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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 11-29-09, 10:08 PM   #1
jnbrown
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"Compact" gearing on a taAAndem?

I have been using a compact crankset on my single ever since they first came out and never looked back.
The 50-12 is a big enough gear for all the riding I do.
The 34-27 will get me up any hill even approaching 30%

Our current tandem has 52-42-30 front and 12-30 rear and I have never felt a need for a bigger gear.
Its rare that we spin out the 52-12 and at that speed (34 mph at 100 rpm) I don't need to pedal anymore.

So for the new tandem I am thinking 50-39-28 front and 11-28 rear.
This will actually give us a slightly bigger gear and same small gear.
The 50T will give us gears similar to our singles and will aid in front shifting.
Anybody else tried this?
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Old 11-30-09, 08:59 AM   #2
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I tried a similar setup, and didn't like the 19-22 jump in the middle of the 11-28 cassette (SRAM, 10-speed). So, we switched to an 11-26 cassette and a 26 tooth inner ring, giving us the same range but avoiding the big jump, and used the 11-28 cassette on another bike.
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Old 11-30-09, 10:16 AM   #3
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Shimano makes an 11-28 without the 19-22 jump:

11121314151719212428
It also adds the 14T that we do not currently have with the 12-30 9 speed.
I have noticed on our current bike that I don't like the 21-24 jump, but can't do much about that.
But I do think the 50T on front making those gears slightly lower will be good.
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Old 11-30-09, 10:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
I tried a similar setup, and didn't like the 19-22 jump in the middle of the 11-28 cassette (SRAM, 10-speed). So, we switched to an 11-26 cassette and a 26 tooth inner ring, giving us the same range but avoiding the big jump, and used the 11-28 cassette on another bike.
Chris, so are you using a 50T front chainring now?
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Old 11-30-09, 10:24 AM   #5
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This team likes the exhilaration of 54-12 on modest descents. When we get cooking in this gearing, involuntary, spontaneous "WoooHooooo's" and similar exclamations happen. The ever-present wheel-sucking singles rethink their compact cranks right about then, too.
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Old 11-30-09, 02:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
This team likes the exhilaration of 54-12 on modest descents. When we get cooking in this gearing, involuntary, spontaneous "WoooHooooo's" and similar exclamations happen. The ever-present wheel-sucking singles rethink their compact cranks right about then, too.
A 50-11 is actually a slightly bigger gear than 52-12
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Old 11-30-09, 04:25 PM   #7
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A 50-11 is actually a slightly bigger gear than 52-12
I meant to say 50-11 is actually a slightly bigger gear than 54-12
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Old 11-30-09, 05:38 PM   #8
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And I should have said our 54-11.
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Old 11-30-09, 05:47 PM   #9
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And I should have said our 54-11.
And I should have said our ambition is not to drop singles, although I understand you may want to.
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Old 11-30-09, 07:43 PM   #10
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Yes, we love our single bike friends as much as they love our draft. And they love it when we power the 54-11, and them, at high speed.
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Old 11-30-09, 08:50 PM   #11
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Yes, we love our single bike friends as much as they love our draft. And they love it when we power the 54-11, and them, at high speed.
Yep, but then they drop us going up the hills showing no compassion what so ever.
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Old 11-30-09, 09:35 PM   #12
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In a quest for hill-climbing gearing, we've run with a 50-40-26 and 11-32 for a couple of years (26" wheels/8-spd). Occasionally running out of gears downhill is not a problem.
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Old 11-30-09, 11:16 PM   #13
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We're running a 13-30 9-spd on our daVinci (13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30) with our (effectively) 24-36-48-60 chainrings. The 60-13 is high enough (35 mph) on the downhills. I really like the spacing on the cassette.
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Old 12-01-09, 09:02 AM   #14
