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Shifting Into the Small Ring

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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

Shifting Into the Small Ring

Old 12-12-20, 11:13 PM
  #51  
ridethecliche
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
It's the stupidity of the 50/34 16tooth difference. A 10 or 12 tooth drop always made more sense to me.
Weird because a regular double is a 53/39 and that's not a 10-12 difference.
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Old 12-12-20, 11:24 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
Weird because a regular double is a 53/39 and that's not a 10-12 difference.
When considering cycling history as a whole, there's no single "regular double." 53-39 became popular around 1990. But there was a span of a couple decades right before that where the closest thing to a standard double was 52-42.
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Old 12-12-20, 11:31 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
When considering cycling history as a whole, there's no single "regular double." 53-39 became popular around 1990. But there was a span of a couple decades right before that where the closest thing to a standard double was 52-42.
And we're living in that era where a double is a 53/39, a mid compact is a 52/36,and a compact is 50/34. Feel free to continue living in the past if you want to. When someone says shifter, you should act shocked when they're really talking about a brifter because there was an era where shifter meant dt shifter...

Strangely enough, none of these have much difficulty shifting.
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Old 12-12-20, 11:52 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
And we're living in that era where a double is a 53/39, a mid compact is a 52/36,and a compact is 50/34. Feel free to continue living in the past if you want to.
I fail to see how current standards are relevant when addressing the actual point that trailangel was making, unless you're literally just appealing to the authority of what the current standards happen to be. But since the current standards are literally what trailangel is complaining about, this is a fairly circular objection. I mean, that would basically be:
"I take issue with the current standards."
"No, the current standards are good because they're the current standards!"

Even if I could see how your objection addresses the point, I would emphasize that, while the three crankset configurations you mentioned are the most common available on modern road bikes, they are hardly the only available. For example, Shimano's current lineup of high-end road chainrings does include a combination with a 12-tooth jump (54-42 for Dura-Ace FC-R9100) and one with a 10-tooth jump (46-36 for Ultegra FC-R8000).

As far as shift quality goes, it's certainly true that a well-adjusted FD paired to a well-designed 50-34 can make the shift consistently. But the shift is still large in ratio, requiring more compensatory shifts in back. And, for the upshift, it fundamentally takes longer for the shift to resolve because of how much rotation has to happen between the initial shift engagement and when the chain has been fully lifted into place. It's not illogical for someone to prefer smaller front jumps.

Last edited by HTupolev; 12-12-20 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 12-13-20, 12:16 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I fail to see how current standards are relevant when addressing the actual point that trailangel was making, unless you're literally just appealing to the authority of what the current standards happen to be. But since the current standards are literally what trailangel is complaining about, this is a fairly circular objection. I mean, that would basically be:
"I take issue with the current standards."
"No, the current standards are good because they're the current standards!"

Even if I could see how your objection addresses the point, I would emphasize that, while the three crankset configurations you mentioned are the most common available on modern road bikes, they are hardly the only available. For example, Shimano's current lineup of high-end road chainrings does include a combination with a 12-tooth jump (54-42 for Dura-Ace FC-R9100) and one with a 10-tooth jump (46-36 for Ultegra FC-R8000).

As far as shift quality goes, it's certainly true that a well-adjusted FD paired to a well-designed 50-34 can make the shift consistently. But the shift is still large in ratio, requiring more compensatory shifts in back. And, for the upshift, it fundamentally takes longer for the shift to resolve because of how much rotation has to happen between the initial shift engagement and when the chain has been fully lifted into place. It's not illogical for someone to prefer smaller front jumps.
It is, however, illogical for someone to bloviate at length about things like this while purposefully trying to misrepresent someone's point. Lol @ going into logical fallacies 😂😂😂. Want to go back to Eddys era climbing cassettes too?

