Do I need to upgrade my gears?

GravityFighter

Senior Member
Location
Leeds
Bought a 2013 Cannondale CAADX last year as a way of getting back into cycling.

I'm a generally fit 31 year old bloke, weigh 12 stone and my legs have always been naturally strong.

Stock gearing on my bike is 46x36 chainring at the front with a 12-28 Shimano Tiagra 10 speed cassette at the back.

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/cannondale/caadx-105-2013-cyclocross-bike-ec042908

Now that I'm out regularly (two or three 20 mile rides a week and a 40 - 50 miler once every couple in hilly Yorkshire), I'm finding my gearing very easy on flats and spinning out of control on steep descents. I'm the kind of rider that likes something to push against and work my legs, so stay on the big ring most of the time, only using the small 'un for really steep hills. I hate the feeling of my legs spinning too quickly with no resistance whatsoever and when I'm at the top of my range, find myself freewheeling a lot of the time.

Would I benefit from changing the cassette (and / or chainrings) to give me something harder to push?

Bit of a newbie to the technical side of gearing on bikes, so just looking for some general thoughts!
 

Big Dave laaa

Biking Ninja
Location
Flintshire
That's an extremely low geared front end but I suppose it's because it's designed for cyclocross. A compact double would usually be 50-34 on the front and a standard double in the region of 52-39 so they would both raise your gear ratios considerably. If you're as strong in the leg as you say I'd probably opt for a standard double, you'll need to get a longer chain and possibly change the front mech position. Someone a bit more technical will be along shortly to give more detail.
 

Citius

Guest
All I would say is that on steep descents, you're better off just freewheeling. Choose gearing that suits the majority of your riding, not just the downhill bits.
 
OP
GravityFighter

GravityFighter

Senior Member
Location
Leeds
Unfortunately no room for a new bike just yet. Bought this one as a good introduction back into cycling; do ride some towpaths, but I'mfinding more and more my natural bias is towards the road.

Agree re freewheeling down the steeper stuff, but last night I was spinning out on flats in top gear at 23 - 24mph too. In stark contrast to my Mrs, a much more experienced cyclist who runs a Specialized TriCross with a triple on the front and always seems to have something to pedal.
 

outlash

also available in orange
I find on my 'crosser on the road (coincidentally a CAADX too), I'm spinning out at around 30 but it doesn't bother me. You could fit a set of bigger chainrings as Big Dave has suggested, you might find however you'd struggle more when you go off road though.

Tony.
 

Citius

Guest
Agree re freewheeling down the steeper stuff, but last night I was spinning out on flats in top gear at 23 - 24mph too. In stark contrast to my Mrs, a much more experienced cyclist who runs a Specialized TriCross with a triple on the front and always seems to have something to pedal.
You won't literally be spinning out at that speed, with that gearing. My son can hold that speed with 42/15 youth gearing, so it's probably a case of learning to spin faster. I'm not a huge advocate of high cadence, but I am an advocate of appropriate cadence - and it sounds like yours might be way too low.

Either way, if you chuck a 50t on the front, it would probably help all round.
 
OP
GravityFighter

GravityFighter

Senior Member
Location
Leeds
You won't literally be spinning out at that speed, with that gearing. My son can hold that speed with 42/15 youth gearing, so it's probably a case of learning to spin faster. I'm not a huge advocate of high cadence, but I am an advocate of appropriate cadence - and it sounds like yours might be way too low.
Fair point, it could be down to technique, cadence and 'feel'. I haven't measured my cadence actually. But I feel like I'm spinning my legs "quickly" when I'm on the flat at that kind of speed with very little or no resistance to push against. I could probably go 5 - 10% quicker, but I'm reluctant to do so when there's no resistance whatsoever and I'm losing the feel of the bike underneath my feet.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Change the crank to a 53 - 39 and you'll need to change the front shifter as well (and a new chain)
If you can 'spin out' 53-12 on the flat with no wind I'd give British Cycling a bell. :becool:
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
Study some of the online calculators http://www.bikecalc.com/cadence_at_speed

A cadence of 70 to 90 should be comfortable and over 100 achievable. Going up onto a 50, will be about the same as one cog difference on the rear, so not very significant, unless you are spending loads of time on the small cog.

Good luck,
Keith
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Not sure about that, otherwise there would be several different version of front mech for each groupset, which there isn't and AFAIK my crosser has a standard Sora front mech.
I had to change mine when I went to a 53 from a 46 on the big ring.......................Or maybe Julies Cycles in Leicester just wanted to get more money out of me.
 
Top Bottom