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Gearing for tour de Yorkshire sportive

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  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148

    And professional riders using 28t cogs last year doesn't say anything; 11-28 with 11 speed doesn't have any big jumps, so it's increasingly becoming an all-round choice. 5 years ago they'd have done it on 11-25. The decision making is rather different - unlike amateur riders, Contador et al aren't choosing based on what they need - like they won't get over the hill if they don't have those gears.

    This doesn't really make sense. There IS a big jump from 28-25-23. I'm fairly certain that pros would not be putting on an 11-28 if there wasn't a good reason for it.

    No one is saying that they couldn't make it over the hill on a 25-11, but clearly they see a benefit in having the 28. If they're on a 20% slope and they like to spin at 100 rpm, then voila, a 28 is a good thing.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    If you can grind up at steep hill in 39*25 at 60rpm you will be doing about 7.4 mph. If you were to go up the same hill in 34*28 and spinning at 90rpm you would be travelling at about 8.6mph.

    Even if I could get up the hills in 39*25, I still think I would save more energy for further hills by spinning up in 34*28, even with the increased cadence.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    There is still a lot of macho posturing about gear ratios that somehow having really high gears makes you a more manly man. That's despite a good decade of knowing that high cadence is the best way to go.
  • simon_mastersonsimon_masterson Posts: 2,740

    And professional riders using 28t cogs last year doesn't say anything; 11-28 with 11 speed doesn't have any big jumps, so it's increasingly becoming an all-round choice. 5 years ago they'd have done it on 11-25. The decision making is rather different - unlike amateur riders, Contador et al aren't choosing based on what they need - like they won't get over the hill if they don't have those gears.

    This doesn't really make sense. There IS a big jump from 28-25-23. I'm fairly certain that pros would not be putting on an 11-28 if there wasn't a good reason for it.

    No one is saying that they couldn't make it over the hill on a 25-11, but clearly they see a benefit in having the 28. If they're on a 20% slope and they like to spin at 100 rpm, then voila, a 28 is a good thing.

    Biggish jumps (as if it matters at that end of the cassette) yes, but the rest of the cassette is closely spaced enough to make the 28t worth having. It is much this logic that I seem to recall a Sky mechanic expounding in a fairly recent interview, arguing that it does make sense - they seem to be doing this on more races now, when previously they didn't. Your average amateur probably can't spin up a really hard climb at 100 rpm in the same way with any gearing you can easily put on a road bike, so I see little point making the comparison.

    But I see far more instances of the "rides-once-a-week-and-a-bit-overweight-and-likes-to-jump-down-the-throat-of-anyone-appearing-to-display-old-school-hard-man-tendencies" police around here than "macho posturing" - particularly when silly generalisations start being made.
    Why tiresome? The fact is that 39/25 lowest gear is far too high for most people who have to deal with hills.

    Which is tiresome. Not convinced about that "fact", either. ;)

    Who cares if anyone else wants to use harder gears?
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148

    And professional riders using 28t cogs last year doesn't say anything; 11-28 with 11 speed doesn't have any big jumps, so it's increasingly becoming an all-round choice. 5 years ago they'd have done it on 11-25. The decision making is rather different - unlike amateur riders, Contador et al aren't choosing based on what they need - like they won't get over the hill if they don't have those gears.

    This doesn't really make sense. There IS a big jump from 28-25-23. I'm fairly certain that pros would not be putting on an 11-28 if there wasn't a good reason for it.

    No one is saying that they couldn't make it over the hill on a 25-11, but clearly they see a benefit in having the 28. If they're on a 20% slope and they like to spin at 100 rpm, then voila, a 28 is a good thing.

    Biggish jumps (as if it matters at that end of the cassette) yes, but the rest of the cassette is closely spaced enough to make the 28t worth having. It is much this logic that I seem to recall a Sky mechanic expounding in a fairly recent interview, arguing that it does make sense - they seem to be doing this on more races now, when previously they didn't. Your average amateur probably can't spin up a really hard climb at 100 rpm in the same way with any gearing you can easily put on a road bike, so I see little point making the comparison.

    The comparison is valid because it shows that to achieve peak performance, pros are opting for gears that allow high cadence. I see no reason why this would not be valid for a half decent amateur too. Certainly, I know that has worked for me.
  • simon_mastersonsimon_masterson Posts: 2,740

    And professional riders using 28t cogs last year doesn't say anything; 11-28 with 11 speed doesn't have any big jumps, so it's increasingly becoming an all-round choice. 5 years ago they'd have done it on 11-25. The decision making is rather different - unlike amateur riders, Contador et al aren't choosing based on what they need - like they won't get over the hill if they don't have those gears.

    This doesn't really make sense. There IS a big jump from 28-25-23. I'm fairly certain that pros would not be putting on an 11-28 if there wasn't a good reason for it.