If you want the range, there's a drawback that requires shifting maybe 2 cogs in the back to end up where you wanted to be. Can be done with one motion.
​​​​​
How much longer are we talking about for this inconvenience? If you want to talk about progress, it's a non issue with electric shifting. You can still pick the rings you want these days as well. Gravel cranks come stock with closer ratios but you give up the range. Triples have their own set of problems or nuances so to speak.

​​​The ten tooth ultegra crank is usually installed in cross /gravel setups more so prior to grx. You can do just about anything if you're willing to live with the shortcomings. This idea of the shifting being so inconvenient is laughable though. It's a technique and tuning issue. 'stressing the gears' isn't really a thing anymore.

Last edited by ridethecliche; 12-13-20 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 12-13-20, 12:49 AM
  #56  
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In a nutshell, OP has been provided options:
  1. Buy Di2, press buttons
  2. Buy a triple, shift rings without needing to compensate
  3. Buy a non-compact double, shift rings without need to compensate, with either less range or bigger steps than 2.
  4. Buy a 1x, just shift
  5. Or don't buy anything and:
    1. Stay in the big ring until your cadence is way down, then shift down to the small ring, or
    2. Eye the climb, pick your ring early, and shift cogs as needed
With some discussion of superiority of Campy, but I don't think that added a new option. A couple guys need to get a room, and no mention of SS/FG yet.

BF is life.
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Old 12-13-20, 07:16 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
....and no mention of SS/FG yet.
We came close.... 1x was mentioned; I'm surprised no one took the ball and ran with it by mentioning single-speeds.

Maybe everyone is out riding.
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Old 12-13-20, 10:50 AM
  #58  
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Though some think Di2 handles the OP's question better. I currently find that my 105 5800 handled it exceptionally well and quicker by being able to drop the rear a couple or even three cogs much quicker than my Ultegra R8050 can.

But that might change, I think there is an adjustment in e-tube project that controls how fast the DR's move. I've just begun to play with that so I'll have to see if I can get it doing the required shifts on the rear as quick as they happened on my 105 equipped bike.

For the most part when dropping to the small front the rear shifts quick enough while in full syncro and my cadence and power output isn't affected. However there do seem to be certain times that for what ever reason it is an issue and I'm suddenly spinning too fast too long.
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Old 12-13-20, 11:13 AM
  #59  
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Another technique that I sometimes use is to stay in the big ring, riding out of the saddle for awhile during the first part of a hill, then sit and quickly shift to the little ring. Quite often no compensating shifts are then needed. If I'm already in the little ring and decide to pedal standing, usually I need to shift one or two sprockets smaller, or my cadence would be too high.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-13-20 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-13-20, 04:24 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
We came close.... 1x was mentioned; I'm surprised no one took the ball and ran with it by mentioning single-speeds.

Maybe everyone is out riding.
I was going to but I have started enough snot-storms around here ..... Hey, get a bike with CVT .... or a single-speed .... or drive a car with an automatic transmission .... or get a kayak and go paddling ... lots of "solutions" .....

My personal solution has been learning how to use my transmission. But I understand that's not for everyone.
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Old 12-13-20, 06:54 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Shift to the little ring before you need it. Remember that there's a lot of overlap between the two chainrings and that you should be able to comfortably cruise in the granny ring at 18-20mph without cross-chaining.
This.

​​​​​​Unless you are are some sort of monster, you should not need to be in the big ring in a "climb".

The basic idea is to set up the gearing before the climb so that you just need to use the rear derailleur. That is, you shift down in the front and up in rear to keep the same gear (usually, lower) when it's easy and you have time for slow shifts.

Shifting the rear derailleur is much faster and will tolerate shifts under load much better.


