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Road bike gearing?

Old 06-14-21, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
50/34 front and 11-30/11-32/11-34 rear.

The biggest issue with the 11-34 is weird spacing. There are no one tooth gaps. They are all two or more.
The one that always gets me is the jump from 11-13. The others aren't too bad, at least for me
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Old 06-16-21, 08:20 PM
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I do a couple thousand miles at the velodrome every year. I think this helps my ability to be comfortable riding at different cadences and still put out decent power. I ride 11-32 and donít have any issues with it at all.
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Old 06-17-21, 05:19 AM
  #28  
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For OP, I think if he actually currently uses his lowest gear of 28/42, he'll have to resign himself to getting comfortable with lower cadences. At cadences in the 90s in his current lowest gear, with an eg. 34/34 road gear, he'll probably be dropping to about 65-70rpm
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Old 06-17-21, 08:56 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
...Plus he likes to sit and spin. A lot of people really do ride slower than 10 mph up hills - in fact most people do. ....
I don't think there's a lot of point in running an 11-28 these days, when 11-32 or 11-34 is now pretty standard issue on new road bikes with a compact crankset.

escarpment - a long steep slope.....
That 'sit and spin' makes people look like a character from comics pages, when their legs go into a blur under them while they gain little ground under them. In such a case, I'd rather dismount and walk it. It is a toss up which is more degrading, though in a different way. You even get better fitness out of walking it once in a while, you exercise different muscles that otherwise atrophy with people who ride their bikes in a serious fashion. And if you see dismounting as demeaning, you can always run with your bike uphill, or switch walking and running in an indian fashion.

As to cassette, does it always need to start @11? I mean, those folks furiously spinning up hills while hardly moving, being on the verge of falling off their bikes, are they actually ever utilizing such a steep gear? Even with today's smaller big chainrings, that's some clip and I just don't see them caring to even go that fast, as they are usually not the daredevil or that fit types, that need to pedal even at high speeds.

I am sure there are some who utilize the range because they have respectful abilities but I just don't see that being typical.

Escarpment - I can't say I know the term but would have thought it means steep but not overly long slope. Actually I doubt it refers to a slope as such at all, probably it means a cliff in normal folks speech? Maybe also promontory in non-folksy way of speaking? Let others google up the definition

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Old 06-17-21, 09:46 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
As to cassette, does it always need to start @11? I mean, those folks furiously spinning up hills while hardly moving, being on the verge of falling off their bikes, are they actually ever utilizing such a steep gear? Even with today's smaller big chainrings, that's some clip and I just don't see them caring to even go that fast, as they are usually not the daredevil or that fit types, that need to pedal even at high speeds.
Did you lose your train of thought here. I've never seen anyone furiously spinning up a hill in the 11 cog. <grin>
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Old 06-17-21, 09:49 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
That 'sit and spin' makes people look like a character from comics pages, when their legs go into a blur under them while they gain little ground under them. In such a case, I'd rather dismount and walk it. It is a toss up which is more degrading, though in a different way. You even get better fitness out of walking it once in a while, you exercise different muscles that otherwise atrophy with people who ride their bikes in a serious fashion. And if you see dismounting as demeaning, you can always run with your bike uphill, or switch walking and running in an indian fashion.
I have a friend who thinks like that. Itís complete nonsense. In real life on a fairly steep hill with a 34/34 at say 250W you would be lucky to maintain a modest 70-80 rpm and you would be well below 10 mph. More like 7-8 mph. People always over-estimate how fast they can actually climb. They also presume a bigger gear somehow makes them more powerful and faster.
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Old 06-17-21, 11:31 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
That 'sit and spin' makes people look like a character from comics pages, when their legs go into a blur under them while they gain little ground under them. In such a case, I'd rather dismount and walk it. It is a toss up which is more degrading, though in a different way.
When have you seen this? When do road riders walk a hill?
If someone can spin their legs into a "blur" then they have enough left to shift into a higher gear and turn a more reasonable cadence.
I have a 28 front ring on my mtb with a 46 in the back. There are times I wish for another gear. I am never spinning into a blur.
On my road bike I have a 34x29 low gear and sometimes I wish I had another gear or 2 back there, but I am old and fat. In April I did a ride with 8000 feet of climbing in 80 miles. It was fine and I did spin my 50x12 a few times.
The OP might be fine on his climbs with a nice road bike and a 34x34. It just might take a little work to get there. He did say he uses his current bike on trails and a little off-roading.
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Old 06-17-21, 11:35 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
you would be well below 10 mph. More like 7-8 mph.
I've been a proud member of the Single Digit Climbing Club for decades.
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Old 06-17-21, 12:01 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I've been a proud member of the Single Digit Climbing Club for decades.
Based on what I've seen, it's a really big club.
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Old 06-17-21, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Did you lose your train of thought here. I've never seen anyone furiously spinning up a hill in the 11 cog. <grin>
I see that it can be read like you did, still it holds up if you read the whole paragraph and have some good will to boot.

