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  1. #1
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    46/36...50/34...46/30....Cranksets!!!!

    Ok...So I have a 46/36 CX crank on my Warbird... 11-30 in the rear...

    Now, I have two hill where I drop into my lowest gear in order to make it. I don't like running out of gears; I am getting in shape...but I like having a failsafe envelope.

    My longest rides have been upwards of 50 miles. I'm looking to open that up to 100... hopefully someday within the next two years I'm actually going to ride to my brother in law's house in Burlington VT from NYC...

    So, the Sugino OX801D crank in 46/30 is kinda attractive... I like the idea of a double that covers a triple's gear range...

    In speaking with my fitter he said that, "You'll get killed on the flats..."

    I don't understand that statement whatsoever.

    Should I go UP to a 50/34 compact and maybe open up the rear cog with a MTB derailleur (11-36..)??

    How am I going to "get killed in the flats," if I'm not decreasing my big chainring?

    Does it have to do with the difference in overlap because I see 46/30 as equivalent to a 3 gear drop in the rear versus a 2 gear drop with 46/36...?

    In other words how does opening up the tooth count in the front impact shifting overall?

  2. #2
    Senior Member shoota's Avatar
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    He's saying you'll get killed in the flats by the people you're riding with. 46 isn't meant to be the big ring for a road bike. That's why it's a CX bike. Now if you never ride with anyone then you won't get killed
    2005 Cannondale six13 10s SRAM

  3. #3
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoota View Post
    He's saying you'll get killed in the flats by the people you're riding with. 46 isn't meant to be the big ring for a road bike. That's why it's a CX bike. Now if you never ride with anyone then you won't get killed
    Can a lot of people hold 46x11 at 90rpm- solo, that's 30mph~?


    This is where the confusion sets in^^^

  4. #4
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I didn't find any 11-30 10-speed cassettes. I did see 11-34.
    I'm guessing its 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,22,26,30.

    Here's Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator, with custom settings. (just ignore the popup box, it's saying you can bookmark/favorite this set.) 50,46,30 and 11-34 page

    Any changes you make to the settings update the charts on the fly, so you can try different combinations.

    The Settings:
    50, 46, 30 chainrings, so you can compare 50 and 46 big rings.
    28c tires
    10 speeds 11-30

    See the Speed Over RPM chart. The 50 chainring is blue, 46 is black, and 30 is red.

    Using the charts:

    The 46 to 30 is a big jump. The 30-14 at 90 rpm is about 15.3 mph; to change to the 46 big chainring, you would need to shift down 4 cogs to the 46-19 at 17.3mph, or 5 cogs to the 46-22 at 14.9 mph.

    With a wide range cassette, the tradeoff is bigger jumps between cogs in the middle of the range. With a 12-27 cassette, each cog at the same 80-90 rpm is about 1 mph difference. This 46/30 11-30 setup has a lot of 2 mph jumps. That's a big difference when you are trying to find a good cruising gear.

    I like close together gears in the 15-20 mph range. Then I can get the exact cadence I want. Some riders don't like 50/34 chainrings, because their usual cruising speed is right near the crossover point between small and big chainrings. You need to decide how different setups will work with your usual flat road speeds and with your steepest hill climbs.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 01-11-14 at 06:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member shoota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs View Post
    Can a lot of people hold 46x11 at 90rpm- solo, that's 30mph~?


    This is where the confusion sets in^^^
    Touche. But maybe he was talking about a sprint or maybe downhill? Either way it doesn't sound like any scenarios you'll find yourself in so I wouldn't worry about it.
    2005 Cannondale six13 10s SRAM

  6. #6
    Senior Member shoota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    I didn't find any 11-30 10-speed cassettes. I did see 11-34.
    I'm guessing its 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,22,26,30.

    Here's Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator, with custom settings. (just ignore the popup box, it's saying you can bookmark/favorite this set.) 50,46,30 and 11-34 page

    Any changes you make to the settings update the charts on the fly, so you can try different combinations.

    Settings:
    50, 46, 30 chainrings, so you can compare 50 and 46 big rings.
    28c tires
    10 speeds 11-30

    See the Speed Over RPM chart. The 50 chainring is blue, 46 is black, and 30 is red.

