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Should you go for a standard, a compact, a semi-compact, or something entirely different?

The chainset, called a crankset in some parts of the world, is the name given to the chainrings and the crank arms that turn them. Different chainsets make a big difference to the character of your bike and the way it feels when you ride.

Check out our Beginner’s Guide: Understanding Gears here.

Most road bikes come with a double chainset, meaning that you have two chainrings. The larger chainring gives you bigger, harder to turn gears that move you further per pedal revolution – so it's suitable for higher speeds – while the smaller chainring gives you gears that are easier to turn but move you a shorter distance per pedal revolution – so it's suitable for lower speeds, including riding uphill.

However, some bikes come with a triple chainset, meaning that you have three chainrings, and others use a single chainring matched to a wide-range cassette (the group of sprockets that sit at the centre of the back wheel).

Let’s go through the main road systems in turn.

Standard chainset

A standard chainset (a bit of a strange term these days) has a 53-tooth (or 52-tooth) outer chainring and a 39-tooth inner chainring. This used to be the default option for road bikes and it’s the choice of most racers in the majority of circumstances. Sometimes, though, pros will switch to larger chainrings for time trials or flat races like Paris-Roubaix.

campagnolo-chorus-standard.jpg

The big three groupset manufacturers, Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM, offer standard chainsets in their higher level road groupsets aimed at pro riders and other racers/serious enthusiasts, but not in their lower end groupsets aimed at more casual riders.

Example bike Tifosi SS26

Compact chainset​

A compact chainset has a 50-tooth outer chainring and a 34-tooth inner chainring. This means that the gears are lower (easier to turn, but they’ll progress you a shorter distance per pedal revolution) than you get with a standard chainset (above) with the same cassette.

For more details on that, see How much difference does a new chainset make? (below).

Compact chainsets have become massively popular because they allow you to keep moving up steep hills, albeit sometimes quite slowly, and many people prefer to turn smaller gears at a higher cadence (the number of pedal revolutions per minute) because it puts less stress on the knees.

sramrival22crankset-compact.jpg

The flip side is that you might run out of gears on very fast descents. In other words, you won’t be able to turn the pedals fast enough to make any difference to your speed above a certain point.

Reflecting their popularity, the three largest groupset manufacturers offer compact chainsets across all of their road groupsets.

Example bike Wilier GTR Team Disc Endurance

Semi-compact chainset

A semi-compact chainset, sometimes called mid-compact or faux pro, has a 52-tooth outer chainring and a 36-tooth inner chainring.

This means that the biggest gears aren’t quite as big as those of a standard chainset but they’re not far off, and they’re larger than those of a compact.

The small gears aren’t quite as small as those of a compact chainset, but they’re smaller and easier to turn than those of a standard chainset.

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX - crank.jpgSemi-compact chainsets have become popular over the past few years because they offer something for most types of terrain. Many of the road bikes we review here at road.cc are now fitted with these.

The big three manufacturers offer semi-compact chainsets on all but entry-level road groupsets.

Example bike Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0

Sub-compact

Want lower gears? A sub-compact chainset is a double with rings smaller than the compact's 50/34 pairing. Usually they're 48/32 or 46/30, dropping the whole gear range a few percent to make those grinding climbs that little bit less painful.

FSA SL-K Adventure Chainset 2017.jpg

The gravel/adventure bike movement has been the main driver of sub-compact chainsets. Fat tyres and dirt tracks demand lower gears, especially if you’re carrying anything extra, like clothes and so on for an overnight stay.  

But we think they have a place for general riding too. As soon as you hit seriously hilly terrain, there's going to come a moment when you need the lowest gear you can get. You might have blown up, you might have hit a 20% grade or steeper. Options like FSA's Adventure series cranks, Sugino's OS cranks, or the Praxis Works 48/32 cranks give you a slightly lower gear range for those situations.

