Chainring sizes

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Julian, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Julian

    Julian Guest

    Hi

    My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?

    I'm surprised that on many new bikes with doubles, the smallest ring is
    39! Whilst my bike is a bit on the heavy side, I don't think I could
    possibly live with a double like that even on a lighter bike.
    --
    Julian
     
    Tags:


  2. Andy Morris

    Andy Morris Guest

    Julian wrote:
    > Hi
    >
    > My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    > cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    > 15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?


    No, your a fairly normal person, cycling at your comfort level.

    >
    > I'm surprised that on many new bikes with doubles, the smallest ring
    > is 39! Whilst my bike is a bit on the heavy side, I don't think I
    > could possibly live with a double like that even on a lighter bike.


    Most road bike mimic the gears used by professional athletes who race for 5
    or so hours, then spend the rest of the day resting, eating, having massage
    and sleeping. They may well average 30 mph.

    Most people cycle (on the flat) at somewhere between 12 and 17 mph, for them
    a 53-12 top gear is way to high and a 39-25 is not low enough to cope with
    anything but small hills.

    All in my opinion.


    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this:
    Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
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  3. Andy Morris wrote:
    > Julian wrote:
    >
    >>Hi
    >>
    >>My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    >>cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    >>15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?

    >
    >
    > No, your a fairly normal person, cycling at your comfort level.
    >
    >
    >>I'm surprised that on many new bikes with doubles, the smallest ring
    >>is 39! Whilst my bike is a bit on the heavy side, I don't think I
    >>could possibly live with a double like that even on a lighter bike.

    >
    >
    > Most road bike mimic the gears used by professional athletes who race for 5
    > or so hours, then spend the rest of the day resting, eating, having massage
    > and sleeping. They may well average 30 mph.
    >
    > Most people cycle (on the flat) at somewhere between 12 and 17 mph, for them
    > a 53-12 top gear is way to high and a 39-25 is not low enough to cope with
    > anything but small hills.
    >
    > All in my opinion.
    >
    >

    Too true - hence the trend for compact chainsets
     
  4. Graham Dean

    Graham Dean Guest

    Sounds perfectly normal and fine to me.

    When I used to race (sometime go ahem...) virtually all of my non-specific
    training (i.e. just getting the miles in...) was done on my inner (42) ring.

    Cheers,
    Graham

    "Julian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hi
    >
    > My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    > cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    > 15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?
    >
    > I'm surprised that on many new bikes with doubles, the smallest ring is
    > 39! Whilst my bike is a bit on the heavy side, I don't think I could
    > possibly live with a double like that even on a lighter bike.
    > --
    > Julian
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Graham Dean wrote:
    > Sounds perfectly normal and fine to me.
    >
    > When I used to race (sometime go ahem...) virtually all of my non-specific
    > training (i.e. just getting the miles in...) was done on my inner (42) ring.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Graham
    >
    > "Julian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >>Hi
    >>
    >>My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    >>cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    >>15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?
    >>
    >>I'm surprised that on many new bikes with doubles, the smallest ring is
    >>39! Whilst my bike is a bit on the heavy side, I don't think I could
    >>possibly live with a double like that even on a lighter bike.
    >>--
    >>Julian

    >
    >
    >

    ISTR 52-42 with a 12-21 cog - 12-17 when I was *really* fit and 6 speed
    blocks were the norm.
     
  6. MartinM

    MartinM Guest

    "Steve" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]


    > >>I'm surprised that on many new bikes with doubles, the smallest ring is
    > >>39! Whilst my bike is a bit on the heavy side, I don't think I could
    > >>possibly live with a double like that even on a lighter bike.


    You can get up pretty much anything on a light bike with a 39x26/8 IMX, but
    for long distances there is no substitute for a triple IMO
     
  7. Steph Peters

    Steph Peters Guest

    Julian <[email protected]> of wrote:
    >My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    >cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    >15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?


