Gearing: new (road) bike
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.Posted 8 months agosteviousMember
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.Posted 8 months agojonbaMember
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.Posted 8 months agodavidtaylforthMember
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!Posted 8 months agoaPMember
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).Posted 8 months ago
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.sb88Subscriber
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.Posted 8 months agosb88Subscriber
(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.Posted 8 months ago
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.Posted 8 months ago
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).Posted 8 months agoaracerSubscriberLunge 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.Posted 8 months agojoshvegasMember
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.Posted 8 months agoTiRedMember
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.Posted 8 months agoaracerSubscriber
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.Posted 8 months ago
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.Posted 8 months agowhitestoneMember
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. 😉Posted 8 months agomonkeyboyjcMember
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%.Posted 8 months ago
The only person I ‘race’ is myself, I can’t see the point of sticking to ‘roady traditions’ when there is a better way.H1ghland3rSubscriber
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)Posted 8 months ago
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..aldo56Member
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.Posted 8 months agomrblobbyMember
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.Posted 8 months ago
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