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Hello,
I've a chance to build up a new frameset (italian lug steel) with campy mirage 9 spd group.
The mirage group has compact options: 34/50 or 34/48 and cassette options of 12-23 or 13-26.
Like to get your opinions on what's the best combinations of gearing for crank and cassette for a typical northern california century ride. (sierra, sequoia...)? for a weekend warrior type.

Thx
Kwan
 

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There have been a lot of posts about chosing the correct gearing on a bike, but I figure I'll put in my two cents.

Low End - 34x23 vs. 34x26:
Since you are a weekend rider in a hilly area, get the best possible gearing for climbing. There is nothing wose than blowing your endurance load on a stiff hill and then being miserable for the rest of the ride. Skimping on low gears brings absolutely no benefit to recreational riders. I'd recommend the 13-26

High End - 50x13 vs. 48x13:
The only time you'll use these gears is when going 30mph+. Riding on flats, even in a pack, will never exceed 30mph. The only time you'll use these gears is on descents, were the benefit to having one extra gear on the high end is often minimal. You can go just of fast on descents by getting into a nice aerodynamic tuck. The 48 will shift slightly smoother than the 50 and the difference in gear ratios after shifting will be smaller. I'd get the 48 unless, you really like to get as much out of your decents as possible.

Note, if you plan on racing, you'll want to get the 50. Also, you can always swap out your rear cassette to a 12/23 or 11/23 without having to alter your chain.
 
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