    Being a wimp I'd never had any use for my largest front ring - too high for
    on the flat, and if I'm going downhill then I'm freewheeling. However,
    enlightenment arrived in the form of Norfolk. Norfolk is low, but most
    decidedly not flat. Norfolk specialises in gentle inclines of a sort not
    encountered where I live up north. My large front ring is for the gentle
    downward inclines of Norfolk, where the slope isn't steep enough to
    freewheel, but I can bomb along at twice my normal speed.
    --
    In the fight between you and the world, back the world. - Frank Zappa
    Steph Peters delete invalid from [email protected]lid
    Tatting, lace & stitching page <http://www.sandbenders.demon.co.uk/index.htm>
     
  8. davek

    davek Guest

    Julian wrote:
    > My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    > cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    > 15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?


    Absolutely not!

    You might want to consider changing the cassette for something with a
    smallest cog of maybe 14 teeth.

    There are two reasons for this:
    Firstly, what is the point in having a top gear that you hardly ever use?
    Secondly, a cassette with 9 gears in the range 14-28 is obviously going
    to give closer spacing between gears than a cassette with 9 gears in the
    range 11-28, so you can fine tune your gear selection more precisely.

    I speak from experience!

    d.
     
  9. Andy Morris

    Andy Morris Guest

    davek wrote:
    >
    > You might want to consider changing the cassette for something with a
    > smallest cog of maybe 14 teeth.
    >
    > There are two reasons for this:
    > Firstly, what is the point in having a top gear that you hardly ever
    > use? Secondly, a cassette with 9 gears in the range 14-28 is
    > obviously going to give closer spacing between gears than a cassette
    > with 9 gears in the range 11-28, so you can fine tune your gear
    > selection more precisely.


    I'll second that, I swaped from a 13-25 (13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25) to a
    14-25 (14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23,25) and found the extra 18 made it a lot
    easier to keep a good rythm up.

    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this:
    Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
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  10. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Steph Peters
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > Julian <[email protected]> of wrote:
    >>My road bike is equipped with a 46-36-26 chainwheel and an 11 to 28
    >>cassette. I only use the 46 on the dead level or downhill and average
    >>15-20 mph depending on terrain - am I a wimp/granny?

    >
    > Being a wimp I'd never had any use for my largest front ring - too
    > high for on the flat, and if I'm going downhill then I'm freewheeling.
    > However, enlightenment arrived in the form of Norfolk. Norfolk is
    > low, but most decidedly not flat. Norfolk specialises in gentle
    > inclines of a sort not encountered where I live up north. My large
    > front ring is for the gentle downward inclines of Norfolk, where the
    > slope isn't steep enough to freewheel, but I can bomb along at twice
    > my normal speed.


    Look, I had meant to keep out of this, but it's getting ridiculous. I
    have 52-42 front and 12-24 rear on my old road bike, which is a bit
    tough for some hills, and 53-39 and 13-26 on my new one, which is fine.
    I'm not a big tough guy and never have been. I'm no athlete and don't
    wish to become one. My best cadence is mid eighties, and although I can
    spin at a hundred and ten for a little while I can't sustain it for
    long. I'm an ordinary, slightly unfit, slightly flabby forty-nine year
    old.

    Where I live is not flat. The local hills are as big as the biggest
    hills in England, and the longest continuous climb in Britain is less
    than thirty miles away. I can climb 300 metres within two miles of my
    front door.

    I find I use my large and small chainrings about equally. I find I spin
    out on downhills, even in my highest gears. I very, very rarely have to
    get out of my saddle on climbs. I haven't had to get off and walk on a
    hill since I got my new bike.

    If you find 'compact' chainsets suit you, that's great - they suit you.
    They wouldn't suit me, and I'm an ordinary person. It is simply not the
    case that the 'standard' 53-39 chainsets are only for professionals or
    athletes. There's no reason to intimidate people.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    <p>Schroedinger's cat is <blink><strong>NOT</strong></blink> dead.</p>
     
  11. Clive George

    Clive George Guest

    "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > Where I live is not flat. The local hills are as big as the biggest
    > hills in England, and the longest continuous climb in Britain is less
    > than thirty miles away. I can climb 300 metres within two miles of my
    > front door.
    >
    > I find I use my large and small chainrings about equally. I find I spin
    > out on downhills, even in my highest gears. I very, very rarely have to
    > get out of my saddle on climbs. I haven't had to get off and walk on a
    > hill since I got my new bike.