Example bike: Specialized Diverge Comp (the 2017 version gets a sub-compact chainset)

Triple chainset

A triple chainset is one with three chainrings. Shimano offers triple chainsets for its three cheaper road bike groupsets – Claris, Sora and Tiagra. In each case the chainrings are 50, 39, and 30-tooth. Campagnolo offers only Athena in a triple (52, 39 and 30-tooth chainrings) while SRAM doesn’t offer triple chainsets for its road groupsets, although it does for its Via 27 and 24 trekking ranges.

Shimano Tiagra triple.jpeg

You do get some very small gears with a triple chainset, but there’s a lot of duplication (different chainring/sprocket combinations giving the same, or virtually the same, gears) and most people find a double chainset with a wide-range cassette ample and more convenient to use.

That said, a triple can be a good idea, especially for something like a touring bike where you need those very small gears to climb while carrying a heavy load.

Swapping from a double to a triple, or the reverse, is quite an expensive process because you need to change other groupset components too.

Example bike: Cannondale Touring 2 adventure bike

Single chainset

Bikes with single chainrings are nothing new, of course – there are millions of them out there – but most aren’t particularly performance-orientated. Recently, though, SRAM has introduced single chainring versions of three of its road groupsets – Force, Rival and Apex – with wide-range cassettes.

sram rival 1 first ride7

SRAM says that these 1x (pronounced ‘one by’) groupsets are simpler because there’s no front mech or front shifter, there’s no chance of the chain rubbing on a non-existent front mech, and they’re quieter on rough surfaces.

SRAM also says that the interface between the chain and chainring is better because their specially designed chainrings have tall, square teeth edges that engage the chain earlier, and the traditional sharp and narrow tooth profile helps manage a deflected chain.

sram rival 1 first ride9

When we reviewed the SRAM Rival 1 groupset we said that it was simple and durable. It’s not a system that will appeal to everyone, but for a variety of applications such as gravel, adventure and cyclocross, it makes a lot of sense.

The 1x chainsets are available with a variety of different sized chainrings to suit the riding you do.

Example bike The Light Blue Robinson Rival 1x

How much difference does a new chainset make?

Say you have a typical 700c wheel fitted with a 25mm tyre, and you’re using an 11-28-tooth cassette. That’s a fairly common setup.

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon - Turn Zayante BB30 Chainset.jpg

If you have a standard chainset, your smallest gear (39-tooth inner chainring x 28-tooth largest sprocket) is 36.7in. If that doesn’t mean much to you, check out our Beginner’s Guide: Understanding Gears for an explanation. Put another way, if you pedal at 80rpm, you’ll move at 8.7mph.

If you have a compact chainset, your smallest gear (34 x 28) is 32in, so quite a bit smaller than that of a standard chainset. That means it’s much easier to turn the cranks. If you pedal at 80rpm, you’ll move at 7.6mph, so quite a bit slower than when pedalling in the smallest gear of a standard chainset at the same cadence.

If you have a semi-compact chainset, your smallest gear (36 x 28) is 33.9in. If you pedal at 80rpm, you’ll move at 8.1mph.

At the other end of the speed scale, say the maximum cadence you can hold for a short period of time is 120rpm. If you pedal a standard chainset in your biggest gear (53 x 11), you’ll be able to pedal up to 45.4mph at this cadence.

Look 796 - chainset (1).jpg

Do the same thing with a compact chainset (50 x 11) and you’ll get to 42.8mph, and with a semi-compact (52 x 11) you’ll get to 44.5mph.

In short, a compact chainset will give you some small gears for keeping moving up steep hills while a standard chainset will allow you to keep the pressure on for longer on fast descents.

A semi-compact gives you some small gears, but not as small as a compact, and some big gears, but not as big as a standard chainset.

Changing chainrings

What if you feel the chainset you’re currently using isn't right for you and the riding you do?

Swapping chainrings is relatively straightforward in many cases (you'll need Allen keys, perhaps a Torx wrench or a chainring nut wrench tool), but you need to make sure you get new chainrings that are compatible with your chainset. Chainrings come with different bolt circle diameters (BCDs) and bolt spacings (higher level Shimano and Campagnolo chainsets come with unequal bolt spacings).

