[CR]Newbie Question/Gearing

Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2007

From: scgray@att.net
To: CR RENDEZVOUS <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 16:58:01 +0000
In-Reply-To: <7BBE9BC0-1797-4C8D-BC41-B95A29173992@cableone.net>
References: <0D77FBEBA865B74D9E1B4E25180269C002633D8F@moulacan.CAC.L-3com.com>
Subject: [CR]Newbie Question/Gearing

Last week I received my entry confirmation for the CR class for the 508 race this October. I’ve read the archived posts about the new CR class and I appreciate the comments about being true to the intent and not simply removing a few cogs and brifters from a new bike. As much as possible I want to be period correct pre ’83 for the race. Earlier this year I purchased an early ‘80’s Trek 959 and a Colnago (maybe a Super?) that both meet the specs of the class. I thought it would be good to start training with friction shifting and all and so far they have both been very sweet rides.

Both the Trek and Colnago are my first Campy bikes and both have NR double cranks. My concern is attempting 500+ miles with 35K climbing with a 42t chainring and reasonably small (26) freewheel in the back. The last time I did this race I had a dedicated climbing bike with (don’t laugh) a 24t chainring and an 11-34 cassette. I know that sounds excessive, but my knees are not what they were in the ‘80’s and at mile 400 I was happy to sit and spin the last few 20+ miles climbs. My question is; would anybody have any advice as to how to lower my gearing and still be more or less properly vintage? I’ve seen a few add-on chainrings for Campy cranks to do a triple conversion, but I wonder about their performance. Also, I’ve seen older freewheels with big gears, but not anything Campy that will shift it.

I would appreciate any suggestions or if someone has an early ‘80’s steel lugged bike already set-up for long distance or brevets I would be interested in swapping or purchasing outright something that is already configured with lower gearing. I’m not opposed to sucking it up and just riding the 42, but I’m sure I’ll be kicking myself for that call 40 hours into the race. I do have a NOS Fuji America that I could build as I would think in the day that would have had a fairly low gear touring set-up and might be a good candidate. However, with the longer wheelbase it might be a little slower uphill, but at the speed I ride that’s maybe not a big deal. Comments and/or advice are more than welcome. Thanks!

Steve Gray
Las Vegas, Nevada