PDA

View Full Version : Need an advise on 53/39 vs 50/34 Crankset



RESTONTODC
08-10-2011, 10:30 AM
I have been riding FSA 50/34 for years and feel great. Recently, I bought a new upgraded bike with SRAM Red 53/39 crankset for weekend rides and often got drop on climbing the long hills. Would the 50/34 help?

Before buying another SRAM Red 50/34 Crankset, I want see if anyone else experienced the same issue or I'm getting old.

Thanks.
Rick

CCrew
08-10-2011, 11:31 AM
Depends on the bike. My weight weenie carbon bike I run a 53/39 on and it's perfect. Most of the rest have 50/34's and I certainly can't spin them out. Cross bike I had to give up on the 46/36 cross crank and put a 50/34 on it.

I'm 55, so age is subjective. I almost exclusively run big ring and tune the crank to that.

JimF22003
08-16-2011, 08:39 AM
Since I restarted my riding "career" about 6 years ago I've only ridden compact setups (50/34 with 11/26 or 11/28 cassettes.) I'll need this setup for the rest of my life probably :) (I'm 54.)

I'm rebuilding a bike that had some carbon damage repaired when the Ultegra Di2 stuff is available in the fall. I plan to use a standard crank setup (53/39 with 12/27) for times when I'm just riding on the trails or for flat rides on the Eastern Shore or other parts of VA that are flat. I did a couple of flat centuries this spring where I totaled between 200 and 250 feet of "climbing." I think the standard setup will be great for that.

But if I had to choose only one setup, I guess I would have to stick with the compact (or stay away from the hills, which I wouldn't want to do.)

elcee
08-16-2011, 08:44 AM
What are the rear gears on the old and new bike?

vvill
08-16-2011, 10:43 AM
I went from a triple to a 50/34 this year and was a bit afraid of not having enough range, as I like to ride steep hills. I calculated the gear ratios (on Sheldon Brown's site) and figured with the drop in weight (25 => 20 lb bike), the difference on the granniest gear wasn't too bad. I was right - still managed to conquer the steepest of the hills I regularly ride.

Dirt
08-16-2011, 11:40 AM
Most non racers do just fine with 50/34. That 34 is nice when you hit Massanutten Mountain on the back half of a Skymass loop. That said, I switched my road bikes to 53/39 and my cross bike to 50/34. I don't race anything, but the 50/34 on the cross bike is nice for gravel grinder rides.

As a side note, If you have a normal compact crank (50/34 and 110BCD) you can just replace the rings and run 52/36 or 38 comfortably. I did that for all of last season before stepping up to 53/39.

Love,

Pete

RESTONTODC
08-16-2011, 09:54 PM
What are the rear gears on the old and new bike?

Old commuter bike: 12/25
New Weekend Bike: 12/25

Thanks. I just found out the my cassette is a Shimano CS 6700 instead of SRAM Red.

Dam, I paid for a full SRAM RED groupset. The local bike shop took me for a ride again.

CCrew
08-17-2011, 12:22 AM
Old commuter bike: 12/25
New Weekend Bike: 12/25

Thanks. I just found out the my cassette is a Shimano CS 6700 instead of SRAM Red.

Dam, I paid for a full SRAM RED groupset. The local bike shop took me for a ride again.

No they didn't. You're running the best cassette to run with Red. Although the Red cassettes are light they're noisy as heck. Almost constant chain clatter.

Dirt
08-17-2011, 09:06 AM
No they didn't. You're running the best cassette to run with Red. Although the Red cassettes are light they're noisy as heck. Almost constant chain clatter.
I second that. Switch the SRAM chain for DuraAce and you'll notice even better shifting.

ponchera
08-29-2011, 08:37 PM
hey everyone, i'm new here (first post). I'm also new to cycling world, just started this month. I'm trying to learn more about bikes and the different sports but one thing has always confused me, which is this entire conversation.

I try to follow along and google about all these ##/## but i end up more confused. anyone have a sesame street explanation or link? i tried reading sheldon brown's page:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gain.html

but that made things worse.. =\...

I bought a 2011 Cannondale CAADX 105 (http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/road/cyclocross/2011-cyclocross-caadx/2011-caadx-105 )
i'm not even sure what ##/## i have and what it's limitations are, i'd love to know more about what i have (hopefully the answer is, its sucks). I bought it cause it was the only Cyclo i could find in the area in stock and my size.

