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First post from a fairly new rider and a bit of a 62 year old Clydesdale. I could use some advice and guidance. My old bike has a Ultegra 9 speed triple and a 27 cassette. My new bike has a 53-39 Record Crankset, 25 cassette with Record F and R Derailleurs and a 102 mm English BB. I am struggling too much in the Mtns around Cabondale, Co. Do I go for a 13/ 29 cassette and keep the cranskset? Will my set up allow for a 29 Cassette?

Am I better off going for a triple and keeping the 25. Will my set up allow this?

Same question for a Compact. Will my set up allow this? I understand I might need a different front Der?

Any suggestions would be welcome and appreciated.:confused: :confused:
 

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some thoughts

Terry Dunne said:
First post from a fairly new rider and a bit of a 62 year old Clydesdale. I could use some advice and guidance. My old bike has a Ultegra 9 speed triple and a 27 cassette. My new bike has a 53-39 Record Crankset, 25 cassette with Record F and R Derailleurs and a 102 mm English BB. I am struggling too much in the Mtns around Cabondale, Co. Do I go for a 13/ 29 cassette and keep the cranskset? Will my set up allow for a 29 Cassette?

Am I better off going for a triple and keeping the 25. Will my set up allow this?

Same question for a Compact. Will my set up allow this? I understand I might need a different front Der?

Any suggestions would be welcome and appreciated.:confused: :confused:
I think it depends how low you need to go. This year I built a Campy bike with a standard 53/39 and the 13/29 in the rear. In the past I had a triple but I find this setup to be just as good and the shifting is no different that a standard double. If you need lower gears you have the option of a triple or a Compact crank. The compact crank will require a new FD also. the cheapest option is probably to get the medium cage der and 29 cog cassette. Some folks forgoe the longer der and that seems to work OK if you avoid some gears
 

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go all the way...

I'm 9 years younger, 133lbs and with above average fitness. I ride the mountains several times a week. I use a 53/39/30 FSA triple crank with a 12-25. It won't be too many years, before I go all the way to a 13-29 with my 53/39/30, giving up the 53/12 that I like to use to pedal fast on the descent.

Making the transition to a triple can be done at a reasonable cost. I use FSA cranks and ISIS bottom brackets because campy offers only an outdated 42T middle ring on their triples. You'll also need a triple front derailleur, a long cage rear deraileur and a new cassette. If you don't have a 10-speed drivetrain, this is the time to make the change.

If money is an object, search E-bay for bargains. I've got two used FSA triple cranks with 172.5mm crankarms I may soon sell cheap, since I switched to 175mm cranks this year. I've seen Gossamer cranks go for $65. I picked up a new Chorus long cage RD for only $80. Beware of used parts. Unless they've got very little use by virtue of a mistaken purchase, it's easy to pay too much for nearly worn out parts. Better to look for new old stock (NOS) parts, as long as they are 10 speed.
 

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C-40 said:
I'm 9 years younger, 133lbs and with above average fitness. I ride the mountains several times a week. I use a 53/39/30 FSA triple crank with a 12-25. It won't be too many years, before I go all the way to a 13-29 with my 53/39/30, giving up the 53/12 that I like to use to pedal fast on the descent.

Making the transition to a triple can be done at a reasonable cost. I use FSA cranks and ISIS bottom brackets because campy offers only an outdated 42T middle ring on their triples. You'll also need a triple front derailleur, a long cage rear deraileur and a new cassette. If you don't have a 10-speed drivetrain, this is the time to make the change.

If money is an object, search E-bay for bargains. I've got two used FSA triple cranks with 172.5mm crankarms I may soon sell cheap, since I switched to 175mm cranks this year. I've seen Gossamer cranks go for $65. I picked up a new Chorus long cage RD for only $80. Beware of used parts. Unless they've got very little use by virtue of a mistaken purchase, it's easy to pay too much for nearly worn out parts. Better to look for new old stock (NOS) parts, as long as they are 10 speed.

I wouldn't call a 42t middle ring "outdated", although you may not like it. If not, you can always replace it with any 39x135 ring you can get. Even if it's not ramped, and most are, it'll shift fine, just maybe a bit slower on the upshifts. And really, when was the last time you needed a granny-to-middle-ring shift right now!!!

Also, if you can live without the 53, and most of us can, you can go all the way down to a 24t inner ring. Using a 50t big ring, combined with the conservativeness of derailleur specs, gets you gearing as low as you need, even for light touring. There isn't much that can't be climbed with a 24x29 low gear, especially on an unloaded bike. For even lower gears, campy rear derailluers will usually shift 32t cogs, and Shimano roads are good to 30t on most bikes.

The point is, the gearing of stock parts is often not optimal. If you need something different, change it. Just because it didn't come that way doesn't mean it won't work.

--Shannon
 

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Terry Dunne said:
First post from a fairly new rider and a bit of a 62 year old Clydesdale. I could use some advice and guidance. My old bike has a Ultegra 9 speed triple and a 27 cassette. My new bike has a 53-39 Record Crankset, 25 cassette with Record F and R Derailleurs and a 102 mm English BB. I am struggling too much in the Mtns around Cabondale, Co. Do I go for a 13/ 29 cassette and keep the cranskset? Will my set up allow for a 29 Cassette?
Depends on whether you have a short-arm rear derailleur, medium, or long. Look on the Campagnolo website for the exact specs that they recommend. A short-cage/arm RD does not work well with anything bigger than a 27 cog.

