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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 03-02-09, 07:41 PM   #1
mlam86
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Compact crankset (50/34) with a 11-23 cassette?

what are the pros and cons of running this gearing on my bike?

where i live, the terrain is rolling and I will do the occassional hill/mtn climb

i don't have thunder thighs, but I do have some power in my legs

what are you guy's opinions or comments about this gearing

thanks!
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Old 03-02-09, 07:56 PM   #2
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Similar Setup ... Works Out Just Fine

Hi there, I have the following setup which is very close to yours, Shimano R700 crank 50/34 with a Dura Ace cassette of 12 - 25. Like yourself, I find myself with the odd hill climb where it comes in very usefull. I have not run into a situation where I thought I needed something else with respect to gear ratio etc.


For what it's worth I generally ride about 10 -15 miles every night, weather permitting...live in a suburb of Toronto , Ontario so our riding season is some what limited, although the die hards are out in the freezing temperatures. Hope that helps a bit .....

Bruce
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Old 03-02-09, 08:10 PM   #3
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i'm over on the west coast (Vancouver)
we have our local mountains which i will be climbing when the weather gets nicer and the snow melts a little.

i'm just wondering if a 50/34 and 11-23 will be adequate enough for climbing. I know on flats or rolling the 50/34 & 11-23 is enough.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:36 PM   #4
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I use a 11-28 with my compact, but I ride in the hills a lot. Do you really need that tight gear spacing that you get with a 11-23?
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Old 03-02-09, 08:38 PM   #5
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idealy i would want a 11-26 cassette.....but that requires me to go out and buy another one
just wanted to see if a 11-23 is ok for what i plan on riding
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Old 03-02-09, 08:41 PM   #6
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Compared with "conventional" gearing of 50/39 and 12-25, your setup would have a bigger high gear and a smaller low gear! It might be a little tough for steep climbs, depending on your fitness, but you could easily switch to a cassette with a 25, 26 or 27T.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
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Old 03-02-09, 08:42 PM   #7
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depends on how strong you are.
the only thing that's annoying with 11-23 and a 50/34 compact is the cross chaining because of the low amount of gears that overlap.
but that 16T is really nice to have.

for GTA, where it's almost all rolling and a few steep valleys, that gearing works decently. It's not ideal, but you can get up the hill with it.
for vancouver, you might want a 11-25 or 11-26 cassette as it's a lot more hilly.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:30 PM   #8
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its all about your watts, weight, and preferred cadence....relative to how long and steep the climbs are...I use a 11-26 and compact cranks to climb the Palomar South Grade (aka TOC Stage 8) and most of the TOC guys used 53/39 with 11-23s. So it all depends on YOU.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:32 PM   #9
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12-25 would probably be better.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:33 PM   #10
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I don't understand all these threads. If your gearing is too high get lower gears. If it is too low, get higher gears. Honestly what do you expect people to say. Gearing is one of the most individualized things in cycling, there is no one size fits all answer.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:55 PM   #11
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I don't understand all these threads. If your gearing is too high get lower gears. If it is too low, get higher gears. Honestly what do you expect people to say. Gearing is one of the most individualized things in cycling, there is no one size fits all answer.
Our opinion of your gearing is irrelevant because we've never seen where you ride or how you ride. If you can get over the hills in your area at a comfy cadence it's fine; if not then lower it. I'm 250 lbs so me asking a 150 lb guy what's a good gear for hills around here is pointless.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:07 PM   #12
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yep, same boat as asking which bars, which saddle...
or 'how's my fit' without providing any details of your goals with your fit.
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Old 03-03-09, 01:09 AM   #13
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Only one way to find out . . .
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Old 03-03-09, 02:18 AM   #14
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With the 25, I can pretty much stay in the 50 ring at all times except for extended climbs. So without the 25, it would be a pain to have to change to the 34 with regularity.
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Old 03-03-09, 07:19 AM   #15
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With the 25, I can pretty much stay in the 50 ring at all times except for extended climbs. So without the 25, it would be a pain to have to change to the 34 with regularity.
50 - 25, seems like you would want to avoid that most times. I run a 50/36 and 12/27, but thinking of going with a 11/25.
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Old 03-03-09, 07:40 AM   #16
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idealy i would want a 11-26 cassette.....but that requires me to go out and buy another one
Money well spent imho. As others here have already intimated, no amount of "advice" (sic) on an internet forum can replace empirical discovery.

