What's the general consensus on compact cranksets? I keep reading conflicting articles and was hoping for some real life experiences and opinions from people I actually trust.
They're great. Huge gear range, plenty on both the low and high end. I love having the low end gears on the 34T to make it up hills easily more than the super high gears on a 53T to fly downhill at 35+ mph.
What's the conflicting info?
Agreed. I use conmpact cranksets and they give you plenty of gearing to climb any hill.
The articles that I've read have stressed that they are generally only good for hilly area's. I'm upgrading my tri bike this winter and am debating on switching to a compact crankset. I have a road bike as well so I'd have that option if needed too.
compacts are great if you are riding a lot of hills/mountains and don't like standing very much during a climb.
if you are a person that a majority of the time even on flat ground tend to use the small chain ring only or use the large chainring and the larger cogs in the back even on flat ground.
I think most triathletes would be better off with a compact. When I was building my tri bike, I specifically chose one. I looked at the gear calculator linked below, found my race paces and preferred cadence, and figured out the gears I needed. For relatively flat bike races (most of the ones around here), I found a 50 tooth front ring just had me in slightly better gears than the 53.
I suggest toying with the linked tool and be honest with yourself in what you need. But a compact won't really hold you back unless you are an extremely strong biker.
Thanks for the link!