Shimano 11spd chainring.png

In many cases you can turn a standard chainset into a compact chainset simply by swapping the chainrings. You can take a 53-tooth outer chainring off a modern Shimano 105 chainset, for example, and replace it with a 50-tooth chainring because both chainrings use the same bolt circle diameter (BCD). This is also true of Dura-Ace, Ultegra and Tiagra.

This didn’t used to be the case. If you had a compact chainset with a 110mm BCD, you couldn’t fit larger Shimano chainrings with a 130mm BCD and SRAM, for example, still offers chainsets in both 130 BCD and 110 BCD options so the chainrings aren’t interchangeable.

The point is that you need to be careful to buy replacement chainrings that work with your chainset.

Don’t forget that if you change chainring size, you should adjust the position of your front derailleur accordingly, and alter the chain length too.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. 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 past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

88 comments

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Boss Hogg wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

I have Ultegra 50/34 x 11 on my bike. Can I stick on a 52/36 Dura Ace crank? Or do I need to mess around with derailleurs and a new chain etc?

 

Feel like 52/34 would be my perfect chainset. Not sure if that can be made to work though.

 

 

 

Switching from 52 to 53 requires two extra links of chain, if you do it properly (= according to Shimano's dealer's manual). So, from 50 to 52 should require at least as much extra chain length.

 

Oh no!

 

Shame, I'll have to try and get a chain today then. Was going to do the crank swap this evening, have it being delivered and the tools for it today. Thanks, will look into it!

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dafyddp [464 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Does pedal length alter the maths?

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DaveE128 [1009 posts] 2 years ago
6 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

A lot of cyclists would be better off with a 46/30 crankset. It's too bad that Shimano and SRAM don't manufacture and promote them. Hopefully FSA new gravel adventure series cranks will be successful and inspire competition from the two main players. Here's FSA's new 46/30 crankset: http://www.fullspeedahead.com/products/cranksets-road/sl-k-light-adventu...

I agree!

Now I don't have an amazing sustainable power to weight ratio, mainly as I have limited time to train and I have more fat than I need. However, Strava leadboards show that there are plenty of cyclists much slower than me up hills. Now for the hills round where I live (many in the 10%-20% range) I find even 34-30 lowest gear is not high enough for me to spin up many hills at the cadence I find most comfortable and sustainable (95+ rpm). I know many people prefer 80-90 rpm, but this difference doesn't explain the difference in gearing. I'm often down below 70rpm when I don't want to be. However, fitting gears that are any lower is an expensive business for me, and I do also make use of my top 50-12 gear fairly frequently down hills. For me I think a triple would be best but that means changing a lot of parts.

It seems to me that the gearing on road bikes is driven by machismo that revolves around "this is what racers use". However it seems to me that if you look at grand tours, on significant hills, it really isn't.

Why is the gearing on the bikes that most people buy (especially beginner bikes) only really low enough for a tiny proportion of the cycling population to ride efficiently? At least Shimano have started putting larger cassettes on lower end road groupsets, and Decathlon are sensible enough to put triples on starter road bikes, but there's a long way to go.  2

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vonhelmet [1350 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
dafyddp wrote:

Does pedal length alter the maths?

Yes, as the longer the cranks, the more leverage you get.  However, at the extremes, that can cause problems as the longer the cranks the greater the distance from the top of the stroke to the bottom, so you can only get them so long with any given pair of legs.

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Sadoldsamurai [47 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

my road bike now has a 30/39 (a triple, with the largest ring removed).

 

My road bike/commuter to the shops is  currently running an MTB shimano XT double 40/28 with 170 cranks...running to an 11-32 rear cluster.. This gives me shed loads of options re replacment chain rings..great durability..and interchangability with my current stable of MTB bikes.

The obtained gear ratios work fine for me, even hauling the trailer with some 30+k of shopping,

OK so it's/I'm not quick, but I've not had a problem with knee ache since changing from the 'compact double', and my pedalling cadence has improved immensely.

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 2 years ago
5 likes

Compact for me and a 165mm crank to boot. I'm 5'11 so some people think I'm doing something horribly wrong choosing such a short crank but it's really helped me rehab my knee and a groin strain that kept coming back. It's also forced me to up the cadence as I was grinding before. 

