Equipment Question? Training on the Road in Northern Cali- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Equipment Question? Training on the Road in Northern Cali

    I could use some input on picking out road bike equipment. I am an avid mountain bike racer and I am buying a road bike, so that I can train during the week for weekend mtb races. The bike I'm buying (Specialized Tarmac) is a double. The front rings are 53 and 39.

    Is it neccessary or recommended that I upgrage to a compact double? I am a fairly strong rider, but am well aware of the steep and long climbs that exist out here, especially in marin, where I expect to be doing a lot of my training.

    I'm new to road riding and would appreciate any input you can provide. I can save a lot of money by making this upgrade before I pick up and use the bike, however I'm only intersted in doing so if it is neccessary. Thanks in advance for any light you can shed.

  2. #2
    bicycle rider
    Reputation: morganfletcher's Avatar
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    If you're strong and fit and racing mtn bikes, a 39-25 (39t chainring, 25t biggest rear cog) should handle just about everything in Marin. Put on a 12-27 if it doesn't. Compact cranks (34t smaller chainring, for instance) are good for people who really like to spin on climbs, people who can use extra help on climbs, and weight weenies, and people who live for the Death Ride. Keep the 39-53.

    Morgan

  3. #3
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    I agree w/ morganfeltcher. I just got a road bike a few months ago and went with the double. I live at the top of a road that has a mile of 18-20% grade. I have to stand up and mash through it when I'm tired, but it's just fine and I think it is good for my training. It's made me a lot stronger and it's fine for the bigger sustained climbs in the peninsula (old la honda, kings mtn, hwy 84, etc). Give it a month, and if you hate standing up every now and then

  4. #4
    Nature Rider, Not MTBer
    Reputation: Plim's Avatar
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    Go to the shop and take a test bike on a spin up a steep hill or two. Then you'll know.

    When I was shopping for road bikes, all the shops were cool about me taking a 30-60 minute ride in the East Bay hills.
    This is no time for levity. - Oliver Hardy

  5. #5
    Let's ride
    Reputation: rensho's Avatar
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    there is a good sister forum to this site.

    norcal:
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/forumdisplay.php?f=62

    Drivetrain:
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/forumdisplay.php?f=46

    Never been there myself, but i hear it is full of good roadie stuff

  6. #6
    I dig trails!
    Reputation: Mr.P's Avatar
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    If you ride single speed a double's full gearing will go unused. Mash. Mash.

    But if you are a spinner, an Ultegra 12-27 cassette should be all you need. (like posted above)

    With no squish, and no bumps, climbing efficiency on a road bike is a glorious thing.

    Mr. P

  7. #7
    Old man on a bike
    Reputation: Bikinfoolferlife's Avatar
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    I'm in the keep the 39/53 and use a 12-25 or 12-27 crowd. I run the 25 now with a 39/53 and find everything rideable on the roads in the Bay Area with this setup. Even though I've hardly been on the road bike lately, been having too much fun mountain biking
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  8. #8

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    I'd take Plim's advice and get out and get some saddle time in on a standard double and see if it works for you. That said I put together a road bike for myself back in December and used a compact double. The compact has been great for me. I'm not a racer I just enjoy getting out and riding.

  9. #9
    fc
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    Compact!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Compact has much lower gears and decreases the need for the dreaded triple. Compact will always leave you with a gear to spare and you can tackle your dreaded steeps even on your bad day. Compact also allows you to stay in the big ring longer. This lets you keep your speed and cadence through the rollers. Compact is also lighter.

    Compact is so good that even the hardliners at Shimano and Campy are finally producing product. In a few years, I think most of the bikes will be sold with compact.

    francois

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Compact!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Compact has much lower gears and decreases the need for the dreaded triple. Compact will always leave you with a gear to spare and you can tackle your dreaded steeps even on your bad day. Compact also allows you to stay in the big ring longer. This lets you keep your speed and cadence through the rollers. Compact is also lighter.

    Compact is so good that even the hardliners at Shimano and Campy are finally producing product. In a few years, I think most of the bikes will be sold with compact.

    francois

    I have a compact, and now I am depressed. I even have 10 speeds and there aint no gears to spare

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by grrrah

    I have a compact, and now I am depressed. I even have 10 speeds and there aint no gears to spare
    Don't feel bad, your not alone. I frequently find myself with no spare gears, just a spare tire around the midsection.

  12. #12
    jrm
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    Compact..

    Are pretty versatile but not as much as say a 50-40-30 triple. The one drawback of the compact is the amount of overlap between the rings when you shift. This is why i switched from a 50-34 to a 50-36. i really like my 50-36 compact with a 12-27 cassette because a majority of the time i can use the 36T and get full use of the range of the 12-27 cassette.

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