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  1. #1
    EBH
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    Compact crank combined with old 7 sp freewheel RD combo.

    People on here use, and claim, the best chain for a 7speed feewheel is 9 sp KMC chain.
    I'm thinking that, paves way for a modern compact crank to use in combination with such chain/freewheel combo.
    Or are there also other things to take into consideration that I haven't done yet.
    What's your thoughts? Will it work?

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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Not read, so discarded.
    Last edited by wrk101; 08-11-14 at 08:19 PM.

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    On my Scapin I have a 10-speed Record crankset, 7-speed Sachs freewheel.

    I usually run Sram 830 or KMC Z72 for drivetrains like this.

    Tried a KMC 9.93 on my MTB and snapped it in no time, so I dunno about 9-speed KMC chain. After I snapped that one I put on a Sram 830 which actually works pretty well on an 8sp XTR setup. Now have a Sram 951 chain for that bike but haven't bothered to put it on yet.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 08-10-14 at 02:54 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    EBH
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    Cheers for the replies folks, but the actual question of this thread is can I use a modern compact crank in combination with a 7 or 8 speed freewheel/cassette.

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBH View Post
    Cheers for the replies folks, but the actual question of this thread is can I use a modern compact crank in combination with a 7 or 8 speed freewheel/cassette.
    Yes.







    I'd stick with 8sp chain though.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  6. #6
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Depending on where the chainline falls with your new crank, you may get some rattle when using the small ring with the small end of your cassette, but you should avoid doing that anyway. My "rando" bike will probably get a 48/34 crank eventually.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    Senior Member Beemer's Avatar
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    If your freewheel is a 7-spd Shimano "Hyperglide" (circa 1987) like mine, then you also should use a "Hyperglide" chain.

    Ian

  8. #8
    EBH
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    Now, that's much better...



  9. #9
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Who is it that likes running 9-speed chain on 7-speed cassettes? And why? That's what I'd like to know.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemer View Post
    If your freewheel is a 7-spd Shimano "Hyperglide" (circa 1987) like mine, then you also should use a "Hyperglide" chain.

    Ian
    No need. Sram 830 or KMC Z72 work just fine on 7-speed HG cassettes, IME.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  11. #11
    Senior Member gaucho777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Who is it that likes running 9-speed chain on 7-speed cassettes? And why? That's what I'd like to know.
    I know dddd, for one, often touts the virtues of 9-speed chains on older 5/6/7-speed freewheels. Quoted from another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by dddd View Post
    The newer chain will work much better than the original, 6-speed width chain. More clearance at the front derailer cage, more-forgiving downshifts, less sensitive to adjustments, and newer chains are almost always quieter.

  12. #12
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    No need. Sram 830 or KMC Z72 work just fine on 7-speed HG cassettes, IME.
    +1. You have to go out of your way to find a chain that *isn't* Hyperglide-compatible these days, and reusable connecting links are where it's at!
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  13. #13
    EBH
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
    I know dddd, for one, often touts the virtues of 9-speed chains on older 5/6/7-speed freewheels. Quoted from another thread:
    Aye, that's actually the one quote that's had me thinking of compact cranks combined with early ergo shifters of even DT's.
    I don't think I've seen it on any pictures in here, or any other forums, so I've kind of thought of it as a no goer. I reckoned if it had been viable other ppl would have done it before, but that quote had me thinking again...

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    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBH View Post
    People on here use, and claim, the best chain for a 7speed feewheel is 9 sp KMC chain.
    I'm thinking that, paves way for a modern compact crank to use in combination with such chain/freewheel combo.
    Or are there also other things to take into consideration that I haven't done yet.
    What's your thoughts? Will it work?
    If your question is, will a modern compact crankset work with a 7-sp freewheel, the answer is yes.
    If your question is, will that combination work with a 9-sp chain, the answer is yes.
    If your question is, will that modern compact crankset work with a 7-sp chain, I don't know, not sure why not, the gap is there between rings so it wouldn't rub.

    I always try to match the chain with the most recent component, so if I'm using a 9/10 chainring with lower-speed components, I use the 9-sp chains out there.

