Ok, Let's hear from all you compact crank riders..



JoeOxfordCT

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Dec 12, 2004
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I have preordered a 2005 Felt F65 (http://www.feltracing.com/2005_bikes/2005_f65.html). I had the option of going with the F60 which is the same bike but with an Ultegra triple instead of the double on the F65. After much reading here and on other forums I have decided to get the Ultegra double and then have my LBS swap the crank for an FSA Energy 50/34 (http://www.fullspeedahead.com/fly.aspx?layout=product&taxid=21&pid=52). The bike comes with an 11-23 which I plan to use until forced to do otherwise..:rolleyes:
I have never ridden a compact before :confused: . I am 41 and road road bikes in my late teens & 20's. I fell out of it for awhile but have ridden a Mtn bike with slicks on the hills of Litchfield County CT. the last couple years without ever having to drop into the granny front chainring. I am finally crossing over to the dark side to become a full fledged "roadie" :p .

What I would like to hear is from riders who have converted to a compact drive, how they like it, whether they came from riding a triple or conventional double, how they fare on club rides with riders on conventional doubles, and any other feedback they might have on either the crank or the bike for that matter.....

I chose the crank chiefly because I thought I would get most of the benefit of a triple's gearing without it's added weight (yeah I know it's not much but...) and that the shifting would be smoother than a triple as well.
My main concern is getting caught shifting between chainrings alot on club rides or when the terrain forces me.....

Thanks, and Happy Holidays to All !! :p :p

Joe in Oxford, CT.
 

eric_the_red

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Aug 28, 2003
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Can't answer your question just yet, my compact crank is still under the tree :) Should have some feedback for you next week. I decided to switch as I found as my legs are getting older I wasn't using the smaller cogs with a 52, and the hills seem to be getting steeper.
 

JoeOxfordCT

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Dec 12, 2004
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eric_the_red said:
Can't answer your question just yet, my compact crank is still under the tree :) Should have some feedback for you next week. I decided to switch as I found as my legs are getting older I wasn't using the smaller cogs with a 52, and the hills seem to be getting steeper.
Well keep me posted, my bike won't be in til late January and then I will be riding rollers mostly until I can find some daytime weekend temps above 30 to ride outdoors....

Joe :p
 

Rompinrhino

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Mar 6, 2004
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I've ridden both. I use a 53/49 all the time, with a 11-23. The compact cranks are ok. Every year around here there is a huge race, with 5000 feet of climbing in 100 miles. Thats pretty much the only time I can see these cranks at an advantage, that or on some steeper grades. But I'm a person who even with my small gearing, rarely, only once really, said "I wish I had a tripple" The compact cranks spin up to speed fast... and then your there. They certainly feel nice because their a lot easier to push. Not a problem if speed isnt your concern. Not that this would slow you down, but in a fast ride, you may find yourself maxing out a bit more than you want. I keep mine aside for races with more climbing than anything. :)
 

rv

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Apr 13, 2002
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Rompinrhino said:
I've ridden both. I use a 53/49 all the time, with a 11-23. The compact cranks are ok. Every year around here there is a huge race, with 5000 feet of climbing in 100 miles. Thats pretty much the only time I can see these cranks at an advantage, that or on some steeper grades. But I'm a person who even with my small gearing, rarely, only once really, said "I wish I had a tripple" The compact cranks spin up to speed fast... and then your there. They certainly feel nice because their a lot easier to push. Not a problem if speed isnt your concern. Not that this would slow you down, but in a fast ride, you may find yourself maxing out a bit more than you want. I keep mine aside for races with more climbing than anything. :)

some of your comments don't make much sense. gear-inches is gear-inches is gear-inches. they're only easy to push if you're in a low gear. a 50/11 is 122 gear-inches. do you spin up quickly at 122 gear-inches? I don't think so. a 53/12 is 119 gear-inches and most people don't need that until they're going down a mountain. a 50/15 at 90 rpm is about 25mph. how much time do you spend above 25? and even if you do, there's several gears left. I've been riding a 50/34 compact for a little over a year, and wouldn't go back.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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rv said:
some of your comments don't make much sense. gear-inches is gear-inches is gear-inches. they're only easy to push if you're in a low gear. a 50/11 is 122 gear-inches. do you spin up quickly at 122 gear-inches? I don't think so. a 53/12 is 119 gear-inches and most people don't need that until they're going down a mountain. a 50/15 at 90 rpm is about 25mph. how much time do you spend above 25? and even if you do, there's several gears left. I've been riding a 50/34 compact for a little over a year, and wouldn't go back.
Cut him some slack.Riding as 53x49 with an 11-23, he's either a mutton head riding on the Bonneville salt flats, Superman or BSing.
 

Rompinrhino

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boudreaux said:
Cut him some slack.Riding as 53x49 with an 11-23, he's either a mutton head riding on the Bonneville salt flats, Superman or BSing.

I'm not a lamb head, nor superman. I dont know where the Bonneville salt flats are... and I'm not B'sing. I dont know why thats my only other option. I have a picture of my bike in the show your bike thread, take a look. OH, I just realized, typo. Didnt mean to say 49, ment to say 39. :eek: It's quite hilly around here. Socal. On one side is the coast, and then it goes up into the mountains.

