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52x36 vs 50x34

Old 08-28-19, 09:08 PM
  #26  
noodle soup
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
This is interesting to me. I've been riding a Guru steel with 50/34 (10 sp) and I recently bought a CAAD 12 with 52/36 (11 sp). Both bikes weigh about 17 lb 11 oz. Both bikes feel amazingly quick and nimble. Two of the best bikes I've ever ridden. But, for reasons I cannot explain, the Guru seems to be a bit faster. I'm guessing that when I get into the higher gears I'm not strong enough to spin the 52x11 as well as I can spin the 50x11 and this actually slows me down. Would love some opinions because it's a mystery to me.
Does one bike feel faster, or is it actually faster?

If you are actually faster on the Guru, and the wheels/tires(and aero position) are the same, itís likely that a slightly lower gear allows you to spin it a little higher.
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Old 08-28-19, 09:47 PM
  #27  
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Alot of this is going to have to do with where you ride. I used to live in the east coast near the ocean and riding on the east coast in mostly flat terrain a 50/34 would have driven me nuts. I was in the big ring 90% of the time and the 52 kept me in a good cadence right in the middle of the pack on the rear 9 or 10spd cogset.

I now live in the mountains on the west coast, 10 years older and on my daily rides I use every single gear to get up some decent sized climbs and I'm in a 50/11 to bomb down the descents on the other side.

I currently ride a nice lighter weighted (7.5kg) road bike mostly in the summer and a heavier 9kg gravel bike through the winter.

Both bikes are currently setup with a 50/34 in the front. The gravel bike is my "training" bike. I run an 11-30 on the back (11-28 on the road bike). The low gearing on an 11-30 is 30-27-24-21 This allows me to push a one tooth smaller gear on my climbs until I have to "bail out" to my 30 tooth. (The 28 is 28-25-23-21)

After consistently riding for the last 2 years I am going to up my inside ring on my gravel bike to a 36 this winter. This will help me push a little harder (about 2 gear inches) on the hills using the same gearing.

If I get another (I mean when I get another) bike I would love to go with something setup with a 52/36 for the flatter rides when I go into town and do the group rides with the guys.

I guess what I am saying is that if you ride hard on mostly flat roads go with a 52/36. If you cycle through all your gears and have some good climbs keep the 50/34.

-Sean

Last edited by Wilmingtech; 08-28-19 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 08-28-19, 10:59 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Wilmingtech View Post
Alot of this is going to have to do with where you ride.

If I get another (I mean when I get another) bike I would love to go with something setup with a 52/36 for the flatter rides when I go into town and do the group rides with the guys.

I guess what I am saying is that if you ride hard on mostly flat roads go with a 52/36. If you cycle through all your gears and have some good climbs keep the 50/34.

-Sean
I live on the NW side of Phoenix, and its mostly flat for 25-35 miles around me.A 50t big ring and a 12-25t cassette is perfect for that area. Once I get out of that area it's nice to have a 34 tooth little ring, because the climbs get real. Nothing crazy, but they are actual climbs that gain 1000ft+

50x12 is good for about 40mph on descents, and I'm usually coasting at around 38(and still accelerating). At that point I stop trying to pedal faster, and let gravity do the work.

a 52-36 crankset requires me to shift the front derailleur more. It's not a big deal with Di2, but still unnecessary with a 50-34 12-25 setup.
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Old 08-28-19, 11:52 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Wilmingtech View Post
Alot of this is going to have to do with where you ride. I used to live in the east coast near the ocean and riding on the east coast in mostly flat terrain a 50/34 would have driven me nuts. I was in the big ring 90% of the time and the 52 kept me in a good cadence right in the middle of the pack on the rear 9 or 10spd cogset.

I now live in the mountains on the west coast, 10 years older and on my daily rides I use every single gear to get up some decent sized climbs and I'm in a 50/11 to bomb down the descents on the other side.

I currently ride a nice lighter weighted (7.5kg) road bike mostly in the summer and a heavier 9kg gravel bike through the winter.

Both bikes are currently setup with a 50/34 in the front. The gravel bike is my "training" bike. I run an 11-30 on the back (11-28 on the road bike). The low gearing on an 11-30 is 30-27-24-21 This allows me to push a one tooth smaller gear on my climbs until I have to "bail out" to my 30 tooth. (The 28 is 28-25-23-21)

After consistently riding for the last 2 years I am going to up my inside ring on my gravel bike to a 36 this winter. This will help me push a little harder (about 2 gear inches) on the hills using the same gearing.

If I get another (I mean when I get another) bike I would love to go with something setup with a 52/36 for the flatter rides when I go into town and do the group rides with the guys.

I guess what I am saying is that if you ride hard on mostly flat roads go with a 52/36. If you cycle through all your gears and have some good climbs keep the 50/34.

