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Old 06-05-13, 10:16 AM   #1
Ltactics
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Gear to spin up hills?

Getting up the hills,this gear just doesn't cut it. http://montgomerycyclery.com/product...2-175167-1.htm Even at the lowest ring I find myself standing on very high grades. What is a good gear for climbing and at the same time having the gear for sprints and descents? Thanks.
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Old 06-05-13, 10:29 AM   #2
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A 34T x 28T is pretty low gear by most standards, but you can go a lot lower if needed... the limit is probably 22T front x 36T rear for all practical purposes, but that will require changing the cogset, crankset, and one or both derailleurs. If you have the budget for that level of rework, post and folks can advise.

Many with argue that replacing the crankset (or maybe just the chainrings) with compact one(s) will do well. Would agree with that. That path would sacrifice a bit of the high gearing but would achieve the low end improvement without having to replace a lot of stuff other that the chainrings.

/K
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Old 06-05-13, 10:55 AM   #3
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I had this bike and i thought the gearing was perfect for hills and flat.http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400863__400863 So which crankset would you recommend from my LBS http://montgomerycyclery.com/product...ranksets-1060/
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Old 06-05-13, 11:24 AM   #4
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So you had a 28-30 low gear and yes, you sure would find your new 34-28 gear a lot higher. My personal preference would be to go to a 105 triple with 52-39-26 in front and your current 11-28 in back. That would give you about the same gear-inches that you had before and a slightly closer ratio cassette than you had. You already have a compact crankset with a 110 BCD (bolt circle diameter). The smallest 110 BCD ring is a T.A. 33T, which would probably be worth going to. Then you go 11-34 or 12-34 in back to get back to similar gear inches to what you had. You will have to go to an MTB rear derailleur to shift this big cassette.

The downside to compact gearing is that one winds up shifting the front more frequently and then having to also shift the back. With an 11-34 or 12-34 in back, you'll be able to stay in the big ring more. The triple will be much nicer to ride, but will cost a lot more money. I'd try staying with the compact and just replacing the one chainring and cassette for now, though the 33T will shift better to a 50T big ring.
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Old 06-05-13, 11:30 AM   #5
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How expensive if i only change the front you think.
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Old 06-05-13, 11:59 AM   #6
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How expensive if i only change the front you think.
If you are talking about changing the small chainring, you probably can't. A 34-tooth ring is about the smallest that will fit that bike's BCD (Bolt Circle Diameter). You would need a different crank arm and probably front derailleur to go to something like a 26-tooth small ring.

Too bad you didn't get a triple or something in SRAM's WiFLi line. They come with up to a 11-32 cassette on the back.

I feel for you as I'm originally from Northern Kentucky. Some of your hills can be monster when climbing out of the Ohio River valley!
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Old 06-05-13, 12:23 PM   #7
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How long have you had the new bike?
I ask because before you go dropping $$ to get lower gears you should ride it for a while. You'll get stronger pretty quick and soon find yourself okay pulling the higher gear. 34x28 is already really low gearing. Force yourself to ride what you've got for a bit and spend more time meditating on the "the V". http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=unkIVvjZc9Y
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Old 06-05-13, 12:37 PM   #8
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Is it really low already? It is really hard even at the lowest gear to maintain a high cadence, comparable to my first bike. My first bike i had no problem at all with a high cadence. Been riding it for about 3 months and although i could always improve fitness i don't think that's the problem.
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Old 06-05-13, 12:58 PM   #9
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By road bike standards the 34/28 is already a very low gear.

A little lesson in gear math might help.

One popular way to calculate gearing is to use a system called gear inches... the lowest gearing you can get is usually around 20 and the highest gearing are usually in the 120's and even low 130's depending on applications.

Human engines are rather limited so the functional range is 20-100 with anything over that being gears used for descending, professional cyclists spin in the low to mid 90 gear inch range and save those tall gears for when the road points down.

Professional cyclists use ranges that are typically 50 to 125, tourists, utilitarian cyclists, and mountain bikers would use ranges from as low as 20 to around 110 because the extra low gear is needed for loaded climbs and really steep ascents and top speed is usually not what you see on the road. If you see people rolling around on hybrids they typically have a 21 to 105 gear inch range... much like a touring bicycle.

The range on your bicycle is 32 to 120 gear inches with the 32 being the low gear. Your bike actually comes with a decent set up for climbing compared to many other bikes that have racier set ups and those owners are constantly asking how they get a lower gear like yours.

It is sound advice that you need to ride more as at 3 months you are not as fit as you are going to be and might find that low gear is eventually too low... swapping the rear cassette for a wider range requires a new derailleur to handle the larger cogs (and a new chain) and if you were to install an x-34 cassette your low gear would drop 6 gear inches to 26.
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Old 06-05-13, 01:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ltactics View Post
Is it really low already? It is really hard even at the lowest gear to maintain a high cadence, comparable to my first bike. My first bike i had no problem at all with a high cadence. Been riding it for about 3 months and although i could always improve fitness i don't think that's the problem.
Your first bike had a 28 on the front and possibly something over 30-teeth on the back. Even if they were the same on the back, that drop of 6-teeth on the front is huge even considering your first bike had very fat 700x40 tires and was heavier.

About the only other thing to consider is dropping some weight. When i lose 20 lbs of fat, I can climb much, much better.
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Old 06-05-13, 01:12 PM   #11
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Only you know your strength/weight ratio and your level of aerobic conditioning. Get comfortable. Change it. Just changing down to a 33T from a 34T won't do much, but you can buy it here:
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/chainrings/110.html
or here:
http://harriscyclery.net/product/t.a...ition-3477.htm
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Old 06-05-13, 01:49 PM   #12
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I think you may be right. It just hurts that i might be that garbage at climbing lol. At 200 i probably should lose some weight. I can do a pretty decent cadence up most climbs, maybe it was this one climb, super steep and long that leads me to believe my gears suck. I didn't even finish that climb and turned back around lol. Then again that was when i first got the bike. Im sure i could eat it now. I still feel though that i could have kept going if i was on the diamondback. But i guess that gearing is abnormal for road racers.
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Old 06-05-13, 02:35 PM   #13
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If it makes you feel better, I'm physically incapable of standing and pedaling it seems, so at least I'm worse than you are

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Old 06-05-13, 02:38 PM   #14
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lol why?
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Old 06-05-13, 03:04 PM   #15
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I have used a 34x30 gear for races. Very hard climbing races, but races. I use a 34x26 or 34x27 low for the normal road races I do. I've used the same gearing for flat crits... I just don't use the small ring and large cogs.

Pros in the Giro use 30t and 32t cogs.

People have realized that they are faster when they have appropriate gearing. And the pros are doing harder climbs in races than they used to. But they are also spinning a higher rpm.
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Old 06-14-13, 07:25 AM   #16
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Keep at it, you'll get better. When I got my first road bike, I couldn't climb handicap ramps. I was at the bike shop to see about lower gearing when I overhear a 70 yr. old man say his 39-25 gear was a bit steep for him now; getting up Keel Mt. (1.5 mile, avg. 10.8% grade with 20% "fun" section) was a bit tough now. He wanted to try a compact crankset, the same thing that I had.

I tucked my tail between my legs and rode home.

I kept trying and working at climbing and now I can get up all the climbs around here. Slowly, but I make it.
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Old 06-14-13, 08:05 AM   #17
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You are doing the right thing, it is better to stand on a really steep hill.
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