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This formula seems right 53/39 and 11/34

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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

This formula seems right 53/39 and 11/34

Old 10-21-20, 08:22 PM
  #1  
helmet4000
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This formula seems right 53/39 and 11/34


I ordered a new bike from BD's Scratch/Dent leftovers, bikeisland.com


A pearl white 2018 "Motobecane" "Le Champion" with nice 11-speed ultegra group (including crankset and brakes). "Aero" "Pro" whatever they want to call it, comparable to a $3,500 bike (not at the 18lbs 10oz out of the box --I have a park scale), I dialed in my fit quickly and it's a fun ride. I did four rides stock on it with the included 50/34t crankset and a 11/34t cassette. Quite the hill climber. But a bit sluggish on the hills and flats. I happened to have a 53/39t "standard" 105 crank and installed it.


I didn't think out the logic of 53/39 paired with 11/34 cassette, but it seems to be a nice fast bike on the flats and down hills, while also excelling at climbing when 39-34 is engaged. Got a KOM already (beat my best time by 10 secs). I kept everything stock cause it is very nice -- Mavic Ksyriums -- never had them, they are not bad. Not deep by any means nor particularly light. May slap some inexpensive pro lite a42w wheels on someday for a little aero benefit.


Something about whatever frame they are using just feels spot on (I can't figure out what the heck it is--made in a Kinesis factory in Taiwan, I think). And I have a nice, though older, S-Works Tarmac SL3 Saxo Bank team bike and a Dura Ace-equipped Kestrel Talon X to compare it to (though both bikes only have a 52/36t).


As I went over my history on Strava going back to 2014 dozens of bikes 25,000 miles of cycling, it looks like my fastest overall times (on varying elevation) are on bikes with 53/39t cranks or 52/36t cranks. The standouts were the 2010 Kestrel Talon (SRAM Force, 53/39 11/28) and a 2013 Giant TCR SL (aluxx).


I will see how this one goes over the long run. But if it goes well, I might think about getting another lighter BD bike someday. Too bad they didn't buy another name like "Peugeot" or something. Motobecanes were junky during their 1970s heyday. Guessing "Peugeot" is probably not willing to part with their name for a low price.


Has anyone else switched to a standard crank?

Last edited by helmet4000; 10-21-20 at 08:29 PM. Reason: photo
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Old 10-26-20, 07:47 AM
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Giving a different crank credit for best times is flawed logic. Best times most often occur when the rider is in the best condition and the weather conditions are most favorable. I ride the same route with over 3000 feet of climbing in the first 22 miles with a total distance of 52 miles. Times vary significantly with changing wind conditions in the mountains. IMO, the shimano 11-34 cassette has poor sprocket spacing with too large 2T jumps between the small sprockets and changes that are too small between the large sprockets. I'd use a 50/34 with an 11-30 instead. It would have the same lowest gear ratio. A 52 or 53 x 11 will rarely be valuable. A 50x11 can be pedaled up to 40 mph. I have a 46x10 top gear that's just a bit higher. I tried a 48x10 top gear for awhile, but didn't find very useful.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 10-26-20 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 10-26-20, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post

I ordered a new bike from BD's Scratch/Dent leftovers, bikeisland.com


A pearl white 2018 "Motobecane" "Le Champion" with nice 11-speed ultegra group (including crankset and brakes). "Aero" "Pro" whatever they want to call it, comparable to a $3,500 bike (not at the 18lbs 10oz out of the box --I have a park scale), I dialed in my fit quickly and it's a fun ride. I did four rides stock on it with the included 50/34t crankset and a 11/34t cassette. Quite the hill climber. But a bit sluggish on the hills and flats. I happened to have a 53/39t "standard" 105 crank and installed it.


I didn't think out the logic of 53/39 paired with 11/34 cassette, but it seems to be a nice fast bike on the flats and down hills, while also excelling at climbing when 39-34 is engaged. Got a KOM already (beat my best time by 10 secs). I kept everything stock cause it is very nice -- Mavic Ksyriums -- never had them, they are not bad. Not deep by any means nor particularly light. May slap some inexpensive pro lite a42w wheels on someday for a little aero benefit.


Something about whatever frame they are using just feels spot on (I can't figure out what the heck it is--made in a Kinesis factory in Taiwan, I think). And I have a nice, though older, S-Works Tarmac SL3 Saxo Bank team bike and a Dura Ace-equipped Kestrel Talon X to compare it to (though both bikes only have a 52/36t).