-Sean
What gravel are you riding in washington that a 36x30 is sufficient for? Whats your w/kg?
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Old 08-29-19, 12:50 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Does one bike feel faster, or is it actually faster?

If you are actually faster on the Guru, and the wheels/tires(and aero position) are the same, itís likely that a slightly lower gear allows you to spin it a little higher.
They feel similar to me. The positions are exactly the same as far as I can tell. And, I am using Mavic Ksyrium Elite USTs on both. I have a 6.4 mi TT that I run about 2 x month and the Guru shows a slightly faster time and thus MPH. I try to do this TT when the wind is calm so I'm guessing conditions are fairly similar. I also assume that it is that top gearing that is the cause.
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Old 08-29-19, 01:46 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
They feel similar to me. The positions are exactly the same as far as I can tell. And, I am using Mavic Ksyrium Elite USTs on both. I have a 6.4 mi TT that I run about 2 x month and the Guru shows a slightly faster time and thus MPH. I try to do this TT when the wind is calm so I'm guessing conditions are fairly similar. I also assume that it is that top gearing that is the cause.
If this TT is reasonably flat why would the top gear matter?
You wouldn't even be using it.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:16 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post

a 52-36 crankset requires me to shift the front derailleur more. It's not a big deal with Di2, but still unnecessary with a 50-34 12-25 setup.
For your case, you'd be better served also going to a 12-27 cassette with a crankset change.

In campy world.. some day and for next bike, with 12speed, I'd probably move from my current 11s setup with 50/34 and 12-29, to a 52/36 with 11-32. Having a usable 12-tooth cog when in the 36 ring would allow me to range up to about 20mph cruising speed, while my 34/13 only about 17mph.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:40 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
In curiosity I just ran a 52 and a 50 into the bikecalc.com site and got the following from 90 to 100rpm and it's a whole 1.4 mph difference. At 35mph.

A lot of A riders locally that I know that run mids and full size setups are absolute freaking pedal mashers. Their default spin has to be maybe 80rpm. If you can't be bothered to hold a cadence, sure, folks may need that.

I spin 90's mostly. 100+ for hard efforts and such. I can do just fine on a compact. I find not having to swap in-out of the big ring all the time to be nice when riding hills around town. I bet in a 52 or larger I'd probably have to constantly get in and out of the big ring. We've a lot of 2min hills here. That would suck.

If you own Di2 though, who cares about having to swap in/out. It'll do it for you. That changes things. Mechanical? Certainly compact for 90% of riders.
Or get bigger quads...haha! The dream of all cyclists. 90-100 RPM is high though. I try to stay around 70 on flat & 80-90 when climbing hills (100 when the hill is almost a wall lol). Of course, the lower the cadence, the more energy is required to pedal.
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Old 08-29-19, 06:47 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
What gravel are you riding in washington that a 36x30 is sufficient for? Whats your w/kg?
My weight is 81.5kg.

Logging/Fire roads. A mix of hills. All kinds of surface here. Most are packed down pretty good, some not so much.

Putting the 36x on the front for winter is mostly focused on training/strength building.

It'll be pretty wet here come October-May. I will do rides on the road in the cold rain in winter but dont care too much to run through the woods on gravel and dirt roads in the cold soaking rain.

My primary reason for the gravel bike (more of an endurance bike with wider tires) purchase was to have a winter road bike that does better in the rain with wider tires and fenders.

Here are some pics - Logging roads with mixed gravel and packed dirt.

This was a newer road that was recently graveled to help the trucks get in and out of a section of woods they started logging. It was a bit of a slog up the climb and I had no intentions of riding my bike on gravel this day but couldnt help myself.


The flatter "rails to trails" routes


Last edited by Wilmingtech; 08-29-19 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 08-29-19, 07:20 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
If this TT is reasonably flat why would the top gear matter?
You wouldn't even be using it.
By top gear I mean the 52x11 on the CAAD 12 or 50x11 on the Guru. Why wouldn't I be using it? And, yes, it is reasonably flat at about 250 ft of elevation for 6.5 mi.
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Old 08-29-19, 07:28 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
They feel similar to me. The positions are exactly the same as far as I can tell. And, I am using Mavic Ksyrium Elite USTs on both. I have a 6.4 mi TT that I run about 2 x month and the Guru shows a slightly faster time and thus MPH. I try to do this TT when the wind is calm so I'm guessing conditions are fairly similar. I also assume that it is that top gearing that is the cause.
The "magical ride of steel" might also have a little to do with it. I doubt it though.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:20 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
For your case, you'd be better served also going to a 12-27 cassette with a crankset change.
I have a couple of problems with a 12-27 cassette.

