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Old 08-08-13, 06:36 PM   #1
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ultegra triple crank no more

I am thinking of upgrading my drive train to an 11 speed, since Shimano no longer supports Ultegra 9 speed. I could get Sora shifters, but I like Ultegra, and my Litespeed deserves it. One problem: Ultegra is no longer producing triple cranks. I'd have to drop to 105, a fine product, for a triple. Or, I could go with an Ultegra 10 speed setup, which does have a triple crank. I use the small chainring maybe a handful of times a year, when I'm doing a steady climb up a mountain. Could I just adjust to a double crank? OR...should I get a 10 speed setup?

My motive for upgrading is that I want to be sure I can get Ultegra level shifters, etc for some time. I was thinking the 11 speed option would ensure availability of replacement parts for a longer time than 10 speed, which has already been in production for a while.

Opinions much appreciated...
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Old 08-08-13, 06:46 PM   #2
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Assuming you're ok losing a bit of top-end speed, going to the new 11-32 11-speed Ultegra 6800 cassette with a semi-compact (36-50) double up front should give you all the low end you need for those hills. 32:36 isn't quite 1:1 but should be easy enough for all but the craziest and longest steeps.

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Old 08-08-13, 06:50 PM   #3
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There's no 6803 crank for 2014, but there's plenty of 6703 cranks around that should work fine with 11-speed chain.

I had a 9-speed chain that kept dropping off my 8-speed crank on downshifts but that was Campy.
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Old 08-08-13, 07:14 PM   #4
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There's no 6803 crank for 2014, but there's plenty of 6703 cranks around that should work fine with 11-speed chain.
The problem is the change in design in the levers. You'd need a 6703 left lever and a 6800 right lever. The hood design is different enough that you'd certainly feel it when riding. Might be bothersome, might not be.

Now, the other solution, is Campy. You can get Campy Athena in 11-speed triple. Buy your Campy from one of the British internet dealers. $185 for the levers here. Hell, buy your Shimano stuff there too.

Athena also comes in plain old untinted silver which will look nice against the bare Ti. I totally hated the greenish-blue Ultegra 6700 against the bare Ti on my Litespeed Classic. (Tried the charcoal gray too, and hated that as well.) Hated it so much I "downgraded" to the older 7800 series Dura-Ace and sold all that nasty Ultegra 6700. The 7800 shifts nicer too.
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Old 08-08-13, 07:17 PM   #5
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+1 on Campagnolo. http://www.campagnolo.com/jsp/en/groupset/catid_8.jsp
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Old 08-08-13, 07:44 PM   #6
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I too worry about this stuff (first-world problems... I know.)
My next bike will have some off brand or mtn. cranks I guess. I have no need of 52-11, or even 50-11.
Instead of bigger and bigger cassettes, I'm thinking smaller chain rings.
If i could run 11-28 or 11-26 in the back as a 10 or 11 speed and something sane (for me) like 48-32 or 46-30 or something in front I'd be a pig heaven.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
The problem is the change in design in the levers.

D'oh... of course. Nevermind.

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Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
Instead of bigger and bigger cassettes, I'm thinking smaller chain rings.
36x46 is starting to be an option... they still don't quite get it though... 32-48 would make so much more sense.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:31 PM   #8
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Why would he need a 6703 left lever to use a 6703 crank? The 11sp lever and derailleur should work fine on a "10sp" crank. The difference is not that great.

The problem with Campy is you have to like how their shifters work (the thumb lever). Not everyone does.

jlstrat, you can probably get the same gearing range with a 50/34 compact and appropriate cassette as you have with your current triple. And if you don't need the lowest gears with the triple it'll be that much easier.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:50 PM   #9
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Why would he need a 6703 left lever to use a 6703 crank? The 11sp lever and derailleur should work fine on a "10sp" crank. The difference is not that great.

The problem with Campy is you have to like how their shifters work (the thumb lever). Not everyone does.

jlstrat, you can probably get the same gearing range with a 50/34 compact and appropriate cassette as you have with your current triple. And if you don't need the lowest gears with the triple it'll be that much easier.
With Ultegra new 6800 you can create all kind of gearing up front The four-arm spider amplifies this characteristic, but more important to Shimano, it embodies its 'rider-tuned' philosophy. In this, Shimano created 6800 to work for you, the rider. Case in point, the four-arm design and the 'top-secret' BCD allows for front chainring combinations from 46-36T to 55-42T on the same spider.
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Old 08-08-13, 09:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Why would he need a 6703 left lever to use a 6703 crank?
You need a triple specific left shifter to work with a triple crank. If the new 11 speed 6800 only supports double cranks than there's no way to use it with a triple. Anyways, 6800 is supposed to be a huge step up in shift quality from 6700 so I'd be inclined to go with a compact double setup unless you know that you need a triple.

