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50/34 compact and 11-32 cassette 11-speed...how limited is this on flats?

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50/34 compact and 11-32 cassette 11-speed...how limited is this on flats?

Old 10-22-14, 11:47 PM
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Cafe
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50/34 compact and 11-32 cassette 11-speed...how limited is this on flats?

Will I lose a lot of top end speed on flats or just down hill pedaling? What is the advantage of say, the standard 12-25 I see these groups paired with the most...? I also read online that an 11-32 with a compact crank makes the triple crankset obsolete.
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Old 10-22-14, 11:50 PM
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You lose neither, the tradeoff for the flat is wider gaps between gears. This bothers some people, depends on how narrow of a range you like your cadence to be.
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Old 10-23-14, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by raisinberry777 View Post
You lose neither, the tradeoff for the flat is wider gaps between gears. This bothers some people, depends on how narrow of a range you like your cadence to be.
Yupp I would be one of those bothered people, and have three cassettes, 11-23, 11-25 and 12-29 depending on terrain, I really prefer the tight spacing so even for hills would prefer 13-32 (if that exists) over 11-32...
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Old 10-23-14, 12:04 AM
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50x11 at 120 rpm is 43 mph. Unless you are regularly doing races with extended closed course downhills or your sprints are 45 mph, you won't be limited.
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Old 10-23-14, 12:13 AM
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I see so wider spacing probably means slightly poorer shifting performance as well? And narrow spacing means better shifting...and maybe easier to find that sweet spot I suppose. Ok so I think I'd good with the 11-32 then. I just want a good all around cassette...but at the same time something for long big climbs.
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Old 10-23-14, 12:22 AM
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It's an 11 speed for crying out loud! That is 2 tooth jumps maximum at the "faster" half of the cassette. It's cool. If you have problems with that, it's just your head, not your body. Or you are racing and REALLY need every watt used.
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Old 10-23-14, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
It's an 11 speed for crying out loud! That is 2 tooth jumps maximum at the "faster" half of the cassette. It's cool. If you have problems with that, it's just your head, not your body. Or you are racing and REALLY need every watt used.
An 11-32 cassette sucks(unless you need the big cogs to climb).

I really hate the big jumps between gear choices, but that's why I use a 11-23 or 12-25 11speed cassette.

You got a problem with that???
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Old 10-23-14, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Cafe View Post
I see so wider spacing probably means slightly poorer shifting performance as well? And narrow spacing means better shifting...and maybe easier to find that sweet spot I suppose. Ok so I think I'd good with the 11-32 then. I just want a good all around cassette...but at the same time something for long big climbs.
It's not at all about the shifting performance, zero difference there. It is about the sweet spot for your cadence. A two tooth jump can mean a cadence jump or fall of 10 rpms. So let's say your absolute favorite cadence is 85rpm and you are doing 20mph in 50x18, you cadence is 92, so you shift down to 50x16, now your cadence is 82, 50x17 would have given you 87, but since you only have two tooth jumps you can't get there. Instead you will probably shift back to 50x18 and drop your speed until you hit your sweet spot. At least that's the way it works for me and many other riders...
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Old 10-23-14, 04:42 AM
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Caf, why don't you tell us what kind of riding you do....mountains?...hills?...flatland?
How strong are you?...my presumption is you aren't a strong rider or inexperienced at least by your question.
The vast majority of riders would never want a 50 34 w/11-32 cassette. Only time this would be opted for is an average or weaker cyclist in the mountains and many would go with a triple and a smaller cassette for tighter cog spacing.
Good riders don't like big jumps in cog spacing as kingfish explained. Unless you are super strong or do high speed descents you don't need 50-11 either...50-12 is nice.
I will tell you what I ride which is custom on both ends. I ride 50-38....I call it a 'baby standard' versus a compact and 29-12 Campy cassette...built with 2 cassettes. If I do say a hilly hundred where I need more help climbing say at mile 80, I will throw the 34t small ring on. Otherwise above is best without the big gap in front and more breadth of gearing in the back. A lot of guys have different gearing...or own different bikes with different gearing for different riding conditions.
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Old 10-23-14, 04:49 AM
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I can't think of a worse gearing combo than an 11-32 with a compact crank. Especially on flats. Maybe on the Alpe 'de Huez, but then I would rather have a triple.
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Old 10-23-14, 06:00 AM
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I had just that setup for brevets. Loved it. Bit limited for climbing. I was using 8 speed actually. The gaps were a little bit annoying. I prefer the 53-39-30 11-32 9 speed I have on my cx bike though. As for cadence? Couldn't care less. As long as I can hold between 85-100 then I'm happy. I had a 12-25 and I hated it.
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Old 10-23-14, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by kingfishr View Post
It's not at all about the shifting performance, zero difference there. It is about the sweet spot for your cadence. A two tooth jump can mean a cadence jump or fall of 10 rpms. So let's say your absolute favorite cadence is 85rpm and you are doing 20mph in 50x18, you cadence is 92, so you shift down to 50x16, now your cadence is 82, 50x17 would have given you 87, but since you only have two tooth jumps you can't get there. Instead you will probably shift back to 50x18 and drop your speed until you hit your sweet spot. At least that's the way it works for me and many other riders...
For cadence I normally average 90-92 during a ride, but feel comfortable from 80-110. I use a 11-32 due some events I do with pretty steep climbs & am too lazy to change out cassettes. I don't have a problem with the 11-32, but do have a question for you relating to your post.

