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

The Compact Needs to go, What Needs to be Upgraded?

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

The Compact Needs to go, What Needs to be Upgraded?

Old 03-11-06, 03:21 PM
  #1  
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Thread Starter
 
Snuffleupagus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Irish Cycles Tir na Nog, Jack Kane Team Racing, Fuji Aloha 1.0, GT Karakoram, Motobecane Fly Team

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Right now on my Litespeed Vela I'm runing a FSA Gossamer Compact setup. 50/34 front and 12/25 rear. 175 cranks. Full 105 group.

I'm a pretty big guy (200ish lbs, little less) with large legs. On a fairly flat metric century averaging 21ish, with intervals between 24-28 and two stops my average cadence is around 75.

I never, ever use my little ring up front - and I spin out in 50/12 on the flats and downhills.

What do I need to change, if anything, other than the chainrings themselves?

I'm thinking 53/42 front while keeping the 12/25 on the rear...
Snuffleupagus is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 03:49 PM
  #2  
Well, duh, Mr Obvious.
 
dekalbSTEEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NIU town
Posts: 2,271

Bikes: see sig, and others

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It looks like the biggest you could go if you want to just replace the chainrings would be 52-38, at least if you stick with FSA
https://fullspeedahead.com/fly.aspx?l...axid=25&pid=67
dekalbSTEEL is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 03:52 PM
  #3  
hello
 
roadfix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 18,707
Liked 132 Times in 59 Posts
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
I never, ever use my little ring up front - and I spin out in 50/12 on the flats and downhills.
Do you really not ever use you small ring on climbs?

As far as spinning out, try swapping out your cassette to an 11-21 or 23. Who knows, maybe with a smaller, tighter cassette, you might occassionaly use the 34 small ring.....
And if the 34 is still too small, you can always swap that ring out for a 36.
roadfix is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 03:57 PM
  #4  
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Thread Starter
 
Snuffleupagus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Irish Cycles Tir na Nog, Jack Kane Team Racing, Fuji Aloha 1.0, GT Karakoram, Motobecane Fly Team

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by The Fixer
Do you really not ever use you small ring on climbs?

As far as spinning out, try swapping out your cassette to an 11-21 or 23. Who knows, maybe with a smaller, tighter cassette, you might occassionaly use the 34 small ring.....
If the 34 is still too small, you can always swap that ring out for a 36.
I live in a fairly flat area, with the biggest climbs not more than a few hundred feet of elevation gain. I have never used the little ring on the Litespeed. I used the little ring on my old Raleigh for those same hills.

I want to:

A) Stop spinning out in 50/12
B) Be able to use my little ring (no, I don't think I'm a big stud or anything...I just hammer more than spin, and have no use for the 34T setup as it is)
Snuffleupagus is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:06 PM
  #5  
Scum, Freezebag!
 
Mo'Phat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Poway, CA
Posts: 4,546

Bikes: 2007 Leader 796R w/ 10sp DA and 2005 Jamis Dakar XLT FS MTB

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For what it's worth, a 50/11 is a harder gear to push than 53/12...so the cheapest route would actually be to swap out your cassette with an 11/21. For hills, a 34/21 isn't too easy...I don't think it's easier than 39/25, but I may be wrong.

Theoretically, going to an 11/21 cassette will help improve shifting and pedaling cadence because the gear teeth counts are closer together.

If you really want specifics about speed in relation to gearing, use Sheldon Brown's gear calculator and plug in 53/39 with 12/25 and 50/34 and 11/21. You'll see that they're pretty close. The advantages of already having the compact is that if you ever do hit any monster hills, you can just swap out your new 11/21 with your old 12/25 and you've got a great climber's ratio to work with...and switching out cassettes (or having 2 different rear wheels you can switch easily) is much more painless than switching out cranksets.
Mo'Phat is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:12 PM
  #6  
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Thread Starter
 
Snuffleupagus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Irish Cycles Tir na Nog, Jack Kane Team Racing, Fuji Aloha 1.0, GT Karakoram, Motobecane Fly Team

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Hm, interesting stuff Mo.

