It occurs to me that most of the bicycles presented in your magazine have the new gear ratio 52/36. Is the standard gear ratio 53/39 outdated or is this the decision of the manufacturers, because they don’t want to replace the complete crankset when you want to have a compact crankset with a gear ratio 50/34?
Reply by Dirk Zedler, TOUR technology expert and bicycle expert
With regard to gear ratios on bicycles a lot things have changed for the better. In former days pros as well as hobby cyclists had 52/42 cogs in the front making hill climbing rather challenging. In the past years there have been significant improvements in this field and there are more and more gear ratios suitable also for normal hobby cyclists. The gear ratio should always be adapted to the own capacities – and when climbing hills you reach your limits. Pedalling cadences with less than 60 rotations per minute are very inefficient. Small chainrings in the front and large sprockets in the rear are therefore a must for hobby cyclists heading for the uplands as well as the alpine area. Fortunately there is a uniform bolt circle design on current 11-speed groupsets for all thinkable chainring combinations so that the crankset does not need to be replaced. The 53/39 gear ratio is only suitable for well-trained cyclists in flat to undulating terrains. The 50/34 gear ration – the classic compact crankset – is first choice for riding mainly over hilly terrain. But for many athletes who prefer cycling over flat terrain this combination is too small. For them the 52/36 gear ration has therefore developed into an addition option. The manufacturers assemble the version fitting best with the cycle concept. After all, the fact that so many options are available is to be welcomed.