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Old 08-08-13, 09:19 PM   #11
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11 speed is ruining everything IMO... bye bye cross compatibility.
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Old 08-08-13, 09:43 PM   #12
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11 speed is ruining everything IMO... bye bye cross compatibility.
Everything past 5 speed freewheels ruined everything!

But, seriously, adding cluster cogs every few years has created a mess for anyone wanting to use their bike for many years to come. I guess that it's the scourge of planned obsolescence. My 9 speed 105 components do a great job and I feel no need or desire to "upgrade" to 10 speed or God forbid, 11 speed. What's the point?? Maybe society's unquenchable lust for "newest, latest, greatest" gadget is the motivating factor, lead by the manufacturers greed for $$$ by creating a need for the latest tech. Or users fear that they won't be able to get parts for their aging bikes. It's just not the modern way to offer adequate performance and value, with a technologically static offering.

With my views, it's no wonder I don't run Shimano or SRAM!!
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Old 08-08-13, 10:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
I too worry about this stuff (first-world problems... I know.)
My next bike will have some off brand or mtn. cranks I guess. I have no need of 52-11, or even 50-11.
Instead of bigger and bigger cassettes, I'm thinking smaller chain rings.
If i could run 11-28 or 11-26 in the back as a 10 or 11 speed and something sane (for me) like 48-32 or 46-30 or something in front I'd be a pig heaven.
We just got back from Ireland with our tandem. I put an 11-36 10 speed on the back with 52-39-30 up front.

We only had to walk 50yrds of a wee hill outside Balleycastle.
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Old 08-09-13, 12:18 AM   #14
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Everything past 5 speed freewheels ruined everything!

But, seriously, adding cluster cogs every few years has created a mess for anyone wanting to use their bike for many years to come. I guess that it's the scourge of planned obsolescence. My 9 speed 105 components do a great job and I feel no need or desire to "upgrade" to 10 speed or God forbid, 11 speed. What's the point?? Maybe society's unquenchable lust for "newest, latest, greatest" gadget is the motivating factor, lead by the manufacturers greed for $$$ by creating a need for the latest tech. Or users fear that they won't be able to get parts for their aging bikes. It's just not the modern way to offer adequate performance and value, with a technologically static offering.

With my views, it's no wonder I don't run Shimano or SRAM!!
The whole idea with adding more cogs is to make it easier to stay within the 80-95 RPM power band. Up until 8 speed it was often practical to have 2 or 3 freewheels with different ranges, and you selected the appropriate one. Racers in a race like the TdF would have one for the flat stages, another for mountain stages and probably a third for intermediate stages.

The question though, is 11 speed practical, the chains are thinner and narrower, meaning they wear out faster, some people say a lot faster, and they cost more to replace. The cogs also wear faster, and are more expensive to replace. I doubt many people would notice a very large performance change between 10 and 11 speed, unless they race and a hundredth of a second is a big deal.
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Old 08-09-13, 01:29 AM   #15
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The whole idea with adding more cogs is to make it easier to stay within the 80-95 RPM power band. Up until 8 speed it was often practical to have 2 or 3 freewheels with different ranges, and you selected the appropriate one. Racers in a race like the TdF would have one for the flat stages, another for mountain stages and probably a third for intermediate stages.

The question though, is 11 speed practical, the chains are thinner and narrower, meaning they wear out faster, some people say a lot faster, and they cost more to replace. The cogs also wear faster, and are more expensive to replace. I doubt many people would notice a very large performance change between 10 and 11 speed, unless they race and a hundredth of a second is a big deal.
I've never tried more than a 7 speed freewheel yet but I'm betting this is good advice. My new build this winter is going to be an 8 in the back for a number of reasons and this is one of them.
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Old 08-09-13, 02:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Why would he need a 6703 left lever to use a 6703 crank? The 11sp lever and derailleur should work fine on a "10sp" crank. The difference is not that great.
Triple. He's looking for a triple on the front--which requires both a triple crank and a triple lever--and triple is not available in 6800.
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Old 08-09-13, 05:04 AM   #17
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Since I'm upgrading the whole drive train, shifter compatibility is not an issue, since I'm replacing mine. The issue is whether I'll miss the small chainring in the handful of long, sustained climbs over a mountain I do a few times a year.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:26 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Wogster View Post
The whole idea with adding more cogs is to make it easier to stay within the 80-95 RPM power band. Up until 8 speed it was often practical to have 2 or 3 freewheels with different ranges, and you selected the appropriate one. Racers in a race like the TdF would have one for the flat stages, another for mountain stages and probably a third for intermediate stages.

