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I have been doing a lot of internet surfing tonight to figure out what crankset to purchase. I guess my question is what chainring size to get. You have everything from 36/46, 38/46 & 50/34. What is the standard size? What about a compact 50/34? I am looking at doing some races, but will do some gravel fireroads and singletrack.


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I used to ride 50/34 and 50/36 a lot, but that was mainly road and occaisional trail use. The 50/34 is a common "compact" size (although I'm not so sure what's so compact about it, it's the same BCD that Shimano, Suntour, et al used for a long time before going 130bcd for road and 94-4 for MTB). However, the 50/34 is a big jump and if you want some continuity in your shifting pattern, you'll end up double shifting a lot - up a chainring, up one cog, and vice-versa.

I find that the 46/34 is better suited for me. I am not the best or strongest rider, so I like having the 34 as the small chainring, and 46 is plenty big enough - 46 x 11 is still a fairly stout gear for road riding. But we are talking about you. Are you a pretty strong climber? What sort of gear range do you have on the back? I think in your shoes, I'd get a 36/46 "Compact" (110 bcd) crank, and spend $15 - 20 or so to get a 38t ring to swap around. That way you can play around to see what works best for you relatively inexpensively and easily between the 36t and the 38t.
JD, Thanks for your in put. I am not the strongest climber but I do well ever where else. This is my first CX bike so I was not sure which way to go. I think going 34/46 or 36/46 would make since for me.
50 is way too big. even fourty six is pro sized. for racing most people use a fourty two or so. fourty four max. you may find the jump between the rings fairly big too.

i suppose it depends on how much racing you want to do vs how much utility you want your bike to have.
I've been using a 36/46 with great results. The 36 is fine for all but the steepest of climbs, then you're usually running anyway. Although not used that often, the 46 is perfect for the few longer flats I encounter. The shifting between 36 and 46 is nearly perfect too. It's not a big jump so you don't have to shift in the rear at the same time to get the right gear, punch to the big ring and go. I've been pleased with my FSA Gossamer crankset, they even come in a 36/46 combination unlike many other cranksets. Not the lightest crankset in the world, but it's solid, cheap, and still not too heavy. I just bought a new set for my wife's bike.


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