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Old 09-04-10, 09:59 PM   #1
jmX
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Compact crankset ok for OC/LA area hill climbs?

I've been looking at road bikes and it seems like almost every bike on the showroom floors has a compact crank, 50-34. On my hybrid, I do find myself using the lowest gear on the '28' ring of my 48/38/28 crank on rare occasion.

For some ride like GMR, or century rides with 10k of elevation gain, will a compact crank be ok?

90% of the time I'm just zipping around the SART, but I do santiago canyon once a week and would like to be able to do moderately difficult century rides around the state. Opinions?
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Old 09-05-10, 07:14 AM   #2
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I have a 50/34 (with 12-25 on the rear) and have ridden GMR a couple of times and Chantry Flats and up and down hills around the Rose Bowl like Lida and St. Catherine's and Chevy Chase and it's certainly workable. I've thought about changing the rear to a SRAM 11-28 and may do so before I ride Levi's Gran Fondo in October, but that's 8500' of climbing in a day. I did 7500' last weekend (Chantry + GMR/GRR) and it wasn't my legs that hurt...
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Old 09-05-10, 04:57 PM   #3
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I ride a compact. I wouldn't say it's needed on GMR, but it's nice to have if you don't want to hammer up the entire mountain. There are also plenty of hills far steeper than that which a compact is very useful on.
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Old 09-05-10, 05:56 PM   #4
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No problem in LA or OC with a compact. That's what I have on my CAAD9 and it's fine for any climb I've done in the past six months. No need for a triple.
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Old 09-06-10, 07:03 PM   #5
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Ok, well I ended up ordering a 50/34 with an 11-28 cassette. It felt like it might be geared fine for my purposes on the test ride. I'll find out in a month or so when the bike shows up.

Interesting to see how different the road bike feels from my 45lb loaded hybrid.
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Old 09-08-10, 01:11 PM   #6
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I have a regular 53/39 and 11-25 and I'm changing to compact because I can't make it up those hills like GMR and La Tuna Canyon.
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Old 09-08-10, 02:12 PM   #7
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Like in any other gearing choices, whether you need a compact or not depends on your fitness level.
For the average recreational ride, compact cranksets are a good thing.
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