Compact Vs. Regular chain rings
I just got me a sweet new road bike but it has horribly small chain rings...Compact stuff I am use to riding Huge Rings 53 X 42. Will this screw up my ride? I have yet to ride it do to weather..Can I just go to regular sized rings? Help..
Low car diet
With a given cassette, the difference between a compact and standard double will be that for each gear combo, the compact will be a little lower gear.
Give it a try and see how you like it. You can compare the setup you are used to to the current setup here: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/. You may find the compact crank with an 11-23T cassette gives you about the same (or better) range with the benefit of overall lower weight.
As a general rule of thumb 3 teeth in the front is about the same difference in gear inches as 1 tooth in the rear. So approximately 50/17 should be about the same as 53/18 as an example. It's actually 79.4 inches versus 79.5
Ultimately you end up running one cog higher at the rear and thats about the only difference.