I might pickup an 11-21 on monday to give 'er a go.
Snuffleupagus is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:32 PM
  #7  
train safe
 
buelito's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Broomfield, CO
Posts: 801
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
how fast are you going when you 'spin out' on the 50*12? I ride that and can reach speeds in the upper 20s--my cadence is high, but I have never 'spun out'...except when going down hill-- and then I just tuck and can stick with virtually anyone without pedaling

Check your cadence. However, I would second what has been said-- change to a 11*21 or an 11*23-- either one will give you a higher gear than the 53*12.

train safe-
buelito is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:36 PM
  #8  
Used to be a climber..
 
GuitarWizard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Posts: 6,849

Bikes: 2016 Ridley Fenix SL, 2020 Trek Emonda ALR (rim brake)

Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
You state your average cadence is 75, but then you also said you "spin out" your 50/12 gear on the flats. To me, "spinning out" would mean around 120-130 rpms.....what are you hitting?

I would also vote for the 11-23 rear cassette.
GuitarWizard is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:43 PM
  #9  
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Thread Starter
 
Snuffleupagus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Irish Cycles Tir na Nog, Jack Kane Team Racing, Fuji Aloha 1.0, GT Karakoram, Motobecane Fly Team

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
You state your average cadence is 75, but then you also said you "spin out" your 50/12 gear on the flats. To me, "spinning out" would mean around 120-130 rpms.....what are you hitting?

I would also vote for the 11-23 rear cassette.
By spinning out I mean more than 95ish...I don't really like high cadence.

Take my ride today, doing some intervals at 27-28 I was spinning higher than I like (and drooling on myself...but thats another issue). Or on the flats at 24ish, I would like to be able to have a lower gear to mash away on.
Snuffleupagus is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:43 PM
  #10  
Well, duh, Mr Obvious.
 
dekalbSTEEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NIU town
Posts: 2,271

Bikes: see sig, and others

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
https://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

shows 39.1 mph @120rpm on a 50 x 12

If you're hittin that on the flats, you ARE a strong rider. (downhill, no problem)

50 x 11 would put you at 42.6 mph
dekalbSTEEL is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 04:52 PM
  #11  
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Thread Starter
 
Snuffleupagus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Irish Cycles Tir na Nog, Jack Kane Team Racing, Fuji Aloha 1.0, GT Karakoram, Motobecane Fly Team

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
50/12 @ 80rpm is only 26mph...
50/11 @ 80rpm is 28.4mph

53/11 @ 80rpm is 30mph
53/12 @ 80rpm is 27.6mph

Looks like 50/11 may be the way to go instead of blowing a big wad 'o cash on the cranks.
Snuffleupagus is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 05:03 PM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
1955's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Posts: 3,563

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Pro & Iron Horse Mavrick 5.5

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
50/12 @ 80rpm is only 26mph...
50/11 @ 80rpm is 28.4mph

53/11 @ 80rpm is 30mph
53/12 @ 80rpm is 27.6mph

Looks like 50/11 may be the way to go instead of blowing a big wad 'o cash on the cranks.

Like what's already been said, get a 36 inner ring and you just might use it. I ordered one for my CC also, because my rides are either on absolutely flat ground or only hills. For the flat ground rides there is a big gap, with the 34/50, right where I spend most of my time. I hope the 36 will bridge that gap.

Good luck.
__________________
Ralph (not Ralphie) on a Roubaix in
Huntington Beach, CA
& Iron Horse Maverick 5.5
1955 is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 05:23 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,225

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Liked 644 Times in 365 Posts
What's your typical, no BS, gear for a dead flat road?

Figure out what chainring/cassette combination that you need so that gear will fall right in the middle of the cassette when you're in the big ring.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 07:12 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Fox Farm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 2,754

Bikes: Merlin Extra Light, Orbea Orca, Ritchey Outback,Tomac Revolver Mountain Bike, Cannondale Crit 3.0 now used for time trials.

