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Road Bike - Bike changes for lower gears/hill climbing

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Road Bike - Bike changes for lower gears/hill climbing

Old 05-13-24, 12:46 PM
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Road Bike gearing

I have a carbon road bike that I love however it was built for flat and fast which is fine, however I am riding triple bypass in July and would like to get some lower gears for spinning up the long climbs.
I have no trouble riding hills with the current set up however sustaining a 5%+ climb for 20 miles will be tough with this set up.

This is what is currently on the bike:
Front Chainring 53-39
10-speed cassette 11-28

Would it be possible for me to have the cassette changed to a 10-speed cassette 11-32 and front chainrings to 52-36?

I am trying to do this as economically as possible without having to change my rear and front derailers.

Any suggestions or recommendations?

Thanks!
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Old 05-13-24, 12:56 PM
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Changing the cassette to a larger range might require a new RD to accommodate the larger sprockets - depends on the specs for your RD
Swapping your crankset to a 34/50 would be the way to go, IMO. Chances are you can use the same BB, RD and FD (just lower the FD a few mm) and you may need to shorten the chain a little
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Old 05-13-24, 12:59 PM
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Road Bike - Bike changes for lower gears/hill climbing

I currently ride a carbon road bike which I love however it is geared towards flat and fast.
I am riding the Triple Bypass ride in July and would like to change my cassette/chainrings so I will have some lower climbing gears without having to buy a new bike or spend a ton of money on the current bike.

Currently my bike has: Chainring 53-39, 10-speed cassette 11-28.

I am considering changing the chainring to 52-36 or going with 53-36 and the 10-speed cassette to 11-32.

Is this feasible or any other suggestions/recommendations?

Thanks
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Old 05-13-24, 01:10 PM
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Impossible to say without knowing what is on your bike. Lots of cranks that run 53/39 came with 130 BCD (bolt circle dia) the smallest you can run on that is a 38, campy is 135bcd and what you have is the smallest; any clue the spider size? Not every front der is designed to run a 16t difference in the chainrings like you're looking at. The rear der might be maxed out at 28t, no idea without knowing the exact model for either one. Is the bike in question one of the ones you mention having, which is so, and is it factory?
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Old 05-13-24, 01:32 PM
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What components are you running? Campagnolo? SRAM?

Since you already have a crankset with 53/39 (standard) rings, then your BCD is likely 130mm, meaning that the smallest chainring you can run is a 39. So if you still want smaller (lower geared) rings, you'll have to replace the crankset and possibly the BB.

In terms of lower gearing, the biggest bang for the buck is making the cassette bigger, with say a 11-32 or 34. Or even better, a 12-32 or 34 so as to dispense with the useless 11-tooth cog. If you have a rear derailleur with a short cage, then you'll need a mid to long cage RD; if you are in fact running Shimano, then a 9-speed Shimano MTB RD will work great with your existing 10-speed (except Tiagra 4700) shifters. Of course, the bigger cogs at the back will require a longer chain, or you'll tear your derailleur and hanger off the first time you shift into the big-big gear gear combos.

New bike? Since all new road bikes run discs, and since discs carry a significant weight penalty over the last (extinct) generation of road bikes with rim brakes, this will mostly defeat your objective of a bike that climbs well. Say you spent $3,000 in 2015 on a carbon road bike that weighs sub-17 pounds. In 2024 be prepared to spend 4 x that to revert to that same performance level.

In contrast, a new derailleur and chain will run you less than $200, or $50 if you do the work at a bike Co-op.

Last edited by Dave Mayer; 05-13-24 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-13-24, 01:38 PM
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Old 05-13-24, 01:39 PM
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Old 05-13-24, 01:48 PM
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Wolf Tooth Road link and the largest size cassette that'll work with your current rear mech, will likely be the cheapest option. I've even fitted a 11-40t MTB cassette w/ a medium-cage Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur before...worked just fine.
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Old 05-13-24, 03:09 PM
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Maybe. Generally I recommend telling us what you have before asking the questions it will help you but also help everyone else so we know what we are working with.
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Old 05-13-24, 03:26 PM
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These days, there's often a big difference between possible, and economically worthwhile.

So, the answer depends on what it's worth to you.
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Old 05-13-24, 04:32 PM
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Depends on details of your components how easy/hard this would be. Itís more complicated than you think. Details are needed to give better answers.
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Old 05-13-24, 05:17 PM
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Thought I would throw this in:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/41321775
The Triple is 117 miles and 11K of climb with the max gradient being 10% but the climbs are long averaging 3-4% over 5, 15 and 27 miles.
So not really steep, but long moderate grades that will test your endurance.

