View Poll Results: Which chainring combo do you mostly ride?

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  • Mostly or entirely standard (53-39)

    30 30.00%
  • Mostly or entirely compact (50-34)

    57 57.00%
  • About the same on both, or each one for a specific purpose

    9 9.00%
  • Something different entirely

    4 4.00%
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  1. #1
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    Compact or Standard crankset?

    Which crankset/chainring combo do you use most often?

  2. #2
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    I ride a 53-39 up front, and a 12-25 in the back. I feel like I spend a lot of time in the 53/23 or 53/21 combination, and I'm wondering if I'd be happier with a compact up front.

  3. #3
    Not a rocket surgeon.
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    Has it been a year already?

    Compact with a 11-25 on everything.

  4. #4
    dog is my co-pilot
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    We're not already doing this poll, more or less?:

    Your Preferred Crankset for Road-Riding? (2013 Edition)


    /eh, well, it's slightly different, I guess... it's more directly 'standard vs compact'
    Last edited by SystemShock; 03-16-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Compact with 11-28. Reckon being 60 entitles me :-)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    I ride a 53-39 up front, and a 12-25 in the back. I feel like I spend a lot of time in the 53/23 or 53/21 combination, and I'm wondering if I'd be happier with a compact up front.
    Or just use the little ring

  7. #7
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    Re: Compact or Standard crankset?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris96 View Post
    Or just use the little ring
    Exactly. People seems to be afraid to use the small ring...like they'll get teased for being less off a man.

    I run a 53/39 with 12/29 in back and generally I really like it. I get in the 39/29 a lot on climbs and often think about getting the new 52/36. But, that's because I'm in my lowest gear.

    Just don't be afraid to use the small ring and you'll be fine.

  8. #8
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    I ride/race a 53/39. I tried a traditional compact (50/34) in the past and it just felt like I'm between the rings too much. I found myself shifting the FD way more often.

    I'm building up a new bike now with dura ace 9000 11 speed. I opted to try out a mid-compact (52/36) with a 12-28 cassette.

  9. #9
    Climbin' Clyde
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    I bought my current crankset for two reasons: one, the gruppo was $75 cheaper with a standard (53/39) crankset than with a compact. Second, I battle to keep my weight in check, and I was throwing down the gauntlet at my own feet: keep fit, or you're going to be hating life on that 3,000', 5-22% climb come Sunday.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    I ride a 53-39 up front, and a 12-25 in the back. I feel like I spend a lot of time in the 53/23 or 53/21 combination, and I'm wondering if I'd be happier with a compact up front.
    I think you're better off with compact. In fact, most folks are better off with compact (or mid-compact even). 53/39 are for pro/1/2/3 guys.

    If you're doing 53t up front and 23t outback (on a 25t cassette), then you're cross chaining a lot, which wears down the chain, and noisy.

    Now a few others up there have said to just go to the 39t chainring. If you do this, then you will need to drop cassette 2-3 cogs down into smaller cogs. So now you are running a smaller ring with smaller cogs (to keep the gear ratio the same). But running smaller diameter gear rings/cogs will cause faster wear than using bigger gear rings/cogs.

    Now if you drop the chainring to 50t, then you will need to just drop down 1 cog in the back, which should puts you at the "sweet spot" because this will minimize the wearing on the gears (compared to going to the 39t chainring), and also reduce chain noise.

    Another thing to realize is that the chain will always go thru a big/big gear combo with lower resistance with going thru small/small gear combo. So given a set gear ratio, it's more desirable to use big/big as long as you don't cross chain too much. And a 50t chainring will favor this.
    Last edited by aclinjury; 03-18-2013 at 10:24 AM.

  11. #11
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    I've used both. Actually my "standard" crank is an old 52/40 on an ancient Schwinn Super LeTour. I don't have anything like a major climb where I live, and I find that I get more use out of the 40 ring than the 34 on the compact. It's a little harder to climb on my 40/28 combo than it is on my 34/25. 1.43 as opposed to 1.36. But only marginally so. With a 39/28 it would be even less. 1.39 compared to 1.36. Basically the same for all intents and purposes.

    That being said, closing in on age 60 faster than I'd like, if I had some real climbing to do, I'd be going compact with an 11-28 on the back. In fact, I probably will be on my next purchase. I'm well past the age when I care about looking pro.

    What it all comes down to is gear ratio. Unless you're spinning out on long descents with a 50/11, the compact with an 11-28 gets it done. And at that point you'd be better off tucking and coasting anyway.

  12. #12
    Dr. Buzz Killington
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    I run a 53/39 up front with a 10-speed 11-25 cassette.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpre53 View Post
    I've used both. Actually my "standard" crank is an old 52/40 on an ancient Schwinn Super LeTour. I don't have anything like a major climb where I live, and I find that I get more use out of the 40 ring than the 34 on the compact. It's a little harder to climb on my 40/28 combo than it is on my 34/25. 1.43 as opposed to 1.36. But only marginally so. With a 39/28 it would be even less. 1.39 compared to 1.36. Basically the same for all intents and purposes.

    That being said, closing in on age 60 faster than I'd like, if I had some real climbing to do, I'd be going compact with an 11-28 on the back. In fact, I probably will be on my next purchase. I'm well past the age when I care about looking pro.

    What it all comes down to is gear ratio. Unless you're spinning out on long descents with a 50/11, the compact with an 11-28 gets it done. And at that point you'd be better off tucking and coasting anyway.
    Now here's the thing I don't get here at RBR. Why do we feel like they have to qualify ourselves as "old man" when admitting to using a compact??? Is there some sort of stigma to using a compact, a stigma that perhaps we're not "pro looking"??

