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Switching cassettes question

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

Switching cassettes question

Old 08-31-05, 07:00 AM
  #1  
paul1149
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Switching cassettes question

I'm buying a used '04 Trek 5200, stock double crank setup. That means it should have a Shimano Ultegra 12-25, 9 speed cassette.

I also see an ad for a "Dura-Ace TT/Tri 42 tooth chainring". I'm interested in making the hills around here easier.

I don't know much about this, being fairly new to cycling. Would the Dura-Ace be compatible, or should I look for an Ultegra cassette? Are all the gears on the cassette correspondingly higher-ratioed, or maybe just the first few? Any other things I should be aware of?

Thanks,
Paul
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Old 08-31-05, 07:08 AM
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the 42 tooth ring is a front chainring. Your bike probably is coming with a 39 tooth inner ring (or possibly a 42 already) Going to a bigger inner front chainring will raise, not lower your gear ratio. If you want lower gearing, first check and see if you've got a 39 on the front. If not, you might want to buy a 39 inner ring. If you want lower than 39x25, you can get a 12-27 ultegra cassette that will give you a slightly lower gear. I don't think a standard Ultegra derailleur will shift bigger than a 27 rear cog.
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Old 08-31-05, 07:17 AM
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I see. You can see that I am new. Thanks much for your great overview of the situation. I'll wait until I get the bike and then count the cogs on the chainring, and take it from there. The 27 rear cog would be a gain of 8% torque, I would think, over the 25. I guess that would be pretty significant - not like a triple crank, but good nonetheless.

Thanks!

p.
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Old 08-31-05, 07:29 AM
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If you want to climb the hills a bit easier, you can go with a compact crank 50/34. FSA Gossamer Mega EXO would go with the Ultegra setup on the 5200.

You could swap the cassette for a 12-27 but that's a small improvement over what you've got now.

If you want to go with a triple, say a 52/42/30, you'd have to change out the crankset, front derailleur and maybe the shifters, too.

My advice is to ride that bike, get used to it, attack those hills, save up your money. When it's time to replace worn components, you'll be in a better position to know if you want to go compact crank(the double chainrings) or go for the triple. Or you've become a hammer and decided to keep the same setup.
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Old 08-31-05, 08:03 AM
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I see. The bike should have a 53/39 crankset, so a 50/35 would increase my hill power by 11.4%, it seems. It would also limit the top end a bit, but no problem there. My bike shop lady also said retrofitting a triple would also necessitate a new bracket, because the double's axle isn't long enough, so that option gets too expensive.

I will be riding the bike for a while as-is. This is my first really good bike, and I'm new at being back cycling after many years off (and the technology shift is amazing), so I'll see how it all goes. And hopefully I can convert these last 12 lbs to muscle and that will give me better perspective on this problem!

Thanks much,
p.
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Old 08-31-05, 08:26 AM
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If you don't want buy a new crankset, another option is to use a pie plate cassette. You can put a 9 speed mountain bike cassette (up to 34T) on your bike with a MTB rear derailleur. Your shifters will work fine. You may need a longer chain for a bigger cassette. You should also look at the touring cassettes on www.sheldonbrown.com which have better spacing for road riding.
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Old 08-31-05, 08:37 AM
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Nice choice of bike . Unless you have some really steep hills and you're fairly out of shape, you should be ok with the stock gearing. If possible, stick to routes with less hills until you build up the strength. I live in a fairly hilly area (no such thing as a 'flat' ride around here, actually), and you'll learn what you'll be able to ride, and what will take more mileage to conquer.
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Old 08-31-05, 09:34 AM
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johnny, thanks for that info and link. I'll be saving this thread to disk and will refer back to it as the time comes.

Guitar, yes, I won't be making any changes right away. My choice of rides around here tends to be fairly level, but I foresee the day when I would like to branch out, and hills do abound here in southern NY.

Thanks,
p.
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Old 08-31-05, 09:47 AM
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A compact for about 150.00 U.S. which includes the bb will be the most cost effective move in tems of grear...see bbattle above^^^. But even less costly is getting your legs ready for hills. Let us know if you want training tips.
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Old 08-31-05, 10:24 AM
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Compact is the smaller crankset? Yes, always interested in training tips.

