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delore

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Reply with quote  #1 
Excuse the stupid questions but I'm a newbie gravel rider :-) Been mountain biking since 1986, but only recently experienced drop bars for the first time. I kinda caught the bug by (stupidly) entering a 245k gravel race with 5500m of climbing a week after I bought a Giant TCX SLR... finished OK, and had a blast! Huge fun.

Anyway, the Giant is pretty nice. I don't really have a comparison however, and in my small town there were limited bikes to test before purchasing. Compared to some others, the handling seemed sweet so I took a punt. I realise a few things... the wheels are heavy as crap, and the gearing (for me) is a bit high. 40T with 11-36. To be honest, the bike store is really disinterested in helping out - you kinda buy a bike and they say 'good bye'. I've spent ages today trying to get my head around the options on the SRAM site, but my head hurts.

Do I go for the 10-42 cassette or a 38T chainring? Don't want to have to buy another derailleur if possible. Just need that 'one extra gear' I think. Pretty hilly country where I live. Also, I am keen to try and shave some weight from the bike so hoping to get some advice there too. I notice the Apex cranks I have are actually lighter than the Rivals (according to SRAM website)? Seems strange. Are the Rivals stiffer and better in other ways?

Anyway, apologies for the wordy post. My first one here. Any advice appreciated as I am really green.  Perhaps spending money on this frame is false economy and now I am hooked, do I look ultimately for a new bike? :-) Is the TCX considered an OK frame? Thanks heaps.
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owly

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'll ignore the racing aspect for the moment. 

Personally I'd change the 40t for a 38t. That's what I run with an 11-36, although I'm using 10 speed.
You'll find yourself spinning out on the longer downhills though, if that's ok with you.

38x36 gets me up most steeper hills ok. Ideally I'd have 36x36 (1:1).


The TCX is a fine frameset. A new lightweight wheelset would be a rather large plus in my mind. Get rid of those anchors.
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delore

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Owly - appreciated. I may splurge and go for a Force 38T crank... Don't think I'll miss the downhill speed as I'm too slow anyway. Whilst I think of it - a plug for Rival disk brakes. Very impressive.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #4 
delore welcome to the forum. I can't believe that LBS isn't wanting to help you out especially when you wanted to throw some money their way. I would not do business with them again and would seek out another shop. My Raleigh Roker Comp came with 42 on the rear Sram Rival 1 and I switched out the front to a 38. Curious as to what race you jumped into right away that was a 245k? As others have said you will lose some top end speed. That an impressive result for you first gravel ride/race. Keep it up.

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #5 
My $.02: I'll admit that my 1x experience is limited to my backup gravel bike. I started with a 40T chainring and AN 11-40 11 speed mountain bike cassette. While I still have some pretty good climbing chops, after many years of bike racing, my 75 year old knees ached for a little lower gear range for the steep (15-20%) hills I encounter on the dirt roads of southern NH. I switched to a 36T Wolftooth drop stop, and have been much happier. My advice on 1x is to always go with the smallest chainring. Low gears are more important to me than the high end. 
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bikepunksondope

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Reply with quote  #6 
Maybe someone can answer this for me... I often see people here saying that 1:1 is good for them as far as hill climbing goes. I am running 1x with a 38 up front and 11-46 in the back. On really steep stuff in southern nh I still often wish I had one or two clicks lower.

I am a pretty heavy guy at 205 but feel like I have strong legs. Is there something about 1:1 that has an advantage over going even lower?

There’s numbers involved so my brain gets all wack my when it sees numbers
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AwesomeColors

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Reply with quote  #7 
I see the 1:1 number tossed around pretty often as well, but I prefer my low gears to be in the .85 neighborhood or lower. The rigid 29er I'm riding right now is geared 36T, 11-42. It spins out around 24mph and at that point I'm probably descending and happy to tuck/coast to let my legs rest. The lowest gear on my Diverge (which I'm selling because the rigid is so damn good) is 1.15 and I hate it for steep climbs.

