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  1. #1
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    Replace 9 sp freewheel to 10 speed?

    I ride a 2002 Lemond Zurich with an Ultegra 53/39, 175mm Crank Arms, and a 12-25 freewheel. The rear wheel is a Bontrager Racelite. The RD is an Ultegra GS. I am 53 and and although I try to ride and train as much as possible the hills in NJ/PA seem to be getting steeper. I would like to increase my high gear to a 28 but all the 9 sp cassettes I see only go to 27. Can I put a 10 sp cassette with a 28 on the bike without much problem given my RD? Also, what would be the smallest chain ring I could use to replace the 39?

    Thanks.

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    Yes, you could make the change, but it's involved and expansive. You might have to use a longer chain, but that's cheap and simple compared to the real issue. 10s spacing is different than 9s spacing, so you'd need to change the right lever at least.

    I'm not fully up on Shimano stuff, so I can say whether you'd also need to change the hub, or freehub body (you wouldn't for Campy), but that's another possible wrinkle.

    In short, this isn't cheap and easy, so go for the 27t. After all, the 28th tooth only lowers the low by less than 4% compared with the 27t.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response. Definitely not looking to make this an expensive endeavor.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    rjon, sounds like you could benefit from a triple. You've already got the GS rear derailleur which is a upgrade necessity that makes the conversion more costly. You just need a front derailleur, crankset and BB. It is entirely possible your left shifter is triple compatible.

    Good luck.
    If you have to force it... you probably shouldn't.

  5. #5
    Senior Member vredstein's Avatar
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    38T ring is the smallest that fits on a non-compact Shimano double crankset.
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    Is that a Freewheel or Freehub? Do you have a cassette that can be taken off of the hub? If so, the 10 spd cassette will fit directly on the freehub that the 9 spd is on, no changes there, but as FB says, the spacing is different. The Ultegra GS RD will work on 9 or 10 and doesn't really care. The cog spacing is different and the right shift lever determines the RD cable pull. You would at least have to change the right shift lever. The RD would work.

    A triple with a 30 for the small chain ring with the existing 25 big cog in the back would be a significant change. I do not know what the left shift lever is or whether it can shift a triple. You may have to change the left shift lever to go with the triple.

    If you are looking for an improvement but do not want to go to a triple, a compact 50/34 would also give you improved low gearing. The compact would probably be the easiest change since the existing shift levers all work.

    The existing 39/25 is 41 gear/inches whereas the 30/25 is 31.6. The compact, with a 34 small chainring, yields a nice compromise at 35.8 gear/inches.

    If go with the compact and change to a 27 for the biggest rear cog you get 33.1 gear/inches.
    Last edited by richard_dupp; 09-11-12 at 06:32 AM. Reason: corrected math

  7. #7
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Here's a 11-28 cassette-

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/159...sette-2011.htm

    only $25 too.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard_dupp View Post
    I do not know what the left shift lever is or whether it can shift a triple. You may have to change the left shift lever to go with the triple.
    Left Ultegra shifters of that period (when a 2002 Lemond Zurich was made) and where 2/3 compatible.
    If you have to force it... you probably shouldn't.

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    Thanks for all the input. Based on the responses if I go with a compact would I need to change by BB? I currently have a 6500 and would my FD work OK with the compact and 11-28 cassette? Moving to a compact might not be the most inexpensive route but would give me the gearing I require to keep me moving down the road or up the hills.

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    Sweet, thanks for the link to the 11-28.

  11. #11
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    I got old and ride on some really steep hills. There were many times that Old Mine Rd. in Delaware Water Gap Park made me feel like an idiot for not having a lower gear. I have a Shimano 9 speed system. I ended up with an 11/32 on the rear, the current Ultegra long cage rear derailleur, and a 34/50 on the front. Works fine, although Saturday's ride with the 2 mile 18% grade was on the verge of making me feel like an idiot for not having a lower gear.

    I think I have about $200 in the crank and rear derailleur, which is all I had to change. Some off-season deals on ebay were required though.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjon57 View Post
    I ride a 2002 Lemond Zurich with an Ultegra 53/39, 175mm Crank Arms, and a 12-25 freewheel. The rear wheel is a Bontrager Racelite. The RD is an Ultegra GS. I am 53 and and although I try to ride and train as much as possible the hills in NJ/PA seem to be getting steeper. I would like to increase my high gear to a 28 but all the 9 sp cassettes I see only go to 27. Can I put a 10 sp cassette with a 28 on the bike without much problem given my RD? Also, what would be the smallest chain ring I could use to replace the 39?

    Thanks.
    The key issue is your desire for lower gearing, and not more cogs. 9 and 10 speed systems are indistinguishable while you are actually riding, but 10-speed chains and cogsets are far more expensive and difficult to source than their 9-speed bretheren. So ignoring the motivations of your local shop to sell you $500 worth of new parts, 9-speed is the way to go.