    No one is saying that they couldn't make it over the hill on a 25-11, but clearly they see a benefit in having the 28. If they're on a 20% slope and they like to spin at 100 rpm, then voila, a 28 is a good thing.

    Biggish jumps (as if it matters at that end of the cassette) yes, but the rest of the cassette is closely spaced enough to make the 28t worth having. It is much this logic that I seem to recall a Sky mechanic expounding in a fairly recent interview, arguing that it does make sense - they seem to be doing this on more races now, when previously they didn't. Your average amateur probably can't spin up a really hard climb at 100 rpm in the same way with any gearing you can easily put on a road bike, so I see little point making the comparison.

    The comparison is valid because it shows that to achieve peak performance, pros are opting for gears that allow high cadence. I see no reason why this would not be valid for a half decent amateur too. Certainly, I know that has worked for me.

    Half decent amateur, sure, I absolutely agree, but that really depends on your defining criteria - there's a huge range within that, and a huge distance between many 'half decent amateurs' and your typical weekend warrior from the slow group who can do a sub 30 minute 10 on a good day (etc etc). The point is that a cyclist that needs low gears to get up the hill at all is rather different to the one that chooses to go lower in order to do it faster or more efficiently.
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    I would say that rank amateurs (that in my experience all tend to pedal too slowly) have the most to gain by using lower gears.

    And as they improve and start to tackle steep climbs, then keep the gears low to keep cadence high.

    I finished in the top 50 of the Mallorca 167, but I used a compact (34-50), with a 28-11 cassette. I would have gone slower with a standard or a 23-11.
  • ravey1981ravey1981 Posts: 1,111
    @Simon Masterson

    I think you are being somewhat arrogant to be fair. The OP asked if his 39-25 would be sufficient for the TDY sportive. I can absolutely guarantee that it will not be for anything less than a very high level club rider after 60-70 miles. There is a lot of willy-waving going on in this thread but the fact remains that the hills here are steep and if you cant push a big gear to get up them then the answer is to put a lower ratio cassette on.

    All the talk of what the pros use is a mute subject since none of us are, I would repeat my advice. Put a low gear on if possible. If you don't need it then fair play to you but the alternative is walking up the climbs.... which do you fancy?
  • simon_mastersonsimon_masterson Posts: 2,740
    'Arrogant'!? I only came into this thread to stick up for the right of the non-professional cyclist to use the gears of his choosing...
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 11,497
    'Arrogant'!? I only came into this thread to stick up for the right of the non-professional cyclist to use the gears of his choosing...
    Gears? God they've only been around since 1933, its just new fangled nonsense I tell you.
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    'Arrogant'!? I only came into this thread to stick up for the right of the non-professional cyclist to use the gears of his choosing...
    That as maybe, but you come across as bit of an arrogant prat.
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,707
    I was on the 53/39 brigade with 12-25 cassette to go anywhere years ago... because it looks PRO on the bike... yes, you do go everywhere, but you will damage your tendons and ligaments. I had a painful summer in 2010 and I had to drop my gearing dramatically, to still be able to do a 7000+ feet climbing day on the saddle... or spend the following week with packs of ice on my knees.
    I have gone as low as 36 x 30 and 36 x 34 and my knees are grateful.

    Gear as conservatively as your bike allows you to do... many of those who brag about climbing the Dales with 39 x 25 won't be on this forum in a couple of years...

    But you will find them on a golf forum instead... :wink:
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    Why tiresome? The fact is that 39/25 lowest gear is far too high for most people who have to deal with hills.
    This is the root of the dispoot. It's just not true and the continuous repetition doesn't make it so.

    Paul
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    Its a bit like doing mechanical work without cream/gloves on your hands - you want to look hard as nails but your girlfriend won't let you near her with hands covered with dry chapped skin.

    I remember having 42/52 and 13-21 on my Raleigh Record Ace. I thought Box Hill was a challenge!!

    Use a low gear, your body will thank you for it.
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  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    paul2718 wrote:
    Why tiresome? The fact is that 39/25 lowest gear is far too high for most people who have to deal with hills.
    This is the root of the dispoot. It's just not true and the continuous repetition doesn't make it so.

    Paul

    Maybe we should put it to the vote?!

    I'm with the low gearing brigade......
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    paul2718 wrote:
    Why tiresome? The fact is that 39/25 lowest gear is far too high for most people who have to deal with hills.
    This is the root of the dispoot. It's just not true and the continuous repetition doesn't make it so.