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Chris, so are you using a 50T front chainring now?
No, we never have, I was giving advice about low gears and not about high gears. Our current top gear is 53-12 (because we are now using a 12-26 cassette) and we've managed to PEDAL this gear at above 45 mph, so I was in agreement with the OP that the 50-11 combination would be sufficient, and therefore didn't comment on this. Using a 50 tooth ring with an 11-26 cassette is probably a better combination (than a 53 tooth and 12-26) because it would require a shorter chain, and so the rear derailleur would not have to wrap as much chain in the lower gears, which could possible make the difference between needing a road and mountain rear derailleur.
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Old 12-01-09, 11:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
This team likes the exhilaration of 54-12 on modest descents. When we get cooking in this gearing, involuntary, spontaneous "WoooHooooo's" and similar exclamations happen. The ever-present wheel-sucking singles rethink their compact cranks right about then, too.
Given that a 50x11 is quite capable of getting you to 55mph+ assumming a decent spin, I'm doubting that a compact crank is going to be a limiting factor for the single in many situations.
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Old 12-01-09, 06:22 PM   #16
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Given that a 50x11 is quite capable of getting you to 55mph+ assumming a decent spin, I'm doubting that a compact crank is going to be a limiting factor for the single in many situations.
Hmmm. Can't argue the math. But the club-mates routinely complain that spin rate is the limit to keeping up with us on those roll-outs.
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Old 12-02-09, 06:23 AM   #17
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Hmmm. Can't argue the math. But the club-mates routinely complain that spin rate is the limit to keeping up with us on those roll-outs.
Tell them to practice pedaling at high cadences. I'm sure they can spin their legs fast enough, but it is more a matter of being able to put some power into the pedals when spinning very fast. I've found that practicing this a bit, even just by using a significantly lower gear than normal on the flat for a while and spinning the cranks faster than I normally would (I normally use a cadence of around 90 anyway, so I'm talking 100-120 cadence) made a huge difference for me on the downhills, suddenly I found that I could power the bike up to much higher speeds than before without changing any of my drivetrain and without getting any fitter, just more skilled in this aspect of riding.
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Old 12-02-09, 01:44 PM   #18
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Tell them to practice pedaling at high cadences. I'm sure they can spin their legs fast enough, but it is more a matter of being able to put some power into the pedals when spinning very fast. I've found that practicing this a bit, even just by using a significantly lower gear than normal on the flat for a while and spinning the cranks faster than I normally would (I normally use a cadence of around 90 anyway, so I'm talking 100-120 cadence) made a huge difference for me on the downhills, suddenly I found that I could power the bike up to much higher speeds than before without changing any of my drivetrain and without getting any fitter, just more skilled in this aspect of riding.
Once we get up to 35-40 MPH I don't feel a need to pedal. I would rather save myself for when I do need to pedal.
On some hills we would achieve that speed or higher without pedaling but by simply tucking into a more aero position.
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Old 12-03-09, 02:08 PM   #19
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Given that a 50x11 is quite capable of getting you to 55mph+ assumming a decent spin, I'm doubting that a compact crank is going to be a limiting factor for the single in many situations.
Yep, but not a 50x12.

I have a friend that always makes sure to bring either his 50x11 or 53x12 on certain routes, if riding with us on certain routes.

The times he brings the 50x12, he cannot stay in the draft a few roads we call "tandem roads". Think slight but long downhill, with sweeping curves that we can pedal through all but 1 or 2 of them.
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Old 12-03-09, 09:04 PM   #20
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Yep, but not a 50x12.

I have a friend that always makes sure to bring either his 50x11 or 53x12 on certain routes, if riding with us on certain routes.

The times he brings the 50x12, he cannot stay in the draft a few roads we call "tandem roads". Think slight but long downhill, with sweeping curves that we can pedal through all but 1 or 2 of them.
Bingo. This is what I was trying to say inarticulately, I guess. I have not surveyed the gearing on the singles, only recorded the exclamations, so perhaps they are the ones on 50x12?
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