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Aug 30, 2013
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#2
I've also been interested in this question, tho can't say I have personal experience to help you.

On other forums, there are those who say the standard crank (54/39) + 11/32 combo is the way to go. And it makes sense to me. If only because I ride both a standard crank on my time trial bike (so 54/11 on the fastest gearing) and a compact (34 + 28, which is basically the same as your proposed standard crank + 32) on my climbing bike. I'm not the strongest rider, just an intermediate guy and both extremes are more than enough gearing for me. It is nice spinning at 34/28, I will say, and I never want a bigger granny gear.

I'm sure there are others who will opine on shifting/noise/etc. Just I agree, the WiFLi idea seems smart to me.

Best,

-Jason
 
Aug 30, 2013
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#3
Will say separately, when I was in better shape, climbing on hills in California similar to those we have in Saitama/Chichibu on a 39/25 time trial bike wasn't an issue at all. Sigh, I just looked at my training data from that. Same mileage as a recent ride in Chichibu on the climbing bike (34/28) at a bit over 100km, with a touch more climbing (just under 2000 meters) and an hour less in moving time (4.25 hours versus 5.25 hours). And was a lot easier too, compared to my recent ride. Sigh, guess I need to just HTFU...
 
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GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#5
Yeah, me too. The 12-30 back in the box and on 48 /16 fixed for the next 3 months.. Except when I want to climb, then a 48 /21 (the other side of the hub)

This time of year I'm heading the other way. One more mountain ride next weekend then the 12-27 goes back in its box to be replaced by a nice 11-23 for the next 3 months (compact crank). Best years behind me and I hide from the cold too....
 

m o b

Speeding Up
Jun 22, 2008
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cyclitis.wordpress.com
#7
If you go for gear range, a standard front crank 52/38 and an 11/32 cassette will give you the most benefit. As the total capacity of the rear derailleur is then 35T (52-38) front + (32-11) rear you need a rear derailleur with mid-size or long cage.
There also two disadvantages though; one is that the steps between gears will be bigger, meaning it will be harder to find the "optimal gear" and/or cadence when riding normal speeds. The other (theoretical) disadvantage is that shifting precision will suffer because of the longer cage (but basically I believe that this is more a theoretical aspect).

I started with 52/39 and 11/25 in the West of Tokyo, then switched to 11/27 in the rear; if I remember correctly, 27T rear cog and 29T capacity were maximum for Shimano Ultegra 6600. Then I switched to compact crank 50/34 with 12/28
with Ultegra 6700. I personally don't miss the 52/11 combination and I hardly ever ride 50/12 even.
 
Likes: rommelgc

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
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#8
Don't see any reason why the wide ratio cassette would not work, and it's probably a cheaper option, as well as being easier to swap back again if you're doing a flatter ride. As MOB says, the jumps between gears are larger. I set @Naomi's bike up with an 11/32 cassette for the really steep HC races and it works fine.

This weekend I'll be climbing hills with my 22 chainring and 32 sprocket - now that is a proper low gear.
 
Likes: TOM

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
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#9
I have alot of alpine setups. Just depends the flavor du jour I tend to use either a 38-53 crank or 36-52. Cassette choice:

12-25 -> on the rivet rig (12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23,25)
12-27 -> rouleur and greenline type
12-29 -> Std Campy rig
14-28 -> My favorite with 36-52 (14,15,16,18,20,22,24,25,26,27,28) -> custom cut Ti cassette for 11sp on 10sp freebody
12-32 -> KOM rig (12,14,15,16,19,21,23,25,27,29,32)
12-30 -> My Haute route rig with 38-53 (12,14,15,16,18,20,22,24,27,29,30)

Im not a fan of the 11. I love my 16 too much. 53/14 is generally as fast as I need to exit corners and I prefer to stay in big ring as much as possible anyway.

I use a std cage derailler front and rear. Campy with Palatina rollers. They have a little 'float' which allows for super clean shifts and perfect chain alignment. Even if you tweak the hanger in a fall, still shifts nearly perfect.

Every gear is perfect - only if you are trying to optimize power / efficiency / VO do more selections matter. For general riding I like the option to slip into a bigger plate and ride sub-tempo. Its a nice recovery option , too, on especially long stages.

Why the mfgs have not grokked onto the 14-28 combo more I have no clue. Dozens of TDF's were won on nothing bigger than a 52/14. Same with the Giro, and countless other classics. I just extended the concept because I can, and we now have 11sp instead of 6! If you are sprinting , then 11,12,13 become significant. But tell that to the Keirin guys who will outspin anything in a 14 or 15! They rarely dip into the 12,13 range. Starting at 14 gives you much tighter transitions where it really counts for most riding (again, not talking about the sprinters) which lets you ride more efficiently. (one of the big 'three' of performance that everyone seems to forget)
 
Likes: Robert
Jun 6, 2013
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#10
started with 52/39 and 11/25 in the West of Tokyo, then switched to 11/27 in the rear; if I remember correctly, 27T rear cog and 29T capacity were maximum for Shimano Ultegra 6600. Then I switched to compact crank 50/34 with 12/28
Did you think about the 50/34 with an 11/27? Curious as to why you chose the 12/28.
 