As far as gear inche, or ratios... I dont know them, and I dont really care. I just said how I feel when I ride them. I dont like them much. They do have thier purpose, thats why their there. You can definatly tell that they spin easier. Those 3 teeth do make a difference. So go ahaid and ride it if you want, I wont.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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Rompinrhino said:
I'm not a lamb head, nor superman. I dont know where the Bonneville salt flats are... and I'm not B'sing. I dont know why thats my only other option. I have a picture of my bike in the show your bike thread, take a look. OH, I just realized, typo. Didnt mean to say 49, ment to say 39. :eek: It's quite hilly around here. Socal. On one side is the coast, and then it goes up into the mountains.

As far as gear inche, or ratios... I dont know them, and I dont really care. I just said how I feel when I ride them. I dont like them much. They do have thier purpose, thats why their there. You can definatly tell that they spin easier. Those 3 teeth do make a difference. So go ahaid and ride it if you want, I wont.
Mutton head it is then.
 

jp111

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Aug 2, 2003
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Hello Joe Oxford,

I'm up here in Leominster Mass. where it is not flat by any means. I have had a FSA Compact 34/50 this year, (515 gram ) and it has been great. My cassett is DA 11/23, and, have not suffered on any hills around here. Most of the time, it is possible to stay out of the 23 tooth slot even on steeper climbs. I have been getting into the Armstrong habit of higher cadence, and for an old guy, it has worked well. I wish for a 34/48, or something like that, I hardly ever get up into the 11,12 or 13 gears on the big ring. Enjoy !
 

Rompinrhino

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boudreaux said:
Mutton head it is then.
I got that wrong, mutton is sheep, what exactly is the insult in calling somebody a sheep head? Why not gorilla head, or zebra head.
 

JoeOxfordCT

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Dec 12, 2004
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jp111 said:
Hello Joe Oxford,

I'm up here in Leominster Mass. where it is not flat by any means. I have had a FSA Compact 34/50 this year, (515 gram ) and it has been great. My cassett is DA 11/23, and, have not suffered on any hills around here. Most of the time, it is possible to stay out of the 23 tooth slot even on steeper climbs. I have been getting into the Armstrong habit of higher cadence, and for an old guy, it has worked well. I wish for a 34/48, or something like that, I hardly ever get up into the 11,12 or 13 gears on the big ring. Enjoy !
Happy Holidays JP !:)

FYI, FSA does make a 48 tooth outer chainring (http://www.fullspeedahead.com/fly.aspx?layout=product&taxid=25&pid=67). Which FSA crank did you get ? Gossamer ? Energy ? Carbon ? I ordered the Energy myself, seemed to be a nice tradeoff between price & weight. I too will be using the 11-23 (Ultegra) that comes with the bike....I believe it should be enough gearing for the hills here....haven't seen a 10 speed 11-25 cassette but would certainly look for one if the 11-23 didn't get me where I wanted to go.
Well I think I've read nearly every thread I can find that talks about compacts and compact vs. triples. JP, what were you riding before you went to your compact ? Like I said, I have been riding a mtn bike with slicks on the roads the last couple years and after comtemplating going "full" roadie and buying a road bike I borrowed a friend's old Cannondale with 42/52 downtube RX100 group to go for a spin. I wanted to just check the differences in comfort & riding position. His bike was horrible !! The 42/52 was tough on the few hills I rode and the full aluminum frame was noticeably more harsh than my hard tail mtb (with front shock) I also seemed to hit hit the right downtube shifter with my knee alot when climbing out of the saddle too causing an upshift just when I was trying to get up a hill:eek:. I almost canned the idea of buying a road bike right then & there. But as a last resort I went to my LBS and test rode an '04 Felt F50 with Ultegra triple 9spd drivetrain & carbon fork & seatstays. Needless to say it was like night & day. The ride was significantly smoother than the all aluminun Cannondale. Within a couple weeks I put a deposit on an '05 Felt F65. My LBS is going to give me credit for the Ultegra double crank and install the FSA Energy crank (175mm) I spec'd.:D
The only drawback is that when I take delivery of the bike it will be late January and I will have to hope for dry weekends with temps over 30 to test out the crank. Otherwise I will have to be satisfied with riding the rollers indoors while watching Lance crush in the mountains on DVD...:D :D

Joe
 

tanggoman

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Sep 22, 2003
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Its very hilly where I live so I use a 50/34 compact for more than a year now. Its great for hills with the right combination of cogsets.
 

