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I am sure this has been discussed here ad nauseum before, but my search just didn't yield the result I was looking for. If I go from a standard double crankset (53-39) to a compact, 50-34, will I need to shorten the chain? What are some highly recommended compact crankset....
 

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I bought a Ritchey (only because it matched everything on my bike and because it was cheap) and it does the job. The only way to find out if YOUR chain needs to be shortend is to throw the new crank on and put it in the smallest rings. If the chain rubs the cage on the RD, they it needs to be shortened. I had to take out about two links when I crossed over.
 

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You could probably remove a link but it may not be necessary. Look at the Park Tool Website for chain sizing and find out on your own. Also may depend if you are changing the cassette too. I use a Shimano FC-R700 and have been very happy with it. I have never dropped the chain during a shift with almost 4000 miles on it so far. I do not have experience with other compacts but would definitely get another one.
 

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1 inch...

The proper way to adjust chain length is in the little ring and smallest cog. The chain should be as long as possible, without hanging loose, or rubbing the upper chain guide tab.

Whether you need to shorten the chain dpends on how the length was set. If it's at the maximum length now, then 4T (or 5T) equals 1 inch of chain to be removed.
 
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