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  1. #301
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    Does gearing really make this much difference? In general, people seem to focus on one gear on the bottom which may make an 8-10% difference, or one gear on the top, so they don't "spin out". It seems to me that no matter what gearing you pick, you will always find a situation where you have to mash on a climb or coast on a descent. Did this morph into the road racing sub forum, and is there money at stake? I just don't get how people so focus on searching for the perfect gearing.

    I have done the same group ride for 3+ years, and whether it is on a standard crank, compact crank, 1x9, or 1x1, I have always survived, my "speed" always matches the groups, and if I get dropped it is because my will failed, and never my gearing.
    As discussed earlier, it isn't necessarily related to organized racing at all. How about keeping up with your friends after riding 4 hours and then facing some steep hills? Gearing is critical and personal. I have friends that can't spin very fast...or at least comfortably throughout a ride. They aren't faster, they just turn a lower RPM. These guys normally like taller gears than me so they choose different gearing. Same speed but different gearing. I will tell you what I don't like. I don't like walking up hills after 80 miles of hard riding. If you ride alone or don't try to keep up with other riders that ride in a spirited manner, then it doesn't matter. You can just walk.

  2. #302
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    50/34 is great in hilly areas. You're either going up or down so the gap in the middle is no big deal. In fact, the mid range gets in the way.

    However, I don't think it's such a great combo for places where there is not so much climbing because a moderate headwind puts you in a situation where the big ring is too big and the small ring is too small. For flatter terrain, I think most recreational cyclists would be far better served with a 46/36. You'll can stay in the middle of 46 most of the time and the 36 gives a nice low end with plenty of overlapping gear ratios. Those needing a bit lower could drop to a 34 without having such a massive gap as with the 50T.

    Everyone seems to be obsessed with spinning out. In a 46-11 combo, this doesn't happen until 40mph -- hardly a problem for most people. Meanwhile, they don't take care of the low end.

    One thing I don't understand is why so many people run 12/25's and 11/23's with compacts. Because of the huge gap between the rings, a wider cassette is called for. A 12/27 or 11/26 make a lot more sense because it increases overlap and improves the low end without changing spacing between the gears that get used the most.
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  3. #303
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    Quote Originally Posted by RT View Post
    As has been stated, I have ridden an 11 with results that are indiscernible - only on paper are they different. I spin out on 50-11 on hills. I have to try harder to spin out on 52-11 (or 12). Think of this this way: The argument here is that two teeth up front makes little difference. Why not then eschew the 50t and go 48t or cross gearing? You're only losing two teeth after all. Not many takers on that.

    We all ride differently. If you consult Sheldon's gear-inch calculator, you will see that the difference is only a little over 1 mph at 50-11 vs 50-12. This supports my assertion that it matters more where one is on the speed curve than just the basic math suggests. If you are going 5 mph and try to push a 50-11, it is the same at that speed as trying to push 50-12. At 40+ mph it is a different story.

    Stick that in your slide rule and smoke it
    Very little of what you write makes sense. Switching from the 12 to 11 is a 9% difference in cadence or speed. That's significant. At 40mph its about 3.6mph different not 1mph.

    If you can't tell the difference between a 12 and an 11 i.e. you can't notice a difference in cadence from 120 to 110 rpm then I don't know what to say. 99% of people will notice a change in cadence of 10RPM.

    The reason people say 2 teeth up front doesn't make as much difference is because going from a 52 to a 50 is only 4% (52/50) difference vs 9% diff for the 12 to 11.

  4. #304
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    I will tell you what I don't like. I don't like walking up hills after 80 miles of hard riding. If you ride alone or don't try to keep up with other riders that ride in a spirited manner, then it doesn't matter. You can just walk.
    I wasn't trying to bash at all. I was badly trying to say that, regardless of planned gearing selection, you always get to that point of facing a grade that will make you get out of your comfort zone, whether that comes 80 miles into a ride or early on. I think people think that there is a magic gear combination that will let them spin up anything. And it may exist, but it always seems you will encounter something outside of the norm.

    Here is my bad example: I was doing a 2 day, 250 mile solo ride, with miles front loaded to day 1. Gearing was 50/36, with 11/26 9 speed cassette, which is the easiest climbing setup I own. First 100 miles go by issue free, get hit by a car at mile 108 (adrenaline rush and later crash), and have all of my elevation gain at miles 125 to 145. I could have had a triple with a 32 cog in back, and I would have been walking the 2 times I walked. I could not generate the watts and will power to keep the bike vertical on a few long 6-8% grades, which would ordinarily be no issue even on my standard crank 12-25.

    I guess I am saying that gearing is only one variable in ride success or failure (however you wish to measure it), and I don't even think that it is an important one. Just my opinion, and not critiquing anyone's selection.

