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What's with all the cross-chaining among roadies?

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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

What's with all the cross-chaining among roadies?

Old 09-11-15, 07:36 AM
  #101  
Surfer3287
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I honestly forget that I have a small chainring 99% of the time. Living and riding along roads bordering the FL coastline most days, there is absolutely no need to use the FD and shift to the small ring. Even my race in "hilly for FL" Clermont on Wednesday never pushed me enough to need the 39. This is exactly the reason I am considering getting a new Allez Sprint with the 1x drivetrain for racing next year, rather than saving up for a bike with Ultregra di2 like I had originally planned for.
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Old 09-11-15, 07:39 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Surfer3287 View Post
I honestly forget that I have a small chainring 99% of the time. Living and riding along roads bordering the FL coastline most days, there is absolutely no need to use the FD and shift to the small ring. Even my race in "hilly for FL" Clermont on Wednesday never pushed me enough to need the 39. This is exactly the reason I am considering getting a new Allez Sprint with the 1x drivetrain for racing next year, rather than saving up for a bike with Ultregra di2 like I had originally planned for.
Well dammit I must be super weak. Even in FL riding I still use my 34 ring primarily.
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Old 09-11-15, 09:39 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
20mph+ is in the meat of the cassette on the big ring. Good cyclists don't use the small ring unless they are climbing.
I always ride on flat terrain, use 42-52. 90RPM on my 42/15 is 20mph, I ride around there most of the time, except when in a paceline. Does that make me a bad cyclist?
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Old 09-11-15, 10:01 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
I always ride on flat terrain, use 42-52. 90RPM on my 42/15 is 20mph, I ride around there most of the time, except when in a paceline. Does that make me a bad cyclist?
Nope. It just means that you have a bigger "small ring" than 99% of the cyclists he was generalizing about.

52/18 (if you have an 18) would be the same, and also in the "middle" of some cassettes...
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Old 09-11-15, 10:17 AM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Well dammit I must be super weak. Even in FL riding I still use my 34 ring primarily.
Weak is relative. If you're riding at 12-14mph, you can probably get away with using the small. But as others have pointed out, on a group ride where we average 20+mph, small isn't going to provide enough umph. And I live in the Midwest, so what few hills I encounter can usually be accomplished while staying in big, even if that means going big/big for 15 secs (because I went to an edm fest the day before and am working on four hours of sleep and was going to skip the ride but the naked girl in bed next to me [my fiancée] pushed me off when I rolled over to "cuddle").
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Old 09-11-15, 11:59 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Gramin View Post
but the naked girl in bed next to me [my fiancée] pushed me off when I rolled over to "cuddle").
well alrighty then.

Yeah sure if I could maintain 18-20 average I'd probably hang out in the big ring most of the, too.
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Old 09-11-15, 02:19 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by bakes1 View Post
I cross chain all the time because I like the extra noise it makes
HA!

The noise is the only reason I can think of to not cross-chain. I hate it when my bike makes any noise. Also the only reason I care if other people cross-chain. It's like being stuck behind someone driving around with their turn signal on.

Is small/small cross chaining?
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Old 09-11-15, 02:33 PM
  #108  
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Yeah honestly the noise is the main reason I don't do it.
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Old 09-11-15, 03:09 PM
  #109  
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So the main reason for crosschaining is lazyness?
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Old 09-11-15, 03:21 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
So the main reason for crosschaining is lazyness?
Main reason is there is no real reason not to on modern drivetrains.
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Old 09-11-15, 03:56 PM
  #111  
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Yes, too lazy to shift chainrings when there is absolutely no reason to.
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Old 09-11-15, 06:36 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
So the main reason for crosschaining is lazyness?
Laziness and inattention may be the most common causes, but they're hardly reasons. Insufficient preparation and fear of dropping the chain are others.
Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Yes, too lazy to shift chainrings when there is absolutely no reason to.
I think we should make a distinction between benign and malignant cross chaining. Of course if there is nothing mechanically wrong with a cross-chained configuration on some bikes, then there's nothing lazy about letting them go that way. But this isn't always the case; with the way a lot of bikes are set up, it is NOT mechanically sound to ride that way, but people still do it - a lot.