To the OP, have you attempted these type of climbs yet in your training and how did you do?

Last edited by CAT7RDR; 05-13-24 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 05-13-24, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MH127
I currently ride a carbon road bike which I love however it is geared towards flat and fast.
I am riding the Triple Bypass ride in July and would like to change my cassette/chainrings so I will have some lower climbing gears without having to buy a new bike or spend a ton of money on the current bike.

Currently my bike has: Chainring 53-39, 10-speed cassette 11-28.

I am considering changing the chainring to 52-36 or going with 53-36 and the 10-speed cassette to 11-32.

Is this feasible or any other suggestions/recommendations?

Thanks
Going from your sig line - Fuji Altamira 1.0 (because it's 53/39 rotor crankset, 130 bcd).
so as noted you MIGHT be able to find a 38 inner ring, prolly smallest for 130 bcd, but otherwise, that crank will stay 39. . and going larger than 28 rear with that small cage RD, you'd need a hanger extender like Wolf tooth and then the largest cog would prolly be 32 (that might work.). Likely you'd also have to get a Long Cage RD to match that 32...
You could also get a 'compact' crank with a spindle diameter matching the diameter of the rotor crank on your bike... A 50/34 crank with your current 28 cog, will give you the Same Low Gear as putting a 11-32 cassette (39 x 32) , and may not necessitate a new Long cage RD or a hanger extender... A 50x11 is still a very BIG Gear, which most riders will never utilize in the range which gives more than a 12...
....might want that 11 if you enjoy drafting a bus at over 40 mph... then you're only turning a cadence of 110 - child's play... otherwise a 50 ring x 11 will do that right at 40mph....
a 50/34 crankset will give you a lot more versatility for a wide variety of riding situations... again define the crank spindle size then shop for a 50/34 with that size spindle...
Ride On
Jurij

EDIT: if you get a 50/34 and keep the 11-28 cassette, you prolly will need to remove a link or 2 from the chain... dependz...

Last edited by cyclezen; 05-13-24 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 05-13-24, 11:26 PM
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To start, find a Shimano 8 or 9 speed mountain bike derailleur (Deore family) and a 34t or 36t 10 speed cassette. It will work fine with your 10 speed shifters. Good used RDs of that family are inexpensive on EBay, I've done a couple of these conversions.
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Old 05-14-24, 01:02 AM
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You are correct to anticipate needing lower gearing. For long spins, not super steep, race bike and not loaded tourer, I think you would be able to do it with around 20 gear-inch low. Let's see how that looks:

Assuming 700c x 25 tires...

53/39 11-28 gives you 37-127 gear inches (343%). Not low enough.

50/34 (these days you can find a hollow spindle crank and rings online, with external BB bearings, for not much more than just chainrings) with 11-28 gives you 32-120 gear inches (375%). Not low enough.

50/34 11-36 (needs rear derailleur capacity 41 teeth) is 25-120 gear inches (480%). Getting there but not quite. (Might be low enough, but better to have a bailout low enough, than not, IMO.)

50/34 11-42 (47T capacity, you'd probably need a new rear derailleur with medium length cage (GS) and steeper "slope", 21-120 gear inches (571%). This is possible, requires new crank, cassette, rear derailleur, and chain.

50/34/24 triple 11-42 (57 capacity, you'd need a long cage (SGS) RD), 15-120 gear inches (800%), that's a loaded touring low, probably don't need, plus a racer high, also may not need. Also, I have not seen any hollow spindle triples except older Ultegra Hollowtech II, which were typically 52/42/30. But if you already have a square taper BB, easy to find a crank, but you might need a bit longer BB spindle.

50/34/24 11-32 (47T capacity RD) gives 20-120 gear inches (600%). This is possible. Requires new crank, bottom bracket, rear derailleur (long cage), possible front derailleur (current FD may do lateral range but cage too short so chain might drag when on smallest chainring), cassette, chain.

So it comes down to two choices:

- Wide double crank (50/34) and wide cassette (11-42), or
- Wide triple crank (50/34/24) and moderate cassette (11-32)
571-600% range is really great on a touring bike, if you can do it. Unless you are a fast rider and will use a 120 gear-inch high, if I had to trim anything off that % range, it would be off the high end, not the low end.

Digest the above and see how each option may fit with your longer term plans for the bike.

