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At How Many Cogs Does the Madness End?

  • At 12-spd road/13-spd gravel (what it is now).

  • At 13-speed everything.

  • 14-speed

  • 15-speed

  • 16-speed

  • 18-speed

  • 20-speed

  • More than 20 (!!)

  • “Something something CVT” (even though that doesn’t answer the Q, and CVT is heavy).

  • I’m terrified to even guess.

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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Yeah, I drew my line in the sand a year ago and built up a steel frame with external cable routing and Dura Ace 9000 11 speed. Rim brakes. This is it for me (good lord willing and the creek don’t rise). Dura Ace C24 wheels. Great stopping power, push button perfect shifting and steady as can be in wind and descending. Got the build very close to 17 lbs. For me, I don’t see a need to upgrade beyond this...
SantaCruz said:
My line in the sand was 15 years ago.
since then, it's been classic & vintage w/ friction.
Your ‘line in the sand’ strategy seems quite smart.

The upgrade merry-go-round is fun at first, but eventually becomes tiresome and expensive, while often providing only marginal benefits. 😕

My personal ‘line in the sand’ I think will be to avoid e-shifting, hydraulic shifting, and hydraulic and ‘disc breaks’ (<— typical spelling). Burn me at the stake for sayin’ so, but bicycles are supposed to be simple, elegant machines, IMO. 🚲

Guess that means 11-speed mechanical is as far as I can go (unless I go Campy)? Ah well. 🤷‍♂️
 

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Your ‘line in the sand’ strategy seems quite smart.

The upgrade merry-go-round is fun at first, but eventually becomes tiresome and expensive, while often providing only marginal benefits.

My personal ‘line in the sand’ I think will be to avoid e-shifting, hydraulic shifting, and hydraulic and ‘disc breaks’ (
Guess that means 11-speed mechanical is as far as I can go (unless I go Campy)? Ah well.
Disc brake - Wikipedia


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I got off the train at 11. I went to 1X gearing because I live on flat lands so 20+ gears and a front derailleur just weren’t necessary. Oddly enough, the only reason I might go back to 2X with 12 or more gears in the rear is if the cost of the electronic systems comes down enough. The automatic trimming feature is a plus.

In the meantime, I’m fine with mechanical shifting 1X11.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Sidenote: This thread, as it currently stands:

600+ views
7 poll votes 🙄

As usual, the Lurker-Fu is strong with RBR. 🥋
 

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Sidenote: This thread, as it currently stands:

600+ views
7 poll votes 🙄

As usual, the Lurker-Fu is strong with RBR. 🥋
Don't look at me, I voted! (y) And remember, if you don't vote, you have no right to complain.
 
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Sidenote: This thread, as it currently stands:

600+ views
7 poll votes 🙄

As usual, the Lurker-Fu is strong with RBR. 🥋
Hell, I’ve got until Dec 5, 2029 to vote. What’s the rush?
 

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Don't look at me... I abstain. Plus, don't make me get out of my easy chair and go to the garage to find out how many rear cluster cogs I do have.
 
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Discussion Starter · #31 · (Edited)
Hell, I’ve got until Dec 5, 2029 to vote. What’s the rush?
Just ‘cuz I was nice enough to leave the poll open until End of the World Day™️, doesn’t mean ppl shouldn’t vote in a timely manner. 🌎💥
 

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I have a triple on 4 out of my 6 bikes. ... so they are already 24's at least. Both moto's have 6. So I don't know when it's going to end, I'm already to far in the future!
 

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Just ‘cuz I was nice enough to leave the poll open until End of the World Day, doesn’t mean ppl shouldn’t vote in a timely manner.
A poll? Did I miss something?

Wireless has some cool features, I will say, and getting away from cables is one of the best.... But I don’t see that as a factor FOR ME. If you give me Di2 I’d use it. But fiddling with cables (even replacing them) seems a push with fiddling with computers.... Hydraulic braking? I’ve never felt like I was needing better brakes than I ride. Even in the rain, it just takes an extra second to wipe the rim. I don’t rain ride on purpose anymore but I will get caught when it’s sketchy out like yesterday... Yes, it’s great braking. I’ve not had problems braking. Braking better doesn’t seem like a goal I’m interested in achieving? Having just been in a position to build up a bike, I considered these options. I am NOT knocking hydraulic brakes as an improvement or electronic shifting as an improvement... They are. But they both seem to be not only unnecessary, but even not a great improvement. At least relative to the cost...