I know I can now climb up the trail in rosslyn (custis?) without passing out in the first 100ft.
(I had a cheap MTB, that thing sucked, it was like pedaling a tank).

thanks for the patience.

CCrew
08-30-2011, 06:08 AM
I bought a 2011 Cannondale CAADX 105 (http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/road/cyclocross/2011-cyclocross-caadx/2011-caadx-105 )
i'm not even sure what ##/## i have and what it's limitations are, i'd love to know more about what i have (hopefully the answer is, its sucks). I bought it cause it was the only Cyclo i could find in the area in stock and my size.

That's pretty much a pure play cyclocross bike. While I didn't see it listed in the spec I'd pretty much expect it to be a 46/36 cross crank. Optimal for cyclocross, and actually not bad for day to day use, especially if you're subject to a lot of hills. Nice bike with a good component spec. Hard to go wrong with a Cannondale, and if you're looking at it as a commuter it's also a good choice.

If you're new at this (and welcome to the forum!) don't overthink all the specs and ratios. You'll get lost in numbers and opinions and at the end of the day it's all about enjoying the ride anyway.

Regards,
Roger

Greenbelt
08-30-2011, 09:12 AM
Second the idea that CX bikes are great for commuting. Check your braking power before commuting in heavy rain. I had to Flintstone my old CX bike a few times on rainy days before I upgraded the brakes.

Dirt
08-30-2011, 09:36 AM
Second the idea that CX bikes are great for commuting. Check your braking power before commuting in heavy rain. I had to Flintstone my old CX bike a few times on rainy days before I upgraded the brakes.
Sorry to follow this topic more than the one originally discussed: Cantilever brake set-up is definitely a little more challenging. I've never had a problem with them actually not stopping me though... even on carbon rims. For their intended purpose (slowing and stopping on cyclocross courses) they are perfect. Modern dual-pivot road brakes and disc brakes give more power than cantis.

CCrew
08-30-2011, 10:20 AM
Modern dual-pivot road brakes and disc brakes give more power than cantis.

Dunno Dirt. The Avid Shorty Ultimates I just bought just flat rock. Totally impressive for canti's

ponchera
08-30-2011, 10:50 AM
thanks for the input on my bike. i'm a pretty happy with it but you did hit the one point that even my ignorant self noticed. braking. I told the LBS when i purchased it that i felt they were deficient, they adjusted, sent me on my way. I came back a week later to get them looked at again as it seemed like the cables were a bit loose and pads were rubbing on the rim at an angle and not making full contact. They again adjusted. I read a post over at BikeForums where someone was also pissed, recommended ditching the pads and putting some Kool Stop salmons on at minimum. That poster went on to replace the entire canti system for some other system, i forget what it was, i asked for some details but haven't heard back. I may just ask you nice folks here for some guidance. I purchased the salmons but have been reluctant to go to LBS since they told me the original ones are fine and I don't need to replace them, also don't want to pay i bet some silly high rate to have a couple screws removed.

Any ways. thanks for input and I don't want to high jack this thread. I'll probably open a new one once i research how to change the break pads if I have any questions.


(BTW, i'm still curious to understand what 46/36 vs 53/39 vs 50/34 all means... )

Greenbelt
08-30-2011, 10:59 AM
Those cool-looking salmon colored brake pads were a big improvement in my opinion. My LBS switches out the brakes on CX bikes pretty routinely for non-racers, either pads or whole systems (to a heavier weight Shimano canti model I think). Worked for me.

It's hard to ask for heavy-load commuting performance in a racing bike, but we do want everything, don't we?

Dirt
08-30-2011, 11:03 AM
Dunno Dirt. The Avid Shorty Ultimates I just bought just flat rock. Totally impressive for canti's

I totally agree with you on that, though I'm a TRP EuroX Magnesium kinda guy. My point is that we've each got $400 MSRP brakes that need to be set up correctly with the right pads, toe-in and rim angle to get them to work that way. You can get equal or better braking power with $15 Shimano Dual-pivot knock-offs from China via eBay and have zero set-up issues.


