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What sort of cassettes do pros use during hillclimbs?

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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

What sort of cassettes do pros use during hillclimbs?

Old 12-23-10, 12:37 AM
  #51  
baribari
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Originally Posted by UCIMBZ View Post
Although the name is "CRANK" but it doesn't mean it is what you do when you use it. You pedal as if you are scraping mud from the bottom of your shoes. Basically push forwards and pull backwards.
I think you missed my point.

Stiff-legging the pedals all the way around isn't the same as 'scraping mud.'
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Old 12-23-10, 12:41 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Shuke View Post
1) Most if not all standard road rear derailleurs will not take anything larger than a 28.
2) You don't sound pro so why would you worry about what they are riding?
Only to use it as a point of reference.

If the pros use ~32's for hill climbs, why would someone like me want to use a 27?
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Old 12-23-10, 02:04 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Only to use it as a point of reference.

If the pros use ~32's for hill climbs, why would someone like me want to use a 27?
Perhaps because you likely don't spend half a day one day climbing up a 20% grade where a 32 comes in handy and even if you did occasionally, you don't have a team mechanic to put on a straight block when you go on a flat ride the next day.
If big gaps in your gearing don't bother you then by all means get a MTB/touring derailer and put a 32 on there.

Dang, I even run 28s on most MTBs. I guess I could go for a 32 if I'm on a 28T chainring, however. I think all my MTBs have 24T little rings ATM.
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Old 12-23-10, 05:07 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Only to use it as a point of reference.

If the pros use ~32's for hill climbs, why would someone like me want to use a 27?
Are you doing the same types of rides as them ?
As I said before, get the gearing YOU need. What others around the world use is irrelevant.
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Old 12-23-10, 07:21 AM
  #55  
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From my own experience, I find that your gearing should mimic the pack's speed (if you can keep up). There is one race that i do every year that I hate because of the 5km climb per lap (x5laps) that has some steep and long sections. I am usually in my 25 or this year I had a 27 in the back (standard gearing) but never really used the 27 since if I did I would get dropped faster (than I already was) and have to work harder on the flats and downhill sections (where I'm strong).

I climbed a 2km 19% grade last spring in a 38x27. It sucked but it was totally do-able.
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Old 12-23-10, 07:47 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Perhaps because you likely don't spend half a day one day climbing up a 20% grade where a 32 comes in handy and even if you did occasionally, you don't have a team mechanic to put on a straight block when you go on a flat ride the next day.
If big gaps in your gearing don't bother you then by all means get a MTB/touring derailer and put a 32 on there.

Dang, I even run 28s on most MTBs. I guess I could go for a 32 if I'm on a 28T chainring, however. I think all my MTBs have 24T little rings ATM.
I live in Japan. Everywhere I look is nothing but mountains in every direction. And 70% of the country is mountains.

So I think I'd be better off having at least a few extra teeth when my biggest gear makes it a little tough to get over the REALLY big hills.

And I think what the pro's use for hours-long hillclimbs over 20% slopes probably correlates to minutes-long climbs over 8% slopes for amateurs pretty well.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:21 AM
  #57  
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Well, then, what do the pros in japan ride when they're climbing your mountains?
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Old 12-23-10, 11:27 AM
  #58  
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you guys talk about "the pros" as if they all possess the same skill sets.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:30 AM
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Sram XX cassettes are super light and come with a 36 tooth big cog. Of course, you'd probably need to get the appropriate shifter in addition to a derailer.

Another option is to get a road triple setup. Depending on availability of nice price used road triples, etc in your area you might be better off selling your bike and buying one with a road triple already.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 12-23-10 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:45 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
you guys talk about "the pros" as if they all possess the same skill sets.
Might as well. It's a pointless discussion to start with.

If you want to use "pro" gearing as a basis for choosing your own gearing then:

- Pick a pro
- find out his ftp, w/kg when climbing etc ...
- find out your own ftp, w/kg when climbing etc ...
- find out what gearing he uses on specific climbs (be sure to consider if he's racing or training & what riding he did the previous week)
- choose gearing that is proportional to his, based on the difference in power numbers, and your riding the previous week.

That should keep you busy.
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Old 12-23-10, 12:22 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Another option is to get a road triple setup...
I remember a while back from a different forum about this dude with a triple setup and 11-36's in the back! O.o And he loves using his 30/36 combo on supposedly "super steep" climbs... so he says. <_<
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Old 12-23-10, 05:32 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post

Another option is to get a road triple setup. Depending on availability of nice price used road triples, etc in your area you might be better off selling your bike and buying one with a road triple already.
That's a terrible idea. Changing out the big ring to one slightly bigger would be a much quicker and less costly solution.

I'm not basing any decisions on what specific pros use, I was just curious as to what sort of range of big gears they use, or whether they change the big sprockets for hill climbs at all.
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Old 12-23-10, 05:43 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
That's a terrible idea. Changing out the big ring to one slightly bigger would be a much quicker and less costly solution.
To get a lower gear you want a smaller little ring. If you want really low gears you might outrun the capacity of your front derailer at some point if you also want to pedal on your way down the hill. A 26/50 double would likely make for difficult or impossible front shifts. Triples can be a terrible idea for some, but a great idea for others.

