Just here to soak up the info, I have no compact cranks. Just very high geared road doubles, and a couple interesting triples.
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Last time I was in for a fit, the fitter had to video my pedal stroke so he could slow it down to see what was going on. :-/
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I run a 50/36. I used to do 50/34, but got stronger, and wanted nicer front shifting. With a 12-27, I spent most of my time in the 50t and only use the 36t on the serious climbs.
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Good conversation. A brief point in response to top end gearing. I am not racing or trying to speed too fast down hill. The reason is pretty simple. To me riding much above 30 mph in bike traffic on road I don't know is Russian roulette...my opinion. I am in no hurry to crash. That is why a compact makes the most sense to me in spite of small ring flexibility with 110 BCD. With 50/12 I have all the speed I need if I spin the crank fast which I can downhill in particular. In a paceline in particular I want to see pot holes when flying down the hill. Kinda dangerous to ride over 30 mph in these circumstances. Solo or riding abreast on a know track...no problem. But don't need to go faster than 35 mph for a good rush and start to the next hill.
So do you guys feel 42/52 is too high of gearing for chain rings?
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Standard is all I've known before until recently I decided to put on a compact just to experiment and to my suprise, I love the the sucker. With the low cadence (in the 60s) going up a steep hill with a standard, my legs takes much longer to recover or don't recover completely at all. But witht a compact, the cadence can stay at least above mid 70s and the legs can just keep going and going. Yes, you shift more with the front but I don't know what the big deal is. It's there for a reason.
I REALLY LIKE MY 50/34 and 11-25 set up, seems to work for me. I often think a standard crank set would be a great set up as well. I just hate triples. Good for some, just not my cup of tea.
I like 50-34 on a friction shifted bike, where you spend most of your time on the 50, and only drop to the 34 in a significant climb.
I like 53-39 on an index shifting crank, because the shifting is crisper (14 tooth vs 16 tooth jump). It, IMO, makes the front crisp and fast, with less overlap and less reluctance to use it.
I liked a 50-36 crank I had, to get the crisp shift between rings, but ended up using the 36 so rarely that I went to a single 46 tooth chainring, and loved the 1x9.
Mostly I ride a single speed now, 47x16, and have done all of the same rides that I did with 9, 18, or 20 gear combinations with 1. So I guess that I am gear agnostic.
So, long story short, I don't think anyone can recommend gearing for anyone else, at least in a meaningful manner.
I'll be buying all my future road bikes with 50/34 as long as I live in Southern California. It seems like the perfect gear combo for hilly and mountainous areas. The 50/11 combo has higher topend than the old tried and true 53/12 that was the de facto standard not very long ago, and the 34/28 combo is nearly mandatory on some of the climbs around here. I never see the small chainring on flat or lightly hilly rides, the range I get with the 50 up front seems perfect for the flats, but 53 would probably be fine too.
12-25: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25
12-27: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27
Note that they are exactly the same except the last two cogs which you should only be using when you're in the small ring. Chances are that if you want the 25, you want the 27. So you suffer no penalty for getting a lower gear.
11-23: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23
11-25: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25
11-26: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26
With the 11-25 and 11-26, you lose the 16 which is useful but you'll notice that the width really only comes at the bottom of the range which shouldn't get used that often.
11-28: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28
If your rings allow you to use the mid and upper ranges of your cassette, everything is still one tooth apart. In the cassettes above, we see that riders that predominantly use their top 5 cogs won't notice any difference from the 11-23 and those that predominantly use the top 6 won't notice a difference from the 11-25. This is still definitely a hill cassette but wider spacing is not as much of an issue at the low end when you're grinding up a hill.
Of course, maximum selectivity would be with a triple and a corn cob. You'd have tight ratios anywhere you wanted them.
50/34, 11-25 good.
I live in a hilly area, don't race anymore, do challenging 30 - 45 mile rides at 14-15 mph avg for fun and personal fitness, no longer ride just to hang with fast groups, and, as someone already said, don't have anything to prove to anybody else anymore.
I ride 50/34 11-28. I'm 27. My knees/legs/back are in great condition. I only bring the latter two points up because I don't really understand why people have to justify their gearing combination with their age/condition.
Coming of standard gearing, it took me a handful of rides to get to know what I was working with but I have come to love this combo in Southern San Diego.
Last edited by enjoi07; 05-21-13 at 11:47 AM.
I ride a 50/34 and either an 11-32 or 11-28 in the back. If there's stuff that's more than 7% for any stretch I'll go with the 11-32, but for say a long climb that is pretty constant grade (like mt hamilton) I'll use an 11-28 and be fine. I don't like killing my knees grinding up 10%+ grades even if it's for a short time. With an 11-32 I can downshift to stand on really steep stuff. Living next to the Santa Cruz mountains you end up climbing a lot, so you don't see many people riding standards out here.
I'll ride the inner for a lot of riding and if I need to just use the smaller part of the cassette. I find myself in the big ring at the top of a hill. I didn't like shifting between rings because you get that weird gap you have to cover with 2-3 shifts in the back but with electronic shifting it's pretty fast to pull that off.