Gearing: new (road) bike

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  • Gearing: new (road) bike
  • Premier Icon lunge
    Subscriber

    You’ve got a mid-compact chainset so could go down to a 34-50 on the up front easily enough, that’s then a standard compact that will definitely help. Going up to a 32 at the back will help too but, depending on the current mech, it might need changing.

    For what it’s worth, almost everyone I know runs 34-50 up front, we’re not racers but don’t hang around. I’ve recently upgraded to the same size rings as you’ve got and am not sure I’ve made the right move and I’m (apparently) considered fit.

    stevious
    Member

    As lunge said going for a 50-34 chainset is easier and probably cheaper than swapping cassette and mech.

    Depending on the rear mech, you might be able to fit a 30t in there.

    As for ‘manning up’ – the only time you’d ever really regret getting some easier gears is if you start racing. Even as you get fitter you’ll be glad of the easier gears at times.

    jonba
    Member

    I’d say change the gearing. As above I’d work out which was cheaper. Changing the chainrings or the mech and cassette.

    My guess would be a new chainset and sell the old one on would be best.

    No point MTFU. My current bike is a semi compact and it suits me fine but for years I ran a compact and was a very successful climber.

    Rather than MTFU, you could try manning the **** down.

    Perhaps you’re going too fast/hard early on? Spin a bit slower, stand up a bit.

    Unless you’re riding up 25% hills, then I reckon you should be alright with your current gearing if you give it a bit of time (more than three rides!)

    It’s not always easy!

    aP
    Member

    52/36 is this year’s new compact chainset size, I use 50/34 and 48/34, but my most recent road bike has 44/30 – and I rode in the 30 a lot last weekend (600km in 4 days in Tuscany from north to south with 10,000m+ of climbing).
    I’d think that you would find things more enjoyable gearing down a bit and getting a 50/34 (or smaller) chainset would probably be the easiest way of doing that.

    Premier Icon sb88
    Subscriber

    Get a 34 inner chainring. Even better, get 34-46 or 34-48 chainrings: the big ring is much more useable in hilly areas and with a 11-25 or 11-28 you’re less likely to cross-chain, and have closer increments. The front shifting with a 10-12 tooth difference feels smoother and impacts cadence less I find. Personally, I love 36-46 with a 30 cassette on my (heavy) ‘gravel’/touring bike which does road training rides but will go to 34-46 with a 28 cassette or ‘super compact 32-46 with a 25 cassette next.

    Premier Icon sb88
    Subscriber

    (I also use a 39-53 on an older road bike for pretending I’m Eddy Merckx).

    But seriously, I don’t get the massive cassette thing – if you can downsize at the front without spinning out and then use a smaller (lighter) cassette with a (neater, lighter) short cage mech, less flappy chain and closer increments, for me it beats massive dangly mechs and dinner-plate cassettes.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the feedback – extremely helpful. I’m conscious of patience and building a different form of riding strength/capability so will heed the advice.

    I think I’m happy with the ’52’ up front as it’s handy on some of the faster flowing downhill sections (to avoid spinning out). Minded to go to a 32 on the rear in any case which will require a change of mech from a short to medium … will just help on some longer rides, hopefully meaning I won’t need to fret so much about which route I take home.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    This may warrant a “MTFU” response but here goes…

    Just bought a road bike after 20yrs of MTB-ing, and on my third reasonable ride, hilly around the Malverns on a 52/36 and 11/28 set-up and occasionally finding it hard work.
    Finding some of the climbing tough and while maxing out on the HR the mind starts pondering “I need an 11/32 and medium mech on the back”.

    Should I get the order in knowing that if I persevered for a few weeks I will become more conditioned and actually grateful for this (existing) set-up?

    (Fat&Fifty btw).

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    …and have spotted Merlin have ‘extra 20% off’ Ultegra parts. Discounting off already competitive prices so will be £85/£86 for a new mech and cassette 🙂

    I use the full range of my Cube’s 50/34-11/32 in the South Downs going up and down cat4s and a couple of cat3s, while trying to maintain 80+rpm up the likes of Harvesting Lane and The White Way.

    Premier Icon Pridds
    Subscriber

    You don’t need a new mech, just the cage plates for a medium mech. They are available as separates from SJS

    Premier Icon Pridds
    Subscriber

    Also currently running 50-33 up front and it works fine if you want to get a bit more range.TA do the rings

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Lunge wrote:

    For what it’s worth, almost everyone I know runs 34-50 up front, we’re not racers but don’t hang around.

    Not really race fit any more, but still happily hanging with the A group when I was last riding the road bike much – though I was properly race fit when I got the 50-34, and it would have worked fine in races I did (though I was running 53-39 when I last raced). It works fine for fast road riding.

    tooauldnfat wrote:

    I think I’m happy with the ’52’ up front as it’s handy on some of the faster flowing downhill sections (to avoid spinning out).

    You don’t need it, not with an 11 sprocket – not really even with a 12 sprocket. I’m also in the Malverns area and still using an 11-23 with my 34-50 (not trying to willy wave, just make a point) – I don’t feel any need for a bigger top gear, and I do like to pedal the downhills. Either learn to spin a bit more or just tuck and coast – I’m certainly faster coasting before I spin out 50-11. 110rpm is almost 40mph, and you’d have to put out a lot of power at that speed to get any advantage over tucking in.

    joshvegas
    Member

    I’m going to say leave it for niw and see how you get on for a bit.

