Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Big Ring or Small Ring for Flats?

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Big Ring or Small Ring for Flats?

Old 08-03-15, 05:03 PM
  #51  
sam_cyclist
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, I mapped out a gear chart with 50/34 and 12-30.

They overlap at 2.6.

So, 50X12-17 are for the big ring (high), and 34X13-30 are for the small ring (low).

I have 14 non overlapping gears, which is cool.

Maybe I'll start looking at the gear indicators on the tiagra hoods as well.

I enjoy riding with a high cadence, it just makes the ride seem so much easier. I'm not sure if it's a great idea, so I'll experiment with lower cadence, around 90 rpm.
sam_cyclist is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 05:04 PM
  #52  
sam_cyclist
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Sam, it's pretty easy to tell. You just ride two or three blocks, look at the avg. speed and then sit there a minute or two. If it stays constant, the answer is yes. If it steadily drops, then no.
Cool, ok. I haven't used a bike computer in decades.
sam_cyclist is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 05:44 PM
  #53  
cicatrize
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Portage, MI
Posts: 227

Bikes: 2016 Emonda ALR 5, 2014 Trek 7.2 FX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
I miss riding in places without stop signs.
Man I totally agree. My city is very, very bike friendly, but a lot of the bike lanes have debris and/or are chewed up, and a lot of the trails have nasty transitions from trail to driveway and are heavily trafficked with idiots walking 5 wide that don't get over when you yell "on your left!" It's a constant battle getting into a nice rhythm and going ~22-24mph and then having to stop for a tree branch in the lane and cars coming up on ya, or rude people, or stop signs, etc.
cicatrize is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 05:49 PM
  #54  
sam_cyclist
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cicatrize View Post
Man I totally agree. My city is very, very bike friendly, but a lot of the bike lanes have debris and/or are chewed up, and a lot of the trails have nasty transitions from trail to driveway and are heavily trafficked with idiots walking 5 wide that don't get over when you yell "on your left!" It's a constant battle getting into a nice rhythm and going ~22-24mph and then having to stop for a tree branch in the lane and cars coming up on ya, or rude people, or stop signs, etc.
Really? So, you're saying anyone in a group that doesn't walk single file, or any piece of debris, are interfering with a ride on YOUR trail?

Yeah, that sucks. You singlehandedly paved and paid for that entire trail yourself so of course it belongs to you. Really amazes me that anyone else would dare walk on or use YOUR trail. It's not their left or their right, it's all YOURS!

There's a simple solution: just post a sign stating that "MY TRAIL. STAY OFF." Should work well. Report back.
sam_cyclist is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 05:52 PM
  #55  
bt
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,664
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
there's a small ring?
bt is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:09 PM
  #56  
SpeshulEd 
Senior Member
 
SpeshulEd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 8,088
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 686 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
Really? So, you're saying anyone in a group that doesn't walk single file, or any piece of debris, are interfering with a ride on YOUR trail?

Yeah, that sucks. You singlehandedly paved and paid for that entire trail yourself so of course it belongs to you. Really amazes me that anyone else would dare walk on or use YOUR trail. It's not their left or their right, it's all YOURS!

There's a simple solution: just post a sign stating that "MY TRAIL. STAY OFF." Should work well. Report back.
You seem really pent up over this. You've never been frustrated by someone hogging the lane with no regard for their surroundings?

I used to live in the burbs, the cycling was great and you could find roads a few miles away that went on for miles without a stop sign. It was nice to not rely on MUPs. Since moving out of the burbs and into the city, you have to go a bit farther to find roads that are open like that, and then, they're still few and far between. So you hit the MUPs which aren't that bad, but on the weekends they're loaded with all kinds of people; riding, walking, some slow, some fast, some with earbuds and their faced buried in their phone as they wander from one side of the path to the other. It's all well and good and they have every right to be there as much as I do, but coming from a place where you could cruise along and enjoy the ride to constant watching of what other's might do is a bit annoying at times. The upside, using a car less and less.

