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Thread: Chainring size

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    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    Chainring size

    Hello everyone !

    I have been thinking about this for quite some time now and I finally decided that I will upgrade my chainring .

    I have decided to purchase a Sugino Zen chainring because I really like how stiff it feels during a decent-speed cadence .

    The one thing I cannot decide is if I want a 50t or 51t ; being the college student I am , I cannot afford both .

    I am current running a 15t cog on my hub and I would like to be running in the low 90s anyways .

    I am also worried about having an odd/odd ratio , does that make a different from running and even/odd ratio ?

    Thank you for the help !
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Is this for street fixed gear use or training/racing?

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    Hi Carleton , thank you for your speedy response .

    This will be for training/racing purposes .
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PishPoshh View Post
    Hi Carleton , thank you for your speedy response .

    This will be for training/racing purposes .
    Sweet.

    Then you will likely get most use out of a 48t chairing as in:
    48/16 for warmup and training races
    48/15 for beginner racing
    49/15 for beginner racing
    50/15 for beginner and/or intermediate racing
    47/14 for intermediate racing
    48/14 for intermediate and/or advanced racing
    49/14 for advanced racing
    50/14 for advanced racing

    This is a common gear progression at our track for beginners. As you get stronger you will be able to push bigger gears. Notice how the 48 gets lots of use. If you already have a 48, I suggest buying in this order:

    1st Purchase: 48t + 16t + 15t
    2nd Purchase: 49t
    3rd Purchase: 50t
    4th Purchase: 47t + 14t

    Those gears will take you through about 2 seasons of racing with LOTS of gear combination possibilities.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    I'm not sure of your budget. Sugino Zen are nice, but expensive. Consider FSA Pro chainrings. They cost 1/2 of what Zen rings cost and are slightly heavier, but are very strong and round. They are used on bikes raced on a world class level.

    I hear good things about Blackspire, too. But, I don't have any personal experience with them.

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    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Sweet.

    Then you will likely get most use out of a 48t chairing as in:
    48/16 for warmup and training races
    48/15 for beginner racing
    49/15 for beginner racing
    50/15 for beginner and/or intermediate racing
    47/14 for intermediate racing
    48/14 for intermediate and/or advanced racing
    49/14 for advanced racing
    50/14 for advanced racing

    This is a common gear progression at our track for beginners. As you get stronger you will be able to push bigger gears. Notice how the 48 gets lots of use. If you already have a 48, I suggest buying in this order:

    1st Purchase: 48t + 16t + 15t
    2nd Purchase: 49t
    3rd Purchase: 50t
    4th Purchase: 47t + 14t

    Those gears will take you through about 2 seasons of racing with LOTS of gear combination possibilities.
    I guess I will be purchasing a 50t then , I already own pretty much the whole bottom half of that order .

    Thank you again Carleton , your advice is always helpful
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I'm not sure of your budget. Sugino Zen are nice, but expensive. Consider FSA Pro chainrings. They cost 1/2 of what Zen rings cost and are slightly heavier, but are very strong and round. They are used on bikes raced on a world class level.

    I hear good things about Blackspire, too. But, I don't have any personal experience with them.
    As for the chainring I think I will stay with the Sugino Zen , the FSA Pro is already in my arsenal !
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    My $.02 on this one is: when the elite guys are running 49x15 why should I do anything different? Former olympians, masters world record holders, blah blah blah. Biggest gear I ran at the Sandy Eggo track was a 50x15. 98% of the time I was in a 49x15 combo. Not going fast enough? Spin faster!

    I *have* all the rings, I just never use(d) em!

    Your track may vary...

    M

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gummee View Post
    My $.02 on this one is: when the elite guys are running 49x15 why should I do anything different? Former olympians, masters world record holders, blah blah blah. Biggest gear I ran at the Sandy Eggo track was a 50x15. 98% of the time I was in a 49x15 combo. Not going fast enough? Spin faster!

    I *have* all the rings, I just never use(d) em!

    Your track may vary...

    M
    Thank you for your input Gummee . Really enjoy using the 49x15 gearing but I will probably get the 50t so I have more options .

    As for the spinning , I agree with that one ! A philosophy I ride by
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    48x14 works wonders for me the few times I go to the track
    48x16 around the street

    Just curious what length are your cranks?
    2010 Jamis Sonik Track
    2011 Unknown LV1 Track
    2006 Cannondale Synapse

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    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    the few times you go to the track makes for a different style of racing than what is usualyl discussed here. There is nothing wrong with not racing seriously, or anything, but here its a bit more serious, so there is more minor detail taken in.

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    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the input everyone !

    Kayce , I completely understand what you are talking about , I been to my local track a couple of times and it has made me want to compete more seriously . Sometimes there are days where I want to see how hard I can push it while other days I want to see if I can even hang with a warm up gear haha .

    Canemaster , I use 165mm length crankarms and I use 48x15-6 on the streets while I train and commute , really depends what I am doing .
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PishPoshh View Post
    Thank you for all the input everyone !

