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52/39 vs. 53/39(14 posts)

52/39 vs. 53/39KEN2
Feb 13, 2002 1:44 PM
Apropos the thread about 12-25 vs. 12-27: what is the real world difference between 52/39 and 53/39 chainrings? I can look on a gear chart and plot the ratios but what does it all mean in actual riding?

And why doesn't Shimano (or does someone else?) make a 50 or 51 big ring for us non-racers? I have a 50/39 on my cross bike and actually prefer it on the road to the 53/39 on my road bike--it shifts smoother and the ratios and double shifts (i.e. front and rear simultaneously to larger or smaller size cogs/rings) seem more useful.
A whopping 2% rise in gearing!!!!!!!!(nm)Rusty McNasty
Feb 13, 2002 2:17 PM
re: 52/39 vs. 53/39Chen2
Feb 13, 2002 3:39 PM
You should be able to find a good 50t ring for a double. Good aftermarket rings should work fine on a double crank.
re: 52/39 vs. 53/39Stanley
Feb 13, 2002 3:40 PM
Get yourself a TA or what ever 50 or 51. I use a 50 on my race bike and plan to get a 51. A 51x12 is still a way bigger gear than most people will use. Especially if you have a cadence meter on your bike. When I put one on I realised just how slow I often tended to pedal. I agree with the shifting thing etc and would add that the 52 53 ring only ever became popular in the days when people used a 13 or perhaps a 12 up 6 or 7 spped block. Today you can even run an 11 if you really want a big gear. There is NO reason for a 53 chain ring.
Feb 13, 2002 3:47 PM
Yeah, don't tell anyone but if the decision between a Shimano double and a triple isn't hard enough, add the fact that the big CR on a double is a 53, while on a triple it's _only_ a 52! (OMFG) Now realize that you can actually get DA rings in sizes other than 53 - the 55 is for the tri-crowd riding 650 wheels. I've seen RAAM riders running a 57t.

Shimano is in the business of telling us what we want and making the "right" decisions, the after market gearing stuff exists for those of us who don't/won't agree. The big bummer is that the aftermarket stuff never really works as well or lasts as long. They're missing out on a bunch of the proprietary info from the R&D. Lots of different things will work, but it's a question of how well.
Shimano is in the business of telling us what we want .guido
Feb 13, 2002 11:42 PM
Well put. Surfing a day or two ago, I read that Lance has used TA chainrings on his Dura Ace crank, claiming they actually hold up better than Shimano. TA makes these aftermarket rings in the Shimano bolt circle, in a bunch of sizes. So that might be an alternative.

Have a 42/52 on my commuter. 10 tooth difference shifts cleaner than 39/53. Eddy Merckx was reputed to have "been fond of" a 44 inner ring for climbing. For racing on flats or gently rolling hills, 44-53 is nicely coupled, shifts very quickly. 44 will teach you how to power through a nice, circular pedal stroke, a "rouleur's" gear.

Had a buddy who swore by his 50. He was a lean kid, who'd just jam away from us on the false flats, while we'd be downshifting, trying to find the right gear. But that wouldn't be a problem anymore, with 10 speed cassettes.

I've often wondered, though, why 39/53 is now standard. Seems like that's too big a jump for the legs to handle very efficiently, especially when going hard.
Shimano is in the business of telling us what we want .grzy
Feb 14, 2002 12:22 PM
TA chainrings will set you back about $100 for a pair. They look nice and come if different colors - the alloy may be harder, but I didn't see all of the special teeth features that Shimano uses although they did have some. Many guys put them on for a fashion statement and often their stock rings aren't even worn out. They may be better or Lance may be getting paid to say that - who knows. You do have to realize that pros get paid to ride and endorse certain products. Not that it can't be the simple truth. I'd like an unbiased assessment on them.

No doubt the 42 will shift better and have a tighter ratio than the 39. However, this can be pretty painful out in the SF Bay Area and places with significant mountains if you're not a racer. If you find yourself climbing long grueling hills (~10+% and 2,000' at a wack) on all day rides you'll be looking for low ratios once you get past a certain age. Got a racer buddy who swaps his 42 for a 39 when he does rides with lots of climbing.

I've always read and heard that if you want a nice effiient circular pedal stroke you're better off spinning, which can happen in any gear depending on slope. Pushing big gears with alow cadence is counter productive to a nice smooth circular pedal stroke.

The kid would jam away from you b/c he was in better shape and had a superior power to weight ratio. Being young and lean makes climbing easier.
Feb 15, 2002 11:45 AM
Grzy is right.
Do you know that Shimano (the biggest in the industry) doesn't have knowledgeable cyclists working for them? They just haphazardly produce stuff, then tell us we need it, right? They have no expertise in cycling, they are just a manufacturer, with machining and production abilities, no cycling experience at all! And to make the whole situation even worse for us is aftermarket stuff never really works as well or lasts as long.

And that proprietary info, it's so secret that it never gets put to use.

Those R&D people just do R&D (whatever that means). It's too bad they don't look into the subject of bicycle parts and then make some new stuff.

The whole bicycle/parts industry sucks.

What I really want is someone to tell me what I really need.
Feb 13, 2002 4:43 PM
Now with a 11t, a 48t chainring is big anough. With this, you can climb more short hill on the big chainring.
54/38 23-12jim hubbard
Feb 13, 2002 11:31 PM
I find that I have a tendency to go to the extremes with gearing. If on the flat I push big gears 54x15-12 and on the climbs I spin alot normally 38x23-17. I fitted the 38 just recently because of a race that finished up a hill that had a right hander running at 1 in 3(33%) so I was running a 38x25 and it still felt like I was overgeared.
54/38 23-12Jack S
Feb 27, 2002 7:19 AM
what kind on front der are you using that can handle a 16t difference?
How about 42 vs 39???mikebikr
Feb 14, 2002 10:31 AM
Old bike is a 42 and the new one on the way will be a 39. Any real word difference? Will I notice it?

How about 42 vs 39???grzy
Feb 15, 2002 12:22 PM
You'll like the tighter gearing on flatter sections but will appreciate the 39 when things get steep. You have to temper this with your style - do you spin or mash?
How about 42 vs 39???mikebikr
Feb 27, 2002 6:59 AM