The more I ride, the faster I get, and on a good day with fresh legs and not a lot of wind, getting up to and holding 20+ mph isn't too hard, which is nice...unfortunately, it's harder to do in a city than in the country. I miss those days a bit.

Still, I find it a bit hard to believe that someone is averaging 22-26 mph every time they go out for a Sunday cruise. Call me an ******* for saying that, but I know a lot of fast guys in the area, they can crank it up there as well, but none are really holding an average of 25mph at the end of a ride after you calculate in slowing down for this and that.
__________________
Hey guys, lets go play bikes! Strava

SpeshulEd is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:10 PM
  #57  
mcours2006
Senior Member
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 6,137

Bikes: ...a few.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1972 Post(s)
Liked 363 Times in 205 Posts
Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
Really? So, you're saying anyone in a group that doesn't walk single file, or any piece of debris, are interfering with a ride on YOUR trail?

Yeah, that sucks. You singlehandedly paved and paid for that entire trail yourself so of course it belongs to you. Really amazes me that anyone else would dare walk on or use YOUR trail. It's not their left or their right, it's all YOURS!

There's a simple solution: just post a sign stating that "MY TRAIL. STAY OFF." Should work well. Report back.
Whoa! Easy fella. These are nuisances that we can all relate to as cyclists, especially the five abreast trail walkers.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:12 PM
  #58  
Doctor Morbius
Interocitor Command
 
Doctor Morbius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: The adult video section
Posts: 3,377

Bikes: 3 Road Bikes, 2 Hybrids

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 596 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 40 Posts
Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
So, I'm using the 50 a lot with the 5 lower gears, and the 34 a lot with the 5 higher gears.
That's called cross-chaining and most on here will state that it's not recommended. It can cause premature wear on the chain and cog teeth.
Doctor Morbius is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:22 PM
  #59  
mcours2006
Senior Member
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 6,137

Bikes: ...a few.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1972 Post(s)
Liked 363 Times in 205 Posts
Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
That's called cross-chaining and most on here will state that it's not recommended. It can cause premature wear on the chain and cog teeth.
My understanding was that cross chaining is when you use go something like 34/11 or 50/25, not necessarily, "using the 50 a lot with the 5 lower gears, and the 34 a lot with the 5 higher gears" which seems to me a completely natural thing to do.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:27 PM
  #60  
UnfilteredDregs
Senior Member
 
UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: NYC, duh Bronx.
Posts: 3,578

Bikes: Salsa Ti Warbird- 2014/ November RAIL52s

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Doing 22-24(+) on a MUP ain't smart.
UnfilteredDregs is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:34 PM
  #61  
Mandeville
Senior Member
 
Mandeville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 93

Bikes: Trek Domane

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
Now, with a smaller, and therefore more useful big (50) on compacts, along with a wider gear range on 10 speed cassettes, I am using both the big and small to an almost equal degree on flats, and small rolling hills.

I do find myself double shifting quite a bit, probably because both the big ring is more useful and also because STI makes a lot of shifting a lot easier.

So, I'm using the 50 a lot with the 5 lower gears, and the 34 a lot with the 5 higher gears. I find myself 'experimenting' a lot looking for the 'best' gear on flats.

Do you have a preferred or favorite gear on flats/slight uphills?

Do any of you consider a triple with a 39 middle ring a better solution for gearing than compact?
Good questions and topic!

Naturally whatever one prefers will be affected by how much power they produce especially in the power to weight arena as well as are they a "easier" gear high cadence or a masher with low cadence type.

The bike that I ride the most by far is 50/34 compact, 11 speed, with the following cogs: 11-12-13-14-16-18-20-22-25-28-32.

On the flats and very modest grades I prefer the big ring--usually the 20 or 22 cog. The latter sort of the base.

What happens sometimes and almost all of my rides are long and if my pace has been too hard on the last five or six miles from home I may if feeling fatigued enough switch down to the 34 front ring for easier higher cadence gearing. (My natural individual preference and best performance is taller gears with lower cadence. Individually that works better for me.)

