I'm considering making a minor change to the gearing on my bike.
I'm quite happy keeping the standard chain rings that I have however, I do spit chips a little every time I'm on a hill >7% when everyone around me drops into granny gear on compacts and blithely spins past me using a 34:26 gear while my granny gear is 39:26. (yes, yes, kudos to all of you who don't need granny gear to get up hills).
To resolve this, I'm looking at changing my rear cassette from the 13-26 I currently have (Campag) to a 13:29.
My question then is, how much benefit do you think I might get from changing to the 13-29 cassette? I don't know the configuration of the gears and I'm too tired to look it up right now, but the small one is a 13 and the big one is a 29... I've no idea what's in between. If I have the option to fiddle with the 'in between' gears, what size gears might you recommend?
Bearing in mind that my decision not to change from standards to compacts is founded largely on my being unable to afford a new crankset, so despite that being a potentially good option, it's not going to happen. Not to mention, I like the standards and, given my smallest rear gear is a 13, I want to keep my 53 up front!
Speaking from a girl's point of view, Juz may (?) be finding the hills a grind rather than any sort of spin. I'm only just back on the bike after 5 months off and I reckon I am climbing faster in 11-28 (unfit) than I did in 12-25 (relatively fit) simply because I can spin and find a suitable rhythm rather than the old slog and grind while praying for the top!
There's that magic word - RHYTHM
I find that if my rhythm changes for whatever reason it takes quite a while to get it back and feel comfortable again. I don't care how slowly I get up the hills so long as I do get up them without feeling completely knackered at the top.
RHYTHM and BREATHING works for me.
RHYTHM and BREATHING works for me.
I've heard that breathing is a good thing ...
Try it and see
I've always been exactly the same whether it be cycling, running or swimming. Never the fastest but reasonably good endurance wise. Nothing like a good dose of R&B :)
Running a higher gearing only works when you have the strength to turn it, which is another reason why the industry is doing cycling no favours with the cassettes it fits to stock bikes (gotta have wot the pros use ya know).
Late last year, when some of my medical issues decided to mess with my cycling, I felt like I was always riding in too high a gear on the Hillbrick (fixed gear). At that time, I was running 48x18 and while it gave me the right cadence for the speeds I was doing around town (90 at 30km/hr), it just 'felt' too high, so I dropped to 48x19. Nothing changed in riding terms - same average speeds, same point to point times, same results up hills, slightly lower top speed (can only spin to 180 on the road) - what DID change, was that I no longer felt as though I wanted to go down a gear. The lower gear pushed up my cadence but my body was in a space where it wanted it, an issue you don't often meet with a geared bike because you just choose the lower gear without thinking about it, about the only place you really have to consider it is when climbing at your limits, which is the point of this discussion.
I'm revolingly comfortable spinning at 100rpm, so that bit isn't a problem. I know the 29 won't make me faster, just make it easier to spin up the steep hills and really, that's all I'm after.
Arguably, the same can be said for changing to compacts though - won't makeyou faster, just easier to spin, and if it's easier to spin and you can do it, then it saves the legs for the distance.
I won't be getting rid of the 13-26 cassette so, in time, I can shift back to it if necessary. But as I start pushing up more and more hills, I want to feel like I can complete the whole ride, not just beating the incline.
If I hurt myself Jeremy, you'll just get to laugh more :-P
Fair enough, by all means, give it a go....I was just questioning your motivations for wanting to change something.....it sounded to me like you wanted to go faster, not that you couldnt get up the hills.
The basis of improving through training is progressive overload.....gradually getting harder and harder. If you do something that is easy, you will get no benefit.
I realise you are not trying to be the next world champion though....just trying to help :)
Juz.... Go with the 29....Lee and I have been discussing your dilemma this arvo and both agree to change your cassette to the 29..If you can spin at 100 like I try to then once you get use to the 29 spinning at 100 you will find it easy and you will in the end go quicker.. My bike had stock cranks with 11/25 cassette and I did struggle bad up hills.. changed to 28 and now still do find the hills a challenge BUT my recovery time is quicker once at the top due to not having to expel as much energy like I was with the old 25 cassette. I have contemplated several times to go compacts but at this stage I feel I have no need to. Sure others go past me at the moment BUT thats only due to unable to train as often as many others do. I am sure with the 29 rear you will ride up hill easier thus quicker...