I have been waiting a long time to write this post.
My son gave me new, compact chainrings for Christmas this year. For those of you who may not be familiar with compact cranksets, they have two smaller chainrings that are particularly well suited for climbing. At the time, my son didn’t realize they wouldn’t fit on my standard crankset.
What was I to do?
I had learned over the past several years that for the type of cycling I do, not to mention my age, they are preferable. I have a compact crankset on the Roberts and love it. I haven’t lost any speed, except perhaps on long descents, and I climb more easily, and faster.
There was nothing else to do but purchase a new compact crankset. My son and I looked online, and eventually found a good deal. This past weekend, we installed the new cranks, and I immediately went for a ride looking for hills to climb.
For a road cyclist, hills on a light, carbon bike with a 50-34 crankset is like a bone to a dog. You just can’t get enough. Hills are easier to climb. On the flat, you maintain a higher cadence and tire less quickly, travelling farther with less effort. Is there anything better?
I got my first taste of compact cranks on a road bike several years back. I took my kids there for a holiday. A week in the sun to swim, snorkel and relax. And, cycle. We discovered a bike shop near where we were staying that rented carbon road bikes equipped with compact cranksets. We couldn’t resist, and one day cycled the West Maui Loop, an epic ride around the perimeter of the small volcano which includes several category climbs.
I subsequently learned that professional cyclists are equipped with compact setups, particularly for the long, climbing stages. Where had I been? Now, both of my road bikes have compact setups.
So, if you are out there considering a new road bike, or wanting to upgrade the one you already have, ask about compact cranksets. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.