My current road bike, Ol' Fuj, is an 8-speed triple with 30/42/52 chainrings and a 12/28 cassette. The 30/28 combination gives me 27.9 gear inches.
I'm contemplating the acquisition of a new road ride which comes equipped as a triple with 30/39/50 chainrings and a 10-speed, 12/27 cassette. The 30/27 combination would give me 28.9 gear inches, a small increase. I would actually like to have a lower combination than the current 30/28, so I was thinking of replacing the 30-tooth chainring with a 26-tooth ring or a 24-tooth ring. I'd like to be able to spin up the steeper hills a little more easily. The 26/27 combination would give me 25.1 gear inches, and the 24/27 combination would give me 23.1 gear inches, around 17% better than I have, now. The new ride would come with a 105, long cage rear derailleur.
Has anyone replaced a 30t chainring with a smaller ring? Any problems with front derailleur and/or with shifting? Any other pitfalls?