rear? You obviously have no clue about cyclocross and I doubt you've ever raced a crossbike in your life. Try to make a quick start with a 53/15. Try to be ahead of the pack in the first corner. Try to maintain speed on a slippery, muddy climb. This topic is ridiculous. Even the top European pros use a 48 max, but only in a double setup in combination with a 42, 41 or 39 and a 12/25 cassette.

A single 42 in front is very common. I never used anything else in cross. 12/25 in the rear. My bike...


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Old 06-09-07, 01:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo
...53 in front and a 11/15 in the rear?

Try to make a quick start with a 53/15. Try to be ahead of the pack in the first corner. Try to maintain speed on a slippery, muddy climb.
Duely noted, useful input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo
...This topic is ridiculous....
I can understand why you want to flame me, and I accept that already you are better than me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo
Even the top European pros use a 48 max, but only in a double setup in combination with a 42, 41 or 39 and a 12/25 cassette.
I recall saying somewhere that I would not be competing for the next few seasons and that this would be that setup. I want to improve my leg strength, to hopefully give me that quick start / good climbing power. In regards to the euros, i'm far from that at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo
A single 42 in front is very common. I never used anything else in cross. 12/25 in the rear. ...
Again, so shave off the 53t and use it as a bash guard?

In regards to your bike, it is a beautiful bike, and you have probably raced a lot on it. I'm not at the budget to pick up an all carbon setup or all titanium setup. I'm still building mine to see what works and what doesn't for me. I am looking for opinions / input, and all input so far has been usefull. I guess it will be a trial and error at this point.

From what I understand you are saying is that I will be behind the pack and trying to keep up as its difficult to get a quick burst uphill on a bigger crank. 92degrees also said 'gear your bike for cross' and both of you seem to be referring to the same thing, the quick lil bursts that can win you a race.

Am I correct?

Anyways, I really appreciate the usefull input. Thanks for yours Timo !

Last edited by dzinehaus; 06-09-07 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 06-09-07, 04:35 PM   #17
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What I'm saying is that - if you want to compete in cyclocross - you'll have to do a lot of road training. At high speeds, training on high revs for your legs. 50 to 80 km rides at 30 to 35 km/h with gears anywere between 42x14 to 42x18. Combine this with off road power riding: try to pump your heartbeat to the max for 30 to 45 minutes with gears between 39x14 to 39x18. Include a lot of running. 10 km off road running without a bike and train on short 50 to 200 m sprints with a shouldered bike. Learn how to get on and off your bike a quick as possible, try to get in and out your pedals without even looking at them. Try to corner at top speed without touching the breaks. Try to jump obstacles. If you think you're upto it. compete in entry level club races. Learn how to steer through the pack, learn to anticipate on the movements of the rider in front of you. Etc., etc. All with a 16 to 20 speed crossbike with 46 and 39 in front and a 13 to 26 cassette in the rear.

If you've done all that you can start worrying about the gears. Keep the 46/39 or move to 48/39, or a 44 or 43 single ring. But don't give us nonsense about "hey, I wanna do cross in a few years, should I go for a 53 in front and is 11/15 enough in the rear?". I have yet to meet the first rider who can push a 53x11 in the field.

Good luck and happy training.


And before anyone asks: yes, what I've described above is just one of dozens of optional ways to get into cross. But I wrote it down to give the "Ubernewbie" an idea about what should be his priorities at this moment.
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Old 06-09-07, 05:01 PM   #18
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Timo,

I have nothing against some one who will give me good tips. I think I'm beginning to understand what the importance of the other gears are for when climbing a super muddy climb.

Good advice for the training ! I guess I have a long way to go if we ever meet up and you see a guy (maybe me) doing a 53/11 push in the field

I will have lots of happy moments training.

But still far from this:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=bXtuVmYjc...elated&search=
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fYwx3HIkj...elated&search=

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Old 06-09-07, 05:52 PM   #19
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Timo's given you some good advice on training. If you want to race cross, though, you have to race cross. I don't understand the "getting ready to give it a try in a couple of years." This Fall, line up.
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Old 06-09-07, 06:16 PM   #20
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Good point. No better way to learn then to do it.
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Old 06-10-07, 05:51 AM   #21
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I agree with "92degrees". Use these summer months for road training to get yourself in shape for the start of the cyclocross season.

Re the other gears: you simply need all of them from 46x13 down to 39x26. Cross is about accelleration. Not just at the start, but after every corner and everytime you get on your bike again after a bit of running. You won't be able to do that with a 52 or 53 in front.
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Old 06-10-07, 07:17 AM   #22
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Thanks, thats what I was trying to figure out. So unless, like stated before, I have legs of steel, don't even attempt to have a 3 cog cassette regardless of my road riding abilities.

I liked the analogy of CX being a type of 'rally' racing but on bikes. So now I understand a lil better about the gearing and wanting the a full gear range just to accelerate as fast as possible but still give a good enough mid range to have a good top speed.

Guess I'm gonna learn that more and more through out the riding of the races.
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