    During this time really make an effort to register how often you actually do use the big ring with smallest cog.

    Then buy the smaller chainset. Because i entirely agree with aracer about tucking in.

    wildc4rd
    Member

    I just got a Slate, which Cannondale decided to spec with a 36/52 and 11-28 on the back. You can get a medium cage 105 mech and an 11-32 105 cassette for £65 from wiggle, I just did the same!

    TiRed
    Member

    I’d second leaving it for a while and see how fitness improves.

    I have road raced Ultegra 50/34 with a narrow cassette 11-23. Don’t worry about spinning out, it won’t be a problem. You will find that you use the 34 less than the 36. It tends to feel more like a bail out option than a continuous range of gears. That’s the downside of going fully compact, and why I prefer the semi-compact on my two nice bikes.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    True – I tend to just big ring it unless I hit proper hills – 50/21 is low enough to get up the drags, but that seems to work fine for me. Regarding race gearing, back when I was racing the smallest cog on a normal roadie cassette was a 12 – 50/11 is a higher gear than the 53/12 we were racing on, you don’t need a higher gear than that unless you’re a top level sprinter.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the input. All sounds about right to me.

    Typically the Cannondale is spec’d with a one piece 52/36 SpideRing chainring so it doesn’t appear as simple (or cheap) as a normal ‘change one ring for another’ job.

    I’ve gone for the 11/32 Ultegra cassette in the meantime as I couldn’t resist the discounts at Merlin!

    Good to know I have the 50/34 option in the future as I get more decrepit.

    whitestone
    Member

    Assuming you ride it reasonably regularly it will take a month or two to get used to the gearing. At least it’s not the old school 52/42 chainset 😯

    Here in the Yorkshire Dales most seem to be on 50/34 with either 11-24 or 11-28 cassette. There’s one or two hills around as well. 😉

    monkeyboyjc
    Member

    Personally I’ve always had 11/32 on the back of road bikes (apart from my current 1x). I don’t enjoy climbing, and around these parts the hills regularly hit +20%.
    The only person I ‘race’ is myself, I can’t see the point of sticking to ‘roady traditions’ when there is a better way.

    Premier Icon spawnofyorkshire
    Subscriber

    I run 50/34 + 11-32 on my roadie and quite happy with that range, i’m reasonably fit but no racing snake (just under 90kg) so it’s nice to have a bail-out gear for when i’m knackered

    fifeandy
    Member

    I’d go with changing the mech and 11/32 out back.
    Not because of the 52 (although it has its uses), but because the 36 is a bit more versatile than a 34 which, whilst great for grinding up 20km mountain passes, can be a bit frustrating for typical UK riding.

    Premier Icon H1ghland3r
    Subscriber

    Same as above, I’m using a 52/36 and an 11-32 cassette as I find the 36 to be more use than a 34 (I have a 50-34 on the winter bike)
    In my experience you won’t need to change the rear mech, I’ve run the 32 cassette on both the 6800 and R8000 ultegra short cage mechs with no problem. Definitely worth trying before forking out for a new mech. As long as you are careful with chain length then you’d be fine. In my experience manufacturers tend to run their chains long anyway so you might even be able to just throw the 32 cassette on there and go ride..

    fasthaggis
    Member

    OP
    As others have said,stick with the 36 for a bit.
    I always found the compacts too much of a drop from 50 to 34.

    aldo56
    Member

    What sort of riding do you do? Whats your normal range of distances, amount of climbing and average speed?

    I used to ride 50/34 with 11-25 and found it suitable for everything I ride in the UK (including 30% climbs like the Talla Wall near Moffat).

    Now on 52/36 with 11-28 and i’ve actually got an easier climbing gear, obviously, a faster top end.

    simondbarnes
    Member

    OP
    As others have said,stick with the 36 for a bit.
    I always found the compacts too much of a drop from 50 to 34.

    Surely the drop from 52 to 36 is the same as that from 50 to 34?

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    I always found the compacts too much of a drop from 50 to 34.

    For that reason I ran 50/36 one winter, quite liked it. Front shift is more manageable than with 50/34 or 52/36, at least with an 11-25 cassette. Though with a wider gappier cassette the bigger jump in front shift probably works a lot better.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    Okay. New 11/32 cassette fitted with medium shimano mech.

    Question, having gone up from an 11/28 will I get away with the existing chain or will I be a few links short?

    TiRed
    Member

    You’ll be ok. Stay off 50-32 if you can though.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Depends how long it was in the first place…

    My money is on it being a couple of links too short, having “upgraded” many off the shelf bikes from a short and 11-28 to a medium and 11-32 for many customers.

    zerolight
    Member

    I put an 11-32 on mine and enjoy riding it much more since. It’s got a 50/34 up front too. I needed a new chain with a couple more links.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    So, a month later: 52/36 up front and an 11/32 with the medium cage has made the bike much more rideable around the Malverns.

    Happy days.

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