Why so many compacts

kenniff
kenniff Posts: 207
edited January 2011 in Road beginners
I ride with a mate who has different gearing to me and i was interested in trying it out.
I have a compact,his,i believe is more for road.
Why,if you look at the bianchi website are 90% of the road bikes compact,,,,,,, :roll:
Easy life
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Comments

  • A 'standard ' chainset will typically have something like 52 / 39 rings

    The only alternative use to be a ''road' triple chainset
    - which would typically give you 50 - 39 - 30 on the front.

    Thie triple gives you a bigger range of gears - or a "granny" ring on the front fot the steeep parts or when you get tired. OR if you prefer to spin with a faster cadence.

    Compact chainset is a 'Road' chainset - typiclly 50 / 34 rings - and has been developed as a alternative to the above. You get the reduced weight over a triple, ane easier set up but with the same gearing range.

    The down side is that the jump from a 50 tooth ring to a 34 tooth ring is quite large and will normally require a change(s) on the rear to compensate.

    What do you need/? Depends upon the routes you ride, the distance you ride and your overall fitness & strength.

    A lot of good club rders wll ride standard double chainsets. A lot of the Pro's will also ride this gearing. But I'm not as strong or as fit as any of the Pro's so none of my bikes have a standard chainset. All are either triple or compact. Apart from commuting I do go for the longer / hilly routes.

    There is a lot of 'snobery' about this topic - but I would take it all with a pinch of salt.

    I rode the Exmoor Beast a couple of years ago. One particular hilll was a giant scene of devastation. Many riders were weaving left to right, struggling up the hill, one even fell off he went so slowly. Many others were pushing expensive top-end bikes. I may have a triple chainset but I rode all the way up that hill, passiing many. I'm not that good, but I have the gearing that suits me!

    Do you often spin out in your top gear?
    Do you never use your lowest gears?
    If you can say yes to the above, then a standard double chainset may suit you.
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    I think the compact is a great compromise. I ride a lot of up & down (in fact nearly all up & down) and use every one of my gears but I also never feel like I really need anymore (especially since fitting an 11-28 cassette). Yes, there is some swapping of front and rear cogs at the same time, but it's no big deal
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • meanredspider "I think the compact is a great compromise"

    Exactly.It is a compromise, but one that works and allows the vast majority of us to ride the routes we want! Hence the popularity.

    meanredspider - your gearing range is typical of the range I look to achieve on all my bikes, whether triple or compact.
  • kenniff wrote:
    Why,if you look at the bianchi website are 90% of the road bikes compact,,,,,,, :roll:

    I think Mr Bianchi, like many others, have realized that your average European club cyclist, and even the moderately fit ones, hardly ever run their chain on the big/52t chainring, at the same time as they have to walk up moderately steep hills.

    A probably better choice for Mr Bianchi would be to fit triples to his bikes, but he knows that triples can be unappealing to those cyclists who are somewhat image conscious and want to look like the pro's do.
  • dulldave
    dulldave Posts: 949
    kenniff wrote:
    Why,if you look at the bianchi website are 90% of the road bikes compact,,,,,,, :roll:

    I think Mr Bianchi, like many others, have realized that your average European club cyclist, and even the moderately fit ones, hardly ever run their chain on the big/52t chainring, at the same time as they have to walk up moderately steep hills.

    A probably better choice for Mr Bianchi would be to fit triples to his bikes, but he knows that triples can be unappealing to those cyclists who are somewhat image conscious and want to look like the pro's do.

    Compact chainsets are basically a lot less hassle than triples. There is less repetition of the same or very similar gears and you can progressively go up or down more gears without changing chain rings. There's less of an issue with chain rub too.

    When you can get 10 or 11 sprockets on a cassette these days, there's no need to be riding with a triple anymore.
    Scottish and British...and a bit French
  • peanut1978
    peanut1978 Posts: 1,031
    in process of building bike and I have chosen a standard chainset 53/39 rather than compact as I spun out when sprinting on compact
  • Horses for courses.......

    Compact chainsets are lighter and easier to set up.

    Triples offer more gears (even if some are duplicated) with smaller steps.
    I always set up a bike to give me a particular range of gears (min to max) so with a triple I would fit a closer ratio rear cassette. Better for fnding the right gear / cadence.

