View Full Version : gearing question for beginner

03-16-2009, 09:55 AM
I am a fit 200lb rider, biking once a week. I ride in the bay area.

What gearing should i have given my size? and which group? compact or standard? and with a 34" inseam, a 175 crank?

was thinking ultegra or 7800 dura ace, but is 11 speed campy way to go?

and compact or not? also confused by cage size issues.

I am price sensitive but a few hundred dollar difference not a killer.

I have quite strong legs but not from biking.


03-16-2009, 10:05 AM
You are a Clydesdale as far as cyclist go(sorry to be so blunt, I am too if that is any consideration) and the Bay Area is hilly. Those two facts alone dictate a triple front crankset. Compounded by the fact that you are not in cycling shape, even if you are in great shape otherwise, it might be wise to start with a triple. They typically come in a 53/39/30 configuration.

The minimum cassette you will want is a 12/27 and should probably consider even lower than a 27 to start out. Your fitness will dictate what you need but this would be good basic advice. You did not indicate your age but the older you get the more a triple might become a necessity rather than an option. My retired buddy uses a 30front/30+(34 if I remember correctly)rear because it does not want to struggle up steep hills.

You will probably need a lot of guidance if you decide to go for lower gears because that requires long cage derailleurs and other considerations that are beyond my expertise. I currently have a 52/39/30 and 12/25 but wished that I had stayed with a 12/27. I am 50 years old and climbing :) .

03-16-2009, 11:15 AM
As a fellow Bay Area resident, I would agree with dekindy.

If you have any desire at all to ride the hills in San Mateo County (Old La Honda, King's, West Alpine, Tunitas), Santa Cruz County (Bonny Doon), East Bay (Old Tunnel, Diablo), or Marin (Fairfax-Bolinas, Alpine Dam, Ridgecrest), I would advise a triple.

Cycling one day per week is not a lot, and despite your level of fitness and leg strength, it sucks having to mash your way up a climb at a cadence of 50 when you don't have any lower gears you can drop into. I've seen some pretty athletic types on local climbs doing just that with standard rings in the front.

Are you buying a complete bike? Building it up? Would you consider used? The classifieds here have some great deals on pre-owned bikes and components. Used allows you to experiment and then resell what you don't like without much of a loss, if any.

In addition, there are a handful of decent shops in the Bay Area where you can rent. If you're in the South Bay, I believe that Silicon Valley Cycling Center has some pretty nice bikes. Why not rent for a day or two and try some different options before spending your money? Try a standard double, compact double, and a triple, head out for a climb, and see what works for you. For all we know, you could be the next Jan Ullrich! ;)

Bottom line - there are too many beautiful rides out here to be limited by your gearing. :banana:

03-16-2009, 11:27 AM
I am sure I am a masher, no doubt. And that probably won't change. And definately a clydesdale compared to cyclists - but not in my sport where I am on the lighter side actually.

I do have a used ottrott frame I bought inexpensively.

Now I need to outfit it, and used is fine as long as no problems with it.

But new is ok too. I realize I don't ride that much and the frame is much better than me, but the size was right, and the price quite good.

Triple sounds like it would work well. On mountain bikes, I couldn't use the smallest granny gear since I would just spin the rear wheel (masher) as I didn't have the traction - this on technical single track.

I do want to save my knees for sure though.

And err on the side of easier.

03-16-2009, 11:37 AM
On mountain bikes, I couldn't use the smallest granny gear since I would just spin the rear wheel (masher) as I didn't have the traction - this on technical single track.

You may be doing this already, but be sure to stay seated when you're climbing a steep section of single track in the granny ring. If you try and stand on the pedals, you'll very likely spin out the rear wheel.