Liked 55 Times in 34 Posts
If you live in a flat area, you do not need that compact gearing. I use to live in Michigan and my compact Ritchey Logic came with 53/38 and the 110 spider. I took the 38 off and put a 42 on and it was just right. For hill climb centuries, like Mt. Mitchell or Bridge to Bridge, the smaller rings went on with a 13/26 on the rear.
Fox Farm is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 09:45 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,848
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
The thing that surprise me the most is that 80 rpms is spining for this guy. Looks like he has only one pace, 80 rpms even. No matter if he uses hard or light gears he is always 80 rpms. Wonder if he knows what is going with 53x14 chasing from the peloton at 120/130 rpms. U cant do more than 80 rpms apparently or u wouldnt been asking for more gear... U r just like a truck that need a new gear box, sadly the problem isnt the truck, is the driver.

The funniest part is that everybody is going from regular crank factor to compact, he wants to go from compact to normal?? I think he needs to learn how to change cadence and this problem would disapear in a few months. He is strong, period... strong and big as a LUG riding a bike...

Your problem goes in another direction, no matter what gear u'll put there u'll always do 80 rpms. u'll put more inches or meters in your gear, and obviously u'll go faster... But things dont work that way. U need somebody to teach u... sometimes u can go faster using lighter gears u know, learn to do that 1st then ask for more if needed...

I know he came asking for help but at least for me its clear that is a rider problem, not a bike problem. He has to realize that... I apologize if I sound so rude ... ok?... think In what i was trying to say ok?...

cya.
ultraman6970 is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 09:55 PM
  #16  
Direct Hit Not Required
 
BlastRadius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: San Bruno, CA
Posts: 6,193

Bikes: Leopard DC1, Ridley X-Fire, GT Zaskar 9r

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
If you can find an 11t cog and lockring, you can take out the 14t and run 11,12,13,15,17,19,21,23,25. If you have an old 11-32 mountain cassette (LX) it'd be easy. You can also replace the top three cogs with 21,24,28 from the mountain cassette for an extremely wide range.
BlastRadius is offline  
Old 03-11-06, 10:11 PM
  #17  
Jr. High School Student
 
shiftinjon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 145
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You could just buy new chainrings:

https://www.speedgoat.com/product.asp?part=43747
shiftinjon is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 01:07 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
clausen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Northern Ontario
Posts: 3,659

Bikes: Colnago Master XL, Bianchi Via Nirone 7, Marinoni Fango

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think increasing your cadence would be your best bet. I did it last year and it made a huge difference in my riding. It was a pain to do at first, my avg speed dropped at first. But by the end of the season my avg was higher than before and my legs felt fresher at the end of rides.
clausen is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 06:50 AM
  #19  
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Thread Starter
 
Snuffleupagus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Irish Cycles Tir na Nog, Jack Kane Team Racing, Fuji Aloha 1.0, GT Karakoram, Motobecane Fly Team

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Okay - on the subject of my cadence...this may be a function of me being familiar with my low cadence, or because of my physical build, but...

At a given speed, lets say 20mph, I fatigue much more quickly at 110rpm than at 70rpm.

All those recommending that I increase my cadence, even given my proclivity to hammer along at a pretty decent clip for a fairly large weekend rider/sometimes racer...why? Honest question, I'm not thinking "Hey f these guys, I'm going to put a 55 tooth ring on!" I want to make an informed decision.
Snuffleupagus is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 07:16 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Peterson Iowa
Posts: 765

Bikes: Trek 7000 and a Trek 1200

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
Okay - on the subject of my cadence...this may be a function of me being familiar with my low cadence, or because of my physical build, but...

At a given speed, lets say 20mph, I fatigue much more quickly at 110rpm than at 70rpm.

