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OK, explain this gearing question(27 posts)

OK, explain this gearing questionPaulCL
Jul 3, 2001 8:43 AM
I usually ride with a 13/26 cassette with my campy 10spd. Due to some chain skip, I had to order a new cassette and chain - which is taking a couple of weeks. So, I put on the 11/23 that came with the groupo.

With the 11/23, I feared the hills. No bailout with the 24 or 25 or 26. I knew I would be in deep s**t on the steep hills. But much to my surprise, not only have I had no problem with the hills, but I have been even faster?? This morning, on a 55 mile ride before work, I barely even used the 23. What gives?? Am I imagining this or is there some mojo gear ratio thing working in my favor?? Just curious, becuase it makes me hesitate keeping the 13/26 cassette that's probably on the way to me in the mail.

P.S. I can't usually ride 55 miles before work. Since this is the day before a holiday, and the stock market closes at 1pm (I'm a VP of an investment firm), it's gonna be a VERY slow day - so why not??
Had a good dayWadeOmatic
Jun 30, 2001 11:13 AM
You just rode a little stronger than usual, maybe because you knew you had to. I'd call it a good day and keep the 13-26 for the not-so-strong days, longer rides, recovery rides, etc.
My theory is...Mike Prince
Jul 3, 2001 8:59 AM
Maybe you are spinning out (too high cadence) on the 24-26 and the stronger gears fit a better climbing cadence for you. I notice this sometimes when on a hill and I feel tired, when I go to the stronger gear I actually accelerate and settle into a much better rhythm.

Mike
With the 13/26..PaulCL
Jul 3, 2001 9:07 AM
..I can always climb in the 22 or 23. I have been working on my climbing this year in anticipation of a trip to the mountains of Colorado. Maybe the extra work is paying off.

By the way, it wasn't just a good day today. I did a fast (for me) 70 mile, hilly, ride on Sunday. Since putting on the 11/23, I have ridden about 200+ miles over 5 rides - all climbing very well. In hindsight, maybe the 22 or 23 fits my style. I'm still gonna put on the 13/26 for Colorado...
no way!ColnagoFE
Jul 3, 2001 10:57 AM
if you have those gears you're gonna use 'em!
re: OK, explain this gearing questionDog
Jul 3, 2001 9:22 AM
Maybe you slowed down on the flatter parts to rest, thinking you'd not make it in the 23 cog? Been there.

If you don't NEED a larger cog, you might very well get faster and stronger using harder gears. Me, I use the larger cogs for bailout in events, but mostly use the harder gears in training.

Doug
Amen!mr_spin
Jul 3, 2001 9:53 AM
I used to run a 12-27 because I love climbing, but after realizing I wasn't using the 27. I was never lower than the 24, so I decided to switch to a 12-25. Now even on steep climbs I'm in the 23 or 21, and find that using the 25 is extremely rare. But I'm not going to drop it. It is nice to have that bailout sometimes.
re: OK, explain this gearing questionWarren128
Jul 3, 2001 9:48 AM
Paul, just curious, what is your small chainring size?

Warren
A 39 (nm)PaulCL
Jul 3, 2001 2:42 PM
nm
re: OK, explain this gearing questionGregJ
Jul 3, 2001 11:13 AM
You have chosen to change cassettes at the height of summer, a time when most of us are at our peak for the year. Maybe save the 13-26 for next winter and early spring.
Paul, what you needMel Erickson
Jul 3, 2001 12:22 PM
is a new set of wheels to go with one of your cassettes. Then you can switch back and forth as needed. If you're doing well with the 11-23 I'd stay with it, at least til Colorado and maybe there too. Depending on where you're going many climbs in Colorado are long but the grade is not excessive. How do the grades compare to what you're doing now? If a 23 was low enough I wouldn't sacrifice more useful gears to have two bail out gears you may not use. Besides, the 11 might come in handy on the downhills.
Paul, what you needmaddog
Jul 3, 2001 12:34 PM
what's excessive 11%, 12%, 13%, 14%, 15%?? - it's all relative to what you're used to - what would you say the grade is on an "average" climb in CO?
Exactly, that's why I saidMel Erickson
Jul 3, 2001 12:59 PM
how do the grades he plans on doing in Colorado compare to what he's doing now. It's relative to what he's used to! I have no idea what an "average" in Colorado might be. My stints (2) in the state have been more touring oriented. I was on some long grades but not that steep (7%). I have no doubt there are some in the 10-15% range and if Paul's not used to doing grades that steep, but will encounter them in Colorado, by all means go with the 13-26.
Exactly, that's why I saidmaddog
Jul 3, 2001 2:01 PM
After re-reading my post I realized it seemed awfully smart alecky. That was not my intent at all. As a flatlander, the "big climbs" I do are 8-10% for a hundred vertical feet or so. Most of our "hills" are interstate overpasses. Just wondering what the "typical" climbs that guys touring the west encounter.
Western climbsDog
Jul 3, 2001 3:48 PM
Being from Missouri myself, I had no concept of what "big" hills were on a bike. It's hard to imagine. Where the Midwest might have a hill that is 8% for a mile, or 10% for a few hundred feet, out West you can have hills that are 18% for 2 miles, 8% for 6 miles, and various combinations.