Also coming from an MTB background, not road.
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clarksonxc

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Reply with quote  #8 
To the OP - I would also recommend going with a smaller chainring before messing with your cassette and rear mech.  It will still be an option if you aren't satisfied with the smaller chainring avenue.
As for the "magical" 1:1 ratio, it's just an easy benchmark point to compare across drivetrain setups.  There isn't anything special about 1:1 that 1.1 or 0.9 won't give you.
Personally, for some of those monster climbs when I may not be in the best shape, I like going lower than 1:1.  Sure, it's much slower than running a larger gear, but if the choice is hopping off and walking when your legs cramp, give me the smaller gears every time!
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delore

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Reply with quote  #9 
Huge thanks all for the advice here. That makes sense now to go with a 38T front. I am guessing a Force crank will be compatible? @Zurichman - the 'race' was the 'Thunderbolts Adventure' in Barrington Tops. It's around 3 hours drive north west of Sydney. More of a ride than a race; the pub stops taking food orders at 8 so that makes it race for most of us! ;-) Some really good riders who pushed up front. It's put on by some great guys in Newcastle and their website is graveleur.cc. Highly recommend event if you come to Australia anytime. Lots of climbing... my ultrarunning background did me OK in the end, but so much to learn on the bike. 

I'll bore you with some wheel questions next time, but I'll save that for another post. Thanks again to you all.


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GSPChilliwack

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Reply with quote  #10 
Did my first "gravel" event a couple of weeks ago. I run a 38 tooth Wolftooth ring up front, and an 11-40 XT cassette out back. 40t was the recommended max from Wolftooth for the roadlink and 105 rear derailleur. I'm in the coastal mountains of BC, and there were some STEEP climbs. I would have preferred a couple more teeth out back. As it is now, I had enough top end to run with the pack for the first 20km on flattish gravel and paved roads before things went straight up. A 36 up front might have had me spinning a little fast, but not often. I'm also from a mtb back ground, and I'm in pretty good shape right now. I thought I'd find the gaps between gears to be a distraction in a pack, but didn't find it to be much of an issue. I'm not particularly inclined to put my 11-36 cassette back on for everyday duty now.

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delore

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Reply with quote  #11 
I didn't think of running an XT cassette... I think I might even have one in the shed. Thanks for the info. I'll just go with the smaller front ring for now, but then I'll look into that if I need lower again.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by delore
Huge thanks all for the advice here. That makes sense now to go with a 38T front. I am guessing a Force crank will be compatible? @Zurichman - the 'race' was the 'Thunderbolts Adventure' in Barrington Tops. It's around 3 hours drive north west of Sydney. More of a ride than a race; the pub stops taking food orders at 8 so that makes it race for most of us! ;-) Some really good riders who pushed up front. It's put on by some great guys in Newcastle and their website is graveleur.cc. Highly recommend event if you come to Australia anytime. Lots of climbing... my ultrarunning background did me OK in the end, but so much to learn on the bike. 

I'll bore you with some wheel questions next time, but I'll save that for another post. Thanks again to you all.




Delore you live in some beautiful country. I was over there in 2006. The only thing I remember Aussie was the loo, kangaroo doesn't taste that good. I had more barbies in a week than I do in a year here in the States. Did one walk about/hike with some friends. They took some steaks with them made a fire and cooked them on a grill out in the rain forest. Fish and chips along the seaports were great. Best ice cream I ever had was mango. The beaches then weren't commercialized and the gal I went to see lived 1/2 hr from the beach and the mts, pretty impressive. Lets not forget about the glow worms in the tunnels.

Thanks for the info on the race. Way too many here to ride in the states first.


There are 2 different wheel builders here on the site so fire away your wheel builder questions. Enjoy the forum.

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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delore

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurichman


Delore you live in some beautiful country. I was over there in 2006. The only thing I remember Aussie was the loo, kangaroo doesn't taste that good. I had more barbies in a week than I do in a year here in the States. Did one walk about/hike with some friends. They took some steaks with them made a fire and cooked them on a grill out in the rain forest. Fish and chips along the seaports were great. Best ice cream I ever had was mango. The beaches then weren't commercialized and the gal I went to see lived 1/2 hr from the beach and the mts, pretty impressive. Lets not forget about the glow worms in the tunnels.

Thanks for the info on the race. Way too many here to ride in the states first.


Zman


Ha - that's really funny. Agree about the Kangaroo! I hope to visit your beautiful country one day soon and I'll be sure to pack a gravel bike :-)
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