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50+'ers be honest : Large, Med. or Small Chain Ring Usage Selection

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50+'ers be honest : Large, Med. or Small Chain Ring Usage Selection

Old 01-15-21, 09:53 PM
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5 mph
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50+'ers : Large, Med. or Small Chain Ring Usage Selection

I see lots of you zipping along at 20 mph for 30 miles. I 'm happy to see you do that, just please don't do it my area and embarrass me.
You guys are Fedex, I'm Ground delivery.. I'm just not a fast rider. Maybe the best I could manage is 17.5 mph for 17.5 miles but I do have. 1000' of hills to climb (and go down) no matter where I go around here.
However I don't want to be too humble. Everyone has a niche. In my case I have strong legs, so I never use my medium or small chain rings, even on hills, all my riding is on the large chain ring, even on steep hills.

Just wondering what Riding Style everyone is using out there?

Last edited by 5 mph; 01-15-21 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 01-15-21, 10:11 PM
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During the summer I ride a gravel bike w/ SRAM Apex 1x. 40 tooth chainring, cassette is 11-42. Prior to that I rode a 50/34 paired with 12-26. Winter is mainly fatbike riding 36/22 11-36. A lot of guys here are pretty fast. I'm not terribly fast but I certainly enjoy myself.
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Old 01-15-21, 10:15 PM
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It's about gear inches not necessarily which crank ring you prefer.
I went with a 46-30 crankset so I would make full use of the 12-27 cassette 10 speed. Works great for my riding style and climbing 100 ft per mile on most rides where I live.
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Old 01-15-21, 10:24 PM
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Long ago I did away with my "standard" 53t big ring for a 50t. Have since gone to a 51t, which puts me around the middle of my 12/23 cassette for most of the local rolling terrain. I usually use the small ring for the first few miles of a ride as I warm up, and when I hit a protracted climb - otherwise I'm on the 51t most of the time.
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Old 01-15-21, 10:59 PM
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The older I get the less I care about shifting gears and hammering it. My best rides are solo and at my pace.
My Riding Style? I prefer to take my Single Speeds. One is 42/17 the other is 42/16.
It helps that my routes are mostly on flat terrain....
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Old 01-15-21, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
It's about gear inches not necessarily which crank ring you prefer.
.
Duplicate. Sorry.

Last edited by 5 mph; 01-16-21 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 01-15-21, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
It's about gear inches not necessarily which crank ring you prefer.
.
duplicate

Last edited by 5 mph; 01-16-21 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 01-15-21, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
It's about gear inches not necessarily which crank ring you prefer.
.
Good point. I didn't want to get too technical, but I sure asked a vague question. I actually ride fixed at 44 16 GR 74.25 5 out of 7 days but i didn't want to confuse anyone.
Maybe I should be asking gear inches?
I accept my age and my speed, but I'm really impressed by these guys our age cranking out 30 miles at that speed.

Last edited by 5 mph; 01-15-21 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 01-16-21, 12:13 AM
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53/38 x 12/27 on my road bike. 53/39 x 11/23 on my TT bike. 46/36 x 12/28 on my CX bike. I guess I am usually in the big ring.
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Old 01-16-21, 07:15 AM
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I recently swapped Shimano GRX into my custom bike. 46/30 front, 11/30 rear. I don't need a big front ring anymore. The only conceivable use for me would be trying to blast past reasonable on a long downhill run. But, at 72, with a few crashes in my rearview mirror, and developing Parkinson's in front, I'm taking it easy on downhills, cruising on flats, and meandering up hills.
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Old 01-16-21, 08:02 AM
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Compact front, 11-28 cassette and I stay in the large chain ring. It's worked for many years and at my age, there's no point in changing it.
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Old 01-16-21, 01:36 PM
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There is no preferred chain ring where I ride. The terrain around here has many long grades in the 5% to 15% range and a few up to about 25%. For every 10 miles there's 1,000 to 1,500 feet of climbing. It would be silly to stick with one chainring. I use every single gear ratio on all my bikes. I shift gears based on keeping a reasonable cadence (though sometimes this isn't possible on the steepest grades).
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Old 01-16-21, 02:45 PM
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I've always said that I can't keep up with racers but also that I'm faster than the average bear. Bear, literally.
I ride two recumbent singles with 30-39-50 triples and 11-32/11-34 cassettes. Our recumbent tandem has a 28-39-50 triple with 11-34. All three bikes with 26"/559 rear wheels. I downsized from using 52t big rings within the last decade.
Riding time roughly split most of the time between the big and middle rings.Seldom use the higher cogs but don't hesitate to use the lower cogs with middle or small ring, as needed.. Find myself riding moderate hills in the middle ring more than I used to.
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Old 01-16-21, 03:05 PM
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Today's ride which includes 1781' of climbing is pretty typical. 65.5%/34.5% - big/little.


