Sram 52/36

 I went from an Ultegra 50/34 12-25 setup on my SLT, to a 52/36 11-26 SRAM Red on my R3 replacement frame, and I’m very happy I did.  I didn’t even know SRAM made a 52/36 mid-compact until I stumbled upon one on ebay.  Before I bought it, I did the gear calculator math and it made perfect sense.  In the 52/11 combo, I gain 4 mph @ 90 rpm and 13 gear inches over the 50/12.  However, on the climbing side the 36/26 combo nets just 0.1 mph, or 0.7 gear inches over the 34/25.  So the bottom line is that I get huge gains up top, with essentially the same climbing gear at the low end (especially since I dropped 2 lbs going from my SLT to the R3).  I can climb hills up to 3-4% in my 52/23 without too much trouble.  Anything over 5% and I need to drop to the small ring.  Cross chaining big/small with the SRAM doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue as it was/is with Shimano.  With the 52/36 setup, I typically cruise the flats in in the big ring and somewhere in the 17,19, or 21 range on the cassette depending on wind, road pitch, etc.  Overall I really like this setup.  I don’t race, and I’m old enough and not quite in good enough shape anymore to pull a 53/39, however I always wished for more top end with the 50/34.  Now I have the best of both worlds.  


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