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Is 11-Speed Worth It?
If you love Gap rides or you live anywhere else where the pitches hit 15 percent or more, the answer is YES. Shimano Ultegra and SRAM Force are now both 11-speed, which makes the option much more affordable.
Here's what the new 11-spd groups offer:
See what Slowtwitch.com has to say about what 9, 10, and 11spd gearing will do for you.
Compact cranks use a 110mm spider to accommodate a smaller inner chainring than a 39. The compact crank is typically a 50-34, while the mid-compact is a 52-36.
This allows you to gear almost as low as you would using a triple with a 30-tooth inside chainring. The 34-28 combination allowed by an 11-28 cassette is very similar to a 30-25 with a triple crankset.
With a medium cage road derailleur, you can take this a step further and run an 11-32 cassette.
Is the compact viable for racing? Top pros use compact cranks for ultra-steep mountain stages in major races like the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta Espana in Europe. If the pros can successfully use a compact for racing, so can you. If you feel under-geared with a 50-34, try a 52-36. Compact cranks are a great choice for the ultra-steep climbs in the Bike Up the Mountain Point Series, even for the strongest riders.
What About the Triple?
The industry is phasing out the triple for most road bikes. Even entry-level road bikes are now available with compact cranks that give you the low gearing needed for our steep hills without the fuss of keeping a triple front shifter adjusted.