All those recommending that I increase my cadence, even given my proclivity to hammer along at a pretty decent clip for a fairly large weekend rider/sometimes racer...why? Honest question, I'm not thinking "Hey f these guys, I'm going to put a 55 tooth ring on!" I want to make an informed decision.
Best advice is to do your own research and find out for yourself-not easy to do at first but much better in the long run. Spent last winter doing a bunch of spin workouts to better my pedaling stroke plus the ability to sprint is needed for any one racing.
oldspark is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 07:28 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,616
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
Okay - on the subject of my cadence...this may be a function of me being familiar with my low cadence, or because of my physical build, but...

At a given speed, lets say 20mph, I fatigue much more quickly at 110rpm than at 70rpm.

All those recommending that I increase my cadence, even given my proclivity to hammer along at a pretty decent clip for a fairly large weekend rider/sometimes racer...why? Honest question, I'm not thinking "Hey f these guys, I'm going to put a 55 tooth ring on!" I want to make an informed decision.
95 rpm, which is what you described earlier as where you end up "spinning out", is a normal cadence for good cyclists. The advantages of pedalling in the 90's include:

1. being able to accelerate quickly and with less effort to match pace changes in your group (you referred to yourself as a "sometimes racer"). If you've ever driven a stick shift car, you know that you have to down-shift to pass. Otherwise, accelerating is a slower process and places more strain on your transmission and engine.

2. places less strain on your legs. Cycling is essentially an endurance sport. The less strain you put on your leg muscles, the fresher they will be. You will notice the difference toward the end of long rides, or when riding on back to back days, and especially when doing long hilly rides.

The perfect cycling cadence essentially balances the strain to your aerobic system (the faster you pedal, for a given speed, the greater the strain on your heart/lungs), and the strain to your leg muscles (the slower you pedal for a given speed, the greater the strain on your legs). Experience has taught us that 90--95 rpm is about the perfect combination for fit cyclists.

One final note: With most sports developing good "form" is a matter of breaking bad habits and developing good habits. Just because breaking a bad habit is hard or uncomfortable, doesn't mean it isn't a bad habit. "Spinning" is often uncomfortable and unnatural for newer cyclists. But the same can be said for using clipless pedals, riding in the drops, drafting closely, not wearing underwear under cycling shorts, and a host of other cycling-related nuances. Yet we do them because we know they are effective. Spinning is one of those things. It is a good habit. Grinding is a bad habit. You should work on breaking your bad habits, regardless of how uncomfortable that may feel at first.

Bob

Bob
Bobby Lex is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 07:29 AM
  #22  
He drop me
 
Grasschopper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central PA
Posts: 11,664

Bikes: '03 Marin Mill Valley, '02 Eddy Merckx Corsa 0.1, '12 Giant Defy Advance, '20 Giant Revolt 1, '20 Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1, some random 6KU fixie

Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
Hey if you mash you mash...I don't get why everyone thinks you should change your riding style to match your bike...change the bike (as you want to). Options are as has been pointed out, a cassette (11-21 or 11-23) and maybe add to that a new inner ring (36t). Or a new crankset. A Gossamer MegaEXO std double will only run you like $125-$150 anyway which honestly isn't much of a price difference from a ring and a cassette if you are running 10 speed. Now if you are running 9 speed then the cassette/ring swap will be cheaper.

Remember if you go to a larger crank you may need a longer chain (a link or so more).
__________________
The views expressed by this poster do not reflect the views of BikeForums.net.
Grasschopper is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 08:52 PM
  #23  
Красный Октябрь
 
mellowdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 596

Bikes: Kona Major Jake - CX/Gravel Kona Jake The Snake - Commuter, Pinarello Galileo - RoadieAF, Niner Air 9 - HT MTB.

Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
Okay - on the subject of my cadence...this may be a function of me being familiar with my low cadence, or because of my physical build, but...

At a given speed, lets say 20mph, I fatigue much more quickly at 110rpm than at 70rpm.