What I meant, that folks who furiously spin up hills while barely moving, are the kind who typically don't utilize 11 cogwheel on the back when going down hills steep enough to warrant it. Ergo, they could start with 13 or even 15 on the back...

But of course, there are those accomplished enough and riding in a very contrasting terrain that they do utilize the whole range, but that doesn't apply to bulk of folks. Today, even recreational kind of bikes come with top gear which people who buy them don't ever use.

On my old bike with 52x13 I have a hill around where I ride on which I make 40 mph tops (65km/h) and that is daredevil (especially because it it not quite straight) which many if not most care bear folks wouldn't go for. At this point, the aerodynamic braking starts to play big role because we are talking here solo riding. At this speed, common sense is telling me, what if something happens, an animal crossing road, or even a bird hitting my face, ^&* happens, and what then. At that speed you are basically free meat if anything comes up.

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Old 06-17-21, 12:28 PM
  #36  
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In my 50s, low was 30/25. In my 60s, it was 30/27. Then it was 26/27. Now it's 26/30. I always hope I won't have to go any lower, but . . .We have 26/40 on our tandem.
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Old 06-17-21, 12:35 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
I see that it can be read like you did, still it holds up if you read the whole paragraph and have some good will to boot.

What I meant, that folks who furiously spin up hills while barely moving, are the kind who typically don't utilize 11 cogwheel on the back when going down hills steep enough to warrant it. Ergo, they could start with 13 or even 15 on the back...

But of course, there are those accomplished enough and riding in a very contrasting terrain that they do utilize the whole range, but that doesn't apply to bulk of folks. Today, even recreational kind of bikes come with top gear which people who buy them don't ever use.

On my old bike with 52x13 I have a hill around where I ride on which I make 40 mph tops (65km/h) and that is daredevil (especially because it it not quite straight) which many if not most care bear folks wouldn't go for. At this point, the aerodynamic braking starts to play big role because we are talking here solo riding. At this speed, common sense is telling me, what if something happens, an animal crossing road, or even a bird hitting my face, ^&* happens, and what then. At that speed you are basically free meat if anything comes up.
The people who need, and use, smaller gearing on climbs are generally the ones who can make the best use of bigger gearing on descents.
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Old 06-17-21, 12:48 PM
  #38  
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The biggest hill I've cranked up is a 2.5km, 9.5% grade in CA (peaking at 14.9%, according to Strava), using a 32T ring and a 27T cog on my Bianchi. I was well, well under 10mph (well under 10 km/h, even), and would gladly have taken an extra cog as I hit the steep bits... or as I ran out of steam near the top.

On the other hand, I'm riding mostly flat lands now and you could almost eat off off my 34T and 30T cogs I use them so rarely. There's one 9.4% gradient on my normal route, but it's short enough that I can power over it.

My opinion to the OP is that if he's looking for close ratios and hill climbing ability, a sub-compact crank is the way to go. A 48/32 mated to an 11-32 would give 1:1, an 11-34 would do better- or as others have noted, going GRX would do even better than that. Alternatively, an 11-34 cassette when he's visiting the girlfriend, and swap in a SRAM PG-1170 11-28 for the close-ratio goodness he wants (single tooth differences between 11-17). Or better yet, have the GF visit him.
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Old 06-17-21, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I've been a proud member of the Single Digit Climbing Club for decades.
Greetings from a fellow Single Digit Climbing Club member (extends secret handshake).

