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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzy101 View Post
    Standard vs compact doesn't make a big difference IMO. With a standard and a big cassette in the back, you can pretty much get a gearing similar to compact. Or you can go compact and use 11-21.

    If going compact is going to cost you a decent amount of $$$, and there's other improvements on the bike you could spend money on, I'd think twice about going compact. Having a climbing cassette is worth it anyhow, why not try that first? It's cheaper.
    Heh, I'm actually going the other way: compact to standard. Other than putting a whole butt load more time on the bike (which is a given), there isn't much more I can put into the bike itself to improve it. Right now it's all rider limited. If I achieve my goals for this year, I do plan to reward myself next year with a set of nice aero-wheels, such as Zipp 404s or Bontrager's new Aeolus 5 D3s (running DA WH-7900 C24s right now.)
    2014 Ridley Xfire w/105 | 2012 Trek Madone 6.9 SSL w/Di2
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  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    120RPM is over 68kph. There aren't many sprints that end at that speed.
    True, I probably could have articulated that a bit better. Is there anything a 53/11 buys you over a 50/11 then besides ultimate top end speed? What scenarios would the taller gearing be beneficial?

    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    You aren't going to reach those speeds unless you're going downhill, in which case you may as well just tuck and stop pedalling. If it's a group ride or a race, you're unlikely to be dropped on a downhill section unless it's technical, in which case the speed won't be as important.
    There are a few long sections of my ride with moderate declines (I think -2% to -3%) where, with a bit of tailwind, I can sustain 55-58km/h with my 50/11 and I've always felt that I might be able to eek a bit more out if it weren't for the higher cadence. Perhaps that is all nonsense but I do like to experiment.

    I do understand work-over-time and that higher cadence generally yields more work being done per unit of time, so I'm not anti-spinning. Bah, I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make now.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    It will result in a slightly lower cadence but you won't magically gain power or go up a hill faster because you choose a higher gear. If you think that riding in bigger gears will make you stronger you could just do all your rides in one bigger gear on your compact. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
    As I said, my main concern isn't really so much becoming He-Man as it is to address the occasionally odd shifting requirements of the compact.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    no.
    I've noticed increased muscle mass and strength during the middle of the summer after I've forced myself to use slightly more challenging gearing. Part is probably improved cardio/endurance, weight loss, etc but some of the improvement must come from increased muscle mass. No?

    Please don't misconstrue my response as me being arrogant - that's not my intent, I'm just writing out my newbie-ish thoughts and experiences. I do appreciate your input.
    2014 Ridley Xfire w/105 | 2012 Trek Madone 6.9 SSL w/Di2
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  3. #53
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Solution: 2 bikes

    1 with a standard for flats and 1 with compact for climbs

    Bob

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitalfiend View Post
    As I said, my main concern isn't really so much becoming He-Man as it is to address the occasionally odd shifting requirements of the compact.
    swap your 34T for a 36/38. Then your jump will be the same or better than a 39/53 and it should only cost ~$20

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
    Solution: 2 bikes

    1 with a standard for flats and 1 with compact for climbs

    Bob
    Now we're talkin'! N+1 always wins.
    Ride more, worry less, harden the F**k up.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
    swap your 34T for a 36/38. Then your jump will be the same or better than a 39/53 and it should only cost ~$20
    Are there any 36/38 rings for a DA7900 compact? The big question is will they work properly with the Di2 front derailleur. I'm also sure I've read somewhere that the mixing rings with DA can lead to crappy front shifting due to the tooth/ramp differences. Otherwise, yes, that would be an ideal solution.
    2014 Ridley Xfire w/105 | 2012 Trek Madone 6.9 SSL w/Di2
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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by blcknspo0ln View Post
    Now we're talkin'! N+1 always wins.
    I was originally going to sell my Roubaix after getting my Madone, but honestly, I find I'm using my Roubaix more as a backup/rain bike and I'll definitely be sticking with the compact on the Roubaix. Problem solved?
    2014 Ridley Xfire w/105 | 2012 Trek Madone 6.9 SSL w/Di2
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  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitalfiend View Post
    I've noticed increased muscle mass and strength during the middle of the summer after I've forced myself to use slightly more challenging gearing. Part is probably improved cardio/endurance, weight loss, etc but some of the improvement must come from increased muscle mass. No?
    Cycling is largely an aerobic sport. Riding for hours at a time in a little or big gear is unlikely to result in muscular hypertrophy. More likely you lost some fat and provided better definition for your existing muscles. In any case, if you want to train in a bigger gear you still have that option with your compact.

    I'm not trying to sway you either way. I have both and currently ride a standard. It doesn't make a big difference to me but with the compact I spend more time in the middle of the cassette.