    My bikes are split 50 / 50 but one of the compacts has a "cyclocross" chainset. The differecne between the two fronnt rings is 14, and not the 16 of a normal 'compact'. In fact Campag compacts use to be 50 / 36 - but have changed to the now universal 50 / 34.

    I prefer riding triples but tend to fit compact's when upgrading due to the weight / ease advantages listed above. The disadvantage can be price - compacts are popular- many cyclists are switching - see eBay - so the chance of a bargain is reduced!
  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    dulldave wrote:
    Compact chainsets are basically a lot less hassle than triples.
    I'm not sure why you think that is the case, my Tiagra triple chainset has been no bother at all.
    dulldave wrote:
    When you can get 10 or 11 sprockets on a cassette these days, there's no need to be riding with a triple anymore.
    No need maybe, but you could argue against a lot of things on the basis of 'need'.

    I'm with chrishd883 - I find the greater choice and smaller jumps between ratios, and the 39T middle ring is ideal for steady riding and all but the steepest gradients.

    I am yet to be convinced that the compact chainset is the answer to everyone's prayers... or even that those with triples have even bothered praying. However, I do agree that for most people they are a better option than a 52/39 double chainset.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    I think I agree with dulldave on this one. Especially as not all of us are elite double grinders! :P
  • P_Tucker
    P_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    kenniff wrote:
    Why,if you look at the bianchi website are 90% of the road bikes compact,,,,,,, :roll:

    I think Mr Bianchi, like many others, have realized that your average European club cyclist, and even the moderately fit ones, hardly ever run their chain on the big/52t chainring, at the same time as they have to walk up moderately steep hills.

    A probably better choice for Mr Bianchi would be to fit triples to his bikes, but he knows that triples can be unappealing to those cyclists who are somewhat image conscious and want to look like the pro's do.

    Exactly. Cancellara uses a 53-39 whilst racing and he goes about twice as fast as your average MAMIL. So why would a MAMIL require the same gearing? Christ, I'm a 2nd cat so probably about halfway between a fat 40 year old and Mr Canc, and I have a compact on my winter bike.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,289
    On the Bianchi site their high end race frames tend to be fitted with a standard double and the more sportive oriented frames are fitted with compacts (as a general rule). I suspect that it is a reaction to more people getting involved with road cycling at sportive level so slightly more racey than touring / audax so a compromise as others have said between racing gears and having suitably low gears for the hills. It has really only been since the introduction of 9 and 10 speed cassettes that the compromise has really been an option.
  • graeme_s-2
    graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    It depends on your cassette too. My first road bike has a compact, and I found that I was running out of gears on the downhills while on my tri bars during triathlons, but that I also wouldn't have minded a slightly lower lowest gear for the steepest hills I'd encountered on some sportives.

    When I ordered my second road bike I went for a standard double, and paired it with a cassette that give me a higher top gear and a lower bottom gear than my compact set up.
  • nickwill
    nickwill Posts: 2,735
    Graeme_S wrote:
    It depends on your cassette too. My first road bike has a compact, and I found that I was running out of gears on the downhills while on my tri bars during triathlons, but that I also wouldn't have minded a slightly lower lowest gear for the steepest hills I'd encountered on some sportives.

    When I ordered my second road bike I went for a standard double, and paired it with a cassette that give me a higher top gear and a lower bottom gear than my compact set up.

    That's where the Shimano 11/28 comes in. With a compact chainset, the 50/11 combination is higher than a 52/12, and you atill have avery low 34/28 gear which is almost as low as a triple's 30/25. Best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned!
  • Tom BB
    Tom BB Posts: 1,001
    peanut1978 wrote:
    in process of building bike and I have chosen a standard chainset 53/39 rather than compact as I spun out when sprinting on compact

    You are Mark Cavendish and I claim my £5.......

