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Old 04-01-09, 07:58 AM   #1
wickedcold
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Road components vs mountain for custom commuter

I'm building a new bike (well, I'm not actually doing the building, I'll be having the LBS assemble the pile of parts I bring in). I'm starting with a Surly Cross Check frame and having a Mavic A719 wheelset built by Peter White. I plan to use drop bars with "brifters". The one thing I'm hung up on is the drivetrain- road vs mtn derailleur, cassette, crankset, etc. Can you pretty much just mix it up? I was thinking of using mostly Shimano XT parts with an 11-32 cassette, and possibly a Sugino triple crank . Are these parts compatible with the brifters?

I should mention that I will be using panniers loaded with clothing and lunch, and I weigh about 240 lbs (hence the heavy duty wheels).
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Old 04-01-09, 09:22 AM   #2
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From my experience a road crankset and front derailleur will work better with STI shifters. If the front derailler will be a "clamp-on" type (instead of a "braze-on type") you should be able to lower it enough for relatively smaller chainrings. You might consider a "touring" type crankset with 110 BCD chainrings if you want lower gearing, instead of a mountain type crankset. In the back you need a rear derailleur that has enough chainwrap capacity for the gearing combination you select. A mountain type rear derailleur will allow a greater range of gearing and will be compatible with STI shifters. The shifters and chain need to be compatible with the number of cogs on the cassette. Shimano mountain cassettes are a maximum of 9-speeds but IRD and possibly others make 10-speed Shimano compatible cassettes.

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Old 04-01-09, 10:10 AM   #3
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Use a road bike front derailer to properly work with the STI brifter. The rear is fine, as Shimano's MTB and road bike derailers use the same cable pull ratio and are interchangeable with their shifters. Go with a 105 front derailer for the reliability.
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Old 04-01-09, 10:21 AM   #4
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one of my bikes uses Campy Centaur brifters and front mech with Shimano XTR rear mech (and a 9-speed 105 cassette).

so mixing can be done.

the only thing i'd make sure of when choosing a rear derailer is low-normal vs. high-normal actuation. both will work, but a low-normal (Rapid-Rise, in Shimano-ese) will shift the opposite of a standard road derailer. afaik, all Shimano rear mountain derailers are available in both low- and high-normal.
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Old 04-01-09, 10:27 AM   #5
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one of my bikes uses Campy Centaur brifters and front mech with Shimano XTR rear mech (and a 9-speed 105 cassette).

so mixing can be done.

the only thing i'd make sure of when choosing a rear derailer is low-normal vs. high-normal actuation. both will work, but a low-normal (Rapid-Rise, in Shimano-ese) will shift the opposite of a standard road derailer. afaik, all Shimano rear mountain derailers are available in both low- and high-normal.
Which is the one where the the derailleur springs outward away from the wheel, and requires tension to push it in to a lower gear? I think I prefer that setup.
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Old 04-01-09, 12:39 PM   #6
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Which is the one where the the derailleur springs outward away from the wheel, and requires tension to push it in to a lower gear? I think I prefer that setup.
That's the normal (original) arrangement. Low normal / rapid-rise derailleurs are at rest on your largest cog and spring outward.
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Old 04-01-09, 01:07 PM   #7
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What do you guys think of Sugino? I'm looking at maybe getting this crankset:

http://www.rivbike.com/products/list...product=12-190
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Old 04-01-09, 01:51 PM   #8
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sugino makes some sweet cranks.

what's really nice is the gearing offered.
use a road derailer to shift it.
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Old 04-01-09, 02:20 PM   #9
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I've not used it but I think it should work fine. It appears to have 110 mm BCD big and middle rings. I don't think it would be compatible with a "braze-on" derailleur with fixed hanger. Should be fine with a "clamp-on" FD. I agree that a 105 road front derailleur should be the better choice with STI shifting. With chainrings that small I doubt that you would want a 32 or 34 big cog, a 12-27 may be low enough. You may also want to consider a 26 granny chainring instead of the 24, especially if you have any clearance problems or shifting problems off the granny. I like to have a variety of cassettes and chainrings to use on various rides. Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 04-01-09, 02:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for the information, everyone. Just curious though, I've heard a few people mention going with 105 components. They seem to be far more expensive than I'd like. For almost half the price I can have Tiagra or whichever the in-between is. Is there really a huge difference on a front derailleur?
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Old 04-01-09, 03:10 PM   #11
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It would help to know if you are planning a 10-speed drivetrain or a 9-speed drivetrain. The new Tiagra crankset is a 9-speed, so I think the Tiagra front derailleur would be better for a 9-speed component set but would probably work OK with 10-speeds. The new 105 group is 10-speed, which overall is better than 9-speed except that Shimano mountain cassettes are 9-speed.
I would recommend that you either go all 9-speed or all 10-speed. Generally a 9-speed FD will work on a 10-speed crankset and chain but a 10-speed triple front derailleur may not work well with a 9-speed triple crankset or chain.
Overall the 105 components are significantly better than Tiagra, but Tiagra is usually good enough.
Be sure all of your components are compatible with either 10-speed or 9-speed, whichever way you go.