The question though, is 11 speed practical, the chains are thinner and narrower, meaning they wear out faster, some people say a lot faster, and they cost more to replace. The cogs also wear faster, and are more expensive to replace. I doubt many people would notice a very large performance change between 10 and 11 speed, unless they race and a hundredth of a second is a big deal.
I agree that 3x11 is not a huge improvement over 3x10. The primary advantage of the 11 speed cassette is the 16 cog on both the 12-17 and the 12-29. The 16 cog might be missed by a expert cyclist who wants to stay in the 85 to 95 cadence range while fighting a headwind or climbing a 2 to 6% slope.

The 11-23 includes- 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23
The 11-25 includes- 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25
The 12-25 includes- 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23,25
The 12-27 includes- 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25,27
The 12-29 includes- 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,26,29

I have a 3x7 on my 1983 Trek, It has 52/40/28 and a 13-24 freewheel
I have a 3x8 on my 1985 Serotta, It has 52/42/30 and a 12-28 cassette
I have a 3x9 on my Monstercross bike, It has 48/36/22 and a 12-27 cassette
I have a 3x10 on my 2012 road bike, It has 50/39/26 and a 12-27 cassette
I have a 3x10 on my 2012 Cyclocross bike, It has 50/39/26 and a 12-30 cassette

All of these triples can keep a tight cadence on flatter sections and provide the bail-out gearing I like to have on hilly century rides.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-09-13 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:32 AM   #19
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Since I'm upgrading the whole drive train, shifter compatibility is not an issue, since I'm replacing mine. The issue is whether I'll miss the small chainring in the handful of long, sustained climbs over a mountain I do a few times a year.
What is your current gearing? 50/39/30 and 11-28 or what? The Ultegra 11 speed 50/34 with 11-32 would match that range. There would be nothing to miss.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:35 AM   #20
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^^^ You will miss the 3rd chainring. No pie plates for me.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:40 AM   #21
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With Ultegra new 6800 you can create all kind of gearing up front The four-arm spider amplifies this characteristic, but more important to Shimano, it embodies its 'rider-tuned' philosophy. In this, Shimano created 6800 to work for you, the rider. Case in point, the four-arm design and the 'top-secret' BCD allows for front chainring combinations from 46-36T to 55-42T on the same spider.
Are you reading straight from the ad copy or something? Swapping chainrings to customize your gearing is hardly new.
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Old 08-09-13, 06:07 PM   #22
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This thread makes me glad I have stayed w/ friction shift and 6 to 8 speed cogsets. I can mix and (mis)match components and gear ratios under a very relaxed set of constraints.
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Old 08-10-13, 03:05 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I agree that 3x11 is not a huge improvement over 3x10. The primary advantage of the 11 speed cassette is the 16 cog on both the 12-17 and the 12-29. The 16 cog might be missed by a expert cyclist who wants to stay in the 85 to 95 cadence range while fighting a headwind or climbing a 2 to 6% slope.

The 11-23 includes- 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23
The 11-25 includes- 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25
The 12-25 includes- 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23,25
The 12-27 includes- 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25,27
The 12-29 includes- 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,26,29

I have a 3x7 on my 1983 Trek, It has 52/40/28 and a 13-24 freewheel
I have a 3x8 on my 1985 Serotta, It has 52/42/30 and a 12-28 cassette
I have a 3x9 on my Monstercross bike, It has 48/36/22 and a 12-27 cassette
I have a 3x10 on my 2012 road bike, It has 50/39/26 and a 12-27 cassette
I have a 3x10 on my 2012 Cyclocross bike, It has 50/39/26 and a 12-30 cassette

All of these triples can keep a tight cadence on flatter sections and provide the bail-out gearing I like to have on hilly century rides.
The real question is, does the new Ultegra with 50-34 as the lowest combination, get low enough, when combined with an 11-32 cassette?
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Old 08-10-13, 08:24 AM   #24
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The real question is, does the new Ultegra with 50-34 as the lowest combination, get low enough, when combined with an 11-32 cassette?
For me, the real question is about how much the large gaps between gears would bother me.
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Old 08-11-13, 02:21 AM   #25
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For me, the real question is about how much the large gaps between gears would bother me.
I didn't mean, just 11 & 32 on the cassette, I meant an 11 speed cassette with 11 on one end and 32 on the other, I just didn't feel like typing all those numbers. So is the combination of a 34 on the crank and 32 on the cassette low enough?

See a 30 on the crank is available on a road triple, which is just over 3 gear inches lower (27.9 vs 24.6), that doesn't sound like much, until your touring and hauling 40lbs of gear up heart attack ridge. Shimano can fix this easily enough, simply add another ring option, a 46-30 would be the same tooth ratio as a 50-34, riders who want a lower low, probably don't mind a lower high.
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