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Can you help me with my gear selection? I almost tore my leg off !

Hello everyone , this is my first year in cyclocross but not racing ( MTB). I have been experimenting with different gears ratios . Recently my bike came back from the bike shop and the mechanic installed a 10 cog road set on the back coupled with the two on the front crankset. It almost tore my leg off in the mud and climbing . I figure that there must be an easier combination to ride effectively on the grass and through the mud.
Any suggestions on how I can approach figuring out the right combination for my racing?

I am 6'1" 180 lbs
Long limbs

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Do you know what the cassette and chainrings on the front are - i.e. how many teeth on the chanrings and what the smallest and largest sprockets on the cassette are? Having that info would give people a good starting point for advice.

It sounds like you may need some smaller chainrings though...

Steve thanks .I am running a 22-11 on the back and 39/46 on the front crankset .
Yeah, smaller chainrings are probably what's in store for you. If he installed a traditional road chainset in the front (53/39) you may be fine with just using the 39 only and not splurging for a new crankset/rings. Depends on what your budget is. I use a 46/36 with an 11-27 cassette in the back, but that's what my bike came with, so I'm leaving it until I get some dough to change it around.

Cameron, it's cute how you kids think a "traditional road chainset" is a 39/53T, when of course you meant a modern chaniset. A traditional one would be a 42/52.
Also, consider your crankset bolt circle diameter (BCD). If you've got a 130mm BCD standard crankset, you'll be limited to a 38t small ring. If you've already got a compact (110mm BCD) crankset, you'll have a lot more options.

You also didn't say what your cassette size is. Take a peek at to see how different gear combos will affect you.
110mm BCD (Traditional MTB Standard and new Road Compact Standard) will accept a minimum of a 34T ring. 50T is about the largest big ring that you'd want to use, but for 'cross, I'd recommend a 44T, 46T or 48T.
Having been away from racing and serious training for several years, I'm running an old MTB crankset (110mm BCD) with a 34T single + a chain guard (cut from a 46T ring). I have precious few times when I run out of gears on the high end. I'd anticipate upping it to a 36T or 38T in coming years assuming that my fitness and strength improves.
Thanks All for the great advice, Steve advised to post my gear selection to help with feedback .

The rear cog runs 22-to 11 as the smallet Shimano road set
Crank Set 39/46
That's BS. What a bummer. Get a 42 to replace the 46 and get a 38 to replace the 39.

Get a 12-25 in back, maybe a 12-27T.

I run a single ring 42 up front and 12-27 in back. That's pretty standard amateur gearing.

Only pros use a 46 up front. That's mainly there so you can use it on the road too if you want.

The 22 in back is way way too small.
I think the 39/46T is fine, the 46T was a standard MTB big ring for a long time.
The 11-22T is pure road racing though. A 12(or 11)-28T would be a minimum.
I would politely disagree that 46s are only for pros. I have a 39/48 on one of my bikes, and do use the 48 and I'm not very fast. On one 9s bike, I have a 13-26 cassette which works really well for cx, and if it was 10s, it'd just add a 12 which I prob wouldn't use off-road anyway. I don't use the 13 often, and wouldn't use a 12, but do find the bigger ring useful, esp for riding on the road to the trail, or using slicks with an 11t for early-season group road riding on the cx bike.

don't forget that we're not constrained to 11+ or 12+ cassettes, even for 10 speed. juniors need a way around this too for gear restrictions. You can always try one of these that start with a 13,14,15, or even a 16t! Can you image a 16-27? you could use one of those blow-out 39-52 or 42/52 cranksets and still have a lower high gear than a 42/12. crazy.
Junior 10s shimano cassettes:
Shimano Ultegra 10 Speed Road Bicycle Cassette - Junior Development...
Not sure I'd trust my mechanic anymore if he put a 22-11 on a 'cross bike.

Chris- I run a 46/38 (and spent about 80% of DCCX in the 46). Is that why I can't seem to beat you?


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