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Is a 50/34T crankset a help or a hinderance during a 2000 rider charity ride?

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

Is a 50/34T crankset a help or a hinderance during a 2000 rider charity ride?

Old 02-27-09, 07:40 PM
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Rockrivr1
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Is a 50/34T crankset a help or a hinderance during a 2000 rider charity ride?

I'm about to buy a new road bike and at this point I've narrowed it down to a Trek Madone 5.5 and a Felt Z25. Both have a 50/34T crankset. Obviously I run the potential of spinning out on the downhills, but have an easier gear on steep uphills. I'll be riding in a number of group charity rides this summer including one that I will be one of several thousand riders.

I'm wondering if having a 50/34T crankset is a help or hinderance during this kind of riding? If I'm by myself riding I don't mind spinning out so much, but I'm wondering if I'd be better servered getting a 53/39T crankset. My current Felt F80 is a triple crankset, so this will be my first double.
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Old 02-27-09, 07:43 PM
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the 50/34 will be fine.
if you feel you need more top end range, get a cassette that has an 11T cog on it. shimano offers 11-23 and 11-25 while SRAM offers 11-26 and 11-28
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Old 02-27-09, 07:46 PM
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You'll like it, 50t high gear isn't really that much lower than a 53t high gear. Most charity riders aren't great descenders anyway so you won't be able to really let 'er rip because they'll be in your way.
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Old 02-27-09, 07:55 PM
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I race on it. You have zero to be concerned about.
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Old 02-27-09, 07:59 PM
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1. 50x11 is bigger than 53x12.
2. Going 40+ mph on a charity ride with 2,000 riders (some of whom won't have been on a bike since Jesus died) is pretty dangerous AND stupid
3. If you're going that fast you're better off coasting. It's not a race.
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Old 02-27-09, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockrivr1 View Post
I'm about to buy a new road bike and at this point I've narrowed it down to a Trek Madone 5.5 and a Felt Z25. Both have a 50/34T crankset. Obviously I run the potential of spinning out on the downhills, but have an easier gear on steep uphills. I'll be riding in a number of group charity rides this summer including one that I will be one of several thousand riders.

I'm wondering if having a 50/34T crankset is a help or hinderance during this kind of riding? If I'm by myself riding I don't mind spinning out so much, but I'm wondering if I'd be better servered getting a 53/39T crankset. My current Felt F80 is a triple crankset, so this will be my first double.
I ride a Felt Z25. The 11/25 cassette and 50/34 crank work for me. I'm 51 years of age. I dropped 40 pounds and completed my first century ride in October of 2008. I climb on the the smaller ring and largest rear cog. My goal is to maintain a high cadence. The Compact crank is perfect for weekend warriors and Old Guys trying to stay young. :Good Luck:
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Old 02-27-09, 08:27 PM
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I'm not sure what kind of hills you have around there but if you just started riding, I seriously doubt you will be able to turn 50x11 or 50x12 at a reasonable cadence (say 85 or above) until you get your conditioning up.

Also, charity rides are not races. You can hit 40+ mph coasting on even modestly short hills (1-2 miles in length); that should be plenty fast
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Old 02-27-09, 08:28 PM
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I race using a 50/34 and 12-27. Having only a 50x12 top gear hasn't been a problem for me, and I have done some races with long fast descents.
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Old 02-28-09, 03:24 AM
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A 50/12 at 120rpm is roughly 40mph. I think you'll be fine.
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Old 02-28-09, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dubbayoo View Post
1. 50x11 is bigger than 53x12.
If you can "spin out" on this, then you may need to work on your spinning. at 120rpm you'd be doing ~43mph.
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Old 02-28-09, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockrivr1 View Post
My current Felt F80 is a triple crankset, so this will be my first double
How often do you ride in the granny?
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Old 03-02-09, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Jurgen View Post
How often do you ride in the granny?
Hardly at all. Only when my legs are shot and I'm going over that last hill.
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Old 03-02-09, 01:46 PM
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You'll be fine with a compact crankset, and take the advice about not treating a charity ride as a race. You don't want to be the noob going past everyone thinking he's an accomplished cyclist because he's dropped some people who aren't making the same effort.

