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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:46 am
Posts: 503
Location: Leamington, UK
Seems like the 80s & 90s gave us closely spaced front chain rings. Why? Today it's more common to get a smaller inner ring eg 36, so there's a useful range and not too much duplication. Maybe it's my jelly legs but I can't turn a 42/22 combo up a moderate hill let alone the 1 in 4 gradients I used to climb in Devon.

Maybe I need to man the funk up a bit.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:17 pm
Posts: 3775
Location: Norn Iron
In the old days, men were men!!!

I have to say thank God for compact chainsets after my recent trip to Lanzarote or i would still be at the bottom of the first hill (not mountain - hill!).

I hope this helps,

Clint Eastwood


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:19 pm
Posts: 7006
Location: Odense, Denmark
My theory is that that cycling was more race-oriented back then. You didn't see anything like as many +100kg +45years folks starting out as enthusiasts and riding proper mountains.

I raced in Denmark on 45-52 12-19 most of the time..... I considered 42-23 a climbing gear when I lived in Manchester and was training out in the Peak district. (Was I really ever that fit?)

10-speed means you can run a straight through 12-19 finishing off with 21-23 without cross chaining so you can use the same gearing for every application.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:02 pm
Posts: 1273
Location: north hamshire
yeah that exeter/toquay hill 42/21 destroyed me and so did ditchling beacon.... only need to lose 4stone then look
out fromey !!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:25 pm
Posts: 1785
Location: It's not easy being a dolphin.
Been thinking about this too. How on earth back in the day I was riding with a 42/52 and a 13-23 block going up 1:4 around the Pennines I don't know.

Conversely, I absolutely hated a modern 34/50 compact with a 10sp 12-26 here in flat Stockholm on my CX / light tourer - always a crap chain line and always seemed to do a rear and front change on anything undulating or on the corners; the 16T jump at the front was simply horrid with the cross-over point exactly on my natural fitness / rolling resistance / terrain point.

Now I'm running an old favorite 30/39/46 triple with a 9sp 12-23 on the back. Lot's of range for off-road excursions (the 30 is basically the panic button and getting out of the steep drive way!) or gravel paths and on-road (39 usually, 46 if giving it some agro) gives me lot's of redundancy with short gearing jumps to keep a smooth cadence and very rarely a need for a double shift. Most of the time I'm riding bang in the middle of the cassette with a decent chain line.

If I was living in the Alps on a proper road bike, then a compact would make more sense. How people can ride around here on a 34/53 I will never know; they must get through drive train components like underpants.

I think it's in the 60s - 70s there was a fashion of close ratio up front, and a handful of wide ratio sprockets at the back. Then it went wider up front, and closer at the back as more sprockets got added. Now it's even wider up front, closer at the back with more sprockets - thankfully there's enough stuff out there to fine tune to your specific needs.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:02 pm
Posts: 1273
Location: north hamshire
thats good advice on gearing. ibelieve a lot of rider/s were put off when they started because of struggling up
hills . i stuck with that 52/42 12 to 21 and luckily my knees were ok and i got fitter !
on one occasion from exeter to exmouth i got over taken by a stocky fellow on a mountain bike with knobly tyres. I was doing about 22mph and i thought" what the hell 's going on here " i managed to catch up for a brief
chat before getting dropped... my ego was partialy repaired...he was a boxer.
but moving back to the issue of gear's and indeed riding.I am passionate about retro racing bikes but my true
pleasure would probably be touring and taking in ancient trails with lower gears.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:17 pm
Posts: 3775
Location: Norn Iron
Did the boxer punch you? :D

I thought when i returned to cycling last year that compact was too low and the LBS who sold me the bike said to keep trying it over the winter. I persisted and it seems it is the way to go but i would not change the gearing on a couple of my retro bikes as i like the higher gears - but only when i find a hill to go down!!

It is amazing to me how the body ages and how unfit i actually am. I watched the TdF today and am completely baffled how the pros do it - high speed on the 'so called' flat and then Mont Ventoux at the end - totally amazing.

Richard


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:57 pm
Posts: 774
Wasn't it simply down to the limitation of the gear mechs? They simply couldn't take up that much slack in the chain. Took 52/42 chainset and 13/21 for the Retroronde - epic fail on the Koppenberg


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1321
Location: Cotswolds
In 1950 my 10 speed Benelux gear with handlebar controls was running 47x50 chainrings and 13,15,17,19,21. I could change both gears at once off the saddle up hill. Later 48 x 51 with 14,16,18,21,24, or 45x48 with 13 to 23.
These gave 10 evenly spaced ratios, and the tendency was not to use the most out of line gears.
It was in the mid 1950's that Jean Robic started using what we thought were large differences in chainrings, but generally the even gear spacing of the 3 or 4 tooth difference on the chainring was much preferred.
Gear ratios were always quoted in inches, being the equivalent of the diameter of a wheel directly driven as in the old ordinary.
So 13 -21 and 47 50 gave a gear range of 103 to 59 on a 27" wheel, evenly spaced. This was used on hills steeper than 1 in 4.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8202
Location: New Forest, UK
I think the difference with the past was that it was thought that spinning the pedals was slow. This wasn't scientifically challenged (after all in the 1950s and 1960s it was thought that drinking water made you slow!) Armstrong etc changed all that and even Indurain experimented with triples. Much of it is fashion - tourers had doubles in the 1960s which had 28 or 29T chainrings...just like the latest MTB chainsets!


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