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Gearing: going compact

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Gearing: going compact

Old 09-17-11, 03:39 PM
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FeedFred
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Gearing: going compact

I'm going to be changing over to a compact SRAM set-up over the winter, using a mix of SRAM components and TRP brakes. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the gearing. Right now I have a 50/39/30 and a 12-26 cassette. It's ok on hills but I wouldn't mind a little bit more of a granny gear---hey I'm old and not in the best shape
If I go with a 50/34 and a 11-28 rear is that going to be much easier? Should I just go with the 11-32 Apex cassette? If I did that would it make sense to go 53/39 instead? Would that still give me more of a granny climbing gear?

Thanks!!
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Old 09-17-11, 03:44 PM
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34 small ring and 28 rear cog is slightly harder to pedal than a 30 small ring and a 26 rear cog. But it's really only slightly harder.
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Old 09-17-11, 03:51 PM
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https://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/gears/
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Old 09-17-11, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Forgot to mention I live in Seattle, we have a ton of hills...so even "slightly harder" to pedal is the opposite of where I want to go. I'm thinking I'll do the Apex 32.
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Old 09-17-11, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
+1 FeedFred. Play with the gear calculator inputting your possible gearing options. Use the option most relevant to you like mph@rpm and them compare your results w/ the different gear. It will provide an easy picture of what to expect with a potential gearing change compared to a setup you are already familiar with....
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Old 09-17-11, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FeedFred View Post
I'm going to be changing over to a compact SRAM set-up over the winter, using a mix of SRAM components and TRP brakes. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the gearing. Right now I have a 50/39/30 and a 12-26 cassette. It's ok on hills but I wouldn't mind a little bit more of a granny gear---hey I'm old and not in the best shape
If I go with a 50/34 and a 11-28 rear is that going to be much easier?
It'll be a slightly harder gear.

Should I just go with the 11-32 Apex cassette?
If you're not strong enough to have both one tooth jumps to the 19 cog and spin your smallest gear to the top of whatever hills you face you're better off with a triple.

FWIW, 26x26 will be an easier gear than Apex 34x22. Might take a chain catcher for reliable shifting.
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Old 09-17-11, 04:32 PM
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Drew- You lost me with the numbers in your last sentence. Which combo would need a chain catcher? I'm kind of leaning toward 11-32 and 53/39
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Old 09-17-11, 07:06 PM
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I don't think you understand how gearing works. From your post, it seems you're going the wrong way. The triple that you already have is geared lower than the compact you're considering buying assuming the same cassette. Both of them are geared lower than the 53/39 you mentioned. To get an easy climbing gear, you want a big cog in the back (on the cassette, like 28T(easy) or 32T (even easier)), and a small cog in the front (the chainring/crankset, like 34T (easy) or 30T (even easier)).

If you put an 11-28 on your bike as it is now, it would be about 8% easier to pedal than with your 12-26t cassette. If you wanted to go even further, you could keep your triple, get a longer caged rear derailleur, and put an 11-32 on that, which would get you to the point where your pedals would be spinning faster than your wheels. Another option, other than making the cog in the back LARGER, is to make the chainring in the front SMALLER. Both will achieve the same effect; making it easier to pedal up hills. For the sake of explanation, if you wanted a gear that low/easy on a 53/39 double, you would need a cassette around 11-45, which doesn't even exist.

Make sense?
Big in front, small in back, hard to pedal.
Small in front, big in back, easy to pedal.

Last edited by Kind of Blued; 09-17-11 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 09-17-11, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by FeedFred View Post
Drew- You lost me with the numbers in your last sentence. Which combo would need a chain catcher? I'm kind of leaning toward 11-32 and 53/39
I've had a Compact Setup for a few years now. I've always used a chain catcher -- a few grams to save damage to a CF frame. When I started seeing them on TdF bikes, I realized it was a good idea.
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Old 09-17-11, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FeedFred View Post
Drew- You lost me with the numbers in your last sentence. Which combo would need a chain catcher? I'm kind of leaning toward 11-32 and 53/39
53/39??? That's harder yet. I'm not sure I'm understanding this....or this is troll material?
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Old 09-17-11, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by FeedFred View Post
I'm going to be changing over to a compact SRAM set-up over the winter, using a mix of SRAM components and TRP brakes. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the gearing. Right now I have a 50/39/30 and a 12-26 cassette. It's ok on hills but I wouldn't mind a little bit more of a granny gear---hey I'm old and not in the best shape
If I go with a 50/34 and a 11-28 rear is that going to be much easier? Should I just go with the 11-32 Apex cassette? If I did that would it make sense to go 53/39 instead? Would that still give me more of a granny climbing gear?