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Old 03-02-09, 02:16 PM
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It is a help. A charity ride is a mess. There are rarely times where you can safely go over 30 mph. I ride a 50-12. There are very few situations where I would want higher gearing and none of them involve a charity ride.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:20 PM
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I have the Z25 as well and, based on my experience (5,500 miles), believe you'll adapt well to the compact double. I'm 56, 6'1" 215 lbs for data points.
Good luck!
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Old 03-02-09, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
the 50/34 will be fine.
if you feel you need more top end range, get a cassette that has an 11T cog on it. shimano offers 11-23 and 11-25 while SRAM offers 11-26 and 11-28
SRAM has 11-23 cassettes in 1070, and 1090RED. Standard for a compact crank is 11-23, but you can get a 11-25 or 11-26 if you wish, I run a 50-34 with an 11-23 on my race wheels, and 11-26 on my training wheels. I was on a group ride yesterday, going down a 6% grade 49 mph, you should be fine!
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Old 03-02-09, 03:04 PM
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It does depend on the severity and length of the hills. where I live - I have plenty of 1 mile long 10 to 15% hills. When I Went road- I got a triple and needed it on those hills. Second bike had a compact and those hills I struggled up in 30/26 with the triple- I struggled up just as much in 34/27 on the compact.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:32 PM
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These threads are classic bikeforums. It is not even remotely possible that having a compact crank could be a problem for such a ride. Now, whether a standard or compact or triple is the best for you in general depends on your strength, riding style, terrain, and what else you will be using the bike for.

In general a compact would rarely be a hinderance, but personally I prefer a standard crank for a variety of reasons, which only really apply to me.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:35 PM
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yeah, you're just doing a charity ride. so why would it matter?? besides, with that many riders you'll be weaving in and out of people all day long so you probably cant really go as fast you'd like.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:53 PM
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If you're planning on winning the charity ride, I would go with a 53/42 up front and 11-20 straight block in the back.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post

In general a compact would rarely be a hinderance, but
personally I prefer a standard crank for a variety of reasons, which only really apply to me.
After riding a standard crank for a a lot of years, followed by another few years on a compact; I think I prefer the good ol' 53/39 and 12-25 cassette.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by knucklesandwich View Post
If you're planning on winning the charity ride, I would go with a 53/42 up front and 11-20 straight block in the back.
Word.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:38 PM
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Unless you plan to be descending at 40+ MPH, and also ANTICIPATE THE NEED TO STAND AND SPRINT PAST THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU, then no, a compact crank will be no hindrance at all.

If you truly need (and also have the ability) to slaughter the charitable sheep both climbing AND descending, then get a 53/39 and an 11-28 cassette.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SushiJoe View Post
After riding a standard crank for a a lot of years, followed by another few years on a compact; I think I prefer the good ol' 53/39 and 12-25 cassette.
I have two main road bikes. One has a 53x39 and the other has a 50x34. They both currently run a 12-25 9-speed cassette because that is what they came with and I haven't worn them out. I've ridden both in the Smokies (North Georgia and western North Carolina) as well as in the flattish north central Florida environs. Either one works in either environment, but the 50x34 is better for me in the mountains and the 53x39 is better for me when there isn't any sustained climbing. Neither one is ideal for racing where I live. I need to get a 12x21 for my 53x39 bike to optimize that. That being said, it is only on rare occasions that I find myself wishing for the cassette cog between the ones that I have.

As for the OP, worry more about which bike fits better than the crankset.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by knucklesandwich View Post
If you're planning on winning the charity ride, I would go with a 53/42 up front and 11-20 straight block in the back.
And if your plan is to "win" the charity ride might I also suggest that you "get a life" before buying any bike related stuff.
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