After reading all the excellent advice from folks on this forum across many threads about using a cross bike for a road bike, I'm giving it a try.
I love the bike as a cross machine (Cannondale SuperX). Now on to setting it up as road machine. I'm totally confused by all that I've read on gearing. Can someone give the general options/benefits or an "optimum" solution for combinations to use for road and cross?
The current set up:
- The bike has a SRAM Red 46/36 compact crank and rear 11/25 Shimano 10-speed 105 cassette (SRAM Rival groupo on the bike - seems to work fine if not the smoothest shifting).
- I plan to buy a second wheelset for road biking and can put any cassette on that makes sense.
- The teeth on the SRAM crank are kind of chowed, so if I had to, I could be convinced to also get a new crankset (ouch; unfortunately my budget is probably around 800 for the wheelset and any changes). For that matter, the Shimano 105 cassette is nothing fancy so I could change that if necessary. And might like to change over to a SRAM one someday for smoother shifting.
Although I'm looking for general information, I know someone will say "it depends". So specifics for me:
My goals: As a cross bike - ride aggressively in cross races (mostly flat), ride aggressively on many gravel roads around here (major climbs); As a road bike - keep up with fast friends on roads but generally not road races (some climbs), clip on some aerobars and race in triathlons (mostly flat).
Me: I ain't no spring chicken but I'm reasonably strong for a 40 year old mom and my riding partners all tend to be 10 years younger. I podium in Cat4 cross races and mountain bike races. I get left in the dust by Cat 1/2 cross racers, am about mid- to back-of-pack with Cat3. My strengths tend to be cranking on flats and hills. In the current configuration, I haven't shifted to my big ring much in races and so far I've found myself struggling a bit on the super steep sections of trails around here that get me to the gravel roads. I haven't done much road racing except as a triathlete (where I generally podium in my age group and place decently overall). When I'm road riding, I'm psyched if I'm maintaining 25 mph on flats - I can't go faster (or I couldn't on my Giant TCR2 with heavy wheels). I'm scared to go faster than about 38 mph on downhills. I have not even tried this new bike on the roads yet.
So, with that, what would be the best way to set up my bike for both road and cross. A single (I mean, not swapping out the double front rings) crank set combined with any combo of separate cassettes for road and cross?
Thanks in advance for all the great input from these forums!