The number of hills and the elevations make a difference, too. Do a 10% (average - parts could be steeper) hill for 6 miles, descend for 10 minutes, then effectively do it again. I did one hill in Death Valley that ascended 5,000 feet in 13 miles - and hit 64 mph going down it, sustaining 55+ mph for several minutes. Do that over and over in a hundred miles or so, or throw in some high altitude where you can't breathe very well, and you'll want much lower gears than you might on a short hill in the Midwest.

Your power will drop significantly up long, repeated, high up hills. If you don't know the terrain, better to take the big cogs just in case. While you'll likely never regret the low gears, you could easily regret not having them.

Doug
I have two wheelsetsPaulCL
Jul 3, 2001 2:47 PM
My "good" set is a set of Speeddreams. My "old" set is Mavic Open Pro 32 spoke setup. I use them both - the Mavic's get pulled out on ugly weather days and interval/hill climbing days. As for the hill that I climb around here, I have no idea of the grade. I have no concept of how to judge the grade. One of the hills I was on today, a friend mentioned that it has sections at "14%". Is that steep or not?? I really didn't notice any part of it too tough. The entire hill was about a 3 mile climb from the Ohio river basin to the top.

As for Colorado, its' simple! I'll bring both the 11/23 and 13/26. If the 13/26 is overkill, I'll take five minutes and swap out cassettes.
Better yet,Mel Erickson
Jul 3, 2001 3:30 PM
get a THIRD wheelset! It'll take even less time to swap. I love these problems. Good excuse to buy even more stuff ;)
And get a small car and driver to follow you with the parts NMWadeOmatic
Jul 3, 2001 10:59 PM
x
ColoradoColnagoFE
Jul 3, 2001 3:50 PM
we have some steep climbs, but if you stick to the major roads most are never more than 10%...though they are long. I use a 12x25 most of the time, but a 26 might be nice to have too. That said...I imagine you could get up pretty much anything with a 23 if you had to.
ColoradoLC
Jul 3, 2001 8:13 PM
How about a 21% one mile long grade? Yes we grow them big around here in the NW. I doubt even Marco Pantani could do that with a 23.
If anyone could, it would be Pantani (NM)vram
Jul 3, 2001 8:35 PM
21% GradeRick S
Jul 4, 2001 5:49 AM
Where is the 21% grade located? By the way, how are you measuring grade? Is it "rise over run" for 100'?
21% GradeLC
Jul 4, 2001 6:30 PM
S. 180th Street at the South end of South Center head West and as soon as you cross Southcenter Parkway the hill will be there in all its glory. There are two street signs that warn you of the 21% grade, but I did not actually measure it myself. Seems much steeper than anything I have done on Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens or even the counter balance on Queen Ann Hill.
yup, Pantani could do itDog
Jul 4, 2001 11:09 AM
Last year in preparing for the Climb to Kaiser near Fresno, I rode 100 miles with a 53-39 / 11-21 combination. This included a 2 mile nearly 20 percent section we call the Big Creek climb, which goes from Big Creek to Huntington Lake, topping out at 7,000 feet. This was 45 miles into this training ride. It was very, very difficult, and ruined my legs for a week. But, I did it. I figure if I can, Pantani, who makes twice the power and weighs 20 pounds less, could make child's play of 21% in a 23 cog.

Doug
14%Cliff Oates
Jul 4, 2001 10:06 AM
14% is always steep, but it depends on how many miles you have in the bag before you get there. One of my favorite climbs (North side of Palomares Road: topo map & pics) averages 14% for nearly a mile prior to reaching the top. If I'm doing a simple out and back on this ride, then I hit the grade about 15 miles into the ride and I can handle it with a 23t cog. I did a century earlier this year and we hit this stretch 90 miles into the ride. The folks I passed who were walking this hill were jealous of the 29t cog I was in.
The hill was at about mile 35PaulCL
Jul 4, 2001 12:56 PM
of a 55 mile ride. By the way, what part of the country is represented by your map?
The hill was at about mile 35Cliff Oates
Jul 4, 2001 1:04 PM
Palomares Road is in Alameda county in the SF Bay Area -- it's in the East bay between Castro Valley and Pleasanton.