    Paul

    So why isn't it true? 34/22 as opposed to 34/30 would be way too high for me, and while
    I'm aware of falling into the trap of thinking that's what's good for me therefore good for everyone. From experience most people would find such a ratio a struggle too. So I'm interested in hearing your reasoning as to why 39/25 is not too high?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,707
    paul2718 wrote:
    Why tiresome? The fact is that 39/25 lowest gear is far too high for most people who have to deal with hills.
    This is the root of the dispoot. It's just not true and the continuous repetition doesn't make it so.

    Paul

    The problem, is bless you haven't had any knee or ligament issue YET... when you will, which will inevitably happen if you ride 39 x 25 in Yorkshire, you will change your mind... sadly it will be too late.

    5 years ago I did the ride Pyrenees and despite having a 34 x 28, I used it far too sparingly and still buggered my knees, as did other 3 guys in a group of 16.
    AFAIK, one of them has not been able to return to a decent level of cycling, as the inflammation has become chronic pain that kicks in every time he rides more than 20 miles...

    It's your life, it's your knees... but I would avoid spreading bad advice on the web
  • simon_mastersonsimon_masterson Posts: 2,740
    paul2718 wrote:
    Why tiresome? The fact is that 39/25 lowest gear is far too high for most people who have to deal with hills.
    This is the root of the dispoot. It's just not true and the continuous repetition doesn't make it so.

    Paul

    To my mind, it's the generalisation that's the problem. For real hills, such as the subject of this thread, the lower gears make sense (and as I understood it, sportives are supposed to be enjoyable) - though triple is better for this than compact; THAT is a subject that attracts a lot of macho nonsense - but much of this country is pan flat, and not everyone is particularly interested in actively seeking out the tough climbs. Where I live in North Herts, it takes some intent to find anything significantly bigger than a speed bump.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    Am i right in thinking that the final stage was today? I wonder what gearing the OP ended up with? And was it OK?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,707
    Where I live in North Herts, it takes some intent to find anything significantly bigger than a speed bump.

    The title of the thread is about Yorkshire though, so the fact that you live in a flood plain doesn't mean you have to give advice based on this peripheral perspective, which by the way only represents a small proportion of the geography of this country. South west, Wales, North of England and Scotland's geography is only dwarfed by the real mountains of southern Europe.

    Most of the keen cyclists I know seek the challenging climbs avidly and tend to enter only event with 2000+ mt of climbing... then there is a (younger?) generation of Strava bods who seem to get more pleasure by conquering bags of imaginary KoM up segments of half a mile at 1% and for those 53 x 39 with an 11-23 cassette is indeed plenty.

    But in my view, that is more like a projection of a video game, where you have to keep shooting at the baddies, that keep coming no end.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 11,497
    And professional riders using 28t cogs last year doesn't say anything; 11-28 with 11 speed doesn't have any big jumps, so it's increasingly becoming an all-round choice. 5 years ago they'd have done it on 11-25. The decision making is rather different - unlike amateur riders, Contador et al aren't choosing based on what they need - like they won't get over the hill if they don't have those gears.
    Remeber that Bradley Wiggins effectively lost the Vuelta in 2011 because he was under geared on the Angrilu. He made it up the climb okay though, with a bit of weaving, so he didn't need the extra gears as such. :roll:
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    The problem, is bless you haven't had any knee or ligament issue YET... when you will, which will inevitably happen if you ride 39 x 25 in Yorkshire, you will change your mind... sadly it will be too late.

    5 years ago I did the ride Pyrenees and despite having a 34 x 28, I used it far too sparingly and still buggered my knees, as did other 3 guys in a group of 16.
    AFAIK, one of them has not been able to return to a decent level of cycling, as the inflammation has become chronic pain that kicks in every time he rides more than 20 miles...

    It's your life, it's your knees... but I would avoid spreading bad advice on the web
    So 'good advice' is to fit 30x32? Regardless of context?

    In practice I'm not too bothered about my old(er than your) knees, it seems to me at any given rpm that 500W is more likely to damage them than 250W, and they don't get to transmit 500W for long, so they're probably safe.

    I wouldn't have taken 39x25 to the TdY sportive. But 39x25 is preferable for most local rides here around South Northants. The close ratios trump the bail out. There's a bit on the ironically named 'Steepness Hill' that is faster with a lower gear in a winter state of fitness, but it's not worth getting the spanners out for 20s on a Sunday morning.

    If you can't get up a section in a given gear, then you need lower. If you can, then you get to make a choice based on the entirety of the ride. Seems straightforward to me. But then I pedal down hill.

    Paul
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,707
    paul2718 wrote:
    The problem, is bless you haven't had any knee or ligament issue YET... when you will, which will inevitably happen if you ride 39 x 25 in Yorkshire, you will change your mind... sadly it will be too late.

    5 years ago I did the ride Pyrenees and despite having a 34 x 28, I used it far too sparingly and still buggered my knees, as did other 3 guys in a group of 16.
    AFAIK, one of them has not been able to return to a decent level of cycling, as the inflammation has become chronic pain that kicks in every time he rides more than 20 miles...

