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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,
As I await the arrival of my custom Hampsten/Moots with varying degrees of patience I have been trying to cobble together the build kit so that when the bike comes I can get it put together ASAP. Picked up the DA derailleurs, brifters and brakes today, but I am in a quandry re. the crankset. I am a longtime convert to the compact crank lifestyle and was planning to try the new Shimano compact but my LBS's distributor doesn't have them yet and I've read a few disappointed comments regarding the less than expected quality of the finish etc. Does anyone have any experience with the new Shimano compact crank they would be willing to share? How does it look (I know this shouldn't matter, but it does) and perform? I have also considering going with the Stronglight Pulsion compact. Like the lighter weight and dig the "what are those?" factor, but wonder if they are worth the bump in price for a greying around the temples non-racer like me. Again looking for any real world info on the Stronglights (how to they shift w/Dura Ace, do they need a compact specific FD, etc.). Finally, how, in your opinions, does the use of outboard bearing BB (Shimano) vs ISIS BB (Stronglight) affect the decison one way or the other?
Many thanks in advance.

Vr,
SPG
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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Word is that the Shimano Compact is somewhat diappointing. Cheap looking, quality somewhere in the 105 categorie. Stronglight pulsion is very light, stiff enough and looks amazing IMO. Judging by the setup of your bike I'd scrap the Shimano crank from your list and find another nice crank to compare the Stronglight with. ;)
 

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Word is that the Shimano Compact shifts just as well as the "big boy" cranksets (without any special FD)
 

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Saw some shots of the Shimano somewhere, and it's not a pretty sight. Like said, more 105 than DA in finish. I'm sure it'll work great, though.

That Stronglight thing is dead sexy. There's no rationalizing that price; it's all about the bling. Since it's your credit card and not mine, I say go for it.

If reality rears it's ugly head, consider the FSA gear. Still pretty, and works like a charm with standard Shimano der. cages.
 

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Bike Dude
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How about another option

I have a inexpensive Vuelta crank set I just couldn't pass up a while back. I use it on my commuter. The arms are black as is the Vuelta 48 tooth chain ring. The inner ring is a 34. So far I dig it. I guess it all boils down to how much "bling" you want on your rig.
 

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After a lot of headscratching over a compact - same reason for wanting one you have - I have a Shimano somewhere between Totalcycling in N. Ireland and here just outside of DC.

I complicated matters by wanting a polished alloy finish rather than CF/black paint, and preferred to stick with something I have a feeling will work first, look good second (old racing habit - you can't win if you're standing by the roadside messing with mechanical stuff!).

In the end, a fit of modernity lead me to the new external bearing Shimano thing over buying a TA compact (Peter White Cycles) for around twice the price by the time I'd bought a decent square taper BB and tools for the TA.

Am presently running a 38/50 on my Ultegra 9 speed Gunnar - the front der. doesn't mind the different sized rings in the slightest and shifts as well as it did on the 39/53, 39/52 and 38/52 I've used it on. This suggests that there'll be no drama running the standard front derailleur on my new 10 speed / 34/50 when it all comes together.

As to the Shimano compact's aesthetics - guess I'll have to learn to live with them. IMO, the best looking alloy compact crank around is the new Campag Centaur alloy unit, but putting one of them on an Ultegra 10 speed bike came out as 'too risky' after a lot of asking around.

You need patience if you have to have a different frame from the herd! My Bob Jackson took me four weeks just to finalise the order and get it into the building queue. That was in October '05! A week ago, it was hanging around outside the spray shop and there's been nothing heard since.

But at least we'll know which bike is ours, when they finally arrive :)

Regards

Dereck
 

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I would not even consider the Shimano. I had an FSA SLK mega exo compact with Record and not only did the shifting let me down, the things were PIGS and not very stiff. At over 850 grams for the complete cranks I was pretty upset, that in combination with low quality rings and clear coat that didn't enjoy staying on the carbon I was not happy. I went with compact Pulsions and an AC BB and could not be happier. Jury is still out on the BB but my complete setup comes in at 598 grams, I saved over a half pound!!! I personally think the whole out board bearing thing is just a different way, not neccesarily better, just different. I don't like the way the seals are used as bearings seats and I can tell no difference in stiffness. I vote for the Pulsions, if you ever get a chance, look at the rings, amazing quality. BTW I used to have FSA Team Issues, those things were great, but their new stuff is not up to par IMHO.

K
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Definitely leaning towards the Stronglight based upon the info above. However, my understanding of the Shimano compacts "shiftability" is that the new rings have additional ramps/pins to assist in shifting with a standard Shimano FD. If this is true, wouldn't one be able to eventually put the new Shimano compact rings on the Stronglight crankset, or are the ring drillings Shimano specific?

SPG
 

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The "look" quality is not Dura Ace but on the par with Ultegra. The crank performs flawlessly. The shift is as accurate as the Dura Ace 10 on my other bike. I have to modify the slot on the braze on bracket so that I can lower the front derailleur to the specified 1-2mm above the ring.
 

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I need to add again that the Pulsion rings are superb! The machining is amazing, makes FSA rings look like stamped steel. With my standard Record carbon it shifts peeeeerfect!

K
 

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My new Shimano compact arrived today!

The cranks are as well finished as my 'old' Ultegra 9sp. Whatinell the Mystic East was thinking off with the ring finishes, who will ever know??? It would have looked much nicer if the rings had been standard old polished alloy - maybe Shimano Marketing will release them one day under the heading of whatever "NEW! EXCITING!" is in Taiwanese?

The rings are far more complex than the usual round things with spikey edges. They look normal from the front, but behind the 50T outer is a bunch of pins, machining, weight reducing machined out shapes and a general look of complexity. I suspect that only a Shimano ring will fit and work right - there goes swapping in a pair of nice shiny TA rings a couple of years down the road ...

Also going to have to buy a couple of tools for the new toy - a new wrench to fit the bearing cups and a hoojizzy to fit the end cap into the LD crank. Interestingly, torque figures are quoted for these, but the tools shown don't allow for use of a torque wrench. Funny old world, ain't it?

High marks to TotalCycling over in N. Ireland! Fast delivery, good packing, and it feels good to avoid the UK's 17.5% value added tax after all those years of paying it :).

regards

Dereck
 
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