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  1. #26
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    I will start that here in Central Illinois...most "climbs" are very short but very steep. No mile long climbs.

    With that said, I run a 52-36 sub compact and went to a 12-30 rear this year. I hated it. I was spinning too much most of the time...heart exploding RPM up hills and was averaging much slower speeds than I did with a 12-28 rear. I slapped the 12-28 back on last week.

    So...long story short...with the OP's 50-34 coupled to a 32 rear...you're damn near in mountain bike territory there. You can go up some seriously long climbs...but you'll be doing it at 95 rpm and 8 mph...

  2. #27
    Senior Member fuel0707's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConGrUenCy View Post
    11-32 makes no sense imo. If someone needs a 32, then is it likely that they would need a 11?
    It makes sense to Alberto Contador:

    Contador’s mechanic, the renowned Faustino, installed RED-WiFLi before the first stage in Pamplona. WiFLi is SRAM’s technological philosophy of a Wider gear range allowable via a mid-cage rear derailleur, Faster shifting with two chainrings, andLightweight. The all-new mid-cage (longer) rear derailleurallowed Contador to ride cassettes up to 32 teeth. On steeper stages Alberto utilized an 11-28 or 11-32, for comfortable climbing as well as fast descending.
    Contador Wins Vuelta on WiFLi | SRAM

  3. #28
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuel0707 View Post
    It makes sense to Alberto Contador:



    Contador Wins Vuelta on WiFLi | SRAM
    Numero Uno. Some of the things pros do don't make a lot of sense for ordinary mortals; this is not one of them. With 9, 10, or 11 in the rear, you have plenty of in between gears even when running a 32. Still a 32 probably makes more sense with a 10 or an 11 than with a 9 because of the jumps.

  4. #29
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    Thanks for the info.
    Right now Im on 52-36 and 11-28 and its ok for the 10% grades without standing, but its not enough for the 18-20% climbs in my area. The problem is these climbs arent short. More like 2km.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokehouse View Post
    So...long story short...with the OP's 50-34 coupled to a 32 rear...you're damn near in mountain bike territory there. You can go up some seriously long climbs...but you'll be doing it at 95 rpm and 8 mph...
    Yep, that's exactly the point. Unless you're able to generate >4 W/kg sustained, you need that sort of gearing for long 8+% grades.

  6. #31
    Senior Member ConGrUenCy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuel0707 View Post
    It makes sense to Alberto Contador:



    Contador Wins Vuelta on WiFLi | SRAM
    The only time a GC rider (not a sprinter) might need an 11 is on a descent. They descend on closed roads and can take racing lines comfortably, without worrying about on-coming vehicles. We can't do that, and even if you do spin out, how often are you on the 11? Wouldn't you spend a lot more time on a more useful middle cog? If you spin out your 12, just tuck in and coast.

  7. #32
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I have a 30-27 granny gear and can do 20% without standing for a short period of time. I can handle 15% for quite a while. The 34-32 is a little be easier.

    However if I lose 20 lbs, I could climb even better.

  8. #33
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I concur that we can't really predict when you might want to switch from seated to standing. E.g. I tend to stand in a variety of circumstances, including when I'm not in my lowest gear.

    So far I find the 32 to be very helpful. It keeps me at a low cadence while climbing the hills. I'll go a little slower, but I also am less likely to go anaerobic, and thus less likely to blow a gasket later in the ride.

  9. #34
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    I can't answer the OP question, as it depends upon the weight and fitness of this normal person.

    Here's my two cents though: 11-32 is a huge spread on a road bike, I don't know how many cogs you have but you're going to have some large gaps between gears in there, with cogs you might wish you had for long rides. If you're considering this combo (50-34/11-32), you should really be looking at getting a triple crankset. You get a wider gear range and smaller gaps between gears. The inner ring on my triple is a 30t which I think is pretty typical. My cassette is 13-26. So I'm getting about the same low gear as your 34/32 but with a much tighter cassette. 30/26 lets me spin up just about anything (I live in a very hilly area), and the 13 with my 52t big ring is tall enough to where if I spin it out I'm fine just tucking and coasting.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokehouse View Post
    I will start that here in Central Illinois...most "climbs" are very short but very steep. No mile long climbs.

    With that said, I run a 52-36 sub compact and went to a 12-30 rear this year. I hated it. I was spinning too much most of the time...heart exploding RPM up hills and was averaging much slower speeds than I did with a 12-28 rear. I slapped the 12-28 back on last week.

    So...long story short...with the OP's 50-34 coupled to a 32 rear...you're damn near in mountain bike territory there. You can go up some seriously long climbs...but you'll be doing it at 95 rpm and 8 mph...
    What prevented you from shifting up a gear?

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by laf View Post
    Hi, what grade can we climb whitout getting out of the saddle with the 50-34/11-32 combo ?

