Compact to double - is it worth it

gotwood25
gotwood25 Posts: 314
edited December 2013 in Road general
Just wondering on peoples opinions on changing my current compact chainset to a double.

I do a handful of sportives every year but apart from that the inner chainring is virtually never used.

Would I see much improvement in to end speed using a double or is our much of a muchness and no need to bother? Currently running Ultegra Di2 if it makes any difference.

Comments

  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    If you can out pedal the big ring in your highest gear (smallest cog) then maybe but otherwise don't bother IMO, other opinions may differ. :)
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    gotwood25 wrote:
    Would I see much improvement in to end speed using a double or is our much of a muchness and no need to bother? Currently running Ultegra Di2 if it makes any difference.

    Your 'top end speed' is limited by your fitness - not by what type of chainset you have.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Imposter wrote:
    gotwood25 wrote:
    Would I see much improvement in to end speed using a double or is our much of a muchness and no need to bother? Currently running Ultegra Di2 if it makes any difference.

    Your 'top end speed' is limited by your fitness - not by what type of chainset you have.

    Never tried to chase an attack down hill in a RR then :lol:
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Just replace the inner ring with a 36 or 38. Stronglight do 110bcd rings in all sizes (Spa cycles stock them).
    More problems but still living....
  • Daz555
    Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    Imposter wrote:
    gotwood25 wrote:
    Would I see much improvement in to end speed using a double or is our much of a muchness and no need to bother? Currently running Ultegra Di2 if it makes any difference.

    Your 'top end speed' is limited by your fitness - not by what type of chainset you have.
    It is not too hard to spin out on a compact when heading downhill.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • So we saying there is little to no benefit???
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    I guess the benefit is that you will have top end speed without having to spin too quickly (might suit your pedalling style better) and a wider range of usable gears if you never use the inner ring on your compact. I'm perfectly happy racing on a compact, makes it easier almost never having to front shift and I can spin at 200RPM if I really need to - haven't run out of gears yet!
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    gotwood25 wrote:
    So we saying there is little to no benefit???

    No benefit other than perhaps a few MPH afforded by the higher gear that a double could offer on long downhills. I think the point people are making is that fitting a double is not going to make you magically, universally faster over the same routes.
  • moonshine
    moonshine Posts: 1,021
    gotwood25 wrote:
    So we saying there is little to no benefit???
    Yip... I have std & compact chainsets & powermeters and race (TTs)
    a 50/11 is a bigger gear than a 53/12.
    There is no real benefit in changing from compact to a std.... my newest PM is a compact Power2max, which i will TT with. :wink:
  • I was wondering the same thing last night, because I'm thinking of buying a new bike but even at over £2k it's a compact. I currently ride a compact with 11-25, which I swapped from a 12-27 after a trip to Mallorca when my gears were too low. Although the 25 gives a lower gear than a standard double with a 12-27 cassette, I hardly ever use it. And as moonshine says, at the other end 50/11 is bigger than 53/12.

    There are guys in my club who wouldn't be seen dead on a compact but in my view the enthusiasm for standard chainsets is pure machismo unless you're strong enough ride a 39/23 everywhere.
  • Chaps, cheers for the feedback, much appreciated.
    Started to wonder if my Mrs has contacted you all in order to stop me spending money as I got a similar response with regard wheels in the Road Buying section. I guess I am just looking to spend money when in truth I don't really need to. I just like new shiny things!! :-)
  • Standard doubles do look way cooler than compacts if that helps.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • hstiles
    hstiles Posts: 414
    I switched to a double a few months ago and am very happy with the switch. There is less of a jump between big ring and inner ring and 39/25 is sufficient for the Surrey Hills. You can run a 30 sprocket on a short cage 105 mech, so you can keep a cassette for cycling holidays in the alps.

    Running a double makes you look much harder too.
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    Standard doubles do look way cooler than compacts if that helps.

    They do? :?
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    amaferanga wrote:
    Just replace the inner ring with a 36 or 38. Stronglight do 110bcd rings in all sizes (Spa cycles stock them).

    Exactly.
  • gotwood25 wrote:
    I do a handful of sportives every year but apart from that the inner chainring is virtually never used.

