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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:28 pm
Posts: 32
Hello everyone,

Here I will be seeking for some recommendations of yours and I hope you lot will help me to make my decision easier :D

So, to start with: I've got 2 bikes (excluding a track bike), one best one was supplied with 53/39 - 11-25 gearing and that was my first bike I bought myself last summer. I live in hilly area, however, becoming a reasonable climber I cannot call English climbs very hilly. I didn't have a lot of problems with climbing.. only right at the beginning because I didn't cycle for 4 years.

More than 2 months ago I've bought a winter bike with compact chainset 50/34 and 11-25 cassette too. I've also invested in garmin 500 with cadence sensor etc. Although the bike is heavier I can see that I can climb equally or marginally better on the compact chainset by doing higher cadence and at the top I'm not that tired too. Overall, general riding is as good and as quick as my best bike but I can do better on the climbs. Thing worth mentioning here is that I've had a great bike fit and the positions are as close as they could be and almost identical :)

I also ride on the track and I consider myself good sprinter. I can quite easily top 64km/h on lowish 84'' gearing, which gives me around 12secs for 200m flying (I didn't try bigger gear but I would have to soon :) ) at Manchester velo and by being 190cm tall I don't think long legs help the cadence too much :roll: I also know that sprinting would be my main strength when it comes to racing and I will start racing in a month time.

So, hope I explained everything so here comes a question. I'm tempted by power2max powermeter to obviously get the most out of my training and I was thinking whether should I go compact or standard? I feel better on the compact, I think, even though I'm considering myself a sprinter (at the moment) and it's also better in hills for me and I'm sure it would be even better if I had an access to hills that are longer than 10kms. However, the dilemma could be that standard could be better for racing but I know that not necessairly. I don't think even best sprinters in the world need 53/11 and for most people, especially for amateurs 50/11 should be more than enough for sprinting. So, am I thinking in a right way and should I go for compact crankset-based power meter and sell my standard from my best bike ? :D also if I go this way for racing I would use 11-21 casette and for general training/riding probably 12-25 or 11-25.

Sorry for writing too much and I will appreciate every advice given :)
Best Regards :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1412
Location: Melbourne, Australia
In regards to buying a compact but not having the option of 53/39. You can buy compact cranks and then standard rings to fit 110BCD (Stronglight make various sizes) but not the other way around. So the compact option would be more flexible...

I have a 42t 110BCD inner ring on the TT bike (wired FSA SRM) and although don't really use the small ring racing can't fault the Stronglight chainrings I have on my bikes.

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Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:02 am 


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:01 am
Posts: 24
Location: Canada
Switch to a compact and never look back if that's what you feel more comfortable with.

At the end of a century ride (or whatever) no amount of 'standard snobbery' confidence will help you climb that last hill. If you need more speed than a 50/11, well, congratulations.

Everyone is different, it's nice to live (ride) in a world with options.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:51 am 
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Thanks guys. Yes, that's what I thought too with the bigger chainrings but I don't even think I would ever need anything bigger than 50/11. The only times I've used 53/11 was going downhill with strong tailwind, never on the flats.

I think I've heard somewhere that even Cobo used 34/32 on the Vuelta and won the stage on it by doing cadence ~120 uphill. I can climb any hill I've got here on 39/25 but I just think on the compact I can spin nicer and faster. Another option could be just getting bigger cassette on the standard but I think that would be even worse because of big gaps in gear ratios.

So, I think we came to a conclusion just not to bother with standards and get a compact. On the paper it should be more than sufficient for sprinting in a race as 50/11 is still greater than 53/12, which is most widely used. And on the other hand, I haven't raced yet but for me sprinting is about the acceleration and then keeping the speed for the final meters, so again why bother with standard? :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Maybe there are some sprinters out there who really need a 52 or 53 chainring, but it certainly isn't me.
I spent the last couple years riding a 50-12 as my top gear and never had a problem.
{I have never been dropped on a descent and I pride myself on being an absolutely world-class wheelsucker.}

Last year I got an 11 to go with the 50, and sometimes it is nice on descents, but I don't think it really makes a significant difference on speed and time, because if I am going fast enough to use the 11, I am going fast enough to just get into an aero-tuck and coast.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Location: Lenart, Slovenia EUROPE
After 7 years of riding the 53/39.... I fell in love with compact crankset!!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:25 am
Posts: 4511
Location: Canada
I still think that the 53x39 is a nicer crank for most riding. Having said that, I have been 'testing' the DA 7950 SRM for almost a season now and can say without a doubt that I don't hate the Compact nearly as much as I thought I would.

It takes a windy day or a really aggressive pace line to run out of gear. On the steepest climbs, it is a lethal weapon. I don't care who you are or how good a climber you might be, but for the steepest pitches when you are at 450 watts, to be able to turn the screws while others are grinding-away over-geared, well, the Compact is pretty nice.