    Keep your existing crankset and just replace the cassette. Why not go to a 32 or 34 in the back? Why not? Replacing your current rear derailleur with a 9-speed generation Shimano mountain derailleur will provide enough chain wrap capability, and will allow you to put a big bail-out cog in the back. You will likely need a longer chain, but chains are 4 times per year disposables anyway. The derailleur will be a $25 pickup on Ebay or your bike Co-op used pile and the chain is a $15 item. Buy cheap chains and replace often.

    BTW: the mountain cassette will likely come with a useless 11-tooth smallest cog. Reuse the first 2-3 cogs from your existing cassette on the new cassette. Don't worry about mixing and matching the cogs unless your current cassette is truly worn out.

  13. #13
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    +1 to what Dave M said.

    Get a new chain, a new cassette (I like 11-32, http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...oducts_id=6298 ) and a MTB derailleur (I like Deore http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=507891 ), and you're good to go for about $100, new. 10-speed really doesn't have much advantage over 9-speed, and some pretty severe disadvantages- there are more options for gearing and derailleurs with 9-speed, the shifting is better (IMO), you can mix and match MTB parts in the back, the chain is purported to be stronger. It's really the sweet spot for me- if I have to buy 10-speed shifters, I make them work with a 9-speed system by using the alternate cable routing technique since the cassette options are so limited in 10-speed.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You find paying more acceptable?

    1 extra 'speed' is going to be a price increase for the things that wear out, chains and cassettes .
    over 9 speed , so accept the world of $50 and up chains.., 100$ cassettes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You find paying more acceptable?
    Sure. Prior to my recent move closer to work the difference between 9 and 10 cogs was less than what I'd have spent on gas if I drove three days instead of riding which is pretty much nothing. OTOH, moving from 9 to 10 cogs gets me one cog bigger for hills without compromising spacing which is nice. That's an entirely reasonable cost/benefit trade-off.

    1 extra 'speed' is going to be a price increase for the things that wear out, chains and cassettes .
    over 9 speed , so accept the world of $50 and up chains.., 100$ cassettes.
    That's hyperbole.

    Ribble sells 10 speed Tiagra cassettes for $25 instead of $22 for 9 speed and chains for $24 instead of $14.

    I'm a Campagnolo guy. 10 speed Veloce chains are $31 versus $27 for 9. 10 speed Veloce cassettes are $42 instead of $35.

    If you really want you can buy a $200 Record or Dura Ace cassette with titanium large cogs to make a fashion statement which is arguably a little silly. You could also pay $400+ US retail for the Campagnolo part although that's just stupid.

    Shipping cost and time via Royal Mail to California are usually lower and about as fast compared with UPS from the US east coast.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-11-12 at 01:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjon57 View Post
    Thanks for all the input. Based on the responses if I go with a compact would I need to change by BB? I currently have a 6500 and would my FD work OK with the compact and 11-28 cassette? Moving to a compact might not be the most inexpensive route but would give me the gearing I require to keep me moving down the road or up the hills.
    If you're not strong enough to spin 39 x 19, 21, or 23 (assuming 9 cogs in back and depending on whether you prefer an 11, 12, or 13 starting cog) up the vast majority of hills you encounter and still make it up the rest get a triple not a compact.

    Those ending cogs are what allow you to have one tooth jumps through the 19 cog which feels good when you're riding hard on flat ground.

    Compared to the traditional 53-39 double and using the same cassette, a 50-34 makes small ring x smallest usable cog act like one with two more teeth in the traditional setup. 34x12 is like 39x14. This results in using gears closer to the ends of the cassette which are noisier, and with a tight cassette you get much, much more front shifting. This is especially true with only 9 cogs. When I rode 50-34 x 13-23 9 cogs any time I sped up past 19 MPH I shifted to my big ring and any time I slowed below 17 MPH back to the small ring because 50x21 and 34x14 were the only overlapping gear not counting the fully cross-chained combinations. That was a real step backwards from the 50-40-30x13-21 eight cogs I built the bike with when I realized that would yield a low gear like 42x28 suitable for the mountains west of Boulder, CO and straight block for plains east without changing wheels or cogs depending on where I felt like riding that day - I spent a lot of time in 40x16 or 40x17 right in the middle of the cassette and rarely changed rings on solo rides (mostly just to the big ring for descents).

    Small ring x large cog only acts like one gear lower (34x25 is like 39x29).

    The 30 inner ring which ships with road triples is one more gear lower than the compact and two versus the standard - 30x23 is like 34x26 or 39x30. When that's not enough you can run down to a 24 small ring (a chain catcher would be prudent though), and 24x23 is like 34x36 or 39x41.