Originally Posted by baribari View Post
I'm not basing any decisions on what specific pros use, I was just curious as to what sort of range of big gears they use, or whether they change the big sprockets for hill climbs at all.
Yeah, they have their cassettes swapped for different stages all the time. Most even run different wheels altogether for different stages. You'll see far fewer deep aero rims on a hill stage than on a flat stage.

Some go for a lower geared setup for training ride of the same route than race day also.

Oh, I should note that most cassettes these days don't offer the option of swapping out just the largest cog.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 12-23-10 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 12-23-10, 07:58 PM
  #64  
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I wasn't suggesting the triple was a bad idea, the idea of selling an almost brand new bike just to buy a new one just for a triple is a terrible idea.

Seems like my derailleurs max is a 28, so that would only be one more tooth. Guess I just need to HTFU.
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Old 12-23-10, 08:11 PM
  #65  
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Oh, yeah the "sell your bike and get another" bit should have been read as a huge "BUT" following the ideas of getting big cogs and triple cranks. My point was that should you get to the point where you think you need a new cassette, new rear derailer, new crankset, new front derailer, new shifters to get the gearing you need, THEN often the sale of current bike and purchase of another MIGHT be a better idea than a la carte components purchase.

If you think your close to the gearing you need, then definitely make small changes 'til you get there.

I've seen some really steep hills in Japan and I'm a pretty old dude. I think I'd likely want a road triple if I lived there. I might need a triple if I lived in Seattle, even.
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Old 12-23-10, 08:15 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Seems like my derailleurs max is a 28, so that would only be one more tooth. Guess I just need to HTFU.
That's the best answer. I was seriously thinking I might need a compact crank for a while a couple years ago when I was outta shape. I was hiking up some insignificant hills after grinding to a halt on my 42x28. Luckily I got back into shape and I don't even need my 28 around here. 42x24 gets me up my hills no problemo.
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Old 06-19-11, 12:16 AM
  #67  
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simple a 140lb rider can manage a 21 but a 180lb sprinter would need the 25 or higher.
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Old 06-19-11, 12:42 AM
  #68  
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i really like an 11-26 w/ a compact double for most of the climbing i do (i climb a lot). after my last road race though i have been thinking about going with something lower(12-28) for those especially long steep climbing days with multiple climbs.

i think campy makes the best cassette though with a 12-29 11sp. 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,26,29

to bad my campy bike is 10sp!
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Old 06-19-11, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Quel View Post
Woosey.
What the eff does Woosey mean?
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Old 06-19-11, 05:00 AM
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Found an article almost as old as the thread.

RBA: What about gear selections on the climbs?

Levi:
They're not using the mountain bike stage <in reference to 2009 Giro> we used last year so we'll have to see. Last year I ran a Compact crank on that stage with a 34-28 gear. Contador ran a 34x30 gear on that stage and I wish I had more gear. It's funny to think about the gearing now compared to back ion the day. It used to be that a 23 gear was considered big, then it was a 25 and then it went to a 27. I run an 11-28 for early season training and I remember thinking this year, why not just run a Compact all the time?

source roadbikeaction.com
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Old 06-19-11, 02:33 PM
  #71  
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Contador used a 50-34 compact crank, 32T cassette with an Apex rear derailleur, and David Millar used something like a 36 with an XX MTB rear. This was for the mountain stages. I recall Contador switching bikes to the Apex setup before the Zoncolan climb.

Millar's 11-36


Contador's Apex 11-32 and Apex mid cage.



The Shimano RD will take up to a 28T cassette.
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Old 06-19-11, 03:12 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by thesmoothdome View Post
Climb a hill yes. Be as efficient/fast over the course of 100+ miles, that's why they have huge teams and lots of testing going on.
most people can get up any climb with a 39/25, the pros have to worry about racing 100 miles beforehand and then racing the next day(s) during a stage race. the pro's want to use a small gear setup to save there legs for the next day(s) not because they need the easy gears to just climb the hill.
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Old 06-19-11, 04:30 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
most people can get up any climb with a 39/25, the pros have to worry about racing 100 miles beforehand and then racing the next day(s) during a stage race. the pro's want to use a small gear setup to save there legs for the next day(s) not because they need the easy gears to just climb the hill.
I read somewhere that some pros were having a hard time climbing the Angliru with a 39/25.
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Old 06-19-11, 05:18 PM
  #74  
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So what speeds + cadence do they get on these gears? I always feel lame going up at 5mph but at least I'm not mashing.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:31 AM
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I think they have the 28-30-32 just for a back up gear in case they start to get cooked they can back off for a few minutes. You wouldnt want to be stuck with a 23 and cooked with 45 more minutes of climbing.
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