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 cassetteBen 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.