It can't be all that bad as I recently knocked 15% off one of my hill times and I thought that would suffer with less torque on a shorter crank. Spin to win!

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Bmblbzzz [266 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

A lot of cyclists would be better off with a 46/30 crankset. It's too bad that Shimano and SRAM don't manufacture and promote them. Hopefully FSA new gravel adventure series cranks will be successful and inspire competition from the two main players. Here's FSA's new 46/30 crankset: http://www.fullspeedahead.com/products/cranksets-road/sl-k-light-adventu...

Agreed. Or this option from Spa, cheaper but not so sleek, for square taper users:

http://spacycles.co.uk/m2b0s109p3383/SPA-CYCLES-TD-2-Super-Compact-Chain...

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Bmblbzzz [266 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

A lot of cyclists would be better off with a 46/30 crankset. It's too bad that Shimano and SRAM don't manufacture and promote them. Hopefully FSA new gravel adventure series cranks will be successful and inspire competition from the two main players. Here's FSA's new 46/30 crankset: http://www.fullspeedahead.com/products/cranksets-road/sl-k-light-adventu...

Agreed. Or this option from Spa, cheaper but not so sleek, for square taper users:

http://spacycles.co.uk/m2b0s109p3383/SPA-CYCLES-TD-2-Super-Compact-Chain...

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Batchy [406 posts] 2 years ago
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vonhelmet wrote:
bumble wrote:
vonhelmet wrote:

Eh?  I'm not even 5'8" and I have eeny weeny toy legs and I use 170mm cranks on two bikes and 172.5mm cranks on the commuter.  No problems here...

 

out of curiousity, have you tried *properly* short cranks? eg 140mm?

 

(they're not as weird as you might think - and i've got silly long legs)

 

I've not, but I'm not uncomfortable on the cranks I'm using at the moment, and I'm not keen to spend money to fix a problem I don't appear to have!

I'm 5'7 3\4" and use 172.5 cranks on my road bikes with 50/36 rings and 11/28 cassette. My old MTB has 175 cranks. You just get more leverage with extra crank arm length. Nowt to do with short legs as mine are only 32" (inside measurements). I find that a 34 chainring on 11/28 cassette too low. There again I don't like spinning high revs. It's all personal !

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Carton [396 posts] 2 years ago
8 likes
DaveE128 wrote:
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

A lot of cyclists would be better off with a 46/30 crankset.

I agree!

Why is the gearing on the bikes that most people buy (especially beginner bikes) only really low enough for a tiny proportion of the cycling population to ride efficiently? At least Shimano have started putting larger cassettes on lower end road groupsets, and Decathlon are sensible enough to put triples on starter road bikes, but there's a long way to go.  2

I couldn't second that more. On Sundays, 9/10 of the weekend riders going up the 9% bits of my usual training hill are doing so in their lowest gear, whatever that gear may be. Sometimes it's your typical 36/28 sitting up and begging at around 60 rpm. That's bad enough, IMHO. But every once in a while there's someone right with him doing about 45rpm on a 39/23, just griding his knees to dust. And while I zip by them (I'm not at all fit compared to most cyclists, but I'm faster than your average sunday punter), I'm just utterly perplexed at the gearing. This is as fast as these guys go; they don't pedal the descent. Why are bike shops selling these people these bikes? It's absolutely insane.

The full-Rapha lot on their new Emondas at 39/23 at least probably know what they're doing. But even if you have tree trunks for legs and spin out your 53/11 every blue moon, isn't it more important to have different gears for different gradients? Why have eleven speeds on a climbing bike if you're going to use just one every time the inclinometer hits two digits? I really don't get it. Procure yourself a fixie and work on your form or something. Or continue to baffle me to no end. Whatever strikes your fancy. It's the hapless beginners I'm most worried about.

