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Benefits of getting rid of the compact crankset for upcoming racing season

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Benefits of getting rid of the compact crankset for upcoming racing season

Old 01-10-12, 01:46 PM
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JAX_11
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Benefits of getting rid of the compact crankset for upcoming racing season

Building my second bike up and when I first started cycling in April of last year my bike came with a compact 50/34.. What if any are the benefits of going to a standard 53/39 on the new bike? If I stayed with the compact I would run a 11/23 or 11/21 cassette & if I went standard I'd go with a 12/25. currently I run a 12/25 on the compact currently and hate it when I go for more gear and there isnt any. Would It make sense to stay compact and opt for a straight block 11/23 or even 11/23 for racing? Yes It is Florida. Bring on the Big mountains in Florida jokes.

Okay heres our big mountain passes

Acosta_Bridge_from_Warren_Bridge_2.jpg

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Old 01-10-12, 01:54 PM
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Can I have a show of hands here? Who all think it's time JAX takes a vacation?
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Old 01-10-12, 01:55 PM
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It's not going to make a big difference either way. If you want to take the bike to North Georgia for Six Gap, or things like that a compact is nice. Otherwise, I think the significant majority of people around here race on a 53/39.

Just cruising around the compact can give you an awkward cross over point, which you avoid with the standard crank.

BTW 50x 12 is plenty of gear on flat ground.

FWIW, I use a 53/39 11-23. There is nothing in Florida, including Sugar Loaf that you need lower than 39/23.

If you're keeping the old bike, you might want to consider staying with cranks that use the same BB. That way you can use a standard crank on the new bike, but swap out the compact if you want to head to the Hills.
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Old 01-10-12, 02:27 PM
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53/39 + 11-23 is enough for you. if not, it will be after you ride it for a while.

btw, the 50-11 combo is a bigger gear ratio than 53-12.
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Old 01-10-12, 02:34 PM
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A lighter wallet
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Old 01-10-12, 02:44 PM
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You know compact cranks will turn you into a girl, right? Ride one for too long and won't be going to monster truck races any more, you'll be going antiquing with your wife and liking it.
Sell the compact before it's too late.
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Old 01-10-12, 02:45 PM
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cassettes are usually cheaper than cranks.
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Old 01-10-12, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post

Just cruising around the compact can give you an awkward cross over point, which you avoid with the standard crank.

.
What do you mean by cross over point? i have rode nothing but the 50-34 with a 12-25 so I probally wouldn't know what you talking about with the crossover point. I'm saying that when things get fast or downhill with the 50-12 I'm flat spinning to fast where now that my knees are in better shape I want to be able to mash harder and spin less. I really don't know why I ask stuff on here because i get the same stupid remarks about money and crap but then you look and see these people rolling around on 10k+ bikes. I'm not my stuff is moderatly priced equipment. I am really confused because I though this is where you come to get answers about racing setups and such.
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Old 01-10-12, 03:09 PM
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My comment on price was that you can get a higher top end gear (120 vs 115 or so) by going with 50x11 rather than 53x12 and it should cost you less. So you save money and have a higher top end gear. Now if you don't like your crankset, by all means replace that, it just seems that you can do almost the same just by replacing the cassette. Sure the gearing won't be as tight, but for me, that'd be enough.
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Old 01-10-12, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JAX_11 View Post
What do you mean by cross over point? i have rode nothing but the 50-34 with a 12-25 so I probally wouldn't know what you talking about with the crossover point. I'm saying that when things get fast or downhill with the 50-12 I'm flat spinning to fast where now that my knees are in better shape I want to be able to mash harder and spin less. I really don't know why I ask stuff on here because i get the same stupid remarks about money and crap but then you look and see these people rolling around on 10k+ bikes. I'm not my stuff is moderatly priced equipment. I am really confused because I though this is where you come to get answers about racing setups and such.
When you think about gearing choices, the first thing you should do is to map out the two choices.