    Then start riding in the small ring when necessary rather than trying to gung-ho it by big-ringing it all the time and increase the wear and tear of your drivetrain.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Where do you ride that you don't need a small ring ? I doubt there's any ride I do that doesn't have me on it at some point.
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    cougie wrote:
    Where do you ride that you don't need a small ring ? I doubt there's any ride I do that doesn't have me on it at some point.
    Norfolk or the Netherlands? Certainly not Yorkshire.
  • cougie wrote:
    Where do you ride that you don't need a small ring ? I doubt there's any ride I do that doesn't have me on it at some point.

    Not a case of going gung ho in the big ring, just where I am there isn't that much climbing. Northumberland coastal region and a bit inland. On an average 40-50 mile run there is only around 1800 ft of climbing.

    As I say, other than doing a sportive I never use the inner ring.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    lotus49 wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    Where do you ride that you don't need a small ring ? I doubt there's any ride I do that doesn't have me on it at some point.
    Norfolk or the Netherlands? Certainly not Yorkshire.

    I recent swapped my compact crank for a double. Mainly because I got the chance to fit much shorter crank arms at the same time. Most of my riding is done either in the Netherlands or across the border in Germany, both areas are not totally flat but not exactly much in the way of more than the odd Cat 4 climb. Any hill I do encounter can be climbed on a big ring, but coming back down the other side, a full double with an 11 tooth top gear means I can reach 75kph quite comfortably without spinning out which is not comfortable to do in any gear. If I can push hard at 95 - 100 rpm to achieve the same speed than having to spin at say 120 rpm on a compact I know which I prefer and feels more sustainable.
  • gotwood25 wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    Where do you ride that you don't need a small ring ? I doubt there's any ride I do that doesn't have me on it at some point.

    Not a case of going gung ho in the big ring, just where I am there isn't that much climbing. Northumberland coastal region and a bit inland. On an average 40-50 mile run there is only around 1800 ft of climbing.

    As I say, other than doing a sportive I never use the inner ring.

    Same here, I live in Cambridge so rarely use the inner ring on my compact. On the other hand no uphills also means no downhills so I rarely use the smallest cog at the back either. Also the kind of events I like doing tend to have 25% + hills in them so I'm not about to change anytime soon.
  • NITR8s
    NITR8s Posts: 688
    I also hardely ever use the small ring on my compact down here in somerset. The only time I use the small ring is when a climb gets really steep.

    For example I recently done the exmoor beast 100k this year and only used the small chain ring when climbing up dunkery beacon the rest was in the big ring. This wasnt done on purpose, I just never felt the need for the small ring over than on dunkery beacon.
  • Y'all now sound very gung-ho with those big-ring altitude.

    Please do carry on if it mean we'll likely to get more customers regularly in the shop for their worn out drivetrain due to cross-chaining.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    edscoble wrote:
    Y'all now sound very gung-ho with those big-ring altitude.

    Please do carry on if it mean we'll likely to get more customers regularly in the shop for their worn out drivetrain due to cross-chaining.

    You can cross-chain on any drivetrain - compact, standard or triple. But I'm sure you know that if you work in a bike shop :)
  • You can, but you shouldn't.
  • edscoble wrote:
    Y'all now sound very gung-ho with those big-ring altitude.

    Please do carry on if it mean we'll likely to get more customers regularly in the shop for their worn out drivetrain due to cross-chaining.

    Hence why I think it would be better to convert to a double, that way almost forcing me to drop into the inner-ring and using the full range of gears available. Hmm what to do.
  • gotwood25 wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    Where do you ride that you don't need a small ring ? I doubt there's any ride I do that doesn't have me on it at some point.

    Not a case of going gung ho in the big ring, just where I am there isn't that much climbing. Northumberland coastal region and a bit inland. On an average 40-50 mile run there is only around 1800 ft of climbing.

    Yeah it is pretty flat around there, or rolling at least. You don't have to go *that* far inland for it to start to kick upwards tho.
  • Runtothehills
    Runtothehills Posts: 184
    edited December 2013
    edscoble wrote:
    Y'all now sound very gung-ho with those big-ring altitude.

    Please do carry on if it mean we'll likely to get more customers regularly in the shop for their worn out drivetrain due to cross-chaining.

    Round Cambridge I regually do 40-50 mile rides with less than 500ft of ascent, and one 25 mile ride I've done has just 100 ft! I don't consider myself gung-ho for staying in the big ring most of the time (unless there's a very severe headwind).

    Cross chaining isn't an issue, only using 2 cogs on the rear cassette might be but I can't do much about that.