    I'm running a 3x7 RSX setup with a compact triple (RSX, as well) but with modern rings, and an 8-sp chain. Works fine.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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  15. #15
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    One of my commuters is 2x7 with a 9speed 50/34 up front, and until recently a 13-25 Sunrace freewheel, then for a few days (on a new rear wheel) 13-23 DNP cassette, and no with a 13-26 Shimano HG50 cassette (with the DNP 13T cog - the space Shimano uses is annoying). Current chain is KMC 8.99; previous chain was KMC Z72. Both work fine. Amazon has the 8.99 for less than $12- right now; my other commuters need 8 speed chains, so I standardized. Not seeing a down side.
    Nigel
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post

    I always try to match the chain with the most recent component, so if I'm using a 9/10 chainring with lower-speed components, I use the 9-sp chains out there.
    ^^^^^^

  17. #17
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Since I loudly touted 9s chain in many past posts of mine, I'll take a stab at the OP's proposed setup.

    First, at the front, many chains will work acceptably, but as noted the amount of cross-chaining in the small-to-small direction is limited by chain width.

    1)For the 7s freewheel, I prefer 9s chain mainly because shifting to a larger cog is less likely to have the chain catching the next-larger cog than intended, something that causes drive slippage as the chain falls back to the intended cog after the shift lever is released.

    2)Shifting toward smaller cogs is unaffected by use of a narrower chain.

    Best of all, the shift lever position "windows" are wider whenever you substitute a narrower chain. In other words, the range of lever motion within which the drive will be silent in each given gear is wider, making the shifting process more "forgiving".

    The narrower chain will also require less "trim" adjustment of the front derailer as the chain is shifted across the freewheel.

    I've used three different 9s chains on several older bikes and have racked up many thousands of miles. I've measured the chains for wear over long intervals, and I use only a very scant application of solvent-diluted oil for lube, after which I wipe the chain down to an almost dry look using a terrycloth shop cloth.

    I've had very impressive wear rates using Campag C-9 chain, Shimano HG-93 chain and SRAM PC-951 chain. All are 9-speed width.
    The Campag chains I got free, and the Shimano and SRAM chains can each be had for between $20 and 30.
    These last two chains are rated for MTB racing using stump-pulling 22t chainrings, so I'd have to call them tough and durable in addition to being long-wearing.
    All these chains shift really well, and I've used the C9 chain on my two Schwinn Super Sports as well as my two Varsities, all of which use the original Schwinn steel cranksets, and with three out of four using standard-spaced, 6-sp Shimano or Suntour freewheels (the other uses a SRAM 8s cassette).

    In most cases, manufacturers give their official blessing to using newer, narrower chain on their cassettes, and in Campag's case they ceased offering their 8s chain shortly after introducing their C9 chain to the market.
    I first tried 9s chain on an Ultra-6 freewheel, and couldn't believe the improvement. Subsequent testing of narrower chains on early indexing setups was particularly impressive, even making Suntour's Accu-7 systems shift the way that their designers perhaps intended, and vastly improving even Shimano's SIS systems.

    There will occasionally be the "skating" issue with using too narrow of a chain on older chainrings, but in these cases one can tweak the small ring's teeth by slightly filing and/or bending the teeth.

  18. #18
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dddd View Post
    Since I loudly touted 9s chain in many past posts of mine, I'll take a stab at the OP's proposed setup.

    ...

    I've used three different 9s chains on several older bikes and have racked up many thousands of miles. I've measured the chains for wear over long intervals, and I use only a very scant application of solvent-diluted oil for lube, after which I wipe the chain down to an almost dry look using a terrycloth shop cloth.

    I've had very impressive wear rates using Campag C-9 chain, Shimano HG-93 chain and SRAM PC-951 chain. All are 9-speed width.
    While we're at it, I'm intrigued: do you find the chain life to be on par with the older, wider ones? There is a pervasive feeling that as cogs and chains get narrower, that they can't possibly last as long. But if it's actually a wash, I might give 9-speed chains a try after all your praise. Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  19. #19
    Senior Member Narhay's Avatar
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    I've had too narrow chains fall between the just wide enough gap of front chainrings and get stuck. I've since reverted to using the speed chain for the number of speeds both the rear dropouts and the front chainring were designed around to avoid this problem.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pars's Avatar
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    My commuter Trek has a Campy Veloce 10sp compact (50-34) on the front, with a 6 speed SunTour freewheel on the back. 9 speed Shimano chain (could be an HG93, don't recall). If I need to replace the chain, it will be KMC.

