- Do I need a compact for the Pyrenees?
The suggestion, albeit from the commentary on the TdF, was that Pyrenean climbs differ from the French Alpine ones by being older. It was implied that the climbs in the Pyrenees tend to climb farther up valleys then ramp up at the end, while Alpine climbs are less steep.
It might be a load of old cobblers, but I’d be taking a compact..Posted 4 years agomudsharkMember
We went recently, I had compact and 28t which was easier than I needed really but no problem, only issue is that if you want to change to the sprocket one up it’s quite a jump; I used a 27t last year and maybe that was better. My quite chunky mate had same cassette on a double and got up the Tourmalet OK. Seen people on triples spinning away and seemingly barely moving – each to their own I suppose.Posted 4 years agoTiRedMember
Rode the Tourmalet in 39×25 and didn’t feel the need for lower. It’s long but not particularly steep. 13% is not a brutal climb, and the steep bits don’t last long. If you are going on to Aspin and another 100km, then I would go for a 28 on the back though.
A compact will help with endurance for the longer rides, but I if I didn’t have one already, I’d manage on a 28 rear.
I’m a 69 kilo climber, YMMVPosted 4 years agosmuttiesmithMember
I rode the raid pyrenean years ago on 39/53 with a 12-25 cassette. I would say that I felt over geared on stuff like the portet d’aspet and the col du marie blanque. Tourmalet and aubisque were fine.
If you’ve been to the Alps previously then the Pyrenean climbs are usually shorter and steeper for comparison.
If you’ve got a 39/53 would suggest an 11 or 12-28 is a cheaper option than splashing on compact.Posted 4 years ago
Because people have a narrow range of efficient and fast cadence.
That’s true, but 10 and 11 speed cassettes mean that you can have a wide range without the big jumps between gears you would have had BITD. I ran a 12-30 for La Marmotte last week, which was perfect, as I could stay seated at 70-80rpm, and keep chugging away. I noticed that most riders seemed to be running compacts, wide cassettes or triples.Posted 4 years agoRichTSubscriber
For me it is a definite yes. I’m probably older and less fit than you, but was very grateful for my lowest gear (34X32) in the alps last week. After Col d’Izoard, the climb of Col d’Agnel into a headwind was slow, especially as it was so hot in the valley.Posted 4 years ago
A cheaper alternative may be just to fit a wide range cassette. Yes, you might get wider gaps in the middle, but this may not be a problem. I was always either cycling up a steep slope or down the other side, the middle of my cassette didn’t get much use!jateMember
I was there in June and did most of the climbs (Aspin, Peyresourde, Bales, Hourquette, Mente, Portet d’Aspet, Horquette, Azet, Ares plus various smaller ones). I used a 39 x 26 but only needed the 23, and that was fine. Agree that even though the Portet d’Aspet is pretty short from the west, it was probably the hardest!Posted 4 years ago
In terms of your sportive:
– Mente: We descended the way you are going up and it looked pretty steady if quite long. There’s a great bar at the top…
– Larrieu: Didn’t do this but I don’t think it’s too long.
– Ares: After the Mente this is a mere pimple and entirely rideable in big ring plus it also has a bar.
– Port de Bales: We rode this from the north ahead of the Route du Sud peloton (so no pressure…) but on mountain bikes as we were then off-roading back. It is very long (19.5km as I recall) but only the last 8km or so is at all steep (8% – 10%).
The climb we enjoyed the most interestingly was the Horquette which we combined with the Azet and three climbs in a great little area called the Baronnies to the north of the Aspin. I would heartily recommend the Baronnies as a warm up for the bigger stuff and you will see precisely zero other cyclists.convertSubscriber
Do you need one….depends a bit on your power to weight….hard to tell without knowing your figures. Plenty of people would be fine with a standard and a wide cassette if that’s all they had.
I’m old enough and slow enough now and don’t road race any more that I can’t see me ever buying a standard sized 53/39 ever again. Back in the day there were no 11T cassettes & a 50/11 ratio is bigger than the usual 52/12 or 53/12 so its all good at both ends (though I still prefer a 12-x sized cassette with the extra in the middle or the bottom). And with a 10 or 11spd cassette the gaps will still be smaller than the 7spd (or 8spd if you were posh!) we used to have.Posted 4 years agoads-bMember
Did the Raid Pyrenees a couple of weeks ago.
Would I have done it on a standard- hell no!
Not wanting to sound overly twtish, but im a fairly decent rider and the guy taking us around agreed you would have to be a bit bonkers not to use a compact.
Had a 30 on the rear too. Regularily dropped to 1st gear, even just for the rest sometimes. I’d just get a cheapo one (Tiagra or equivalent) as the weight will be about the same as what you have anyway. You wont need the 53/52t unless you wanted to race down the other side.Posted 4 years agomugsys_m8Subscriber
I’d love to know what sort of cadence these big men above are using.
I live in France and road race at BC Cat 4 level equivalent. Everyone I know rides a compact and usually a 11/12-25 at the back as standard.
Ps Oldgit, remember those sportives are actually races here…from the off.
Have a great trip.Posted 4 years ago
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