New page  that is going to cover gearing advice for beginners. Generally favouring a triple for the really steep stuff but will look at doubles and compacts.

11 Jun 08 A link to a Lennard Zinn article that covers two points, going beyond 27 teeth and wheels for heavy riders.—more-mix-and-match

The article on wheels is relevent as it mirrors what happened to me. Spokes were loosening off on virtually every ride and in the end I ended up Locktiteing every spoke nipple not just the ones going loose. This was after it had been trued. The only other option was to change to a spoke nipple with a nylock insert or the ones Lennard mentions. Anyway it cured the problem the only problem being two spoke breakages when hitting the same pothole. Should have learn’t the first time and reported it to the council.

Lennard is sticking to the Shimano guidelines as I already run 12-28 on the Iceni.
I’m looking to go to at least 30 on the rear without changing the Ultegra rear mech.

To start here is a link to a gearing calculator.

Gearing has evolved over the years but it doesn’t make it any easier on the steep stuff, the bike doesn’t ride itself.  30X27 gets me up all but the Killer climbs. Ideally I’d like 30X30 as an event gearing as it would at least ensure you made the finish.

20 July 08 Been looking into this and it is not straight forward. Going beyond 27 teeth on the cassette is hard work with Shimano and as it is really low gearing for the really steep stuff, I’ve decided to tackle it from the opposite direction. Go down to 26 teeth on the granny ring. Far cheaper too. Still retain all that usable gearing for normal riding but when the sh1t hits the fan drop down into that ultra low gearing. 10 speeds to play with, bring it on.

24 Aug 08  Two decent hilly rides in the last month and this was the right way to go. £109 for a custom cassette, or £2.99 for a 26 tooth chainring.  Chainring method gives a wider range with a narrow  spread between each gear.

25 Feb 2011 Only just tried out a compact after all this time on a bike test ride. Although the test went well a few things did come to light compared to a normal double or triple. On a fast downhill on a compact 50×12 you will rev out at little over 30mph. Conversely   on the uphills most of the time you’re going to be fine, it’s just that little occasion like the Etape, where in normal circumstances you might be able to ride it on a compact as a single climb.
But these aren’t normal circumstances you’ve just done 90 odd miles to get to the base of the climb and soon your going to need every gear you can get.

I found out the hard way on the Ventoux (picture above) 9,10,11% gradient for Km after Km. Got cramps for the first time, even on the easy bits I was reduced to staying in the granny ring and rowing lever up and down the rear cassette to conserve energy. Sod chainline, at times like this  finishing is all that counts, that year 2500 didn’t.

Things are getting a bit more complicated with Sram bringing out wide range compacts but the picture is much the same you need to be able to turn the pedal at your lowest ebb.

20 Dec 2013  I’ve not been happy on Compact gearing until I fitted a 12-32 cassette to the Sabbath. 12 came with 12-25. This needed a 2013 105 medium cage rear mech. The cassette was from Sram as shimano currently don’t do one which I find strange.
The gaps are still too large but at least you can stay in the big ring most of the time on a ride.

2 thoughts on “Gearing”

  1. When I switched from triple to compact, things were fine for the UK hills because although they can be steep (20%+) they are mostly quite short. However, in preparation for my planned holiday in the Pyrenees, I recently fitted the new SRAM 11-32. This cassette boasts that it provides both lower and higher gears than a standard triple. Of course I also needed a bigger derailleur and chain. But the setup works fine on my Mavic hub – a lot less trouble than re-fitting all my triple hardware. Just take care with the shimming of the cassette!

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