The only thing I don't really like is using a Compact on the trainer. I am waiting to get a proto 52-tooth ring, which will be better.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:56 pm 
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I agree with all sentiment re: compact vs standard, BUT if you are a "sprinter type" the slightly bigger gear may be useful for training aspects. Especially if you want to work at improving the flying 200m time. 12 sec is ok for a roadie on the track but to be brutally honest it ain't that flash. But if it was your first crack on an 84 then chances are this has scope for rapid improvement.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:01 am
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Location: Canada
Geoff wrote:
The only thing I don't really like is using a Compact on the trainer.


Great point!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:12 am 
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Ok. I'll sound in. I have both. I actually prefer the standard crank in almost all situations. I tried the compact crank for a couple of seasons full time but I eventually went back to the std crank and have just found it better for me. I'm not jumping between big and small rings as much. I keep meaning to do the calcs and see why that may be, but there's no better guide than actual practice. I'll throw on the compact if I take a trip to the alps or something where there's a lot of multiday climbing involved but for most stuff the standard crank suits me best. To each his own. But I would think for an all out sprinter type the standard crank would be best if for no other reason than keeping a better chain line in the heat of the moment.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:48 am 
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Tapeworm wrote:
I agree with all sentiment re: compact vs standard, BUT if you are a "sprinter type" the slightly bigger gear may be useful for training aspects. Especially if you want to work at improving the flying 200m time. 12 sec is ok for a roadie on the track but to be brutally honest it ain't that flash. But if it was your first crack on an 84 then chances are this has scope for rapid improvement.


I know that 12sec is not the best. But not the worst on 84''. I've competed against few people on the "fast" trainings and there weren't a lot if any that could oversprint me even on bigger cranks.

Calnago wrote:
Ok. I'll sound in. I have both. I actually prefer the standard crank in almost all situations. I tried the compact crank for a couple of seasons full time but I eventually went back to the std crank and have just found it better for me. I'm not jumping between big and small rings as much. I keep meaning to do the calcs and see why that may be, but there's no better guide than actual practice. I'll throw on the compact if I take a trip to the alps or something where there's a lot of multiday climbing involved but for most stuff the standard crank suits me best. To each his own. But I would think for an all out sprinter type the standard crank would be best if for no other reason than keeping a better chain line in the heat of the moment.


Well, whether I ride either standard or compact for most of the riding I would stick to the big ring, so I don't change a lot and I am happy with both. But being 76kg and 190cm tall I've got the opportunity to actually enjoy hills probably more than some other people. Although I know that I probably wouldn't be ever able to compete with the born climbers I'am not doing bad (at least according to strava etc :P ) and my rides usually include a lot of climbing (as much as possible for the UK) and this is the reason I thought about changing to compact. I feel much more comfortable with compact on the hills and I can ride them quicker and remain fresher at the top. I'm also not all out sprinter but I think at the moment that's my greatest advantage :) I'm more of an all rounder really. I'm still a little bit confused... but I think I will go for compact and maybe for races just buy 52/38 rings as the races are usually flatter :)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:25 am
Posts: 4511
Location: Canada
You can always swap an aftermarket 53 for the trainer, etc., but then you need to switch the chain out (for the best shifting). Unfortunately, there is no Shimano DA 7950 (110 bcd) ring available commercially, which means that you will be riding a pretty flexy ring. Not too bad, but you will really see it with the Di2...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:28 pm 
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After useing 53/39 for all my roadie life I was on 50/34 last month and I didn't like it. Somehow I was riding cross chained whenever there was a false flat or headwind.

I guess my base training crusing speed put me right in between the two rings for those conditions. The couple of fast group rides I did were ok, as I was in the big ring all the time, save for a couple of red lights.

Maybe 50/36 would have been nicer. The 16 teeth difference just seemed a tad large.

Not sure if I could get myself to recommend 53/110. Why introduce more chainring flex for no benefit. I'd probably just sell my old pm and get a new (way cooler future) one.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:28 pm
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Another thing is... my compact is with 175mm cranks and std is with 172.5. So, when I get the compact with 172.5 to be used with a 1.5kg lighter bike too, would that not make a big difference? How does the crank lenght compare in reality because I cannot tell any difference probably because I'm using different cranksets. Some people do say that shorter cranks really feel easier though... Actually if it's "too easy" then I could run 12-21 casette or whatever... :oops:

Ypsylon You are right that the difference is great, so that's why I use the small ring only on bigger and longer climbs. For general riding I would stick with big ring all the time and I don't bother changing even on ocassional short 10%+ gradients because it's still ok to power them up :)


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Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:58 pm 


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:05 pm
Posts: 327
I use a compact 50-34 on a SRAM 975 Quarq. I use a 11-28 cassette. I ride a lot of hills (some big and nasty) and I like to spin. I'll never use a standard crank on my road bike again. On my mountain bike I'm the same way. I ride lots of stupid steep stuff on a 29er and my granny gear is a 20x36. I don't usually have to get off the bike and walk like my buddies:) Spinning is the way to go!


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