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Advice needed: Gearing and Isle Of Wight hills

DuckSeason356DuckSeason356 Posts: 6
edited September 2013 in Road beginners
I think my bike is not geared for hills and I would like advice on how I might change it.

I am quite new to road biking and was given a Cannondale Caad 5 which I am taking on a trip to the Isle Of Wight to do the 75mile circuit.

I have checked the gearing and I have a standard front chainring with 2 cogs and 53 and 39 teeth on each. The rear casstte is 12-25.

Following some online guidance and some over the phone advice from a bike shop it sounds like the bike is highly geared and I have noticed it being a bit of a struggle up some small local hills so have a concern about IOW which is a bit more hilly.

Ideally I want to lower the gearing of the bike to make hills easier but without sacrificing too much power on the flat.

I would like to minmise the cost of any changes.

I would be very grateful for any helpful hints on what bits I could change and how much difference it could make.

Posts

  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Yes you have a standard double on the front 53/39, the other option is a compact double which is. 50/34 so yes you have the higher geared option. The front chainrings are expensive to change but don't worry as the easiest way to get lower gears is to change the cassette for a 12-28 which will make your bottom gear 3/25th lower ( approx 12%) and very similar to the usual lowest gear on a compact of 34--25.

    Have a look on wiggle or chain reaction etc for the right speed (9/ 10 whatever you currently have) 12-28 cassette, making sure it's shimano compatible if you currently have shimano (or campag)
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  • I'm often down on the Isle of Wight with my old Bianchi which has a 53/39 front and a 12/28 rear cassette, it'll easily get you round the island. As mentioned above, a quick cassette swap is your best bet. If you're doing the actual round-the-island route there's nothing really steep. The worst climbs (for me anyway) are the climb out of Shanklin on the A3055 and over the downs between Yaverland and Arreton, neither of which are on that route. There are steeper climbs than these on the island but they are quite short
  • The signposted round-the-island route that avoids main roads is 105 km/65 miles with about 1500m of climbing (and as mentioned no particularly steep gradients, although still some good climbs). Your 75 mile route is a different one I assume?
  • Mechanism wrote:
    The signposted round-the-island route that avoids main roads is 105 km/65 miles with about 1500m of climbing (and as mentioned no particularly steep gradients, although still some good climbs). Your 75 mile route is a different one I assume?

    That depends on where you start. I normally stay in Rookley which is right in the middle o the island so add 12/14miles just there.
  • That depends on where you start. I normally stay in Rookley which is right in the middle o the island so add 12/14miles just there.

    Good point. In that case 42/53 and 13-23 got me around not that I'd particularly recommend it. 12-28 sounds a lot better.
  • Thanks all for the advice.

    I currently have a Shimano 105 hollowtech set up and looking at the advice the cheapest option is a new rear cassette, although the bike shops I spoke to both recommended a new chain at least when you change that. The bike has hardly been used (although it is old) and I wanted to avoid changing the chain if possible.

    I think trying to sneak a new 9 speed 12-28 cassette at the rear might be what I go for as i might get away with that and nothing else (fingers crossed).

    Mechanism - the planned route is this one here:http://www.sunseaandcycling.com/Files/Documents/RTImapA3.pdf. I think the route is about 65 miles but there is a small detour for road bikes on the west tip and we will be staying in Newport so it looks like it will add another 5-10 miles on top.
  • Been to the island many times. On the ferry coming back as I type this, as it happens. Never yet taken a bike (next time, I hope), but nothing I'd expect to struggle too much with on 39x20 - though there are a couple of steeper gradients, they aren't very long.
  • Mechanism - the planned route is this one here:http://www.sunseaandcycling.com/Files/Documents/RTImapA3.pdf. I think the route is about 65 miles but there is a small detour for road bikes on the west tip and we will be staying in Newport so it looks like it will add another 5-10 miles on top.

    The gravel path between Freshwater and Yarmouth is OK on a road bike, although possibly not so good after heavy rain. It is also flat, unlike the road. Newport to Cowes along the bike/foot path might be a good way to access the route, again being flat.
  • Mechanism wrote:
    Mechanism - the planned route is this one here:http://www.sunseaandcycling.com/Files/Documents/RTImapA3.pdf. I think the route is about 65 miles but there is a small detour for road bikes on the west tip and we will be staying in Newport so it looks like it will add another 5-10 miles on top.

    The gravel path between Freshwater and Yarmouth is OK on a road bike, although possibly not so good after heavy rain. It is also flat, unlike the road. Newport to Cowes along the bike/foot path might be a good way to access the route, again being flat.

    I always avoid those paths, it's very easy to find the ends and get back on track following the route again
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    If you want to avoid hills stay away from Ventnor, the road out from the seafront is mega steep (although short). A shame to miss it though, as Ventnor is my favourite spot for chilling. It has a more sleepy feel than many of the main resorts parts, some lovely architecture and several nice eateries.

    Regarding you question, for a one-off trip, a rear cassette swap is chepest and simple. You may even be able to fit a 30 on the back (depending on rear mech).

    If you require a more general solution (if you struggle around generally) then fit a compact (50/34) chainset. This is a little more involved as you need to also move the front mech to suit the smaller rings.
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  • Mechanism wrote:
    Mechanism - the planned route is this one here:http://www.sunseaandcycling.com/Files/Documents/RTImapA3.pdf. I think the route is about 65 miles but there is a small detour for road bikes on the west tip and we will be staying in Newport so it looks like it will add another 5-10 miles on top.

    The gravel path between Freshwater and Yarmouth is OK on a road bike, although possibly not so good after heavy rain. It is also flat, unlike the road. Newport to Cowes along the bike/foot path might be a good way to access the route, again being flat.

    I live on the west Wight and do the Freshwater to Yarmouth track almost every day. It is flat, but there are several depressions which retain water so you can end up weaving about a bit to avoid puddles.

    It is possible to join the path at Afton Road, near the Cafe but the surface is quite rough. If you have to use the path, then join it from the Causeway. Next to Afton Thatch on Google Maps.

    At the eastern end I would recommend getting off at Yarmouth. Next to Laurels B&B as marked on Google maps. The stretch from there to Thorley Road is also much bumpier.

    Having said all that I have ridden the whole thing on my road bike. Once was enough for me. Too bumpy, too full of walkers and dogs, too many stones etc. I now take my hybrid when going to Yarmouth or go via Wilmingham lane.
  • ad_snowad_snow Posts: 469
    I did round the Island at the end of July with a 34/25 being my lowest gear. Whilst this was fine I wouldn't say it made the two big climbs (Ventnor and Black Gang) exactly easy. Depending on how good a cyclist you are you might find them a breeze or (like me) a definite challenge.
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