10+ mph on a climb is hard!

Even when I was a much stronger climber, I rarely maintained 10 mph on a climb of any substantial grade & length.

Tossing some numbers around, 10 mph on a 7% grade requires about 4.25 Watts/kg. Hard effort for me back in the day, unthinkable now.
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Old 06-17-21, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
The biggest hill I've cranked up is a 2.5km, 9.5% grade in CA (peaking at 14.9%, according to Strava), using a 32T ring and a 27T cog on my Bianchi. I was well, well under 10mph (well under 10 km/h, even), and would gladly have taken an extra cog as I hit the steep bits... or as I ran out of steam near the top.

On the other hand, I'm riding mostly flat lands now and you could almost eat off off my 34T and 30T cogs I use them so rarely. There's one 9.4% gradient on my normal route, but it's short enough that I can power over it.

My opinion to the OP is that if he's looking for close ratios and hill climbing ability, a sub-compact crank is the way to go. A 48/32 mated to an 11-32 would give 1:1, an 11-34 would do better- or as others have noted, going GRX would do even better than that. Alternatively, an 11-34 cassette when he's visiting the girlfriend, and swap in a SRAM PG-1170 11-28 for the close-ratio goodness he wants (single tooth differences between 11-17). Or better yet, have the GF visit him.
I think we all know that a smaller small chain ring and/or a bigger cassette makes it easier to climb. The issue is that the OP seems to be asking for a close ratio cassette (most likely leading to a reduction in range vs. the 11-42 he is currently using) that would still allow him to get to his girlfriend's location. Thus my prior advice for him to first determine how many large cogs in his current cassette he can avoid using and still make it there and back.
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Old 06-17-21, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post

What I meant, that folks who furiously spin up hills while barely moving
That is simply not happening on anything you could seriously call a hill on a road bike with a 34/34 gear. The reality is that you are always power limited with any road bike gearing and would never be able to "spin furiously" on a steep gradient.
I have a fairly respectable 4W/kg FTP and 12 kph at 75 rpm is a typical climbing speed and cadence on a 7-8% gradient. That's not exactly spinning furiously.
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Old 06-17-21, 05:43 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Greetings from a fellow Single Digit Climbing Club member (extends secret handshake).

10+ mph on a climb is hard!

Even when I was a much stronger climber, I rarely maintained 10 mph on a climb of any substantial grade & length.

Tossing some numbers around, 10 mph on a 7% grade requires about 4.25 Watts/kg. Hard effort for me back in the day, unthinkable now.
Exactly! Reality vs false perception.

But there are still plenty of people around with nowhere near 4.25W/kg on tap who think a 34/34T gear is still too low to even consider for hilly rides. I pass them all the time grinding away at sub 50 rpm in their lowest gear when they would most definitely benefit from a lower ratio.
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Old 06-17-21, 06:11 PM
  #43  
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OK, another side thought. The trend is to easier gears, the days of the 53 chainrings and bigger are behind us - not saying it not ridden anymore, quite a few still have those rings but they are looked upon as not getting the message.

How does that trend square with the pretty well parallel trend to ever smaller cogwheel on the back, 12 to 11 and now to 10, where it probably has to stop, not because that would be enough but mechanical reality simply kicks in at this point.

And you bet that everybody with 30+ cogs on the back will try to merry (spelling?) it with the 10 on the small end. DOH

If you need that big plate on the back, maybe it is time to switch to triple chainrings on the front instead?

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Old 06-17-21, 06:36 PM
  #44  
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It's too bad that triples are essentially extinct. That allows close ratios along with very low gears.

I use my 34-32 low gear even on moderate grades. It's nice to have the choice to spin up the hill at 80-90 rpm.
And the 34-32 low lets me stay seated on 10-12% grades, where I would have to stand up with higher gearing.