Last edited by kbarch; 09-11-15 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 09-11-15, 06:54 PM
  #113  
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There is no noise with Di2.
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Old 09-11-15, 09:26 PM
  #114  
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Downshift at stops? Crosschain at stops? Lol

HTFU boys and stand on your 53 - whatever to get going again.
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Old 09-11-15, 09:27 PM
  #115  
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Chains last longer if you don't put much power through them, BTW.
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Old 09-11-15, 10:52 PM
  #116  
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Friction Facts published an article regarding cross chaining. It is summarized here. A helpful graphic:

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Old 09-11-15, 11:31 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
That should depend on chainline IMO, looks like that bike chainrings are a bit too inward...
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Old 09-11-15, 11:55 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
That should depend on chainline IMO, looks like that bike chainrings are a bit too inward...
Your 5000th post!

Sorry to be dim, but what bike are you referring to? Please clarify.
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Old 09-12-15, 12:23 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
So the main reason for crosschaining is lazyness?
Have you read the thread? You obviously don't group ride or pace line. A group rides are 22-24+ speed. No reason to use the small ring. My favorite group ride is what I call A-/B+ and paceline is 20-22mph...sometimes a touch faster and the group is comprised of old racers mostly that don't quite have the suds for pure balls out, eat your young, A group rides. Count me in. Pulls are normally 21-22 mph range. Slightly stronger members may pull a hint stronger and weaker guys a hint slower. All good.

The proper way to ride this ride is to stay in the big ring. Shifting to the smaller ring, which is a more substantial shift in terms of disrupting flow..this is because of the differential in no. of teeth traversed by a shift in front versus rear...a more cumbersome shift and less incremental in terms of changes is gear inches compared to shifting the RD even 2-3 cogs...shifting back and forth in front would be constant because the small ring in front runs out of gear inches and would only be used briefly for a perfect no X-chain scenario...so in effect you would end up X-chaining more in the small ring as speeds transitioned to normal for this ride.

So staying in the big ring is proper technique and not wrong technique when it comes to keeping up with the group. If you are out riding by yourself where efficiency doesn't matter, then you can ride whatever ring you want. But when keeping pace in a spirited group ride, you want to employ the best shifting technique to keep pace and that requires brief X-chaining periods and staying on the big ring including explosive out of the saddle efforts to keep the pace line up to speed after the pace line slows which is periodic for lights and other unanticipated stops.

Unless you are a new cyclist....my guess is you don't ride in groups...or you meander along by yourself, you won't understand the best shifting technique when riding in groups. Better riders cross chain briefly for expediency because the vast majority of time they don't when staying on the big ring.

Last edited by Campag4life; 09-12-15 at 03:09 AM.
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Old 09-12-15, 12:25 AM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
I've noticed whenever I'm in a group such as the local club, charity ride, etc., any time we're stopped (like waiting to start the ride), almost everyone has their chain in the big ring and the largest or 2nd largest cog at the rear. Cross chained like whoa. Why do people do this? Too lazy to shift to the small ring? Gotta look macho in the big ring at all times? Some other reason?

I pretty much always start from a stop in the small ring and around the 5th largest cog, near the middle of the cassette, then switch to the large ring after I get going. I hate cross-chaining, if I can help it. But I feel like that may be part of the reason why I'm still on the same Ultegra cassette and KMC X10L chain after over 5,600 miles with no discernible stretch in the chain. Maybe people who say they get 3K miles on a chain and/or cassette are really just cross-chaining too much?
I cross-chain when the mood strikes. Also shift under simply massive wattage on steep climbs. Massive beyond description. Just huge. Anyway, I say there's honor in wearing out driveline components.
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Old 09-12-15, 12:48 AM
  #121  
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Crosschaining is for the weak. - Vladimir Putin
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Old 09-12-15, 06:44 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
Excellent reference! The most interesting thing about that graphic is that it points out what has only been hinted at so far; that the cross chaining you might really want to worry about is not the clattering big/big, but the buzzing small/small.
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Old 09-12-15, 07:11 AM
  #123  
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60% of the time, crosschaining works everytime
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Old 09-12-15, 08:13 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
Crosschaining is for the weak. - Vladimir Putin
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Old 09-12-15, 08:42 AM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
Your 5000th post!

Sorry to be dim, but what bike are you referring to? Please clarify.
The graphic. If the friction loss is less on bigger cogs, the chain must be straighter there. So I suppose the chainrings centerline is not centered in the middle of the cassette, but a little bit inboard.
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