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  1. #1
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    Older Road Bike granny gear setup options? Help......

    Hello,

    I am looking for some suggestions as to what options I have to get more of a granny gear set up on my 1999 LeMond road bike. It currently has a double chain ring setup, not sure at the moment what the chain ring sizes are but it was the stock size that came with it. I know when I got it they did change out my rear cassette for better climbing gear. I will have to look and see what the gear range is. It is a 9 speed Shimano 105 setup.

    Where I am currently living is a much hillier area than I where I used to be and have not ridden much the past few years since moving. I have gotten older of course and do not have the legs I used too. So I think I need to do something about changing my setup. I am wondering about switching to a triple or is the new compact double a setup that might give me more options?

    I am not in a position to spend the money on a new bike plus I like my current bike other than the gearing for where I live now.

    What are peoples thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Everything on a bicycle works together. Once you change one part you almost always have to change something else to make the whole package work.

    The 2 most common options are to install a triple crankset with 52, 39 and 30 chainrings or a compact double with 50 & 34 tooth chainrings. The triple will give you a wider range of gears, the compact double will minimize the components that you need to buy.

    If your bike was stock to begin with the triple would require a new crankset, front and rear derailleurs. I'd also replace the chain while I was at it.
    With a compact double you might be able to get by with just the crankset but, on a bike that old, I'd replace the chain too.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  3. #3
    Senior Member alcjphil's Avatar
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    Which one is it?. you need a starting point
    BikePedia
    The brand name alone isn't sufficient if you are asking a technical question

  4. #4
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Welcome to bikeforums!
    I too have an old lemond - possibly a bit older than yours as it has 8-speed 105 - that I replaced the 53-39 crankset with a 50-34 compact double. In addition to the new crank I also needed a new bottom bracket, but all the rest of the drivetrain was compatible. Note that you do need to lower the front derailleur a bit.
    I also added one of these to prevent chain drops when shifting to the small ring while the chain is in the bigger cogs

  5. #5
    Senior Member dave42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Everything on a bicycle works together. Once you change one part you almost always have to change something else to make the whole package work.

    The 2 most common options are to install a triple crankset with 52, 39 and 30 chainrings or a compact double with 50 & 34 tooth chainrings. The triple will give you a wider range of gears, the compact double will minimize the components that you need to buy.

    If your bike was stock to begin with the triple would require a new crankset, front and rear derailleurs. I'd also replace the chain while I was at it.
    With a compact double you might be able to get by with just the crankset but, on a bike that old, I'd replace the chain too.
    On my 1989 Trek 400, I installed a triple. Eventually, I changed the bottom bracket for a better chainline. My double front derailleur shifts in fine.

    It would help to know what kind of shifters you have now, what derailleurs(make and model or pictures would help), tooth count on the front and on the back, in order to give a really good list of possibilities.

    In general, changing to a compact should be simpler than a triple, but I don't know what you're running now.

  6. #6
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    The setup on my 1999 Lemond Alp duez is all Shimano 105 9 speed components. My shifters/brake levers are STI ST-5500, RD-5500 rear derailleur, FD-5500 front derailleur, 11-27 rear cassette and 53x39 front chain ring. I have a NIB 12 x 27 rear cassette. If I went with a compact double, what rear cassette would work with it, would I need a different front chain ring setup?

    My old double setup,used,to ne all I needed most of the time but it is not enough for me anymore as I really struggle on alot of the hills around here now where I currently living.

  7. #7
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    Get an inexpensive FSA or Truvativ square taper compact crankset and matching BB off of eBay. Total cost probably less than $100 and easy to install. Unless things are very worn you can probably get by with everything else on the bike. A compact crank and 11/27 or 12/27 cassette will allow you to climb almost anything once you get back into decent shape.
    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  8. #8
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    Ok, when looking for a new crank set do I need to look for a 9 speed or will a 10 speed crank set work? Is the 10 speed the same but just with thinner teeth on the chain ring?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sceadu498 View Post
    Ok, when looking for a new crank set do I need to look for a 9 speed or will a 10 speed crank set work? Is the 10 speed the same but just with thinner teeth on the chain ring?
    When I was looking for a crank the 10-speed cranks had warnings about not working with 9-speeds. My general philosophy is, if I'm buying new parts, to hold out for stuff that's designed to match. If I have parts in my workshop I'll see if I can get. any combination work to my satisfaction.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Although your RDER is rated as a 27T max cog, one can typically make them work with up to a 30T cog.
    Will that make enough difference? It would be 11%. Going to a 34T small ring would be just under 13%.
    Else, you could get a "mountain" RDER and go to a much larger (36T) cog.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I don't know your budget but a sugino square taper triple is an excellent quality crank. You can pick one up with a bottom bracket for around $125 mail order. I have one on my all purpose bike, a soma double cross. The crank looks great and it is clearly very well made:

    IMG_0080.jpg

  12. #12
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Don't forget shifters if you're going to a triple crank (if you have integrated, indexing shifters), because your double shifting front will have to be triple, too.

