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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-18-14, 08:33 PM   #1
laf
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50-34 with 11-32

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
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Old 05-18-14, 08:50 PM   #2
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How much are you willing to suffer for it?

Seriously, it's not about the gear (as has always been said). Get stronger.
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Old 05-18-14, 09:09 PM   #3
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I have a friend here in Utah who is a strong rider and just installed an 11/32 on his compact bike. He said that on some of the long climbs in our area he would rather keep his cadence high than muscling through the steep grades (9-14%). I'm not an exceptionally strong climber and I ride an 11/28 on a compact bike. I recently rode Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird (penultimate stage of Tour of Utah - final climb) which includes about 4.5 miles of constant 9-12% grades and found I could only maintain a cadence of 55-60. The 32 cog would have been nice on that ride.
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Old 05-18-14, 09:12 PM   #4
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25%
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Old 05-18-14, 09:16 PM   #5
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This is an interesting topic. I'm planning on participating in my first organized ride on Memorial Day. It is a 40-mile involving 7 steep hills (a total of 3,000-ft elevation). My bike has a 50/34 crank and 11-32 sprockets. I've never had to use the 32T cog on the hills I ride around here. Let's see what happens...
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Old 05-18-14, 09:31 PM   #6
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Hi, what grade can we climb whitout getting out of the saddle with the 50-34/11-32 combo ?

Thanks
Who is this "we" person?

You're welcome.!
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Old 05-18-14, 09:36 PM   #7
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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 do a route a few times a week that has a 1/2 mile climb @ 14%.. I do it but it ain't easy.. Always sitting in the saddle, never out... My best time up it is just under 4 minutes for the climb (3:58) I think..

My total route that this specific climb is on is 42 miles and a total of 1200 feet in elevation gained.. That 1/2 mile is a killer though..

I'm old (pushing 50) and probably not in the shape that I want to be in however..

Last edited by raqball; 05-19-14 at 03:51 PM. Reason: fix my times lol
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Old 05-18-14, 09:36 PM   #8
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I've been bike shopping the last few weeks and have been surprised by the number of bikes that are spec'd with compact chainrings and 11-32 cassettes. When I finally pull the trigger, if the bike has an 11-32, I'm going to ask them to swap it for an 11-28.
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Old 05-18-14, 09:45 PM   #9
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I do a route a few times a week that has a 1/2 mile climb @ 14%.. I do it but it ain't easy.. Always sitting in the saddle, never out... My best time up it is just under 6 minutes for the climb (5:58) I think..

My total route that this specific climb is on is 42 miles and a total of 1200 feet in elevation gained.. That 1/2 mile is a killer though..

I'm old (pushing 50) and probably not in the shape that I want to be in however..
hat size?
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Old 05-18-14, 09:46 PM   #10
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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?
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Old 05-18-14, 09:49 PM   #11
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hat size?
Hat like in for my head? No clue LOL..
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Old 05-18-14, 10:05 PM   #12
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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?
Same thing they do now if they buy a bike with inappropriate gearing - change it to something more appropriate. Yes, some bikes came with the gears you mention, but plenty came with triples in front (26t wasn't uncommon as a 'granny' gear) and large cogs on 5 and 6-speed freewheels were readily available as well (Suntour's went up to 38t).
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Old 05-18-14, 10:10 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 05-18-14, 10:21 PM   #14
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Same thing they do now if they buy a bike with inappropriate gearing - change it to something more appropriate. Yes, some bikes came with the gears you mention, but plenty came with triples in front (26t wasn't uncommon as a 'granny' gear) and large cogs on 5 and 6-speed freewheels were readily available as well (Suntour's went up to 38t).
Or maybe they just kept the gearing and got stronger? That's what I did.

I am referring to 'racing bikes' only of course, but I don't recall road bikes being spec'ed with anything lower than a 42/25 25 years ago when I started getting interested in bicycling. Even 12-21 was quite common when 7 speed cassettes were the norm.

Back then, I don't remember seeing heavy cyclists, at least not riding 'nice bikes' on hills. They were all quite fit from what I could tell. A lot of riders were lighter than I was, and I was under 150 lbs.

All I'm saying is that the cycling demographic must have shifted quite drastically over the past 25 years as the cost of bicycles at least on the high end, has gone through the roof.
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Old 05-18-14, 10:54 PM   #15
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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
The problem with your question is "normal" means many different things to different people. It also depends on the terrain people are doing. Long sustained climbs? You can always muscle through really short steep grades.

if you were asking me... with a 50-34 and a 32T on rear. I would prob only use that on 16%+ grades.
For sustained climbs (1 mile +)
34 x 25t on a 6-9% grade.
34 x 28t on a 9-15%ish grade.
once I hit 17-20% grades... I'm probably getting out of my saddle with a 28t. I can't sustain spinning at those grades for long.

