Criterium Gearing & Tires

I know this question isn’t specific to training, but I don’t know of a better place to ask it.

  1. I’m doing some crit races this year and they will be my first races ever. I’m running an Ultegra R8000 (50-34) group set with the Dura-Ace 11-30 Cassette. I recently switched from the 11-34 Ultegra cassette, and I was wondering what gearing has worked best for the FasCat crit racers.

Has anyone found a need to have a larger, big chainring such as 52 or 53 to keep up with a group that has a good draft?

  1. I’m currently running the Continental GP5000 tires. Has anyone noticed any significant PROs/CONs when switching to a lighter and more sticky TT tire?

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Have a good day!

a 50 might limit you in sprints, especially if its a downhill leading to the line.

You shouldn’t have any issue racing on a 50-11. You can play around with gear calculators but a 50-11 at 100 rpm is around 35 mph, so I doubt you’ll be spinning that gear out.

The GP5000 has a lot of versions, but I think in general it’s one of the best tires for all-around performance. I wouldn’t advise racing crits on super light TT tires with low puncture resistance. Just be sure that you’re either running it tubeless or with latex tubes.

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I agree, start with the 50x11. You can always switch to a 52 or 53 later if you feel like it would be better. When I read your post I was smiling thinking about the gearing advice I got when I started racing criteriums in the 90s. Front chainrings were 53/42, and a “straight block” 12-19 7 speed freewheel on the back (or a 12-21 if it was hilly). Modern gearing options are so much better!

I like GP5000 for everything on the road. I’ve been riding the GP5000 28s on a 25mm internal rim for a couple of years. They measure almost 32mm inflated. I love the wider tires with lower pressure.

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I’m using 28mm clinchers right now on the Specialized (stock) DT Swiss R470 wheels. I’ll probably be stuck with these wheels for the whole season. I’m hoping for some ZIPP 303 firecrest wheels for next year (New England has a lot of hills).

Thanks for the advice.