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In a general race ~120 miles with some cat1 or cat 2 climbs but also some long straightaways, I wonder what cranks most pro riders have? Do pros even use compacts w/ 11x23 cassettes or just the standard 53/39? I would think a 50x11 would be good enough for any race except maybe the final sprint to the finish line. Or maybe pros decide against the compacts because it looks less "manly". Justing wondering if compacts are only being used by recreational cyclists.

On some races with less climbs, I'd think I seen 53/42 cranks with 11-23 in the back.
 

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most pros

don't need a small chain ring (36 or 34)
they ride 11-21s most of the time
for hilly events they may break out a 11-23, maybe an 11-25
for freakish events they may use a 27

typically pros don't need a chainring that small

yes they are that much stronger than us
I remember once feeling good on a climb, nice rhythm, passing just about everybody
pushing a 39-23 with a cog or 2 left if I needed it
a Continental Pro blows by me doing seated power drills in his big ring, pushing a 53-15
and turning about 30 bpm
 

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Occassionally pros will stick a compact on for a specific stage like last years mountain TT stage of the Giro. I read an interview with a mechanic from CSC who stated he had put compact cranks on about half of the team bikes. But I think that is very much the exception...like that stage was very much the exception in the grand scheme of things.
 

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in the states the only time some guys would use 'compact' (and they ran 36 or 38/52) was brasstown bald. the team i worked for ran campy, so i made them 11/29 cassettes for that stage, or 11-26 if they had the 110 crankset. i'll bet the euro teams ride them sometimes as well, prob w/ somewhat bigger than 34/50 tho.
 

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i think hamilton used one to race to a win a few years back. and i think they might have been used back when they raced in san fran
 

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with regard to a 50x11 being big enough, for most of us it is in most conditions, but give a tail wind or slight downhill and in a pack the pro would be spinning out. 60kph plus would be the norm. Even in the final of a flat stage the sprinters teams would have the pack running close to that in the final few kms.
 

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To get an idea of how we compare to the top pros, they can average 30 mph in a 30+ mile time trial after racing in several stages of the TdF. They need big rings.
 

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It's pretty rare for a pro to need a compact, in fact, in a lot of higher level _amateur_ races, if you _need_ a 34-23 you're getting dropped, it's also likely if you need a 39-25 you're off the back.
 

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didn't Contador use one in the Giro last year?

If I remember, he said that he used it because he was spinning out and wanted a higher cadence.
 

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Don't you mean low????

b24fsb said:
contador rode a special cassette ratio in last years giro, like 11-32 or something stupid high
I believe that would be "Stupid LOW" ... Higher number (32) = Lower gear... Right???
 

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see above post with link to SRAM website. They say that the riders used a compact crank and 11-26 cassette.
 

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The one stage that Contador (and everyone else) used extremely low gears was an extraordinary circumstance. They had to climb @ 18+% on dirt. Many couldn't stand out of the saddle without spinning the tire and stopping. Even on the Mortirolo (equally steep but paved) guys weren't using much lower a gear than a 38/26-27t gear. There's a few special climbs where crazy gears are needed but pros rarely reach for anything larger than a 23t on the back.
 
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