Thanks!!
Why ? Just get a larger cassette such as the 11-32 Apex you mentioned
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Last edited by Homebrew01; 09-17-11 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 09-17-11, 07:47 PM
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I had a 2011 Trek Madone 4.7 with compact 50 34 and it was to easy to pedal, and on the flats i would always be in the last gear. I now got a look 585 pro team, with 53 39, and it is the best. i can max out at 53kph on the flats and still have 3 more gears after that, it feels like i can perfect my gearing to any situation.
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Old 09-17-11, 07:51 PM
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Changing to a compact crank is going to add four teeth to your lowest front ring. a 53/39 will be climbing in your current middle ring. Bigger on the front is for more faster, not for climbing.
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Old 09-17-11, 08:49 PM
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Wow, no, I'm no troll and yes I understand smaller front and larger rear is easier to climb/pedal. I was trying to figure out how much of a difference the various combo's would make compared to what I have now. Now that I've discovered Sheldon Brown I can see in gear inches and grasp it. I realize that keeping the triple and adding an 11-28 or 11-32 would make climbing easier.
I want to change to a compact because I don't like the heavy truvativ/105 crap that came on my bike. I'll be changing to SRAM Red/Force/Apex and getting a used CF frameset over the winter. I appreciate everyone's help. I'm sure I'll have more questions down the road, though none gear related
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Old 09-17-11, 09:06 PM
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My old bike had a 53/39 setup with 11-25 cassette. My new bike has 34/50 with the same size cassette, and hate it. It is hard to find the right gear. Before you drop money on Red/ Force make sure it's going to work for you.
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Old 09-17-11, 09:30 PM
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If you need lower gearing than 30x26, stick with a triple. The super wide range cassettes have annoyingly large gaps between the gears.
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Old 09-17-11, 10:21 PM
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Gotcha. Just wanted to make sure you didn't have it backwards. The point is that you say you want lower gearing, and a compact or standard crankset does the exact opposite of that. The one and only way to get both of your wants is with something like SRAM Apex, or any compact crankset with a medium cage rear derailleur and a 32t rear cog.

The only gap that annoys me on the SRAM PG-1050 11-32 cassette is the 19-22t gap because it coincides exactly with the 13-15t gap when on the 34t chainring, so there's no way to compensate for it.
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Old 09-17-11, 10:28 PM
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No offense meant, but as Kind of Blued says, you asked for one thing and suggested the opposite.

Another option you could consider is to switch your 30t low chainring for something smaller; I've heard of folks putting 26T chainrings on regular triple cranks - which was part of Drew Eckhardt's reply.
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Old 09-17-11, 10:52 PM
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Compacts are cool for fast riding with some periodic hills. But, if your real life is continuously slogging up hills at 8mph or less you'll be happier with the triple and getting a 28 or 30 on the back.
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Old 09-17-11, 11:03 PM
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I think I'm just going to suck it up and go 50/34 and 11-28, and work on the engine. I'm going to hop on my wife's new bike that has that gearing and see how it is going up the hill we live on.
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Old 09-17-11, 11:08 PM
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They make a Apex 12-32 10 speed.
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Old 09-18-11, 12:15 AM
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Yeah, why not try a cassette that starts with a 12T cog. You would only have likely needed the 50-11 to get a few more MPH on downhills so if you can sacrifice that you will get smaller gaps between gears. Using an 11-32 will mean you have to shift from 13 to 15 and that's a big annoying gap. The 12T cassette will give you back the 14T.

If you think that the Apex 12-32 may be a bit too wide ratio, Shimano now make a 12-30 in Tiagra. 10-speed hyperglide and all that so it shifts really well.
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Old 09-18-11, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Pain View Post
They make a Apex 12-32 10 speed.
If you need the 32t cog, this is the way to go. Compare the 11-32 and the 12-32 (from the Competitive Cyclist website):

The 11/32 includes: 11,12,14,16,18,20,22,25,28,32

The 12/32 includes: 12,13,14,15,17,19,22,25,28,32

The six smallest cogs are much closer on the 12-32. The top four are the same. If you don't need the 11t cog, it's a better choice for most of us.
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Old 09-18-11, 07:04 AM
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I like the looks of the 12-32 listed in the previous post. I'd also stick with the triple if it was me. If it's too heavy, but a lighter weight one. I've never weighed cranksets, but I can't believe a triple weighs that much more.
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Old 09-18-11, 07:20 AM
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I'd get a triple for seatle.
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