With a subject line like that, I'm not sure I should ask a question or just say, "Go"...
... but AVO (and then the rest of you) got me thinking after commenting on the photos of my new bike that I'd probably want to consider compacts, so I thought I'd ask for a bit of insight.
Now, I have 2 reasons for this request: firstly, I want to learn and use what I learn to improve my riding; secondly, I've been stupidly sick for the last 3 weeks and as such, haven't ridden Dita outdoors yet so I'm thinking, if compacts are the way to go, should I take her back to Turtur bikes while still in her shiny new condition and get them to swap the crankset out for me? (I'm getting better quickly now & want Dita ready for me to ride as soon as I have the strength to so, if I do this, I'll probably take her to the Turtur guys tomorrow)
Given I'm still a very new rider (and this is my first ever road bike), and considering that my goals are to ride the hills as much as possible as well as long distance, what would you suggest? I am yet to hear a consistent (or passionately convincing) argument as to why I ought to go either way and I know personal preference will play a great part in most opinions, but tell me what you think. What are the pros and cons? And of course, answer any other questions you think I should be asking about compacts...
probably don't need to do it.. but it's a good idea to get the shifting right. so you might need either a new joining pin for your chain, or invest in one of the various removable links. Initially i didn't shorten my chain when i did my swap over, and it worked ok..
the other thing you would need to do is move the front derailleur down on its bracket. this may then require some adjustments to get the front shifting correct. there's nothing super difficult about it, but for $50 you could consider the LBS option .. then you don't need to get your hands dirty :)
Thank you everyone for your replies - I've read it all, read all the links and learned lots more than I knew there was to learn about gears and I'm feeling rather pleased with myself :-) (but reserve the right to ask more questions later).
I have got the guys at Turtur bikes looking at what they have in stock and will be able to swap for me and I'll know in the next few days. I'm planning to keep the rear cassette as is for the moment but switch to compact crankset. MUST have Dita up and running by the long weekend as I'll be well enough to get out of my living room by then and I've got plenty of riding planned.
I'm glad this thread has been helpful for other people too :-) I've found it helpful to read everyone elses questions too. Thanks everyone! :-) Keep the thread alive for anyone else asking questions though.
I run compacts on my TCR with an 11-25 cassette, giving slightly higher top speed than 53/12 and similar climbing to 39/25. This does result in a slightly larger gap in th middle of the cassette (no 16 tooth ring) but has the advantage that there is slightly less cross chaining than running a 12-25 meaning I can stay on the small chain ring longer.
IMHO there is no perfect solution... just the one that works best for you.