Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Inside the beltway
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34 is too low and 50 is too high to the point of being useless, you'll hardly ever want to use a ring that large. A 48 is still on the large side, you'll find yourself in your small ring most of the time. The gears you want most for racing are in the middle range of your 34 50 and you will find yourself shifting your front derailleur often, and its a big awkward shift between those rings. It will suck. A typical, and ideal IMHO, double setup is 36 46 if you have a 110 bcd crank. You could keep your investment minimal with just a 44 or 46t ring replacement and keep your 34, a little low but workable, you won't really need your lowest gears very often, but you also won't be undergeared for a sprint off the start line either. 38 48 is also common but you'll want a pretty big cassette in the back because you'll be overgeared, even a lot of the pros don't require a 48, you will still be in the small ring most of the time. Basically you want to keep your front shifts to a minimum and make them easy in the mud and a 10 t spread is about the ideal max. Ideal- go 36 46, or 34-44 or 46 depending on the cassettes you have available. Dont forget that you will soon want an extra set of wheels for the pit, flats are common especially with clinchers, so that means an extra cassette.
This is of course assuming that you will be racing that cx rig, where your concerns are easy shifts when you're seeing double and running when its faster than riding a low gear. Otherwise you are really asking about a sport touring/commute bike that can handle fat tires. In that case your 34 50 is fine. If you're not racing, well its just not cyclocross.
Last edited by ZenNMotion; 09-05-08 at 02:31 AM.