Standard double and compact double

RossW Posts: 77
edited January 2011 in Road beginners
Was out on a ride the other day, just short of 50 miles.. Come to a few hills and found it a bit of a struggle?

Will moving to a compact make much diffrence really?


  • RossW
    I would always prefer a compact for just such a reason - you lose a little in top end straightline speed and there are times on the flat when I have to let the group go - but you would usually have the edge on any hill
  • Ron Stuart
    Ron Stuart Posts: 1,242
    Answer = Yes it can. How much depends on: -

    1) the type of terrain you aim to encounter.

    2) Will you be getting much lighter/fitter.

    3) What your current gearing is i.e. is it a 52/38T chainring with an 11-25T cassette.

    4) What range of gearing can your rear mech accommodate (Some new Shimanos take an 11-28T) Sram already did.

    5) My best armature set-up to combine a range of terrain for an average rider would be a 50/36T chainring with an 11-28T cassette. There is a large jump in gearing when using a 50/34T chainring, better to have the 28 on the back for the steep stuff. Also there are also those times on a ride when you just blow and the 28 is a kind of get out of jail ring, just gets you home.

    Oh!, and by the way the BCD for a compact chainset is different to the standard race it's 110 and replacement inner rings don't necessarily cost much you may be able to use a 34 inner if you go somewhere with big stuff i.e. The Alps/Dolomites just means you may have to do double changes at times (down on chainset to inner chainring and down to a smaller cog on the cassette and of course the reverse is true, this will reduce the jump.

    Lastly unless you intend to race a gearing of 50 on the front and 11 on the back is big enough for most Sportive/fitness riders and comparative bliss when the road goes up proper.

    Check out this very good article ... s/200.html

    and enjoy :D
  • I am about to have my standard double converted to a compact having prevaricated for almost a year about doing it. I'm doing it now because I've bent the derailleur and have to have some replacement works anyway and got into a long conversation with the LBS bike mechanic about gearing in general. Had a chance to talk about my aims & objectives of the bike & my riding ambitions, he's coming back with a Plan of Action and costs, really looking forward to having the work done and seeing what its like afterwards, so in the next week or so I'll try out some hills that I usually struggle with, get the bike done then do them again and see the difference. J.
  • springtide9
    springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    Thanks for posting... as I also had a similar question...

    Had my first ride on Sunday... but probably not ideal to gauge gearing as I was pretty buggered from a run I did on the Saturday... but even with compact gearing I had to come out of the saddle to get up two of the hills. It was fine/easy out of the saddle, but wondering whether all hills should be manageable in the saddle?

    BTW, have (as purchased)... compact 50/34 with 11-23 gearing at the moment.
    Not sure if I'd gain much with a 25 on the rear ... but maybe it might have been just enough to allow me to stay in the saddle.

    I did notice that most of my time was spent in the smaller front... but down towards the smaller group on the back. But that might just have been poor 'management' by myself.
    Not going to touch anything yet until I've had a few more outings..... as I don't think I can really make any conclusions about gearing from a single ride.

    In my gearing web travels... I did find these.... ... nChart.pdf
    (which are links that are in the link above)
    Shame the FSA PDF doesn't have the gearing for the 25 and 28 rear cogs.
  • I did etape du dales with a 52/36 and 11/23 towed my rocks off, changing to 52/34 and 27 on the back for alpes in july!!