Buying the right chainset

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by satvinder90, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. satvinder90

    satvinder90 New Member

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    Hi all,

    Im an absolute rookie on cycling but have agreed to do a 250 mile bike ride for charity in the upcoming months. Currently I ride a Carerra TDF with a 52/38 chainset which is absolutely killing me on an incline and on a straight i feel like im not going quick enough.

    A description of me would be: 5 9, quite fit, rookie to cycling.

    Just wondering what chainset would be suitable for me. Just take note that I am a student and on a budget.

    Any advice would be deeply appreciated.

    Kind regards,
     
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  2. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    What's your cassette (rear gears)?
     
  3. satvinder90

    satvinder90 New Member

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  4. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Okay, so the link shows that you have a 12-26T rear cassette. By your brief description, I suspect you may not yet have a good gear-shifting strategy, but you may want to change the cassette as well.

    First off, you need to figure out what a good cadence is for you to pedal. This is how fast you spin the pedals. Many people start out trying to muscle through a slow RPM, which is hard on the knees and will burn your legs up in just a few miles (though there are a few people who can ride this way for long distances). Typically, a recommended cadence would be 80-90 RPM. If you don't have a cadence meter, you can count your pedal strokes for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 (or some other combination of factors of 60). How fast you FEEL like you're going is irrelevant. You need to pedal with an effort and RPM that you can sustain. Choose a gear combination that allows you to do this and that also keeps the chain as straight as possible. In other words, don't ride the big-big combo and don't ride the small-small combo--those are both intermediate ratios that can be attained with a different combination that keeps the chain much straighter.

    For a charity ride, it will probably be a ride-at-your-own-pace, and there will likely be slow riders. You can train a little harder for a shorter distance in the meantime, and back off your effort a bit on the day(s) of. (I'm assuming the 250 miles is over several days--if that's a single-day event, you're probably out of your league--that's not a casual rider distance in one day).

    As for climbing hills, there's no substitute for training. If it's a short, steep hill, you can shift down to a low gear (small in front, large in rear), and muscle through a slow cadence if you end up in your lowest gear. Since your largest rear gear is 26T, you could swap the cassette for something like a 12-28 (a little better for climbing) or a 12-32, 12-34 or 12-36. However, those last 3 may require that you also change out your rear derailleur for one with a longer cage (that's the part that hangs down with 2 pulley wheels and keeps the chain tensioned).

    Another option would be to replace your crankset with a compact double (50 and 34 teeth), or go to a triple crankset, which would be something like 52-39-30, but that would then necessitate changing your shift lever to a triple-capable one, and possibly replacing the front derailleur as well.

    But, again, there's no substitute for miles in the saddle.
     
  5. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    +1, From what you've posted, that's the route I'd go. Yeah you could buy a bit more low end gearing by swapping from your 12-26 cassette to something like a 12-28. That will give you a bit more hill climbing gearing but only a bit and if your hills are killing you as you posted above that's probably not enough lower in the gearing.

    I'd take your bike to a local shop and ask about switching to a compact 50x34 crankset. You may still want to go with a wider range cassette with a 28 tooth sprocket.

    If you don't do a lot of work on your bike then it's best to have a shop do the crankset swap. It's easy stuff but you'll want to reposition your front derailleur lower for the compact crank's 50 tooth big chainring and then readjust the derailleur cable tension. If you're not real clear on all those steps plus the crankset replacement itself then take it to a local shop.

    You should look for something like this in your crankset: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1091271_-1_400184__400184

    It doesn't have to be a Shimano brand to work with the rest of your Shimano drive train. One small thing is that your current bike has an 8 speed rear cluster instead of the more common 10 speed clusters these days. That's not a big deal but the shop should be able to figure out a good cost effective compact crankset that works well with your drivetrain.

    -Dave
     
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