Cyclocross crankset can be better than road crankset

It’s autumn, winter is coming. As a result, I decided to change my 50/34T crankset to cyclocross 46/36T. This change does not seem too great, but it really makes a huge difference. I decided to describe a few of them, because perhaps for someone it may be very important. Primarily with road bike – in my opinion, it’s… better choice for amateurs than standard road cranksets. If the weather allowed, then I was riding on the asphalt with that CX crankset. So what do we gain by changing the road crank (standard 53/39, compact 50/34 or other variants) to cyclocross?

It’s smarter

The main difference I noticed was a much smoother work. 10 teeth difference is much less than 16 and it feels both when throwing on the big crank and dropping to the smaller. It is not about the smoothness of the ride, but simply about the mechanism. The previous crankset was from the Ultegra (6700) group, so really decent. CX was the FSA Gossamer – you can say nothing special. All this in combination with Shimano 105 5700 derailleurs. Of course, properly adjusted and adjusted. In spite of this, the mechanism works much better with a CX crankset – click and we have what it should be. Quickly, precisely every time. The smaller difference is also easier for the rear derailleur.

More practical

The CX crankset is as practical as compact one. The smaller crank allows us to overtake the larger slopes, though of course the most dependent on the cassette what we use. Too tight will cause us to run out of gear. Crank 36T is, however, a good choice, and in conjunction with the rear crown 32T it gives a very light transmission. Losing it can only be in the case of a non-trained leg or driveway in heavy terrain. In the latter case, however, it is better to take a bike on the arm and run with it uphill (in the end is a CX bike, right? but similarly we can do and with a road bike). In my opinion, the perfect combination would be a crank with 46/34T – good for both fast and heavier driveways. Everything here depends on our feet.

Better cranks usage

I do not consider myself a strong competitor. But I do not think too weak either. Since I’m not completely behind the road race, it’s not bad. After all, the standard crank 53/39 was too hard for me. Especially when it was not a training drive but a loose tour. This required either a lighter cassette or a driving force. Driving force is not very good. First of all for our health and fitness. I prefer a higher cadence – around 90-100 RPM. If we use the internet speed calculator on a given gear, and with the right cadence, we’ll see that the 46×11 at 95 RPM gives us … 50 km/h (with 28c tires). Is it little? As for me on the flat speed is definitely enough, as an amateur I can not drive alone for an hour even with an average of 40 km/h. In fact, such solid connections will only be used during descents… And only on real secure, straight descents, not necessarily on mountain serpents.

For winter time… I go back to 50/34

I have listed several important advantages of 46/36T crankset for me. But.. I go back to the crank 50/34 for the winter. Why? Because I’m going to ride on the trainer – I do not like the cold :) Training on higher crankset will be more intense and better for next season. I also replacing 10s to 11s, so changing the crankset came out “by the way”. With the new season, I will probably set up a smaller, cyclocross crankset again. Because it is more effective and more comfortable. I think anyone who rides on road bike, but not on race should try smaller crankset. It may be very good choice.

2 Replies to “Cyclocross crankset can be better than road crankset”

  1. I agree.

    My gravelbike has a 46/36 and I absolutely love it. The shifting performance is awesome and the speed of 50km/h (46×11 at 95rpm) is more than enough for me anyway :-). On decents I miss the big ring sometimes but usually I don’t pedal downhill anyway.

Leave a Reply