50/34 vs 52/36: Do You Have the Right Crankset?

Cranksets really have a huge impact on our riding. If you want to improve your bike, proper gearing is the first of many to look upon.

There are an innumerable number of cranksets out there.. So it gets really confusing about which one to go with. Some confusing crankset gear setups are 50/34 and 52/36.

So, what differences exist in 50/34 vs 52/36?

In the case of a crankset, 50/34 comes in a compact size. But the 52/36 is semi-compact in size. Again considering the range, 50/34 is restricted. But 52/36 is comparatively wider. Then again if you want a speedy crankset then 52/36 is better.

Well, this was just a preview. For the record, we have put together some notable differences between these two chainsets. 

So let’s go through this informative debate to choose the right crankset.

50/34 vs 52/36: Notable Differences

If you’re comparing between 50/34 and 52/36, it’s better to have a proper understanding of them in advance. So before we get into the detailed differences, let’s look at some of the notable ones first.





Compact crankset 

Semi-compact crankset


Restricted range for the hilly area.

Wider range for the hilly area/ great for climbing hills. 


Standard speed

Better speed on flat or hilly roads. 

Correction after shifting

More corrections after shifting.

Less correction after shifting.

Cycling experience

A bit on the heavier side.

Provides a lighter cycling experience.


This should be enough for a quick comparison. Now let’s move to a more detailed one.

50/34 vs 52/36: Head-To-Head Confrontation

Finding the finest gravel crankset itself is a challenge to many riders. It even adds to the concern when different gear setups step in.

When the 50/34 and 52/36 chainset came out a wider percentage of people wanted to go compact. But the advantages and drawbacks created a debate between these two.

To clear the debate, we bring forth a detailed comparison between these two. Let’s not waste any more time and get right into the comparison!


This section is for those who want to know about a compact or semi-compact crankset. 

It might be confusing for you when you see 50/34 vs 52/36 chainset comparison. To put it simply, the lesser number of teeth on the chainrings indicates the easier the gear.  

So 50/34 means it has 50 teeth in the outer ring and 34 teeth on the inner ring chainset. Another one is 52/36 with a different amount of teeth.

Thus, 50/34 is a compact crankset. And, 52/36 is more of a semi compact one. This means that the biggest gear of the 50/34 is not as big as that of 52/36.

Semi-compact cranksets are becoming increasingly popular day by day. Let’s look at some features between 50 34 and 53 39 to know what’s the reason behind it.


Both cranksets will help improve your climbing experience. But in a different way.

If you have a 50/34 you will have a standard speed on a hilly track. But let’s compare a 50/34 with an 11-28 cassette with 52/36. Before spinning out from 52/36, you will see there is a 5% higher top speed. 

But for a relatively flat triathlon or track, you will be carrying a lot of speed. So in conclusion 50/34 will provide you with a standard cycling experience when you climb. But 52/36 is on the speedy side when it comes to climbing.

You can change up the number of cassettes and replace the chainrings before you ride. But make sure to always put on compatible cranksets.

Winner: 52/36. You can get the latest price of 52/36 crankset here.


If you look at the triathlon cyclist you will notice they are mostly using 52/36. The reason behind it is that 52/36 are capable of serious speed. 

If you spin out around 110 rpm, you can comfortably pedal for some time. You can pedal with maximum cadence. At this rate, you will get the speed somewhere between 61 km/h! 

At this speed, you can stop pedaling to slow the bike down. But it’s not fair to say that 50/34 is slow. If you have 50/34 with 11-34 cassettes you are capable of cycling at a quite decent speed.

But for your overall performance, it’s better to have the 52/36 with 10-30 cassettes

Here’s our recommendation for the best 52/36 cranksets out there.


Product Name

Key Spec


SRAM 52/36T Crankset

  • Made of Hollow carbon

  • Increased stiffness and strength

SHIMANO 52/36T Crankset

  • Made of Aluminum

  • 110mm Bolt Circle Diameter

Winner: 52/36

Correction Shifting:

There is a gap between your 52/36 two chainrings which is a little bit bigger on a 50/34 crankset.

Suppose you are shifting between your two chainrings back and forth either way. You will be needing a couple of correction shifts. These correction shifts happen in the back of your bike.

Correction shifts basically make up for the difference because it makes the bike stable. Now there is a little difference when you do the correction shifts on 50/34 and 52/36. 

You may have to do the correction shifts 2-3 times more than the usual on  50/34. So, 52/36 is ahead in this regard. You don’t need that much correction shifting on the 52/36 like the 50/34. 

This might not be a huge deal for you if you are a regular cyclist. But for the triathlon and other competitive ridings, it’s better to waste less time on shifting. 

Winner: 52/36


If you are not an exceptionally strong cyclist then weight might be a matter of concern for you. But if you are a regular cyclist and want to have power efficiency it’s better to consider 52/36. 

52/36 cranksets are lighter due to smaller spiders and smaller chainrings. You will have a smaller cassette. The chain of your crankset will also be short.

So, all of these factors add up and save weight more than 100 grams. This weight might not look too much to you but when you ride you will understand. Your bike seat will also benefit from the lesser weight. 

The lighter your crankset is the higher the running performance. You will notice the metabolic output and it can lead you to insignificant improvement. 

52/36 is an all-rounder performing chainset. Making it a much wiser option.

Winner: 52/36

Who’s The Winner?

Still, wondering if you want a 50/34 chainset rather than the 52/36? Well, don’t. This head-to-head confrontation should’ve been enough to help you realize that. Go with the 52/36 crankset.

Cycling is an intense and dogmatic sport.  You have to have the right pieces of equipment to have the finest riding experience. For all levels of cycling 52/36 crankset is suitable. Filtering out the feature should make you take the decision easily.

All the experienced cyclists would say larger chainrings are slightly more efficient. 

That was all we had to offer today! We hope you enjoyed this head-to-head battle and also got the answer to your question.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an 11-32 cassette?

The 11-32 cassette means there are 11 cogs ranging from 11 teeth up to 32 teeth. It is a great cassette for hills.

What gears do pro cyclists use for climbing?

Pro cyclists with stronger legs use standard chainsets like 53/39 with a 12-27 cassette but for efficiency, you can use compact gears.

The best combination for uphill?

Best combination for uphill is small chainring in the front and the large cog on the cassette or rear gears. Low gear is easy for good climbing. 


This is all that you need to know about 50/34 vs 52/36. You could go with 52/36 for all the high-performance features.

If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments.

Good Luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top