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

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

Old 09-10-15, 08:10 AM
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PatrickGSR94
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What's with all the cross-chaining among roadies?

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?
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Old 09-10-15, 08:12 AM
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The only authority on the subject was recently banned.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
The only authority on the subject was recently banned.
well drat
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Old 09-10-15, 08:14 AM
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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 hope you never encounter a new 1x road bike groupset.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
I hope you never encounter a new 1x road bike groupset.
I would hope a 1x groupset is set up with a proper chain line with the chain ring as close to the middle of the cassette as possible.

I rode my recently-completed custom built utility bike around for awhile on the middle ring as 1x8, while I was waiting for the FD to come in. I can see the appeal of 1x, not worrying about shifting up front, less cable, less to deal with and think about in general.

But on my road bike I typically never go below the 5th cog while in the big ring, and never go above the 7th cog while in the small ring.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:17 AM
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This poor bike has no choice.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:23 AM
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I'm still getting comfortable with how shifting works. I generally keep the front in the middle (is that the ring and the cog is in the back) and now I'm using almost the full range in the back. I dont feel too guilty about dropping the back all the way down on hills. or all the way up going downhill. It's crossed a little but with the front in the middle I figure i can get away with it and go either way. I'm more concerned with getting efficient power than stretching my chain and I rarely anticipate hills worthy of dropping the front ring ahead of time til halfway up then some say it's too late to be downshifting the front.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:24 AM
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There's zero correlation between cross-chaining and wear especially short-term cross-chaining. I hate to break it to you, but I usually go big-big at stoplights, and I'm at similar mileage to you on an Ultegra chain. Its much faster to rear shift than front shift, especially when you're just starting out. I usually leave the front ring set for the upcoming terrain and adjust the rear to the correct speed, especially if its only going to be for a couple of revolutions as you shift up.

The thinner chains are more flexible, and therefore less subject to wear from cross-chaining. Chain wear is all about riding conditions and lubrication intervals. Cross-chaining may have an impact but it would require riding for miles in a poor combination, not 10 pedal cycles while you get to speed.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:30 AM
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I have a compact double. I barely ever shift out of the big ring and don't need to shift to the small ring when I stop. It's not cross chaining as much when you have a double compared to a triple. Think about it, on a triple, generally you stay on the top half of the cassette for the small ring, you can pretty much go anywhere (except maybe the extreme top and bottom) when you're in the middle ring, and you try to stay on the bottom half of the cassette when you're in the big ring. On a compact double, the big ring is near the position the middle ring would be at on a triple, so it can pretty much go anywhere on the cassette. (Except maybe the largest 2 cogs.)

Either way, I'm cross chaining. If I want my gear ratio to be the same in the big or small ring, I generally have to downshift thrice when shifting to the small ring, looking the bike, the chainlines are almost equal, opposite, but almost equal (with very slightly less cross chaining when I'm in the small ring, getting worse the faster I get) That slight lessening of the cross chaining isn't worth downshifting to the small ring, especially since big cogs and chainrings are more efficient anyway.

EDIT: You should understand this, you have the same bike I do (except one year older.)
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Old 09-10-15, 08:33 AM
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My bike never complains when I cross chain.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
But on my road bike I typically never go below the 5th cog while in the big ring, and never go above the 7th cog while in the small ring.
Why not?

On a double the chainrings are only offset 2.5mm from "center" and an 11 speed cassette is about 43.5mm wide.

The maximum angle achieved fully crosschained (big/big) on a double is 3.362 degrees if the chainline is centered between the rings.

The maximum angle on a 1x if the chain ring is centered is 3.005 degrees.

With only .357 degree difference between a perfect 1x system and a normal 2x, do you think the extra angle is hurting anything?
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Old 09-10-15, 08:47 AM
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I find myself running in the big ring a lot on my bike with a Compact, and occasionally cross chaining, although my bike only makes the noise of cross chaining when I'm on biggest cog of my cassette, so it's really not that much of a problem for me.

Mostly it's laziness I'll admit, some of it is because I got used to riding a cross bike with a 46/36 up front, and I find that with the 50/34 the jump when changing to the small cog is quite large compared to the cross bike, and I haven't really figured out how to do it smoothly. So I prefer to spend as much time as I can without changing the front ring. One other thing is that I notice that if I run on the small ring I get some chain slap when running in smaller cogs at the back, whereas on the cross bike I notice I often run in the small ring except when I'm going > 20mph, with no chain slap presumably because of of the smaller difference between the front rings.

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Old 09-10-15, 08:48 AM
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If I'm on big ring terrain and need to stop, I just shift to the rear to a starting gear (25t, 22t, 19t...whatever) and work my way back up through the gears as I start out again. That seems much faster than shifting to the small ring and then working through a bunch of small ring combos to get back on the big ring.