Is it common/normal for folks to have a limited "sweet spot" for cadence so as a change in 10 rpm really impacts them? I've only cycled about 2 years and have always had a wide ratio cassette & I guess this taught me to be fine with a wider range of cadences. I'm sure there has to be an optimum cadence for maximum wattage over a sustained period but always thought a range of 10 in cadence would have minimal impact on sustained wattage.
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Old 10-23-14, 06:27 AM
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I've found that in a pace line (I don't do it often) that a wide range cassette is annoying. Its hard to maintain the cadence I want and still match the speed of the line and not overtax my knees. I can see it being a real advantage there. Riding alone? Not important. No one cares if your speed alters a bit here and there.
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Old 10-23-14, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
An 11-32 cassette sucks(unless you need the big cogs to climb).

I really hate the big jumps between gear choices, but that's why I use a 11-23 or 12-25 11speed cassette.

You got a problem with that???
That cassette is 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 22 25 28 32? Am I right?

If that is so and those "big" gaps bother you, you must be very sensitive, or doing something wrong. No offence meant.
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Old 10-23-14, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
That cassette is 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 22 25 28 32? Am I right?

If that is so and those "big" gaps bother you, you must be very sensitive, or doing something wrong. No offence meant.
A common issue raised on the BF is that 15, 16, 17, 18, & 19 are the most commonly used cogs, and for most of us amateurs, most of our riding is done in those cogs. What you describe loses the 16 and 18, so many would notice the loss of 40% of those cogs.
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Old 10-23-14, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
That cassette is 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 22 25 28 32? Am I right?

If that is so and those "big" gaps bother you, you must be very sensitive, or doing something wrong. No offence meant.
I have to agree with you there. Makes me wonder how anyone got around on their 35lb singlespeeds and coaster brakes when they were kids. That must of been really tough!

After thinking about it, maybe I am just old. Maybe kids don't start out on singlespeeds any more.

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Old 10-23-14, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Cafe View Post
Will I lose a lot of top end speed on flats or just down hill pedaling? What is the advantage of say, the standard 12-25 I see these groups paired with the most...? I also read online that an 11-32 with a compact crank makes the triple crankset obsolete.
You definitely will NOT lose top end speed, if you really mean TOP END. In fact you will gain, in theory. 50x11 is a higher ratio than 53x12. Yup. I didn't want to believe it at first, but it's true.

As far as flats and descents, wider spacing of gearing wouldn't bother me. But that's me..
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Old 10-23-14, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mike12 View Post
For cadence I normally average 90-92 during a ride, but feel comfortable from 80-110. I use a 11-32 due some events I do with pretty steep climbs & am too lazy to change out cassettes. I don't have a problem with the 11-32, but do have a question for you relating to your post.

Is it common/normal for folks to have a limited "sweet spot" for cadence so as a change in 10 rpm really impacts them? I've only cycled about 2 years and have always had a wide ratio cassette & I guess this taught me to be fine with a wider range of cadences. I'm sure there has to be an optimum cadence for maximum wattage over a sustained period but always thought a range of 10 in cadence would have minimal impact on sustained wattage.
Not sure how common, it probably depends on overall strength and condition. I am 56 and at 20% reduced power I can vary between 70 and 95, but to generate my maximum I need to be close to 85. On a recent time trial my cadence breakdown was:
75-80 6.5%
80-85 27.2%
85-90 51.9%
90-95 12%

Similar numbers on a double century recently...
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Old 10-23-14, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
A common issue raised on the BF is that 15, 16, 17, 18, & 19 are the most commonly used cogs, and for most of us amateurs, most of our riding is done in those cogs. What you describe loses the 16 and 18, so many would notice the loss of 40% of those cogs.
Is that really that bad? I don't even seem to notice the lack of 16 and 18. Even on group rides. Hope I never will get that gear sensitive.
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Old 10-23-14, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Is that really that bad? I don't even seem to notice the lack of 16 and 18. Even on group rides. Hope I never will get that gear sensitive.
After you've been riding a long time you'll become more "sensitive" to it.
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Old 10-23-14, 08:25 AM
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50x11 = 119.7 gear inches
53x12 = 116.2 gear inches

So the answer to OP question is that compact paired with 11 t cog is not limiting on flats and actually better than standard with 12 t
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Old 10-23-14, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
After you've been riding a long time you'll become more "sensitive" to it.
Is 30 years long enough? :/
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Old 10-23-14, 08:33 AM
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I'm getting my first road bike with a compact and debating 11-25 vs. 11-28. I don't think I'll ever need a lighter gear than 34-25, but you never know.
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Old 10-23-14, 08:35 AM
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I have 11-speed 11-28 that came with the bike. At about 19-20 mph, I'm shifting up and down to find the right gear. It's annoying. But I need the 28 cog on the steep hills.

I'd rather have a 12-28 with an added 16 cog.

50/34 and 11-28 in 11 speed. It has 2 mph jumps around 20 mph, right where I need an exact cadence to keep up with a group.
I end up cross chained at 34-12 at times, then have to shift the front if the pace picks up.


50/34 and 11-32 in 11 speed. Even worse, but it does have a really low gear. So why is there an 11 cog with this? A rider that needs a 32 won't need the 11.
This set has decent coverage in the 15-20 mph range on both chainrings, good for many casual riders. But the 20-25 mph range has gigantic jumps.


50/34 and 12-25 in 11 speed. This has the 16 and 18 cogs. No 50-11 high gear.
(The 11-25 drops the 18 cog and adds an 11.)

Last edited by rm -rf; 10-23-14 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 10-23-14, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Is that really that bad? I don't even seem to notice the lack of 16 and 18. Even on group rides. Hope I never will get that gear sensitive.
I didn't write that to convince you to change. I was only saying why it is important to some. I have one setup with 50/34 and 12-23 9 speed, just to get the tight spacing and linear gear range with essentially no ring to ring overlap without cross chaining (12-21 would be no overlap). I would not ever consider an 11-32. I hope I will never that wide range of gearing.
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