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  1. #1
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    Lower Gearing Help For Vintage Road Bike

    I've been looking around the forums trying to answer this question without starting a new thread but i can't seem to find the answer. If anyone has an older thread you can point me at please let me know but the ones i've found don't quite answer the question.

    My '87 Pinarello Montello has a Campagnolo Super Record group set with friction shifting. The prior owner had already replaced the original freewheel with a 7-speed, 13-26. I'm trying to access a lower gear for the hills where i'm having a hard time keeping up with other guys i ride with that are on newer bikes. I love vintage bikes so i won't be getting a new bike but would love to keep up better.

    I don't want to mess with the original cranks or the FD or RD. I believe my only option without replacing some of those other parts would be to replace the freewheel with a 13-28, which my RD should handle fine. I'm wondering if I could go even lower then that to perhaps a 13-30 7-speed that would still work with my original RD?

    Also, what is the best freewheel brand i could buy? SunTour, Shimano, etc?

    Thanks so much for the help.

  2. #2
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I think you'll be right up against the limit of your rear derailleur's wrap capacity with a 13-30—supposedly it should work. More importantly, I think you'll have a hard time finding a 13-30. Harris Cyclery (f'rinstance) doesn't have any in stock, though they could probably custom assemble one. I think in this case, the best freewheel is the one you can find.

  3. #3
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    You could always try a 13-28 - which are relatively easy to find - with a smaller front chainring too... If your old crankset has a 42T small ring, which was very common, replacing it with a 39T lowers your gearing just over 7% ...

    ... and now I realize your Super Record has a 144mm bolt-circle and won't take a 39T so apparently a 41T is your smallest available, as other posters have mentioned.
    Last edited by AlbertaBeef; 07-15-12 at 06:56 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pcb's Avatar
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    The SR rder isn't really designed to handle much over 24-26t. You can coax 28t if your rear dropout drop dimension (rder pivot bolt center>hub axle center) is long enough, you can find 9t guide pulleys to help get a little more clearance. Make sure the wheel is pulled all the way back in the dropout. I've been able to get marginally OK shifting on a 28t cog with an NR/SR rder, never tried anything lower than 28t. I'd give you a better than 50% chance of acceptable shifting with a 28t, and maybe only 20% with a 30t.

    The only real choice in new quality freewheels I know of are the Interloc Racing Designs (IRD) Defiants. Anything else that's new/current production (not vintage NOS) is going to be pretty low-end. Workable and all that, but not up to the quality of the rest of the bike. For used or NOS my faves would be Shimano 600 or Dura-Ace, not sure if D-A ever came with 28t-30t builds. SunTour New Winners are OK, later Winner/Winner Pros had issues with wide ratios, especially early production.

    Switching to a crank that's either 130bcd (38t min) or 110bcd (34t min), or to a rder that can shift 32-34t reliably would give you the most flexibility and probably better shifting performance.

    If you're not already down to 42t in the front, you should get a 42t. That's the supposed minimum for a 144bcd SR crankset, but once in a blue moon you'll find a rare 41t ring and pay through the nose for it. Other that that you're pretty much out of simple options up front.

    You could have the crankarm spider drilled/tapped for a smaller triple ring, but then you'd need a new ring, bolts/spacers and bb spindle. The Super Record fder will work fine, but the rder probably won't wrap enough chain so you'll have to decide between lockup in the big-big crosschain or lots of sagging in the small-small. Might be worth the trouble if you needed significantly lower gearing, probably not for just a bit lower.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaBeef View Post
    You could always try a 13-28 - which are relatively easy to find - with a smaller front chainring too... If your old crankset has a 42T small ring, which was very common, replacing it with a 39T lowers your gearing just over 7% ...
    41 is the lowest for a 144 bcd SR, unless you can find one of the TA Tripleizer rings to make a triple: then you'll need a triple spindle too, and cups to fit... You might be able to pull off a 30 in the rear with careful chain length. Here's how I run my 84 Cinelli now in old age:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    "Chooch" ciocc_cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcb View Post
    If you're not already down to 42t in the front, you should get a 42t. That's the supposed minimum for a 144bcd SR crankset, but once in a blue moon you'll find a rare 41t ring and pay through the nose for it. Other that that you're pretty much out of simple options up front.
    Look for an Avocet 41t ring. They fit Campy 144bcd and show up on eBay from time to time. I'm currently running Avocet 47/41 rings on my Ciocc's Campy cranks.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Ditch the SR parts and choose 1 of 2 options:

    Vintage: Find an older 110 BCD crank and use appropriatly small rings. Essentialy you'd be running a 'compact' crank but it'd be vintage. Shiman0 makes some nice long cage RD's, anything in the Deore line-up would work

    Modern: Install a complete modern compact drivetrain.
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    I suggest what is pictured here:



    That's my 1959, but the drive train is obviously later. The Campy Record arm is drilled for an inner ring. This allows a 28 or 30 inner ring. (Smaller is possible, but chain jamming can occur.) I chose a T.A. 41t ring, as well as the T.A. granny. I find it the most elegant triple. I'm using a Rally 3rd gen rear, just because I wanted. The SR should handle a 30t granny. The 28t might be over-reaching.

    Elliot Bay Cycles in Seattle will do the triplizing of the drive crank arm.

    A good new chain, and either a Shimano or IRD freewheel with HG ramped teeth make a HUGE difference, too.

    Just my suggestion.