    Although you could theoretically run smaller rings on the other cranks, a 38 is the smallest which will fit 130mm BCD and 33 110mm so it's not a comparison worth making.

    The only real down-side is that the triple crank looks a little goofy; although by running pie-plate sized rear cogs you've already made that concession to practicality over cosmetics.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-11-12 at 11:32 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    The only real down-side is that the triple crank looks a little goofy; although by running pie-plate sized rear cogs you've already made that concession to practicality over cosmetics.
    Unabashedly goofy!
    If you have to force it... you probably shouldn't.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Drew Eckhardt;14718050]
    The 30 inner ring which ships with road triples is one more gear lower than the compact and two versus the standard - 30x23 is like 34x26 or 39x30. When that's enough you can run down to a 24 small ring (a chain catcher would be prudent though), and 24x23 is like 34x36 or 39x41.

    I think a triple is in my future after reading your response. Seems that the small ring will serve me better based on my recent experience with the larger and longer hills I have encountered. Having that smaller ring available will certainly help my psyche as I look up at a long climb towards the end of a ride. Keeping the back cassette at my present 12-25 will prevent the pie plate rear cassette.

    Cale thanks for the pic of your triple. I could definitely get used to goofy.

  19. #19
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    I'm 58 and ride a 53/39 w 9 speed 12-27. Works for me as long as I ride regularly and keep the slopes at 6-8%.
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  20. #20
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    Ok spent some time on ebay looking at mostly used triples and have a question. As long as I stay with Ultegra can I switch to any triple that is 9 speed regardless of year manufactured? Also, how do I make sure I have the correct BB for the triple? My current BB is a Shimano 6500 118.5mm spindle. My 02 Zurich was made as a triple so am I safe to assume that the FD is ready to work with a triple? The replies above indicated my left lever and GS RD can be used with a triple. Thanks.

  21. #21
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjon57 View Post
    Ok spent some time on ebay looking at mostly used triples and have a question. As long as I stay with Ultegra can I switch to any triple that is 9 speed regardless of year manufactured? Also, how do I make sure I have the correct BB for the triple? My current BB is a Shimano 6500 118.5mm spindle. My 02 Zurich was made as a triple so am I safe to assume that the FD is ready to work with a triple? The replies above indicated my left lever and GS RD can be used with a triple. Thanks.
    You've already got the correct length BB. (The specified length for a double is 108.5mm.) Now you need an Octalink compatible triple chainwheel. In Ultegra, that would be the 6503 but you could just as easily use a 105 chainwheel (5504 and 5505) if you don't mind mixing things up.
    Last edited by cale; 09-11-12 at 11:35 PM.
    If you have to force it... you probably shouldn't.

  22. #22
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    Ultegra had three different bottom brackets in the modern age (9-speed and higher). There were Octalink1, Octalink2 and external bearing 2-piece. So, make sure you get the right BB for your triple crank. Octalink1 had shorter splines than Octalink2, and often would strip out the crank arm if not properly installed or if installed on an Octalink2 BB. Those cranks end up on flea-bay often. I'd recommend against any used Octalink crank for that reason. Actually I stay away from used cranks, period.

    Plus you'll need a triple "road" front derailleur. There are two styles lately, also- the newer ones for 52-39-30 have a larger cage than the older triple derailleurs for 52-42-30 cranks, and won't work so well with the latter type crank- they need to be set up too high to miss the middle ring and thus have slightly crummier shifting.

  23. #23
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    cycle, You're right about stripped out Octalink splines. I've done that myself on a 105 crankset. But rjon should be safe with an Ultegra 6503 crankset because it was designed for his 6500 BB. As I understand it, Octalink2 was designed for mountain bike applications and that pretty much eliminates the possibility of buying an incompatible chainwheel.

    I'm less disposed to the "you'll get ripped off" school of thought where ebay is concerned. I like the concept of vendor feedback ratings and I think they keep vendors honest. I've sold a bit on ebay and have always represented my goods honestly, that's not a quality unique to me.
    If you have to force it... you probably shouldn't.

  24. #24
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I agree with what the others suggested. Installing a triple would give you the widest gearing-range between top and lowest gears. And also preserve close-spacing between the cogs so you don't end up hunting between spinning too fast in one gear and spinning too slow in the next one.

    Might need to replace the RD with a longer-cage version, depending upon how small of a granny you get. A lot of times, that can be offset by getting a cassette with larger low gears.

  25. #25
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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. At this point I think I am going to finish out the year with the set up I have and then over the winter look for some deals on ebay to change to a triple set up. Going to also concentrate on shedding a few thousand grams of weight from the rider before next spring to help with the hills.

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