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Gearing difference(10 posts)

Gearing differencekyle_t
Aug 5, 2001 1:42 PM
How much real world difference does gearing make? My bike came with a 52-42 front ring, while most people seem to have 53-39 or similar. I have no problems pushing the 52 on the flats or slight inclines, and while the 42 can be tough climbing it isn't that bad.

Is it worth upgrading to a 53-39?
re: Gearing differenceCliff Oates
Aug 5, 2001 2:22 PM
Not enough data, and I know so little about Oz that there is no way I could assess the terrain you face. The odds are pretty good that a cassette change would be the cheaper option for you, depending on what you're running now. You might want to play what if scenarios with the gear claculator on Sheldon Brown's web site.
re: Gearing differencekyle_t
Aug 5, 2001 3:10 PM
I've got an 21-11 on the back. They are all genuine "exage" components (ie. dirt cheap) so I don't mind upgrading.

I live in Castle Hill, some of the surrounding suburbs are Baulkham Hills, Seven Hills. It is in the Hills district (no joke). Suffice to say there are quite a lot of hills.
re: Gearing differenceCliff Oates
Aug 5, 2001 4:09 PM
I believe you about the hills. I climbed halfway up our local 4000' mountain on my 39/21 gear and I was completely blown by the time I got to that halfway point. Of course, I'm an old fart at 45. I also have 3 more gears beyond that one, but presently only need two of them to get to the top of that mountain.

I'll take a guess and suggest you replace the 11-21 cassette with a 12-23 or 12-25 one. A new Ultegra cassette should run US$45. Branford Bike in the US is a good source of info on parts, but you should buy from a retailer in Australia. Use the gearing calculator I gave you link for to calculate gear inches and get a sense of how the different cassettes compare to what you're running now.
re: Gearing differenceAvanti Guy
Aug 5, 2001 4:59 PM
Check out this link for a good store in Australia...
Depends what you have on the back52/42 Kelly
Aug 5, 2001 3:45 PM
If you are carrying a wide range of gears on the back, you may not need a 39. A 39 may be useful in extending the range of gearing and getting rid of duplicate gears though. A 39 can also help in Winter when a lower gear is useful. Try the Sheldon Brown calculator:

52 used to be a common front ring, even for pros. Now everyone wants a 53, like Lance. Having an 11 on the back, I doubt if you need a 53 on the front.
re: Gearing differenceGregJ
Aug 5, 2001 8:55 PM
I think that you can just pop a 39 ring on the front. Leave the 52. If you get one from a company like Stronglight or Sugino it will be cheaper than a Shimano, maybe 16 bucks. If that is not enough, go for a 13 or 12-23 and that should be great. I am not that familiar with EXAGE groups but I don't think they will handle a 9-speed cassette. Maybe 7 or 8 speed?
Is it Biopace too?JL
Aug 6, 2001 6:39 AM
If your Exage stuff (circa 1991) is like mine, is it also Biopace (I or II)? I don't know if you can just swap the rings for "regular" rings (you won't find Biopace new anymore, maybe used) and shift reliably. I have 52-40 B-pace II on the beater bike with 12-28 (7 speed) rear. When I asked the one LBS about upgrades in the spring, they recommended a new bike and maintain what I have as it was still in decent shape. I don't know that you need 53, though that seems to standard with the doubles today.

It may not be worth the upgrade. Save the money towards a newer bike with better components like I did :)


Happy riding.

Is it Biopace too?Cliff Oates
Aug 6, 2001 8:36 AM
You can, but I imagine you would have replace both rings with non-Biopace rings.
Is it Biopace too?kyle_t
Aug 7, 2001 1:26 AM
Not sure about the Biopace? I only got the bike feb this year, though it was only $AU 500 new so I wouldn't be surprised if the components were from '91.

I think I'll just save up for a new bike, the 42 isn't that bad and can only make me stronger.