52/36 Vs. 50/34 Crankset (In-Depth Comparison)

52/36 Vs. 50/34 Crankset

The crankset is an excellent component of your bike that converts the energy from pedaling to motion.

It’s a simple part that means a great deal if you enjoy every biking session. The good news is that these cranksets come in different sizes and designs. 

Two of those designs are the 52/36 and the 50/34 cranksets, and the difference between them will provide all the clarity you need when looking to replace your old crankset.

52/36 offers you more speed and riding stability. This crankset is the preferred choice for riders who prioritize speed above all other features. 50/34 crankset does have its uses in climbing. A comprehensive look at their characteristics will help you make an informed choice.

52/36 Vs. 50/34 Crankset; Which is Better?

The kind of road you run will ultimately decide what crankset is better for you. The double crankset has two teeth, with the bigger teeth coming first.

The differences in teeth affect their gear numbers, speed, revolution, and much more. 

A 52/36 crankset has 52 teeth on the outer chainring with 36 teeth in the inner chainring. Meanwhile, the 50/34 is a compact crankset with 50 and 34 inner chainrings.

Mid-compact is becoming one of the most popular choices for non-professional cyclists.

If the other two cranksets are two different worlds of cycling, it’s safe to say that the mid-compact (52/36) combines both worlds.

To know which crankset is better for your bike, you should consider the following features and characteristics. 

#1. Speed

Speed is often an essential factor when buying a new bike. If you are also replacing the crankset of an old bike, then the speed is a factor in your decision.

The fundamental truth is that crankset speed directly relates to the number of teeth. 

The 52/36 crankset offers you more speed on smooth roads and flat terrains. The compact is slower in comparison.

More teeth mean the crankset has a bigger diameter. The diameter ultimately determines the revolution.

Hence if speed is the primary factor in consideration, then the 52/36 crankset is the pick in this situation.

#2. Climbing 

For some biking terrains, climbing is common. While some climbing only involves low slopes from home to work, some other climbing involves hills.

If climbing is a standard feature for your terrain, then you need to be intentional about the chosen crankset.

The 50/34 crankset is better at climbing and is the better option in this case.

A crankset’s climbing or hiking ability also links directly to its teeth. However, this time, the smaller teeth matter more.

To understand climbing in bikes, you need to understand the relationship between the crankset and corsets of the rear wheel.

The crankset that is involved in climbing is the inner chainring. The ratio between this inner chainring and the selected cog should be as small as possible. 

A small ratio signifies ease of climbing. This calculation is why the 50/34 set is the better option.

Because its inner chainring has 34 teeth as opposed to the 36 teeth on the mid-compact crankset. 

If you have a lot of climbing before you, then the compact crankset is worth consideration in this instance. 

#3. Ease of Riding

The ease of pedaling a bike also differs based on the type of crankset in its system.

Ease of riding is all about how much power is required to move the bike through the action of the pedal, the crankset, and the cogset. 

For professional bikers, this might not make much difference. However, if you are new to biking, it is crucial to consider this factor.

Cranksets with fewer teeth are easier to ride when dealing with rough or steep terrains. If this is a factor for you, then the 50/34 takes the edge.

#4. Weight of Chainset

The mid-compact crankset is heavier than the compact crankset. The weight itself has various effects on your cycling experience.

While the importance of the 53/36 crankset helps to add stability to your ride, it also affects its handling and carrying. 

On one side, it ensures that the bike has enough weight on the ground. Hence, there is balance when riding.

It can become a problem when you want to carry your bike due to the weight of the setup. 

These are the factors when considering the two cranksets. Based on the calculation, the mid-compact crankset is about 5% faster than the compact crankset. 

Note that the speed, climbing power, and ease of ride depend not only on the selected crankset.

The type and level of cogset selected also affect these factors. The two combine to give you the required result.

Because of this combination, it is possible to adjust any of the two cranksets to suit your demands.

Some gear ratios make it easy to climb hills with the 52/36 crankset. However, it will not be as easy as the combination you can get from the 50/34 crankset.

52/36 Vs. 50/34 Crankset; Price Comparison

The two cranksets are available at different prices depending on the quality and brand.

You can get a cheap crankset for as low as $100. Conversely, a premium crankset can be as high as $1000

It is an excellent option to check out the rating from verified buyers irrespective of the price.

Generally, the cheapest 50/34 crankset is about $60, while the most expensive is a few dollars more than $650.

This wide range in 50/34 crankset price means you can choose from a wide range.

The price of a 52/36 crankset is a little bit higher in comparison. The lowest price online is a little above $100.

In contrast, the most expensive is in the same bracket as the compact crankset.

50/34 Vs. 52/36 Vs. 53/39

The 53/39 crankset is also known as the standard crankset. It is the biggest among the three popular cranksets in the commercial market.

Note that bigger cranksets exist but are often for specific details. This table summarizes the features and differences between the three popular cranksets. 

Particulars50/34 crankset52/36 crankset53/39 crankset
Common NameCompact cranksetMid-compact cranksetStandard crankset
SpeedMedium speedFastFaster
Hill ClimbingBetter suited to climbingIt is okay for hill climbingNot suitable for hill climbing
Ease of UseEasy to useRequire little expertiseRequires much energy.

Are More Teeth on a Crankset Better?

More teeth on a crankset do make a lot of difference. However, other teeth do not automatically mean you have a better bicycle. It all depends on your preferences and road terrain.

More teeth equal more speed. If gaining momentum is your ultimate goal, then more teeth are what you need to achieve this goal.

However, more teeth also mean that you need more work input to ride the bike. So in terms of speed, your bike gets better with more teeth. On the flip side, it comes at a cost. 

How do I Know what Crankset Fits my Bike?

Getting the best crankset for your bike is all about fitness and product makeup. One major determining factor is your budget.

The good news is that there are still various options within your budget. The easiest way to identify the best fit for your bike is to check the current installation.

The difference between cranksets is more than just the chainring teeth. The size of the installation piece is also a factor.

The bike manual should have all the details you need. If that is not an option, you can take the bike to a local expert and have it checked. 

It is possible to switch from one type of crankset to the other. For example, a rider interested in hiking could switch to a smaller crankset that is a single chainring.

The varieties give you options, but the fit into the bike must always be the same as the original.

Final Thoughts

The crankset is a vital component of your bike. The various teeth count gives you a wide range of options.

The 52/36 offers speed and stability, while the 50/34 crankset is more suited to hill climbing.

Your choice will depend mainly on your budget, terrain, riding style, and preference. Either way, you are in for a pleasant journey.

Josh Matthews

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