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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been a Mountain Biker for quite a few years and have been convinced by some friends and relatives to give road biking a shot. I have been loaned a road bike to use to see if I like it. I completely understand my mountain bike set-up with regards to my front chain rings and rear cassette. I have a 44 -32-22 front and 11-34 cogs on my mountain bike. The road bike that I am borrowing is 53-39 and 13-23. When riding the road bike I feel like I need more gears at both the high and low end. Especially the low end. I live in New Jersey, specifically Morris County. There are quite a few hills around here. If I were to purchase my own Road Bike, what would you recommend as far as gearing? Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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a rear cassette of 13-13 is rather limiting. they usually range from 11 to 27 for shimano and 11 to 29 campy.. as far as the front chain rings go you could opt for compact which gives you slightly easier gears but usually you'll be without going compact. If it was me i'd go for a 11-25 cassette works fine on the hills and on the flats.
 

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I'd get a larger cassette such as 27 but the larger you go the greater difference between the gears in the middle.

You can also get a triple chainring and that will give you a granny gear for the hills. Being a MTBer you are use to a triple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies! Since I am borrowing this bike I don't want to go out and purchase a new cassette at the moment. I am leaning more towards purchasing a new bike. I have the feeling that the 53-39 front is fine. I just wasn't sure what the "standard" or "usual" road cog set-up was. Mountain Bike set up I am real familiar with, but wasn't sure what "most" road riders were using. A 13-23 cassette right off the bat without even riding it seemed to be very limiting. The first real hill I encountered when testing this borrowed bike was a bit of a struggle. I was looking at some bikes that have 11-28 cassettes and wondered if that was a bit closer to what a typical road rider used. That in combination with a 53-39 crank. I also noticed there are compact cranks like 50-34, but then I lose on the high end. I was also told that triple chain rings are not usually used on road bikes. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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I would say that that the most common is a 12/23 or 12/25 unless you are racing I don't really see any need for a 11 tooth cog.
A 11/28 is not very common, keep in mind that while it would give you a really wide range with both the 11 & 28, there is a trade off, you will lose some of the middle cogs say maybe the 16 or something that you might really miss it most every day riding situations.
I would stay away from something that extreme unless I was going to be riding in the swiss alps or something.
 

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Depends...

If you go 53x39 then 12x27 with the 27 for hills-I ride a lot in Morris Couty and hills. If you go 50x34 then 11x25 which gives you a easier gear than the 39x27 if you want it uphill and a longer gear 11x50 for fast descents. I have the compact on my Sunday bike and prefer it because you can shift three gears with the front ring.

23 is too tough on the big hills for me.:cryin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the help everyone! Nice to hear from someone that rides morris county. I decided to buy a new bike with a Compact crank 50-34 and 11-28 cogs. That should make things a lot easier. When I tried the BIG hill with a 53-39 and 13-23 it was a struggle, a real struggle, but I made it. I have been so used to having a wide choice on my Mountain Bike and thought that road riding couldn't be that much more difficult. Well, I'll see. I decided to get a Specialized Rubaix Elite. I was torn between the Tarmac Elite which was 53-39 & 11-28. I actually would have purchased the Tarmac if they had it in my size. But the Rubaix seems real nice. Thanks again!!!

Kevin
 

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Climbing has less to do with gearing and more to do with fitness. If you want to be a good climber, get out there and climb...and make it a little hard on yourself. Not to the point where you're blowing your knees out, but train thoughtfully. In other words, if you climb a steep hill in your 34-28 every time, you're just training to climb in the 34-28. Try it for a couple weeks in 34-28, then try 34-27. You'll be surprised how much faster you climb. It will still HURT, but you'll improve your climbing.

I've convinced myself I'm a bad climber, so I've got a 34-26. But I often find that if I climb with a friend with a good old-fashioned 39-25, he out-climbs me, simply because he has no choice but to turn a bigger gear. And you know what? We're both exhausted and hurting when we get to the top, but I'm there 30 seconds later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Can't agree more with you about having more to do with fitness. I ride my mountain bike a tremendous amount, close to 4,000 miles per year and just about 150 rides per year. So I am quite fit, at least the type of fitness that riding my mountain bike has given me. I just think that I didn't know how to handle the bike on my first road bike ride ever. The position in the saddle was so radically different from my mountain bike. The stem had quite a negative angle down, coupled with the front end being quite low as well, I felt like I was about to kiss the front tire. The owner of the bike told me it was designed to keep the rider real low. It certainly did that. I just couldn't feel comfortable the whole ride. On my mountain bike I never have problems climbing, even quite technical steep sections. I hardly ever use the granny or even the lowest cogs, and when I do it is usually only early in the season. That is why I was caught off guard on my first road ride. I am really looking forward to the challenge of learning the road. Everyone has told me it will make me a much better Mountain biker. I also need to learn to spin. That is another area that I was not used to doing. I just didn't realize that it is so different than what I was used to. I am quite determined to become road fit as well. Thanks for all your help!
 
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