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Thread: 53/39 or 52/36?

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    53/39 or 52/36?

    Hi

    I'm ordering the Giant Advanced 1 2015 when it becomes available and I have the choice whether to put 52/36 or 53/39 on it.

    What factors should I be looking at when choosing?

    I've ridden both over the last 6 months but haven't had a road bike since I was a teenager. I'm a weekend rider over all types of terrain including some biggish hills (I'm in Oregon). Looking to use the bike to build fitness and also to continue rehabilitation from soccer knee injury last year. I enjoy the slower cadence pedalling and am leaning towards the 53/39. But I'm 45 and getting older each year!

    Any tips on how to choose are welcome.

    Regards

    Bob

  2. #2
    L-I-V-I-N dtrain's Avatar
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    I think 52/36 is a great option. Get your cadence up for long-term knee health.
    "The older you do get, the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin', man, L-I-V-I-N." - Wooderson

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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    What kind of bike are you riding now and what kind of gearing does it have?

    I'd go midcompact if it were me though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    What kind of bike are you riding now and what kind of gearing does it have?

    I'd go midcompact if it were me though.
    I've been riding a hybrid - not even sure what the gearing is on that - but not for the longer distances that I want to build up to with this bike. I've been building up to getting a road bike and have been borrowing and test riding over the last 6 months. I borrowed a 90s aluminium frame bike for a race that had 53/39 and loved the drive that I could still get on the flat and downward slopes at high speeds.

    Bob

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    L-I-V-I-N dtrain's Avatar
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    You'll still have plenty of top-end speed with a 52/36...especially with an 11t (even 12 should be enough). I'd bet that bike you borrowed had a 12 or even a 13. The 36 vs. the 39 gives you a lot more flexibility for climbing; and there are some great climbs in Oregon.
    "The older you do get, the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin', man, L-I-V-I-N." - Wooderson

    '11 Fuji SL - '04 Bianchi Imola - '99 Gary Fisher Big Sur

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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I'd focus on making sure you have the right gearing for climbs... even with a full on compact crank, you won't spin out till you're in the high 30s. It's highly unlikely you'd notice the ever so slightly reduced top end with a 52 tooth chainring. So - if you get a standard crank, the smallest chainring you can ever put on it is a 38 tooth ring, whereas a compact crank with a 52/36 can be modified to a regular compact 50/34 by just switching out the chainrings.

    Food for thought.

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    Is this the model with Ultegra 11 speed? If so, you can swap out inner rings for $20, unless it is a 42, in which case you have to buy the Dura Ace at $50.

    I've never used an inner ring under 39 that I liked. The 25 and 28 tooth cassettes mean I have to go under 9 mph to want a smaller chainring.

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    52-36.

    The pros have used a 52-34 on some of the climbs in the Giro.

    The difference between a 52t and a 53t is neglibible; the difference between a 36 and a 39 is definitely noticeable; particularly on a long, steep climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobwgilmour View Post
    I'm a weekend rider over all types of terrain including some biggish hills (I'm in Oregon). L
    What do you mean "all types of terrain"? Do you mean you'll be riding it on dirt/rocks/gravel etc? If so I'd look into a cyclocross bike, which usually have lower gearing anyway.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/AristoNYC

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    Senior Member Jaeger99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
    52-36.

    The pros have used a 52-34 on some of the climbs in the Giro.

    The difference between a 52t and a 53t is neglibible; the difference between a 36 and a 39 is definitely noticeable; particularly on a long, steep climb.
    What he said.

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    Roads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggle View Post
    Is this the model with Ultegra 11 speed? If so, you can swap out inner rings for $20, unless it is a 42, in which case you have to buy the Dura Ace at $50.

    I've never used an inner ring under 39 that I liked. The 25 and 28 tooth cassettes mean I have to go under 9 mph to want a smaller chainring.
    LBS will put in whichever I want at no additional cost once it arrives.

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    52-36

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Since you don't have enough information to know for sure, better to go with the 36. You might be glad to have that slightly lower gear for climbing.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    I agree with Trojan Horse, and the others, go with the 52-36 , mid-compact rings. Best of both worlds and the lower gear inch from the 36 should make the hilly parts of your area more liveable. I currently have a compact S500 SRAM, the 52 big ring is my next drive train purchase, so I can take advantage of the mid-compact higher GI now that I am riding better.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

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    Senior Member gc3's Avatar
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    this can't be possible...everyone on the 41 agreeing?
    "I tried being reasonable, I didn‘t like it."

    "I understand. I just don't care"

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc3 View Post
    this can't be possible...everyone on the 41 agreeing?
    You're an idiot

    Is that better
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    Senior Member gc3's Avatar
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    I feel so much better and at peace now, thanks....
    "I tried being reasonable, I didn‘t like it."

    "I understand. I just don't care"

  19. #19
    Stand and Deliver FLvector's Avatar
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    53/39 of course. 52/36 is just a fad - it will pass. You just have to build up your quads so you can dial it up 400W to climb, then power down the other side. And since you're all clydes, we know you'll descend faster.

  20. #20
    Senior Member loimpact's Avatar
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    Heck, I'll be the fly in the ointment......

    50/34.

    I can't even imagine 53/39 unless I only rode down hill 100% of the time.

    52/36 may be fine, too but then you run the risk of having a 28 not be enough for a killer climb (typically the lowest gear before you have to changed from short to long RD).

    50/34 with an 11/25 in 11 speed, FTW!!!

  21. #21
    Lanterne Rouge
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    TRIPLE! TRIPLE! TRIPLE! (Not that you could find one on a new road bike of any meaningful price anymore.)
    "Having modest aspirations RULES." --patentcad
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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLvector View Post
    53/39 of course.
    Says the guy living in Tampa... who probably gets all his elevation changes on a ride from standing up in the saddle.


    No, I kid, I know you guys have over passes.

  23. #23
    Stand and Deliver FLvector's Avatar
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    We recently did a 50 mile route in San Antonio, FL with 2400 ft elevation and would be easy to double that with hill repeats which we sometimes do. The Horrible Hundred coming up in Clermont, FL has a little over 5,000 ft elevation. Not too bad considering its FL.

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    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Just got the 52/36 with a 11/28 rear after several years riding 50/34 with a 12/25. Wider range and with 3 more gears, I'm not missing anything.

  25. #25
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    So - if you get a standard crank, the smallest chainring you can ever put on it is a 38 tooth ring, whereas a compact crank with a 52/36 can be modified to a regular compact 50/34 by just switching out the chainrings.

    Food for thought.
    I've ran a 52/38 for the last several years and as my 60th approaches that 38 seemed to be growing. I just got a wonderful deal on a 50/34. Don't miss the 52 at all and am thinking of a 36, for the next several years at least-I hope.

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