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Has anyone returned from compact crankset back to "standard" crankset? Why?

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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

Has anyone returned from compact crankset back to "standard" crankset? Why?

Old 08-16-10, 10:04 AM
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FlashBazbo
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Has anyone returned from compact crankset back to "standard" crankset? Why?

I'm seriously considering returning to a standard crankset from my compact. Why? Two reasons. Essentially, (1) I am more fit this year, and (2) the compact crank requires front-ring shifting back and forth as you go through the 22 to 27 mph sweet spot. A standard crank will allow staying on one ring through that normal cruising speed "sweet spot". The standard setup will deprive me of one ratio at the low end -- a ratio that will occasionally be missed here among 12% to 17% grades along the edge of the Cumberland Plateau.

Has anyone here made a similar change in an area with big climbs? Did it work well for you? (And are you a geezer, like I am?)
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Old 08-16-10, 10:08 AM
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I have a compact on my CAAD9 now. My next crankset will be a standard. I find that I cross-chain A LOT and like you have to make that front ring decision all the time. I also find that I spin out a lot on the top end since I ride mountains and rolling hills most of the time and am downhill 50% of the time. I would like more top end and less cross-chaining so it's going to be a standard for me.

Also, I'll make the switch from aluminum to carbon. Then I'll really be able to comment on MY perspectives of carbon vs aluminum and standard vs compact. Right now for me it's all hypothetical.
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Old 08-16-10, 10:18 AM
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I rode and raced a compact for a year or so. I switched back. I jut find that I prefer riding it. Must just be my riding style.

Still throw a compact on for going up North into the "hills", but that's the only real time I utilized a compact's setup.
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Old 08-16-10, 10:26 AM
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My Roubaix came with a compact. I swapped a 52/39 after 100kms. I found that I was always cross chaining and downshifting on the front rings meant shifting up 3 cogs on the back.
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Old 08-16-10, 10:30 AM
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Curious what cassette people are running when they say they were cross chaning all the time with a compact? A 53/39 with a 12-27 cassette is actually very close to a 50/34 with an 11-23 in most gears. It's at most 1 cog off in a place or two, but decently close (<0.5mph at 90rpm) in most of them.

I got a compact with 11-23 on my new TT rig, but haven't had a chance to even ride it yet, so maybe I'll come back and have some better input on the topic (my roadbike has a standard crank).
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Old 08-16-10, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Quel View Post
Curious what cassette people are running when they say they were cross chaning all the time with a compact? A 53/39 with a 12-27 cassette is actually very close to a 50/34 with an 11-23 in most gears. It's at most 1 cog off in a place or two, but decently close (<0.5mph at 90rpm) in most of them.

I got a compact with 11-23 on my new TT rig, but haven't had a chance to even ride it yet, so maybe I'll come back and have some better input on the topic (my roadbike has a standard crank).
I have a 12-27. But I should say that the compact needs a lot more shifting on the front rings to avoid cross chaining.

Last edited by ricohman; 08-16-10 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 08-16-10, 10:39 AM
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I like a standard because the 34T was pretty much useless, except for really steep climbs. 39T is much more versatile..... I like the gear overlap, less front shifting. I still use a compact in Europe. Riding in CO or CA, I just throw a 27 or 28T on there.
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Old 08-16-10, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Quel View Post
Curious what cassette people are running when they say they were cross chaning all the time with a compact? A 53/39 with a 12-27 cassette is actually very close to a 50/34 with an 11-23 in most gears. It's at most 1 cog off in a place or two, but decently close (<0.5mph at 90rpm) in most of them.

I got a compact with 11-23 on my new TT rig, but haven't had a chance to even ride it yet, so maybe I'll come back and have some better input on the topic (my roadbike has a standard crank).
Here, put it in graphical form, since I didn't explain it very well. This is MPH for 700x23 tires, 170mm cranks, 90rpm:



Some decent differences, but doesn't seem to me that the cross chaining situation is much different. As I said, I'll find out on my own soon enough.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:07 AM
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I wouldn't "returned" but I started on a triple, went to a compact, and then to a standard.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:11 AM
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i have a standard on one of my bikes, compact on another, they both have their place.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:19 AM
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I started on a triple with a 12-26 on the back.

Rarely used the 30T, then never used the 30T, always stayed in the 42T.

So when i got my new bike, deciding to go with standard was pretty easy because I was basically using a 42T all the time, so the 39T ring seems easy now. I run a 12-28 on hilly courses and an 11-23 most of the time.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:23 AM
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I get confused by the cross chaining comments and constant shifting of the front comments.

