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

How much maximum cross-chain?

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

How much maximum cross-chain?

Old 06-28-16, 07:19 AM
  #1  
vinuneuro
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: NW Chicagoland
Posts: 783

Bikes: 2016 Diverge Expert

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 389 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 8 Posts
How much maximum cross-chain?

What's the maximum you can/should crosschain before the issues associated with it become apparent? Ie. When in the small ring don't use the smallest two in the cassette, when in the big ring don't use the biggest two, etc. Is it chain ring combination dependent, ie. 50/34 has more/less leeway than 53/39?
vinuneuro is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 07:24 AM
  #2  
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: 6554 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 33 Posts
I'm still doing what was recommended back in 5-speed cassette days. Omitting just the big-big and small-small combinations, mainly because of how hard it is to keep the chain from fouling th FD when using those pairs. Then there is the problem of even the second smallest cog and small ring on compact cranks where the chain fouls the big ring. But it really isn't such a big deal. If you can ride quietly, just do it.
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 07:28 AM
  #3  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,202
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1185 Post(s)
Liked 286 Times in 174 Posts
I don't usually go big big or small small but other than a little extra noise I don't think there is a big difference in the wear unless you spend a long time in those combinations. The difference in angle is not very big.
gregf83 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 07:29 AM
  #4  
mcours2006
Senior Member
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 6,061

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1938 Post(s)
Liked 286 Times in 168 Posts
I've done big-big, not frequently, but never small-small, but I've done small to second-to-smallest.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 07:30 AM
  #5  
NYMXer
Senior Member
 
NYMXer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 1,495

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix EVO w Hi-Mod frame, Raleigh Tamland 1 and Giant Anthem X

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 352 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
I'm not sure if there is an acceptable formula or ratio for this but I use my ears to tell me what's going on back there. It's as simple as this, if I hear "clicking" noises, I change gears unless it is for a very short time.

I find it baffling that the trend is for more gears in the back and two up front when a good triple (3x9) didn't cross chain enough to matter, albeit some gear overlap or repeat ratios. Some say for weight savings, blah humbug....

I learned on a triple, so maybe I am a little bias on this topic. I would spend most of my time in the middle ring and have full use of the nine on the cassette. Life seemed simpler then, haha
NYMXer is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:15 AM
  #6  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 13,095

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6306 Post(s)
Liked 1,245 Times in 715 Posts
I never go further than the biggest gear or cog and the smallest gear or cog---jusrt for the sake of component life I never shift into gears I don't have.
Maelochs is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:19 AM
  #7  
PepeM
Senior Member
 
PepeM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 6,852
Mentioned: 180 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2730 Post(s)
Liked 107 Times in 53 Posts
Oh yes, a cross-chaining thread! Subscribed.
PepeM is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:32 AM
  #8  
stevoo
Stevoo
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: So Cal
Posts: 215

Bikes: Road and mountain tandems, single bikes too.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
As much as you can get away with. Mostly dictated by chainstay length.
Bikes with longer chainstays allow more and also less fd rub issues.
It is just a simple geometry thing.
One is not better or worse. Just different.
stevoo is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:33 AM
  #9  
PatrickGSR94
Senior Member
 
PatrickGSR94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Memphis TN area
Posts: 7,393

Bikes: 2011 Felt Z85 (road/commuter), 2006 Marin Pine Mountain (utility/commuter E-bike), 1995 KHS Alite 1000 (gravel grinder)

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 13 Posts
With 2x10 I usually stay out of the smallest 3 cogs while in the small ring, and the largest 3 cogs while in the big ring.
PatrickGSR94 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:41 AM
  #10  
RPK79
Custom User Title
 
RPK79's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SE MN
Posts: 11,239

Bikes: Fuji Roubaix Pro & Quintana Roo Kilo

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2862 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I never go further than the biggest gear or cog and the smallest gear or cog---jusrt for the sake of component life I never shift into gears I don't have.
This. I have gone past the big cog and my spokes did not like it.
RPK79 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:44 AM
  #11  
datlas 
Beyond Bogus
 
datlas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
Posts: 35,782

Bikes: 1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 502 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15562 Post(s)
Liked 3,512 Times in 1,754 Posts
Hi. My name is datlas and I am a cross-chainer. It has been 3 days since my last cross. I usually end up doing it big-big when going up a roller and I don't want to risk dropping my chain from the FD shift and I try not to spend too much time in the big-big. I rarely do little-little but occasionally do that too.