Doug3

Maximum Pace
Jun 24, 2010
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Setagaya
www.tokyocyclingcoach.com
#11
As a heavier guy I found the lower gears nice for steepish/longish climbs in the mountains.

I ran the SRAM Wi-Fli 10sp 50/34 11/32 combo for quite awhile. With the 1090chain. I have the Rival med-cage with Red levers. After about a year the shifting got a little sloppy, so put in some new Force pulleys and it tightened things right up. Only needed for when headed off to climb, as I found the gaps in gear choices to be a bit too much.

Now I run the Ultegra 10sp 12/30 on the rear. Really like that combo for just about anything.
 
Aug 27, 2012
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London, UK
www.macrophotofly.com
#13
14-28 -> My favorite with 36-52 (14,15,16,18,20,22,24,25,26,27,28) custom cut Ti cassette
Now that does sound more like the way to go!

I personally find I'm okay when descending with my 50-12 (close enough to a 52-14) and good climbing at my limit with my 34-27. Its between them that I dislike the sprocket selection (D-A10 12-27 = 12,13,14,15,16,[17-19],[21,24,27]).
On the flat with HFC I find very few occasions to use my 50-13, 14, or 15; when on the 50 I'm more often low-mid end of the rear cog with too much of a jump between those sprockets; and if I drop the front to 34 then I'm madly crossing the chain for 34-14,13,or 12.
Hence why I'm jumping to a Ult 6700 11-23 rear for the winter so I don't cross the chain so much when in the 34 and getting tighter useful ratios when in the 50. Not perfect, but way better for holding speeds of 22-33km/hr around town and still giving me plenty of cogs for the 40-45km/hr blasts down the Arakawa

At the moment my perfect ratio set for HFC mountain runs (with a compact 50-34 ) would probably be something like 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27 (converted to 11spd). Possibly even swap the 12 for an 11 for a true descending-only gear.

If on a 36-52 I'd go with Tim's sprocket sizes but drop the 15 for a 17 or 19
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
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#14
By contrast I really like the ratios of the 10-speed DA 12-27 cassette :). I can spin along nicely on the 50T enjoying the close ratios from 12 through to 17. And the bigger jumps from 21 up don't bother me as I'll be crawling up a steep hill anyway. I was disappointed the 11-speed 12-28 didn't bung an 18T cog in the middle - they tightened up the gaps between the larger sprockets instead.
Horses (and, indeed, cassettes) for courses though, everyone need gears to suit their own speed/cadence/ride steepness. I'm glad we have all the options that we do.
There are some Ultegra "junior" cassettes that have a 14T or 16T smallest cog and much closer ratios.
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
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Asakadai, Saitama
#17
Oh don't get too impressed - only 15km with no wind against! (and a couple of others to keep the drafting switched)
well if you can hold 40-45kmph for 15km then you will have absolutely no problems keeping with the guys in Chiba on Sunday ( I read you were worried about keeping up with them in another post). In fact they will have trouble keeping up with you.
 

m o b

Speeding Up
Jun 22, 2008
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cyclitis.wordpress.com
#19
I decided to take the path of least effort, figuratively and literally, in my quest to find a gear that will best suit my now reduced ability to climb. I bought a 11-32 SRAM 1070 and will install a new chain and a 38T inner ring on my otherwise standard Force crank. I will, for now, leave my short cage rear mech in place and fiddle with the B-screw to fine tune. I will most likely experiment some or all the pros and cons you guys have listed and I will see if I can adapt or experiment with a different setup.

I'll post my feedback after I have a chance to test it on some decent climbs.

Cheers!
I am not sure if this will work. But then again I am not sure what exact derailleur type you are using. According to this document, page 6 (http://cdn.sram.com/cdn/farfuture/S...iles/techdocs/my10-sram-tech-manual-rev-a.pdf)
for SRAM Force 2010 short cage derailleurs, maximum cog size is 28T, and you intend to use a 32T cog. And maximum total capacity is 33T but you are going for 53/38 11/32 = 36T capacity. So if you are using this specific derailleur with this front/rear setup I am afraid that you need to change the rear derailleur to mid-size as well to make it work.
Or perhaps this is a misunderstanding. Good Luck!
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
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1,450
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#20
I have a 53/38 (39standard) on the front, for mountain trips I run a 12/30 and flats a 12/25
I don't have any need for the 11 so in the 12/25 I took it out and replaced it with a 16 in the middle which is far more useful.

I was running 39/27 on the steeps before but my cadence was a little low. Dropping to the 30 has allowed me to keep my cadence in just the right place for extended periods of climbing.