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Old 04-01-09, 03:54 PM   #12
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Thanks for the information, everyone. Just curious though, I've heard a few people mention going with 105 components. They seem to be far more expensive than I'd like. For almost half the price I can have Tiagra or whichever the in-between is. Is there really a huge difference on a front derailleur?
No, go tiagra. But anyways, a 105 fd is like $25.
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Old 04-01-09, 04:06 PM   #13
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Shouldn't you be giving us some additional information?

To me a commuting bike implies that you intend to ride it over essentially the same route daily. If that's the case, the route will drive your equipment choice. If it's dead flat a compact cassette, possibly even a single speed might be in order. If you have a steep hill to climb twice a day get out the stump puller gears. Until you make the basic gearing decision any discussion of road vs. mountain drive train components is premature.
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Old 04-01-09, 04:20 PM   #14
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Sorry, I should have specified that I will be building a 9 spd system. My current bike (Trek 7200) has an 11-32 in the rear and 24-34-44 in the front. I have a lot of sick hills that I ride up and down so the gearing has come in handy, though I could probably do with slightly less as the 32+24 combo is almost never used.
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Old 04-01-09, 04:31 PM   #15
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For commuting I really like having a bashguard to keep my long pants from getting eaten by my crankset.


I'm working something out with a 26-44-BG setup in front, but if your crankset has an inner gear 74mm BCD then you could get a 30 or 32 to make it more even. I never use my granny gear commuting so there's no use for it in my mind on a commuter.


I'd consider using a smaller cassette too.... if you are set on brifters then you've got the mounts for the brakes, but you want to be using road derailleurs too, not exactly sure whether their shifting mechanisms are different, but if you use a road rear derailleur, it's likely that it can't span a 21t difference. If the derailleurs and shifters are completely interchangeable, then I would probably use mountain derailleurs, that way you get the spanning you need for the large range cassette and a more on-target sizing for the front derailleur.
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Old 04-01-09, 05:56 PM   #16
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Sorry, I should have specified that I will be building a 9 spd system. My current bike (Trek 7200) has an 11-32 in the rear and 24-34-44 in the front. I have a lot of sick hills that I ride up and down so the gearing has come in handy, though I could probably do with slightly less as the 32+24 combo is almost never used.
So there's your answer.

You need a mountain bike drivetrain to get the gearing that you're used to. It really is as simple as that. If it was my bike I'd also get a handlebar that I could fit mountain bike shifters onto and avoid any possibility of a cable pull issue.
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Old 04-01-09, 06:08 PM   #17
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or buy NOS 9-speed brifters on ebay or some place for your perfect commuter. i did. MTN parts in back, road parts up front. it's like the mullet of the cycling world
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Old 04-01-09, 06:11 PM   #18
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So there's your answer.

You need a mountain bike drivetrain to get the gearing that you're used to. It really is as simple as that. If it was my bike I'd also get a handlebar that I could fit mountain bike shifters onto and avoid any possibility of a cable pull issue.
If he had to have drop bars, a road derailler would likely shift ok to a 44 tooth big ring (they work fine with 48 tooth rings at least). The only issue would be the 10 tooth difference between big and middle. You might find the inner half of cage hitting the middle ring when the derailler is at the right height for the big ring (had this problem using an Ultegra 10 speed FD with a 52/42/30 crankset, derailler was designed for 52/39/30). The Crosscheck does not have a braze-on for the FD mount so getting the derailler low enough wouldn't be a problem unless a bottle cage braze-on was in the way.

If you wanted drop bars and couldn't make a road derailler work, you could always use a MTB front derailler and a friction shifter for just the front shifting, keeping a brifter for the rear.
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Old 04-01-09, 06:29 PM   #19
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I've worked a 26-36-46 sugino just fine with a shimano 105 double FD and a 44T will shift fine too.
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Old 04-09-09, 04:35 AM   #20
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If you wanted drop bars and couldn't make a road derailler work, you could always use a MTB front derailler and a friction shifter for just the front shifting, keeping a brifter for the rear.
Can an STI shifter work in friction mode for the FD?
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Old 04-09-09, 05:16 AM   #21
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Can an STI shifter work in friction mode for the FD?
STI's are index only. There is no friction mode.
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