---
I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.895281,-77.029775

CCrew
08-30-2011, 11:11 AM
You can get equal or better braking power with $15 Shimano Dual-pivot knock-offs from China via eBay and have zero set-up issues.

Yeah, I did indeed let loose with a few choice words :)

Dirt
08-30-2011, 11:36 AM
(BTW, i'm still curious to understand what 46/36 vs 53/39 vs 50/34 all means... )
A lot of it is how/wear you ride.

In the simplest terms, the smaller the gears up front, the easier it is to pedal. I know, that's probably too basic.

46/36 is traditional for cyclocross where the style of racing where the elevation gains are not massive, so gear combinations that are close together are important. Having extra ground clearance is important too. They also tend to be great commuting gears for people in hilly areas.

53/39 is traditional road racing gearing. Riding in a pack, drafting and riding in a pace line all help riders go faster. People who do this a lot will really find utility for the 53 tooth large ring. These riders also tend to be more powerful and can handle many hills with only a 39 tooth small ring up front for climbing.

50/34 is somewhere in between. Honestly, most casual riders... people who are not going out and racing with a Cat3 or better group on a regular basis... find this combination the best. People who ride serious mountains or steep hills find the 34 tooth small ring essential to getting to the top easily. Even some top pros will use compact gearing for seriously mountainous stages in European stage races. I used it for many years until I got back to doing group rides and centuries in flatter areas where I found I was spinning too much with a 50x11 gear. When I go to France to ride in the Alps, I put the compact gears (50/34) on. When I go to Colorado to climb in the Rockies, I leave the 53/39 gears on the bike.

Hopefully that gives a good basis upon which you can ask further questions.

Pete

RESTONTODC
08-30-2011, 12:07 PM
ponchera, Which brake are you using most of time? Front or Back?

ponchera
08-30-2011, 01:05 PM
Dirt! AHH that now makes sense my friend. that's the sesame street explanation i was looking for. I went back and read the original question from RestonToDc and now i understand what he's asking. You put enough info where i can start googling up specific stuff to learn more about. thanks!

So basically my CX cranks will do to get around all the trails in dc and commute from EFC to dc. If i decide to roll with roadies once i'm actually in shape and can handle it, i need skinny tires and if i'm climbing long hills, may need to swap crank as well or i'll be left in the dust right? but i should be able to ride say out to dulles or leesburg on the W&O and not have issues because of my crankset.. correct?

EDIT: I looked up a review for the CAADX to verify what crankset I have,
http://road.cc/content/review/28545-cannondale-caadx-105

"When it comes to components, the clue's in the name of the CAADX 105 – the general theme is Shimano's 10spd 105 groupset, with some tweaks around the edges. The most obvious departure is the chainset. Shimano doesn't offer a chainset that'll fit the Cannondale's BB30 bottom bracket shell directly, so an FSA Gossamer 36/46 setup goes in instead. No complaints there – the actual arms don't have the monster stiffness to match up to the 30mm spindle, but BB30 is a highly future-proof setup so come upgrade time you've got the choice of, well, everything."

question, what's the 30mm spindle and the BB30, when/why would i feel that it needs upgrading?

ponchera
08-30-2011, 01:07 PM
ponchera, Which brake are you using most of time? Front or Back?

Just to slow down, say down a hill when I chicken out when i go above 20mph or as i'm approaching joggers, rear. when i get to an intersection slow it rear and then gun the front to actually stop on the mark.

the rear by itself is pretty useless, i just keep rolling, good enough to slow but not stopping where I need to stop.

RESTONTODC
08-30-2011, 01:14 PM
Just to slow down, say down a hill and i chicken out at around 20mph or as i'm approaching joggers, rear. when i get to an intersection slow it rear and then gun the front to actually stop on the mark.

the rear by itself is pretty useless, i just keep rolling, good enough to slow but not stopping where I need to stop.


You might want to use the front brake more. I use the front most of time and rear when it's wet. Here is the link about braking.

http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

ponchera
08-30-2011, 01:26 PM
It's hard to ask for heavy-load commuting performance in a racing bike, but we do want everything, don't we?

yep, we want everything, i do photography as a hobby and same goes for that, I'm still waiting for an f/1.4 12mm-400mm lens to come out for under $1k :)

CCrew
08-30-2011, 03:42 PM
question, what's the 30mm spindle and the BB30, when/why would i feel that it needs upgrading?