    I'm in my 30s and even though I'm no pro, but I consider myself pretty damn fit in general, and pretty damn ok as a cyclist. I used to be concerned with looking pro and for a long time was hell bent on using a standard on long mountain rides, and I would grind the snot out of my knee at a 4-mile 9% average grade (this is after putting in a 20 miler at 5% average to get there). But after putting on a compact in combination with a 28t cassette, I had never felt better! I would spin at 90 rpm almost all the way to the peak while passing pretty much all the "hard men" pushing their big gears. And as I pass them, I think back to the days when I was like them. Not going back to those days again.

    (Mpre, I was not addressing you specifically, but a general attitude of guys on here of having to admit to using a compact. My point was: it's not a stigma, people!)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Now here's the thing I don't get here at RBR. Why do we feel like they have to qualify ourselves as "old man" when admitting to using a compact??? Is there some sort of stigma to using a compact, a stigma that perhaps we're not "pro looking"??

    I'm in my 30s and even though I'm no pro, but I consider myself pretty damn fit in general, and pretty damn ok as a cyclist. I used to be concerned with looking pro and for a long time was hell bent on using a standard on long mountain rides, and I would grind the snot out of my knee at a 4-mile 9% average grade (this is after putting in a 20 miler at 5% average to get there). But after putting on a compact in combination with a 28t cassette, I had never felt better! I would spin at 90 rpm almost all the way to the peak while passing pretty much all the "hard men" pushing their big gears. And as I pass them, I think back to the days when I was like them. Not going back to those days again.

    (Mpre, I was not addressing you specifically, but a general attitude of guys on here of having to admit to using a compact. My point was: it's not a stigma, people!)
    It comes with the territory, and it crosses subjects. You name it. Shaving vs not shaving. Wearing pro team kits. Sunglass arms over or under helmet straps. Are you allowed to stop and take a piss during a century without having it not count as a "real" century? And so on.

    Hey--if you think cyclists are bad, go on some trumpet player websites and log on a thread about "cheater" mouthpieces. "Real" trumpeters use sewer pipes and not soda straws, and still belt out double C's all night.

    Same with fishing. Real men use baitcasters, not spinning reels.

  15. #15
    Höchstgeschwindigkeit
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    Compact - 50/11 is same as 53/12 basically. No need to go any other way for me.

  16. #16
    wyrd bið ful ãræd
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    I am not strong enough to go 53/39 and so was glad I chose 50/34 with a 11-28 cassette. There are climbs around here that I will get into 34T chainring with 28T out back.

    I just went with the safest option when I build my bike and I am really glad whenever I am on the 24T cog and spinning away still knowing that I have another gear left.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimason View Post
    Compact - 50/11 is same as 53/12 basically. No need to go any other way for me.
    Actually, the 50/11 is even slightly higher. 4.54 as opposed to 4.41 on the 53/12.

  18. #18
    Höchstgeschwindigkeit
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpre53 View Post
    Actually, the 50/11 is even slightly higher. 4.54 as opposed to 4.41 on the 53/12.
    Yep. I am considering the 52/36 though with the 11 speed stuff

  19. #19
    Bianchi-Campagnolo
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    Running 50/34 and mainly 11-25, 11-23 on the racing wheel set. 11 speeds.
    A lot of my riding is double paceline stuff, and for that 50x12 can be to short. Do miss the 18 on the 11-25 sometimes. My cadence sweetspot is maybe on the narrow side.

    Thinking about getting 52/36 chain rings next time. Then an 12-25 should be enough for double paceline training at least, and I could also get a 12-29 for alpine climbs and still have a "fast" gear.

    Anyway. Put your gears in here and learn. You can compare two setups at the time: http://www.gear-calculator.com/
    They do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me. It was the illest of times, it was the dopest of times. And we looked damn good. Actually the autobus broke down somewhere on the Mortirolo.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimason View Post
    Yep. I am considering the 52/36 though with the 11 speed stuff
    Yah, I think a lot of ppl are eyeing that.

    Mid-compact plus 11-speed may well be the new 'hawt' set-up going forward, since you can have most everything you want with it, simultaneously– a tall top gear, a fairly low low gear, small jumps between gears, and maybe even an 18t cog too.
    Monkhouse: I want to die like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep... not screaming in terror like his passengers.

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  21. #21
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    I'm averaging 8,750 feet of climbing per week so a compact is essential. I spin up hills at 85-90 rpm and avoid lactic acid build up. There's no doubt that some see crankset selection as some sort of macho competition.

  22. #22
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    I've never understood this whole debate. When I first got into cycling I bought a bike with a triple. I didn't know anything at all about cycling. It is a full carbon bike with Ultegra components, so it's a nice bike. Since then,all I've heard is that triples are taboo and for "sissies." I hardly ever use the small chain ring but I'm not ashamed to say that I do use it 3 or 4 times a year when I do some events that have 10K + ft of climbing.

    Now people on here are saying that compacts are for old guys. I thought that the rationale for buying a bike was to have a light bike with modern technologies that made it faster and more efficient. If people are gonna make fun of compacts (and God forbid those triples) why don't those people just buy a 40 pound, solid steel fixie. That would prove that they are a real man. Gears are for wussies.

  23. #23
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    i use a 52/36 so im neither.
    check my review page below!

    www.roadiemanila.com

  24. #24
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    Triple. Neither has enough range.

  25. #25
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    Life was so much easier in the old days. 52/42 and whatever you wanted in the back, within limitations of your derailleur. I thought it was a real innovation with my first "12 speed." Try cross-chaining on one of those bikes and you'll learn that using both chainrings is a necessity. That's a habit I should probably relearn since my current setup is mostly unobjectionable cross-chained for short periods.

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