I do a lot hill climbs in the area where I climb about 2000+ ft over 4-5 miles. Most of the sections will have 2 miles of 10% average grade.
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Old 05-18-14, 11:05 PM   #16
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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.
might want the 11 for the downhill. I'm currently running a 50-34 with a 12-28. On the downhills, I spinout with my 50 x 12t.

120rpms w/ 50x12T... puts me at about 39mph. I had a hard time keeping up with my friends on the downhills. They are running compact with 50x11t.

I used to run a 11-28t... but I don't like the big gaps. So I went with 12-28t. I'd rather sacrifice the top end (11T) and have my climbing gear (28T) with smaller gaps. I have a high cadence, so large gaps between gears really bugs. me.

I'm running the DA 12-28 (12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-28). I'm curious why shimano doesn't offer ultegra starting with 12t
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Old 05-18-14, 11:07 PM   #17
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I've been bike shopping the last few weeks and have been surprised by the number of bikes that are spec'd with compact chainrings and 11-32 cassettes. When I finally pull the trigger, if the bike has an 11-32, I'm going to ask them to swap it for an 11-28.
Why?

I have only ridden 50/34 11/32 for road so I don't have experience with anything else. I do a lot of climbing so I appreciate the 34/32 sometimes
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Old 05-18-14, 11:09 PM   #18
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might want the 11 for the downhill. I'm currently running a 50-34 with a 12-28. On the downhills, I spinout with my 50 x 12t.

120rpms w/ 50x12T... puts me at about 39mph. I had a hard time keeping up with my friends on the downhills. They are running compact with 50x11t.

I used to run a 11-28t... but I don't like the big gaps. So I went with 12-28t. I'd rather sacrifice the top end (11T) and have my climbing gear (28T) with smaller gaps. I have a high cadence, so large gaps between gears really bugs. me.
hmm. I spin out with 50/11. Sometimes I want 53 or something
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Old 05-18-14, 11:11 PM   #19
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without getting out of the saddle.. probably 15% regardless of slope sometimes I like to get out of saddle to stretch .
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Old 05-18-14, 11:17 PM   #20
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hmm. I spin out with 50/11. Sometimes I want 53 or something
At what RPM do you spin out? for me... it's about 120rpm. any faster... and it's not productive for me.

If I get strong enough... I'll swap to a 11-25. Just depends if I can get away without having a 28T for the hills.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:49 AM   #21
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hmm. I spin out with 50/11. Sometimes I want 53 or something
What kind of hills are you spinning out with a 50/11? Must be very slight like 1-2%. It's very hard to drop someone on a straight downhill regardless of what gearing they have. It takes so much more power for the rider in front that a rider drafting doesn't have to do much work.
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Old 05-19-14, 01:20 AM   #22
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I ride the OP's proposed gearing on my Roubaix. Climbing is my thing and while I can't pin a grade % where I stand up, because that's just an odd question anyway, I can report that if you've got that gearing you can go climb you some hills.

But what's up with this whole "without standing" thing? Are you guys nucking futs? Standing is the best part of climbing! Feels so goooood.....
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Old 05-19-14, 07:27 AM   #23
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It's impossible to answer this question specifically, unless we specify the weight and power output of this "normal person"

However, its not difficult to calculate the power out put necessary. 34/32 at 50rpm (about as low as you'd want to seated) is right at 4mph.

For a combined rider/bike weight of 180lbs, it takes 222 watts to do 4mph up a 15% grade. 292 watts for a 20% grade.

I would say that most "normal" somewhat trained recreational riders can put out 222 watts for at least a few minutes, and likey 292 watts for a short burst.

It would be a stretch for many average recreational riders to put out that sort of wattage for an extended, hour long climb.

So, I'd say your "normal person" could likey do 10% grades for extended climbs, 15% grades for shorter climbs, and could manage short walls of 20%.

All depends on the w/kg we assign this "normal person"
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Old 05-19-14, 07:46 AM   #24
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I ride the OP's proposed gearing on my Roubaix. Climbing is my thing and while I can't pin a grade % where I stand up, because that's just an odd question anyway, I can report that if you've got that gearing you can go climb you some hills.

But what's up with this whole "without standing" thing? Are you guys nucking futs? Standing is the best part of climbing! Feels so goooood.....
Yes!
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Old 05-19-14, 07:58 AM   #25
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might want the 11 for the downhill. I'm currently running a 50-34 with a 12-28. On the downhills, I spinout with my 50 x 12t.

120rpms w/ 50x12T... puts me at about 39mph. I had a hard time keeping up with my friends on the downhills. They are running compact with 50x11t.

I used to run a 11-28t... but I don't like the big gaps. So I went with 12-28t. I'd rather sacrifice the top end (11T) and have my climbing gear (28T) with smaller gaps. I have a high cadence, so large gaps between gears really bugs. me.

I'm running the DA 12-28 (12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-28). I'm curious why shimano doesn't offer ultegra starting with 12t
I think his point is that the person that needs a 34X32 low gear probably isn't probably riding with a group that that is spinning out a 50x12 and at that point would be better off coasting in a tucked position.
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