53-39 vs. 50-34

Hope this hasnt been posted before, but im looking to possibly change from a 3 ring crank to a 2crank next spring and i was wondering if there are any pros or cons for choosing either of these two options…

My main worry is can you still climb with a 53-39?


I’ve been doing the KOMs with a 53-39 and an 11-23, so it can be done; although, the 39-23 after a few big climbs is HELL for me. I think the main difference with the double is that it’s going to take a lot more muscular strength. Instead of easily spinning a high cadence up the climb, you’ll end up with a slower cadence and more resistance, which I’ve heard uses up more energy.

I guess if you go with the double and climbing is too difficult, you could just get a bigger cassette–but then your shifting quality might fall. Also, the 53-11 is a definite plus if you plan on sprinting and winning.

So I have the big ol’ frisbee 12-27 and a 39-53. My shifts are def. not as smooth into and out of 27 and 25. These days the only times I use the 27 are when I’m toast at KOM and when I’m biking as slow as I can for top of the hill recovery. I would trade the 27 on the fat side for an 11 on the skinny side happily.

for the riding around here a 53-39 is fine. it really comes down to a bit of personal preference. if you want to get a double crankset you can also try a compact crankset. this is double chain rings, but instead of a standard 130mm bolt pattern, it has a 110mm bolt pattern. most of these come w/ a 50-34 set up but you can easily buy a 52 (not sure about a 53) chainring.

it also depends on what you’re running as ur cassette in the back. 12-25 or 11-25 are really good for all around type of riding, but you can easily get a 12-27 that will allow you to do a higher cadence. i’ll switch to a 27 for mountainous races and the shifting is fine as long as you adjust your limiters and tension a bit.

another thing you have to remember is that IF you switch from a triple to a double, you HAVE to change the front derailleur, rear derailleur, chain and front shifter. the most people forget to change the rear derailleur, yet it is really important since the cage (length between the two derailleur cogs) is a lot longer on a triple set-up. therefore, the chain also needs to be shortened to keep the right tension.

personally i’d suggest gears on the smaller side since whenever u have to drop below ~75rpm ur gonna start going anaerobic. the more time you can stay in ur aerobic zone is always better.