Drivetrain Advice (Compact vs Pro Compact) for an older guy.....
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    84

    Drivetrain Advice (Compact vs Pro Compact) for an older guy.....

    As an older rider (65, 5'6" 176 lb.), I have been riding bikes with compact (50/34) chain rings for some time now. I am in good shape for my age, and alternate between cycling and tennis.

    I am looking at a new 2021 Giant TCR Advanced 2 Pro Compact (52/36 with an 11-30 cassette). It will most likely be one of the last rim brake bikes to acquire new. It would replace my CAAD 10 (50/34 with an 11-28 cassette). I hope to be able to test ride this bike toward the end of August.

    Just wondering what sage advice the forum has on this drivetrain, given my age. I know 2 teeth up front can make a big difference. My concern is being able to find a comfortable arrangement without having the chain at an awkward angle. I am hoping that a test ride will help answer this question. Just looking for some thoughts before I get a chance to preview the bike.

    Jim D

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    9,514
    Quote Originally Posted by desaljs View Post
    I have been riding bikes with compact (50/34) chain rings for some time now.
    Then you are in a much better position than a stranger on the internet for deciding if you want bigger gears.

  3. #3
    tlg
    tlg is online now
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    17,175
    A 50/28 is 1.21 gear ratio.
    A 52/30 is 1.20 gear ratio.

    Virtually identical.

    https://www.gear-calculator.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by desaljs View Post
    My concern is being able to find a comfortable arrangement without having the chain at an awkward angle.
    I don't know why. That's what shifters are for.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  4. #4
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    15,236
    As Jay posted no one here can give you good advice on which gearing to run. That said you can change the chainrings easily because it's a Shimano 105 crank. Easily...not necessarily cheaply. If the rear derailleur is a GS then you can change the cassette to an 11-34. But this is all up to you, no one here actually knows you so gearing advice is worthless.
    #promechaniclife

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    3,869
    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    A 50/28 is 1.21 gear ratio.
    A 52/30 is 1.20 gear ratio.

    Virtually identical.

    https://www.gear-calculator.com/
    So you have about the same gearing as your current bike. If the one you buy doesn't have a GS cage, you can update that easily and get more range (and relatively inexpensively if its mechanical shifting). You can always swap chain rings if you find you want the extra 2 cogs when you are older, a nice set of Ultegra rings used go for about $60, Dura Ace $90. What groupset is on the bike you are looking at? What's the terrain like that you normally ride and how often to you find yourself pressed on a climb with your lowest gear now?
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Niner RLT9 RDO
    BH G7 Disc
    Trek Crockett

    "The Spirit of the Party "serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection

  6. #6
    pmf
    pmf is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    5,522
    Pro Compact? That's a new one. I've heard it referred to as hybrid compact. Or maybe Semi-Weenie? With the huge range in cassette cogs these days, I don't think it'll make much difference. Gain two teeth on the small chainring and on the largest cassette cog pretty much gets you to the same place (as tlg points out). I've got 4 bikes with 50-34 and one with 53-39. Frankly, I don't notice a hell of a lot of difference unless there's a big hill involved.

  7. #7
    Matnlely Dregaend
    Reputation: DrSmile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,814
    Chain rings mostly matter when it comes to comfortably riding the big ring as you're upshifting until the cog jumps get too big and you need to shift to the smaller ring. An 11-30 is lacking a 16 never mind the 18 (I'm assuming 11 speed), so it might feel uncomfortable/annoying upshifting past cog 15. That only gives you 5 cogs in the big ring with single tooth jumps, and pushing a 52 ring with a 15 might get hard even on a flat ride. I personally prefer giving up the 11 or even 12 to gain the 16 and 18 cogs for this reason. Campy is getting around this a bit by offering a subcompact crank with their 12 speed options. If you don't mind bigger cog jumps or love spinning then don't worry about it.