    Im talking about a normal person, not a super athlete

    Thanks
    I have a 34-29 low gear. To recover from a steeper grade, I can comfortably do an 8% grade sitting down, without having to mash very hard. I'm only going about 4 mph. I'll need to stand above 10%, and would normally alternate both standing and sitting on 7% or higher grades.

    Your 32 low is 10% easier than my 29.


    Quote Originally Posted by ConGrUenCy View Post
    11-32 makes no sense imo. If someone needs a 32, then is it likely that they would need a 11? Might as well give the cassette another useful gear in the middle... 12-32 or 12-30 seems smarter than a 11. The new 11 speed cassettes (Force 22 and Ultegra) all start with 11.
    Yes. I have the Campagnolo 10-speed 13-29. It has reasonably close gearing. I spin out at about 33-34 mph, instead of 39-41 mph with an 11 cog. But I'm coasting downhill at those speeds, anyway. I think the 11 cog is 90% marketing.

    I have 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 23 26 29


    Quote Originally Posted by roadandmountain View Post
    Serious question: what were people doing 20-25 years ago when 53/42 and 12-23 gearing were the norm?

    Were cyclists just avoiding certain hills? Did people of a 'certain weight' simply not ride bicycles before?
    Well, they had triples available...

    But this video of the Muro di Sormano climb in Italy has quotes from when the climb was included in the Giro di Lombardia in 1960. "In front, you have a 50 and a 42, behind, 17 19 23 24 26, because the climb demands a 42x26" That's the equivalent of a 34-21 low gear!

    The graphics on the road are cool. There's each meter of elevation gain, and quotes from the old racers.



    From wikipedia:
    The Muro di Sormano (English: Wall of Sormano) is a hill located in Sormano, Italy. This climb is famous as one of the most severe of any road cycling race, with an average gradient of 17% and a maximum of 25%.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 05-19-14 at 01:02 PM.

  12. #37
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niloc View Post
    Here's my two cents though: 11-32 is a huge spread on a road bike, I don't know how many cogs you have but you're going to have some large gaps between gears in there, with cogs you might wish you had for long rides.
    I'd suspect the gap wouldn't be as much of an issue on a 11-speed cassette. Mine is an 11-speed 11-32, with the next biggest cog being 28T. I believe it pretty much means a 10-speed 11-28 cassette with an extra large cog.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  13. #38
    Senior Member fuel0707's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConGrUenCy View Post
    The only time a GC rider (not a sprinter) might need an 11 is on a descent. They descend on closed roads and can take racing lines comfortably, without worrying about on-coming vehicles. We can't do that, and even if you do spin out, how often are you on the 11? Wouldn't you spend a lot more time on a more useful middle cog? If you spin out your 12, just tuck in and coast.
    I have 11-32 on one bike and 11-28 on my other. Being fairly flat around here, I usually only use the 11 on a few relatively steep downhills. The 28 and 32 have come in handy when on group rides and the pace gets really slow at some point. While shifting to the smaller chainring is a possibility, I like to stay in the 50 up front so that when the pace does pick up, I can just shift across the cassette.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niloc View Post
    11-32 is a huge spread on a road bike....
    As already noted, with 11 speeds it's not a big deal. I certainly feel no need for a triple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    As already noted, with 11 speeds it's not a big deal. I certainly feel no need for a triple.
    I'd rather have the more useful 15/16/17

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I'd suspect the gap wouldn't be as much of an issue on a 11-speed cassette. Mine is an 11-speed 11-32, with the next biggest cog being 28T. I believe it pretty much means a 10-speed 11-28 cassette with an extra large cog.
    Even with an 11-spd it will have wider gaps than my triple with a 9-spd. The triple also gets you better chainlines. And 11 speed is fidgety, less durable, and more expensive (original outlay plus the parts wear faster). IMHO.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
    I'd rather have the more useful 15/16/17
    Yep.

  18. #43
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niloc View Post
    Even with an 11-spd it will have wider gaps than my triple with a 9-spd. The triple also gets you better chainlines. And 11 speed is fidgety, less durable, and more expensive (original outlay plus the parts wear faster). IMHO.
    You said that 11-32 was a huge spread on a road bike. My point is that if it's an 11-speed 11-32, the spread isn't any worse than a 10-speed 11-28, which I believe is very common on road bikes. Or do you believe the 10-speed 11-28 is a huge spread as well?
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Quote Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
    I'd rather have the more useful 15/16/17
    With both my 11-28 and 11-32, when I'm riding in the mountains I'm either on the biggest cog or the smallest cog...never in the middle very much, haha. The 11-32 comes in handy when the grade goes upwards of 15% for 2+ miles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post

    Well, they had triples available...

    But this video of the Muro di Sormano climb in Italy has quotes from when the climb was included in the Giro di Lombardia in 1960. "In front, you have a 50 and a 42, behind, 17 19 23 24 26, because the climb demands a 42x26" That's the equivalent of a 34-21 low gear!

    The graphics on the road are cool. There's each meter of elevation gain, and quotes from the old racers.