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Old 01-16-21, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I ... developing Parkinson's in front, I'm taking it easy on downhills, cruising on flats, and meandering up hills.
My father had Parkinson's and I don't expect not to. I appreciate your courage and honesty. The actor Michael Fox was diagnosed with it a young age and has fought it successfully and courageously for 20 plus years
Thank you and my heartfelt hope that you match his experience .
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Old 01-16-21, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
My father had Parkinson's and I don't expect not to. I appreciate your courage and honesty. The actor Michael Fox was diagnosed with it a young age and has fought it successfully and courageously for 20 plus years
Thank you and my heartfelt hope that you match his experience .
Thank you. Mine is very mild so far so I hope to get quite a few more years of riding in. Exercise in general, and cycling in particular, are good for people with Parkinson's.
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Old 01-16-21, 06:18 PM
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My carbon road bike has a 50/34 crank and a 14-28 cassette. I live in the big ring and use pretty much the 16-20 gears exclusively. It’s a great system for me.
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Old 01-16-21, 06:21 PM
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Only single chainrings for me.

Fixed gear is 46-18 for 68 gear inches. (19 cog on the flip side for 64 GI in headwinds)

Road bike also is 46 chainring. 9 speed cassette with my favored 18 tooth in the middle giving me 4 lower and 4 higher gears. I prefer spinning and these work well for me!
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Old 01-16-21, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
all my riding is on the large chain ring, even on steep hills.
Why?
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Old 01-16-21, 09:11 PM
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22/32/42; 11-34; 17-99 gear inches. 60 years young in May. '95 Trek 800 Sport. Almost exclusively road/commuter/Mup

Almost never touch the 22 unless it is a rare very steep hill or I am loaded. Only occasionally go 32/30 sometimes 32/26, but make most hills in 32/23 or stronger.

Flats are mostly 32/15 till up to speed and then 42/15 or better going downhill. I've only spun out (42-11) once since 2013. My 15 mile routines usually are around 12-13 mph average. 32 mph max.

All this will change within a month as I am through renting and should be in a house, with a hillier area. This link will have my challenge for the rest of my life: Silver Hill Rd, Stone Mountain, GA Let's hope the "drivers" are kinder and gentler than I am used to
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Old 01-16-21, 09:41 PM
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My bike came with 48-34 chainrings and an 11-34 cassette. I would occasionally shift to the small chainring, but never used the big gears on my cassette. I recently switched to an 11-28 cassette and now I'm using the small chainring more and all of the gears on my cassette.
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Old 01-17-21, 12:23 AM
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Not a lot of hills here but there is a lot of wind which I treat as hill climbing. I ride nothing but C&V for my road bikes with 5 to 7 spds in the rear. They range from 12 or 13 to 24 to 28 in the back. The sweet spot seems to be the 26t ring for a low gear. I don't have triples and most of the chain rings are 52/38 or 39. A couple do have the old standby 52/42. I've always been a spinner thanks to knee trouble so I am usually in whatever gear will give me 90-110 cadence. I have found my favorite combo now is 52-38 and 13-26.

I used to push really hard but have lost fitness the past few years thanks to injuries and kid activities. The old gears sometimes make me wishing for more as i work on the fitness but not enough to buy a modern drivetrain.
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Old 01-17-21, 07:35 AM
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60 years old, 46/30 in front and 11-36 in back. Almost always on the big chain ring here in Florida, but summer in Maine and have some gravel rides that are exclusively on the small ring.
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Old 01-17-21, 07:37 AM
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@5 mph - In my PNW I use every gear I've got.

If i can't climb it in a 30X28 combo, I probably won't find great joy in descending it.

And getting home from every ride there is a 50meter section that usually gets Walked\Pushed, unless the bike has a 30tooth chainring (only on 3 bikes).
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Old 01-17-21, 07:51 AM
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72 years old in flat Chicago, only riding again since summer after a long layoff. In good weather with smooth tires I was mostly 48/16-18, but in the cold with knobby studs that has dropped to 38/16-18.

My bike has 48/38/28 on front and 14-34 in back in seven speeds. I have yet to use any of the lower gears. My riding is what I call city tourist, and I am in no great hurry most of the time.

Last edited by mdarnton; 01-17-21 at 08:10 AM.
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