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antigee [541 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

"It's the hapless beginners I'm most worried about"

agree I've seen it on some challenge rides that I've done - people have presumably put straining in to go the distance but riding a standard road double up anything 10% plus is hard and its sad to see people sat at the side of the road and then getting off and pushing just because club riders with years of hard training can ride 39 /  26 ok on that sort of gradient doesn't mean the average punter should HTFU with a couple of years in the chain gang and hill intervals

bit biased I run a MTB touring triple 48 36 26 with a 32 out back which will get me up 25% hills OK and gravel roads - so not a standard roadie set up as sacrifices smooth front changes for the range - though recall chatting with a guy as we spun our way past grinders and pushers at an event with a long 10% + climb near the end - he was twiddling away on a very road looking machine with 34 32  and if I only rode on "normal" roads thats the way I'd go and that what I'd advise anyone starting out that wants to enjoy cycling hilly terrain to run with 

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Vejnemojnen [289 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

A lot of cyclists would be better off with a 46/30 crankset. It's too bad that Shimano and SRAM don't manufacture and promote them. Hopefully FSA new gravel adventure series cranks will be successful and inspire competition from the two main players. Here's FSA's new 46/30 crankset: http://www.fullspeedahead.com/products/cranksets-road/sl-k-light-adventu...

 

Agree  1 

 

but most beginners whine about having a 11t cog at the rear beacause they "spin out too fast" with their 40rpm cadence..  1

 

the idea with a 52-42-32 triple with the largest chainring removed-replaced with a trouser protector sounds a great idea for flat commuting imho.

 

thank you for sharing experiences.

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levermonkey [705 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Surely no discussion on this subject would be complete without mentioning Wavetrans!

http://www.wavetransmission.com/

Personally, I think this is the future where fixie/single-speed meets commuter and on to infinitry & beyond. But that's just me.

Could this be the death of the rear derailleur?

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TypeVertigo [429 posts] 2 years ago
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stevie63 wrote:

Well I would like to join this conversation and throw another type into the mix. I run a cyclocross Ultegra Chainset on my road bike with its 36/46 rings. The 10 tooth jump as opposed to a 16 tooth jump on a compact or semi compact makes front changes so much faster and means when going from the big ring to the little you don't have such a big jump in cadence (and by shifting the rear a couple of gears you can remove this entirely. I do not miss the change in top speed as 46-11 at 120 rpm gives you 40 mph which is more than I need.

Hear, hear. My TCX SLR 2 came with an FSA Omega 46/36T crankset as well. I'd argue it's a great set of ratios for most everyday cycling. Even with a 12-30T cassette, I could cross-chain all day and have zero issues. Pushing the 46x12, I could sustain 48 km/h on the flats (and this was before I adopted clipless pedals).

I think it would be easy enough to replace the 36T small ring with a 34T for better ascending, since they use the same 110 mm BCD.

Unfortunately I desired both lower gearing for climbs and a higher overall top speed, so I ended up swapping it out for a Shimano 105 FC-5750. After almost two years on the Omega, the huge jump between the 50 and 34T rings on the Shimano crank was jarring for the first couple months.

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crazy-legs [1070 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes
Carton wrote:

Why have eleven speeds on a climbing bike if you're going to use just one every time the inclinometer hits two digits? I really don't get it. Procure yourself a fixie and work on your form or something. Or continue to baffle me to no end. Whatever strikes your fancy. It's the hapless beginners I'm most worried about.

Problem is, it doesn't really matter what gear ratios are on the bike if you don't know how to use them efficiently.

I was ride leading an event last year and the number of people who seemed to have just 2 gears - the 34:28 and the 50:11 - was staggering.

As soon as the road went even slightly uphill, there'd be frantic banging and crashing down the gears to get to the lowest one. As soon as it was flat or slightly downhill, back would come the clickclickclick as they bashed the chain up 22 gears to the 50:11 and the cadence went from 100 to 40.

What was even worse was going down a steep hill (freewheeling / on the brakes) and at the bottom there'd be a dead turn onto a climb. Crunch crunch BANG! as they attempted to change out of the 50:11 while nearly stationary. No forward planning, no matching the cadence to the gearing to the terrain.