Especially with cassettes so cheap from PBK!
I run a compact 50/34, & just changed my Ultegra 12-27 to a SRAM (1070) 11-26. $56 at PBK. The two largest cogs are one tooth smaller than the Ultegra, the next four are identical to the Ultegra, the next four are also one tooth smaller than the Ultegra... net effect: Except when I kick it down to the 11-tooth cog for downhill sprints, I can't tell a ****ing difference. But I do notice that the SRAM cassette shifts more smoothly than the Shimano. And I sure wouldn't have believed some anonymous guy on an internet forum if he told me that's what I'd experience. Go find out for yourself.

Last edited by Bob Ross; 03-03-09 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 03-03-09, 07:50 AM   #17
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Here are the facts. The high is slightly more than a 53/12 and the low is slightly less than a 39/27. No one can tell you if that is good or bad for you.

I use a 50/34 with an 11-25 (11 speed) for the Colorado mountains. If I was less fit, I'd need a 12-27.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:43 AM   #18
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My compact originally came with 11-23. I rode it for a long time but was always struggling on the hills. I recently switched to 12-25. I instantly fell in love with it's all around-ness. I think Ideally I will eventually get an 11-25 because I miss the 11, but would easily take the top speed loss for the climbability of the 25 any day.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:51 AM   #19
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This is what i run. the top gear is a little bigger than a 12-26 x 39 on standard crack (google a gearing chart). so if you can make it up your worst local climb in that gear, you'll be fine.

Last edited by save10; 03-03-09 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:54 AM   #20
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34x23 is roughly the equivalent of a 39x26 (maybe 25 1/2).

That should be plenty for the terrain you describe but again, as others have pointed out it will all depend on your strength, cadence preference, watts/kg, and even need for the 50x11 on the bottom end.

I run the 11-23 in season and the 12-25 in winter both with the 50x34 front end.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:13 PM   #21
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I've found the bigger question is do you need an 11? I run a 12-25 and on occasion I spin out. I wish that Shimano made an Ultegra 11-25 because that would be perfect for me. If you're not doing a lot of long descents I would switch to something with higher gearing to help with the hills.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:15 PM   #22
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With the 25, I can pretty much stay in the 50 ring at all times except for extended climbs. So without the 25, it would be a pain to have to change to the 34 with regularity.
Maybe I am misreading this, but are you saying that you ride completely cross chained on a 10-speed cassette? Isn't that bad for it?
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Old 03-03-09, 12:19 PM   #23
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I prefere 50x36 + 12x25 on my climbing bike as this give some gearing overlap. One thing you should keep in mind is that as your fitness improves so might your desired gearing.

I'm now strong enough now that I can climb 10% grades riding a 39 ring; I couldn't do this 3 years ago. Try to focus on powering over small climbs...improve your weakness.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:20 PM   #24
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yep, same boat as asking which bars, which saddle...
or 'how's my fit' without providing any details of your goals with your fit.
In fairness, I think there's something to asking which bars ("I have big hands/I have small hands", "I like lots of reach/I like no reach"). That sort of thing.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:24 PM   #25
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Maybe I am misreading this, but are you saying that you ride completely cross chained on a 10-speed cassette? Isn't that bad for it?
I think he's talking about short climbs and rises.

I'll ride that gearing over short rises when I know I'll be bombing down the other side. That said, I do try to be nice to my drivetrain .
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