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Crank and cassette upgrade

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Crank and cassette upgrade

Old 03-10-20, 06:11 PM
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Bobbyluch
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Crank and cassette upgrade

Hi I am very new to cycling. I have a question I canít find an answer to so Iíll just ask
, Iím sure itís been asked a lot but I canít find anything that will help me.

i have an older Specialzed Allez, Iím looking to upgrade the crank and cassette. The crack is a 3 ring guy 52-42-30 and the rear cassette is 9 speed 12-26. I donít know what number of teeth to upgrade to on the crank. Would the standard be.....crank 52-39 and the rear cassette be 11-34? I also understand I will need to upgrade my shifters as well because of the 3 to 2 ring crank. Iím ok with all of that I just donít know know what the tooth count should be.

is there a guide I could refer to?
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Old 03-10-20, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
I donít know what number of teeth to upgrade to on the crank.
What do you dislike about your current gearing arrangement? What problems are you trying to solve with the change?

Are you happy with your current lowest gear? Are you happy with your current highest gear? Are there any areas in your gearing range where you're bothered by the gearing leaps from one gear to the next?
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Old 03-10-20, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What do you dislike about your current gearing arrangement? What problems are you trying to solve with the change?

Are you happy with your current lowest gear? Are you happy with your current highest gear? Are there any areas in your gearing range where you're bothered by the gearing leaps from one gear to the next?

I think im just changing gear too often is all. I just thought maybe a different ratio better. But again I have no idea.
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Old 03-10-20, 06:32 PM
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Google for gear ratio calculators and you'll find a bunch. Here is one ...... https://www.bikecalc.com/gear_ratios

Think about if your current crank and cassette has the low gear you need and the high gears you need, then compare to what you are thinking about getting.

If you don't need the higher or lower gears, then it might not make sense to "upgrade".
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Old 03-10-20, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
I think im just changing gear too often is all. I just thought maybe a different ratio better. But again I have no idea.
When you say "changing gear too often", what do you mean? Shifting a lot isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself.
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Old 03-10-20, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
When you say "changing gear too often", what do you mean? Shifting a lot isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself.
Iím just trying to keep a steady cadence and maybe it normal to change gears a lot.

i just thought getting a new set would help but I guess not.

thank you for the help Iíll take a look at that link.
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Old 03-10-20, 06:44 PM
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If you don't know what you want to gain from the upgrade then you shouldn't do the upgrade.
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Old 03-10-20, 06:49 PM
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Here is a gear comparison chart that I really like, https://www.kstoerz.com/gearcalc/compare/. Going from a triple to a double really is not going to have much effect on how often you shift. It does give your a much wider selection of gears. I think you need to give the riding more time and miles, get into better riding shape, get used to what gears you are comfortable in. That is going to change with miles and experience. Change just for change is not necessarily a good thing. If you know people experienced in cycling, get up with them. If you have a local cycling club, a lot of them encourage guest riders, just be honest with them your being pretty new to it. They may have different levels for group rides.
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Old 03-10-20, 07:14 PM
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Not seeing a 12-26 Shimano 9 spd. cassette (on Sheldons gear chart) might be either a 12-25 or 27.

Shifting “too often” is sometimes desirable for riding in the wind, as example where you want to maintain a steady cadence, but sometimes a cassette has too big a gap between gears and you feel like either you are spinning too much in an easier gear or to slow in a harder gear. That’s an issue with the type of cassette you’re using. You can, dependent on terrain, get a tightly spaced cassette like a 12-21 or 12-23 that has tighter spacing between the cogs, then rely on your 3 front front gears for higher and lower gearing for up and down hills. Generally you don’t need to change the crank and if it shifts well now, I’d leave it alone.
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Old 03-11-20, 07:31 AM
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Changing the crank out would most likely necessitate new shifters, unless you can "lock out" the shifters so that it's aligned properly for two rings - where the middle indent in the shifter doesn't completely knock the chain off the rings when you're swapping in the front.

I would advise being careful about going from a narrower range cassette like a 12-25 to a wider ranging one like an 11-34. I have one bike with a triple and a 12-27, and it has much narrower gaps between gears than my other bike with a double and an 11-34. I can keep a much smoother cadence shifting up and down the 12-27 than I can shifting up and down the 11-34. I'm considering swapping the 11-34 for an 11-30 or even an 11-28 to get that tighter range back. My crank is a compact 50-34, and I never really use the top three cogs out back anyway (few hills around NYC), so I don't think I'd lose much.

