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bike gears and the like

This is my reply to peterparky from the training thread about gears...thought I'd move it here to keep that clearing for training


peterparky wrote:

Hi Loon

Thanks for that think i understand - just been out counting

13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,26 (9speed veloce)

and 52/42 so what is best? is this good gearing for a novice?

it's not as easy as that is it. I find i use the inner ring mostly and bigger one for downhill and flat flat stretches.

Anyway cheers for help



I aint no expert and I am just learning myself but your gearing seems okay to me...as its a good spread... I have replaced my cassette recently to drop to a 21 from a 27 or summat but I don't have the luxury of extra gears...

your chainrings look just fine I am running a much smaller (compact) set that came with the bike and I am gonna change this when I get the chance..

The only thing that you might notice is that as you get better the big jump between 23 and 26 may annoy you a bit ..


  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307

    You coped well last Sunday, your bike section was non too shabby. When you assess gearing you should aim to be mainly using the gears which run most cleanly ie the middle sprockets on the back for each of the chainrings on the front. You will probably have noticed that if you use the biggest sprocket and the biggest chainring there is a grating noise as the chain rubs past the front mech.

    As you get stronger you will be able to achieve a cadence of about 90 using a higher (harder) gear, hence you will migrate up the cassette, this is when you start to make decisions about whether you have the right gears.

    You say you spend most of the time on the small ring, small end or big end of the cassette? if you change from the small chain ring and small sprocket to the large chainring and move to a bigger sprocket you will achieve almost the same gear.

    Loon -

    there is an argument on tritalk about compact chainsets. If you have a 50x11 you will find it difficult to run out of gears, base that on a 10 gear cassette and you have 50x11-20 and 34x11-20 which should get you up and down hellvelyn as well as down the other side - you will also have the bionus of saving a small amount of weight.

  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    GO on then David give me your best shot at gearing for helevllyn then .. I have a ultegra 10 groupset currently on a double with a 11-23 cassette .. have been advised to switch to a 12-27 instead (ultegra 6600 £40 fitted) which should be compatible. any thoughts ?
  • peterparkypeterparky Posts: 59
    Hi David and loon

    Thanks for your replies - just to reply to David i spend most time on the small chain ring pretty much all over the rear cassette! So not to use the ends of the cassette try and keep it in the middle - no probs

    Thanks for clearing the grating noise i thought my gears were out.

    I am happy with what i have but maybe in 11 months time trying to do wimbleball it will need looking at - so more advice will be needed.

    thanks again guys for your help - it is quite invaluable to us newbies - the little knowledge gained makes it even more addictive!


  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    Mad It's relly down to how well you can climb now. 39x23 would be ok for most decent cyclists but we Try-atheletes may need a bit more for the steeper climbs. 53/39x12-27 will give you everything you want but is just a bit more "gappy" on the lower gears - but then you shouldn't need those often.

    Sometimes i wish i lived somewhere a bit hillyer, its 10m each way to the nearest hill down here on the flood plain.

  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673

    I have been debating the compact chainset between myself and a cycling mate - currently mines a 48/36 so will definately need a boost but what 2 is my question ... my mate says 39/53 or simmilar I argue with him that I don't need to go that fast and even on a 50/12 I can pedal til 30mph or so before I run out of gear...


  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    You're right Loon 48 is too small. 53/39 is the norm, if you are changing why not have that, you don't need to have an 11 sprocket you could start at 13.

  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    Nice one david..

    I assume that if I get the same make and model i can put my 36 back on and have 53/36 for hilly courses...I'd guess I'd need to check the bolt holes were compatable..

  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    I think that the bolt centres on a compact are closer together than on a standard chainset, but otherwise yes. You can buy a selection of different rings for different courses but changing the outer ring will sometimes mean you need to adjust the front mech.

    I suppose the real answer is to build legs of steel and have a single chainring then just use the gears you've got and take no prisoners.[8|]

    Remembering that when climbing in the saddle you will use a much lower gear and try to maintain a high cadence (70) whereas out of the saddle the cadence will drop but the gearing will be greater (requires bigger legs)

  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    cheers david...

    I can see my self having a range of chainsets,chainrings and cassettes for just about every course I do and legs of steel of course
  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    I can remember Robin Brew telling us he did something like that before when I was on his tri camp. He went out with one of the Tour D'France folk, and was told it would be a training exercise, so they could only use the 54 ring and subsequent gearing in order to build leg muscle up. No mean fete in Lanzarote!!

  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    ouch thats gotta hurt...
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