    Come and visit here then! What the hills lack in length they make up for in
    steepness. I've no doubt you'll be able to ride them, but you will be out of
    the saddle.

    cheers,
    clive
     
  12. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    Simon Brooke <[email protected]> wrote:

    : tough for some hills, and 53-39 and 13-26 on my new one, which is fine.
    : I'm not a big tough guy and never have been. I'm no athlete and don't
    : wish to become one.

    I'm lighter than you and (probably) fitter than you. Certainly my '10'
    time is quicker for what it's worth. I run 38/48 12+25 normally (including
    for racing). When I go for really hard days out though (e.g. the Fred
    Whitton) I run 34/48. I find that turning big gears up the hills is
    fine but starts to hurt after 5-6 hours riding.

    It's horses for courses.

    Arthur

    --
    Arthur Clune PGP/GPG Key: http://www.clune.org/pubkey.txt
    Don't get me wrong, perl is an OK operating system, but it lacks a
    lightweight scripting language -- Walter Dnes
     
  13. dkahn400

    dkahn400 Guest

    Steve wrote:

    > ISTR 52-42 with a 12-21 cog - 12-17 when I was *really* fit and
    > 6 speed blocks were the norm.


    When I were a lad it was a 5 speed block. 52-46 and 13-17. The old
    timers used to look at us in despair, shake their heads and ask, "What
    is the world coming to? How can anyone possibly need 10 gears? We used
    to manage with 3. These lads should all be riding fixed anyway."

    --
    Dave...
     
  14. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:
    > Look, I had meant to keep out of this, but it's getting ridiculous. I
    > have 52-42 front and 12-24 rear on my old road bike, which is a bit
    > tough for some hills, and 53-39 and 13-26 on my new one, which is
    > fine. I'm not a big tough guy and never have been. I'm no athlete and
    > don't wish to become one. My best cadence is mid eighties, and
    > although I can spin at a hundred and ten for a little while I can't
    > sustain it for long. I'm an ordinary, slightly unfit, slightly flabby
    > forty-nine year old.
    >
    > Where I live is not flat. The local hills are as big as the biggest
    > hills in England, and the longest continuous climb in Britain is less
    > than thirty miles away. I can climb 300 metres within two miles of my
    > front door.


    What is the /gradient/ of the steepest hill that you regularly climb?

    > I find I use my large and small chainrings about equally. I find I
    > spin out on downhills, even in my highest gears. I very, very rarely
    > have to get out of my saddle on climbs. I haven't had to get off and
    > walk on a hill since I got my new bike.
    >
    > If you find 'compact' chainsets suit you, that's great - they suit
    > you. They wouldn't suit me, and I'm an ordinary person. It is simply
    > not the case that the 'standard' 53-39 chainsets are only for
    > professionals or athletes. There's no reason to intimidate people.


    Is your cadence really in the mid eighties when you climb steep hills? If
    so (in 39x26) , you have more than an average amount of power and are more
    athletic than you think. Less powerful riders benefit from lower gears.
    39/53 chainsets and similar are designed for racing and serious training.
    Trouble is, road bikes are also nice for more casual recreational cycling.

    ~PB
     
  15. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 21/3/05 1:09 pm, in article [email protected], "Pete Biggs"
    <pwrinkledgrape{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

    > Simon Brooke wrote:
    >> Look, I had meant to keep out of this, but it's getting ridiculous. I
    >> have 52-42 front and 12-24 rear on my old road bike, which is a bit
    >> tough for some hills, and 53-39 and 13-26 on my new one, which is
    >> fine. I'm not a big tough guy and never have been. I'm no athlete and
    >> don't wish to become one. My best cadence is mid eighties, and
    >> although I can spin at a hundred and ten for a little while I can't
    >> sustain it for long. I'm an ordinary, slightly unfit, slightly flabby
    >> forty-nine year old.
    >>
    >> Where I live is not flat. The local hills are as big as the biggest
    >> hills in England, and the longest continuous climb in Britain is less
    >> than thirty miles away. I can climb 300 metres within two miles of my
    >> front door.