In all seriousness, it's not a terrible thing to do for short periods of time. Yeah it may be slightly less efficient and may wear your drivertrain but it's going to wear out anyway so if you don't have FD rub problems (trim is your friend!) I would not worry about it.

Ride more, worry less!
__________________
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Addiction is all about class.
datlas is online now  
Old 06-28-16, 08:54 AM
  #12  
RPK79
Custom User Title
 
RPK79's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SE MN
Posts: 11,239

Bikes: Fuji Roubaix Pro & Quintana Roo Kilo

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2862 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 13 Posts
I recently swapped out my 50t ring for a 46t ring with the thought that I'll be using the big more and cross-chaining quite often.
RPK79 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:57 AM
  #13  
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: 1524 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 42 Posts
Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Hi. My name is datlas and I am a cross-chainer. It has been 3 days since my last cross. I usually end up doing it big-big when going up a roller and I don't want to risk dropping my chain from the FD shift and I try not to spend too much time in the big-big. I rarely do little-little but occasionally do that too.

In all seriousness, it's not a terrible thing to do for short periods of time. Yeah it may be slightly less efficient and may wear your drivertrain but it's going to wear out anyway so if you don't have FD rub problems (trim is your friend!) I would not worry about it.

Ride more, worry less!
Your FD doesn't have limit screws?
WalksOn2Wheels is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:58 AM
  #14  
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: 6554 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
With 2x10 I usually stay out of the smallest 3 cogs while in the small ring, and the largest 3 cogs while in the big ring.
That's a shame.
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 09:16 AM
  #15  
datlas 
Beyond Bogus
 
datlas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
Posts: 35,782

Bikes: 1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 502 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15562 Post(s)
Liked 3,512 Times in 1,754 Posts
Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Your FD doesn't have limit screws?
It does, and it's set up generally properly, but if I am in the 2nd smallest cog in back and quickly drop to the small front ring, there is like a 5% chance of chain drop. When it happens it's a Schleck moment that is most annoying so I try to avoid this. If I think I will need the little ring I try to drop to it when in mid-cassette and it never drops. Must be related to chain line or something. Plus, my mechanic is an idiot.
__________________
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Addiction is all about class.
datlas is online now  
Old 06-28-16, 09:30 AM
  #16  
PatrickGSR94
Senior Member
 
PatrickGSR94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Memphis TN area
Posts: 7,393

Bikes: 2011 Felt Z85 (road/commuter), 2006 Marin Pine Mountain (utility/commuter E-bike), 1995 KHS Alite 1000 (gravel grinder)

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
That's a shame.
Why? 2x10 already has plenty of overlap. If I need more speed than the small ring on the 7th cog, I switch to something like big ring and 5th cog. If I need something lower than big ring and 4th cog I switch to the small ring and 5th or 6th. I like straighter chain lines.

As for dropping the chain, my bike used to be plagued with chain drop when shifting from the big to the small ring. No amount of FD adjustment would fix it. I tried and the LBS tried multiple times. I think there was a problem with certain teeth on the big ring that was causing the chain to deflect over past the small ring when shifting down. The N-Gear Jump Stop plate completely eliminated any and all chain drop issues.
PatrickGSR94 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 09:43 AM
  #17  
RPK79
Custom User Title
 
RPK79's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SE MN
Posts: 11,239

Bikes: Fuji Roubaix Pro & Quintana Roo Kilo

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2862 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 13 Posts
The simplicity of the SRAM 1x11 system interests me. Who needs all this big ring small ring stuff.
RPK79 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 10:05 AM
  #18  
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: 6554 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Why? 2x10 already has plenty of overlap. If I need more speed than the small ring on the 7th cog, I switch to something like big ring and 5th cog. If I need something lower than big ring and 4th cog I switch to the small ring and 5th or 6th. I like straighter chain lines.

