Over to you: What’s your ideal road gearing?

53/39 and 11/25, 40/36 and 11-32, 42 and 10-32?

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.

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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
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.  

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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?