    >
    > What is the /gradient/ of the steepest hill that you regularly climb?


    For me it would be about 1 in 10, 1 in 9 with that gearing. I have moved to
    a compact double and not regretted it (yet, the credit card bill hasn't made
    a dent int eh floor yet).

    >> I find I use my large and small chainrings about equally. I find I
    >> spin out on downhills, even in my highest gears. I very, very rarely
    >> have to get out of my saddle on climbs. I haven't had to get off and
    >> walk on a hill since I got my new bike.
    >>
    >> If you find 'compact' chainsets suit you, that's great - they suit
    >> you. They wouldn't suit me, and I'm an ordinary person. It is simply
    >> not the case that the 'standard' 53-39 chainsets are only for
    >> professionals or athletes. There's no reason to intimidate people.

    >
    > Is your cadence really in the mid eighties when you climb steep hills? If
    > so (in 39x26) , you have more than an average amount of power and are more
    > athletic than you think. Less powerful riders benefit from lower gears.
    > 39/53 chainsets and similar are designed for racing and serious training.
    > Trouble is, road bikes are also nice for more casual recreational cycling.


    I climbed a 1 in 10 last weekend with a 34/21 gearing and a reasonable
    cadence. There was a strong tailwind though ;-)

    ...d
     
  16. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Pete Biggs
    ('pwrinkledgrape{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc') wrote:

    > Simon Brooke wrote:
    >> Look, I had meant to keep out of this, but it's getting ridiculous. I
    >> have 52-42 front and 12-24 rear on my old road bike, which is a bit
    >> tough for some hills, and 53-39 and 13-26 on my new one, which is
    >> fine. I'm not a big tough guy and never have been. I'm no athlete and
    >> don't wish to become one. My best cadence is mid eighties, and
    >> although I can spin at a hundred and ten for a little while I can't
    >> sustain it for long. I'm an ordinary, slightly unfit, slightly flabby
    >> forty-nine year old.
    >>
    >> Where I live is not flat. The local hills are as big as the biggest
    >> hills in England, and the longest continuous climb in Britain is less
    >> than thirty miles away. I can climb 300 metres within two miles of my
    >> front door.

    >
    > What is the /gradient/ of the steepest hill that you regularly climb?


    The steepest I regularly on the road bike, probably 20%. The things I
    climb on mountain bikes don't count, because of course they do have
    amazingly low gears.

    >> If you find 'compact' chainsets suit you, that's great - they suit
    >> you. They wouldn't suit me, and I'm an ordinary person. It is simply
    >> not the case that the 'standard' 53-39 chainsets are only for
    >> professionals or athletes. There's no reason to intimidate people.

    >
    > Is your cadence really in the mid eighties when you climb steep hills?


    No, it tends to go down a bit, but not drastically.

    > Less powerful riders benefit from lower
    > gears. 39/53 chainsets and similar are designed for racing and serious
    > training.


    Well, I simply disagree. I /am/ a less powerful rider, after all. My
    mate Andrew-the-lurker talks about getting compact chainsets and rides
    a triple - but then he manages to make his legs disappear into a blur,
    with cadences which don't even bear thinking about. And he tends to
    disappear over the horizon in a blur shortly thereafter. Of course, for
    my other mate Dougie, it's a 60/something-or-other, where the precise
    value of the something-or-other doesn't really matter because he never
    uses it. But then he /is/ an athlete, and I don't expect to even try to
    keep up with him.

    Different people have different needs and one size doesn't fit all, but
    it just is not the case that 53-39 is only for athletes.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    ;; ... exposing the violence incoherent in the system...
     
  17. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:

    >>> Look, I had meant to keep out of this, but it's getting ridiculous.
    >>> I have 52-42 front and 12-24 rear on my old road bike, which is a
    >>> bit tough for some hills, and 53-39 and 13-26 on my new one, which
    >>> is fine. I'm not a big tough guy and never have been. I'm no
    >>> athlete and don't wish to become one. My best cadence is mid
    >>> eighties, and although I can spin at a hundred and ten for a little
    >>> while I can't sustain it for long. I'm an ordinary, slightly unfit,
    >>> slightly flabby forty-nine year old.
    >>>
    >>> Where I live is not flat. The local hills are as big as the biggest
    >>> hills in England, and the longest continuous climb in Britain is
    >>> less than thirty miles away. I can climb 300 metres within two
    >>> miles of my front door.