At one point I suggested to one rider, heaving away on the flat in top gear with a cadence of about 35, that he might like to try some lower gears as, y'know, still a way to go, more efficient etc. He replied that he liked the higher gears because it gave him a higher number on his power meter (presumably as he struggled to turn the cranks so had to heave them round....) 

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DaveE128 [1009 posts] 2 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

ving away on the flat in top gear with a cadence of about 35, that he might like to try some lower gears as, y'know, still a way to go, more efficient etc. He replied that he liked the higher gears because it gave him a higher number on his power meter (presumably as he struggled to turn the cranks so had to heave them round....) 

So the bit that really got me was the power meter bit! 

Where do you find these people to lead rides for?!

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700c [1267 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
TypeVertigo wrote:

Hear, hear. My TCX SLR 2 came with an FSA Omega 46/36T crankset as well. I'd argue it's a great set of ratios for most everyday cycling. Even with a 12-30T cassette, I could cross-chain all day and have zero issues. Pushing the 46x12, I could sustain 48 km/h on the flats (and this was before I adopted clipless pedals).

I think it would be easy enough to replace the 36T small ring with a 34T for better ascending, since they use the same 110 mm BCD.

Unfortunately I desired both lower gearing for climbs and a higher overall top speed, so I ended up swapping it out for a Shimano 105 FC-5750. After almost two years on the Omega, the huge jump between the 50 and 34T rings on the Shimano crank was jarring for the first couple months.

 

If you can sustain 30mph on the flat then your talent is wasted on a 46/36, or even 50/34!

Try a standard chainset - it would  make the most of your abilities over a range of conditions, could make you an even stronger rider, plus no jarring gap of 16 teeth as you have now with the compact..

 

 

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
700c wrote:
TypeVertigo wrote:

Hear, hear. My TCX SLR 2 came with an FSA Omega 46/36T crankset as well. I'd argue it's a great set of ratios for most everyday cycling. Even with a 12-30T cassette, I could cross-chain all day and have zero issues. Pushing the 46x12, I could sustain 48 km/h on the flats (and this was before I adopted clipless pedals).

I think it would be easy enough to replace the 36T small ring with a 34T for better ascending, since they use the same 110 mm BCD.

Unfortunately I desired both lower gearing for climbs and a higher overall top speed, so I ended up swapping it out for a Shimano 105 FC-5750. After almost two years on the Omega, the huge jump between the 50 and 34T rings on the Shimano crank was jarring for the first couple months.

 

If you can sustain 30mph on the flat then your talent is wasted on a 46/36, or even 50/34!

Try a standard chainset - it would  make the most of your abilities over a range of conditions, could make you an even stronger rider, plus no jarring gap of 16 teeth as you have now with the compact..

 

 

Too right. One of the Strava sections on my way home is topped by a guy that held 31 over 3 miles or so and the top 50 is full of club riders. Wasted talent indeed!

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SirruslyFast [19 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

I have a triple on my touring/cross bike with a 28T small cog. Combined with a 34T on the cassette on the back.

Perfect for lugging 15kg+ of full panniers over the Pennines and through the Lakes.

Wouldn't ever switch to a standard or compact for this type of riding.

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imajez [122 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
bumble wrote:

re crank length: it's about bloody time they were made in lengths that actually made a difference. 165 is not really all that short, and must be very uncomfortable for anyone shorter than 5'8".

Not necessarily, I'm 5'7" and ride 170s and 175s comfortably. I have friends who are nearly 6 foot and ride lower saddles than me because they are all back with short legs.

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

I'm definitely a convert to the spin brigade now. I'm 5'11 on compact with 165mm cranks and just stuck a 11-32 on yesterday before I hit the hills on the outskirts of Harrogate.

Loved it. I was able to conserve my energy a lot better with 32 on when needed and the power meter was telling me I making better power at times than the next cog with a slower cadence. Took PRs on literally every hill I hit and knocked 20s off a previous 4 minute climb. 

Horse for courses I guess but my torque output is probably pretty poor for big ring ascents, so I'm playing to my strengths as my cardio seems to have improved to support the spin.

