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Seems most bikes either come with 50/36 rings and an 11/32 or 52/39 rings with an 11/28 cassette. I live in hilly terrain and do need lower gears but often feel spun out with my 50/36 by 11/32, could you run a 52/39 with an 11/32?

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    Don't see why not. Can you tell us what speed and cadence you're at when feeling spun out? – Criggie Oct 6 '16 at 8:13
  • absolutely you can. I can climb hills with 52/42 and 11/28 :O. It is a road bike we are talking about ? if yes then light weight + low road resistance tires make it FAR easier (if you are used to mountain bike) – kifli Oct 6 '16 at 8:21
  • Just learn to pedal faster. This change will mean that at your maximum cadence you can go 4% faster. If you're pedaling at less than 100 rpm then it's you that's topping out, not the bike. – andy256 Oct 6 '16 at 9:06
  • At 100 rpm, you will spin out at 35mph. So to fix your problem, simply join a pro team. The mechanic will fix your bike to whatever is needed as you tow along the peleton at over 50kph. It's impressive that you often feel spun out but let's face it once in a generation a Merckx is born, accept your destiny – Vorsprung Oct 6 '16 at 9:25
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Yes, you can, although you'll need a longer chain to go with it.

The important thing here is the capacity of the rear mech you're using. However, since your bike already has 50/36 11-32 gearing, changing the chainset for a 52/39 actually reduces the amount of chain slack the rear mech has to deal with (52-39 < 50-36), so there shouldn't be any problem.

Just remember to adjust the position of the front mech (move it up the seat tube) to accommodate the larger chainrings.

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