Chain/crankset Preference

If you only had one choice of chain/crankset to use for an entire season, which would you choose and why.

  • Standard 53x39
  • Compact 50x34
  • Semi-Compact 52x36

0 voters

Gearing (on bikes and in general) is all about matching input speed to output speed.

Your legs, an electric motor, or a gas engine all produce X power at X rpm. If X rpm isn’t the appropriate final speed, gears are needed to accomplish this. (Torque multiplication is a secondary consideration.)

I can generate 100w in 34x32 or in 53x11, and that 100w will propel me at a given speed, regardless of the gear. The remaining variable is my cadence, so I select a gear the allows the desired cadence at the same 100w at the same speed.

So to answer your question, I chose 50x34 because it allows me to spin the desired speed for the power I have on the terrain I ride. Which is the same reason anyone chooses whatever gearing they choose.


Sounds good. I use Compact mostly except in flat TT as it seems to be the only way I can get up hills and maintain my cadence. I am a spinner and seem to go up hill spinning fast whilst others around me seem to have much lower cadence but are pushing a bigger gear. I cant do that - I need to spin. On the flats I can push bigger gears better but still choose to spin more - works for me.

I’ve become a really big fan of the 52/36 semi-compact setup. Seems like the best of both worlds, and gets me a good cadence/power output combo on any terrain I ride - mostly rolling hills in NC, but occasionally I’ll find a good mountain to go up, in which case the 36 paired with an 11-32 cassette is a great combo for me.

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