Use this page:
http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Map out your two choices (or more) on two (or more) different browser windows. Examine what you have.

Ask questions after that.

If you get attitude on a question you ask, it's probably because it appears you haven't taken any time to think about it yourself before you asked it here.

If you've agonized for hours over the two gear charts and their differences, it's a different story.
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Old 01-10-12, 04:07 PM
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I've spent the last 6 months looking at this crap. The last time o asked this question all I got was harassment about "Leroy ride what you have " or some other smart arse comments. I have a genuine question that because im not some cat 1/2 roderick don't get any respect. If I go to standard crank is it gonna affect me. Is it gonna feel different harder or difficult to adapt to. If I stay with compact when I get in the upper categories am I gonna be at a disadvantages. I got a smart comment once that no one racing cat 3 is on a compact. My friend went to a compact for 6 gap and had problems getting used to spinning. So am I gonna have problems when im going the same speed but spinning slower? No one want to answer. They just wanna give ne crap just like when I asked about wheels.

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Old 01-10-12, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JAX_11 View Post
I've spent the last 6 months looking at this crap. The last time o asked this question all I got was harassment about "Leroy ride what you have " or some other smart arse comments. I have a genuine question that because im not some cat 1/2 roderick don't get any respect. If I go to standard crank is it gonna affect me. Is it gonna feel different harder or difficult to adapt to. If I stay with compact when I get in the upper categories am I gonna be at a disadvantages. I got a smart comment once that no one racing cat 3 is on a compact. My friend went to a compact for 6 gap and had problems getting used to spinning. So am I gonna have problems when im going the same speed but spinning slower? No one want to answer. They just wanna give ne crap just like when I asked about wheels.
Hey James. I think most people are giving you flak because you're agonising over what's really a pretty trivial issue.

However, here's some specific answers:

1. "If I go to standard crank is it gonna affect me?" -- Probably not, but it depends on the cassette. A compact with an 11-21/11-23 cassette is pretty comparable to a standard with a 12-23/12-25 with the exception that the 50x11 is a taller gear.

2. "If I stay with a compact, when I get in the upper categories am I gonna be at a disadvantage?" -- Really, that depends on you; some people can just spin with no problems, others can't. Some people are fine on compacts, I know a couple of guys that won state championship jerseys last year on a 50/36 with an 11-21 cassette. I know other people who did fine racing compacts in the 3s. And EVERY SINGLE JUNIOR is on reduced gearing, including guys who are WINNING pro/1/2 races as juniors (guys like Jos Chalmers). Heck, the tallest gears juniors can run are basically 53x15, 52x14, and 50x13, which are much easier gears than you have. But I wouldn't worry about buying the stuff you want for racing p/1/2 or cat3 today.

3. "So am I gonna have problems when I'm going the same speed but spinning slower?" -- Well, this depends on you. If you can spin, you'll be fine.

Honestly.. The question I'd be wrestling with more isn't the one about chainring size, but the one about crank length...

Here's some info on junior gears...

http://www.mnjrc.com/junior-gearing.html

http://www.teampriorityhealth.com/2011/03/junior-gears/
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Old 01-10-12, 04:30 PM
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calm down

ride your bike

You really are "over thinking" this.

I am "local" and we will meet face-to-face.

I'll say the same thing in person, but I might buy you a beer first.
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Old 01-10-12, 04:43 PM
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Only way to really tell is to ride it and get the experience. That way when you are a Cat3, you can speak from experience. If you really want to know, go to a standard and give yourself some time to get used to it. If you don't like it, sell it and go back to a compact. Some people swear by compacts, others by standard. There's no right or wrong answer - it's all about how it feels for you.
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Old 01-10-12, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
...
Honestly.. The question I'd be wrestling with more isn't the one about chainring size, but the one about crank length...
I was going to suggest the same thing.

JAX whatever you do, don't start thinking about crank length. If you start researching crank length in relation to your overall height, leg size, Femur length, Tibia length, average cadence, bike position, etc..., then add in your angst about standard vs. compact, your head might explode.

