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First post on this site. I am trying to decide between the Cannondale R5000 and R5000 Compact Drive. Thoughts? I typically ride 25-50 miles per night during the week and longer on the weekends. I live in New England, so a fair amount of hills. The local bike store explained the compact/triple choice, but I am still confused with what to choose. Thanks.
 

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buy a compact. simple as that.


now my explanation:

they're flexible. with a combination of cassette and chainring selection, you can select such a huge range of gears, and as you progress as a rider you can change your drivetrain to match.

for example:

one person i ride with bought a compact because they had difficulty making it up hills but didn't want the hassle of a 3 chainring bike. he runs a 34-27 low gear and can spin up pretty much any climb (i live in lower CT, short steeps everywhere).

another person i ride with is buying a compact and running a 34 chainring with a 11-21 cogset. This gives him a low gear equivalent to about what a standard bike comes with, BUT his gear ratios are extremely close together, so is much more efficient. he kicks my ass, btw.


with a standard ring you're stuck. if you want a lower gear you have to sacrifice gear ratios. if you want better gear ratios you sacrifice by having too high of a low gear.

compact is the way to go.
 

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Depending on your riding ability if you think you are capable to attack those hills then get a compact version otherwise I would pick triple crank set, this option give you more option to pick and choose your gear selection, and you have ten extra gears to play with.
 

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Ten extra gears? Have you ever tried a 30-12 combo?

In reality, a triple would give you 13.3% lower gearing than a compact with a 34T inner chainring. If you ran a 27 rear cassette on the compact, the difference would be 4.9%, which is hardly anything.

If you need a triple and a 27 rear, you need to practice more. Or get a mountain bike.

I'm with ctracer01's - I've put over 5,000 miles on my Tarmac in the last year and I love my FSA compact. At 5'10" 175# i'm not a lightweight but I've been able to climb over 7500' and feel fresh with the compact.

My last bike was a triple which I'll never do again. The 30 ring is too low, and the 39 ring is too large for hills. The 34 compact lets you have a good selection of ratios to climb from 6 mph to 14-15 mph.

The OP rides 100 miles+ a week, so I'd go with the compact.
 

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with triples you're carrying around extra weight and get poor front shifting in return. with compacts you can go as low as a 34t in the front and with little searching you can get any chainring combination you want all the way up to a 42/56. you may be saying what about the granny gear on the front to get up the really steep stuff. if you have to go much lower than a 34 up front and a 29 in back you're probobly going so slow you're at risk of falling over. with regards to a standard crankset which are normally equipt with a 39/52 there you are limited to 38 or 39 teeth for your inner ring and don't have the flexibility of a compact.
 
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