As I went over my history on Strava going back to 2014 dozens of bikes 25,000 miles of cycling, it looks like my fastest overall times (on varying elevation) are on bikes with 53/39t cranks or 52/36t cranks. The standouts were the 2010 Kestrel Talon (SRAM Force, 53/39 11/28) and a 2013 Giant TCR SL (aluxx).


I will see how this one goes over the long run. But if it goes well, I might think about getting another lighter BD bike someday. Too bad they didn't buy another name like "Peugeot" or something. Motobecanes were junky during their 1970s heyday. Guessing "Peugeot" is probably not willing to part with their name for a low price.


Has anyone else switched to a standard crank?
Motobecane made all levels of bikes from lowly bike boom models up to models ridden in the Grand Tours. The same can be said for most of the French manufacturers.

Motobecane main page
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Old 10-26-20, 10:52 AM
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You might consider changing the angle of your bars so that the flats are horizontal and move the brifters down so that they transition properly from the flats. If that stretches you out too far you might want a bar with shorter reach and/or a shorter stem.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:35 PM
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I ride a 53/39 but have ridden a 52/38 and 50x34. None of them had any impact on my average speeds. I don't like the 50, though, because I don't like being in my 12, 13, and 14 so much.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:43 PM
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Different gearing for different riders, different gearing for different terrain. The right answer is the one that works right, right now, Tomorrow, it might be different.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:43 PM
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I've got a 50/34 x 12-27, two with 53/39 x12-30, and a 52/36 x 11-34. For gearing I like the 53/39s and the 52/36 better than the 50/34. However, I've been riding the 50/34 for weekday rides the last week and just burning up the road with it (compared to my usual speeds), so gearing notwithstanding it's not slower. But I do spin out at 35 instead of 40. Haven't spun out on the 52x11 yet.
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Old 10-26-20, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
However, I've been riding the 50/34 for weekday rides the last week and just burning up the road with it (compared to my usual speeds), so gearing notwithstanding it's not slower. But I do spin out at 35 instead of 40.
Increasing your top-end gear by 6% allows you to spin out at a speed 14% higher?
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Old 10-26-20, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Increasing your top-end gear by 6% allows you to spin out at a speed 14% higher?
Eh. I may have had a really good day on the 53x12.
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Old 10-26-20, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post

I ordered a new bike from BD's Scratch/Dent leftovers, bikeisland.com


A pearl white 2018 "Motobecane" "Le Champion" with nice 11-speed ultegra group (including crankset and brakes). "Aero" "Pro" whatever they want to call it, comparable to a $3,500 bike (not at the 18lbs 10oz out of the box --I have a park scale), I dialed in my fit quickly and it's a fun ride. I did four rides stock on it with the included 50/34t crankset and a 11/34t cassette. Quite the hill climber. But a bit sluggish on the hills and flats. I happened to have a 53/39t "standard" 105 crank and installed it.


I didn't think out the logic of 53/39 paired with 11/34 cassette, but it seems to be a nice fast bike on the flats and down hills, while also excelling at climbing when 39-34 is engaged. Got a KOM already (beat my best time by 10 secs). I kept everything stock cause it is very nice -- Mavic Ksyriums -- never had them, they are not bad. Not deep by any means nor particularly light. May slap some inexpensive pro lite a42w wheels on someday for a little aero benefit.


Something about whatever frame they are using just feels spot on (I can't figure out what the heck it is--made in a Kinesis factory in Taiwan, I think). And I have a nice, though older, S-Works Tarmac SL3 Saxo Bank team bike and a Dura Ace-equipped Kestrel Talon X to compare it to (though both bikes only have a 52/36t).


As I went over my history on Strava going back to 2014 dozens of bikes 25,000 miles of cycling, it looks like my fastest overall times (on varying elevation) are on bikes with 53/39t cranks or 52/36t cranks. The standouts were the 2010 Kestrel Talon (SRAM Force, 53/39 11/28) and a 2013 Giant TCR SL (aluxx).


I will see how this one goes over the long run. But if it goes well, I might think about getting another lighter BD bike someday. Too bad they didn't buy another name like "Peugeot" or something. Motobecanes were junky during their 1970s heyday. Guessing "Peugeot" is probably not willing to part with their name for a low price.