14-32 cassette!
A few years ago, I got this idea from a BF thread: 50/34 front and a custom 14-32 rear. The link explains how to build it from a 11-32 and 14-28.

It was perfect for my fast-for-me group rides that also had some steep climbs. I had really close shifts from 18-24 mph, and the low climbing gears. I would spin out at around 30 mph, which was fine.

It's probably not too practical without electronic shifting -- in the 34 ring, the shifts are so close together that I would usually shift two cogs at a time. And I would shift the chainrings a lot more than with a wider range 11-32. To match cadences, a chainring shift needs 4 or 5 shifts in the rear, instead of the usual 3 shifts! Easy with electronic shifting.

Now, with smaller, less competitive groups, I'm back to 11-32, so that I have some high gearing to soft pedal on longer downhills.

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Old 06-17-21, 06:40 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
OK, another side thought. The trend is to easier gears, the days of the 53 chainrings and bigger are behind us - not saying it not ridden anymore, quite a few still have those rings but they are looked upon as not getting the message.

How does that trend square with the pretty well parallel trend to ever smaller cogwheel on the back, 12 to 11 and now to 10, where it probably has to stop, not because that would be enough but mechanical reality simply kicks in at this point.

And you bet that everybody with 30+ cogs on the back will try to merry (spelling?) it with the 10 on the small end. DOH

If you need that big plate on the back, maybe it is time to switch to triple chainrings on the front instead?
I thought that the 11 cog was mainly "marketing". But it does have a couple of uses:
1. I can keep pedaling on steeper downhills, mainly to keep my legs moving.
2. The smallest two cogs aren't practical with the small chainring -- the chain hits the big ring pickup rivets and makes a noise. So an 11 and 12 smallest cogs allow 34-13 as a usable gear, allowing speeds close to 20 mph in the 34 chainring. Fewer chainring shifts needed.
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Old 06-17-21, 07:03 PM
  #46  
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All I can add as a 6'2" 200+ lbs recreational cyclist is lower gearing for climbing makes for a more enjoyable ride, less trepidation about hills/mtns, less fatigue when climbing and less sore knees. Its a win-win all the way around for me. If I want to push a larger gear inch combo, I can choose this as a personal challenge.

I have a 50/34, 11-34 combo on my climbing carbon bike.
My all arounder I switched to a 46/30 GRX mated with a 12-27 10 speed cassette. The bike has more utility now and is enjoyable on climbs.
I have a fully rigid MTB with a 42/34/24 triple and 11-34 cassette 9spd that comes in handy on 15%+ grades.
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Old 06-17-21, 09:05 PM
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IME one wants one's steepest anticipated climbing cog to be the second largest. As mentioned above, sometimes things get different near the end of a hard climb.

I still run triples on all my bikes. For the life of me, I can't figure out how the industry convinced bike buyers that they didn't need close ratios on climbs nor big gear-inches for descents.

I wonder a bit at the discussions of max necessary gear-inches expressed in terms of when one spins out the gear. Maybe that's applicable for racers but this isn't the 33. When descending, one wants to spin no faster than one's normal cadence on the flat. If one isn't producing reasonable power at that cadence, one should coast since the leg extension costs us speed. Thus what one really would like to have on a big descent is a 60/11 so one could turn a nice cadence and still make some power and go a little faster. A few years ago I decided to let my ratios be just a little further apart and go with an 11 cog instead of a 12. 53/11 is a noticeable difference and a little more enjoyment on moderate descents where I don't go over 35. Other riders disappear a little faster with less effort on my part.
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Old 06-17-21, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I do a couple thousand miles at the velodrome every year. I think this helps my ability to be comfortable riding at different cadences and still put out decent power. I ride 11-32 and donít have any issues with it at all.
Why so small, weight weenieism? You'd be much better off for drivetrain efficiency with 38/13.
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Old 06-18-21, 01:29 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Why so small, weight weenieism? You'd be much better off for drivetrain efficiency with 38/13.
Dude, the cassette is an 11-32
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Old 06-18-21, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
Dude, the cassette is an 11-32
Sorry, thought you were talking SS.
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