Does this mean people who run standards usually stay in the 39, and don't shift to the front much unless going down hill or on long flat sections?
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Old 08-16-10, 11:25 AM
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I live in colorado, I like to mash, and I ride a 53/39 and 11/23 in just about everything.

I have a compact on my "B" bike, which was my first road bike, but only because I'm too cheap to replace it. Oddly enough, it mostly gets used in crits, where the compact is completely useless.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:38 AM
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Not this again.

There is no such thing as cross-chaining. Use all the gear combinations at will.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by teterider View Post
There is no such thing as cross-chaining. Use all the gear combinations at will.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:49 AM
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put a standard on this year cause I thought I was getting fit enough (and mostly yes, except for some longer climbs in the area), put the compact back on for a hill-climb event, haven't put the standard back on yet. Shrug.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:13 PM
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why? because the 50-34 gap is 16 teeth and 53-39 is only 14. Not that I've never seen compacts in 50-36, they're just rarer when they should be the definitive compact ratio.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:15 PM
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The whole compact vs. regular is pretty worthless without referring to the chainring size, rear cluster or gear inches.

On a "standard" you have a 14t difference in the chainring, on a "compact" there is generally a 16t difference. 2 teeth in the front don't amount to much gear-inch wise.

I run a compact with a 50/36, same spread as a normal.

-Z
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Old 08-16-10, 12:36 PM
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Have a compact on my Felt and standard on my CAAD9. Brought the Felt to CO to climb the mountains and left the CAAD back in KC to ride/race there. I prefer the standard in general but stayed in the small ring on the Felt pretty much the whole way up Mt. Evans and was glad to have it. Just depends on what kind of riding you are doing.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
(2) the compact crank requires front-ring shifting back and forth as you go through the 22 to 27 mph sweet spot. A standard crank will allow staying on one ring through that normal cruising speed "sweet spot".
I don't understand this. Normally, I just stay in the big ring on the compact unless I'm on a 6+% hill.

It will be harder to stay in the big rig from 22-27MPH on a standard than a compact.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:39 PM
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I had the crankset swapped on my new bike before I turned a pedal on it, upgrading to DA 39/53. I had always ridden a 42/53 in the past so the 39 was a nice compromise. I also went from 170mm to 172.5mm.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
(2) the compact crank requires front-ring shifting back and forth as you go through the 22 to 27 mph sweet spot.
???


Do ride at 120 rpm? 22-27 mph should be perfect for the 50t for normal riders.

Unless you mean the 16-20 mph sweet spot.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:53 PM
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I have a standard on my new bike that will be getting a Red compact crank as soon as I can find a BB30 install tool. I find that with the compact, I am rarely on the small ring other than for climbing and the first little bit of accelerating from a stop. I don't need it to start but I try not to cross-chain that much and will hit two gears in the middle while on the small before grabbing the 19 or 21 on the big ring. In the flats, I completely prefer the compact because the 16-24mph range puts me fairly dead-center on the cassette.

I also really need to work on my climbing so a 50/34 along with an 11-28 on a spare wheel will allow me a bailout gear that I can use when I need a little recovery mid-climb and keep going without sacrificing too much top-end. I also have badish knees from baseball as a kid (played catcher with some ****ty pitchers) so I can't really mash and just push through for long periods of time. I only have one bike so a compact crank offers me the greatest versatility.
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Old 08-16-10, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
???


Do ride at 120 rpm? 22-27 mph should be perfect for the 50t for normal riders.

Unless you mean the 16-20 mph sweet spot.
No. 39/11 at 100 rpm (700-25 tires) is around 28 mph. 34/11 is about 24 mph.
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Old 08-16-10, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewluke View Post
I have a standard on my new bike that will be getting a Red compact crank as soon as I can find a BB30 install tool. I find that with the compact, I am rarely on the small ring other than for climbing and the first little bit of accelerating from a stop. I don't need it to start but I try not to cross-chain that much and will hit two gears in the middle while on the small before grabbing the 19 or 21 on the big ring. In the flats, I completely prefer the compact because the 16-24mph range puts me fairly dead-center on the cassette.

I also really need to work on my climbing so a 50/34 along with an 11-28 on a spare wheel will allow me a bailout gear that I can use when I need a little recovery mid-climb and keep going without sacrificing too much top-end. I also have badish knees from baseball as a kid (played catcher with some ****ty pitchers) so I can't really mash and just push through for long periods of time. I only have one bike so a compact crank offers me the greatest versatility.
So, getting back to the original topic . . . I guess your answer is "no".
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