Another thing to consider is that cranks and shifters (if they have to be swapped) are relatively expensive items, especially if you go for 105 level or better. Depending on the rest of the bike, it might make sense to look at a different bike to get the ratios you need.

That all said - I don't think changing your gearing ratios will help you nearly as much as getting out there and building experience and fitness. With some experience, shifting up and down to maintain a 70-90rpm cadence becomes second nature, and if your gear is properly tuned up, should be nearly seamless.
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Old 03-11-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
Iím just trying to keep a steady cadence and maybe it normal to change gears a lot.
If you are looking for a comfortable amount of power output at a steady cadence on changing road surface, grade, wind, etc, then you might change gears a lot.

I do. Your triple is going to give you more combos, but I do like the simplicity of more gears on the rear and fewer on the front. I pretty much run my 2x11 as a 1x11. Only changing chain wheels when I need the lowest possible gear combo or the highest possible.

With eleven cogs, there are enough for me to find a comfortable power output for normal conditions. Though when riding in groups, I will sometimes have to move to a different ring to find the gear that gives me the most comfortable power output for the cadence I want at the speed the group is riding.
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Old 03-11-20, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
I also understand I will need to upgrade my shifters as well because of the 3 to 2 ring crank.?
Incorrect
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Old 03-11-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
Iím just trying to keep a steady cadence and maybe it normal to change gears a lot.

i just thought getting a new set would help but I guess not.

thank you for the help Iíll take a look at that link.
If you're trying to keep a steady cadence and the ground is not level, you'll shift "a lot". I don't think that something like shifting a lot exists though. You should just shift when needed and that's all. I probably shift like 300 or 400 times on my commute.

You should only replace the drivetrain if you want to improve gear ratios to something that suits you best. Do you need more lower or high end gears? you feel you could benefit from tighter ratios?

I think that a 3x9 setup should have plenty of range and more than decent gaps between gears. If it was mine I wouldn't replace it for a double unless I broke some part that was difficult or really expensive to replace.
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Old 03-11-20, 10:03 AM
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it is possible that you would shift More with a double and a wider-range cassette.

I used to ride a lot of triples, now mostly doubles. What I find helps is riding enough to learnt eh transmission---learning which gears suit my current fitness level and rising style, at which part of the cassette and on which chain ring. If I find myself changing up front too often, i might be riding on the wrong ring for the terrain/my energy level that day/wind and such. Sometimes the middle ring will be more useful, sometimes the large ring. If I am on a hilly route I might stay in the bottom ring and run the whole cassette, top to bottom, rather than shift up a ring on the downhills, just to be ready for the next hill.

Shifting in back is done whenever my body tells me I am pushing too hard or spinning too fast.

Everything posted here makes a lot of sense. Ride more, spend less ..... when you are finally absolutely sure of what you want to do, you can come here and tell us.
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Old 03-11-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
Hi I am very new to cycling. I have a question I can’t find an answer to so I’ll just ask
, I’m sure it’s been asked a lot but I can’t find anything that will help me.

i have an older Specialzed Allez, I’m looking to upgrade the crank and cassette. The crack is a 3 ring guy 52-42-30 and the rear cassette is 9 speed 12-26. I don’t know what number of teeth to upgrade to on the crank. Would the standard be.....crank 52-39 and the rear cassette be 11-34? I also understand I will need to upgrade my shifters as well because of the 3 to 2 ring crank. I’m ok with all of that I just don’t know know what the tooth count should be.

is there a guide I could refer to?
30x26 is like 39x34 or 34x30 via simple arithmetic ratios e.g. 26 * 39/30.

If you can't ride a 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23 with a 39 ring you don't want a 53-39 crank with just 9 cogs unless the triple crank causes knee problems due to Q-factor.

11-34 9 cogs is 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34 although many (if not most) road riders don't like two tooth gaps before the 17 cog.

A compact crank still falls short at 50-34x
11-12-14-16-18-20-23-26-30.

You want 12 cogs for that range - 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-26-29.

Currently, that means Campagnolo Chorus or above ($1100 for mechanical), or SRAM Red ($3000+). The new DuraAce will also be 12 cog.