All those recommending that I increase my cadence, even given my proclivity to hammer along at a pretty decent clip for a fairly large weekend rider/sometimes racer...why? Honest question, I'm not thinking "Hey f these guys, I'm going to put a 55 tooth ring on!" I want to make an informed decision.
Fayettenam huh?

Double A boy?
__________________
All posts are crafted by an adult, for adults. Not responsible for hurt feelings. Get in touch with your true self.
mellowdave is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 09:25 PM
  #24  
shut up and ride
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: noho
Posts: 1,947

Bikes: supersix hi-mod,burley duet tandem,woodrup track,cannondale cross,specialized road

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by The Fixer
Do you really not ever use you small ring on climbs?

As far as spinning out, try swapping out your cassette to an 11-21 or 23. Who knows, maybe with a smaller, tighter cassette, you might occassionaly use the 34 small ring.....
And if the 34 is still too small, you can always swap that ring out for a 36.
the fixer's got the right idea (and not just because he's a local to me). being that he's 'the fixer' i'm suprised that he didn't recommend a fixed gear bike to you to learn what 'spinning out' really means. i don't think you're even close to spinning out a 50x12 on the flats. on some big group rides i'll spin for 5 or 10 minutes when the pace is 25-27 mph in the small ring (39) just work a smooth fast pedal stroke. like some others have mentioned spinning out is more like 120 rpms rather than 95. on the track during a flying 200m i'll average 145 rpms. spin, spin, spin, c'mon everbody's doing it
zzzwillzzz is offline  
Old 03-12-06, 10:33 PM
  #25  
OPC
ˇPura Vida!
 
OPC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 298

Bikes: '92 Bianchi Eros, '05 Bianchi Virata, Electra Straight 8

Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Bobby Lex
95 rpm, which is what you described earlier as where you end up "spinning out", is a normal cadence for good cyclists. The advantages of pedalling in the 90's include:

1. being able to accelerate quickly and with less effort to match pace changes in your group (you referred to yourself as a "sometimes racer"). If you've ever driven a stick shift car, you know that you have to down-shift to pass. Otherwise, accelerating is a slower process and places more strain on your transmission and engine.

2. places less strain on your legs. Cycling is essentially an endurance sport. The less strain you put on your leg muscles, the fresher they will be. You will notice the difference toward the end of long rides, or when riding on back to back days, and especially when doing long hilly rides.

The perfect cycling cadence essentially balances the strain to your aerobic system (the faster you pedal, for a given speed, the greater the strain on your heart/lungs), and the strain to your leg muscles (the slower you pedal for a given speed, the greater the strain on your legs). Experience has taught us that 90--95 rpm is about the perfect combination for fit cyclists.

One final note: With most sports developing good "form" is a matter of breaking bad habits and developing good habits. Just because breaking a bad habit is hard or uncomfortable, doesn't mean it isn't a bad habit. "Spinning" is often uncomfortable and unnatural for newer cyclists. But the same can be said for using clipless pedals, riding in the drops, drafting closely, not wearing underwear under cycling shorts, and a host of other cycling-related nuances. Yet we do them because we know they are effective. Spinning is one of those things. It is a good habit. Grinding is a bad habit. You should work on breaking your bad habits, regardless of how uncomfortable that may feel at first.

Bob

Bob

I disagree. Yes, 90-110RPM is good for a lot of people to maintain energy levels and performance over longer periods, but it is not mandatory, it is certainly not 'perfect' and it is most definitly not a 'bad habit'. There are very successful professional riders who cruise along at a 'mashing' 80RPM cadence, including Mr. Ulrich. If the original poster was bonking before finishing his rides or otherwise not meeting his goals, then you might have a case. But as it stands, he just wants to go faster. I do not think he derserves to be lectured on his riding style.

-Jose
__________________
--José
'92 Bianchi Eros
'05 Bianchi Virata
'08 Electra Straight 8 Cruiser
OPC is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.