[CR]52-42 cranks and classic clusters

(Example: Production Builders:Cinelli)

From: "garth libre" <rabbitman@mindspring.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 18:33:36 -0500
Subject: [CR]52-42 cranks and classic clusters

The truth told is that South Florida (Miami and surrounding area) has no hills per se. We do have one of the most impressive bridge overpasses at Key Biscayne which was built recently to accommodate huge sailing ships without lifting the bridge. This is a long fairly steep bridge road which everyone in our area uses for developing leg strength.Taking this thing at anything faster than 15 mph requires real guts, and to do the entire thing without dropping below 18.5 mph is strictly pro biker territory. The monsters here often start the bridge at 23.5 and finish off the top at about 18.5 mph while in 42 -15. I must drop to 42-18 at a fairly fast cadence in order to keep up, but I still feel washed out to keep up their pace.

I feel so lucky to live in South Florida, not because I admire Banana Republic politics, but because it enables me to own a corn cob rear cluster (13-19 seven speed) and a 52-42 crank. I must say that for the years that I lived in California, I was continually jealous of those bikers who could run the classic race combo of 52-42 front and 14-22 or 14-24 rear. This is not only the prettiest set up, it is the macho standard for hilly country. When I bought a new bike at the Marina shop in San Francisco, the owner told me that he could not stomach changing the rear cogset to 14-26 in place of the 14-24 it came with. I told him that "this is San Francisco, and that small gears are called for!!!!". He insisted that the current pros would not go more than 14-24. Funny that last year, when the Lance and the gang ran the tour into Frisco, all the shops reported that they sold emergency cogs, so that the pros could run 39-26 and 39-28, exactly what my instincts told me 20 years earlier was a reasonable choice for the territory.

Running up monster hills in 42-28 may not be a walk in the park, but even for older riders (like myself) it is possible and still healthy for the knees, as long as the biker does not let the cadence stall out or is in fair shape. It is a shame to put a campy long cage on a race geometry classic bike when 42-28 is possible with the short cage NR that the bike came with. Modern race bikes are not only ugly because of welded tubes and stems, hideous rims and spoke combos, wordy saddles and pukey paint jobs, but also because of triple cranks and long cage rear derailleurs. Those are just touring bikes with growth arrested frames. Garth Libre in Surfside Fl. (opinionated as always, but friendly and with a humorous tone)