52/36 vs 50/34: Which Is Your Best Choice?

The difference between 52/36 VS 50/34 cranksets on bicycles can be night and day – they have certain qualities that fit your size, weight, speed, or shifts requirements. Let’s examine them differently to see what’s more suitable for you.

52/36 vs 50/34: A Comparison For Users

The two numbers in crankset markings tell the number of teeth on each chainring. That means the 52/36 has 52 teeth on its outer chainring and 36 on the inner, making it the larger model. Similarly, the 50/34 has 50 teeth on the outer chainring, while the inner ring only has 34 teeth.

Here are a few things to consider before buying either, since the size and number of teeth will affect how your ride will feel at the end of the day:

Climbing experienceDifficult to use in steep hills or climbable areas.Relatively easy to climb with
SpeedAverageFast, even on hills
Correction post-shiftMore than averageLess than average
Cycling easeHeavier than averageRelatively light, average pedaling weight


There are two issues at hand here: Size and weight. The 52/36 has more teeth, a much larger diameter, and takes up more space, and it is also heavier between the two. This weight helps the bike stay balanced and grounded, as it has more weight to stick to the soil.

On the other hand, the weight will turn any of your trips toward a given setup into a living hell. More weight means you have to put more force into shouldering or pushing your bike, and it’s going to be a battle to see which will give out first – your forearms or the ground.

The more compact 50/34 crankset will be considerably less punishing for you when shoving or carrying the bike since most modern bike frames won’t be too bad on your back anyway.

But because it’s much lighter, it doesn’t contribute much weight to the bike. Beginners will have fun with a bike on a 50/34 crankset at first, but in the long run, when your legs start to give up, the bike will be more likely to rattle or wobble.

52/36 vs 50/34

Climbing Capability

When it comes to how a bike climbs, watch for the number on the inner chainring. Normally, for a bike to ride through steep and rough terrain, we would recommend picking a crankset that’s small enough to pair as smoothly as possible with a bike’s cog. 

As cogs are usually quite small, a crankset with a lower teeth count on its inner chainring climbs anywhere more easily.

Because of that, the 50/34 is the clear winner in climbing capability, as it has more potential to create more torque efficiently.


The 50/34, for having a much lower amount of teeth on each chainring, fits more seamlessly into other compartments of your bike. Consequently, it will be much smoother, as fewer parts need to clash together upon rotation.

The teeth difference between the two chainrings is also going to make an impact, as you’ll be switching back and forth between the inner and outer chainring constantly while on the bike. 

Therefore, the lesser the difference between the chainring index, the smoother the ride, as fewer teeth need to match up with one another.

Choosing the right correction shift for the right crankset will also rattle your brain a little. While the 50/34 crankset is much smoother with its shifts, it also rotates more rounds than the 52/36 since it’s much smaller in diameter. It needs to shift more often, which can cause discomfort.

Overall, when it comes to smoothness, neither is perfect and can suit different people’s preferences.


The 52/36 is much faster and much more receptive to your body movements. If you are a professional race cyclist, you will know that the bigger crankset is the one you should be picking up, as all your opponents will. 

With the same amount of force, it churns out a longer and faster ride due to its bigger size generating more momentum.

With the 52/36 crankset, some have reached up to 61 km/h in velocity. So if you concern yourself with speed, the bigger the bike cranks, the better!

Price Point

Price tags on bicycle cranksets come in a wide margin. The cheapest one can be around $100, and the most expensive, high-end ones can cost up to $1000. Depending on your budget, the bill for buying the bigger and the smaller crankset can be the same.

Nevertheless, if we compare two crankset sizes with the same material, brand, and quality, the bigger one will cost more. The bigger the crankset, the more material and manpower it takes to manufacture, so the price discrepancies make sense!

Which Is Better – 52/36 VS 50/34?

Overall, for its leg up on biking ease, climbing power, and speed, we suggest you use the 52/36 crankset.

You will be riding faster, smoother, and more comfortable in general, and you will also have the advantage of getting a bang for your buck. 52/36 cranksets tend to be more durable and won’t affect the bike too much in terms of quality after being worn.

52/36 vs 50/34 crankset


Is A 50/34 Crankset Good For Climbing?

We don’t suggest it as much since it does not effectively transfer forces from your feet to the road. It also does not aid the bike in sticking to the ground because it’s so light, so you’ll be more likely to wobble and fall off.

Are Shorter Cranks Faster?

Not necessarily. Although they rotate more rounds, they do not cover as much distance or momentum as longer cranks.

Can I Use A 52/34 Chainring?

Absolutely! We recommend using the 52/34 chainring set for cyclists of all ages and skill levels.


After the 52/36 vs 50/34 debate, the 52/36 comes out on top as the better widely used crankset for the majority. Choosing the right riding equipment is fundamental to your experience with the sport. The versatility that the 52/36 crankset will put on everyone – no matter their skill level.

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