Has anyone else switched to a standard crank?
I run a 51/39 crank. Used to use a 53/39, but found myself using the larger sprockets of my close ratio cassette, and generally not getting the best use of the straight “corncob” portion of the cassette. I swapped on a 50t big ring, which dropped me into the middle of the 12-19 corncob. I later concluded that the 50/12 was a little low for descending in a group, so when I was replacing worn rings I went with a 51. What I have now (51/39, 12/23 10sp) is ideal for my terrain and riding style. I have a compact crank in the parts box, but don’t feel the need for it -yet
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Old 10-26-20, 10:49 PM
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That's an interesting setup. So far mine is working well. I just purchased some 50mm carbon wheels to replace the Mavics and try to attain a little aero boost. Prime RR-50 V3 from Wiggle/Chain Reaction.
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Old 10-27-20, 07:23 AM
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I run a 52 or 53/42 standard crank on all my bikes...................with a 30 granny included.
It's hard to beat that setup.
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Old 10-27-20, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
I didn't think out the logic...

I will see how this one goes over the long run. But if it goes well, I might think about getting another lighter BD bike someday. Too bad they didn't buy another name like "Peugeot" or something. Motobecanes were junky during their 1970s heyday. Guessing "Peugeot" is probably not willing to part with their name for a low price.

Has anyone else switched to a standard crank?

There isnt much logic in your gearing or in your association of gear change to PRs...unless you got those PRs because you are now able to spin at 90 or 100 rpm in 53/11.

Motobecane bikes were like Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc. They offered a wide range of products at varying price points.

No, I havent switched to a standard crank. 50/11 is still plenty enough for me. With that ratio any my tire width, at 80rpm I am going 29mph on flat road. I wish I were stronger and faster, but I only can hold that for a handful of minutes before I have to change gearing for an incline or out of fatigue. I dont think I need a few more teeth on my ring- itll just be more difficult to pedal at that same pace.
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Old 11-03-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
You might consider changing the angle of your bars so that the flats are horizontal and move the brifters down so that they transition properly from the flats. If that stretches you out too far you might want a bar with shorter reach and/or a shorter stem.

Those bars look like they came straight from 2005. You’d probably remember those?

Weren’t they designed such that the the lower portion of the drops were meant to be horizontal instead of the tops?
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Old 11-03-20, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Laifer69 View Post
Those bars look like they came straight from 2005. You’d probably remember those?

Weren’t they designed such that the the lower portion of the drops were meant to be horizontal instead of the tops?
BikesDirect, the website/parent company that owns the Motobecane name in the US, has a seemingly endless supply of Ritchey Comp ergo bars. Each year you figure they cant possibly still have road bars with the bump in the drop, yet they dig into their stash and slap em on more bikes.
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Old 11-03-20, 05:46 PM
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53/39 and 11-34

I’ve had it on two bikes for years. 9 speed DA7700 with a 7700GS RD, supplemented by a Wolftooth Roadlink.

1985 Bob Jackson Ltd Ed
1985 Merckx “Professional “

Virginia’s Thunder Ridge,7% for 12 miles. Dairyland Dare Wisconsin hills.
Hilly Hundred in Indiana.
Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.
Mount Mitchell in NC (OK, that hurt).

Good combination. and I’m no climber. Pretty sure my days of climbing Cat 4’s on a standard crank are long over and I think once or twice was all, anyway.

My modern bikes are all compacts. My 11T and 12T cogs are mint and always will be.

I like a wide rear.

Last edited by RobbieTunes; 11-03-20 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 11-03-20, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
That's an interesting setup. So far mine is working well. I just purchased some 50mm carbon wheels to replace the Mavics and try to attain a little aero boost. Prime RR-50 V3 from Wiggle/Chain Reaction.
Ain’t the aero, it’s the engine, unless you dwell constantly in the 21+ house or a tight pace line.
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Old 11-04-20, 08:20 PM
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Are there lots of very steep grades there in NJ? I don't think I"d want an 11-34 on a road bike. Even with 11 or 12 speed, that leaves a lot of larger gaps between cogs, and when riding at a fast (not race) tempo, that makes it harder to find just the right gear without having to monkey back and forth between chain rings (caveat: DI2 largely solves this - doesn't look like yours has it, or am I missing something there?).

One of my bikes has 53/39 and my largest rear cog is a 27. That''s never been a problem here in the midwest - even in the hills of Wisconsin. It wasn't a problem in the Texas hill country. I admit the lack of a larger cog was kind of aggravating when I did Mt. Figueroa in CA, which has lots of long pitches at 10-12%. I ended up standing more than I would have liked.

My point is that a cassette with a large high/low cog ratio has some drawbacks, particularly if you don't do a lot of steep climbing.

Last edited by MinnMan; 11-04-20 at 08:25 PM.
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