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TECH NEWS

Giro tech: Contador goes Apex

Race leader opts for cheaper components in the mountains

Giro d’Italia leader Alberto Contador sidelined SRAM Red components and opted instead for much more lowly Apex in the mountains of this year’s race for the option of a wider spread of gears. The other members of Saxo-Bank Sungard, Astana and Garmin-Cervélo did the same.

Apex comes with a SRAM WiFLi cassette – wider, faster, lighter. The ‘wider’ bit refers to the fact that you get an 11-32T, and that’s what appears to be fitted here. That’s a big old spread of gear ratios open to you with a double chainset.

When SRAM say it’s ‘faster’ and ‘lighter’, they’re comparing Apex with a triple chainset. We really can’t see El Pistolero ever considering heading into the Dolomites with a triple on board.

A SRAM Red rear derailleur can’t handle that range so the riders all swapped to a mid-cage Apex option at the back. That’s 63 quid’s worth of rear mech instead of the usual £300 one. It’s only about 40g heavier.

 

 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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43 comments

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cool guy 999 | 12 years ago
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strange how millar and co. are using big rings with lots of teeth on the back. when weight weenies are so bothered about every single gram but wouldn't using a small chainset and small rings at the back use less materiel than two big rings

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angusr | 13 years ago
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I've been running my existing 105 50/34 chainset and medium cage mech and an Apex cassette for a while now and it works well. It will cover all gears without any problems - I have it on my commuter which I plan to tour on. A cheaper option than converting fully to SRAM if you happen to already have shimano!

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whizzkid | 13 years ago
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When my bottom gear was 34/25 I did feel a bit embarassed so changed to a 34/21. Then I began to feel a little embarassed by the 34 front ring so invested in a 39. After getting up King Alfreds the other day without too much distress on my new 39/21 when previously 34/21 had been a struggle I began to think I might be arriving in the world of cycling at last. I am dissapointed to see 42/21 is now the benchmark. I am now off to see if my butcher has any mexican beef in stock.

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djbth77 replied to whizzkid | 12 years ago
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whizzkid wrote:

When my bottom gear was 34/25 I did feel a bit embarassed so changed to a 34/21. Then I began to feel a little embarassed by the 34 front ring so invested in a 39. After getting up King Alfreds the other day without too much distress on my new 39/21 when previously 34/21 had been a struggle I began to think I might be arriving in the world of cycling at last. I am dissapointed to see 42/21 is now the benchmark. I am now off to see if my butcher has any mexican beef in stock.

As has previously been said, the best gear is the one that gets you up the hill in the quickest time. If you feel a 39/21 is the best gear for you then go for it. There can be no denying that it is a big gear as far a lowest gears go. Others, me included prefer to have a lower gear and achieve this by running a 34 chain ring. Quite frankly the thought of mashing up an 18-20% hill with a 39/21 low gear sends shivvers through my knees. My previous post emphasised that three different chain ring - cassette set ups yeild almost identical meters development results for the lowest gears. It's a personal thing, run the chain ring-cassette combination that suits you best. This subject all too often turns into a dick swinging competition, it's the not size of your gear that counts, it's what you do with it! Do we subscribe to this view though. Ha!

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stuartpeck1 | 13 years ago
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well said, it's the evil motorists we should we shouting at, not each other  13

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robbo764 | 13 years ago
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who cares as long you are enjoying cycling(thats the point of cycling havin fun)ride what ever gearing you like...:) as cyclists we should be encouraging people to ride,not telling them they shouldnt,get on your bike and smile..

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djbth77 | 13 years ago
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I assume Contador is still running a 54/39 with his new 11-32? I use a standard compact 50/34 with a 12-27 for hill work. In respect of meters development 39 x 32 yields the same meters development of 2.6 than my 34 x 27. A standard triple of 50/39/30 with a standard 12-25 cassette yields 2.5 meters development when turning the 30 x 25 gear. At the low end, all three solutions yeild almost identical results.

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Marky Legs | 13 years ago
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Bike Cru rides a BIG gear for 1 in 4 & 1 in 5 hills around the peak district, or is he staying on the rolling hills - more likely!!!

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bikedog | 13 years ago
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Greetings from the Republic of Boulder, CO. I don't think I am a gearhead, bikesnob or gearNazi but thought I'd offer my 2 bits. I'd echo keefus as I used to have a 55/46 and 12-25 set for my daily commute (all into big ring pushing) on rollers. The first group ride I did was up one of the steepest short climbs we have in our area (10-14% ramps). Needless to say that a) I did it at 3mph standing up in the 46/25, 2)yes, my tongue was dragging on the asphalt, and 3)weighed ~90kg. So yeah, I made it to the top but it was ...hard.

Now, I'm a bit lighter (60-65kg), have a compact double with similar rear gearing but can climb in the big ring for much of that climb. I did use an XTR cassette for awhile and found that was a nice choice as well. I opted for the CD vs a triple because of redundant gearing. I also didn't want to get into a bit of crosschaining as well which I'd experienced when demoing bikes with triple rings.

Last summer I did a ride over much of the higher mountains out in CO and found a compact double worked fine, definitely thought I did better/as good as the conventional 52/39 stuff that a lot of folks were riding.

