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.