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Racing with compact cranks


dutchMan
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Hi all

 

I am going to be buying a new bike soon and i know it has a compact crank on it, i don't know too much about compact cranks and their ratio's, i am more familiar with the usual 53/39 setup

 

The compact crank in question is a 50/34 with a 11/28 on the back. Looks fantastic, but i am a little worried by the 50 on the front, won't this be too small, considering the bulk of Holland is flat, or could i still get away with it?

 

I know for these monster walls they got in Belgium the 34 will be quite handy, but my concern is over the 50.

 

Any of you racing flat races with a compact, how is it going?

 

Thanks Smile

 

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Just be careful of your chain dropping. I learned on Saturday that it's a common thing for compacts. Until then I though it was just me. As to the spinning out of gears....I don't know....I am a girl so I get dropped anyway...

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I live in the Loire valley and have the wonderful flatness but also the occasional wall so when the new bike came with compact crankset I got asked the same question.  I'm not sure how you do on hills but I suck to put it nicely!  So I think the guys were a little relieved to see I got up the hills a bit quicker.  As for running out of gears I don't find you have that problem unless you are doing hectic sprints but I think as women we don't have the quads to do itEmbarrassed - or do we want them!  The only difference I find is that I am changing from the big to the small chainring a lot more.

 

bg - Having said I change from the big to the small chainring a lot I have yet to drop a chain (watch I will do it on this weekends ride now!).  I run Campy Cnetaur and apart from getting used to the change from Shimano and settling the bike in I have had zero probs.
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thanks to both of you, been reading a bit on the web as well, they reckon the 50 - 11 is ample, might just find myself in the lower half of the rear cassette more than i am used to, possibly wallowing in the 13 quite a bit.

 

Yeah my talents on the hills are sadly lacking, but with the 34 i reckon i got some help, good thing they are few and far between here

 

BG, i reckon when the hills come is when u get ur revenge :)

 

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I ride (train and race) with a compact crank and wouldn't suggest you leave it on the bike if your riding is generally flat.

 

With a compact and a 28 on the back, the previous owner must have lived somewhere really hilly.

 

You can change the blades on a compact to a 52/36, which is pretty close to a standard crank, so you can get close, but I would say either change the crank (first choice) or change the chainrings (second choice).
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thanks to both of you' date=' been reading a bit on the web as well, they reckon the 50 - 11 is ample, might just find myself in the lower half of the rear cassette more than i am used to, possibly wallowing in the 13 quite a bit.Yeah my talents on the hills are sadly lacking, but with the 34 i reckon i got some help, good thing they are few and far between here BG, i reckon when the hills come is when u get ur revenge :)

 

[/quote']

 

 

 

Sadly this year any advantage I ever had on the hills has disappeared. God only knows why but that's the truth. I have become stronger on the flats though....just before I get dropped I am usually a monster smiley36.gif

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If you're currently riding a 53-12 combination as your highest gear, then the 50-11 combo on the compact is actually slightly higher (you go a bit faster at any given cadence with the compact). 

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I am also not a good climber and thus switched to a compact crank on the road.

 

Since I went the compact route a year ago, there was one ride with a strong tail wind where I could have done with a higher gear ratio, but I still managed to hang on to the bunch.

There have been many rides where I would not have been able to hang on to the bunch on the hills if I had been riding a standard crank.

 

With the compact I find I can stay in the big ring much longer and don't need to change the font as often as with a standard crank.

 

 

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I ride (train and race) with a compact crank and wouldn't suggest you leave it on the bike if your riding is generally flat.

 

With a compact and a 28 on the back' date=' the previous owner must have lived somewhere really hilly.

 

You can change the blades on a compact to a 52/36, which is pretty close to a standard crank, so you can get close, but I would say either change the crank (first choice) or change the chainrings (second choice).
[/quote']

 

I have two worries about switching to a compact:

 

1. The steps between gears will be too big and you will be searching for the right gear continuously.  I guess putting a 11-23 on for flat races will minimise this and,

 

2. I might be caught a bit short in a sprint and spin out.  Anyone out there racing with a compact crank? I think that is where dutchMan's question comes from.  Personal experience would be most welcome
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Willehond - I can add my experience, for what it's worth LOL

 

As I mentioned, I race with a compact and am a power rider / sprinter - not a climbing type at all.

 

As far as gearing go, with a 11/23 or 11/25, I find that you still have a nice ratio - you won't be shifting more than usual.

 

I found that you get more comfortable at a slightly higher candence, but then again, that's very economical, so not really a bad thing.

 

As far as sprints go, I have never spun out in a sprint - feels just about the same to me as I recall a standard chainring, but then again, could be that being used to the slightly higher cadence makes it feel the same.  Either way, I am yet to spin out in a sprint.

 

Hope this helps.  Smile
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The math indicates that a 50 - 11 is about 2/3 of a rear gear less than a 53 - 11...

 

So to try and explain it even more simply:

 

50 - 11 combo = 53 - 11.6 combo...

 

 

 

You don't even loose a full rear gear going to compact from standard... Thats on the big ring in front.

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I would think think that with the 11/28 you will have huge gaps in your gearing. I rode the Argus with a 12/25 compact and was spinning up the hills, even suikerbossie. Unless you will be riding the alps I don't think you will need anything bigger than a 25 on the rear.

 

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I ride (train and race) with a compact crank and wouldn't suggest you leave it on the bike if your riding is generally flat.

 

With a compact and a 28 on the back' date=' the previous owner must have lived somewhere really hilly.

 

You can change the blades on a compact to a 52/36, which is pretty close to a standard crank, so you can get close, but I would say either change the crank (first choice) or change the chainrings (second choice).
[/quote']

 

I have two worries about switching to a compact:

 

1. The steps between gears will be too big and you will be searching for the right gear continuously.  I guess putting a 11-23 on for flat races will minimise this and,

 

2. I might be caught a bit short in a sprint and spin out.  Anyone out there racing with a compact crank? I think that is where dutchMan's question comes from.  Personal experience would be most welcome

1.  Definitely get rid of the 28!!!  11-23 with 50/34 is roughly equivalent to 12-27 for standard 53/39.  The 28+compact would be equivalent to a 32+standard.

 

2.  Assuming you can maintain a cadence of 11rpm in a sprint, you will be going 63kph using a 50 / 11 gear.  As stated, the 50/11 is actually a "bigger" gear than a 53/12 (do the maths equivalent to a 53/11.66). 

 

Yes, I do ride a compact.  Benefit - able to avoid many of the shifts down to small blade and back.  Many races (including 94.7 in 2008 - not 2009 though as city section a bit steeper) ridden only in big blade.
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That's why I use them cos I am a girl but they still work great on a "boys" Pinarello!!!

 

But I agree with the others, an 11-25 combination is plenty with compact cranks. (don't forget I'm a useless climber so won't be heading to an 11-23 anytime sooon).
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I agree Compact is the way to go if you ride/race hilly routes.

 

Used to ride a 53/39 - 11/23 in SA, now i use a FSA 50/34 - 12/25. 

This small blade really helps on long steep climbs. The only problem is that at about 55 - 60 kmh (downhills) I start spinning out, but then again how often does the average rider ride at or above those speeds? 

 

Never had problems with dropping chains or finding the right gear either.

 
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