General Discussion Triathlon Talk » gearing question Rss Feed  
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2021-07-04 5:02 AM


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Subject: gearing question
I have a newbie question and another noob asked similar which is how I found the forum.

I have a 50/34 on my bike and with hills I'm not enjoying the smaller ring to be honest and often have put it in the bigger ring then went to a bigger gear on the back but wish I had a few more.

Downhill and flats I wish there were smaller options

I'm very petite and tend to run a low cadence vs others I've ridden with.

Would a different gearing be better for up/down hills? If so any suggestions?


2021-07-04 12:43 PM
in reply to: annaking

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Champion
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: gearing question

Your gearing is probably OK, but maybe you should use it differently.  

The chainrings (50/34) at your crank are considered "compact" compared to standard 53/39.  I've got the compact crank on my road bike as well.  For the chainring, smaller is easier (more mechanical advantage so easier to pedal but less distance per revolution).  "Triple" road bikes have 3 chainrings, usually 52/42/30.  (It's a really involved project to switch from a double to triple, so I'm only providing this for understanding.  

On the cassette (the cluster on the wheel), it's the other way around  Bigger gears are easier and smaller gears are harder.  You've probably got a 12-23 or 12-25 cassette.  

The "easiest" gear for climbing hills is the small chainring + biggest cassette so we can call this the 34-23.  Since the chain doesn't skip teeth, every revolution of the crank moves the chain 34 teeth.  The first 23 teeth move the rear wheel one revolution and the next 11 about 1/2 a revolution.  

The "hardest" gear (for coming down hills) is the large chainring + smallest cassette (50-12).  One rotation of the pedals moves the chain 50 teeth and this makes the rear wheel turn over 4 times!  You can see how this would result in the farthest distance per pedal revolution, but also takes the strongest push on the pedals.  If you're not very heavy and the hill is steep, you could literally stand on one pedal and still not have enough force to move the bike.  

If you look at the setup, the big ring is to the outside as are the small cassette gears.  The small ring and big cassette gears are to the inside.   If you're in the small chainring and smallest cassette gear or the large chainring and largest cassette gear, it's called "cross chaining" and you're putting a lot of stress on the chain which makes it rub against the gears and wears them out faster.  Try to avoid this.  Think of using the largest 7 cassette gears with the small chainring and the smallest 7 cassette gears with the large chainring.  Usually, if you switch up to the larger ring, you'll want to shift 2 or 3 gears larger on the cassette (and in the reverse, when you shift to the smaller ring, you'll want to shift 2-3 gears smaller on the cassette).  

You'll want to shift to an easier gear before it gets really hard to pedal.  That tension on the chain makes it much harder to shift from one gear to another.  If you can (so not so easy when climbing a hill), let up how hard you pedal as you shift.  


  

2021-07-05 2:38 PM
in reply to: McFuzz


2

Subject: RE: gearing question
confused by the reply, I am not a not needing you to explain things I know.

I find the small ring too easy and hate it to act like `i cant handle more is just crazy
2021-07-05 5:45 PM
in reply to: annaking

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Champion
7499
50002000100100100100252525
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: gearing question

Originally posted by annaking confused by the reply, I am not a not needing you to explain things I know. I find the small ring too easy and hate it to act like `i cant handle more is just crazy

not trying to offend you. Feel free to grind along in the big ring all you want. If the 50-12 combo is still “too easy” for your liking, talk to the bike shop about switching to a 53/39 chainring and a cassette with an 11-tooth gear.  

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