Mountain Bike Addict
32t vs 36t Chain Ring
Other then four teeth, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a 32t middle chain ring vs. a 36t middle chain ring.
"Keep the rubber side down."
i'm running a 34t
36t gives you higher gearing compared to a 32t. There's really no "advantage" or "disadvantage" - just depends on what you ride and what gears you like to hang out in. 32t middle rings have become a stock standard for whatever reason.
Other than the chainring swap, there are no other modifications required to the rest of your drivetrain (assuming you are still running a big ring). If that "middle ring" is your biggest (i.e. a 2x9 or 1x9 setup), then you would also need to adjust your chainlength. I too rock a 34t chainring (middle ring position) on my 1x9.
A 32 is a smaller diameter than 36, and a lot of bashguards are sized around the 32. This matters if you don't run the large chainring. I feel a little better with the small amount of added clearance when playing in rock gardens. Plus, they are one of the most common sizes, easy to replace. Finally, if your concerned with weight, there's some savings in the smaller chainring, rear cog, and less chain. I guess this last comment applys more to a SS.