Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uteruses (or is it Uteri?) and Compacts

I pride myself on pushing as big of a gear on my SS as possible (Which isn't very big). I run a 34 x 20. It feels right for me most of the time. I still don't know what gear ratio I'll run at Leadville but that is still 2 months away. Plenty of time to train and figure that out....Gulp.

But on my road bike, I decided to try something different. I went with a compact instead of traditional (Please do not start in with the uterus jokes until I explain).

When I ride my road bike, I like to climb. I don't like the flats. And every ride for me ends with either a climb up the North or South side of Suncrest. A compact is great for climbing. Not because the gearing is easier. In fact, I have yet to use the 3 easiest gears on my 11/26 cassette. I still climb at pretty much the same cadence and gearing as my traditional set up. But the compact is lighter and requires a shorter chain saving even more weight.

The only concern I had was how it would hold up during the sprint finish at the bottom of AF. Would I spin out?

I tested it out last week against the king of the AF sprint- Dug. I'm happy to report that so far this season, I am 1-0 against Dug and 3-0 overall for the season. Last year Dug beat me just about every sprint. He is the master. I'm sure my luck will end very soon but it won't be because I didn't have enough gearing.

I think I'll keep my compact for a while. If you like to climb, I recommend it.


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South County Ciclista said...

I love the compact crank on my road bike. The only time I ever spin out is on some gradual descents or long flats where the big ringed bikes can really pick up speed. But I as well hate flats and would rather climb. As far as leadville goes, did you see the single speed bike in Mountain Bike Action this month with a hammerschmidt crank? There is your solution.

KanyonKris said...

I've heard people say there's not much difference between a 50 and 53 big ring. Your experience backs that up.

Just get a triple - gears out the ears.

SCC - hammerschmidt crank and one cog on the back sounds good, real good.

dug said...

i expect that eventually your uterus will contract this summer after you have your baby, and then the sprint will be mine.

StupidBike said...

A Single Speeder with Compact Cranks, isn't that like a Vegan wearing a leather jacket?

KanyonKris said...

Uteruses / Uteri - If only we knew someone who could answer this question.

In a totally unrelated topic, what's the name of that other music video channel?

tp said...

LOL Stupidbike. My thoughts exactly. That just doesn't make any sense. It's like wiping before you poop.

Btw, I think your blog was spammed.

Rick Sunderlage said...

Tony- think of it more like using wet wipes instead of dry tp to wipe.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

50x11 is actually 3% more gear than 53x12. Don't know what cassette you were running before, but if it was a 12-23 or 12-25, you've got more high end than before.

I've been running a compact for two years because I'm a pussy. I just put on a 11-23 cassette and really like the setup. With the 34, it's plenty of low gear, but I no longer have to jump from 15 to 17 like I did with the 11-26.

As for the weight, there's actually no difference between a compact and a regular crank, so all you're saving is one link in the chain, which is about two grams or the weight equivalent of a moderate-sized loogie.

Rick Sunderlage said...

mark- on the compact, both rings are smaller than the traditional. How can there not be any weight savings there?

I've heard that the 50x11 is more gear than a 53x12 but I don't know if I trust that.

KanyonKris said...

Rick, Mark is correct. Think of it as how much bigger/smaller the circle gets by adding/subtracting teeth. Taking 3 teeth away from a large 53 tooth ring doesn't shrink it much. But the diameter changes a lot when going from a small 12 to and even smaller 11 tooth cog. It's a bit counter-intuitive, but if you put the rings on top of each other you'd clearly see the diameter differences.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

53/12 = 4.41 wheel revolutions per turn of the cranks. 50/11 = 4.54 revs/crank. You get 103% more wheel travel per crank at the same cadence on a 50:11 gear ratio than on a 53:12. 53:11 gives you 6% more than 50:11, since 53/50 = 1.06.

As for the weight, part of the problem is that the spider on a compact is smaller, so the big ring has to have more material in the ring itself to cover a nearly equal ring diameter as well as to offset the reduced stiffness of the smaller diameter spider, offsetting any benefit of the slightly smaller small ring. Claimed weights by the manufacturers are the same for compacts and standards. My Ultegra compact weighs 748 grams on Rachel's (very precise) kitchen scale, whereas my Ultegra standard crank weighs 739 grams.

Dammit I am a nerd.

StupidBike said...

My Saddle Bag has 5 quick links, 3 CO2's, 4 tubes and a sandwich in it.

how much that weigh????

Rick Sunderlage said...

stupidbike- i can't give you an answer until i know what kind of sandwich you're packing. peanut butter usually weighs less than any of the salted, cured meats.

I'll see you at DV tomorrow. I hope it's not a mess up there.