    >>
    >> What is the /gradient/ of the steepest hill that you regularly climb?

    >
    > The steepest I regularly on the road bike, probably 20%. The things I
    > climb on mountain bikes don't count, because of course they do have
    > amazingly low gears.
    >
    >>> If you find 'compact' chainsets suit you, that's great - they suit
    >>> you. They wouldn't suit me, and I'm an ordinary person. It is simply
    >>> not the case that the 'standard' 53-39 chainsets are only for
    >>> professionals or athletes. There's no reason to intimidate people.

    >>
    >> Is your cadence really in the mid eighties when you climb steep
    >> hills?

    >
    > No, it tends to go down a bit, but not drastically.


    I'm not sure what that means in terms of rpm, but I'll guess 70.

    >> Less powerful riders benefit from lower
    >> gears. 39/53 chainsets and similar are designed for racing and
    >> serious training.

    >
    > Well, I simply disagree. I /am/ a less powerful rider, after all.


    I meant less powerful riders than you. My reply was based on the idea of
    you climbing steep hills at 85 rpm in 39x26. Now you reveal that that is
    not the case. But I'd still say you're quite powerful if you can climb a
    20% at 70 rpm in 39x26 (700c).

    /snip
    > Different people have different needs and one size doesn't fit all,
    > but it just is not the case that 53-39 is only for athletes.


    That's not just what I meant. 53/39 is also fine for those who either
    don't climb very steep hills or truly don't mind spinning at whatever
    cadences you use up them. I still believe plenty of owners of 53/39 would
    actually be happier with lower gears, especially (but not only) first-time
    buyers of road bikes or cycling newbies.

    The fact remains that 53/39's are designed for, and are suitable, for
    racing, but not everyone is racing. Fine if you truly get on with them,
    but they don't make sense for a significant proportion of UK cyclists,
    IMO, hence the growing trend for compact doubles and triples on road
    bikes.

    ~PB
     
  18. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:

    > I meant less powerful riders than you. My reply was based on the

    idea of
    > you climbing steep hills at 85 rpm in 39x26. Now you reveal that

    that is
    > not the case. But I'd still say you're quite powerful if you can

    climb a
    > 20% at 70 rpm in 39x26 (700c).
    >


    I make that about 8W per kg bodyweight, which if sustained over any
    distance would mean a seriously strong rider (I believe chris
    boardman's hour record was 6.6W/kg). I suspect 50rpm would be nearer
    the mark for such gearing and hill, for a normal rider. Some people may
    be happy with this, I would not be.

    > The fact remains that 53/39's are designed for, and are suitable, for
    > racing, but not everyone is racing. Fine if you truly get on with

    them,
    > but they don't make sense for a significant proportion of UK

    cyclists,
    > IMO, hence the growing trend for compact doubles and triples on road
    > bikes.


    Agree fully with this.

    James
     
  19. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Pete Biggs
    ('pwrinkledgrape{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc') wrote:

    >> Different people have different needs and one size doesn't fit all,
    >> but it just is not the case that 53-39 is only for athletes.

    >
    > That's not just what I meant.  53/39 is also fine for those who either
    > don't climb very steep hills or truly don't mind spinning at whatever
    > cadences you use up them.  I still believe plenty of owners of 53/39
    > would actually be happier with lower gears, especially (but not only)
    > first-time buyers of road bikes or cycling newbies.


    In that case (as so often on Usenet) we don't really disagree at all.
    Yup, plenty of people are better off with compacts or triples.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
    ; gif ye hes forget our auld plane Scottis quhilk your mother lerit you,
    ; in tymes cuming I sall wryte to you my mind in Latin, for I am nocht
    ; acquyntit with your Southeron
    ;; Letter frae Ninian Winyet tae John Knox datit 27t October 1563
     
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