​​​​​
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Old 12-14-20, 01:11 PM
  #62  
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Drop it before you think you need it.
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Old 12-14-20, 02:40 PM
  #63  
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Same here. I shift front and back at the same time as a normal practice. When I shift from small to large ring, I always shift to the next larger cog in the rear. Eliminates the momentum loss that occurs when the effect of the large ring kicks in. Going from big to small ring, I'll dump one or two cogs in the rear simultaneously. Same effect in the reverse. Makes a big difference in maintaining speed/cadence.
Gary
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Old 12-14-20, 05:45 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by mgopack42 View Post
I feel like this issue is the area where Campagnolo has the advantage over Shimano. with Shimano, you need to press and release the small lever 3 times to go 3 gears harder on the RD. this makes for at best, a clunky transition from big to small chain ring. Campagnolo allows a single sweep of one lever to change 3-5 gears in one press, making the simultaneous shift work very well. it was so easy to do naturally, I even taught my wife the fine art and she mastered it quickly!(I also don't like that fact that the shift lever is the brake lever for Shimano, but that is another issue.) I recently left Campagnolo for Shimano, but only for DI2, since EPS is WAY more $$ than I cold spare.
This. On my Campagnolo Chorus 11 group I can shift front and rear simultaneously, with the rear derailleur dropping 3-4 gears with one stroke of the thumb lever.
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Old 12-14-20, 07:14 PM
  #65  
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I'm new to Di2 - only had my new bike for a little over 3 weeks (since Nov 20) / 400 or so miles. I've been playing with the shifting options and think I finally have it where I want it - it is similar to SRAM shifting where at a certain point when shifting the rear, it shifts to the big ring when moving to bigger gears or to the small ring when shifting to easier gears. I'm moving from 11 spd, 105, and this works wonderfully. Not surprisingly, the shift to the big ring and simultaneous move up 2 cogs in the rear (or down - 2 bigger cogs up) is very rapid. When shifting to an easier gear on hills, when it drops to the small ring and to a smaller cog in the rear, there is a momentary loss of power, but overall, it works very well. Definitely smoother than shifting under load on 105. The only difference is that I would do the rear shift first before dropping into the small ring, but that also disrupts momentum.

Tl;dr I am enjoying Di2 and it seems to solve this problem for me.
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Old 12-14-20, 07:36 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
Shifting Into the Small Ring
"What is something that only wimps do, Alex?"
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 12-14-20, 08:21 PM
  #67  
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I've been 1X with my road bike for close to 3 years now and love it. Simple, quiet, cheap (in comparison with electronic)... you just go up and down with none of the hassle or noise of a front derailleur.

Some of the custom cassettes (12 gears starting with a 9 or 10 tooth) allow for a huge range in ratios and the steps between are close enough for me (commuter and tourer in his 60s).
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Old 12-15-20, 02:28 AM
  #68  
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When it comes time for it, first upshift one ring in the rear immediately followed by the downshift up front immediately followed by another upshift in the rear. As rapidly in succession as you can. With practice this becomes really smooth.

And if you are running 50/34 up front consider replacing the 34 with a 36...
.
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Old 12-15-20, 02:53 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by F308 View Post
I've been 1X with my road bike for close to 3 years now and love it. Simple, quiet, cheap (in comparison with electronic)... you just go up and down with none of the hassle or noise of a front derailleur.

Some of the custom cassettes (12 gears starting with a 9 or 10 tooth) allow for a huge range in ratios and the steps between are close enough for me (commuter and tourer in his 60s).
A correctly setup front derailleur would have zero chain rub (zero noise) and have butter smooth, fast shifting.

Park Tool didn't tell you the whole story for comprehensive FD tuning.
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Old 12-15-20, 03:12 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
So when I shift into the small ring in a climb, it's such a drastic change that I spin my legs like an idiot while I shift the RD back into a harder gear.
Is there a better technique to this? When I shift into the big ring, I simultaneously shift the RD 3 times and by the time it takes for the FD to get the chain on the big ring, I'm comfortably in a gear on the RD that makes it all a smooth transition.... Shifting in to the small ring... not so much; the change from the big ring to the small ring happens so fast that I don't have time to make the change on the RD (without stressing the gears by shifting under power).
To make matters worse, it's usually when climbing up a hill and I lose some amount of momentum doing it.
Any tips on shifting to the small ring efficiently for a climb?
Maybe you have to learn a better shifting technique? When I shift to the small ring I usually upshift between 1 and 3 cogs depending on the situation. I can do it while pedalling standing up and losing almost no momentum. I only ease the pedal pressure for a fraction of a second and a bit less than half of a crank revolution.

