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Old 05-04-10, 09:41 PM   #1
MikeWinVA
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Mix'n Match Brifters and Mtn Bike Components

I just obtained a road frame, and want to build it up. As I live in a very hilly area, a drive-train that has a a wide range is desirable.

My thoughts were a Shimano Deore LX or SLX rear derailleur with a 9 speed mountain freehub with either Shimano, Sram or Campy brifters (no preference, just whatever will work). And a road triple up front. Will this combination work? Are there any "plug and play" setups avoiding mickey mouse engineering?

The plan is to use standard road brakes.

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Old 05-04-10, 09:52 PM   #2
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the only plug and play option would be 9sp shimano levers.
I recommend tiagra ST-4500 levers over the older 105/ultegra 9sp shifters because you get a gear indicator and they have a better body design.

with campagnolo levers, you need a 10sp version, but change the gear cable routing on the rear.
this is about all you have to do with 10sp campy levers, shimano RD and 9sp shimano cassette to get it to work, more or less.
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Old 05-04-10, 09:56 PM   #3
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So the Tiagra's have the correct pull for a mtn bike 9 speed freehub with a Deore rear derailleur? If so then that is what I need. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-10, 09:57 PM   #4
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yes, shimano RD have the same cable pull for road and MTB.

the FD has a different pull ratio between MTB and Road.

not unusual to see tandems equipped with road levers and MTB cassette/RD.
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Old 05-04-10, 10:45 PM   #5
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You haven't mentioned wheels--don't forget that mtb rear hubs are wider than a road frame's dropouts, should that question arise.
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Old 05-07-10, 03:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
yes, shimano RD have the same cable pull for road and MTB.

the FD has a different pull ratio between MTB and Road.

not unusual to see tandems equipped with road levers and MTB cassette/RD.
RE: the rear set up. Using a mtb rear derailleur isn't a problem at all. But, if he has to go with road hub spacing (130mm), can't he put a MTB cassette on there? (9 speed splines and spacing is 9 speed spacing whether it's a road or MTB cassette?).

RE: the front set up: it's been batted around, but it seems like a major issue is the incompatibility between the BRIFTERS he wants to use and the FD itself. Not the crank, but the MTB FD.

Will a triple road FD work with a typical MTB crank (44-32-22 or 48-36-26)? That obviously would solve the incompatibility problem.

If not, I would suggest to OP to consider a regular road triple FD and crank. I believe I read somewhere that the critical design for the shimano triple FD and crank is the teeth difference between the big ring and middle ring, but you could swap out the smallest ring pretty easily. Therefore, you could replace the typical 30 tooth small ring with a 28 or maybe a 26 (check Harris Cyclery - they have a good selection of replacement rings).

I'm interested in this topic because I have a sort of similar need in my commuter. Currently set up with MTB FD, crank, RD, but w/ a road rear wheel and12-26 9 speed cassette. It has bar end shifters, but I want to eventually switch to 9 speed brifters. I'm thinking of using a road triple and FD I already have and if the gearing isn't low enough, get a MTB 9 speed rear cassette to put on the 9 speed road wheel, if that is doable.
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Old 05-07-10, 04:03 PM   #7
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Shimano/SRAM road and MTB 8/9/10sp cassettes will all fit on shimano 8/9sp hubs, regardless of category.

My bike there uses Veloce 2009 Ergo levers, 105 9sp double FD, deore RD, 26-36-46 sugino triple. Cassette is 9sp and I swap it to suit the needs.

Triple for road won't work with chainrings that are not part of the original spec, since the FD won't line up correctly.