EDIT: Note, I run 21-85 gear inches (400%), due to limited top end of my 20"/406x1.75" tires, but that 85 is enough to pedal down mild grades, and plenty for me on the flats (though this is a high-drag racked and panniered bike), and 21 is low enough to climb moderately loaded. So I think you may not need your current 127 high, nor even 120, so you might get by with a more limited gear range, and thus not needing a triple crank nor as wide a cassette.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 05-14-24 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 05-14-24, 01:20 AM
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Microshift makes Shimano HG compatible cassettes with larger cogs (we have an 11-42T on our tandem). A Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur will handle that and is less than $100 (Ours was about $80 from Santana) and it handles our 48T chainring fine in all gears. 53x11 is a huge gear, so you can use a smaller chainring if needed.

OTOH, you will probably recover from the bypass pretty quickly and with more heart function.

Good luck with the surgery!
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Old 05-14-24, 01:46 AM
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Get a 50-34 chainring maybe
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Old 05-14-24, 08:43 AM
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You can't put a 36t chainring on a crank with a 130 mm bcd. 38t is available, but the gain is minimal and there will be problems as soon as the ring and chain start to show a little bit of wear. Better to choose a compact crank or get a wider range cassette and, if necessary, a rear derailleur. And personally, I vote for the compact crank. You'll have more useful ratios in the fast and middle ranges, and nobody but the pros really needs a 53/11.
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Old 05-14-24, 10:44 AM
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There is probably no easy economical way to make a meaningful change if you are not close to grinding up a 5%+ grade for 20 miles. If you can find a 25/30mph headwind and do 25 miles it might give you an idea.

Unfortunately 10 speed doesnít mean much by itself. Older road 10 speed can use 9 speed mtb RDís. Newer Tiagra 4700 10 speed needs GRX.

The absolutely cheapest change is to use a RoadLink extender and run an 11/12-36 or maybe 40 with your current setup. There is a good chance you wonít have enough capacity for the chain wrap, but that means no 39/11, 39/13, and maybe 39-15. Plus 53/36 sounds scary, but youíll want to make sure you have enough chain for that.

Making the correct modifications, not the RoadLink hack, will cost some and takes a lot of forethought.

John
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Old 05-14-24, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
There is probably no easy economical way to make a meaningful change if you are not close to grinding up a 5%+ grade for 20 miles. If you can find a 25/30mph headwind and do 25 miles it might give you an idea.

Unfortunately 10 speed doesn’t mean much by itself. Older road 10 speed can use 9 speed mtb RD’s. Newer Tiagra 4700 10 speed needs GRX.

The absolutely cheapest change is to use a RoadLink extender and run an 11/12-36 or maybe 40 with your current setup. There is a good chance you won’t have enough capacity for the chain wrap, but that means no 39/11, 39/13, and maybe 39-15. Plus 53/36 sounds scary, but you’ll want to make sure you have enough chain for that.

Making the correct modifications, not the RoadLink hack, will cost some and takes a lot of forethought.

John
Along those lines-
A Shimano RD M-592 has a 36T capacity. (I have one on my Ebike)
https://www.universalcycles.com/shop....php?id=102041
Shop & you can find a bit cheaper.
Get a ??-36 cassette and you'll have a slightly lower gear than your proposed 36-32T combo and not have to mess with the crank/FDER : change/adjustments.
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Old 05-14-24, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Along those lines-
A Shimano RD M-592 has a 36T capacity. (I have one on my Ebike)
https://www.universalcycles.com/shop....php?id=102041
Shop & you can find a bit cheaper.
Get a ??-36 cassette and you'll have a slightly lower gear than your proposed 36-32T combo and not have to mess with the crank/FDER : change/adjustments.
This is the route Iíd go if you want to keep it simple. New chain, derailleur, cassette, cable and adjustment.
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Old 05-14-24, 11:48 AM
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GRX 46-30 crank.
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Old 05-14-24, 11:48 AM
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GRX 46-30 crank.
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Old 05-14-24, 12:25 PM
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My "aero" bike is on a 52-36t + 11-32t and my "climbing" bike is on a 50-34t + 11-34t.

I feel 52-36t and 11-32t can tackle most moderate road climbs.
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Old 05-14-24, 02:05 PM
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For the particular event that you plan on doing you will definitely like having a 50-34 up front and a 11-34 cassette in the rear. To make that work you will probably have to make a lot of changes but it will be well worth it.
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