I don't know how you do it, but I press both levers at the same time and I manage to click the RD shifter 3 times, if needed, before the chain has fully engaged the small chainring.

I'm running a 50 / 34 SRAM Rival 22 groupset BTW. I don't know why there's so much hate to that combination here. It provides great range and, at least on my bike, shifts well.

Last edited by Amt0571; 12-15-20 at 03:17 AM.
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Old 12-16-20, 09:44 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
Nobody seemed to mention that a 1x drivetrain wouldn't have this issue. Though I don't recall having seen a 1x road bike yet, Gravel and mtb yes, but road no. Certainly they must exist?
You could create a 1x road bike by putting on a 1x groupset and whatever chainring you want. But you are going to have to want to live with pretty large jumps between gears. To me, that's a solution looking for a problem.
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Old 12-16-20, 10:43 AM
  #72  
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Campy's new 1x13 Ekar gravel group could certainly be used on the road, but there are some larger jumps between gears. The 9-42 cassette has a 467% range. I have seen single speed time trial bikes built for relatively flat terrain.

My current bike for the mountains has 15 distinctly different gear ratios and a 552% range. I use a 46/30 crank and 10-36, 12 speed SRAM AXS cassette. This combination will work with either Campy 12 or SRAM AXS shifters and deraileurs. If more top gear is needed, a Chorus 48/32 crank will give the same top gear as a 53/11, with 540% range.
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Old 12-16-20, 03:06 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
You could create a 1x road bike by putting on a 1x groupset and whatever chainring you want. But you are going to have to want to live with pretty large jumps between gears. To me, that's a solution looking for a problem.
I realize it "can" be done, but was wondering why it isn't done on a major brand? The large jumps don't seem to be an issue for gravel and mtb riders. I'd be willing to give up "some" top end speed, while maintaining my low climbing ratio (34/32) if it meant the improved reliability and cost savings of no FD.
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Old 12-16-20, 03:44 PM
  #74  
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I don't see the benefit (other than esthetics) of a single ring on a gravel bike. Any weight you save in the front gets added back with the big/heavy cassette in the rear.

I have a 48/31-11/34 GRX. On the flats, I ride mostly 48 in 21, 19, 17 (2.3, 2.5, 2.8), closer to the middle of the cogs, with 3 gears for tailwinds/drafting/descending. If I had a, e.g., 40 tooth single chainring and a 11-42 cassette, I'd be mostly riding 18, 15, 13 (2.2, 2.7, 3.1). That's leaves you with 1 gear for tailwinds/descending and pretty cross-chained when there's no need to be. If anything, I'm thinking of switching the cassette to 11-32 or 11-30. On the other end, I have 31/34 (0.9) for grinding which is close (but still a little better) than 40/42 (.95, which is almost identical to 31/32). To each their own, and I'm sold on 1x for bikes with suspension, but I don't see it for a gravel bike much less a road bike.
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Old 12-16-20, 06:36 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
There is definitely a momentary power loss. there's a short interval when the chain is not exerting torque on either cog.
Yeah, nah - not since HyperGlide has been a thing.

All that tooth profiling allows the chain to remain engaged throughout the shift. Depending on which point around the cassette it happens, it can result in the release of some portion of a link's worth of chain if it's coming off a bigger cog, but the chain is pulling on the cassette the whole time.

HG was the single biggest drivetrain improvement there will ever be. All subsequent improvements depend on it, since it also facilitated indexing that actually works.
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