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  1. #1
    Senior Member Velo Fellow's Avatar
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    Compact advice wanted........

    Although dedicated to my triple for weekend long hilly rides....all this talk of compact cranks has me thinking of changing out my old standard double (52/42) often used for those after-work rides that are almost as hilly...just shorter in length.

    Currently have a square-taper bb. I'm assuming I'll need a new bb, the crank itself, and perhaps a new front derailleur. Any recommendations on mid-priced cranks....carbon not necessary.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The only real reason to change would be if the rear sprocket you use consistently with the 52 is resulting in a fairly harsh cross chainng angle.
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  3. #3
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    42 to 34 is a significant low gear change. The bike will climb almost as well as your triple.

  4. #4
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    I love my Shimano R700, it's stiff and shifts great. I paid less than 200 for it with the BB, installed by my LBS. Replaced an FSA Gossamer that was awful!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Depending on the kind of riding you do a compact can make a big difference. If you are a farly strong rider who does not need to shift to the small ring on most rollers and hills the compact could be the ticket. I have a compact and on most rides don't need to use the small ring unless the hill is really steep. The biggest difference between a standard and compact is that fastest gears are gone and some easier gears are added to each chain ring. There is also more overlap of gears between the chain rings with a compact, my guess is 3 1/2 vs 2. Rear derailers with 10 speeds also have added additional gear/s making the gearing spread even greater while in the same ring. Consideration to make the switch depends on how many gears you have now, if your front derailer is bolted on or brazed on, if your have a triple RD and if a compact crank set can be fitted to your BB. You may need to take the bike to a LBS for their take.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Velo Fellow's Avatar
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    Another question from me, the OP: I currently have a short cage Shimano 600 rd.....will I need a longer cage to take up greater chain slack?

  7. #7
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Fellow View Post
    Another question from me, the OP: I currently have a short cage Shimano 600 rd.....will I need a longer cage to take up greater chain slack?
    Probably not unless you change to a more radical cassette. You may end up taking one link off the chain.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    My experience with a compact setup and a 7 speed rear cluster was not quite what I wanted. I'm happier with a triple due to having to shift too often between the two rings of the compact and then having to shift 3 or 4 cogs in back to get in the sweet spot. I believe that it would work much better with the wider range of a 10 speed cluster.

    Sugino makes a nice cold forged compact crank that uses a 110mm spindle square taper bottom bracket, if that is what you now have.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Front Derailler should be OK as it is currently running a double crank. Newer cranks have outboard bearings and you fit the bearings and slide the crank through the bearings. Some also have a spacer between the bearings as in the attachments.

    I run Truvativ Elita Cranks on mine- but watch out- some come with a 36T inner ring which may entail extra expense for a 34T ring if that is what you want.

    Look for special offers on the cranksets at the onling shops- but I don't think you can go wrong with Shimano But I prefer to go Ultegra or 105 (Not that there is anything wrong with the truvativs).

    And in comparison to using a Triple crank- I struggle up the same hills with the compact that I used to with the triple. 34/27 on the Compact and 30/26 on the triple.
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    Senior Member piper_chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    My experience with a compact setup and a 7 speed rear cluster was not quite what I wanted. I'm happier with a triple due to having to shift too often between the two rings of the compact and then having to shift 3 or 4 cogs in back to get in the sweet spot. I believe that it would work much better with the wider range of a 10 speed cluster.
    This is one of the reasons I have avoided a compact. Another is that people using a compact typically use a wider range on the rear cassette, which means larger jumps between gears, making it harder to stay at a certain cadence.
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  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    In one of my magazines I saw where the Shimano R700 was greatly reduced now that they are coming out with a Durace version in '09. I think it was under $200. I've had fabulous service out of my R700.

  12. #12
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piper_chuck View Post
    This is one of the reasons I have avoided a compact. Another is that people using a compact typically use a wider range on the rear cassette, which means larger jumps between gears, making it harder to stay at a certain cadence.
    All true and the gearing changes that are larger require making changes to the power output and speed of the engine. However, if you have enough power over a large range of cadence, it is a moot point. Or to say it another way, instead of spinning 100 you spin 105.

  13. #13
    Road Nazi Hunter Donegal's Avatar
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    I think that most people don't ride a compact for purely ego reasons.

    I ride in hilly north georgia, I am a strong masher, and can spin out my 50/12 at 33-35 mph on the flat. I don't need any more gear than that unless running downhill. Most of my friends running 11 teeth can't even push it.

    Contrary to popular belief, the gears are closer. If I raced here, I would race a compact with a 12/23. If I needed more high end, 11/23. Closer cluster with less distance between gears. Check Sheldon's charts on 53 vs 50 tooth sprockets with the same size cassettes.

    I ride 12/23 around home, 12/27 when in the mountains. I don't even mess with the small chainring, the dreaded front derailleur shift unless I have a fairly steep extended climb. I will occasionally cross-chain for small periods knowing that the gears are so close that one up or down doesn't really break my rythm.