Stick with the triple crank. Buy a second hand carbon fiber FSA crank plus a new bottom bracket if you want an "upgrade." Wheels manufacturing, Origin 8, and LeTour all make 0.5mm spacers which will let you avoid rub with the wider 9 speed chain. Note however that Shimano does a better job sculpting pins and ramps for fast reliable shifts to larger rings.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 03-11-20 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 03-11-20, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Here is a gear comparison chart that I really like, https://www.kstoerz.com/gearcalc/compare/. Going from a triple to a double really is not going to have much effect on how often you shift. It does give your a much wider selection of gears. I think you need to give the riding more time and miles, get into better riding shape, get used to what gears you are comfortable in. That is going to change with miles and experience. Change just for change is not necessarily a good thing. If you know people experienced in cycling, get up with them. If you have a local cycling club, a lot of them encourage guest riders, just be honest with them your being pretty new to it. They may have different levels for group rides.
Shifting will depend on the specifics. A 50-34 with a tight 9 speed cassette will have you shifting 10X as much for the same range because the rings overlap at normal cruising speeds. Trading a couple cogs in middle of your cassette for larger ones to maintain range may have you bouncing between what's left.

I did the compact x tight cassette evolutionary dead end. I built a bike with 50-40-30 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 8 cogs so I wouldn't want to change cassettes for mountain (low gear like 42x28) or plains (13-19 straight block) rides and it worked great. I moved to 13-23 9 cogs after Campagnolo discontinued my 8 speed favorite and ran 50-34 after wearing out my big ring, realizing that 34x23 was the same low gear as 30x21, and buying the hype that 2 rings were better than three. That took over 10X the front shifting when eschewing small x small and large x large - anything over 19 MPH on the small ring meant a five cog move to 50x19, and anything below 17 MPH on the big ring was back to 34x15. Oops. It wasn't as quiet either because instead of riding 40x16 or 17 in the middle of the cassette I spent a lot of time in 50x21 or 34x14 one in from the end.



Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 03-11-20 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 03-11-20, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobbyluch View Post
Iím just trying to keep a steady cadence and maybe it normal to change gears a lot.

i just thought getting a new set would help but I guess not.

thank you for the help Iíll take a look at that link.
Keeping a relatively steady cadence is one of the main reasons that cassettes now have 9 or more cogs on them. Shifting a lot to be in the closest to perfect gear for any given portion of a ride is normal. It's also one of the main reasons why I like my Campagnolo 9-speed Mirage Ergo levers (brake/shifter) on two of my bicycles. Also, I have a Campagnolo 9-speed Veloce 30-42-52 crankset on one although I wanted 30-40-52 chainrings but the shop was going to charge me for the different size rings.

I often think of it as having two different double cranksets on the same bicycle, that is one is a 42-52 and the other is a sub-compact 30-42. It sure works well for me where I ride. Mostly the 30 teeth chainring is used as a bailout option when the hills are too steep or I'm too tired to ride the 42 chainring.

Cheers
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Old 03-11-20, 03:29 PM
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I think some people, Including myself until recently put too much emphasis on maintaining a constant cadence. Certainly for competitive racing it is a valid point to find and maintain the most efficient cadence where shaving off 20 seconds on a hour race might make the difference between 3'rd and 7'th place. But for the rest of us, I think it's healthier and can actually feel good to change our cadence and effort within reason from time to time. This depends on the terrain and wind of course, But I don't shift at every small or short change in wind or grade. We might be 5% more efficient at a perfect cadence, But IMO its not worth the effort to constantly shift, or even over think this to achieve it.

The gears on Bobbyluch's bike look pretty good to me. Some perhaps a little too closely spaced for my taste's (assuming 12,13,14,16,18,20,22,24,26) but better then a lot of new bikes I looked at 2 years ago. They often have too wide a gap between gears despite a 9 or 10 speed cassette.

Think of those poor soles out there with just one speed. I'm sure they do just fine thank you with most normal wind and light grades.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 03-11-20 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 03-11-20, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by xroadcharlie View Post
I think some people, Including myself until recently put too much emphasis on maintaining a constant cadence.

Think of those poor soles out there with just one speed. I'm sure they do just fine thank you with most normal wind and light grades.
It's more pleasant.

If I didn't care about having a more pleasant experience I'd still be riding my 12 speed from 1987 when that two rings plus a six speed freewheel.
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