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  9. #9
    Is a real super guy. Henry III's Avatar
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    I say enjoy the views and smell the foliage and walk up the hills. Just kidding. If you want to keep it vintage maybe put on a TA crankset or check out the selection Velo Orange has to offer in more common ring sizes. They also have a nice Record looking crank arms with a 110 BCD for a reasonable price.

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  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for all the great responses. A couple of you were speculating but just to confirm my front chainring setup is a 52t and 42t. My current freewheel is a Sachs 13-26, which i guess they don't make anymore.

    From what i've heard i think my safest bet is to change to a 13-28. I'm not sure how much of a difference that will make for me in the hills but hopefully it's enough to help out even if it's a small percentage improvement.

    The IRD http://store.interlocracing.com/fr76and5sp.html 7 speed 13-28 looks nice. Hopefully my current SR rder will be able to handle it nicely.

    I'll check back in here after it's done for a report in case it can help anyone else out in the future. Thanks again for all the help.

  12. #12
    Senior Member geezerwheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
    I suggest what is pictured here:



    That's my 1959, but the drive train is obviously later. The Campy Record arm is drilled for an inner ring. This allows a 28 or 30 inner ring. (Smaller is possible, but chain jamming can occur.) I chose a T.A. 41t ring, as well as the T.A. granny. I find it the most elegant triple. I'm using a Rally 3rd gen rear, just because I wanted. The SR should handle a 30t granny. The 28t might be over-reaching.

    Elliot Bay Cycles in Seattle will do the triplizing of the drive crank arm.

    A good new chain, and either a Shimano or IRD freewheel with HG ramped teeth make a HUGE difference, too.

    Just my suggestion.

    Leica Lad--I'm late joining this discussion--but--want to ask--how close is your granny to the chainstay? what BB and axle is used here--stock campy?
    THANKS--

    -GW

  13. #13
    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drisee View Post
    ...i'm having a hard time keeping up with other guys i ride with that are on newer bikes. I love vintage bikes so i won't be getting a new bike but would love to keep up better...
    Or you could just leave your gearing the way it is and find a slower riding group. That's a pretty popular approach on this forum, I think.
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  14. #14
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    Hey Geezerwheels (great name!),

    Hope this response isn't tooo late. The weekly update is the only way I saw this.

    Any triple BB will do. I have a classic Campy triple, but went with a Phil 119mm with the 5mm offset. I think I paid $40 for a used one in fabulous condition. The granny can sit pretty close. Nice thing about the Phil cups is the adjust-ability. Much depends on your frame, meaning how much clearance is needed to clear the chainstays.

    All that said, I agree with jonwvara: Find a group that rides at the speed you enjoy! I did, and my knees thank me for it!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by geezerwheels View Post
    Leica Lad--I'm late joining this discussion--but--want to ask--how close is your granny to the chainstay? what BB and axle is used here--stock campy?
    THANKS--

    -GW
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    Triple!
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    Velo Orange super compact: http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...kset-mkii.html

    46/30 rings making a wide-range double. It has the range of a triple with less shifting and much less weight.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
    I suggest what is pictured here:



    That's my 1959, but the drive train is obviously later. The Campy Record arm is drilled for an inner ring. This allows a 28 or 30 inner ring. (Smaller is possible, but chain jamming can occur.) I chose a T.A. 41t ring, as well as the T.A. granny. I find it the most elegant triple. I'm using a Rally 3rd gen rear, just because I wanted. The SR should handle a 30t granny. The 28t might be over-reaching.

    Elliot Bay Cycles in Seattle will do the triplizing of the drive crank arm.

    A good new chain, and either a Shimano or IRD freewheel with HG ramped teeth make a HUGE difference, too.

    Just my suggestion.

    This is one of the best grannyized road bike setups I've seen. I'd suggest a couple of options for those wanting to emulate this: see if you can find a Sachs freewheel. They had several different options in 7-speed with 13 -30 or 13-32. Reasonably quiet, VERY smooth, and a tooth design that in friction mode performs nearly as well as a Shimano HG. I'd also suggest trying a Huret DuoPar or EcoPar rear derailleur.

    If one likes low-Q, one of the nice things about the tripleized Record is that with the right BB it only needs to sit about 7 mm wider than the NR doubles. Rivals the TA for low Q.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Velo Orange super compact: http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...kset-mkii.html

    46/30 rings making a wide-range double. It has the range of a triple with less shifting and much less weight.
    Yes, with a 11/28 or 11/32 10 speed you can have a really wide gear range with mostly little jumps. I have my Terraferma now set up with a 11/28 in the rear and 44/26 in the front. When my 42 tooth chainring comes in (TA Cyclotourist) I'll have it finalized.

  19. #19
    Senior Member geezerwheels's Avatar
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    just for some perspective, on my '79 Moto Grand Touring, I just swapped the 5sp, 26t big cog FW for a 6sp 34t Suntour winner. The stock Suntour VxGT long cage handles it fine (I've never tried large front to large rear,of course)

    it was like getting a new pair of legs and lungs.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geezerwheels View Post
    The stock Suntour VxGT long cage handles it fine (I've never tried large front to large rear,of course)

    it was like getting a new pair of legs and lungs.
    Make sure your chain is long enough to handle the big-big combination, though (the Vx GT should have the chain-wrap capacity to let you do that.) You might ride around without incident for years with a too-short chain, but eventually you'll screw up and shift onto the big-big by mistake and bust something--maybe yourself. Don't ask me how I know that.
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