    It's your life, it's your knees... but I would avoid spreading bad advice on the web
    So 'good advice' is to fit 30x32? Regardless of context?

    In practice I'm not too bothered about my old(er than your) knees, it seems to me at any given rpm that 500W is more likely to damage them than 250W, and they don't get to transmit 500W for long, so they're probably safe.

    I wouldn't have taken 39x25 to the TdY sportive. But 39x25 is preferable for most local rides here around South Northants. The close ratios trump the bail out. There's a bit on the ironically named 'Steepness Hill' that is faster with a lower gear in a winter state of fitness, but it's not worth getting the spanners out for 20s on a Sunday morning.

    The thread was which gears for the Tour of Yorkshire... if it then got re-directed to which gear is best for north Northamptonshire, that is a different matter

    As for knees and power... it's not power output that kills your knees... it's torque, which is obviously higher at lower revs per equal power output... classic diesel Vs petrol argument... except we are not designed to be diesel
  • Big GeordieBig Geordie Posts: 49
    I did the long route (140km) on 36x28 but would have been glad of the 30 sprocket (and mudguards!) on my winter bike. I suffered a bit on the Cow and Calf in Ilkley, but had my Ilkley CC top on so I didn't dare get off and the support from the local crowd was amazing. Thirty years ago I went up everything on 42x21 because we didn't know any better then- that was what the pros used so that was what everybody in my club used. We never questioned it. I would like to think we (as a sport) are a little bit smarter now.

    And my knees still work this morning.....
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    paul2718 wrote:
    The thread was which gears for the Tour of Yorkshire... if it then got re-directed to which gear is best for north Northamptonshire, that is a different matter
    There were some very general statements about hills, not constrained to stunt hills for a one off ride in Yorkshire.
    As for knees and power... it's not power output that kills your knees... it's torque, which is obviously higher at lower revs per equal power output... classic diesel Vs petrol argument... except we are not designed to be diesel
    Do we know what sort of torque levels risk damaging knees?

    There are a very wide range of riders on the road. In this thread we had someone who rides a lumpy area on 39x25. I met a chap on the road today taking a rest. The magic of Strava shows 25 miles at 12 mph. Gearing advice might differ.

    Paul
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Wow, a lot of sensible advice and a lot of nonsense in this thread. I'll abstain for now at least from saying which, I think, is which. However, with the info available we can't advise the OP accurately. We simply don't know how strong, heavy or fit this guy is, nor his preference for spinning or grinding up hills. I would suggest that his answer to one question would provide what's needed to give a useful answer. That question is as follows:

    How fast do you expect to be able to climb the steepest climb on the route and what's the lowest cadence you consider acceptable?

    For example let's say I look up a route profile and see that there are long climbs of around 10% gradient and nothing significantly steeper (hypothetical - the route in question may be tougher than this). I know I can sustain a max of 10km/h up a sustained 10% gradient and I know I'll start to struggle if my cadence goes below 60rpm. I can then select a smallest gear such that 60rpm will provide 10km/h. There is no opinion involved, it's simple maths, or I'm sure you can find a look-up table if you prefer.

    It should be rather obvious that the fitter and lighter the rider the faster they can theoretically ascend a given climb. That ascent speed will in reality be effected a little by gearing but is basically down to the work required to get to the top and the rate of work the rider is capable of (i.e. power).
    So a fitter rider will travel faster meaning the same gearing gives them a proportionally higher cadence. A pro may well ascend a climb at double the speed I can. So, given the choice, why on earth would I want the same gears as him? And this is the point. There is a choice. There has not always been but there is now. It's not a marketing gimick, it's simple physics. Speed up a climb, and your weight are the main factors in dictating the power required. That power and the weight is fixed for a given rider at a given point in time, so speed must change to suit the power available. Select your gears for your expected speed and prefered cadence. It does not matter what anyone else does.
  • So to summarise 4 pages later, if in any doubt give yourself the widest range of gears possible.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    So to summarise 4 pages later, if in any doubt give yourself the widest range of gears possible.
    Yeah...but it's nice to reduce doubt if possible. ;)

    If the OP has some experience riding hills he should be able to make an eductated guess from looking at the course profile and listening to some of the comments regarding the course here. If he's very inexperienced in the hills then he's probably best advised to use the widest range of gears available to him just in case.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 27,707
    paul2718 wrote:
    Do we know what sort of torque levels risk damaging knees?

    As a rule of thumb, if you have to grind up a climb at 30-50 RPM or less, you are putting down too much torque and you are not doing your ligaments any favour. You can do it for a minute or two, but Yorkshire climbs can go on for 20-30 minutes, which is long enough to cause inflammation and damage
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