Compact or Double Crankset

rando
rando Posts: 285
edited August 2012 in Road buying advice
I currently have a triple crankset (50/39/30 ) on my Trek but have never been on the granny ring and very rarely on the big ring. 99.9% I am in the middle ring and just go up and down the rear cog.
I ride mostly around the Leicestershire countryside so although not flat it is certainly not littered with big long climbs .
(According to my Garmin stats the average elevation is 2500ft in my 50 miles ride).
So would I be better off getting a Double or Compact crankset on my next road bike ?

Comments

  • mjbennett
    mjbennett Posts: 532
    Double. You'd hardly use the little ring on a compact in LEIC
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Compact. If you hit places like Nanpantan Road, Priory Lane to the north or Gumley etc to the south there are some very steep inclines where you'll be glad of that 34 ring on the front. Not long inclines but steep ramps in places. You already spend most of your ride in the middle ring so a 52 won't get much if any use and a 36 may not give you enough of a relief on hills. Besides, you'll maybe want to venture further afield and into Derbyshire it gets very hilly.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    philthy3 wrote:
    Compact. If you hit places like Nanpantan Road, Priory Lane to the north or Gumley etc to the south there are some very steep inclines where you'll be glad of that 34 ring on the front. Not long inclines but steep ramps in places. You already spend most of your ride in the middle ring so a 52 won't get much if any use and a 36 may not give you enough of a relief on hills. Besides, you'll maybe want to venture further afield and into Derbyshire it gets very hilly.

    Sometimes ride Priory Lane/Polly Potts and round Ulverscroft and still only use the middle ring. Take your point about Derbyshire though.
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    If you get a compact you can put bigger rings on in the future if that's what you decide you need. So you could swap the 50/34 for 50/39 or 52/39 or whatever. If you get a double then the smallest inner ring you can fit is a 38.

    You should probably try to use the big/small ring on your triple though to get a better chainline than you get on the middle ring at the extremes of the cassette.
    More problems but still living....
  • jimwin
    jimwin Posts: 208
    It also depends on your rear cassette range. For example, a double 53/39 chainset with a 12-29 rear cassette gives you a 36" gear minimum. I used this combo for cycling in much of the South (including Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset etc) with no need to dismount. But hilly places like the South West (where I live), Wales, Peak District and Cumbria I'd use a compact setup (or a triple).
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    amaferanga wrote:
    If you get a compact you can put bigger rings on in the future if that's what you decide you need. So you could swap the 50/34 for 50/39 or 52/39 or whatever. If you get a double then the smallest inner ring you can fit is a 38.
    You should probably try to use the big/small ring on your triple though to get a better chainline than you get on the middle ring at the extremes of the cassette.

    I am clearly clueless when it comes to technical details - Would never have thought about swapping rings in/out.
    Better chainline ? Again never even think about that. I am just happy in the middle ring pedalling along. I need to get a bit more clued up!
  • daviesee
    daviesee Posts: 6,386
    You already have a 50 ring and rarely use it. The chances of using a 52 or 53 are even more remote.

    Go for a compact.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    Well some advising Double and others Compact. I suppose either would be suitable and what I havn't got I can't use.
    Just know I do not need a Triple.
  • Highest gear on my bike is 50x12. At my age (61) I never use it. Can't push big gears anymore. Hate having extemes of gears I'll never use so when my compact 50t chainring is worn I'll replace it with a 48t or more likely a 46t. If I find I'm peddling out I'll either slowdown or just freewheel.
    I'm not getting old... I'm just using lower gears......
    Sirius - Steel Reynolds 631
    Cove Handjob - Steel Columbus Nivacrom
    Trek Madone - Carbon
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    You have one person recommending a double while everyone else is suggesting a compact with the option to change rings as you improve.

    To not come out of the 39 ring all ride long you can't be spinning out otherwise you'd be using the largest ring on the front already. There's a little bit of snobbery in cycling from some quarters and no shame in having a compact fitted or even a triple for those that use them. Don't be pressured into a double if you're not going to get the benefits of it. Even the Pro's will use a compact on various stages.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    edited August 2012
    Compact - apart from anything else, I reckon a lot of people are prone to grinding the gears too slowly and rate standards when they shouldn't. I used to live in Leicester and remember plenty of hills - not big ones but certainly the sort where maintaining a high cadence in the 39 might be hard. As jimwin said, it's also about your cassette - so if you aren't using the 50 on your triple much, you can use a cassette with a range of gears at the lower end to shift you into using the 50 more.

    That said, strictly speaking if you went for a double, you'd be riding closest to how you are now on the basis that you could leave the chain on the 39 of the double as you do the 39 of the triple.

    But on that basis why bother having a front mech at all!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    philthy3 wrote:
    You have one person recommending a double while everyone else is suggesting a compact with the option to change rings as you improve.

    To not come out of the 39 ring all ride long you can't be spinning out otherwise you'd be using the largest ring on the front already. There's a little bit of snobbery in cycling from some quarters and no shame in having a compact fitted or even a triple for those that use them. Don't be pressured into a double if you're not going to get the benefits of it. Even the Pro's will use a compact on various stages.

    I don't feel pressured at all into buying a double. All I know is I do not use my triple and so do want it on my next bike.
    The only times I do spin out in the middle ring is going down hill so I just free wheel sometimes as once I get above 35mph I feel that is fast enough (My top speed is only 38mph and that felt scary to me). Top speeds do not interest me at all.
  • mikeabanks
    mikeabanks Posts: 116
    In that case a Compact as you may hit a hill that you need a lower gear and you can't freewheel UP hill :-)
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    A Double just looks so more cool
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record (I'm always evangelising about customised compacts), I think the best crank option for most people is a 50/36, which is basically a standard compact with the 34 ring swapped for a 36. I have this on all of my bikes. Paired with a cassette with an 11 tooth smallest sprocket you will have as big a gear as you will ever need, while paired with a big sprocket cassette you will be fine for the Alps. The advantage of the 36 over the 34 is that you will have the same gap between the rings as between a 53 and 39, and so reduce the annoying jump you get with a 50/34.
  • mjbennett
    mjbennett Posts: 532
    Have you thought of getting a double with a larger cassette on the back?
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    mjbennett wrote:
    Have you thought of getting a double with a larger cassette on the back?

    My options in the bike configurator are :
    Double or Compact
    12-25
    11-23
    11-25
    11-28
  • My 9 speed Ultegra cassette is 14-25. Excellent spread for me. Every gear gets used. However on 10 speed cassettes it seems you have to start at 11 or 12. Now I'm aged 61 a 10 speed cassette something like 14-30 would be just right. Small cogs are good for the young racing snakes but us old 'uns need something lower.
    I'm not getting old... I'm just using lower gears......
    Sirius - Steel Reynolds 631
    Cove Handjob - Steel Columbus Nivacrom
    Trek Madone - Carbon
  • daviesee
    daviesee Posts: 6,386
    rando wrote:
    mjbennett wrote:
    Have you thought of getting a double with a larger cassette on the back?

    My options in the bike configurator are :
    Double or Compact
    12-25
    11-23
    11-25
    11-28
    Given your current usage, I would vote for 11-28 just to get the 28 but a 12-28 would probably suit you better.

    I went compact and 11-25 for what thats worth, but some of the guys in my bunch are quite quick so I occasionally need that 50x11.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • mjbennett
    mjbennett Posts: 532
    Double with 11 28 will be fine i'm sure. Just my opinion though!