    My daily ride has compact cranks with a 13-26 cassette (10 speed that includes the 16 and 18 cogs). But I'm not quite in my 60s yet.
    “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” - Susan B. Anthony 1896
    "Cycling and ethical bankruptcy have always gone together." - Bike Snob NYC
    "White personifies this generation's obsession with superficiality, one in which a carefully curated social media post is more important than the actual ride" - Daimeon Shanks
    "I haven't been %^&* like that since I was an altar boy" Hank Moody

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    84
    Appreciate the feedback. The group set on the bike in question is Shimano 105, with 52/36 and 11-30. My riding is mostly flat when riding in the home area, but I do some event rides that can get hilly.

    Jim D

  9. #9
    wut?
    Reputation: Clipped_in's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    497
    OP, if your current gearing is adequate for you, then the proposed setup should be fine, just with a little more on the high end for pedaling downhill.
    There I was...

  10. #10
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    279
    Quote Originally Posted by desaljs View Post
    It would replace my CAAD 10
    Jim D
    Just to confirm Is this the bike your referring too?
    Im not clear on the different models... " Track" looks like endurance / touring bike.
    https://bikemunk.com/cannondale-caad10-review/

    Or this?
    https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bik...ku=c16200m1046

    I felt the same way about picking up a non disk bike before they go extinct.
    shhh.. about Giant TCR.
    Last edited by rudge66; 08-05-2020 at 02:09 PM.

  11. #11
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    15,236
    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Pro Compact? That's a new one. I've heard it referred to as hybrid compact. Or maybe Semi-Weenie? With the huge range in cassette cogs these days, I don't think it'll make much difference. Gain two teeth on the small chainring and on the largest cassette cog pretty much gets you to the same place (as tlg points out). I've got 4 bikes with 50-34 and one with 53-39. Frankly, I don't notice a hell of a lot of difference unless there's a big hill involved.
    'Pro Compact' is the bike model not the chainring size(s).
    #promechaniclife

  12. #12
    Cooper1960
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    516
    I would stick with the 50/34 combo, why make your riding harder? lol
    Also it's easier and less expensive to change out the rear cassette than the crank if you need to fine tune your gearing. That's advice from a 60 year old man.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    21,346
    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    Chain rings mostly matter when it comes to comfortably riding the big ring as you're upshifting until the cog jumps get too big and you need to shift to the smaller ring. An 11-30 is lacking a 16 never mind the 18 (I'm assuming 11 speed), so it might feel uncomfortable/annoying upshifting past cog 15. That only gives you 5 cogs in the big ring with single tooth jumps, and pushing a 52 ring with a 15 might get hard even on a flat ride. I personally prefer giving up the 11 or even 12 to gain the 16 and 18 cogs for this reason. Campy is getting around this a bit by offering a subcompact crank with their 12 speed options. If you don't mind bigger cog jumps or love spinning then don't worry about it.

    My daily ride has compact cranks with a 13-26 cassette (10 speed that includes the 16 and 18 cogs). But I'm not quite in my 60s yet.
    Bingo. If you have flat roads as part of your riding, then you will benefit more from closely spaced gears than from a high gear that you only use when pedaling downhill (when you could go as fast or faster by coasting in a tight tuck). When I was on 10s, I rand a 50/34 with a 13-26. Now with 11s I have a 12-25 but would be happy with a 13 small cog. I can't imagine giving up the 16 and 18.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    84
    Appreciate all the advice. The bike in question is a Giant TCR Advanced 2 Pro Compact. I believe a 2021 model. I will have a chance to ride it on 8/28/20.