In all honesty though it's one of the few equipment changes that can really make a difference in performance. But please don't start thinking about it...
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Old 01-10-12, 06:31 PM
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One final addendum. I rode a compact for a season and loved it. The only reason I went back to a standard was there wasn't a compact available when I bought my quarq. If money was no object, I'd move my standard quarq over to my TT rig and dedicate it to that, and buy a compact quarq for my road bike.
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Old 01-10-12, 06:38 PM
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My only stumbling block for a standard was hills. I'm still in the "getting used to it" phase, so I still don't know how it's going to work out. With a previous compact low gear of 34/26, I'd need something like a 39/29 to be equivalent. We'll see if not having that low a gear just helps me htfu on hills or if I just fall over from pedaling so slowly.
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Old 01-10-12, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
3. "So am I gonna have problems when I'm going the same speed but spinning slower?" -- Well, this depends on you. If you can spin, you'll be fine.
Not to change the thread completely, but a lot of the gearing question is up to your self selected cadence. A guy I ride with over here likes to ride either a 54/42 or 53/39 with 175 crank arms. He is a climber and can beat my fat arse up the hills. Yes he "mashes" (75-80 cadence). Yes it works for him.

I'm pretty moderate and ride a 53/39 with an 11-26 in the back. I'm contemplating buying a 12-27 as my cadence has progressed and I spin more these days. Yes I ride it in the mountains. No I'm not that good.
I do love the smaller jumps on the standard though. The difference between two gears, say 53/19 and 53/17 is smaller than it would be on the 50/19 and 50/17. I suppose I appreciate the difference in pacelines and in crits, curse the difference in the mountains.
Neither makes or breaks my day. Standard frankly makes me feel cooler.

As knusf said, the crank arm difference is what I'm really picky about. I love my 172.5s, and would hate to ride anything else on my road bike (think lever arm). My commuter has 170s on it and it makes a difference to me when standing to climb.
edit: and I happened upon my crank arm length with a bike purchase.
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Old 01-10-12, 09:13 PM
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I like the 53/39 x 12-25 combo personally, and we have hills here.

Then again I'm not that fast up said hills.. but I don't think it's because of the gearing, it's just me.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JAX_11 View Post
I've spent the last 6 months looking at this crap. The last time o asked this question all I got was harassment about "Leroy ride what you have " or some other smart arse comments. I have a genuine question that because im not some cat 1/2 roderick don't get any respect. If I go to standard crank is it gonna affect me. Is it gonna feel different harder or difficult to adapt to. If I stay with compact when I get in the upper categories am I gonna be at a disadvantages. I got a smart comment once that no one racing cat 3 is on a compact. My friend went to a compact for 6 gap and had problems getting used to spinning. So am I gonna have problems when im going the same speed but spinning slower? No one want to answer. They just wanna give ne crap just like when I asked about wheels.
Standard crank - what's the difference between a standard and compact? BCD.

What effect does BCD have? It affects the smallest chainring you can mount.

A 110 mm BCD (compact) can accept a 34T ring. A 130 mm BCD (standard, Shimano/SRAM) can accept a 38T. A 135 mm BCD (Campy, new) can take a 39T. A 144 mm BCD (track, old Campy/Suntour, mainly a fixie thing now) can take a 41T.

So the question isn't "will compact affect me" it's figuring out if going from a 34 to a 38 or 39 will affect you, or going from a 50 to 53 etc etc.

When you ride what's the lowest gear you use regularly? What's the lowest gear you use "in emergencies" (you bonked, there's a massive hill, etc). If you go from a compact (assuming 34T ring) to a 130 mm BCD (assuming 39T ring) what's the difference in gear? What is your 34x25 (or whatever) equal to in a 39xcog?

This doesn't require anything but that link in my prior post.

Is it going to feel harder? If the gearing is higher, it will. But you didn't even present enough information for anyone to answer that question. What cassette do you use now? What cassette would you use in the future? What low gear do you normally use? What low gear do you use in emergencies?