Am I better off going for a triple and keeping the 25. Will my set up allow this?
It will require a new bottom bracket and crankset.

Same question for a Compact. Will my set up allow this? I understand I might need a different front Der?
You will need a new crankset for sure. If you stay with Campag, you can use the same bottom bracket. If cost is an issue. there are many other brands that are compatible with the rest of your drivetrain, such as FSA.

You may or may not need a different FD. Search through the archives of this board. Some people have good success and bad failure with either. I use a standard FD and I'm OK with my 50/36, and previously with my 50/34.

It depends on luck, cosmic alignment, and your wrenching skills.
 

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mediocre shifting....

A few corrrections. Most 39T rings, unless intended to be used as a triple middle ring have no ramps or pins. I've never tried using a 39T ring from a double on a triple, but I want the best possible shifting, so I buy a dedicated setup. It makes no sense to me to buy a pricey campy crank, then spend more money to get a mismatched chainring and put up with mediocre shifting. Perhaps Campy will wise up when they change all of their for 2007 and offer the 53/39/30.

I've never understood the logic behind a 52/42/30 setup. The 42 robs low gear and the triple's chainline steals another. A 42/23 (same a 39/21) is the lowest useable gear with a 12-25 cassette. It creates more frequent use of the little ring, which is something I try to avoid. Using a 13-29 and having a 39/26 available before the little ring is needed is a lot better setup.

I've used a 28T ring in place of a 30 to get one lower ratio and it worked fine. Even smaller rings create additional problems with a Campy drivetrain. The FD cage extends just low enough to allow the use of the 14T cog with a 28T little ring, but only if the seat tube angle is no steeper than 72.5 degrees. With steeper STAs, the end of the cage may not even allow the use of the 16T cog. With a 24 or 26T little ring, the problem gets worse. The problem can be minimized by carefully shimming a braze-on FD or by grinding the mounting surface of a clamp-on adapter for a braze-on FD to lower the end of the cage. I use this later method with my 74.5 degree STA frames.

If you want the best cog life and really low gears with a triple, a 13-29 is a better choice than using a smaller little ring.
 

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C-40 said:
A few corrrections. Most 39T rings, unless intended to be used as a triple middle ring have no ramps or pins. I've never tried using a 39T ring from a double on a triple, but I want the best possible shifting, so I buy a dedicated setup. It makes no sense to me to buy a pricey campy crank, then spend more money to get a mismatched chainring and put up with mediocre shifting.
I've done it, and it works. Even with Shimano front shifting which, for reasons nobody understands or can explain, is indexed, they just shift a bit (and I mean a little bit) slower on the upshifts. With Campy's ratcheting front shifts, I can't notice the difference. Campy rings are nice, but TAs are nicer, and if Campy doesn't see fit to offer the gearing you want, I see no reason to take what they give you. What companies offer has far more to do with simplifying their supply chain than it does with "performance," even if that word had any real meaning when talking about chainrings. They're freakin' chainrings, for gawdsakes!!

I've never understood the logic behind a 52/42/30 setup. The 42 robs low gear and the triple's chainline steals another. A 42/23 (same a 39/21) is the lowest useable gear with a 12-25 cassette. It creates more frequent use of the little ring, which is something I try to avoid. Using a 13-29 and having a 39/26 available before the little ring is needed is a lot better setup.
Agreed, it's not the best choice, I only objected to the use of the word "obsolete" when refering to the number of teeth on a chainring. Wrong word.

I've used a 28T ring in place of a 30 to get one lower ratio and it worked fine. Even smaller rings create additional problems with a Campy drivetrain. The FD cage extends just low enough to allow the use of the 14T cog with a 28T little ring, but only if the seat tube angle is no steeper than 72.5 degrees. With steeper STAs, the end of the cage may not even allow the use of the 16T cog. With a 24 or 26T little ring, the problem gets worse. The problem can be minimized by carefully shimming a braze-on FD or by grinding the mounting surface of a clamp-on adapter for a braze-on FD to lower the end of the cage. I use this later method with my 74.5 degree STA frames.
The problem can also be avoided by not riding in cross-chain gears that duplicate (often exactly) gears on the middle ring. If you don't have rub in any of your granny-ring gears that are actually different (and lower) from the gears on the middle, you're getting everything your drivetrain can give you. Most setups have only 3 granny-ring gears that are usable, and 4 is as much as I've seen, even with half-step setups, where the middle ring is much larger than the granny. You can also use a smaller big ring, and slide the FD down the seat tube a bit.

The point is that, if you need lower gears than the stock setups can give you, you can get them. There's folks out there with loaded touring bikes and tandems using Campy drivetrains, with wide-range triples and Shimano MTB cassettes, and their bikes work fine. Sometimes you've gotta break the rules to get what you want. You soon discover that the rules aren't that strict.

--Shannon
 
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