Thx,
p.
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Old 08-31-05, 10:28 AM
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If you want a compact crank (50t-34t) that will work with the stock Ultegra Octalink BB look into the Ritchey WCS Compact. I run this crank on my Salsa and like it a lot. With a compact double and a 12-27 cassette in the back you can get just about as low a gear as a triple running a 30t inner ring and a 12-25 (the 30-25 combo being the lowest) cassette.

I think the compact double is a great option for the non racing road bike rider. If and when you get stronger you can always go to an 11-23 cassette which will give similar gearing to a 53/39 crank with a 12-25 cassette.

You can get the Ritchey WCS for ~$130 from www.aebike.com or have Performance price match it.

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Old 08-31-05, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
If you want a compact crank (50t-34t) that will work with the stock Ultegra Octalink BB look into the Ritchey WCS Compact. I run this crank on my Salsa and like it a lot. With a compact double and a 12-27 cassette in the back you can get just about as low a gear as a triple running a 30t inner ring and a 12-25 (the 30-25 combo being the lowest) cassette.

I think the compact double is a great option for the non racing road bike rider. If and when you get stronger you can always go to an 11-23 cassette which will give similar gearing to a 53/39 crank with a 12-25 cassette. [more like an 11-27 no?]

You can get the Ritchey WCS for ~$130 from www.aebike.com or have Performance price match it.


use the performance code for 20% off if you gotta....^^^

tips....

1. Find out if you like to mash or spin up a hill.
2. Do hill reps, over and over....
3. Make sure you pull your knees up and push down while you make a big cir pedal.
4. Find a long flat road with low trafic and do one leg intervals.
5. Think about a trainer and a video like Uphill Grind by Spernervals [sic].
6. Go to you LBS and look at training books and look for common ideas...buy the one you like best.
7. Get a cadence computer if you can.
8. Small steps...

let us know how it goes....
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Old 08-31-05, 12:03 PM
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That's a beauty. Now I know I have some viable options if I decide to go this route. Thanks. Should be getting the bike early next week.

p.
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Old 08-31-05, 02:25 PM
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Second time today a post of mine didn't show.. . Let me try again..

Grasschopper, that's sure a beauty. Thanks for the info and the link (and the pic). I'll keep this in mind as I enjoy the new bike for a while and see how it goes. Currently I'm using my son's old 10 speed, and I'm not sure I'm in for a quantum leap in power with the stock Ultegra or not. We shall see.

P.
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Old 08-31-05, 02:27 PM
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Third time today a post of mine didn't show.. . Let me try again..

Grasschopper, that's sure a beauty. Thanks for the info and the link (and the pic). I'll keep this in mind as I enjoy the new bike for a while and see how it goes. Currently I'm using my son's old 10 speed, and I'm not sure I'm in for a quantum leap in power with the stock Ultegra or not. We shall see.

P.
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Old 08-31-05, 05:24 PM
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Sorry for the triple post. I have a proxy which was messing up things. I've adjusted it.

ggg, thanks for those suggestions. The video in particular sounds interesting. Right now I'm just training intuitively, one step at a time. We'll see what my new bike says about things!

p.
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Old 08-31-05, 06:20 PM
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I was in your position, when i got my bike, i wanted a triple cause the hills where to hard on 39x25, then i just started ridding faster, I ended up changing my 39 chain ring to a bigger 42 cause i didn't like how small the 39 was. Once you get up to shape and ridding with some fast guys you'll soon notice most hills you don't even switch out of the big ring, even 7~8% climbs, you just stand up and try and stay on the wheel of the guy in front of you. I also didn't like how big of a jump it was going from 53 to 39, i love my 42 ring.

and btw, the 42t ring was a 20$ upgrade (includding shipping to canada), by far the cheapest and best upgrade, vs compact cranks, new cassett's... yada yada...

so i guess i'm saying, just try and find a 38t ring for the front for now, maybe order a 42t aswell while you're at it, then you'll have some to play around with as you get better on those really steap hills.
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Old 09-01-05, 02:21 PM
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Thanks for the advice, derek. It may turn out that way - not sure how my first really good bike is going to ride. Lately I've been unimpressed with my hill-climbing power, but maybe that's the old bike I'm using, maybe it's a stage I'm going through. Don't know. Good to know that inner chainring is changeable.

Thanks,
p.
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