I suspect most riders do it that, too, and that's why you see "cross-chained" (parenthetical because to me, it's strictly small/small and big/big, not big/2nd biggest or anything else) when they're stopped.

I also don't think most cyclist, myself included, are concerned with the additional wear on components resulting from brief cross chaining, or even periodic cross chaining.

Fear of the cross chain is quite old fashioned, and modern groupsets and chains seem to handle it just fine insofar as I can tell. I cross chain freely whenever it suits my needs, but it's invariably not a go-to gear combo. If I need to run 53/25 to crest a 50sec climb, I'll do it. The small/small combo I never seem to get into; my terrain doesn't call for it, and my prodigious mass gets goin downhill so fast, the climbs would have to so steep and closely spaced that it wouldn't make sense to grab the big ring. It happens, just not in my regular terrain.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
My bike never complains when I cross chain.
Mine does a little... I just switched from a 50T to a 52T and didn't get the FD dialed in perfectly.

I also have an 11-32T cassette and when I run 52-32T , the chain rubs the top of the FD.

I need to adjust it ASAP before someone notices me in race/granny combo and their head exlpodes.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Why not?

On a double the chainrings are only offset 2.5mm from "center" and an 11 speed cassette is about 43.5mm wide.

The maximum angle achieved fully crosschained (big/big) on a double is 3.362 degrees if the chainline is centered between the rings.

The maximum angle on a 1x if the chain ring is centered is 3.005 degrees.

With only .357 degree difference between a perfect 1x system and a normal 2x, do you think the extra angle is hurting anything?
The Science is Heavy with 69Chevy!
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Old 09-10-15, 08:53 AM
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Cause its faster to shift the RD? Unless gravity is really against me, I never shift out of the big ring.

BTW, why does it bother you how others shift? In some kind of chain preservation society?
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Old 09-10-15, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I also don't think most cyclist, myself included, are concerned with the additional wear on components resulting from brief cross chaining, or even periodic cross chaining.

Fear of the cross chain is quite old fashioned, and modern groupsets and chains seem to handle it just fine insofar as I can tell. I cross chain freely whenever it suits my needs, but it's invariably not a go-to gear combo. If I need to run 53/25 to crest a 50sec climb, I'll do it. The small/small combo I never seem to get into; my terrain doesn't call for it, and my prodigious mass gets goin downhill so fast, the climbs would have to so steep and closely spaced that it wouldn't make sense to grab the big ring. It happens, just not in my regular terrain.
^^ This.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:59 AM
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I cross chain the hell out of my road bike. The only time I am on my small chainring is when I am doing grades of over 6%. Shimano obviously designed them to do this because the shift levers have a trim feature to prevent the chain rubbing the front derailleur when you are on the two largest cogs and the largest chainring.

I think cross chaining used to be an issue years ago, but as technology and materials have improved, so has the ability to cross chain without wearing down components.

The advantage to never having to shift off the large chainring is the convenience of only having to shift the rear derailleur in most conditions.
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Old 09-10-15, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
The Science is Heavy with 69Chevy!
Math, not science.
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Old 09-10-15, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Math, not science.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathem...ics_as_science
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Old 09-10-15, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
My bike never complains when I cross chain.
Too funny. I thought that my bike was the only one that did not complain.
I live in Florida and there are no hills where I live. My bike is a double but I never use the small ring on the front. Never.
On a side note, do you really look at the chain of others at a stop and then wonder if they are acting macho? I would never even think to look at such a thing. Nor would I think that somebody would assume that others are looking and leave their chain placement in an effort "impress" somebody. Would we call such an action the Bonaparte syndrome?
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Old 09-10-15, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by inspclouseau View Post
Cause its faster to shift the RD? Unless gravity is really against me, I never shift out of the big ring.

BTW, why does it bother you how others shift? In some kind of chain preservation society?
This. It's one thing to ride cross chained continuously, it's another thing to just downshift at a light, stop sign, or brief stop. Dropping from the big ring in the front, means I have to shift the back as well to keep a smooth pedal stroke and the opposite to get going again, especially if I want to go quickly from a dead stop. Just shifting the back is so much easier.

Not to mention, with Di2 shifting the front uses more battery than shifting the back.
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Old 09-10-15, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by inspclouseau View Post
Read what you linked to.

I agree that since math is already proven, it is not "science".
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Old 09-10-15, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Math, not science.
Originally Posted by inspclouseau View Post
Also, math doesn't rhyme with either 69 or Chevy...
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Old 09-10-15, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Read what you linked to.

I agree that since math is already proven, it is not "science".
Reading through the philosophies of it breaks my brain and redirects my attention back to work.
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