Road bike gearing question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Road bike gearing question

    Hey fellas,
    I bought my carbon masi this fall. I love smashing out miles on my road bike, as a way of switching things up from mtn. but after many miles and hills standing and smashing out the climbs are brutal.
    Current drivetrain is full ultegra 2x9 .
    53/39 cranks with 12-25 cassette. The chainrings have some wear, the cassette looks nearly new.
    Short cage rd.
    Should I go with a wider range cassette or compact cranks?
    It usually only bothers me at the end of long rides.

  2. #2
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Weird that the chainrings are showing wear and the cassette is fine. It's usually opposite. Are you cross-chaining much?

    I'd lean towards a cassette with a bail-out gear... I wouldn't want to give up the top end I don't think. But, I had a compact 50/34 for a long time, and I liked it... I guess it depends on how much you're using your highest gears.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Weird that the chainrings are showing wear and the cassette is fine. It's usually opposite. Are you cross-chaining much?

    I'd lean towards a cassette with a bail-out gear... I wouldn't want to give up the top end I don't think. But, I had a compact 50/34 for a long time, and I liked it... I guess it depends on how much you're using your highest gears.
    I should say that it was bought used. So there are far more miles on the chainrings compared to the cassette. That being said, no issues with either, and it shifts perfectly.

  4. #4
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    Depending on the rear derailleur you may be able to go as big as 28 teeth. I would look into that before changing anything else. Otherwise you can look into using a different rear derailleur or changing the cranks, which would probably be the most expensive option.

    Compact is the way to go. You can run 52/36 and not give up too much top end with the option of going down to 50/34 if needed.

  5. #5
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    Yikes, I certainly wouldn't want that kind of gearing where I live haha. Changing the gearing up front can make a more substantial difference than going from a 25t to 28t in the rear. I'm a fan of the 50/34 compact up front and 11-28 out back if you have a lot of climbing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by owensjs View Post
    Yikes, I certainly wouldn't want that kind of gearing where I live haha. Changing the gearing up front can make a more substantial difference than going from a 25t to 28t in the rear. I'm a fan of the 50/34 compact up front and 11-28 out back if you have a lot of climbing.
    That is how I am leaning. I rode 35 miles yesterday with a buddy. While lots of it is flat there are some hilly sections and I ended up about 2000ft of elevation gain. I have huge muscular legs and can grind all the hills out when I am fresh, but the last hill I was spent and it was rough trying to just spin it. Just switching to a compact 50/34 would give me much lower gearing and should help me out at the end of the ride. My current lowest gearing is 1.57, with a compact it would be 1.37. with a 12-27 it would be 1.46. Which might be enough for me.
    Can compact rings fit on my cranks?
    Can I use 10 speed compact cranks?

    Thanks guys.

  7. #7
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    If it's a GS-6600, your biggest tooth supported by Shimano would be a 27 on the rear with a 53 up front. However, I've successfully ran a 30x53 without the chain hitting the jockey wheels. Honestly, though, I would suggest a compact crankset with a 28-11 cassette. That will give you a really wide range, with still a good ratio for fast acceleration for when you're trying to really get the legs burning.
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  8. #8
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    I should note, that I am not trying to replace my whole drivetrain.

  9. #9
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    Fair enough. A cassette would be you cheapest option. I don't know about your LBS, but at mine I can find take offs with plenty miles left in them for 20 bucks or so. You might also be able able to trade your short cage for a long cage and up your toot capacity. That's what I did on my Cannondale, with 53/39 up front, a Deore long cage rear mech, and a 32-11 mountain cassette. There wasn't a hill I couldn't climb, load I couldn't pull, or speed I couldn't hang on to on the Monday night rides.
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  10. #10
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    Going from a 25 to a 28 out back would give you the same as going to a compact crank with a 34t ring.

    In my opinion the compact front is the worst of both worlds. I find myself constantly 'in between' gears and having to shift the front derailleur A LOT more. Also as pointed out you loose top end.

    Shimano derailleurs are notoriously under rated. I have one bike in the stable with a Dura-Ace short cage and an XT-11-32 cassette. Shifts like butter.

    Regarding your crank questions the smallest chainring you can run with 130mm BCD is 38T.
    Any chainring 5/6/7/8/9/10/11 speed will work fine for replacement.
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  11. #11
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    Use a web based gear calculator to compare the differences between your existing drivetrain, personal experience has been and then to help you figure out what the new drivetrain might look like. Sure a compact crankset will help and they can be had pretty cheap. Youll find more cassette offerings and less gaps between gears if you go 10 spd.

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