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I smell a recount here...something about mail in ballots, ha ha! I think what we have here is a self fulling prophecy. The manufacturers have been pushing 1X for a spell now but it didn't win everyone over because there was not enough gearing in the back to make the system work properly. So we should have another poll in 16 yrs on when 16 spd cassettes are introduced if they are necessary or not & the death of the front derailleur.
 

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I (think) I was smart about cycling when I got into it back in '08. Not knowing much at the time I had transitioned from a 35-year old hand me down Schwinn Sports Tourer to a modern era (for 2008) Specialized Allez (9-speed) I bought slightly used on ebay from a local cyclist. It took me until sometime in '09 to really figure everything out but I finally settled on a 13-23 cassette (it has a 50-34 compact crankset and came with an 11-28 cassette as stock) which means 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23 gears. Why? Because I don't have the power to use the 11 and 12 efficiently, I didn't need the super low gears for my routes and I like that nice stairstep of 1-tooth difference between gears. I never feel like I I'm wishing for a different gear. This is the reason many of today's cars and light trucks have 7, 8, 9, or 10-speed transmissions, efficiency for fuel economy standards, always in the right gear at the right time. A few years later when I got my Roubaix with a 10-speed, before the bike had even come into the shop, I researched the specs and ordered a 12-23 cassette for the same reason. I hung onto the 11-30 that it came with and use that only for rides that I know have giant climbs.

My point is this. They cycling industry is arrogant. We are not all 28 years old and 140 pounds, nor do we all have $4000 to blow on a bike. For every road biker that races there are 10 that ride club rides, centuries and the like. We like to ride what we consider long and strong. I'm hanging on to my Allez that has well over 40k miles on it, and original 105 derailleurs. Oddly, the front der shifter that I rarely use was replaced years ago but I still have the rear der shifter (both Tiagra) and shifts great. I use my Allez for what I call the daily grind, daily road bike training and the Roubaix for anything 50 miles and up and event rides. I have a crappy Schwinn I use as a dedicated indoor bike on my trainer with remote adjustable resistance if I want to do simulated hills and I watch DVR'd bike racing as visual stimulus. My entire indoor setup was maybe $400 tops. I also don't need disc brakes as I'm never jetting down mountain descents. My 1500g wheelset cost me $320 back in 2012 (I ditched the original Roubaix wheels on ebay). My wheels aren't super aero because I'm never cruising at speeds where aero will really help me. I have the efficiency and simplicity I need for a reasonable price and I'm not changing because I don't need to. Disc brakes and e-shifting won't make me faster on a century. Aero wheels look cool but unless your are regularly say in the mid 20 mph range cruising speed, not gonna help.

I find it amusing when I'm out on my main training road that's popular among roadies and I come along folks that have wheelsets and drivetrains that cost more than my entire bike. I end up passing them and pulling them or dropping them, entirely.
 

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It will end, it has to, but there is something coming after cogs, and they are working on reducing its weight as you read this, and that is a CVT transmission for bikes, once they get the weight down then BOOM someone will be racing in the TDF with a CVT and next thing you know everyone in the "know" will be telling you to buy it because it's a million times better than even Di2, and all that yakking will convince you that BS is good for human consumption! But first they have to start experiencing slow down in sales of Di2 stuff, once the sales start to sag then out will come this new CVT thing that you better get or be left behind nonsense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 · (Edited)
I was nervous going from9 to 11 speed. I don't know if they can make a strong enough chain past 12 speed
Might be a fair concern. Current 12-speed chains are already barely wider than 3/16”.

As we keep narrowing the chain, where’s the breaking point? Both figuratively and literally. 💥

Or short of that, when do we get to a ridiculously short lifespan/replacement cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 · (Edited)
…I think what we have here is a self fulling prophecy. The manufacturers have been pushing 1X for a spell now but it didn't win everyone over because there was not enough gearing in the back to make the system work properly.
So we should have another poll in 16 yrs on when 16 spd cassettes are introduced, if they are necessary or not & the death of the front derailleur.
There’s no doubt that 1x drivetrains are pushing some of the ‘more cogs’ mania (though it certainly existed before).

Parsing through the ratios, it’s hard for me to see any halfway reasonable need for more than 14 cogs with a 2x drivetrain… aka, you get BOTH a very wide range AND nice small jumps across the entire range. 👌

But, 1x drivetrains need 3 to 5 MORE cogs than 2x to achieve the same range w/similar jumps. So, if it remains popular, 1x kinda ‘enables the crazy’, far as # of cogs go. 🤪

This is not a slam on the validity or usefulness of 1x, btw. It’s made inroads for a reason.
 
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