slightly older picture, but it's basically the same setup with ergo levers and shimano drive train.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:19 PM   #8
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How about this one.... Put a compact (50-34) crank on my wife's bike to replace the original triple, (this is a Cannondale Synapse road bike) and then an 11-34 cog-set with a Deore RD to replace the Tiagra with a 12-26. She now has a lower low, a higher high and little overlap. This is very similar to the new SRAM Apex that is due out at any time.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:35 PM   #9
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How about this one.... Put a compact (50-34) crank on my wife's bike to replace the original triple, (this is a Cannondale Synapse road bike) and then an 11-34 cog-set with a Deore RD to replace the Tiagra with a 12-26. She now has a lower low, a higher high and little overlap. This is very similar to the new SRAM Apex that is due out at any time.
I wouldn't recommend it.
the jumps between gears is more suited for off road, but when you put this on a road bike, the wide ratio leaves too many gaps where you might find yourself 'between gears'.
Instead of combining a 11-34 with 34/50, which sounds really nice on paper, just stick with the triple and replace the small ring with a 26T and use a 11-26 or 12-26 cassette. Same low, but much more versatile.
Or, if 1:1 ratio isn't enough, buy a cassette that has a 28T or 30T and one that you can disassemble to make a mixed cassette.
13-30 wasn't so bad with the 26/36/46 crankset during winter, where it was a mix of slush, snow, ice, mud and asphalt.


But, it's strictly a personal preference
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Old 05-07-10, 08:39 PM   #10
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To summarize some of the confusing but correct advice in this thread:

SRAM and Shimano cassettes, whether 8, 9, or 10 speed will all fit on the same freehub (and freehubs are the same whether it's a road 130mm spaced hub or a MTB 135mm spaced hub, or any other variant in the MTB and tandem world).

As long as you use Shimano shifters, you can use basically any Shimano rear derailler without an compatibility issues (some Dura Ace stuff excluded).

If you want a wide range cassette, you either need to stick with 9 speed, or pony up some big bucks for a wide range 10 speed cassette from IRD or SRAM. That is, until SRAM Apex is launched which will offer a reasonably priced wide range 10 speed cassette. If 11-28 is wide enough for you, Ultegra 6700 cassettes can be had with those ratios for under $70.

Since you want to use a road triple crankset, you won't have any compatibility issues between shifters and front derailler. Issues arise when trying to use MTB cranks with road shifters since MTB front deraillers use a different cable pull.

Note that if you want even lower gearing than a standard road triple can offer, you can always replace the small ring with something smaller, like a 28, 26, or even 24 tooth chainring. Shifting may be a bit sloppy when using a 24 or 26 but many have reported success. I commute with a 52/42/28 triple and for the most part, it shifts great. I get an occasional slow upshift but then again, I'm not using a crankset known for it's shifting quality.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
RE: the rear set up. Using a mtb rear derailleur isn't a problem at all. But, if he has to go with road hub spacing (130mm), can't he put a MTB cassette on there? (9 speed splines and spacing is 9 speed spacing whether it's a road or MTB cassette?).

RE: the front set up: it's been batted around, but it seems like a major issue is the incompatibility between the BRIFTERS he wants to use and the FD itself. Not the crank, but the MTB FD.

Will a triple road FD work with a typical MTB crank (44-32-22 or 48-36-26)? That obviously would solve the incompatibility problem.
If not, I would suggest to OP to consider a regular road triple FD and crank. I believe I read somewhere that the critical design for the shimano triple FD and crank is the teeth difference between the big ring and middle ring, but you could swap out the smallest ring pretty easily. Therefore, you could replace the typical 30 tooth small ring with a 28 or maybe a 26 (check Harris Cyclery - they have a good selection of replacement rings).

I'm interested in this topic because I have a sort of similar need in my commuter. Currently set up with MTB FD, crank, RD, but w/ a road rear wheel and12-26 9 speed cassette. It has bar end shifters, but I want to eventually switch to 9 speed brifters. I'm thinking of using a road triple and FD I already have and if the gearing isn't low enough, get a MTB 9 speed rear cassette to put on the 9 speed road wheel, if that is doable.
Yes, road FD is the best and that will work fine with MTB or road or touring crankset. I like the Ultegra 6510 9-speed brifters myself though they are selling high on eBay right now. Sugino XD600 tripple crankset works nicely or you can use road compact or road tripple. Be sure you get a "top normal" XT rear derailler (Shimano XT-RD M771 is good one.)

What you describe is doable and not difficult. Pictures show this done with compact double but it would work fine with tripple provided brifters are for tripple.
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Last edited by billydonn; 05-07-10 at 08:52 PM.
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