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Old 05-14-08, 09:56 PM   #1
farwest
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Best set up for climbing with a double chain ring set up

Hi:
I just purchased a used 2004 Spcecialized S-Works E5 bike on Ebay. Very cool looking bike and I think it will be very fast. I haven't taken delivery of the bike yet but I don't think the current configuration will be very good for climing. I live in the Lake Tahoe area of Cailfornia (it's quite hilly here). The bike set is as follows: Campy Record 39-54 crank set; Shimano Ultegra shifters; Shimano Dura Ace FD; Shiman Ultegra RD; Shimano 12-27 cassette. The former owner of the bike was a very good rider from Southern Calif. and insists that the bike works better with the Campy Crank than with Shimano. Everything I've read would confirm that it's OK to run Campy Crank with Shimano cassette.

But the real issue is this.... Without breaking the bank, should I just swap out the existing crank with a new one...perhaps a 50-34 (FSA, Truevative or Sram)? and keep the 12-27 cassette as-is?... Or should I keep the current crank set up as-is and replace the rear deraileur with a mountain bike deraileur which would allow me to run a bigger cassette (say an 11-34)? Which will be the cleanest set up? Which will be the most affordable? Thank you for your thoughts.
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Old 05-14-08, 10:31 PM   #2
JiveTurkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farwest View Post
Which will be the cleanest set up? Which will be the most affordable?
You'll get varied opinions on the first question*, but you should be able to answer the second question with a little window-shopping. A couple things to keep in mind though: If changing the crank, unless it takes the exact same bottom bracket (type and spindle length), you'll need to factor that into the cost. And if you go the new cassette and rear derailleur route, you'll probably need a new chain.

But, have you gone out for a hilly ride yet to see if the current setup doesn't work?

*PS: I'd go with a compact crank setup myself.
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Old 05-14-08, 10:59 PM   #3
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I think you have identified the two best options: 1) change the standard double to a compact double, or 2) replace the rear derailleur and cassette with a "MTB" model. Depending on your taste for high-end components, Option 2 is generally the less expensive way to go. I also live in the Sierra foothills and ride a CF road bike with a compact double (FSA) and standard DA cassette/RD. I previously had an older roadie that I retrofit with an 11-32 cassette and MTB RD. Both options work well. Try your new bike as it is currently set up and go from there.

Last edited by Old School; 05-14-08 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:03 PM   #4
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I've been thinking about going compact on my bike, but it's still pretty new to me. Right now I have a 39 in the front with a 25 in the back. The difference between my commuter which has a 32 in the rear has been pretty substantial these first weeks, but I think I'll give it more time.

I'd say go with a compact crank and keep your cassette if you decide to change, but I think it's a good idea to do what J Turk said, and try it out first. It might work.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:09 AM   #5
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You don't necessarily need a MTB RD. Shimano makes a long cage (90mm) 105 RD. I recently helped a friend make his double (52/39) into a touring setup by changing out his cassette from an 11-25 to an 11-34 and found that he had an old Shimano 105 longcage RD. With that setup and a new chain he was able to exceed the lowest gear of a compact double 34 to 27 for a fraction of the cost. The 105 looked a lot nicer than the MTB cassette. See if you can find an older triple RD on eBay.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:15 AM   #6
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You don't say whether the bike is 9 speed or 10 speed. If 10 speed, there aren't any significantly bigger cassettes that aren't horribly expensive (i.e., IRD). In that case, going compact is the better option. IMO this will look less horrendous anyway and gaps between the gears will be smaller. There are plenty of cheap cranksets on ebay and elsewhere...

If 9 speed you could use a MTB cassette and (probably) new chain. Sometimes a Shimano short cage road derailleur will work okay with a 32T rear cog, but usually not 34T. If you try this, all the gears may not work, and success will depend on the chain length, difference between chainwheels, dropout geometry, phase of the moon, etc.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:28 PM   #7
farwest
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Thanks to all of you for your thoughts on this subject. This is excellent info. As I mentioned, I purchased this bike on Ebay and haven't even ridden it yet. I think the best advice is ride it first...then figure out the best option from there. All of the threads have provided me with some great options. Thanks again for taking the time to comment on this topic. I think gearing is one of the most interesting aspects of road biking.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:28 PM   #8
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I think 34-27 is pretty low. I'd just try swapping to a compact crank and see if that works out for you. You can probably get the crank for no added cost if you sell your record crank and BB on Ebay and use that money to buy a compact crank
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