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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have made the transition from mountain biking to road biking and got a killer deal on a 2006 Giant TCR C1.

My only issue is that it has a 53/39 double and I I live in the Bay Area with some really steep climbs. I tried one of my local climbs that I have always been able to chug up on my mountain bike. In granny and out of the saddle I didn't get a third of the way up before my lungs exploded (dramatization of course but seriously, I was gassed). I am 41 and I'm not in peak shape (I'm trying) but wow... what a difference from my mtn bike.

I figure my options are thus...

1: Just deal with it, get stronger and hopefully in a couple months I'll be able to climb that hill

2: Put a compact double on it with a 50/34

3: Put a Ultegra Triple 52/39/30 which means probably changing the bottom bracket but it keeps my high gear in tact and gives me a yummy 30 front with which to tackle Hicks Rd, and all the routes up to Skyline.

Any advice from hill climbers would be appreciated. Part of me wants to get stronger and be able to climb on the 39 but I'm not sure I'll live long enough to get that strong.
 

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Compact double to start with. I would look for a Shimano compact on Ebay. If you still need more low, change out the cassette later. Changing to a triple would be more complicated and expensive because of the need for three sprockets, new crankset, and new brifter.
 

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Best crank bargain in the solar system...

I have this on my Atlantis and Rambouillet, and it's strong, cheap and effective:
http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/cranks_bottom_brackets#product=12-190

I bought the Rambo used, and the Sugino came with it. If I were building the bike from scratch, I'd probably use a compact double just to see how I liked it, but the XD has been perfect for 12,000 miles.
 

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If you are a mountain bike rider then you will probably feel really at home with a triple.
 

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I'm not that experienced on road bikes and I'm not a hill climber. That said, the only thing I would change about my bike is a triple in lieu of the compact double (34/50). The low isn't that low -- I've wished for a lower gear a couple of times so far. Perhaps more importantly, I top out on the large ring more often than I expected when I bought the bike; on a slight downhill slope, I often could use another gear or two. I know I'll get stronger and eventually the 34 tooth small ring will be more than adequate for my climbing needs (although in the Bay area, you've got a lot of hills!). But I wish for a couple more teeth on that large ring almost every ride, and I would like knowing the small ring was there if I wanted to try a steep climb. If I were spending the money to switch anyway, I would go with the triple.
 

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A few years ago I switched from standard to a compact crankset (I use Ultegra 9 speed). This works for 90% of my riding, but there are some rides that include a large number of climbs that I could probably do individually with the compact but with the long mileage are just too much for me. I ended up switching my rear derailleur from a short cage road to a mid cage mountain. It still works fine with my road cassette, but when I know I'm going to go on a long ride with lots of big climbs...I use a 11-32 cassette.

If you have 10 speed, IRD makes wide range (as much as an 11-34) 10 speed cassettes. A short cage road derailleur will work ok up to a 30t (even though Shimano says 27, I've used it to a 30 with no issues on a double setup). Otherwise a 9 speed MTB Mid-cage derailleur will work on a 10 speed double drivetrain up to a 34t.

Just make sure you have the appropriate chain length.
 

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With the right tools...easy

dprugby said:
Nice info hayduke1972.

How hard is it to change cassettes if I want to switch back and forth or should I invest in another rear wheel?
I can change a cassette in a few minutes at a casual pace. All it entails is removing the wheel, removing the quick release, using a chain whip and cassette lockring tool (with either a vise or a crescent wrench) to remove the old cassette and slide the new cassette on and tighten the lockring. Then just put the quick release back on and install the wheel. I don't even have to make any derailleur adjustments.

You'll need these tools
Cassette Lockring tool


Chain Whip


:thumbsup:
 

· scruffy nerf herder
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is there any such thing as a REAR crankset...

Is he talking about a tandem?
 

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If you want to ride Hicks, get the triple. I'm a strong climber and I'm using my 34x27 or 34x24 on the steepest part of Hicks. It took some years before I could do it on a 30x25 without stopping, and some more to do it using the compact crank.