    Using the charts:

    The 46 to 30 is a big jump. The 30-14 at 90 rpm is about 15.3 mph; to change to the 46 big chainring, you would need to shift down 4 cogs to the 46-19 at 17.3mph, or 5 cogs to the 46-22 at 14.9 mph.

    With a wide range cassette, the tradeoff is bigger jumps between cogs in the middle of the range. With a 12-27 cassette, each cog at the same 80-90 rpm is about 1 mph difference. This 46/30 11-30 setup has a lot of 2 mph jumps. That's a big difference when you are trying to find a good cruising gear.

    I like close together gears in the 15-20 mph range. Then I can get the exact cadence I want. Some riders don't like 50/34 chainrings, because their usual cruising speed is right near the crossover point between small and big chainrings. You need to decide how different setups will work with your usual flat road speeds and with your steepest hill climbs.
    that is a much more intelligent answer than mine. 2mph jumps would suck.
    2005 Cannondale six13 10s SRAM

  7. #7
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    Depending on how hilly or flat your typical roads are, I predict 46/30 front chainrings will result in a lot of cross chaining or far more front shifting that you're used to, unless you're currently do most of your riding on the 46t.

    I'd suggest swapping the small ring to a 34t if you don't feel like you'll ever max out that 46t, and then trying out an 11-32 cassette. That way you are gaining some low end without losing all of your high end, but it's not so drastic that you'll be spinning like mad. 11-36 with a mtb cassette will work, but the gear spread will be so much that you might have a hard time finding the right gear or the jumps might feel too large.

    And for reference, I currently ride a 12-30 cassette with 50/34 chainrings and the 34x30 is a great bailout for me on some short but intense climbs I deal with regularly.

  8. #8
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob! View Post
    ....34x30 is a great bailout for me on some short but intense climbs I deal with regularly.
    See, that's what I'm trying to address...the climbs I'm talking about are short and intense, and I do have to get out of the saddle for them...I'm looking to have that spin gear for the "very bad day."

    As far as riding in one versus the other chainring...what is proper technique? For any given equivalent gear, as long as I'm not cross-chaining, should I stick to the smaller ring?

  9. #9
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    The 46 to 30 is a big jump.
    Isn't 50-34 the same or close to it? 16 teeth?

  10. #10
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    Is it possible he didn't know you were already riding a 46 big ring? You didn't make that clear to us, maybe he didn't know it either. 52/13 used to be standard for an enthusiast cyclist's road bike. That is a max front over back ratio of 4.0. Folks learned to spin really high cadences back then. You will have a ratio of 4.2, that is higher than what used to be standard, even higher than what replaced that, 53/13 = 4.1. It wasn't until 12 tooth small cogs were introduced that your preferred gearing was superseded, and then only by 5%. I don't think you have anything to be concerned about.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs View Post
    See, that's what I'm trying to address...the climbs I'm talking about are short and intense, and I do have to get out of the saddle for them...I'm looking to have that spin gear for the "very bad day."

    As far as riding in one versus the other chainring...what is proper technique? For any given equivalent gear, as long as I'm not cross-chaining, should I stick to the smaller ring?
    Nothing wrong with riding in the small ring if you're in a comfortable cadence and not cross chaining. I don't think technique has much to do with it, just cadence and watching for cross chaining.

    When I had a 12-25 cassette, I was in the small ring for almost everything except downhills. After switching to the 12-30 cassette, I'm able to use the big ring a lot more (I will only use the highest cogs, any more and I'm cross chaining badly) and down to speeds about 16-17mph or so and typically ride with a 100-105rpm cadence. Considering you have a 46 and not the 50t for a big ring, you probably have more opportunities to use the big ring and not cross chain or slow your cadence too much.

  12. #12
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    Is it possible he didn't know you were already riding a 46 big ring? You didn't make that clear to us, maybe he didn't know it either.
    Makes sense...

  13. #13
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    It sounds like that if I'm in the big gear (46t) on the flats quite a bit already I don't need to worry much if I go smaller on the inner ring for climbing... I'm just trying to discover if I'm going to run into shifting issues due to the change in overlap. I'd rather not change the cassette and RD...

  14. #14
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Oops...I just went and counted the teeth on my cassette... I have a 12-30.

  15. #15
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    If you go smaller, I wouldn't do less than 34t. Going down to 30t would be great for hills but likely useless on flats due to cross chaining.