  5. #305
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    I wasn't trying to bash at all. I was badly trying to say that, regardless of planned gearing selection, you always get to that point of facing a grade that will make you get out of your comfort zone, whether that comes 80 miles into a ride or early on. I think people think that there is a magic gear combination that will let them spin up anything. And it may exist, but it always seems you will encounter something outside of the norm.

    Here is my bad example: I was doing a 2 day, 250 mile solo ride, with miles front loaded to day 1. Gearing was 50/36, with 11/26 9 speed cassette, which is the easiest climbing setup I own. First 100 miles go by issue free, get hit by a car at mile 108 (adrenaline rush and later crash), and have all of my elevation gain at miles 125 to 145. I could have had a triple with a 32 cog in back, and I would have been walking the 2 times I walked. I could not generate the watts and will power to keep the bike vertical on a few long 6-8% grades, which would ordinarily be no issue even on my standard crank 12-25.

    I guess I am saying that gearing is only one variable in ride success or failure (however you wish to measure it), and I don't even think that it is an important one. Just my opinion, and not critiquing anyone's selection.
    Like gearing, I guess a matter of philosophy Roll.
    To me, your description underscores the need for short gear inches on long rides with climbs. In other words gearing is very important not irrelevant because a couple of scerarios maybe less than perfect. If you are walking on rare occasion which btw, I fully understand being almost to that point on my last century when facing hills late in the ride, aside from increasing strength which is a bit of a intangible...then the obvious answer is shorter gears. A triple I believe on grueling rides over 100 miles where there is climbing to me makes a lot of sense.

  6. #306
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Honestly, my philosophy may be based too much on young knees and a high pain tolerance.

  7. #307
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    Honestly, my philosophy may be based too much on young knees and a high pain tolerance.
    Maybe, but choice of gearing I believe applies to everybody including pros. We have all seen pros cracked on the grueling climbing in Europe on TV. They zig zag across the road to lessen the slope the effort is so intense. No doubt they would prefer to have a gear that would help them spin up the climb with unexpected difficulty. The fact that amateurs need shorter gear inches on much lesser climbs is no surprise. They have less power, more weight and less endurance. So I am not sure knee health or even pain threshold matters tremendously. If legs start cramping deep into a hard ride, they cramp. Short gears reduce stress on the legs at the expense of speed which most will accept if they are at this point and need some relief. I will tell you that climbing at mile 40 versus mile 80...same elevations is completely different. Fatigued legs need shorter gears.

  8. #308
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Campag,
    Slightly off topic, but I miss the times with freewheels and the boards of cogs from the manufacturers (Regina, et al.) on the wall at our LBS. We could easily (too easily at times) swap around separate cogs to customize the gearing. Or, you could always use the famous Polish straight block set up. And, yes I am an old fart reminiscing, forgive me you young guns.

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  9. #309
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Very little of what you write makes sense. Switching from the 12 to 11 is a 9% difference in cadence or speed. That's significant. At 40mph its about 3.6mph different not 1mph.

    If you can't tell the difference between a 12 and an 11 i.e. you can't notice a difference in cadence from 120 to 110 rpm then I don't know what to say. 99% of people will notice a change in cadence of 10RPM.

    The reason people say 2 teeth up front doesn't make as much difference is because going from a 52 to a 50 is only 4% (52/50) difference vs 9% diff for the 12 to 11.
    My numbers were at 90 rpm (crank length is relative), 50t when comparing 11t and 12t in the back. It's not splitting the atom. If you change cadence, of course your speed will increase , but you cannot change variables in an experiment simply to get the answer you want.

    You guys are on your own.

  10. #310
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffalowings View Post
    I run a 50-34 with 12-30 on the back, some hills can be real killers..
    Run the same.

    Was so surprised how responsive and nimble the gearing is.
    Rode some mountains in TN last summer.

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  11. #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by RT View Post
    My numbers were at 90 rpm (crank length is relative), 50t when comparing 11t and 12t in the back. It's not splitting the atom. If you change cadence, of course your speed will increase , but you cannot change variables in an experiment simply to get the answer you want.

    You guys are on your own.
    Your numbers aren't close at 90 RPM either. That would be 2.7mph difference. I suspect you've never really compared an 11 vs a 12 or you're old and your memory is failing

  12. #312
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Just put a 50/34 on my Cross Check along with an 11-30 Tiagra cassette (with a mid cage rd), the idea being that it will basically be two 1x9 bikes - one for cruising unloaded with the 50 and one for pulling my son in the trailer in the 34. So far I think it's going to work out well.