The triple is a whole different thing. The main difference is it would allow me to climb very steep stuff with less effort on the smallest ring.
Mandeville is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:36 PM
  #62  
cicatrize
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Portage, MI
Posts: 227

Bikes: 2016 Emonda ALR 5, 2014 Trek 7.2 FX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
Really? So, you're saying anyone in a group that doesn't walk single file, or any piece of debris, are interfering with a ride on YOUR trail?

Yeah, that sucks. You singlehandedly paved and paid for that entire trail yourself so of course it belongs to you. Really amazes me that anyone else would dare walk on or use YOUR trail. It's not their left or their right, it's all YOURS!

There's a simple solution: just post a sign stating that "MY TRAIL. STAY OFF." Should work well. Report back.
You are either a very troubled person or trolling, so I'll just play along, I guess, just to cover the latter.

Yes. They're my trails and roads. They should be in pristine condition at all times and kept up to my standards because I pay the entirety of the taxes for my county and city.
cicatrize is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 06:58 PM
  #63  
Ray9
Full Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: New England
Posts: 325

Bikes: Cannondale six-13

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 144 Post(s)
Liked 108 Times in 24 Posts
The only time I ride on the big chain ring is on group rides. There is no C group anymore so I need to average 18 mph with people who don't wait long if you get dropped. When I train I ride cross chained a lot and easily average 16-17 mph on fifty mile rides. There is no such thing as a flat ride in this area because the city is located in a ancient lake bed so it's uphill in every direction to go anywhere. I have a 52/36 with 11/28. Funny the specs on my bike say 53/39 with 11-25.
Ray9 is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 08:05 PM
  #64  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 11,680

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubilée, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team SL, '19 Tern Rally, ‘21 Breezer Doppler Cafe+, ‘19 T-Lab X3

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2178 Post(s)
Liked 1,215 Times in 745 Posts
Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
I remember that!

I had a 54/45 front with a 12/17 straight block rear when I moved from FLA to L.A. and almost died the first time I rode up to Mulholland...
Haha! That's awesome!

I had a similar experience several years ago...but in reverse. When I moved back to SE Michigan after living in Avon, CO, I'd gotten so strong that I went looking for a 56t chainring!
chaadster is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 08:11 PM
  #65  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 11,680

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubilée, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team SL, '19 Tern Rally, ‘21 Breezer Doppler Cafe+, ‘19 T-Lab X3

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2178 Post(s)
Liked 1,215 Times in 745 Posts
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
My understanding was that cross chaining is when you use go something like 34/11 or 50/25, not necessarily, "using the 50 a lot with the 5 lower gears, and the 34 a lot with the 5 higher gears" which seems to me a completely natural thing to do.
Correct. But even then, it's a non-issue in most cases. I cross-chain whenever the hell it suits me.
chaadster is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 08:50 PM
  #66  
rpenmanparker 
Senior Member
 
rpenmanparker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 28,682

Bikes: 1990 Romic Reynolds 531 custom build, Merlin Works CR Ti custom build, super light Workswell 066 custom build

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6556 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 57 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by bt View Post
there's a small ring?
Is there any other?
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  
Old 08-03-15, 08:54 PM
  #67  
rpenmanparker 
Senior Member
 
rpenmanparker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 28,682

Bikes: 1990 Romic Reynolds 531 custom build, Merlin Works CR Ti custom build, super light Workswell 066 custom build

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6556 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 57 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
Still, I find it a bit hard to believe that someone is averaging 22-26 mph every time they go out for a Sunday cruise. Call me an ******* for saying that, but I know a lot of fast guys in the area, they can crank it up there as well, but none are really holding an average of 25mph at the end of a ride after you calculate in slowing down for this and that.
Yeah, I know Ed, right? It's a mystery.
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 09:03 AM
  #68  
SpeshulEd 
Senior Member
 
SpeshulEd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 8,088
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 686 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Yeah, I know Ed, right? It's a mystery.
There are pro's among us!