    My advice (free, of course) is go to a compact crankset. Then work on upgrading the motor...

  13. #13
    Senior Member dave42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Don't forget shifters if you're going to a triple crank (if you have integrated, indexing shifters), because your double shifting front will have to be triple, too.

    My advice (free, of course) is go to a compact crankset. Then work on upgrading the motor...
    I agree. A compact will be cheaper than a triple. You will need a compact crank and a bottom bracket.

    With a triple, you need:
    -triple crank
    -bottom bracket
    -maybe new front shifter(some 5500's are triple compatible, some aren't)
    -probably new front derailleur
    -possibly new rear derailleur

    I went to a triple because I've got front friction shifting. If I had brifters, I'd get a compact.

  14. #14
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Budget solution:
    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Claris...eywords=double
    Amazon.com : Shimano BB-ES51 Octalink V2 Bottom Bracket : Bottom Bike Brackets And Accessories : Sports & Outdoors

    will work fine with 9 speed too. Even 7 speed cranksets work fine with 9 speed chains and cassettes.

    Next on my list would be a Shimano 9 speed 12-36T cassette and Shimano M592 RD and a new KMC 9 speed chain.

    You can keep the costs low until you have to change the brifters.
    Nigel
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  15. #15
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    Thank you everyone for your input.

    I am going to go with a compact crank setup and I am looking at the Shimano Sora Crankset as I found a deal on it and a BB for about $90. I would like to have kept the bike all 105 but not sure I want to spend the extra bucks for a 105 crank. Is the Sora a good crank or would I being better off going with the 105?

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Shimano 105 triples the low is 30t a compact double can only be a 34t minimum..


    I have an even Older road Bike , the crank-set I purchased years ago,
    is a Square taper Campag RaceTriple.

    and then replaced the 30 with a 24t .. or 26t [have a 52, 42, 26. & a 50, 40, 24.]

    You can do the same with any of a multiple of 110-74 Bcd cranks sold now ..
    the key is getting the inner bolt circle size small enough.

    Feel a desire to have an STI all 105 drive train?
    I'll let others answer that..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-14-14 at 05:06 PM.

  17. #17
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    Well I ended up going with a 105 Crankset as I found a really great deal on one over the 4th of July Holiday. I still need to get a new BB for it or just let my LBS get one for me. I don’t have the tools for removing the old BB so I will probably just let them do it versus buying the tool for one time use.

    Hopefully the switch over goes smoothly, I will put on my new chain as well as my new rear cassette. Looking forward to seeing how it will ride with the new gearing. At some point I will install my new shifters (9 speed 105, direct replacement) I picked several years ago.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Don't forget shifters if you're going to a triple crank (if you have integrated, indexing shifters), because your double shifting front will have to be triple, too..
    Not in this case. 9-speed Shimano brifters are the same part whether for a double or triple crankset.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
    lNext on my list would be a Shimano 9 speed 12-36T cassette.
    ??????
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  20. #20
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    ??????
    12-36 cassette - if you need some really LLLOOOOWWWW gears with a compact double. Keep in mind that is a HEAVY cassette - the Sunrace 11-36 0 speed is lighter.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  21. #21
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    BTW, I was looking at the crank set yesterday and I see on the back of the chain ring it is marked 9S/10S so I should assume it will work with no problems with a 9 speed setup.

    Wanted to try and install it but my crank puller was the wrong style, I need to stop tonight and pickup a different one.

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    Hello how are you. 53/39 crank replace with 50/34 need shorter chain or is can be used the same chain length with both cranks

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
    Hello how are you. 53/39 crank replace with 50/34 need shorter chain or is can be used the same chain length with both cranks
    Yes your chain will have to be shortened. It was time for a new chain and cassette for me anyways so it all worked out. I completed the change over the weekend and everything seems to be working out great. Took it out for a ride yesterday and everything is working as it should, shifting good.

    It is really going to help out with better gearing for me, glad I made the switch.

    Thank you everyone for all of your help and input, it is greatly appreciated.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
    Hello how are you. 53/39 crank replace with 50/34 need shorter chain or is can be used the same chain length with both cranks
    You would theoretically shorten your chain 3/4" going from the 53 to 50T ring.
    Since a chain has to be shortened in 1" increments, there's a slight possibility you don't want to shorten the chain.
    It just depends on how much slack you currently have in the big:big combination.

  25. #25
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    Thank you for your answer. Big big that is the correct way to measure chain length?

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