  21. #21
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    While we're at it, I'm intrigued: do you find the chain life to be on par with the older, wider ones? There is a pervasive feeling that as cogs and chains get narrower, that they can't possibly last as long. But if it's actually a wash, I might give 9-speed chains a try after all your praise. Thanks.
    I believe that these 9-speed chains last about as long as the 8-speed versions that I've been using over the past 20 years.
    Very impressive how these chains wear so well, but it is the cutting edge of bicycle drivetrain development, the development of ever-narrower chains, which allows the addition of more cogs and which sells more bikes. So the chain makers have very high stakes (investment) in coming up with narrower chains having the same durability that riders are used to.

    While narrower cogs would be expected to wear more quickly, the decrease in cog width has been pretty minimal, and of course there are more cogs over which to spread out the wear.

  22. #22
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
    I've had too narrow chains fall between the just wide enough gap of front chainrings and get stuck. I've since reverted to using the speed chain for the number of speeds both the rear dropouts and the front chainring were designed around to avoid this problem.
    There are some cranksets out there which will allow the chain to fall between rings or skate atop the small ring's teeth, but this usually is from using, say, a 9-speed chain with a 6-speed era crankset.
    Yet there are many cranksets from the 5/6-speed era which get along fine with 9sp chain, including most steel cottered and Ashtabula cranksets, and some Campagnolo cranksets.

    Old Stronglight-93, 99 and SR-Apex clones of same are notorious for chain skating and do not get along with evan a 7-speed chain, so heads up on that, but most others from the 6-speed era seem to work fine with perhaps a swipe of a file to the rotating small chainring (adding a bevel to assist the chain landing over the tips of the teeth).
    In certain cases I've had to remove the small ring, then bend each tooth a half-millimeter toward the big ring, so as to allow use of 9s chain with, say, a Stronglight-93 crankset. This can be an important fix to know about.

    As far as the freewheel or cassette, I have verified 100% compatibility with all Uniglide, Hyperglide and Suntour freewheels together with 9s chain, and all seemed to shift better with the narrower chain.
    9sp chain actually corrected the index-compatibility issue with a Sunrace 7sp freewheel and my Campagnolo Synchro-7 drivetrain, this by widening the derailer-position "windows" within which the chain could operate silently. The shifting also greatly improved with the switch to 9sp chain, taking the place of a '90's-era SRAM 8s chain.

    I also have yet to use any derailer that didn't work fine with 9sp chain.
    Last edited by dddd; 08-11-14 at 11:44 PM.

  23. #23
    EBH
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    Your knowledge is impressive DDDD. Thanks for your, and all others, input. Will only get 9 sp chains for my C&V's now.
    So does anyone using the compact crank/old freewheel combo have any issues with it, even though it works? Is it recomended to have a modern FD matching smaller diameter of the Compact crank for instance?

  24. #24
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    Depends on the radius of the FD cage. Some FD's are remarkably versatile, others not so much.

    For example, I have a 48/34 compact crankset on my otherwise Dura Ace 7400 '82-ish Merckx (SR Apex triple crank arms with only two rings mounted) mated to a 6 speed 14/28 freewheel, using a modern Shimano 8 speed chain and downtube shifters (index rear, friction front). Have a similar Sugino 48/34 crank setup on my Cannondale SR500 with a 105 (1050 series) FD, same down tube friction/index shifting but 105 instead of DA. Both of those work great, no issues at all.
    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  25. #25
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
    Depends on the radius of the FD cage. Some FD's are remarkably versatile, others not so much.

    For example, I have a 48/34 compact crankset on my otherwise Dura Ace 7400 '82-ish Merckx (SR Apex triple crank arms with only two rings mounted) mated to a 6 speed 14/28 freewheel, using a modern Shimano 8 speed chain and downtube shifters (index rear, friction front). Have a similar Sugino 48/34 crank setup on my Cannondale SR500 with a 105 (1050 series) FD, same down tube friction/index shifting but 105 instead of DA. Both of those work great, no issues at all.
    +1 ^^^^

    As long as the cage height is set to 1-2mm, and checked when the outer cage plate is exactly in the same plane as the big ring's teeth, the standard front derailer should work perfectly.

    Also verify that no cage contact against the teeth occurs as the derailer first starts swinging inward, since it can have a somewhat downward trajectory.

    I used to select 50t or 48t chainrings in the old days, before any crank was considered to be "compact", and never gave a thought to it not working as long as I remembered to re-set the cage height to the new chainring size.

    Newer designs of front derailers (especially the triples) may have "lift" features formed into the inner cage plate which have been optimized to work with specific chainring-size gaps in tooth count, but this shouldn't be a big deal, and never has been for me.

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