Rolling road closures and sag wagons!
__________________
Hey guys, lets go play bikes! Strava

SpeshulEd is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 09:08 AM
  #69  
rpenmanparker 
Senior Member
 
rpenmanparker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 28,682

Bikes: 1990 Romic Reynolds 531 custom build, Merlin Works CR Ti custom build, super light Workswell 066 custom build

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6556 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 57 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
There are pro's among us!

Rolling road closures and sag wagons!
That's the funny part. The claimed performances are without the aid of those pro advantages. Strong stuff.
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 09:29 AM
  #70  
WalksOn2Wheels
Vain, But Lacking Talent
 
WalksOn2Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Denton, TX
Posts: 5,510

Bikes: Trek Domane 5.9 DA 9000, Trek Crockett Pink Frosting w/105 5700

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1525 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 42 Posts
I know some local riders that can pull those speeds off quite easily. I'm not one of them. Lots of recent time off due to work and ACL recovery has me averaging about 16 mph a ride these days.

In a flat, I'm usually on the big ring and somewhere in the middle of the cassette, plus or minus depending on a headwind or tail wind. so 53 front and 15, 17 or 19 on the rear? Something like that.

A word on cross chaining: It's absolutely fine as long as you know 100% that your bike is in tune, your chain is long enough, and your der. hanger is absolutely straight. Otherwise, you're playing with fire on those last two biggest cogs. I've seen enough bikes with trashed rear wheels, rear derailleurs, derailleur hangers, and even frames to know it's quite easy to ruin a bike in seconds when you think "Oh, I can grab that lost cog and still ride it in the big ring." This is much more important than worrying about excess chain wear or a few watts.
WalksOn2Wheels is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 10:16 AM
  #71  
bt
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,664
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Is there any other?
I thought that was a chain catcher.

You're saying I can use that as a gear?
bt is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 10:17 AM
  #72  
sam_cyclist
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
That's called cross-chaining and most on here will state that it's not recommended. It can cause premature wear on the chain and cog teeth.
What? I know 50X30 and 34X12 aren't recommended but I have to have a perfectly straight chainline or else I can't use the gear?
sam_cyclist is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 10:19 AM
  #73  
sam_cyclist
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I know some local riders that can pull those speeds off quite easily. I'm not one of them. Lots of recent time off due to work and ACL recovery has me averaging about 16 mph a ride these days.

In a flat, I'm usually on the big ring and somewhere in the middle of the cassette, plus or minus depending on a headwind or tail wind. so 53 front and 15, 17 or 19 on the rear? Something like that.

A word on cross chaining: It's absolutely fine as long as you know 100% that your bike is in tune, your chain is long enough, and your der. hanger is absolutely straight. Otherwise, you're playing with fire on those last two biggest cogs. I've seen enough bikes with trashed rear wheels, rear derailleurs, derailleur hangers, and even frames to know it's quite easy to ruin a bike in seconds when you think "Oh, I can grab that lost cog and still ride it in the big ring." This is much more important than worrying about excess chain wear or a few watts.
How the heck did anyone "trash" their frame or anything else by cross chaining?
sam_cyclist is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 10:23 AM
  #74  
sam_cyclist
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
That's the funny part. The claimed performances are without the aid of those pro advantages. Strong stuff.
Well, like I said before, I've ridden with a high level collegiate road team, done numerous group rides, and ridden on my own in cities known for strong riders.

NOT ONCE was I ever passed on flats by ANY RIDER at 25 mph.

I've certainly been passed by fully kitted road riders when I was running errands on my mountain bike.

Internet poseurs for sure.
sam_cyclist is offline  
Old 08-04-15, 10:39 AM
  #75  
GatsbyGlen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 60

Bikes: Trek Domane 4.5 2015

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Being that I have 50/34, I almost always use the big ring on flats. Little one on certain climbs. I'm generally around 80 to 85 rpm, and geared at either 50x16 or 50x18. I wish I had a visual indicator to know what gear in the back I'm using at times
GatsbyGlen is offline  
Likes For GatsbyGlen:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.