Question: What gears are they pushing? They look like they’re flying. —Jack G.
Pros often use a 55×11-tooth high gear for time trials. On flat or rolling stages they might have 53/39T chainrings with an 11-21T cassette. In moderate mountains they switch to a large cog of 23T or 25T.
These days, they’ve joined the big-gear revolution like many recreational riders. For very steep, long climbs or the severe tilts like on some of the Classics, they now go as high as 28T or even 32T cogs.
Remember, though, it’s deceptive to compare the pros’ gearing to your own. Top pros are strong enough to use a high cadence in whatever gear they choose.
When you can generate over 400 watts of power for an hour or more, like many of them can, you can maintain a high cadence in a lot bigger gear than the average recreational bike racer who puts out a little over 200 watts.
ian veitch says
Ive got a bargain of a bike for my wife who used to ride a bit but does a bit of mountain biking now. However, she is doing a 40 mile road race with a couple of 3 mile climbs (5% up to 10% for very short periods). The chainring set up was for time trials and is a 53/39T and a 11-23 cassette. It has a Ultegra 10 speed derailer short cage.
I will probably have to change the 53 chain ring as its worn, so i was thinking of a 50T, but wanted to know just how far i could go with a cassette. I want to make sure she gets the best possibility of a climb possible (IE not having to walk). so can i go as far as a 11/32 cassette, or should i do a 11/28 or 12/28?
Simon Dawson says
No. You will have to change the whole setup for recreational riding uphill.
My new Trek AL3 is a compact chainring. 50/34 front and a long cage derailleur with a 9speed 11-32 rear cassette. I’m a reasonably fit guy but only.manage to get up the steep hills in North Wales with.a grind and not a spin up
Mattia Nenna says
For single speed bikes, is 60T chainring & 18 T cog the same as 53×11?