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options to lower gearing for climbs

scfc151scfc151 Posts: 11
edited September 2018 in Workshop
just recently got into road cyling and bought a caad12 with semi compact gearing. 52/36 and 11/28. due to my fitness not being where i want it im looking at making it slightly better climbs.

im wondering what my options are.

either change the crankset for a compact and keep the other for when im fitter or on flat rides.

its an fsa gossamer crank on the front with bb30a. if i go down this route is there any benefit of adapting the bb for hollowtech 2 to get 105 or ultegra?

change the 36 chain ring for a 34...would this work with shifting smoothly?

change the cassette for a 30 or 32?
am i right in thinking id need a long cage derailiur? bime mechanics is new to me. ive seen a few people using hangers and keeping their short cage bur i wouldnt want to snap something off for the sake of a few quid

as i understand a 34/28 or 36/32 combination gives very similar gearing but what is the best option? obviously massive jumps in gear ratio wouldnt be ideal. sorry for a lot of questions and if this has been done to death in the past
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  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Huge thread on this here : viewtopic.php?f=40020&t=12583566

    What is your issue though - is the bottom gear not low enough to get up hills ?

    If it isn't that then I'd just stick at cycling more and look at losing weight. You can't buy your way up hills.
    You will improve with practice.
  • well done on being the 1st in with a dig. im not after buying my way up hills or id just stick to driving. im trying to improve my fitness by getting up them. im on a semi compact groupset. even the pro riders use compact gearing for the biggest of climbs. would ypu suggest them getting fitter too?
  • If you do a search this has been covered loads, but briefly.

    You can either get a new crankset (not really necessary) or just replace the chainrings on your current one. FSA Goss are fairly easy to come by. I would replace both so that you have 50/34 not 52/34 as it could affect shifting performance on the front derailleur with the larger jump between rings.

    Or you can fit a 32T cassette. You don't need a long cage mech so long as you don't cross chain i.e use the big ring on the front and big on the back as it could snap the mech off. This is up to you though, I run a 32 on my winter bike with short cage mech but I never cross chain and know I am extremely unlikely to do it accidentally.

    You could do either of the above to gain an extra gear or do both for effectively 2 extra gears (not quite the right math but close enough)
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Touchy !
  • Fenix wrote:
    Touchy !

    :)

    That is not the advice he wanted to hear Lololol
  • its a completley pointless response. of course being as fit as an elite cyclist would be helpful. but all im trying to do is modify my bike to get up hills. ni point me going out with mates but not goin certain routes because i cant get up the climbs.

    i know cycling is an elitist sport but telling someone to get fitter is an egotistical comment
  • scfc151 wrote:
    its a completley pointless response. of course being as fit as an elite cyclist would be helpful. but all im trying to do is modify my bike to get up hills. ni point me going out with mates but not goin certain routes because i cant get up the climbs.

    i know cycling is an elitist sport but telling someone to get fitter is an egotistical comment

    You won't last long on the internet if you take things to heart easily. Not being a d1ck, just trying to help.
  • 50/34 on the front, 11-32 on the back, eat less pies, ride up hills lots.

    Sorted.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    50/34 on the front, 11-32 on the back, eat less pies, ride up hills lots.

    Sorted.

    This. 34 x 32 is the lowest you'll be able to go realistically. A short cage rear mech will struggle with a 32T cassette, you can add an Alpe D'huez Road Fairy which will effectively lower the rear mech hanger, am using one on my Rourke which has 34x32 although the chain take up on the rear mech is only just enough.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I also think you took his post the wrong way. He's not telling you to get fitter, but suggesting it will happen anyway. Maybe he's suggesting that you give it a bit of time rather than spend a lot of money immediately on modifications you may find you don't need in a few months time.

    First off he links you to an existing, useful thread

    Then he asks not unreasonably if the problem is simply that your bottom gear isn't low enough. I'm guessing that you think that is the issue.

    Cheapest option is probably a bigger cassette; I think 11 speed Shimano road cassettes go up to 34T now but then you'd also need a long cage rear mech. And almost certainly a longer chain. Hmm. Maybe you could pick up a used compact chainset cheaper...
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    50/34 on the front, 11-32 on the back, eat less pies, ride up hills lots.

    Sorted.

    Have some compassion!

    Eat fewer pies, or eat less pie, but not eat less pies.

    It's like fingernails down a blackboard to a grammar pedant.
  • im not being touchy. i joined this forum and specifically asked a mechanical question. sarcastic comments like you cant buy your way up a hill is just unhelpful.

    ive been looking at used compact cranksets which might be a cheaper way that a cassette, chain and rear mech. then again i might go the whole hog and stick a full compact setup on and effectively buy my way up a hill
  • scfc151 wrote:
    im not being touchy. i joined this forum and specifically asked a mechanical question. sarcastic comments like you cant buy your way up a hill is just unhelpful.

    ive been looking at used compact cranksets which might be a cheaper way that a cassette, chain and rear mech. then again i might go the whole hog and stick a full compact setup on and effectively buy my way up a hill

    You don't need a cassette, chain and rear mech. Just the cassette and don't cross chain. £25?