    From wikipedia:
    The Muro di Sormano (English: Wall of Sormano) is a hill located in Sormano, Italy. This climb is famous as one of the most severe of any road cycling race, with an average gradient of 17% and a maximum of 25%.
    I don't remember very many road racing bikes in the late 80's early 90's spec'ed with triples. In fact, I don't remember any road racing bikes spec'ed with triples. Only touring bikes were spec'ed with triples at that time. Also, I don't remember cassettes having lower than a 23 either, even for entry level bikes like spec. sirrus and allez, or the trek 1200 and 1400.

    Bridgestone RB bikes were spec'ed with 52/40 and 13-23 in 1991. In 1994, RB's were still spec'ed with 12-23 and 13-23 cassettes.

    Here are bridgestone specs from that time:

    Bridgestone Bicycle Catalogue 1991-35

    Bridgestone Bicycles 1994 Catalogue page 73


    What must have happened in the past 20-25 years is that the cycling demographic must have shifted dramatically: the average rider is older, heavier, less fit, and more affluent.

    As I said before, riders were far more fit 25 years ago, probably at least 15 and maybe 20 lbs lighter on average, and probably a lot more active on average as well.

    Also, cyclists didn't have to be as wealthy, since the most expensive bikes tended to top out around $2500, the equivalent of under $5K today. Now, the most expensive bikes are $12K, even $13K. $6K to $8K bikes are no longer considered to be the highest end bikes.

    The cycling market must have shifted dramatically. I don't have firm evidence of this yet, although it would probably not be very difficult to prove.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roadandmountain View Post


    What must have happened in the past 20-25 years is that the cycling demographic must have shifted dramatically: the average rider is older, heavier, less fit, and more affluent.

    As I said before, riders were far more fit 25 years ago, probably at least 15 and maybe 20 lbs lighter on average, and probably a lot more active on average as well.

    Also, cyclists didn't have to be as wealthy, since the most expensive bikes tended to top out around $2500, the equivalent of under $5K today. Now, the most expensive bikes are $12K, even $13K. $6K to $8K bikes are no longer considered to be the highest end bikes.

    The cycling market must have shifted dramatically. I don't have firm evidence of this yet, although it would probably not be very difficult to prove.
    Actually, it's probably because of the technology to provide more speeds (11 vs 5) AND the ability to manufacture a better cassette in pie plate sizes.

    I mean, how would you lay out an 11-32 in a 5 speed? 11-16-22-27-32? If I recall, a when SRAM first came out with their big chain cassette cogs in their mtb cassettes, there was a lot of discussion about how they had figured out how to do this in such a large size and there was a flex issue (or something).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Actually, it's probably because of the technology to provide more speeds (11 vs 5) AND the ability to manufacture a better cassette in pie plate sizes.

    I mean, how would you lay out an 11-32 in a 5 speed? 11-16-22-27-32? If I recall, a when SRAM first came out with their big chain cassette cogs in their mtb cassettes, there was a lot of discussion about how they had figured out how to do this in such a large size and there was a flex issue (or something).
    I'm not referring to the 70's my friend. I'm talking about the late 80's early 90's as I've mentioned several times already. 7 and 8 speed cassettes were used at the time, not 5 speed. Check the bridgestone specs I've linked to: their gear ratios reflected the industry standard of the time.

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    Same issue with 7/8 speed. 11-32 into 7 cogs is about still an average of 3 tooth jumps. Not a particularly graceful progression. And the manufacturing issue is still germane if what SRAM claimed at the time is correct. 11 speed moves that to about an average of 2 teeth per jump which is really doable.

    J.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    You said that 11-32 was a huge spread on a road bike. My point is that if it's an 11-speed 11-32, the spread isn't any worse than a 10-speed 11-28, which I believe is very common on road bikes. Or do you believe the 10-speed 11-28 is a huge spread as well?
    Yes, for my tastes 10-spd 11-28 is a huge spread as well. On long rides with rollers and flats as well as hills, it's nice to have tight gearing in the middle where you do a lot of your pedaling. Shifting up or down a tooth or two in the rear to dial in your speed to your preferred cadence is useful. Helpful for maintaining even speeds in pacelines. The pros generally ride tight cassettes for this reason, and unlike us mere mortals, can power up the long climbs on a 39-4/23-5 or whatever. Being a mere mortal living in a mountainous locale, I use a triple to keep the tight gearing and still get up the hills. There isn't much you can't do with a 52/42/30 x 13-26. Ok a triple weighs a bit more than a double, but c'mon fart before your ride or something. It doesn't look as manly go-fast as a double which I suspect is the main reason they are not more popular. My cassette is 9-spd. If I went to 10-spd, and I see no need, but if I did I'd either stick with the 13-26 or maybe get a 12-25 and have even a hair tighter gearing than I have now.

  25. #50
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    I'm running SRAM Force 22 (34/50) with their WiFLi 11-32 cassette and rear derailleur. I really like the 32t cog for extended dirt-road climbs. Definitely no complaints with the setup.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

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