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Need a lower first gear for hills

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

Need a lower first gear for hills

Old 01-07-19, 01:21 PM
  #26  
redlude97
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Does going from 11-30 to 11-34 and the associated change in derailleur and chain lengthening affect shift quality?
you don't need to change the derailleur, and no it doesn't affect shift quality
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Old 01-07-19, 04:58 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
How do most road cyclists climb hills anyway with 11/30 or 11/28 that come standard on most roadbikes?
To be frank, "most" road cyclists usually don't do long climbs at 8-10% or higher. The ones that do are typically fitter, and more importantly, lighter. For me at about 180 lbs, I'd have to hold around 280 watts to spin my low gear (34x28) at ~85 rpm on an 8% grade. That's pretty hard to sustain for all but the most avid cyclists.
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Old 01-07-19, 09:16 PM
  #28  
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I ride in Utah and I can't go very far without some climbing involved. I have a 50/34 and a 11-32 cassette. I do believe in spinning up hills with a higher cadence, but I learned not to throw it down to the lowest gear possible unless you need to. On long hills, if your spinning on your lowest gear, you are going pretty slow. I've ran out of breathe on long climbs because I was in too low a gear. I usually start a long climb in the third lowest gear, shift to the second lowest if needed, and only use the lowest gear when it gets super steep.

Last year I was in a 28 mile "ride" that turned into a "race" with about 200 riders. The night before I made some adjustments to my rear derailleur, but didn't test the front derailleur. The ride took off and I was out front at two miles and we took a left and the light was yellow and only four of made it through the light. I let someone pull to the front and I was drafting off the group and were going 28 mph in the flats. We were together at about 7 miles in, and I realized my front derailleur wouldn't shift into the low chain ring. We had to climb a hill that is 7% for 4 miles. I decided that if I was going to climb that hill in the big chain ring, my only chance was to pedal at a high cadence. I started spinning 90 rpms in a 50/28 (at the time) and I was flying up the hill. I dropped the other riders and I thought, man, I've got to ride like this all the time. And then it happened...dum, dum dum, dum half way up the hill, my legs were on fire. I slowed down my cadence to 70, and then I ran out of breath. I didn't have my hrm, but I bet my heart was beating out of my chest. The group caught up to me and dropped me like a hot potato. I started seeing stars and I thought I was going to pass out. I some how struggled to the top, coasted down the other side of the hill to catch my breath. The moral of the story is learn how to pace your gears on long climbs.

Last edited by Sojodave; 01-07-19 at 09:21 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 01-07-19, 10:24 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Jumpski View Post
Spinning is winning. Two years ago I went from 11-32 to 11-40 using Wolf Tooth road link ($21.95) while in Thailand, and never looked back. I am currently on the same set up, and will go back to 11-32 state side. I really don't get the whole grinding thing. Serious cyclist here are using 40 rear cassette on road bikes. I learned the hard way. I am running Shimanno DI2 Ultegra. Have fun


Grinding is whining. (sorry- joke)

I confess that the 11-34 that I put on for the big events is still in use.

But with 48/34 chainrings, I get up a lot of stuff in the big ring so that looks impressive.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:40 PM
  #30  
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Yea , but

Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Does going from 11-30 to 11-34 and the associated change in derailleur and chain lengthening affect shift quality?
IDK what your user skill is, & when you want your bike to shift ?? #1 don't force it ...

anticipate a gear you will need before you need it .. get ahead of the current gear, so as to take force off the chain,
then ask it to shift off 1 cog or chainring onto another..



You should buy a new chain by now and particularly as you will buy a new cassette..

why not do both? a 34:34 low gear is like climbing a hill on a unicycle ..




...

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-08-19 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 01-08-19, 02:46 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I'm struggling on grades >6% and really need a lower first gear. Bike is a 2019 Cannondale CAAD12 with OPI Spidering 52/36 in front and an Ultegra R8000 11/30 cassette in rear.

1. Do I replace the cassette, with perhaps an 11/34? Replacing the cassette would also require a derailleur replacement. Compared to the 11/30 I already have, the 11/34 has a 13% lower first gear.
2. Or do I replace the chainrings to 50/34, which is expensive because it's the OPI Spidering? Going from a 52/36 to a 50/34 gets me a 6% lower first gear, which doesn't seem like much.
3. Or do I live with stock gearing and focus on leg strengthening?

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.
Imo, get a R7000 GS rear DR, a 11-34 105 cassette and a new chain. When you get to a better fitness level you can change back to your R8000 ect ...
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Old 01-09-19, 02:35 PM
  #32  
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I'm giving serious consideration to switching the Ultegra cassette from 11-30 to 11-34. Cannondale said my Ultegra derailleur is compatible with 11-34, which makes the parts cost (including the chain) fairly reasonable.

Shimano says the 11-34 Ultegra cassette is actually in their mountain line rather than the road line (which caps out at 11-32). Does this mean I'm taking on a meaningfully heavier cassette or making other tradeoffs I might regret?
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Old 01-09-19, 02:54 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I'm giving serious consideration to switching the Ultegra cassette from 11-30 to 11-34. Cannondale said my Ultegra derailleur is compatible with 11-34, which makes the parts cost (including the chain) fairly reasonable.

Shimano says the 11-34 Ultegra cassette is actually in their mountain line rather than the road line (which caps out at 11-32). Does this mean I'm taking on a meaningfully heavier cassette or making other tradeoffs I might regret?
No, it has to do with the way the cassette spider is built to go on the freehub. Shimano MTB uses the same length as the 10 speed road design and offsets the larger 34t back towards the spokes which you can't do with a smaller cassette. What it means is you'll just have to run a small(included) spacer with a road 11 speed freehub. The the jumps in the cassette are more mtb like also so take that into consideration if you like close spacing in the middle of the cassette
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Old 01-09-19, 03:16 PM
  #34  
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Is the difference in gear spacing fairly linear through the range, or are they greater toward the lower gears? I tend to ride mostly in the middle gears.
Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
No, it has to do with the way the cassette spider is built to go on the freehub. Shimano MTB uses the same length as the 10 speed road design and offsets the larger 34t back towards the spokes which you can't do with a smaller cassette. What it means is you'll just have to run a small(included) spacer with a road 11 speed freehub. The the jumps in the cassette are more mtb like also so take that into consideration if you like close spacing in the middle of the cassette
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Old 01-09-19, 04:39 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Is the difference in gear spacing fairly linear through the range, or are they greater toward the lower gears? I tend to ride mostly in the middle gears.
the major thing with the 11-34 is that the cassette starts with 11-13-15-17 jumps compared to the 11-12-13-14-16 for the 11-32. I personally don't like it but others don't have a problem with it, more of an issue in a group
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