  9. #59
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    Thanks again.

    Speaking of muscle mass, I'm very tempted to get a Dexa scan before this year's riding season really picks up. I definitely have some extra weight to lose (10-12lbs) and I love sifting through data so it would be interesting to track my progress in that area as well.

    My standard crankset order arrived today. I'm very anxious to feel the difference over the next few months. I suspect that while I'll probably notice an improvement in the shifting patterns over the compact (for my particular routes), the difference probably won't be as dramatic as I originally envisioned in my head. As long as there is some overall improvement I'll be happy. Heck, at least the crankset was only $500, so if this experiment turns out to be a failure (or a disaster), at least I haven't lost too much. I've spent (and sadly also wasted at times) thousands on modding my old car, trying to squeeze out extra performance, when I used to do track days. Now THAT is an expensive hobby, which my wife always liked to remind me of.

    Thanks again guys, it's been very informative. I'll be sure to provide an update and maybe some comparison data plots over the next couple of weeks.
    2014 Ridley Xfire w/105 | 2012 Trek Madone 6.9 SSL w/Di2
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  10. #60
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    If you think that riding in bigger gears will make you stronger you could just do all your rides in one bigger gear on your compact. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
    In point of fact, it works that way for some of us. The high-stress, low-rpm stamina training isn't for everyone, but I'm getting fine results with that exact approach.

    I've noticed increased muscle mass and strength during the middle of the summer after I've forced myself to use slightly more challenging gearing. Part is probably improved cardio/endurance, weight loss, etc but some of the improvement must come from increased muscle mass. No?
    I'll share my result on that... I tape-measure my right thigh as a general barometer of muscle mass. After four months of high-resistance, low-RPM climbing training, it's stayed pretty much unchanged at 22 inches. Muscle stamina, however, has improved a lot... I can pick a demanding gear, like a 2:1 ratio up a ~10% grade, and yeah it hurts, but I can make the legs do it for 8-10 minutes. And these climbs generally end up being de facto intervals, the cardio has been improving nicely from that aspect.

    The downside for me is that right now my legs now prefer the lower cadences. Spinning was never my forte, but right now I get choppy above 100rpm and home in on a cadence in the low 80s.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    The downside for me is that right now my legs now prefer the lower cadences. Spinning was never my forte, but right now I get choppy above 100rpm and home in on a cadence in the low 80s.
    After reading some of the responses here, that is definitely one concern I do have with switching from compact to standard (and keeping the 11-25/12-25 setup.) While I do like to stand for variation when tackling some hills, I'm generally a spinner. With my position dialled in on my old bike, I find I can spin up to 115-120 before noticing some bounce and 125-130 is about where I stop trying because it feels too bouncy. I generally find that, probably from riding a compact all these years, my legs and body like it when I spin at 95-100rpm and at about 90rpm on the hills.

    It will be interesting to see how the change to a standard affects me. I'm a tiny bit nervous about my decision but mostly excited by the challenge of trying something new and different.

    I think you hit on what I was trying to communicate about my feelings on grinding a harder gear: perhaps its muscle stamina that I'm noticing more than increased mass (though my legs do look and feel more solid by the end of the season.)

    Now if the weather would just improve here, I'd be much happier. I'm getting tired of riding in damp 5-8C weather.
    2014 Ridley Xfire w/105 | 2012 Trek Madone 6.9 SSL w/Di2
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  12. #62
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    Small update:

    Finally got the new frame and standard crankset setup and after a few hundred kilometres, I'm sold. I actually find some of the longer, less steep (4-6%), hills easier, if that makes any sense. Heart rate is lower but speed is up compared to when I'm on my Roubaix/compact - though I attribute part of that to my Madone too.

    I know it sounds odd, but the standard seems to give me a better combination of effort and reasonable cadence (85-90) for most gears. Now, I also realise that my Madone is quite a bit stiffer and about 4-5lbs lighter than my Roubaix, but it's more the feel of the gearing that I'm noticing. So far I haven't encountered a hill that's made me long for the compact or a 39/27, so I think I made the right choice. I've also noticed that my speed on the flats seems higher as well, though at a slightly lower cadence (~85, though occasionally 90 when cruising, whereas the compact was generally 90-95, sometimes 100 when "cruising".) This is subjective for sure as there are too many variables (wind, temp, how I feel, lack of a power meter) to take into account but it sure seems like I'm carrying more speed.

    I have noticed a touch of tenderness on the inner side of my right knee but I don't think I've got my seat perfect yet on my new frame; I stupidly forgot to record all my measurements before sending the '11 frame back. I doubt it is a standard crank causing it.