    I try to keep my chain somewhere in the middle of the cassette and every gear I need is very close. I have both regular and compacts for both my bikes and am sold on the compacts, both campy and shimano. The way I see it the only downside is the difficulty of the front derailleur shifts, they are a bigger reach and therefore a bit more tricky. Once you get yours set up and get used to it, no problem.

    I recently switched a set on one of my friends bikes as we prepare for six-gap. The members of his riding club told him how much better he was climbing on their group rides. He appreciates the choice of 3 gears with less reach between.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piper_chuck View Post
    This is one of the reasons I have avoided a compact. Another is that people using a compact typically use a wider range on the rear cassette, which means larger jumps between gears, making it harder to stay at a certain cadence.
    I've found it easier to stay at a preferred cadence with my 12/23. That cassette gives me the 18 tooth cog that is missing on the 11/23 or 12/25. During races or on group rides having the 18 tooth cog is nice because I'm matching the speed of the group. My preferred cadence is around 97 to 105. I've found that the cadence is around 10 rpm's different between the 17 and 19 tooth cogs, riding at the same speed, the 18 cog splits the difference nicely. I also use a 12/27 cassette for riding in hilly areas.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I installed a 50/43 compact on my Klein 3 years ago. Essentially I traded some fast gears that i never used for some hill climb gears that I really needed. I kept the same cassette so the gaps between gears are roughly the same. I think that it's been the best equipment change that I've ever made. I really like it a lot.

    I bought an FSA Energy crank. I got one that had an octalink interface so the only thing that I had to buy was the crankset. I lowered the existing (Ultegra) front derailleur a smidge and shortened the chain by an inch. The whole job, including removing and regreasing the bottom bracket threads and reprogramming my Flight Deck computer took me around an hour.

  16. #16
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    Not to hijack the thread, but how about a "semi compact" or a 50/38. Instead of a 52/42???I have a 7 speed with an old (7400) dura ace 52/42 and can change the rings to 50/38 Sugino for $65the rear is a 13/28. comments?Tnx Bud

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    42/28 = 40 gear inches. 38/28 = 36.6 gear inches. That's not much additional hill climb benefit. I'm thinking "What's the point?".

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    Yea, you are right....guess I should have used Sheldons calculator and it would have been more obvious...
    hardly worthwhile...guess I am gonna have to bite the bullet and get a bit more modern...(like 30 years worth!!)...I just changed it from a 5 sp rear freewheel to 7 ,so I guess that is worth 2 years advancement.
    only 28 to go..
    Thanks !!
    Bud

  19. #19
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldster View Post
    Yea, you are right....guess I should have used Sheldons calculator and it would have been more obvious...
    hardly worthwhile...guess I am gonna have to bite the bullet and get a bit more modern...(like 30 years worth!!)...I just changed it from a 5 sp rear freewheel to 7 ,so I guess that is worth 2 years advancement.
    only 28 to go..
    Thanks !!
    Bud
    Since you have a 7 speed, I would definitely think you'll be happier with a triple than a compact double, unless you plan to get a new rear wheel and cassette and shifters to upgrade to 10 speed.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  20. #20
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Check Excel Sports in Boulder for the Ritchey WCS compact crankset (http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?p...jor=1&minor=13). It's reasonably priced, highly recommended, and it works with Shimano octalink bottom brackets. Regarding bottom brackets, I'm most satisfied with the FSA steel-spindled unit I've had on my fixie for about a year now.

  21. #21
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cruz View Post
    I love my Shimano R700, it's stiff and shifts great. I paid less than 200 for it with the BB, installed by my LBS. Replaced an FSA Gossamer that was awful!
    By the way, what is so sucky about the FSA Gossamer? It's the only compact with outboard bearings that I've spent any time with, so I have no idea what I'm missing by not upgrading.

  22. #22
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    50/43??

    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I installed a 50/43 compact on my Klein 3 years ago.
    You don't mean 50/34 .. which is pretty much the standard Compact front setup?

    B

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing181 View Post
    You don't mean 50/34 .. which is pretty much the standard Compact front setup?

    B
    Oops, you're right. Sometimes I'm dyslexic with numbers.

  24. #24
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    As a dedicated compact user the only thing I can think of that is a disadvantage is when trying to pound with the big dogs the 50/12 combo is not enough. My climbing bike is setup with 50/34 front and 12/27 rear. Works just as well as my triple setup. Sometime you need to double shift to be in the correct gear.

    The compact crank is not a new idea. Was floated in the 70/80's and did not take off. More new off the shelf bikes are offering a compact crank setup.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Since you have a 7 speed, I would definitely think you'll be happier with a triple than a compact double, unless you plan to get a new rear wheel and cassette and shifters to upgrade to 10 speed.
    That is something I looked at on the Harris site. the 38 ring with the adapter for the third granny.But then I will probably have to come up with an Italian long axle bottom bracket as well. and I don't know if my downtube shifters will do a triple.
    The 10 speed thing, even with building another wheel and the fairly inexpensive Duraace 10sp downtube does sound interesting, Its just getting the monmentum to do it....
    Bud

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