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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 12-22-11, 09:57 PM   #1
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Gear inches for SSCX question

Trying to find out if a gear inch of:

Chainring: 46|42

Cog Size: 18|18

Gear Inches : 68.94|62.95

Gear Ratio: 2:56|2:33

is insane for commuting/racing (nothing fancy racing)

Chainring I am not sure I want to mess with too much, but I assume I can step down heavily and go with a smaller gear ratio (but 42t is the cap on my crank)

I am cross posting this to the SS/FG forums as well.
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Old 12-22-11, 10:50 PM   #2
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I'm riding a 42X18 on my rig. I can race it as well a ride it on the road. I've used this gearing for road rides on +30 miles without issue.
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Old 12-23-11, 08:17 AM   #3
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I commuted spring & summer on a first on a 42/18 then later with a 42/16 w/ 700cX28s. It's a hilly area with short steep hills, and was tough uphill, but a great strength workout. 42/18 would spin out a bit too much for my taste. It did help me get my cadence higher an probably helped me in the initial sprints at the races.

I took The bike offroad on the 42/18 setup and had a lot of fun. I don't think I would enjoy a 46/18 so much offroad. It's probably similar to a 42/16 setup.
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Old 12-23-11, 09:46 AM   #4
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I used to have a fixed gear bike with 46x18, and that was great for my flat-to-rolling commute. For SSCX racing I switched to 39x18, and that was perfect for flat courses, but a little high for hilly courses. YMMV. You might be able to race with 42x18, but I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point -- better to invest in a bigger frewheel, maybe 20t.
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Old 12-23-11, 12:50 PM   #5
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Several, bring a bag of spares, and change the gear to suit the course.
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Old 12-23-11, 01:00 PM   #6
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It really depends on your legs and your power profile. I had good luck with 41x17. I could punch up short steep ups, but the limiter for me was the stretches of thick wet grass.
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Old 12-23-11, 03:04 PM   #7
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I had a decent season with 2 gear choices: 42/18 for the dryer, flatter days; and 38/18 for the sloppy or hilly courses.

With the 42/18 I still got outpaced by the geared guys on long pavement straightaways, but I was usually making up ground coming out of corners or powering up long inclines when other guys were gearing down. (I race Cat-4, people do a lot of things like that where you can take advantage.) The 42/18 wasn't tall enough to really slog out in tall or damp grass, but a few courses had some boggy sections where I would have appreciated something easier instead of having to stand and hammer to keep up with guys who were geared down and spinning. Meh, it is what it is.

On the 38/18 I had no chance on courses with long pavement or hardpack straights, and I made that mistake a couple times. Don't select a gear based on the short, worst section of the course; that was my rookie error. I was fine through the technical sections and sand, but on a 2.7km course where the sand and technical is only a couple hundred yards, I got dropped hard and would have been better off with a tall gear and running the short segments. Live and learn, right?
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