Cyclists often have more choices than we know what to do with, and gearing is one such example. We have standard, compact, sub-compact, micro-compact and single-ring… and that’s just the crank.
Gear choice is kinda the same as tire preference; the ‘right’ answer depends on A) how you ride, B) where you ride, and C) whatever the hell you happen to prefer, thank you very much.
For me, a heavier, gray-haired guy who lives at the base of the Colorado Rockies and still likes to pin on numbers, I have a 53/36 on my Dura-Ace crank with an 11-28 cassette. I need that low 36-28 gear to haul my carcass up the hills, and I like having the big 53t ring to power the bike back down them. I appreciate that Shimano’s newer cranks let you mix and match chainrings more than traditional standard or compact cranks do.
This is my daily set up: 53/36 with an 11-28 cassette Ben Delaney / Immediate Media
I’ve also come to appreciate much, much lower gearing, such as the micro FSA crank that comes on Felt’s new VR2 endurance/adventure bike with 46/30 rings.
While I can appreciate a single-ring setup for cyclocross — especially for the clutch derailleur that I would love to see on 2x gravel bikes — I think limiting yourself to a small range on a road bike is stupid.
How about you? What gear set up do you have on your road bike? And what is your ideal gearing, if you could pick just one set up?