    Jim D

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    3,869
    Ask the shop to swap the crank for a compact to close the deal. Most shops will do that for free (at least any I have dealt with).
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Niner RLT9 RDO
    BH G7 Disc
    Trek Crockett

    "The Spirit of the Party "serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection

  16. #16
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    15,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Ask the shop to swap the crank for a compact to close the deal. Most shops will do that for free (at least any I have dealt with).
    It's Shimano...you only have to change the chainrings not the whole crank.
    #promechaniclife

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    3,869
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It's Shimano...you only have to change the chainrings not the whole crank.
    True, just easier to change cranks though if they are both new/like new
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Niner RLT9 RDO
    BH G7 Disc
    Trek Crockett

    "The Spirit of the Party "serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection

  18. #18
    dcb
    dcb is online now
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    819
    I did the same thing a couple of years ago going from a CAAD 10 to a newer bike with a 52/36 chainrings. If I had done it over again I would have stuck with a compact. I didn't need the 52/11 combo for speed over the 50/11, so the smaller chainrings just allowed me to be in the big ring longer. It really wasn't a big deal though. I kept the bike with the 52/36 for years and was happy with it.

  19. #19
    Banned Sock Puppet
    Reputation: Lombard's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    11,533
    Quote Originally Posted by desaljs View Post
    Appreciate the feedback. The group set on the bike in question is Shimano 105, with 52/36 and 11-30. My riding is mostly flat when riding in the home area, but I do some event rides that can get hilly.

    Jim D
    Do you find the gearing on the CAAD lacking in low gearing for hills? If not, then this setup will give you virtually the same low gearing.
    "COMPLACENCY IS LETHAL - VOTE in November." - System Shock.

    "With
    bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."
    -- DCGriz, RBR.





  20. #20
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    279
    ahh.. sounds like like maybe.. ah since you are riding mostly flats ... ah
    50 / 34 ah ...
    ewr ... wrong set years ago?
    Last edited by rudge66; 08-08-2020 at 10:31 PM.

  21. #21
    MDM
    MDM is online now
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    29
    I always thought that having a 1:1 low gear ratio was optimal in hilly/mountainous California, even in my younger years. That meant having a triple crank in the past, but an 11 speed compact double works for me too. 12 speed is even better.

  22. #22
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    279
    A Giant TCR with a 50 /34 is like a Ferrari with a Hyundai engine .
    Give yourself a challenge, a more demanding group , go for it.

  23. #23
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    15,236
    Quote Originally Posted by rudge66 View Post
    A Giant TCR with a 50 /34 is like a Ferrari with a Hyundai engine .
    Give yourself a challenge, a more demanding group , go for it.
    I'm sorry but I missed the part where you became the definer of what's acceptable. Are you saying that a compact make someone 'less' of a rider? Is that it?
    #promechaniclife

  24. #24
    Banned Sock Puppet
    Reputation: Lombard's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    11,533
    Quote Originally Posted by rudge66 View Post
    A Giant TCR with a 50 /34 is like a Ferrari with a Hyundai engine .
    Give yourself a challenge, a more demanding group , go for it.
    Are you bragging about the size of your package?
    "COMPLACENCY IS LETHAL - VOTE in November." - System Shock.

    "With
    bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."
    -- DCGriz, RBR.





  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    84
    Lets keep it civil!! I am the OP. I appreciate the feedback on this. I will have a chance to ride this gearing on 8/28. I guess my main concern is having to always shift to the small ring up front while climbing easier rollers, which I usually do in the big ring on my compact setup. I know the gears are there to be used, but I do not want to have to always be shifting up front. My other concern is finding a comfortable cruising gear that does not force me to ride with the chain crossed all the time. The only thing that will answer the question is a test ride.

    On my Giant Defy (50/34 with an 11-34 out back), I find myself almost "running out of gear" on flat roads, so I am thinking I can handle 52/36 and 11-30.

    Jim D

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 23
    Last Post: 02-26-2012, 01:12 PM
  2. Older Riders...Relatively New Older Riders...
    By rickreyn in forum Racing, Training, Nutrition, Triathlons
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-12-2008, 08:03 AM
  3. older trek 2300 pro vs new trek 1000 (1.2)
    By otakunorth in forum Bikes, Frames and Forks
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 01-14-2008, 12:46 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-04-2006, 06:31 PM
  5. Older and wiser, or just OLDER? A poll.
    By Kram in forum General Cycling Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-03-2005, 11:18 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT ROADBIKEREVIEW

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.