BB30 is the type of bottom bracket the crank uses. It's a 30mm spindle through bearings pressed in the frame. Compared to square taper or octalink which are other types of bottom brackets. BB30 is good stuff actually.

Unless you're always going so fast that you're all spin and maxed out there's no need to replace it. Which as a new person at the riding thing sorry, ain't happening :)

Dirt
08-30-2011, 07:25 PM
BB30 is the type of bottom bracket the crank uses. It's a 30mm spindle through bearings pressed in the frame. Compared to square taper or octalink which are other types of bottom brackets. BB30 is good stuff actually.

Unless you're always going so fast that you're all spin and maxed out there's no need to replace it. Which as a new person at the riding thing sorry, ain't happening :)

I'll also add that you must have a frame designed for BB30. There are other bottom bracket standards that all have the same goal... Stiff, light and durable. BB90 is the simplest and is used by Trek. It uses standard, integrated spindle cranks and press-fit bearings. BBRight is arguably the best but most obscure. It has the ability to be the lightest Anne stiffest, but only 2 companies make cranks for it... FSA and Rotor. Look has it's own standard for some cranks.

There are other standards out there, but those are the main ones.

Pete

Greenbelt
08-31-2011, 10:43 AM
My new cross bike outfitted for occasional commuting, with non-racing brakes and salmon pads -- works great now.

354

ponchera
08-31-2011, 02:59 PM
My new cross bike outfitted for occasional commuting, with non-racing brakes and salmon pads -- works great now.

354

Nice! i need to google up how to install my salmons this weekend.


Following on the Crank questions,today I commuted for the first time to work (EFC to Union Station), nice ride, i'm thrilled, can't believe I wasted all this time on metro! Since i was in a hurry to get to work i stopped chickening out at 20mph and cranked up the speed. i noticed that when i hit 24-25mph downhill, i run out of gears, it seams like the gears with most power (pardon my lack of appropriate terms) don't do anything no matter how fast i pedal and that's as fast as i'll go.

Is this when a 53/39 would of made a difference?

DaveK
08-31-2011, 03:56 PM
Nice! i need to google up how to install my salmons this weekend.

Is this when a 53/39 would of made a difference?

Yes but no... if you really want another gear to spin out on the top end, change your cassette before you change your crankset. Just going to an 11-tooth smallest cog will give you a little more top-end for the downhills. A 50-11 combination is actually a larger gear than a 53-12.

That said, it's a commute. Who cares? Coast and enjoy it.

ponchera
08-31-2011, 04:58 PM
Who cares? Coast and enjoy it.

I don't, it was all in spirit of learning, now about coasting I wish the 3 riders behind me at one point would do the same instead of almost pushing me off the trail on narrow points.. a-holes.

CCrew
09-01-2011, 03:41 AM
I don't, it was all in spirit of learning, now about coasting I wish the 3 riders behind me at one point would do the same instead of almost pushing me off the trail on narrow points.. a-holes.

Just keep in mind there's always someone faster. It's all good. Just enjoy getting there and realize there are idiots in cars and rude people on Metro too.

ponchera
09-20-2011, 04:48 PM
Allow me revive this thread. After a a couple weeks of riding the bike including different commuting routes, I find that taking hills when on the way back home through the Custis Trail is a bit challenging and will burn me out half way through the commute. I know it will get better as my condition improves but I was wondering if it would help to change my CAADX from a 46/36 to 50/34.

My bike has a BB30 bottom bracket shell with a FSA Gossamer 36/46 setup and 12-25 10spd cassette. (hopefully i said that right, i was copying and pasting from another site ;) )

Is this an easy / low cost upgrade that would significantly ease up my commute? Feel free to tell me "pedal harder fatty, it will get better".

jabberwocky
09-20-2011, 06:06 PM
36 to 34 isn't much of a change... About a 6% change in gear low gearing. It will make it easier, but not dramatically so.

You might consider getting a 12-28 cassette instead. Going from a 25 to a 28 gives you a 12% change in low gearing, or about double the advantage of switching cranks. And a cassette swap would probably be cheaper.