    Anyhow, I'm very happy with my choice so far. Going to try 100km tomorrow and see how that goes - wondering if a 12-25 might be in my future as the 16t will get used a lot more than the 11t.
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  13. #63
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    I have a rear 11-28 and with a compact 50/34 I was stuck between big and small ring a lot and drove me nuts. With the 53/39 and it being relatively flat here I have a decisive sit in big or small ring and prefer that.

  14. #64
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    This thread getting bumped to the top just makes me love my triple more and more. I have the low gears of a compact AND the tightly spaced and overlapping gears of a standard. I also don't have to shift my front ring that much because each ring has a nice tight useful range. Best of all, my gears are close together and I'm always at the cadence I want.

  15. #65
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    This thread getting bumped to the top just makes me love my triple more and more. I have the low gears of a compact AND the tightly spaced and overlapping gears of a standard. I also don't have to shift my front ring that much because each ring has a nice tight useful range. Best of all, my gears are close together and I'm always at the cadence I want.
    Every time I see a post like this it makes me happy to have the legs to not need a triple........
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitalfiend View Post
    The big question is will they work properly with the Di2 front derailleur.....
    Sell your Di2 to some idiot that thinks they need such gadgetry, and get a proper mechanical group: SRAM Red, or SR11, and spend the rest on EPO. Problem solved.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soloist Assassin View Post
    Sell your Di2 to some idiot that thinks they need such gadgetry, and get a proper mechanical group: SRAM Red, or SR11, and spend the rest on EPO. Problem solved.
    Yeah...no.
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  18. #68
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    Every time I see a post like this it makes me happy to have the legs to not need a triple........
    Is it about the legs? Or is it about having all the gears you want with a triple instead of the hobbled set-up you have?

    I have the luxury of owning several bikes, and I've had all sorts of drivetrains over the years. I don't think it makes any difference which set-up I or anyone else has. If you ride super-steep, super-long hills, you need a relatively low gear (relative to your strength), whether you're on a compact, standard or triple.

    I've seen very fit cyclists walking their bikes, or turning around after several miles of 12%+ grades, because they thought they had legs enough on the gears they normally rode.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

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  19. #69
    Maud Magnet antmeeks's Avatar
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    What about a mid-compact?

    My bike has a 52/36 with a 11-28.

    I live in a super hilly area, can climb with no problem and only spin out downhill at about 42-ish mph in the 52|11 combo.

    I think it's a nice compromise between a standard and compact.

  20. #70
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    This thread getting bumped to the top just makes me love my triple more and more. I have the low gears of a compact AND the tightly spaced and overlapping gears of a standard. I also don't have to shift my front ring that much because each ring has a nice tight useful range. Best of all, my gears are close together and I'm always at the cadence I want.
    Yep. The vast majority of the time, I'm basically riding a 52/42 double. And then when I encounter a steep, long hill, that 32T is right there for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by blcknspo0ln View Post
    Now we're talkin'! N+1 always wins.
    Surely you meant "n+1." "N+1" would literally mean all of the bikes in the world, plus one.

    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    Every time I see a post like this it makes me happy to have the legs to not need a triple........
    Yeah, who needs efficiency anyway? HTFU trumps all.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Yep. The vast majority of the time, I'm basically riding a 52/42 double. And then when I encounter a steep, long hill, that 32T is right there for me.
    Nothing wrong with liking to spin. 42x32 is actually basically the same gear as 30x23, which is the lowest that I have as well (unless my math is wrong).

    Everyone seems to think that a triple is all about having lower gears on the extreme end, but when combined with the proper cassette, one can have the same gear range with a standard, compact, or triple. The only difference, then, is how tightly spaced the gears are. 34x28, which most of the guys here running compacts have, is significantly lower than any of my 30 gear ratios.

    A triple gives closer gear spacing, but not necessarily lower gears. And combined with a smaller and tighter cassette, the difference in weight is pretty small--smaller than most think.

  22. #72
    Celeste is the Best Bianchi Ben's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread. I've enjoyed the insight from the Standard riders. And do feel the sentiment of "You'll never get stronger riding a compact." There are just too many crazy hills here in SoCal for me to justify Standard. Maybe with a bit more experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by vermilionx View Post
    i live in the valley, socal... so i like making inclines and climbing easier with my compact.

    but on the downhill parts... i seem to be running out gears at around 37-40mph.

    what speed do standard double run out gears?
    I'm in the Valley too. I have Compact front, well kinda (50/36), and run 11-27 on the rear. I had 12-25 before and found the same thing, no gear when I was done tucking on the downhills. Since switching to 11t I haven't found that problem yet...
    Last edited by Bianchi Ben; 05-08-12 at 09:34 AM.
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  23. #73
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    I'd hope not! 50x11 is a bigger gear than 52x12.

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