    *goes to inform Tusher of his findings*
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,289
    peanut1978 wrote:
    in process of building bike and I have chosen a standard chainset 53/39 rather than compact as I spun out when sprinting on compact

    I suggest you learn to pedal faster! I always thought I was a bit of a grinder but never spun out racing on 52 x 13, a 50 x 11 or 50 x 12 even would have been bigger. A sprint lasts about 20 seconds tops, most people could sustain 120rpm easily for that time I'd have thought which would give you a speed of over 39mph on a 50 x 12 or over 42mph on a 50 x 11!!
  • I am early forties and my big ring days are over. I now run a triple, minus the smallest ring, if you see what I mean. ie. a 34/42 double. I do this with cadence in mind.
  • peanut1978
    peanut1978 Posts: 1,031
    was at 42mph when spinning out
  • sagalout
    sagalout Posts: 338
    SRAM Apex got a good review in one of the cycling mags this month. Gives you gearing from 34-32 to 50-11 and very smooth (apparently)

    http://www.sram.com/sram/road/category/254

    I'd be tempted, if only to get me up Hardknott pass!
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,289
    peanut1978 wrote:
    was at 42mph when spinning out

    You can sprint at 42mph? :shock: Was this in a race? I assume it was downhill, bit of a strange finish to a race to have a downhill sprint!
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    peanut1978 wrote:
    was at 42mph when spinning out

    Ahahahaha :lol: sprinting at 42mph
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,289
    danowat wrote:
    peanut1978 wrote:
    was at 42mph when spinning out

    Ahahahaha :lol: sprinting at 42mph

    Tis good going, the fastest flying 200m on the velodrome is around 9.5 seconds which works out around 47mph. 42mph would have got a top 20 spot in the 2008 Olympic qualifiers!
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,289
    Oh, and Hoy generally rides a 50 x 14 and manages to not "spin out" :lol:
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,624
    42mph sprinting on a bike.

    You must be like a pornstar in bed too I suspect, with those capabilities.
  • Tom BB
    Tom BB Posts: 1,001
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forum/viewtopi ... sc&start=0

    Its OK guys. I've worked it out-he's a troll :D
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    Thought the username was familliar, I now know why :D
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    Probably rides with a tailwind, not really flat (-ve gradient) and thinks his garmin calories figure is accurate!

    :wink:
  • kenniff
    kenniff Posts: 207
    The reasons for the original question were...

    I always seem to be medaling between the two front rings,on the big front sproket i get chain rub when on the bigest 3 or 4 back rings.

    When a climb finnishes its all change for the down hill and vise versa.

    if i,m not prepared for a climb i have trouble shifting smoothly.
    Yep i know these are patialy skill problems,but the shifting is too fragmented in my opinion....
    I thought perhaps moving the prodominant position would help....
    Easy life
  • sherer
    sherer Posts: 2,460
    I think the bike manufacturers are finding it easier to fit a compact rather than a triple, plus they seem to come in a bit cheaper in price.

    There is no right or wrong just what works for you. Try riding a triple if you can get one on trial or borrow from someone who has one and see if it works ?
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,289
    kenniff wrote:
    The reasons for the original question were...

    I always seem to be medaling between the two front rings,on the big front sproket i get chain rub when on the bigest 3 or 4 back rings.

    When a climb finnishes its all change for the down hill and vise versa.

    if i,m not prepared for a climb i have trouble shifting smoothly.
    Yep i know these are patialy skill problems,but the shifting is too fragmented in my opinion....
    I thought perhaps moving the prodominant position would help....

    The chain shouldn't rub in the biggest 3 or 4 sprockets when in the big chain ring, it shouldn't really occur other than for biggest chainring / biggest sprocket or smallest chainring / smallest sprocket if properly set up. Also, from the people I have ridden with who use a compact I would have said they tend to stay mainly in the larger chainring when not on the steepest climbs and do less switching between chainrings than I do on a standard double. I haven't ridden a compact myself but would be interested to hear whether those who ride both find they switch more or less on a compact.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    I can often ride all day at average 15/16 mph on the small ring. 20 mph is quite easy on 34/13 and it is easy to change down for any hills. I find the 50 more of a challenge as I miss the 18 sprocket. 19 to 17 is the wrong jump in the wrong place. It is fine with a 12/23 but I like to have a 27 waiting back there. I use 52/38 on my summer bike (compact cranks so I can change rings if I want) and find I spend even more time on the small ring.
    9sp does not seem to work out as well as 10sp on a compact as the 12/27 (and 12/25) both loose the 16 as well.