JoeOxfordCT

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Dec 12, 2004
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tanggoman said:
Its very hilly where I live so I use a 50/34 compact for more than a year now. Its great for hills with the right combination of cogsets.
Good Morning tanggoman,

What rear cassette are you using ? I am going to start with the 11-23 that comes with the bike......
I hear alot of compact users saying that they stay in the big chainring alot longer than when they were running a conventional 53/39 double. Do you find this to be true ? How far down the cassette will you go until you shift into the 34, the 7th largest ? 8th ? all the way to the 10th ? :confused: (assuming a 10spd cassette)

J.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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JoeOxfordCT said:
Good Morning tanggoman,

What rear cassette are you using ? I am going to start with the 11-23 that comes with the bike......
I hear alot of compact users saying that they stay in the big chainring alot longer than when they were running a conventional 53/39 double. Do you find this to be true ? How far down the cassette will you go until you shift into the 34, the 7th largest ? 8th ? all the way to the 10th ? :confused: (assuming a 10spd cassette)

J.
I've never been able to figure out how some random posters gear slectiom, would have anything to do with what I might need.. FWIW, you dont use the big cog with the big ring, small/small either. Sheldon Brown has a gear inch chart that might be useful. Some thoughtful considration of needs and gearing issues might have been MORE appropriate BEFORE the purchase.
 

JoeOxfordCT

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Dec 12, 2004
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boudreaux said:
I've never been able to figure out how some random posters gear slectiom, would have anything to do with what I might need.. FWIW, you dont use the big cog with the big ring, small/small either. Sheldon Brown has a gear inch chart that might be useful. Some thoughtful considration of needs and gearing issues might have been MORE appropriate BEFORE the purchase.
boudreaux,

I understand about not using the big/big & small/small thing. I am just trying to get feedback on what has worked for other folks here. Like I said in my earlier & intial post, I came most recently from riding a mtn. bike w/slicks on hilly roads and while I test rode a couple of road bikes before putting a deposit on a new bike the purchase was still based on some educated assumptions regarding gearing, terrain, my fitness level, & my goals. That is why I chose to order the conventional Ultegra double with the intent of having my LBS swap it for credit for a compact when the bike comes in....

I'm sure there will be an adjustment period when I begin riding the new bike and part of my posting here about compacts is just anxiousness & anticipation so lighten up boudreaux. ;)
 

kspangler

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Feb 8, 2004
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I"m currently investigating the compact crank, so I'd be interested in seeing what you think. I'm personally looking at the FSA CRANKS - maybe Carbon. Thanks - Keith
 

pod

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Jul 21, 2003
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I ride ultegra 53/39 with a 12-25 cassette and on some of the steeper hills I would appreciate some lower gears through a compact crank, third chain ring or perhaps a 27 on the cassette. A friend has mixed in some mountain bike stuff on his road bike and no hill seems too steep for his 32 tooth biggest gear on his cassette.

On the other end of the scale I've never found myself wanting a bigger gear than the 53/12 and think that those that posted before who converted to the compact cranks but were using 11-23 cassettes are negating much of the benefits of the compact cranks and should consider at least a 12-25 and possibly a 13-27 cassette. A 39/27 is about the same as a 34/23.

Pat
 

kspangler

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Feb 8, 2004
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pod said:
I ride ultegra 53/39 with a 12-25 cassette and on some of the steeper hills I would appreciate some lower gears through a compact crank, third chain ring or perhaps a 27 on the cassette. A friend has mixed in some mountain bike stuff on his road bike and no hill seems too steep for his 32 tooth biggest gear on his cassette.

On the other end of the scale I've never found myself wanting a bigger gear than the 53/12 and think that those that posted before who converted to the compact cranks but were using 11-23 cassettes are negating much of the benefits of the compact cranks and should consider at least a 12-25 and possibly a 13-27 cassette. A 39/27 is about the same as a 34/23.

Pat

Thanks Pat - I'm not sure what I'll do. I'd really like to do some bigger rides this coming summer -- like the Bike Virginia Ride -- and I don't want to be SORRY for replacing the triple with the compact or double. Researching the compact crank is helping me better understand the gearing stuff -- something that I didn't really understand before. Right now I have a 30-42-52 front and a 12-13-15-17-19-21-23-25 rear. I think I used the granny gears about six times this past year, but it was nice to have it when the legs started to burn. I'm considering upgrading to a nine speed with the compact crank, but I can't do it all at once. My bike shop said they'd have to research if the compact crank would work with the current equipment. Anyway, thanks a lot.
 

txbuckeye

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Jun 6, 2004
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I changed over to compact setup last year after moving to Colorado. The biggest advantage of the compact was the price of the conversion. Since almost all of our rides out where I live include serious climbs I would have prefered to go with a triple. My gear ratios would have been closer together and I would have had more range of gear for climbing/ descending. Right now I'm running a 12/27 with the compact and it's just enought to get me over the passes. I'm not really a climber though as I'm about 195 lbs. I'm running the FSA carbon compact and am very happy with it's performance and it's plenty stiff for me.
 

JoeOxfordCT

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Dec 12, 2004
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txbuckeye said:
I changed over to compact setup last year after moving to Colorado. The biggest advantage of the compact was the price of the conversion. Since almost all of our rides out where I live include serious climbs I would have prefered to go with a triple. My gear ratios would have been closer together and I would have had more range of gear for climbing/ descending. Right now I'm running a 12/27 with the compact and it's just enought to get me over the passes. I'm not really a climber though as I'm about 195 lbs. I'm running the FSA carbon compact and am very happy with it's performance and it's plenty stiff for me.
.....So are you happy with the compact or not ? Its sounds to me like you went compact because it was cheaper than converting to a full triple :confused: