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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just ordered components to go 12-32 in back and it will go with my compact crank. I was hoping that if I had a bit more spin I could be able to improve my performance on a local Cat 2 climb. As it is now I cannot keep my cadence up in the steeper sections which get around 16-20% so I wind up zig zagging a bit. My friend who is a terrific climber hounds me about spinning more. He say's "spin more, save your legs", keep your heart rate down". Anyway I would need a motor to climb like him but I am going to spin more and see what happens. Currently I am 97th on the Strava thing for the Cat 2 climb. At 68y/o I am not going to wake up younger so I thought I would try spinning a bit more.

I will let you know if I move up on Strava a place or two next week. So I bought the 5701 GS long cage derailleur, Ultegra 10 speed chain and Sram 12-32 cassette. I would have bought an Ultegra cassette but they do not have one. However the Sram is compatible. I do 100% of my maintenance so it will just take a few minutes to install the new stuff. It's time for a new chain anyway.

Hoping to climb that hill without zig zagging and maybe a PR. It will be fun.
 

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Generally speaking, spinning more makes your hr go up. But that doesn't matter too much unless you just blow up. But you can blow up by grinding stuff out, too.

If you have an optimal cadence for producing power, then hopefully bigger gears will help you maintain that cadence. But at the end of the day, it's still going to come down to wattage and weight (mostly).

Good luck with the ascent!
 

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As it is now I cannot keep my cadence up in the steeper sections which get around 16-20% so I wind up zig zagging a bit.
Those aren't the only alternatives (sit and spin, or zig-zag). There's a third technique if you don't have a gear low enough to keep cadence up on a steep section: stand. But not everybody likes to do that.

As pb said, it comes down to power, ultimately. There are various ways to deliver power to the cranks, and for a given rider a different gear choice may be more efficient. But if the motor can't do work at the desired rate, there's no magic formula that will get you there.
 

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I have a 12-30 on my old bike with compact crank, and after being on a midcompact with an 11-28; i won't go back. I know my cadence drops a bit on climbs but i am comfortable standing in a higher gear. Granted i did a lot of over under intervals in the winter on the trainer. Too much spinning just beats me up and tires me out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well we will see next week. I am hoping a higher cadence will get me past the steepest sections more efficiently. I do like to stand at times but mostly when I am accelerating over the top as I can drop some cyclist at that moment (shop rides). . For long climbing I pretty much stay planted. If I can drop the zig zag I am sure it will make a difference.

I was watching Froome the other day and he was responding to an attack in the mountains and his cadence went very high as he reeled it in. It was kind of odd looking actually but effective.

Anyway next Wednesday I am getting up at 6am to make the ascent. It's 7 miles from the house so I just have enough time to warm up before I start the climb. It's been about a year since I was able to PR the ride.
 

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Getting easier gears and spinning faster is one thing. Spinning faster and getting the same power is quite another.

By nature I can generate some good power grinding at low RPM, but not for long. It took me a good three years of working on it to be able to use easier gears, spin faster, AND generate the same power. Well worth the investment though because I can do that for much longer than I could grinding it out.

But if you're zig zagging and that's kind of a different topic. That's just needing more gears period not so much about changing style like I referenced above.
 

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I do like to stand at times but mostly when I am accelerating over the top as I can drop some cyclist at that moment (shop rides). . For long climbing I pretty much stay planted. If I can drop the zig zag I am sure it will make a difference.
Yeah, just different styles by different riders. There's not one way to do it. I tend to alternate sitting and standing on long climbs, sometimes staying out of the saddle for a minute or more, sometimes getting up and down frequently. But you older guys tend not to do that, I think (I'm only 66 ;-))

Good luck on the attempt. Let us know how it goes. From what you describe, I'm pretty confident that having a little bit lower low will help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It will be fun. I just installed the derailleur. I had to go on-line to find the correct torque as the paper work in the box did not say anything about it. The other parts are out for delivery so I may try for my PR on Saturday morning. Maybe on the Saturday shop ride I will see if anyone else wants to break off and ride up with me.
 

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I was actually wondering about changing my front configuration on my Scott Foil 30 when the time comes not the cassette.

Right now I have an 11/25 cassette and 50/39 chain rings.

The thing is that I am in NY City so most of my riding is flat. And I am perfectly comfortable on flats in the big front ring and the smallest cassette sprocket. But I definitely need some help on hills.

I called Scott and asked them if when it comes time to change the chain rungs (I am in no hurry as this isn't a big problem) if I could go with say a 53/34 or 53/36 or something. 95% or more of my riding I stay in the big front ring, but sometimes when I need the help of higher gears I am not getting enough spin with what I have.

But I explained to the rep at Scott that I don't want to go small in the bigger chain ring because I am so comfortable with it. He said there was no way I could do anything lower than a 53/38 with my setup as the jump down would be too much. He did say if I was willing to come down to a 52 in the large chain ring that I could make the smaller one any size I want between 34 and 38.

I forgot to ask him if this would necessitate a new derailer.

Sorry to hijack your thread BikeLayne! I was wondering something similar to you. Though now you have me wondering if I wouldn'e maybe be better off leaving the chain rings as they are and just changing the casette say 12-32 (if my ten speed groupset would allow that).
 

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And I am perfectly comfortable on flats in the big front ring and the smallest cassette sprocket.
I think you might want to learn a little more about using your gears efficiently. In a 50/11, at 21 mph you're turning less than 60 rpm. At 18 mph it's only 50 rpm. You might find if you use some of the other cogs and spin faster that you'd have fresher legs, feel stronger, and have more fun (and be more comfortable, even if you're "perfectly" comfortable now. Most experienced riders will only be in that tallest gear going downhill, or drafting a fast group at much higher speeds than you're probably doing riding around the city.

Before you go buying more equipment, I'd suggest some lessons in how to use what you've got better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was actually wondering about changing my front configuration on my Scott Foil 30 when the time comes not the cassette.

Right now I have an 11/25 cassette and 50/39 chain rings.

The thing is that I am in NY City so most of my riding is flat. And I am perfectly comfortable on flats in the big front ring and the smallest cassette sprocket. But I definitely need some help on hills.

I called Scott and asked them if when it comes time to change the chain rungs (I am in no hurry as this isn't a big problem) if I could go with say a 53/34 or 53/36 or something. 95% or more of my riding I stay in the big front ring, but sometimes when I need the help of higher gears I am not getting enough spin with what I have.

But I explained to the rep at Scott that I don't want to go small in the bigger chain ring because I am so comfortable with it. He said there was no way I could do anything lower than a 53/38 with my setup as the jump down would be too much. He did say if I was willing to come down to a 52 in the large chain ring that I could make the smaller one any size I want between 34 and 38.

I forgot to ask him if this would necessitate a new derailer.

Sorry to hijack your thread BikeLayne! I was wondering something similar to you. Though now you have me wondering if I wouldn'e maybe be better off leaving the chain rings as they are and just changing the casette say 12-32 (if my ten speed groupset would allow that).
Changing your cassette out is the easiest way to alter your gearing. Many people have different cassettes for different applications. However you need to do some research on your particular system to determine what the maximum range will be. Also consider a 28t in back given the primarily flat terrain. There is a very good chance your derailleur set up will be within specs with a 28t and just a simple cassette switch and your back on the road. Or just ask the guy at the bike shop if a 28t would work properly.
 

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Focusing on a higher cadence (80-95) on climbs my power has increased. Way easier to hold higher sustained power spinning than grinding, I don't care who you are.

Watch the vid- the more the spin the more wattage;

 

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Focusing on a higher cadence (80-95) on climbs my power has increased. Way easier to hold higher sustained power spinning than grinding, I don't care who you are.
That statement would lead me to believe that you don't understand what wattage is. It varies across the board from rider to rider.

My all time 15-20 min power was done at 80-85 rpms, quite a bit lower than the 90-95 I have the rest of the time.
 

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That statement would lead me to believe that you don't understand what wattage is. It varies across the board from rider to rider.

My all time 15-20 min power was done at 80-85 rpms, quite a bit lower than the 90-95 I have the rest of the time.
This.
Yeah, you can get high sustained power at low cadence or high cadence, but unless you have the heart rate of Froome, you're more likely to burn out your cardiovascular system before you'd max out your power.

If your legs are strong and your heart and lungs are in equally good shape, your maximal sustained power is probably at a slightly lower cadence rather than slightly higher cadence. Burn up all your O2, no matter how strong your legs are, they won't work. But tapping the strength of your legs while keeping steady breathing and a lower HR, you can last longer.

The balancing point is different for each person.
 

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I was actually wondering about changing my front configuration on my Scott Foil 30 when the time comes not the cassette.

Right now I have an 11/25 cassette and 50/39 chain rings.

