Crankset 53/39 vs 52/36

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by pesto13

Hi there,

I ride mostly in flat areas and bought a Sram red BB30 52/36 crankset instead of a 53/39. I am looking for suggestions if I should get the 53/39 or if the difference between the cranks would be minimal as I prefer to avoid the hassle of selling the 52/36 to get the 53/39.

Thanks in advanced to everyone.

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by glepore

You will be fine. My only issue with the mid was the near duplicate ratios which I solved with a 34 ring. On the flats you will be ok.

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by kulivontot

You'll be just fine

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by victorduraace

Get 11 cog to have bit harder top gear. I would not like 52/13, too spinny to my liking

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by Briscoelab

I think there is a lot to be said for a 50/36 combo actually. Especially if you run an 11T cassette.

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by Kurets

It depends on how you ride. Essentially, a 52 or 53 big ring makes no difference in gear ratios. But, there is some difference in stiffness if your crankset is a regular five arm type.
What does make a difference is the usefullness of the small ring. A 36 is almost useless if you live in a flat area. At least if your level of fitness is decent.
Therefore I'd suggest either a full compact or a race chainset for the flats. A full compact will give you about half a gear lower ratios on the big ring, which allows you to stay in the 50. Or a race chainset where riding the 39 is ok for slow days without constantly running out of gears like you'd do on a 36 or 34.
I also live in a vertically challenged area, and plan on riding a 52/38 combo this year.

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by AZR3

I'm running all three (53/39 52/36 and 50/34) and all have their place. The standard is on my TT bike, the mid compact is on my 2011 Cervelo S3 with deep wheels and is my go to bike with an 11-26, the compact is on my 2015 Cannondale SS Evo lightweight climbing rig with and 11-28.

I really like the 52/36, pretty much all you'd need for the flats with an 11 or 12 and the 36 comes in handy more so than a 39 or 38 for climbing without needing to run a large cassette that typically comes with big jumps in gearing.

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by fromtrektocolnago

if my terrain was mostly flat and/or had only mild climbs 53-39 is a slam dunk. makes the lower gears more usable. also its subtle but more teeth up front makes for a smoother ride.
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by RyanH

It depends on your type of riding, fitness and preference for cadence. I live in a very hilly area and I run a 52/36 even though I'm just fine with 53/39 and 11-25. If I lived in a flat area I'd probably run a 52 1x but then again I'm also fine cruising around at 70 rpm. 52x11 is good for nearly every realistic need to be spinning. We have one sprint where we can hit 44 to 46 mph and 52x11 handles that just fine. On the other end, 36 feels more similar to 39 and can handle most cruising speeds.

A few of the two stronger Cat 1/2 guys I know use 50/34 with a 11-32 in the back. Why? Cause they can big ring almost everything with that combo. Personally, I dislike the feel of a 34,it doesn't feel as smooth and is totally useless on flats.
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by fromtrektocolnago

i run a 53-39 / 12-25 set-up on my Trek. I can do any local climb in the area with it, but i can't do the 20% grades with it. i'm a bit slower on it, but believe it makes me work harder and stay stronger. It's a terrible option on the longer European style climbs.
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by em3

This should answer ur questions:

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by steelbikerider

I've been running 52/39 or 52/38 for the last few years and switched to a 36 for the steep stuff.

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by Calnago

I'm fortunate enough to have several bikes and lots of options when it comes to gearing. For most stuff I always prefer standard 39/53 cranks and an 11/27 or 12/27 cassette. I like the spacing and the 39 to 53 jump up and down is nice and manageable... shift the front and shift the back two cogs simultaneously usually gets me to where I want to be. If I'm going to be a doing a lot of climbing or going on a multi day trip somewhere I'll take the 36/52 chainrings and an 11/29 cassette. As for the 34/50 crankset, I just don't like it and never have. Always seemed like I was jumping back and forth between small and big rings way more frequently than with either the 36/52 or the 39/53. And I'm quite convinced that chain catchers became more of a necessity than a "nice to have" accessory as a result of the far more frequent chaindrops that potentially occur with a compact 34/50 crank than the others. I also don't like the idea of mixing chainrings that are not meant to go together since the timing of the shift ramps is not spot on. The whole chain ring ramps and tooth profiles and timing has gotten very sophisticated over the years, and makes having matching chainrings (timing wise) quite important imo.

But to the OP's original question, I would stick with the 36/52 that you just purchased, unless you could just simply exchange it for the 39/53. Splitting hairs at that point. The 36 tooth chainring will get you one lower climbing gear than the 39 all else equal, and the loss of one tooth in the big ring at the top end you probably won't notice in the least.
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by mike

go for 52/38, you won't be disappointed. a 36 is too easy to spin, unless you are in the mtns.

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by pesto13

After viewing all the post from everyone I am going to keep my 52/36 with a cassette 11-23t and I should be fine for flats. for a future bike build I will get for sure a 53/39 crank.

I want to thank again everyone in this post for the useful inputs.

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