    What RD are you using? If you can use a 12-30 without issue (just curious, is it the Tiagra casette?), likely you could switch to a 12-32 or 11-32 without having to change RD and maybe only needing to add a link or two to the chain.

  16. #16
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob! View Post
    If you go smaller, I wouldn't do less than 34t. Going down to 30t would be great for hills but likely useless on flats due to cross chaining.

    What RD are you using? If you can use a 12-30 without issue (just curious, is it the Tiagra casette?), likely you could switch to a 12-32 or 11-32 without having to change RD and maybe only needing to add a link or two to the chain.
    I was wondering the same regarding a 30t inner chainring...

    My RD is Ultegra 6700, I think it it maxes out at 30t...I need to double check that...

  17. #17
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    In my experience, hills are entirely in your head. My suggestion is to stop using your 30 cog immediately, and only use it in desperation. So your easiest gear is now 27 or 28. Use the 30 if you absolutely have to save your skin, as a last resort. But now on every cvlimb, you have as bail out. If you do this, fairly quickly you will find yourself not using the 27/28, and you will have two bailout gears.

    I rode 1x9 with a 46T single ring, and 12-25. In long actions of rollers I would miss the bigger front ring. That is the only time. No one rode away from me on flats, or they would have even if I had a 53t ring.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob! View Post
    When I had a 12-25 cassette, I was in the small ring for almost everything except downhills. After switching to the 12-30 cassette, I'm able to use the big ring a lot more.
    Yup. Me too. And I'm still running the original 53/39 chain rings. (Spesh CF Tarmac.) I climb 1200 vertical feet in 3 miles every day. The 53/39 front and 12/30 rear seems, for now, the perfect combination for the long downhills and steep ascents around here . . . and I no longer feel the need to stand in the steepest sections.

    If I were riding a heavier bike, the 46/30 front would be an option I'd look at carefully.

  19. #19
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    I have a 48/32 chainring setup, and a 12/32 rear. Good for the occasional cliff and many nearly mountainous terrains here. I do miss my top end, but not enough to want to go back to a 50/34.

  20. #20
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    In my experience, hills are entirely in your head. My suggestion is to stop using your 30 cog immediately, and only use it in desperation.
    Was thinking along those lines as well....

  21. #21
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    If the climbs a short and not too many of them I wouldn't think you would need such low gearing no matter how steep they are.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Kamau's Avatar
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    OP, you will not get "killed on the flats" as your calculations are correct. 46 front chainring with 11 in the back will be the same even if you switch. Pay that comment no mind.

    Do not change gearing until your current gears fail you. I.e. You can't make it up a hill at a decent cadence (80+ rpm) or you get stomped on the flats doing 100+ cadence in your biggest gear combo.

    Quick note, the 1 Hour record is 49.7 km which is roughly 30mph where your bike tops out at. This is world record for a top notch pro rider in a velodrome (read flat). Unless you are outdoing Eddy Merckx or the latter, the only place your bike could fall short is a descent or a sprint.


    newb

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    In my experience, hills are entirely in your head. My suggestion is to stop using your 30 cog immediately, and only use it in desperation. So your easiest gear is now 27 or 28. Use the 30 if you absolutely have to save your skin, as a last resort. But now on every cvlimb, you have as bail out. If you do this, fairly quickly you will find yourself not using the 27/28, and you will have two bailout gears.

    I rode 1x9 with a 46T single ring, and 12-25. In long actions of rollers I would miss the bigger front ring. That is the only time. No one rode away from me on flats, or they would have even if I had a 53t ring.
    I agree with this. The 25t biggest cog was sufficient when that's all I had, but I went to the 12-30 to make my morning commutes a little easier. I started using the 27t most of the time on a particular climb and it felt easier at first, but now I find myself often wanting to use the 30t (which I haven't needed yet, but it's nice to have a bailout option there).
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  24. #24
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    Get a 52/42/30 triple and be done with it.
    I run this on my touring bike (Jamis Aurora 2009) with 11-34 rear cassette. Works great and I have never run out of gears either going uphill or on the flats/downhill.

    If you want to tour, you need a triple IMHO.
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  25. #25
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    I would love an Ultegra-quality 46-30 crankset. Who makes one?
    I have a 52-39-30 and discover that I really don't need a 52-11 gear, or usually 52-anything. 39 may be small. but 46 would rock. Plus, I could go electronic!
    So, who make it?
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