The thing is that I am in NY City so most of my riding is flat. And I am perfectly comfortable on flats in the big front ring and the smallest cassette sprocket. But I definitely need some help on hills.

I called Scott and asked them if when it comes time to change the chain rungs (I am in no hurry as this isn't a big problem) if I could go with say a 53/34 or 53/36 or something. 95% or more of my riding I stay in the big front ring, but sometimes when I need the help of higher gears I am not getting enough spin with what I have.

But I explained to the rep at Scott that I don't want to go small in the bigger chain ring because I am so comfortable with it. He said there was no way I could do anything lower than a 53/38 with my setup as the jump down would be too much. He did say if I was willing to come down to a 52 in the large chain ring that I could make the smaller one any size I want between 34 and 38.

I forgot to ask him if this would necessitate a new derailer.

Sorry to hijack your thread BikeLayne! I was wondering something similar to you. Though now you have me wondering if I wouldn'e maybe be better off leaving the chain rings as they are and just changing the casette say 12-32 (if my ten speed groupset would allow that).
50/39? I'm not sure of the amount of overlap that creates, maybe I'm just being too lazy and not looking it up vs 50/34 or 53/39. I'm no more than 15 miles from you as the crow flies and I'm only 2 miles inland from the highest point on the eastern seaboard. Right by Sandy Hook. I'm on a compact. I can ride to flat riding but mostly I am climbing, at least some... Mostly shorter but very sharp climbs. I do those cross chained in 50/28 in and out of the saddle. Longer, tougher climbs I'm in the 34, still in and out of the saddle... I like to climb around 80rpm. I find crazy spinning inefficient. Standing and mashing 70/75 or so is only good for making time on the climb. But that's just me and my sweet spot... As said before, everyone is different. BTW, I can easily get 2K on a 20 mile ride and still really don't spin out 50/11 very often... Now, I don't use 34/28 very often... Rare actually. But I like having it way more than I want to keep pedaling beyond 50/11.

Oh, and not for nothing... I LOVE my Foil 30!!!!
 

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50/39? I'm not sure of the amount of overlap that creates,
I have to read your post and several others for more detail because you guys have a lot of great advice, but I just wanted to correct my typo you were responding to. I meant to say 53/39 lol

Now I shall read through this thread, including our post!
 

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That statement would lead me to believe that you don't understand what wattage is. It varies across the board from rider to rider.

My all time 15-20 min power was done at 80-85 rpms, quite a bit lower than the 90-95 I have the rest of the time.
Your all time high 15 min power is within the window I stated of 80-95 cadence. I fully understand wattage as I ride with a powermeter.

Bikelayne is looking for a better time on a cat2 climb and having the right gearing is absolutely critical to get into the sweet spot for cadence. A compact crank with a 32 out back will only improve his time on the long climbs. He also mentions his age, spinning is the ticket!
 

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This.
Yeah, you can get high sustained power at low cadence or high cadence, but unless you have the heart rate of Froome, you're more likely to burn out your cardiovascular system before you'd max out your power.

If your legs are strong and your heart and lungs are in equally good shape, your maximal sustained power is probably at a slightly lower cadence rather than slightly higher cadence. Burn up all your O2, no matter how strong your legs are, they won't work. But tapping the strength of your legs while keeping steady breathing and a lower HR, you can last longer.

The balancing point is different for each person.
Yes, this balancing point is just below anaerobic threshold, entirely variable with conditioning and age.

I've always believed training to pedal fast saves the legs, stimulates the lungs and heart, and increases power. Although watching the TDF riders, pedaling fast appears to be good only to a point, then power drops off precipitously, as the saying goes. They look remarkably consistent around 90 rpm most of the time!

Instructive that Froome breaks away on that climb by pedaling fast rather than standing. Team Sky has trained for those high cadence efforts. They're certainly more energy efficient than standing up and rocking the bike back and forth; that takes a lot of upper body participation.

At 73, this old man can still pedal up the climbs in Rock Creek Park, DC, at 80-90 rpms in 42-28. I can do it on the old 42-22 race bike too, but its harder! Leg speed takes much longer to drop, and when it does, I can find a rhythm and keep going. Legs know how to fire at the faster rate. Heart rate and breathing goes well into anaerobic. The legs also recover at the top, as poster previously mentioned.

So give your legs a break, go for it. The cardio system will adjust to the greater demands, same as punching high gears, but the knees won't get trashed out. The legs will get fitter overall, that is, able to deliver at 90 rpm what it could only deliver at 70 rpm.
 
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