    Kayce , I completely understand what you are talking about , I been to my local track a couple of times and it has made me want to compete more seriously . Sometimes there are days where I want to see how hard I can push it while other days I want to see if I can even hang with a warm up gear haha .

    Canemaster , I use 165mm length crankarms and I use 48x15-6 on the streets while I train and commute , really depends what I am doing .
    Man, if you've only been to the track a couple of times, you certainly don't need a complete kit of gears. You simply won't use them. 48/16 and 48/15 is all you need. This is sort of like having 4 tennis racquets when you've only been to the tennis courts a few times.

    People change gears to help achieve a training effect by either choosing gears under or over a normal gear for the situation. But, going every now and then simply won't warrant such. Changing gears now simply won't do you any good. You haven't established any optimal cadence or torque ranges for yourself.

    BUT, if you intend to start training regularly (by "regularly" I mean 3-5 times a week) and maybe racing, then you will likely get use out of your gears. Just remember, you still won't start progressing off of the 48/15 for quite a while. Maybe a month or two...and that's assuming you go a few times a week.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PishPoshh View Post
    Canemaster , I use 165mm length crankarms and I use 48x15-6 on the streets while I train and commute , really depends what I am doing .
    48/15 or 48/16 on the streets is nuts. It's unsafe, difficult to modulate, and unnecessarily hard on the knees during starts and stops. 48/18 tops.

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    I think I tried a 51x15 in one of the A points races at the end of the nite one Tuesday evening. While I could go a bit faster, it took me too long to get there. Net result: fail.

    'Course everybody's a bit different. (and I'm a gear *****! If one is good, then two is better!)

    M

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    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Points races are the hardest for me to find a gearing for, there is so much going on through the race I am always playing around and not liking any of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    Points races are the hardest for me to find a gearing for, there is so much going on through the race I am always playing around and not liking any of them.
    I know whatcha mean. There were some nites where I'd be thinking 'slow down or speed up! Pick one!!'

    Course, that's why its 'racing' and not 'JRA'

    M

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    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    I am really glad there are people like you guys who are willing to help novices such as myself .

    Carleton , I totally get your reference about the tennis racquets , I am an avid badminton player so I have a few racquets and I do not understand why people need so many different (even expensive) ones if the are only going to casually play .

    My reason for gearing up is because I have been running 48x15 quite some time now (over a year) and train at least three times a week . I usually practice my different speeds of my cadence in a closed off circuit-like pavement near my home ; it is not much of a velodrome but its a great practice area . I hold some local races in my community there sometimes and every since then I really wanted to visit my nearest track . Living now in SF my local track is much farther so I don't get to see it often but when I am there I do enjoy myself .

    The gearing I am currently using at the moment is fairly easy to push now and my endurance to keep it steady is I would say is pretty good too . When I am on the track I feel like I am over-spinning ? I have no idea of that makes sense ; like I know I can go faster and I am not struggling but people end up passing me with a slower cadence , maybe they just have a much bigger gear ?

    I am so sorry for all the questions everyone .
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

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    Senior Member BrainInAJar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PishPoshh View Post
    The gearing I am currently using at the moment is fairly easy to push now and my endurance to keep it steady is I would say is pretty good too . When I am on the track I feel like I am over-spinning ? I have no idea of that makes sense ; like I know I can go faster and I am not struggling but people end up passing me with a slower cadence , maybe they just have a much bigger gear ?
    That means that they're running a bigger gear. Bigger gear = faster at lower cadence but, at the expense of being able to attack or respond as quickly. If you're spinning out at 86 gear inches, your cheapest & best bet is to train to spin quicker.

    I have no idea what the track is like at Hellyer, but at Burnaby 86.4 gear inches ( 48x15 ) or 88.6 ( 49x15 ) are pretty much perfect gears for most. You can go fast without spinning out, and you can still attack without burning your legs out.

    Here, have an article on the matter: http://thefixedgear.wordpress.com/20...k-bike-part-4/

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    Its very interesting to see what others ride at other tracks. It'd be interesting to also see what kind of level people are racing these gears at. From my own experience, you all seem to run really, really tiny gears!

    About 90% of the time I'm in 96 inches (50/14). I might go up for a pursuit or team pursuit (98, 51/14) or a Kierin (100, 52/14). Sometimes I'll go down for points (94, 49/14), or if they have one lap standing start races I might drop into the high 80's. The majority of the guys I race against other than the odd junior on a restricted gear would generally race within 2" either way of me.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gummee View Post
    I know whatcha mean. There were some nites where I'd be thinking 'slow down or speed up! Pick one!!'

    Course, that's why its 'racing' and not 'JRA'

    M
    This is why learning to modulate with RPMs is the key to doing well in such races. You can't change gears during the race, but you can learn to spin faster (100, 110, 120, 130, 140 RPMs)

    Quote Originally Posted by sideshow_bob View Post
    Its very interesting to see what others ride at other tracks. It'd be interesting to also see what kind of level people are racing these gears at. From my own experience, you all seem to run really, really tiny gears!