    On a road bike I prefer to shift early on long climbs and keep it in the big ring over rollers. Definitely prefer 53/39 for that application.

  13. #313
    Senior Member lennyparis's Avatar
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    Just switched from standard to compact this year and am able to ride more efficiently
    Speeds are up a bit but legs do not get so tired
    Also just moved from 11-28 to 12-25 as was never using the 11 or 28
    The 34 is a bit too small for me but more effective than 39 on hillls were I was mashing a bit
    Can you mix a 50 with say a 36 or 39 on Ultegra (as I never considered that)

  14. #314
    token triathlete Bah Humbug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lennyparis View Post
    Can you mix a 50 with say a 36 or 39 on Ultegra (as I never considered that)
    You absolutely can. You'll need to use Shimano's 36t CX ring instead of Ultegra, and I don't know if they make a 39t 110bcd or a 50t 130bcd, but you can source the rings/ crankset elsewhere. The aftermarket companies typically have more options.

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    You can also use SRAM 36T rings, they are a bit noisier ime, but they work fine. The spacing is the same. Don't use FSA rings with shimano cranks

  16. #316
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Your numbers aren't close at 90 RPM either. That would be 2.7mph difference. I suspect you've never really compared an 11 vs a 12 or you're old and your memory is failing
    I am old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    I think people think that there is a magic gear combination that will let them spin up anything. And it may exist, but it always seems you will encounter something outside of the norm.
    22F/34R. That's a triple on a mountain bike. If you can't spin up a hill with those gears, you probably can't walk up it either. If you're on a road frame, you'd probably fall over anyway.

  18. #318
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    I just bought a Salsa Colossal Ti which uses a 34-50 compact front and a 11-28 10-speed in back, and I like it a lot. The 28T cassette cog allows me to stay longer in the 50T chainring on rolling terrain without having to downshift to the 34T. The only downside to this setup is that the two smallest cassette cogs, 11T and 12T, are not usable with the 34T chainring, since the chain rubs on the inside of the 50T chainring due to it being much larger. Upshifting from the 34T to the 50T is very easy, even under load.
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    I switched to a 50x34 with a 12x25 last summer. I love it. Sure, down the few fast hills I travel, I have to stop pedaling around 35mph. But, I spend far more time on my big ring and in the middle of the cassette now. And the 30x25 is enough to get me up any hill I encounter.

    I think compact cranks make far more sense for far more people than standard cranks do.

    My 53x39s are in a box now. I doubt I'll ever put them back on.

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    I've always ridden a 53-39 with a corn cob looking nine speed cassette. I have an older 5900.I like the gears. It seems compacts are all the rage right now as most new bikes are sporting them. It's a hard sport no matter how you cut it.

  21. #321
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    I love it and will never go back, and this is coming from a former hard core race junkie. The only thing that may be missing is the huge high speed descent gear, but I don't do that anymore anyway. I love the incredible range 50/34 gives me with an 11/25 or even an 11/23 cluster.

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    I'm new to road bikes and don't have my conditioning back yet but from the few rides I've taken on my new bike I do enjoy the 50/34. I have 50/34T front and 12-26T rear. On most flats I find riding on the 50T front with the rear somewhere near the center works well for me with a cadence of 85-100. This leaves me room on either side to bomb down a hill or boost up a couple for a medium hill climb. Though sometimes I do end up standing on the pedals during the hill climbs (but still keeping a pretty respectable cadence of about 75-80). The 34T front comes in just for sustained, steep climbs. I tackled a short but steep hill yesterday that varies between 15 and 20% and that was the limit of what I could do. Having a 32T in back would allow me to climb a hill like that longer probably but I'm comfortable with it. Especially since I am only running 8-speed I probably don't want to stretch my rear cassette range much further anyway.

  23. #323
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    Currently running 34/50 SRAM Force 22 with the WiFLi cassette (11-32). Shifts beautifully, and there have been times when I was glad to have the 34/32 combo (dirt-road climbs, mostly).
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    I never thought there was anything wrong with 53/42 cranksets. They're a bad idea for heavier riders on hills, though. At least going up.

    The vast majority of heavier riders will appreciate a compact cranket for hills. Novices will appreciate a 34 as opposed to a 42 chainring as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MileHighMark View Post
    Currently running 34/50 SRAM Force 22 with the WiFLi cassette (11-32). Shifts beautifully, and there have been times when I was glad to have the 34/32 combo (dirt-road climbs, mostly).
    Hopefully, I'll be ordering a bike soon and the LBS has steered me toward the 11-32 due to steep, dirt-road climbs also. I'll probably go with Force 22 also. With the 11-32 do you ever feel the gaps are too large?

    I'm glad you say the Force shifts well as I was worried about that with the 32.

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