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HLaB [245 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
tritecommentbot wrote:

I have Ultegra 50/34 x 11 on my bike. Can I stick on a 52/36 Dura Ace crank? Or do I need to mess around with derailleurs and a new chain etc?

 

Feel like 52/34 would be my perfect chainset. Not sure if that can be made to work though.

 

 

Ive just swapped my old Ultegra 50/34 for a 50/36 a few weeks back. it's a simple and fast job. You do need a new chain though but the gears were simple just loosened the front cage/ cable, moved it up and retightened no real messing with gears was needed ☺

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darrenleroy [326 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
bumble wrote:

my road bike now has a 30/39 (a triple, with the largest ring removed).

i was at the back of the queue when God was handing out the suplesse, and i can spin my tallest gear along (ok, down) at 50+kph, snot even *that* spinny. I'm not recommending it for everyone, or criticising anyone elses choice, but it's an effective option that i'm pleased with.

re crank length: it's about bloody time they were made in lengths that actually made a difference. 165 is not really all that short, and must be very uncomfortable for anyone shorter than 5'8".

 

Campag don't make crank lengths in 165mm. Or at least they didn't when I tried to change mine after a bike fit. I now have committed the cardinal sin of mixing Campag with Shimano. I hate myself.

 

 

 

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Jimnm [307 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

52 36 and 11 28 cassette I find is right for me.

i have three bikes with different set ups and this one is the best.

I'm 5'7 1/2" and have 172.5 cranks. 

 

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fukawitribe [2798 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
darrenleroy wrote:
bumble wrote:

my road bike now has a 30/39 (a triple, with the largest ring removed).

i was at the back of the queue when God was handing out the suplesse, and i can spin my tallest gear along (ok, down) at 50+kph, snot even *that* spinny. I'm not recommending it for everyone, or criticising anyone elses choice, but it's an effective option that i'm pleased with.

re crank length: it's about bloody time they were made in lengths that actually made a difference. 165 is not really all that short, and must be very uncomfortable for anyone shorter than 5'8".

 

Campag don't make crank lengths in 165mm. Or at least they didn't when I tried to change mine after a bike fit. I now have committed the cardinal sin of mixing Campag with Shimano. I hate myself.

 

 

 

They used to do Athena and Centaur in 165mm at least - still get Centaur 165mm under £ 100 (just) from Merlin

https://www.merlincycles.com/campagnolo-centaur-carbon-power-torque-chai...

 

Just checked Campagnolo tech docs and they don't list 165mm for any of the groupsets currently - not sure if that's a quirk of the documentation or not though...

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matthewn5 [1325 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Butty wrote:

Since when was 53/39 the standard set that was used on road bikes as default?

I thought it was 52/42 or am I showing my age 

42 changed to 39 when the racers stopped taking drugs and had to spin up the Alpine passes.

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matthewn5 [1325 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

..

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madcarew [1003 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
ibr17xvii wrote:

Would I notice a massive difference on a 53/39 & a 11/28 on the rear as opposed to 50/34 & 11/30 that I have now?

On steep hills, yes. A really big difference. Anything that gets you down to an 80 cadence now will require you to push 14% harder on the pedals to go the same speed. It's the same as only having a 26 last sprocket now. however, it will only add 4% to your top spinning (down hill speed)

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PpPete [57 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Why are the super-compacts all so chuffing expensive?

Surely there are enough of us weaklings around to warrant Shimano doing something like a 105 or Tiagra quality in something  like 40-26 ?

Instead we're forced into fugly solutions like triples with the outer removed.

 

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gmrza [36 posts] 1 year ago
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On my commuter I'm currently running a 38/50 combination, using a 110BCD crankset.  On rare occasions I hit about 58km/h, but really never anything above that.  Given than I seldom do high speeds on a commute, I am thinking of reducing the big ring to either a 46 or 48.

The rationale for the close ratios is that I neither have to deal with high speeds nor big hills.  Close ratios allow me to get the best wear out of my sprocket.  Shifting is also smoother with a smaller difference in tooth count on the rings - something that is useful on a bike that gets the cr*p ridden out of it - my commuter currently has over 50000km on the clock.

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