Climbing Specific Road Bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by NibalisStickyBottle, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. NibalisStickyBottle

    NibalisStickyBottle New Member

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    Hello all,

    I've just moved to a place with great climbs which I intend on tackling in the coming months.

    I currently have a 2013 Allez Sport, running 50-34 Front and 27-12 Rear. Frame's aluminum, components are bog-standard Shimano STI/Sora.

    I keep hearing that if anyone, amateur or pros, want to tackle decent hills (~9-15% inclines), then a compact chain set is very much advised if not necessary. So, two questions:

    1) Is it crucial to have that easier gear for those sorts of inclines and if so,
    2) Would it be best to get a specified climbing bike (lighter weight, dedicated compact set) for the actual climbing itself as opposed to changing the ratio each time I either climb or commute?

    Would appreciate your thoughts, thanks!
     
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  2. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I also have an Allez. I changed mine to Compact front and MadMax Style 11-32 rear. :D

    It's ok ish for climbs but it still climbs worst then it's carbon equivalent the Tarmac which I test ridden with Compact front and 12-25 rear...

    Cannondale made another of these "Carbon Killer" bikes, the CAAD 12.

    One review that I read said "Does it weigh less then some Carbon bikes? Yes.
    Does it climb like a Carbon bike? No...

    I would test ride something Carbon, Tarmac, BMC, etc and make some assumptions myself...

    The 2016 models should be out soon so you might find some nice spec'd carbon stuff for less too. ;)
     
  3. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    You already have a compact crankset---50/34 is what's known as a compact.

    Before you decide to swap that out for a smaller cyclocross crank, or a triple (which would also require new shifters) try starting at the other end. Change out your cassette to an 11-30. If yours can handle a 27t cog, it can probably handle a 30t, or be made to by adjustment.

    Doesn't matter whether your present cassette is a Shimano or SRAM. They're interchangeable. So you could look for either as a replacement.

    Cassettes are way cheaper than new cranks, or even chain rings alone.
     
  4. NibalisStickyBottle

    NibalisStickyBottle New Member

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    I thought that Compact Sets were anything below 50T for the big ring? Anyway, would an 11-30 cassette feel like a significant slowdown on smaller climbs or false flats compared to the 11-27?

    It may sound like I'm asking for too much, but if I just change the gearing, not get a bespoke climbing bike, the old bike needs to still be commuter friendly, aka getting me to school in time.
     
  5. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    What kind of climbs are you talking about?

    Why not wait to see if you need to change anything at all? 34 is already a pretty small ring. If you find that you need a smaller gear, a cassette swap is the fastest and cheapest route.

    There is nothing magic about carbon for climbing. Lighter weight helps but you are only talking about a pound or two; which can be significant in a race but not for the average Joe.
     
  6. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    The biggest differences between a 12-27 and a 11-30 would probably be bigger jumps in the larger cogs. Depending on whether it's a 9, 10, or 11 speed cassette. It's easier and cheaper to change cassettes than it is to change cranks. You start experimenting with the difference gear changes make on the cheaper component of the two.
     
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