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keefus | 13 years ago
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"The most appropriate gear is the one which gets you to the top"

fixed that for you.  1

k

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italiafirenze | 13 years ago
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You wouldn't only drive your car up a hill in 5th gear because you're hard, so why insist on riding a big gear on your bike?

The most appropriate gear is the one which gets you to the top the quickest.

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MalcolmBinns | 13 years ago
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If the gears work for you, then get out and ride your bike.
If your gears don't work, then you're probably either at the velodrome or being a fred!

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cat1commuter | 13 years ago
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Are the Shimano 10 speed MTB and Road shifters and rear derailleurs compatible? (I know SRAM are.)

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Matt_S | 13 years ago
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Whether it's SRAM's marketing dept or not, it seemed to work in the ITT yesterday.

Dirty Bertie was really spinning away up that climb, and for me (and Dave Harmon on EuroSport) I really didn't think he looked like he was going as fast as Nibali and Scarponi.

You know, if that's what smaller gears does for you, I might stick an XTR crank/cassette/mech on my race bike. Everyone watch out!

 39

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Mat Brett replied to Matt_S | 13 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

You know, if that's what smaller gears does for you, I might stick an XTR crank/cassette/mech on my race bike. Everyone watch out!

 39

Funny you should say that: http://road.cc/content/news/36222-giro-tech-millar-goes-all-mtb

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Matt_S replied to Mat Brett | 13 years ago
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Mat Brett wrote:

Funny you should say that: http://road.cc/content/news/36222-giro-tech-millar-goes-all-mtb

Yes, but I meant with a 26/38 XTR chainset, not a 42/52 osymmetrics like DM was using.  3

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stuartpeck1 replied to Mat Brett | 13 years ago
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Mat Brett wrote:
Matt_S wrote:

You know, if that's what smaller gears does for you, I might stick an XTR crank/cassette/mech on my race bike. Everyone watch out!

 39

Funny you should say that: http://road.cc/content/news/36222-giro-tech-millar-goes-all-mtb

He also uses rotor chain rings, probably set up full tilt

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stuartpeck1 replied to Mat Brett | 13 years ago
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Mat Brett][quote=Matt_S wrote:

You know, if that's what smaller gears does for you, I might stick an XTR crank/cassette/mech on my race bike. Everyone watch out!

 39

Funny you should say that:

Millar has rotor on the front mind, set up full tilt i'd imagine

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dave atkinson | 13 years ago
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I wouldn't have got up Hardknott without my trusty Apex rear saucer  1

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GrimpeurChris | 13 years ago
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I ride a Campy setup and for Alpine Sportives. A Compact Chain set (50/34) with an 11-29 cassette .... the cassette being an amalgamation of the stantard 11-25 and 13-29 as campy don't make that wide a range. Interestingly though the standard short/medium rear mech cage copes with the range very well! It's a lighter option than a triple.

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Celeste08 | 13 years ago
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1961BikiE - We all want different things from our cycling - that's why there are so many options out there & not a 'one ratio fits all' setup. Solving the cause of your back pain is far more important than people's opinion of your gear ratios. Good luck with hitting that target.

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stuartpeck1 | 13 years ago
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Some of the giro bikes are also running front mechs from force and rival but are badged up as red - SRAM have the giro and the tour wrapped up for marketing, i don't think i don't think i've seen a campy lever in there.

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cat1commuter replied to stuartpeck1 | 13 years ago
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stuartpeck1 wrote:

Some of the giro bikes are also running front mechs from force and rival but are badged up as red - SRAM have the giro and the tour wrapped up for marketing, i don't think i don't think i've seen a campy lever in there.

... apart from the two in the picture at the top of this story.

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stuartpeck1 replied to cat1commuter | 13 years ago
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cat1commuter wrote:
stuartpeck1 wrote:

Some of the giro bikes are also running front mechs from force and rival but are badged up as red - SRAM have the giro and the tour wrapped up for marketing, i don't think i don't think i've seen a campy lever in there.

... apart from the two in the picture at the top of this story.

Note the 'some' in the text ; )

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Tony Farrelly | 13 years ago
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I think shuttie92 was just responding to 1961BikeIE's apparent invitation…

"I'm sure some one will be along soon to tell me I have not right to be cycling if I can't ride though the peaks on a 42/21 low gear."

I'll bet that '92' refers to the size of the gear that Shuttie pushes  3

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dave atkinson | 13 years ago
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Quote:

with 'special sauce' Dave?

I need all the help I can get  1

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Mat Brett | 13 years ago
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mr-andrew - you might have a point there.

shuttie92 - you don't.

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mr-andrew | 13 years ago
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The cynic in me wonders how much of this is out of necessity and how much is from the SRAM marketing department.

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dave atkinson | 13 years ago
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Apex. It's the only thing me and Bertie have in common. Apart from our love of a good steak.

 4

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joemmo replied to dave atkinson | 13 years ago
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dave_atkinson wrote:

Apex. It's the only thing me and Bertie have in common. Apart from our love of a good steak.

 4

with 'special sauce' Dave?

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