Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

50/34 or 46/36 for "all-rounder"?

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Old 03-13-15, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
I am not disagreeing with anything you have to say here, but we're talking about a first major bike purchase for someone, here. Not only do we not really know how the OP will be riding this and what their needs are, THEY probably don't know either. Maybe he/she will be riding in the big ring all the time and 50T feels great. Maybe they'll have to switch back and forth between the big and small rings a lot. I don't know. No one here does. The options being presented here are all but functionally identical if you don't have a basis of experience to choose between them.
That's mostly true, but the combination of the OP (probably long gone by now) being new to biking and living in British Columbia strongly suggests that low gears will be a very good thing.
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Old 03-13-15, 04:42 PM
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Sugino's OX601D is the (somewhat) cheaper alternative. I'm running a 44/30 on my gravel bike, with a 12-32 in the rear. On typical loops up into the foothills, I only shift the front derailleur twice.
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Old 03-13-15, 04:59 PM
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Live in So Cal, but we probably have about the equivalent in hills, just no mud to speak of.

When I bought the bike it had a standard 46/36 11-32 10 setup. About 20% of my riding is fire road, the rest pavement.

It didn't take me long to switch out the small ring to a 34. It was a huge improvement for the steep bits. I can see why though the CX racing standard is a 36 as you can run up a hill faster than you can pedal up one in a 34-32 combination and even in So Cal dry conditions with a 32mm tire you aren't going to get enough traction to make a combination lower than 36-32 very useful in a flat out race. The 34-32 gives you a good cadence at slow speeds for maneuvering thru the rocky bits too.

The 46 big ring and 11-32 combination does have some annoyingly big jumps right in the 16-20 mph road cruising range. Switched to a 48 and a 12-32 and that gives me a nice progression in the normal flat pavement speed range. An 11-32 11 is going to be basically the same gear progression with an added 11T gear.

Keep in mind that if you have a braze on front derailer you might be limited on your front ring choices by the adjustment range. Clamp on, no problem.

If you are going to do a lot of dirt trail you also might want to make sure you can fit tires a bit wider than 32mm race legal. There's a huge difference in what you can get up between a 32mm and 42mm tire.

If my ratio of dirt to pavement was more like 40-60 Id probably have stuck with the 46/34 and a 12-32

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Old 03-13-15, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Now you've done it.... That's a new component at the top of my wish list!

I've been looking at mountain compact doubles for a while now, trying unsuccessfully to convince myself that the chainline would be tolerable. That Sugino fixes the problem.

I've got a 50-39-30 triple on my commuter, but 99% of the time I ride it like a 39-30 double. I spend most of my time in the 39T ring, but the hill at the end of my commute is 15-20% and so the 30T is barely low enough. Once in a while I'll take the scenic route and get a long enough stretch of road that I'm spinning out the middle ring and need a little more. A 46-30 double could be just what I "need". My touring bike has a 44-36-26 triple, which is a fun novelty, but more than a little pointless weight.
I got mine direct from Japan:
SUGINO OX801D Compact Plus + Chainwheelset

A few months ago, the Yen was kind of down relative to the dollar, so I paid something like $300 USD shipped. Not sure what the exchange rate is now. Still kind of overpriced (nice crank, but not that light), but there are almost NO other options available! The White Industries crank isn't ramped and pinned (and also costs over $300), while the IRD 46/30
crank looks kind of flexy and would not match my bike at all. I could not find the OX601D in stock anywhere, or I would have bought it instead.

With an 11/36 cassette in the back, I have the same range as a touring triple. I can spin up a hill at 4 MPH. Definitely a great cransket. Plus it is a crank non one else has.
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Old 03-14-15, 01:58 PM
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With a 46/30 up front and the Shimano 12-28 in the rear you can have some pretty tight spacing in the road speed range and have excellent climbing gears...:

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Old 03-14-15, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
For the little ring, a 36t may be great for CX racing, but is actually a bit high for hilly riding or singletrack - if you get a bike with a 46-36 crankset, I recommend swapping the little ring out for a 34t to get just a little more low gear for off-road or long climbs (a 34t ring is the smallest you can fit on a 110 bcd compact road rank).
Concur. I like a 34/46 on a cx bike. Hate 1x.

OP, you should know that the big ring is the expensive one. The inner rings are like $20 each. I have 34, 36, 39, and 42 all ready to be swapped out depending on the ride I'm doing.
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Old 03-19-15, 08:16 PM
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made some changes and upgrades on the CX bike. swapped out 12-34 with a 12-36 cassette. dropped in a SRAM x9 RD. replaced the crappy FSA Gossermer crank with a Shimano CX50. as i was climbing a hill today, i was able to drop down to the 36 front ring instantly and under pressure. i was also able to switch back to the upper ring instantly and under pressure.
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Old 03-20-15, 10:06 AM
  #33  
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good point about the inner ring being cheap.
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Old 03-13-18, 11:23 AM
  #34  
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I agree 46/34 is a great gearing for gravel.
Anyway Spacycles.uk sells 46/30 crankets, 60£.
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Old 03-13-18, 08:20 PM
  #35  
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My Bombtrack needed a MTB crank because no road cranks had a wide enough Q factor to clear the rear stays so I use a 42/28 with a 11-25 or 12-30 on the rear depending on what I am riding. This allows me good gearing on both single track MTB trails and gravel. My road bike I switched from a 50/34 on the last bike to a 52/36 though.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:14 PM
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I just converted to an FSA SL-K adventure crank 46/30 find it's working out great for the gravel.

