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Gearing Choices?(9 posts)

Gearing Choices?BikeRider
Sep 23, 2003 7:43 AM
I currenly am riding a bike with a 39x53 crank and a 13-26 cassette. I tend to use the lower gears pretty often. I am building up a new bicycle and I am now trying to decide between the two gearing choices: Campy triple crank 30x40x50 with a 12-25 cassette or a Campy 30x42x53 with a 13-26 cassette. I tend to use mid to lower gears most of the time, but I still like having some big gears for down hill stretches. Does anybody see any advantages of one choice over the other?

I ride in a hilly area. I'm also planning on a trip next year to ride in some mountainous regions, so that 30 chainring should come in handy.

Thanks for any ideas.
my choice...C-40
Sep 23, 2003 8:31 AM
I just built a Campy Record triple bike, but chose an FSA 53/39/30 crank with a 12-25 cassette. I found neither of the Campy offerings appealing. With the 50/40/30 you lose top speed capability on the downhills. With the 53/42/30 the 42 middle ring causes too frequent use of the little chainring. I like to use the little ring only when I'm on a mountain, not on rolling hills, where frequent shifting from the little ring to the middle would be a pain (it doesn't shift as quick and smooth as the middle to big ring).

I don't like to use the middle chainring and largest cog for any length of time on a triple, due to the extreme angle. When you get to the 42/23 combo, it's equivalent to a 39/21. It's sort of like losing the last two cogs of a 39T middle ring setup. If you need a lower gear for long, you have to shift to the little ring.

I normally use all campy parts, but in this case, it just didn't make sense. With the 53/39/30 setup, all you have to do to maintain a uniform gearing progression is shift two cogs after any chainring shift. With the 53/42/30 you need at least a 3-cog shift between the 42 and 30 and only one cog between the 42 and 53. I much prefer the uniformity of the 53/39/30 setup.
If a triple, I concur on 53/39/30 ...PdxMark
Sep 23, 2003 10:10 AM
I tried a Campy 53/42/30 triple, but has C-40 says, the 42 caused too much use of the small ring for me too. I drove me crazy. Ultimately I switched back to a double 53/39, with either 12-25 or 13-26. This set-up works for me, and I do a fair bit of moutainous riding. I like the simplicity of the two-ring front shifting alot. I figure I can switch to a 13-29 cassette when the hills get too hard.

All of that said, a triple does give you the greatest range, and the wonderful peace of mind as a flatlander who visits mountains.
Concur, butChen2
Sep 23, 2003 12:42 PM
I agree with C-40's reasons for preferring a 39 middle ring instead of a 42. But I also think a 50-40-30 crank set with a 12-25 or even a 13-26 cassette will cover most riders needs. A 50/12 combination is good for 33+ mph at 100 rpm cadence.
re: Gearing Choices?lyleseven
Sep 23, 2003 9:40 AM
I ride hills all the time and have a 12-25 on a campy triple. I seldom have to get down to lowest gear. If your hills are really steep, go with the lower geared arrangement.
I like the 42!Mink
Sep 23, 2003 10:45 AM
I upgraded from a 53/39 to a 53/42/30 triple. I have two back wheels, one with an 11-23 cassette and the other with 12-25. I wanted the triple for climbing (which we do a lot here), and I wasn't disappointed. But what really blew me away was discovering how much I prefer the 42T ring to the 39. I find I stay on the 42 middle ring for most rolling-hill rides (without using the largest cog). I wasn't expecting this when I changed. I hear what C40 says about the symmetry of the 39 middle ring, which is equivalent to two cogs either way, but I must say I couldn't go back to 39T now. BTW, I find the 25 cog with the 30 ring allows me to spin easily up grades of up to 8%, and I use the wheel with the 23 cog on rides with grades up to about 5%. Oh, and I'm a 50 year old weekend warrior, not a tireless young machine...
re: Gearing Choices?BikeRider
Sep 23, 2003 12:39 PM
Actually the 50x12 gear is a little higher than a 53x13 gear that I currently have. I agree that a 39 would probably be more usefull than a 40 would be though. I guess it's just a matter of having to shift a little more with these combo's.

Thanks for the ideas.
re: Gearing Choices?powergyoza
Sep 23, 2003 6:49 PM
Don't forget to also consider FSA's 50/34 with a 12-25 or something similar in the back. A 34/25 combo gives you a slightly better ratio than a theoretical 39/29. Just imagine what 1 more climing gear would feel like on your current setup. Another advantage is that you get a slightly taller top gear. 50/12 > 53/13. You also only loose 1 gear at the top end of the sm chainring gearing.

The minor tradeoff is that it's usually a triple shift for the rear when going between sm & big chainring. (Quadruple once the chain starts crossing over too much). Campy RD's & shift levers are so good that this shouldn't be a big deal.
Yet another optionStmbtDave
Sep 26, 2003 11:04 AM
When I converted my Campy Record double to a Racing T triple, I went with the 52/42/30 option but I wasn't totally happy with it. I ended up purchasing 53 and 40 chainrings from Branford Bike. This allows me to run my triple just like my original double with the option of dropping into the 30 when the grade really gets steep. The shifting works just fine even though Branford doesn't recommend using the 40 in the combination I am using it.