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53 vs. 52 chain ring... any real difference?(10 posts)

53 vs. 52 chain ring... any real difference?5ive
May 30, 2002 7:00 PM
I was thinking about trying 52 big ring to help myself spin more (plus I never used that 53x12). But now I'm thinking... hmm... 1 tooth difference, would I feel the difference? Also how does 42 small ring compare to 39? I like to spin up local hills in 39x23, could I still do it in 42? Thanx in advance.
re: 53 vs. 52 chain ring... any real difference?Noam
May 30, 2002 9:34 PM
Depend very much on how strong you are. 53/12 is a BIG gear if you have 12t cog use 52T chainring. It is my experience that 39T is great for climbing. However, it is no good for spin in the bunch unless they all have 39T, they will leave you behind. Remebmer that you can not ue the 39T with 12,13,14 cogs and 39/15 is slow. I have both 39T and 42T which i change on the evening before a ride depends on the profile of the route.

can't use 13 & 14 cogs???C-40
May 31, 2002 4:57 AM
The only cog that shouldn't be used with the little ring is the first (usually an 11 or 12).

Changing back and forth between a 39 and a 42 is waste of time, IMO. A 39/13 and a 42/14 are exactly the same. If someone's leaving you behind in a 39/13, it's time to shift to a 53/17.
May 31, 2002 3:49 AM
I just swapped a 53-tooth ring for a 52 and notice that I am able to use the big chainring much more. Like you said, 1 tooth, how can that be a big difference? It is.
no math wizzes here...C-40
May 31, 2002 4:42 AM
The difference between a 52 and a 53 is only 2%. That would be a 2 rpm increase in cadence, assuming a 100 rpm average.

Changing from a 42 to a 39 tooth is a 7% change. The difference between a 21 and a 23 cog is about 10%. Spinning a 42/23 would be only slightly easier than a 39/21.
A 42 with a 25 may be your best solution.Quack
May 31, 2002 6:44 AM
It sounds like your running a 39/53 with a 12-23. If you find yourself frequently running out of cogs using the 39 and find yourself only using the first few cogs when in the 53, the 42 front would be a good choice. If you're concerned about maintaining the same climbing cadence with the 42 as the 39, go with a 25 top cog in back. I doubt that you will notice much difference going to a 52.

Living in flatland Minnesota, I have found the 42/52 with a 12-21 to be the perfect setup. 42-21 can be tough on climbs, but maintaining the 100rpm cadence is great for the muscles. Don't sweat the big ring choice, I only use my big ring in sprints and long downhills. The 42-13 should be good for low 30s if your leg speed is good.
re: 53 vs. 52 chain ring... any real difference?merckx56
May 31, 2002 7:27 AM
I tried a 52 big just to see if i could get on top of a gear faster while sprinting and really couldn't tell a difference. a 53/13 = 110.08 gear inches. a 52/13 = 108.00
a 39/23 is the same as a 42/26. 43.88 vs. 43.62 inches.
a 42/25 = 45.36. not much difference but it may affect you psychologically. people get all weird about gearing.
I went to longer cranks and a 42 and found that i actually climb better now. it's only a chainring. by a 52 on ebay and try it! you never know!
re: 53 vs. 52 chain ring... any real difference?Chen2
May 31, 2002 11:02 AM
How about this, keep the 53 and change (or convert) the cassette to a 13-25? The 53/13 will give you 110 gear-inches and at 100 rpm cadence you'll be doing 33 mph, more than most of us can maintain on a flat road. Shimano makes an Ultegra 13-25 available from your LBS. And personally I would never be able to make the hills I climb with a 42 small ring.
shifting improvementDuke249
May 31, 2002 6:28 PM
I've recently switched to a 52/42 from a 53/39 and have noticed a dramatic improvement in shifting with the front derailleur. Living in northern Indiana, I am very comfortable with the 52/42, 12x21 setup.
re: 53 vs. 52 chain ring... any real difference?Dragon33
Jun 4, 2002 11:18 AM
Go to they have a gear calculator on the site. A 52 is really the only way to go unless you are a beast, doubt you'll ever use that 53x11.