The 46 works on the fast flats and the 30 comes in hand for those steep punchy hills
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Old 03-13-18, 11:56 PM
  #37  
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Here's a link to a great Gear Ratio Tool - Bicycle Gear Calculator

My money is on a 48/32 w/ either an 11-32 or maybe a 11-34 11 speed.
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Old 03-14-18, 07:24 AM
  #38  
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I'd say neither. If I wanted a double, I'd go 30/46 - but I think 1x drivetrains offer more flexibility these days, I'm fine spinning anywhere from 80-110 rpm.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:05 AM
  #39  
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now that I have a lot more miles on my 46/34 setup, I really like it. But that's my road bike. The 46 is a lot more useful to me than a 50 tooth chainring. With the 50, I was always shifting or cross-chaining and that just isn't all that great. The only downside is that downshifting in the front isn't quite the gear change that I expect it to be. So if I'm bogged down in the 46, dumping to the 34 doesn't really rescue me from my bad choices.

Still riding 42/28 on my gravel bike.
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Old 03-16-18, 03:59 AM
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I tried changing out the 36t chainring on 6800 ultegra 46/36 chainset to 34T, the shifting performance becomes quite bad, the chain pickup don't work properly. Are you guys facing the same issue when you change from 36t to 34t ?
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Old 03-16-18, 06:47 PM
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Truth is, you’ll make either work and will barely notice a difference, if you even notice a difference at all.
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Old 03-16-18, 08:30 PM
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The 46 ring is about a half shift easier than the 50 ring. Either one will work.

With the 11-32 11-speed cassette, either one has reasonably close shifts on the big ring. The 46 ring is a little better in the 10-18 mph range, but it's not a huge difference.

With an 11-28, the 46 ring has somewhat closer shifts in the 20-25 mph range, helpful if you are riding all-out to keep up with a group going over 20 mph at times.

Here's a chart of 34(red), 46(black), and 50(blue) chainrings and 11-32 cassette at typical flat road cadences. You can see the offset between 46 and 50. From Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator -- here's a link to these gears.
Attached Images
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34,46,50 and 11-32.JPG (59.6 KB, 108 views)
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Old 03-17-18, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
46/34 means you have to buy a chainring. I wish 44/34 cranks were available, but I guess that the racers want those 2 teeth in the front
Cranksets that come complete, in boxes, are what bike factories use, by the thousands, so there is your best price,
then You change the chainring yourself,, to suit your desires..







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Old 03-17-18, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Khoorxr View Post
I tried changing out the 36t chainring on 6800 ultegra 46/36 chainset to 34T, the shifting performance becomes quite bad, the chain pickup don't work properly. Are you guys facing the same issue when you change from 36t to 34t ?
Unfortunately IMO modern front derailleurs are built with ramps that are meant to work with specific chainring tooth differences. By going from a 36 to a 34, the ramp now sits above the chain when it’s on the 34. To fix it, you have some choices. You can get a smaller big ring (44 teeth) and lower the derailleur on the seat tube, which should put the ramp in the right place again. Or, you can find another derailleur designed for a 34/46 chainset. Or, you can get an older front derailleur that has no ramps.
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Old 03-17-18, 10:58 AM
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my shifting is still fine changing to a 34 from a 36 on my CX70 crank. I know they are supposed to be in matched sets, maybe they are ridiculously different between 34 and 36 on the ultegra? That seems a little silly. Or maybe Khorxr doesn't have the 34 oriented properly, that's his only hope.

I think my chainring cost me $16 from the LBS. It was worth it. Some people might not notice the difference, but I did.
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Old 03-17-18, 03:08 PM
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I've used CX70 46t to replace the 50 on three Ultegra 10 speed 50-34s. Has worked well on each. The 46t rings are not cheap so if starting from scratch a CX70 or CX50 crank would make more sense. I just made the best of what I already had.
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Old 03-18-18, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
my shifting is still fine changing to a 34 from a 36 on my CX70 crank. I know they are supposed to be in matched sets, maybe they are ridiculously different between 34 and 36 on the ultegra? That seems a little silly. Or maybe Khorxr doesn't have the 34 oriented properly, that's his only hope.

I think my chainring cost me $16 from the LBS. It was worth it. Some people might not notice the difference, but I did.
I'm pretty sure i got the 34t chain ring oriented properly, the notch on the crank arm side. i will try mounting it again, maybe by flipping it. Will let you guys know how it turns out.

On my other bike, the mismatched/improperly oriented chainring destroyed my pick up pins, they become bent and dull.
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Old 03-19-18, 02:16 PM
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a) no one has pointed out this is a zombie thread
b) I get yelled at here every time I mention that I went from a 46/36 to a 50/34 on my gravel bike so whatever
c) my CX70 FD shifts the 50/34 just fine even though it's not supposed to. Also, I'm using Campy shifters and that's also not supposed to work, but it does. YMMV.
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Old 03-19-18, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
b) I get yelled at here every time I mention that I went from a 46/36 to a 50/34 on my gravel bike so whatever
you're doing it wrong. ahhhhhh!!!!!!!

you’re welcome...

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Old 03-19-18, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
Actually 33 is the smallest for 110bcd but it's uncommonly made

TA is the only 5 bolt 110 bcd 33T chainring I know of. I have one on my Shimano CX50 crankset.

See: https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ta-cr..._wcB#pid=35561
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