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When do you use your 53/11 ?(14 posts)

When do you use your 53/11 ?Adamz
Mar 29, 2001 12:32 AM
I'm curious when riding/racing does an cat5/cat4/cat3 cyclist use a 53 chainring & 11 cog? If we are supposed to be spinning at 60-90 rpm cadence than aside from going down a steep hill where would you use this combo? Does it seem right to say that cogs like the 11-21 or 11-23 should be reserved for Cat2/semi-pro/PRO riders? I'm a Cat4 rider and I'm getting another cassette. I'm wondering if I should go for the 12-25 or the 11-23, can someone help me decide which to choose? (Im running campy 10) I currently have a 13/26 and have been told that this is not the right cassette for racing, why?

Thanks for any assistance.

re: When do you use your 53/11 ?longfellow
Mar 29, 2001 2:41 AM
The most you'll probably need is a 23.
I'm a Cat4 and have used the 11 on flats and downhills while in the peleton.
For flats I'd probably go with a 11-21.
Rolling hills go with a 12-23.

The problem with the 11-23 is that its missing the 15 cog I think. I hate that.
I think you misunderstood his questionPete
Mar 29, 2001 4:17 AM
The way you phrased your response to his question sounds like you think he is asking about a 53-11 in the rear. He is not

You will use your 53/11 in a downhill sprint, a long downhill, if your a "real" man in a flat sprint. I did the A race (1/2/3) at the local training crit here last sunday. This is a super flat 0.8 mile course. I was in my 53/12 for a good part of this race. Some guys who had 11's probably dropped into them for the sprint.
re: When do you use your 53/11 ?Larry Meade
Mar 29, 2001 4:32 AM
Your 13-26 is perfectly adequate for racing. I personally am running 12-25 on my Campy 10 bikes and can't see any real use for an 11. The only marginal use I could see is that it would allow me to use my 12 and 13 tooth cogs while in the small chain ring. Right now, they can't really be used due to chainline issues. The 11 would basically be a "spacer" so that I could use the next two cogs more effectively. Since I can always go to the big ring and go up the cassette a few cogs to get an equivalent gear, I don't see this as proper justification for getting an 11. I much prefer having a bail-out gear on the other end of the cassette. I rarely need a huge gear on descents as I can tuck and coast as fast as I can descend pedalling. As far as needing an 11 for sprinting, it's not likely. I have sprinted up to 43 mph and had a 12 as my biggest gear. I may have even been in my 13 I can't really remember. Most flat or slightly uphill sprints I will be in a 13 or 14 if I don't have a leadout.

Mar 29, 2001 5:36 AM
You must consider terrain. Out west, for example, you can get significant descents that are too slow to just coast, but too steeply down to ride in a 12 or 13, at least comfortably. So, you can spin your legs off in a 12, or use the 11 and really move. Typically, I'll use the 11 when I'm over about 32 mph, unless sprinting on flat ground. To get enough watts (power), I need to get the cadence up to around 120 or so, and that means the 14 cog for me.

re: When do you use your 53/11 ?Mel Erickson
Mar 29, 2001 5:46 AM
Not much difference between the two. I doubt you'd realize any significant gain with an 11. I don't run Campy but I'd base my choice more on what other cogs come with an 11 versus a 12. As the previous poster stated, if one cog set is missing a favorite cog (like a 15), that you would use more, then go with the set that includes the cogs that better suit your riding, whether the smallest is 11 or 12. BTW, a 60-90 cadence seems a little low. A better 30rpm spread might be 70-100 (tending towards the upper part of the range). I tend to crank in the 85-105 range (lower on hills). Early season training which emphasizes high rpm's will benefit you later. You will have the form to turn bigger gears at higher rpm's and be able to work more efficiently over a wider range of gears.
re:Some of you guys are amazing!Dean123
Mar 29, 2001 7:20 AM
I don't know how you can ride around on a flat in a 53/12 or 13. My chain doesn't even know I have a 12 or 13. Now, I've never raced or ridden in a large goup(more than 2) that may make a big difference, but I can generate 300 watts for about 30 minutes w/ not too much problem, 3 minute intervals around 380watts but I can only get to about a 53/16or 15 on a good day with a slight tailwind. You guys get me depressed!
I'm with Dean...Retro
Mar 29, 2001 7:31 AM
In my prime, which was a long time ago, my chain never saw the 12-tooth cog that passed for high gear in those days. Below about Cat 2, I'm not convinced anybody else needs it, either. Could this be a macho thing?
I use my 12chris-baby
Mar 29, 2001 7:48 AM
I'm by no means a fast racer, but I have used my 12 many times. for instance, this past weekend I was riding with a good sized group. We were pounding along with a tail wind at about 55 km/h. I looked down for a split second and to my surprise I was in my 12. IT does com in handy sometimes...
Mar 29, 2001 7:56 AM
On a great 30 mile loop near my house (with only one stop, BTW), there is a descent that is about 3% for around 2 miles. On the aerobars, I can easily pedal (resting, really) at around 34-35 mph, where if I coasted, it would be around 28 mph. At 34 mph, I'd need to spin 90 rpms (but not pushing hard) in the 11 cog, or 10 rpms higher in a 12. Now, 100 rpms is easily doable, but you I don't recover as fast at the higher rpms. For steeper hills, the difference is greater.

Everyone and everywhere is different. This is not a 'one size fits all' type of thing.

it's all about terrain and powerMaillot Rouge
Mar 29, 2001 8:28 AM
When I lived in the midwest I thought it was pretty silly that anybody would need an 11. Here in Colorado it's almost a necessity. I was riding with five guys down a 3 mile failry steep and straight descent. I was doing about 50mph and was completely spun out in a 53-12, I know I have a slow spin. This other guy was riding a 54-11, he stood up and sprinted away from us.

When I was a 4 I knew I was ready to be a 3 when I was hammering on a flat and I reached for a bigger gear and was already in the 12. Hmmm... maybe that had more to do with my slow spin.
Amazing? Thanks for the boostMel Erickson
Mar 29, 2001 12:51 PM
Nobody has ever called me that! I've never had a license and only done some casual citizen racing. I do use my 53/12 on downhills and when riding with a tailwind, but not for long distances. I'm not in it alot but it does come in handy at times, especially later in the season when I'm in better shape. I also use it occasionally in larger group rides, depending on the fitness level of the group. It's certainly my least used gear. I have a favorite hill that I like to get into the 53/12 on the way down. It gradually flattens out into about a one mile straightaway. I use it as a guage of my fitness. It's towards the end of the ride and I see how long I can hold it in the 53/12 after it flattens out.
re: When do you use your 53/11 ?Starliner
Mar 29, 2001 9:43 AM
I second the comments on the 11's value in downhill situations. Another less often but nonetheless valuable situation is hammering on the flats with a stiff tailwind.

An 11 is great to train with, but I'm not sure an 11 would be good for you to race with. However, don't be caught dead without a 12. A 13 is not enough IMO.
OncePing Pong
Mar 30, 2001 12:56 AM
I borrowed an 11 cog once for a big straight hill nearby (25% at one point). Reached just over 66mph. It was a fantastic buzz!
I agree that on a downhill, riding with a group or with a strong tailwind an 11 feels right, but a 12 or 13 is all most of us really need.