    Second hand cranksets could be worn, make sure you check if you do do that.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Is it possible you bought the wrong bike? Or are you confident you have fitness gains to make / weight to lose and that one day you'll be climbing with your mates on the bike as it is currently configured?

    Fitting a 34 ring on your current chainset while mechanically possible, would leave you with an uncomfortably big jump between rings. Most front mechs are designed to cope with a max 16 tooth difference, hence the common 50/34, 52/36 and 53/39 combinations.

    When I returned to road cycling aged 50 after a long absence and following knee surgery I knew I'd find hills hard so I chose a 105 triple. Later and fitter I experimented with a S/H 53/39 chainset, but never really got on top of it. Now at 60 I'm happy to have my spinny 30T chainring again.

    On the other hand, my son who is not quite 30, has just bought himself a new bike with a compact chainset and he rarely ever uses the inner chainring even when climbing. I've given up moaning about cross-chaining and drivetrain wear and just let him get on with it now. He does have thighs like Chris Hoy to be fair.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    It might help to know a few things about the OP. How old, how heavy, which hills are problematic etc if it's Hardknott then fair enough. If Box Hill then perhaps less so.......
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • im 33 5'8 78kg. reasonably muscular. i swim and run regularly and go for rides generally speaking 60-90mins at present. id like to do futher distance but time doesnt allow at the moment. its the bigger climbs say 15%+ that i feel im running out of gear. generally speaking i feel more comfortable riding at a higher cadence anyway
  • I'd say most of us feel like we're running out of gears once we hit the 15% climbs and that only a very low gearing set up will let you spin up them at a high cadence.
    A very low gearing set up will be detrimental in other ways so I'd say save your cash and stick with the current set up. You're pretty fit already and not too heavy or old so I'm sure a few more months of hills and you'll be flying up them with your current set up.
  • i definatly ran out of gears on a short 25% the other night. bloody difficult unclipping too when ypur rolling to a stop like that :-)
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    Anything over 10% is going to be challenging, the trick is to take it easy leading up to the climb and then as easy as possible while going up it. You want your heart rate at a sustainable rate. If you take it too easy you can always up the pace a bit, but over do it and you will suffer.

    Over doing it early on in a ride is also a recipe for disaster. If you're struggling to keep a reasonable pace on the flat, hills are going to be torture.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • I've currently got a 34/32 large gear as I've got a very hilly sportive soon and even in that gear I feel it going up a 15% hill and do quite a lot more cucling than you by the sounds of it.

    Stick with what you have and pace it.
  • Changing the cassette will have a bigger impact than changing the chainset. If I were you, I’d start by keeping the semi chainset, and going to an 11-30 cassette. There won’t be any issues with drive train capacity and tooth difference, with the rear mech cage you have already. Get used to the 11-30 cassette, and see if you can improve by just improving your fitness, with a couple of extra teeth on the largest sprocket to help with the bigger climbs. If it’s still too unpleasant, move to a compact chain set as well.
  • would i need to adjust the chain length with an 11 32?
  • scfc151 wrote:
    would i need to adjust the chain length with an 11 32?

    Not if you don't cross chain.
  • Craigus89 wrote:
    scfc151 wrote:
    would i need to adjust the chain length with an 11 32?

    Not if you don't cross chain.

    Dont confuse him bless.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Blimey. Don't join a cycling club if you think that's someone taking the piss.

    If you're new it will take a while to get fit. Especially if you're just doing 60 -90 minute rides. I'd stay with what you have and as has been said you will get fitter and won't need the lower gear options.

    Pro riders do use low gears from time to time but unless you're climbing Rosedale Chimney or something their climbs will be about 20 times longer and harder than your climbs.

    The pros make light work of any hills compared to us mortals.
  • tell you what. ill take your advise and get the administrators to take me off the forum.

    "Dont confuse him bless."

    if you think comments like that isnt takin the piss then i dont know what is. i know cycling is an elitist sport full of egos but all i was after was some genuine mechanical advise on the best way to adjust the gearing. anyway enjoy each others snidey comments
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 2,320
    You can run a 30 rear with no other adjustments or changes - I fit one to my CAAD12.
    Shimano make 11/30 cassettes.
  • Singleton wrote:
    You can run a 30 rear with no other adjustments or changes - I fit one to my CAAD12.
    Shimano make 11/30 cassettes.

    I’d second this, I moved to an 11-30 from an 11-28 cassette, it was surprising how much difference a couple of teeth made.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    Singleton wrote:
    You can run a 30 rear with no other adjustments or changes - I fit one to my CAAD12.
    Shimano make 11/30 cassettes.

    Not necessarily so. If the chain has been sized for big-big, there's no slack for additional teeth and big ringing the gears on big-big with a 30T cassette will not make for a happy ending.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
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