The problem with changing cassettes for hilly rides is that even though it's easy to do it's still a pain in the behind to swap parts before each ride. So what happens is that you just leave one casssette or the other on there and just don't do the rides that it's not suited for.

The advantage to the triple is that you always have low enough gears for any hilly ride, and a good range of high gears for flat rides, with no need to swap any parts or wheels. The cost is about 1/3 pound extra and some $$.

You will need new triple crankset, shifters, front and rear derailleurs, and a longer chain.
 

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Going up to Skyline, huh?

...that's a toughie. I was out at Stanford for a tennis clinic last year, and I rented a double and rode up Alpine about as far as I could...but that's a pretty gradual climb. Out here in the Rockies, I like having a triple. I don't use the little ring any more than I have to, but when I need it, I don't think anything else, including a compact, is going to cut it for me. The problem is, you might be looking at major $$$ to make the upgrade. For example, not only are you going to need a triple front derailleur, you need a triple brifter as well, and none of that stuff is cheap. Your cheapest short term option is probably to go with a wider range cassette in the back...but at a minimum, you're probably going to need a new chain, and if you want to make it actually do something, you're probably also going to have to buy a long cage (MTB) derailleur as well.

My suggestion would be to do two things: (1) Find a buddy with a triple and go ride that and see what you think. (2) Talk to your LBS and see what they can do for you in terms of upgrades.

If the upgrades are too much $$$, sell the bike and buy something with a triple...
 

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I was just going to ask that

funknuggets said:
is there any such thing as a REAR crankset...

Is he talking about a tandem?
People here are constantly asking about their front cranksets and rear cassettes. I guess nobody ever has a problem with a rear crankset or a front cassette. Those must be made better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Went to my LBS today (not the one who sold me the bike) and spoke to a guy who seemed not only very knowledgeable but was also pretty patient (I had two toddlers in tow) and very friendly. His comments were thus...

He didn't recommend putting a triple crankset on the 06 TCR C1 because everything would have to change (both derailers, brifters, chain, crankset, etc) and I'd be looking at over a grand including installation. He also felt that the TCR C1 wasn't really made for a triple.

While he said I could go for a compact double, he suggested the same thing that hayduke1972 suggested which was a 11-34 IRD rear cassette and a mtb rear derailer. This option will only set me back about $375 including installation (inlcuding a new chain). He said the ratio of 39/34 was great for spinning up the steep local climbs and that on the flats the 53/11 would actually be faster than my current best 53/12.

So... I gave him a deposit today to order the 11-34. I'll drop off the bike on Saturday after my ride and he'll have everything together a few days later.

Thanks for all the help here, it was much appreciated.

Oh, btw the LBS was Willow Glenn Bike Shop, the guy's name was Ton (spelled correctly - he's German). He's also going to re-fit me to my bike since the place I bought it did a crap job of it and I've had a good deal of pain/soreness between my shoulder blades and neck on all my rides so far.
 

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hayduke1972 said:
A few years ago I switched from standard to a compact crankset (I use Ultegra 9 speed). This works for 90% of my riding, but there are some rides that include a large number of climbs that I could probably do individually with the compact but with the long mileage are just too much for me. I ended up switching my rear derailleur from a short cage road to a mid cage mountain. It still works fine with my road cassette, but when I know I'm going to go on a long ride with lots of big climbs...I use a 11-32 cassette.

If you have 10 speed, IRD makes wide range (as much as an 11-34) 10 speed cassettes. A short cage road derailleur will work ok up to a 30t (even though Shimano says 27, I've used it to a 30 with no issues on a double setup). Otherwise a 9 speed MTB Mid-cage derailleur will work on a 10 speed double drivetrain up to a 34t.

Just make sure you have the appropriate chain length.
Great handle by the way

to the OP I would read sheldon brown and try changing out one cog on your cassette with a 30T, it only costs $10 then you can decide if you need to drop the cash for a compact
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just jumping back in to let folks know I went with the 11/34 option and while I can't quite 'spin" freely up the big climbs yet, I am making it up with a stop or two. I'm sure in a few weeks I'll be able to do them rest free.

PS: I just love my road bike... all my Mtn. Bike friends think I'm crazy but I really love biking on pavement.
 
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