As for dropping the chain, my bike used to be plagued with chain drop when shifting from the big to the small ring. No amount of FD adjustment would fix it. I tried and the LBS tried multiple times. I think there was a problem with certain teeth on the big ring that was causing the chain to deflect over past the small ring when shifting down. The N-Gear Jump Stop plate completely eliminated any and all chain drop issues.
Ideally you don't want to go back and forth up front. The idea is to sit on one front ring that is suitable for the particular terrain and/or wind conditions. It isn't always possible sure, but using more of the rear cog and front ring combinations makes it more possible to do this.
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 10:12 AM
  #19  
PatrickGSR94
Senior Member
 
PatrickGSR94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Memphis TN area
Posts: 7,393

Bikes: 2011 Felt Z85 (road/commuter), 2006 Marin Pine Mountain (utility/commuter E-bike), 1995 KHS Alite 1000 (gravel grinder)

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Ideally you don't want to go back and forth up front. The idea is to sit on one front ring that is suitable for the particular terrain and/or wind conditions. It isn't always possible sure, but using more of the rear cog and front ring combinations makes it more possible to do this.
Not possible for me and my terrain. I live and commute on hilly terrain, and I use everything from 34-28 up to 50-11 (the entire gear range). I shift chain rings based on what feels best for me, and on commutes that usually means I'm in the same gear combos at the same locations, most of the time, unless I get a big tail wind or head wind one day.
PatrickGSR94 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 10:25 AM
  #20  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,665

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2989 Post(s)
Liked 1,586 Times in 1,050 Posts
There are no hard lines - unless the chain hangs up on the adjacent chainring teeth in a small-small combo or stresses the rear derailleur in a big-big combo. Cross-chaining stresses chains and leads to quicker "stretch" and chain replacement or quick wear on teeth. Also rapid wear on small cogs. (I've ridden a lot of bikes where the chain sagged on the small-small and the derailleur cage doubled back on itself and the chain rubbed. Noisy! but seems to run just fine.)

That said, cross-chaining can also lead to better riding. I do it regularly on climbs when the grade levels out, rather than do two double shifts while going uphill. I have climbed many small rises in big-big combos. Now, I am an ex-racer. Been many, many years but some brain wiring cannot be un-wired. Coming over hill crests fried and pulling back on the left shifter still happens. Big-big! Any bike I own better be able to handle big-big with no consequences.

If money is a key issue, then skip the poor chainlines. Using them costs more. If you want sweet silence, stay away from them. If your bike is a tool and spending a couple of bucks more but getting more use out of that tool makes your life better, use the poor chainlines. Like I say, there are no hard and fast rules except avoiding the combos that simply don't work.

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 10:32 AM
  #21  
Square Wheels
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 275

Bikes: 2013 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert Compact

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If the engineers who built these combinations don't want me to use them, why put them there?
I ride what works for me, if I cross chain, so be it.
When things wear out, I'll replace them.
Square Wheels is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 10:33 AM
  #22  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,665

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2989 Post(s)
Liked 1,586 Times in 1,050 Posts
Originally Posted by datlas View Post
It does, and it's set up generally properly, but if I am in the 2nd smallest cog in back and quickly drop to the small front ring, there is like a 5% chance of chain drop. When it happens it's a Schleck moment that is most annoying so I try to avoid this. If I think I will need the little ring I try to drop to it when in mid-cassette and it never drops. Must be related to chain line or something. Plus, my mechanic is an idiot.
Consider a chain watcher. They work really well to keep the chain on and have no real drawbacks. Barely noticeable and weigh almost nothing. There are two brands that I have used. Both work for me well. (Third Eye and I cannot remember the other brand.)

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 10:36 AM
  #23  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 15,261

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 453 Post(s)
Liked 211 Times in 135 Posts
I try not to cross chain.
but on Di2 cross chaining is not an issue.
And on a mechanical set up, using the front derailleur trim adjustment, also basically makes it a non issue.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 11:09 AM
  #24  
12strings
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Madison, IN
Posts: 1,351

Bikes: 2015 Jamis Quest Comp

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 270 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Just do what I do: Stay in your MIDDLE chain-ring all the time and use the whole cassette.... :-)
12strings is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 11:14 AM
  #25  
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: 6554 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by Square Wheels View Post
If the engineers who built these combinations don't want me to use them, why put them there?
I ride what works for me, if I cross chain, so be it.
When things wear out, I'll replace them.
How exactly would you propose to make a big-small or small-big combination available without the small-small and big-big also being present? And every cassette has two ends. No matter how many cogs you add or remove, that is still the case. Derailleurs are always going to be engineered to just barely work at the cassette edges. It is inescapable.
__________________
Robert

Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
No matter where I go, here I am...
rpenmanparker is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.