    About 90% of the time I'm in 96 inches (50/14). I might go up for a pursuit or team pursuit (98, 51/14) or a Kierin (100, 52/14). Sometimes I'll go down for points (94, 49/14), or if they have one lap standing start races I might drop into the high 80's. The majority of the guys I race against other than the odd junior on a restricted gear would generally race within 2" either way of me.
    Gearing is often dictated by the track surface and dimensions. Gearing for the same event on a 188M track would be much lower than when raced on a 333 or 400M track. Then there is cement vs tarmac vs wood. Oh, then there is track smoothness vs humpy/bumpy.

    Racers will have their favorite gear for an event then go up or down 1 or 2 inches (or more) to race on a different track.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PishPoshh View Post
    I am really glad there are people like you guys who are willing to help novices such as myself .

    Carleton , I totally get your reference about the tennis racquets , I am an avid badminton player so I have a few racquets and I do not understand why people need so many different (even expensive) ones if the are only going to casually play .

    My reason for gearing up is because I have been running 48x15 quite some time now (over a year) and train at least three times a week . I usually practice my different speeds of my cadence in a closed off circuit-like pavement near my home ; it is not much of a velodrome but its a great practice area . I hold some local races in my community there sometimes and every since then I really wanted to visit my nearest track . Living now in SF my local track is much farther so I don't get to see it often but when I am there I do enjoy myself .

    The gearing I am currently using at the moment is fairly easy to push now and my endurance to keep it steady is I would say is pretty good too . When I am on the track I feel like I am over-spinning ? I have no idea of that makes sense ; like I know I can go faster and I am not struggling but people end up passing me with a slower cadence , maybe they just have a much bigger gear ?

    I am so sorry for all the questions everyone .
    Rollers and/or an indoor trainer will help. Also, a road bike will help tremendously. You don't need to be on a track bike to train to race on the track. In fact, if you had a coach he/she would have you do a significant amount of training using your road bike even if you lived next door to a track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Gearing is often dictated by the track surface and dimensions. Gearing for the same event on a 188M track would be much lower than when raced on a 333 or 400M track. Then there is cement vs tarmac vs wood. Oh, then there is track smoothness vs humpy/bumpy.
    Sure I understand all that Carleton, I've raced a lot - Elite Cat1, Masters Nationals, Masters Worlds. I'm regularly on a variety of tracks, flat hot mix 440m, banked concrete 333m, wood 250m and while my gears do change an inch or two depending - it still seems a long way from what a lot of the guys here are talking about as being 'normal' ie in the high 80's.

    Power is power, and physiologically in a race you can develop the same required wattage by either spinning faster on a small gear, or spinning slower on a bigger gear. Generally the former over taxes your aerobic capacity, the latter your lactate capacity. So in short races say a match sprint I can see how the sprinters mantra of spinning faster is a good thing. But in say a 20km scratch race that's rolling along at around 50km/h - at some point spinning a 86" gear at 130+ rpm your lungs will say no more.

    There's no point to any of this, I'm just making an interesting observation that it seems a lot of guys are rolling on what in my experience are comparatively really small gears. If that's working for them then that's all that matters, but as per my comment I'd be curious to match those numbers up to the level of racing they are doing as I think it'd be interesting to see.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideshow_bob View Post
    Sure I understand all that Carleton, I've raced a lot - Elite Cat1, Masters Nationals, Masters Worlds. I'm regularly on a variety of tracks, flat hot mix 440m, banked concrete 333m, wood 250m and while my gears do change an inch or two depending - it still seems a long way from what a lot of the guys here are talking about as being 'normal' ie in the high 80's.

    Power is power, and physiologically in a race you can develop the same required wattage by either spinning faster on a small gear, or spinning slower on a bigger gear. Generally the former over taxes your aerobic capacity, the latter your lactate capacity. So in short races say a match sprint I can see how the sprinters mantra of spinning faster is a good thing. But in say a 20km scratch race that's rolling along at around 50km/h - at some point spinning a 86" gear at 130+ rpm your lungs will say no more.

    There's no point to any of this, I'm just making an interesting observation that it seems a lot of guys are rolling on what in my experience are comparatively really small gears. If that's working for them then that's all that matters, but as per my comment I'd be curious to match those numbers up to the level of racing they are doing as I think it'd be interesting to see.
    At DLV in Atlanta, a common points race gear for the B category will be around 90-92". For the A category 92-94". Of course, there are those that can push higher.

    DLV is the home track to Dan Holt (2010 & 2011 Elite Points Race Champ). I think he raced a much higher gear in LA for elites than he uses at DLV. I think he geared up based on the faster surface, the faster field, and adrenalin

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    At DLV in Atlanta, a common points race gear for the B category will be around 90-92". For the A category 92-94". Of course, there are those that can push higher.
    Ahh ... that sounds much closer to what I experience.

    For me depending on the field 94-96 in a points race is pretty on the money.

    I guy here I race a bit just broke the hour record for MMAS3 last weekend. 102" ~100rpm for the hour at give or take 47.5km/h. 102"???

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