1. Shimano doesn't make an 11s 12-27 cassette

2. If they did make one, it would likely be missing an 18t cog that's very useful
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Old 08-29-19, 08:21 AM
  #38  
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I like 52-36 because here in SoFla we don't have any real hills but when I ride in the Clermont/Mnt Dora areas it's nice to have something smaller than a 39T for your small ring. So for me it's the best of both worlds. Now that I put Record 12 on my Look 675 I have a nice 52-36 to go with 11-29 and that covers all the ranges for me.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:50 AM
  #39  
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Switched from 50-34 11-28 a little over a year ago to 52-36 11-25. Iíll never go back. My longest climbs are once a year in the smokey mountains and the 36-24 is as low as Iíd like to go.

Iím not sure thereís an advantage or disadvantage.

Though, I have cracked both DA 9000 and Ultegra 8000 cranksets this year. Never did with my old set up in 6 years. Who knows if thatís a factor.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:55 AM
  #40  
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Cracked a crankset? Jesus! What kind of wattage are your legs producing, 2000w? lol
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Old 08-29-19, 08:56 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
Or get bigger quads...haha! The dream of all cyclists. 90-100 RPM is high though. I try to stay around 70 on flat & 80-90 when climbing hills (100 when the hill is almost a wall lol). Of course, the lower the cadence, the more energy is required to pedal.
I guess I do this because I've spent a lot of lunch hour time on the trainer in the gym spinning while listening to "up tempo" music.

I bet I'm physically matching the beat of the music and normalizing a high cadence.

It's not good, or bad, but sometimes my average cadence for an aggressive ride might be right near 100rpm. That means smaller gearing than some people would normally run on flats, downhill, or downwind.
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Old 08-29-19, 09:15 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
AFAIC, a 52 or 53 big ring is for people who are racing, people who like to think that they're racing, and people who never want to use the 11T cog again unless falling down the side of a mountain.
Really? You're not serious . . . are you?
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Old 08-29-19, 09:30 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Having a usable 12-tooth cog when in the 36 ring would allow me to range up to about 20mph cruising speed, while my 34/13 only about 17mph.

Why on Earth would you ride in the small chainring and the small cog?
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Old 08-29-19, 09:47 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Why on Earth would you ride in the small chainring and the small cog?
+1

I guess some people like to crosschain.
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Old 08-29-19, 09:57 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Why on Earth would you ride in the small chainring and the small cog?
When you have been climbing and it flattens out to maybe level or slightly downhill.........but you look a little further down the road and another climb is staring you in the face. You can either go up to the other ring for a couple hundred yards and have to come back down quickly or stay on the small ring. Personally, I don't have a problem shifting rings, but according to these boards, some people do. That includes people using something other than SRAM. Same if you are on the big ring and getting into the pie plate sprockets. If you have to shift to the smaller ring for only a short distance then come back, might as well stay there.

Last edited by seypat; 08-29-19 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 08-29-19, 09:58 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by dagray View Post
Would there be any advantage in changing the crankset to a 52/36?
A loss at the low end, more gear overlap. Otherwise, very little difference.

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Old 08-29-19, 10:14 AM
  #47  
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Thanks for the Gear Calculator. Been looking for that for some time.
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Old 08-29-19, 11:25 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Really? You're not serious . . . are you?
I can get both sides of the argument.

People can buy and run whatever the eff they want to without listening to internet armchair generals.

The racer argument? In local flat crits the average speeds are maybe around 27. Surges to 30mph. So yeah, you're using a 53t ring's capabilities.

B-group clubbie? When the eff is a B-group clubbie going to utilize the upper 1/2 of the cassette with a 53T big ring?

There's a really really good reason that even "race" and "aero" bikes are sold with compacts and mid compacts these days instead of 53/39's.

We can pretend we know better and act macho about it, or pay attention and enjoy life on the bike a little better.

Seriously though, around here by the math of cadence, speed, and gear selection.......I'd have to go from never having to change rings to being in and out of the big/small every 5 minutes for the next hill if I used a 53.
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Old 08-29-19, 11:30 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Why on Earth would you ride in the small chainring and the small cog?
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
+1

I guess some people like to crosschain.
I laughed at this one. Poor chain. Oh well, premature wear keeps local bicycle shops running I guess!

Last edited by eduskator; 08-29-19 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 08-29-19, 11:37 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The racer argument? In local flat crits the average speeds are maybe around 27. Surges to 30mph. So yeah, you're using a 53t ring's capabilities.
The steady 27mph efforts and surges to 30mph aren't using the 53T ring's capabilities hardly at all. 30mph isn't that much; even with a 42-tooth big ring on an itsy-bitsy super-sub-compact, you'd only be lifting your cadence to about 100rpm on 700x25 tires, and few racers mind 100rpm during tough efforts.

Where the top-end offered by a 53-11 is typically useful is during shallow descents when someone is drilling the pace at the front (so that you don't need to spin super fast to apply the moderate power needed to keep up in the draft), and during sprints.
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