Do you want to see what it's like to ride a standard?

This is what you do (and it's basically a repeat of my post above):
1. Figure out a normal cruising gear for you. Say it's a 50x16.
2. Figure out what the combination would be in your hypothetical standard BCD crankset (not shifting the rear), so, let's say you figure it's a 53x17. In other words you're not running a 54 or 56 or 52 or 51. So it's a 53x17.
3. For the big ring, between a 50 and 53, you'll see that a 50x16 is pretty much identical to a 53x17. In fact, if you plug in the values into the sheldon calculator, you'll find that you'll have virtually the same gears in the big ring, whether you have a 50 or 53. You only lose the highest (on the 50) or the lowest (on the 53). This only required you to plug in values in the sheldon link above. The gear inch values should jump out at you.

In other words, there is no difference in feel, as long as you use the same gear.

Now you can figure out the same stuff for the 34 versus 39.

Remember that you can buy different size rings for a compact. A common compact set up is 52/36. Use the gear calculator to see what the difference is between a 53/39 and a 52/36, using your current cassette. Then figure it out with a 50/34. See where the gears overlap, where you need to move from one chainring to another (that's when you cross over to the other chainring).

You can do it. In fact, I guarantee that if you use this knowledge, you'll be a better cyclist. You'll understand what another rider is doing (gear-wise) and be able to counter with your own gear selections.

I use gears as a weapon/tool in racing. For example, when I was a competitive 3 (just a Cat 3), I'd run "wrong" chainring sizes. Most riders assumed everyone was running a 53. Therefore I'd run a 51 or a 54. When they tried to match my gear just before a sprint (which is a common tactic) or go one up or one down (another common tactic), they actually weren't. If they saw I was in a (51x)14 and they put it in the (53x)14, I was in a lower gear and I could jump harder. Or they'd see I was in the 51x12 and put it in the 53x12 and when I jumped they'd get bogged down. Etc.

Gearing is a powerful weapon. Once you understand it you'll be that much more able to use gearing as part of your tactical resume.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:12 AM
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For what it's worth I normally run a 53/39 in hilly CT. I only race crits so never really use the small ring in crits.

I ran just a 53 (front der problem) for much of 2011. I had the worst results ever. Even though my race gearing wasn't affected, my training and warmup gearing was, and that killed my legs.

I'm running a 55/44 right now, until I get my new 53/39 rings.

I've won field sprints (okay, so it was the 3rd group) in a 39T chainring (39x11 - you can figure out the gear). I beat one Cat 2 that was trying (and he beat me in other sprints). This was the race where I discovered a problem with my front shifting, and I locked the front derailleur over the 53 until I fixed it a few months later.

I think I generally overgear.
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Old 01-11-12, 10:49 AM
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My CX bike has a 38-46 with a 12-27 and it hasn't been an issue on group rides. There's a gap between a couple of the gears which is too big that I notice when riding by myself right in the 22-23mph range, that's about it.

I doubt you'll have any problems since there were people racing 3's on compacts all last season. Someone has already mentioned Jrs kicking ass in the P123... Chalmers, Wardein(sp?), Shepherd et all.

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Old 01-11-12, 04:35 PM
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the real brain teaser is not the easiest gear needed but the so called "cross over" gear. You will rarely still be "racing" in the 34*25 unless you are on a serious climb (read not FL). I like a compact because I rarely need to leave the 50 ring up front while racing and 50*11 is plenty for me to sprint. But I race in WA so our needs are different
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Old 01-11-12, 04:45 PM
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The OP is now banned. We can let this die a natural death or a mod can "lock" it.

I'm sure that I will meet the OP this race season. When I do I'll try to get his mind right. I bet that he is a good guy but is wound a little too tight for this group.
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Old 01-11-12, 04:49 PM
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There's no reason to lock this thread. It was cleaned up, and the information will be here when the OP is reinstated next week. It can, of course, die a natural death.
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