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  1. #1
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    Shimano Capreo System ??

    I have seen this advertised on a number of folding bikes including, Downtube and Birdy. After a little reading including the Sheldon Brown article I can see why it makes sense on a bike with smaller than standard wheels.

    I have two questions for all or any of you.

    1) How would you compare this in quality to other Shimano groups? Equal in quality to Ultegra or Dura Ace or not up to that level?

    2) Since I have been thinking of buying a bike where this is one of the options what do you think? Would you choose a bike with this component group?

    -Jim

  2. #2
    SWS: Small Wheel Syndrome kb5ql's Avatar
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    The hub and cassette are more like mid-level mountain bike grade. I don't know the Shimano nomenclature for their Mountain Gruppos, but it would be like Tiagra level on the road side. I was a little disappointed at the weight of the hub.

    There are some range jumps in the gearing, but I've enjoyed mine on the Bike Friday. I also am running a JTEK shiftmate that allows me to use my 10speed SRAM Rival Gruppo with the 9-speed system.

    So, the reason I have this set is that I'm in the Bay Area, running a Compact Double. You will run out of top-end descending at speed (and going quickly on the flats). If you don't mind spinning, you can probably get away with some sort of 53/39 combo. I assume you're looking at 20" wheel size.

    I see you're in Florida, you might not need it. (flatlander )

  3. #3
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmaher View Post
    I have seen this advertised on a number of folding bikes including, Downtube and Birdy. After a little reading including the Sheldon Brown article I can see why it makes sense on a bike with smaller than standard wheels.

    I have two questions for all or any of you.

    1) How would you compare this in quality to other Shimano groups? Equal in quality to Ultegra or Dura Ace or not up to that level?

    2) Since I have been thinking of buying a bike where this is one of the options what do you think? Would you choose a bike with this component group?

    -Jim
    The standard line is that it is 105 to Ultegra level. But don't ask me why. I have no statistical results nor can I tell the level of quality from looking at bearings, shell, and so on. However, I personally have had good results with the hub; i.e., been riding fast with no problems.

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    I have used capreo hub & cassette for more than one years and switched to normal drivetrain.
    Shimano says it is comparable to 105 but IMO they are more like tiagra groups. I am not saying that they are bad (In fact tiagra components are quite good), but they are definitely not up to ultegra or DA level.

    First of all, don't forget that what you need is just rear hub and cassette. Hubs work just fine and very quiet (Which I don't like... many ppl like loud hubs!), and cassette gives very usable 9-26T range.

    However, one of their drawbacks are weight. (Hub weighs 395 grams, cassette weighs 247 grams) Another one is spacing between gear ratios, for 9-26T cassete is basically a scaled down 11-34T 9 speed cassette. So IMO performance wise, big chainrings with normal road cassette is better. And I've heard that smaller cogs (9,10T) wear out pretty quickly if you use them often.

    Anyway the capreo system is a very simple and good way to get appropriate gear range for folding bikes.

  5. #5
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
    And I've heard that smaller cogs (9,10T) wear out pretty quickly if you use them often.
    This because there are fewer teeth to spread the load exerted by the chain, so each tooth sees a bigger force so they wear quicker.

    A slightly different argument must be applied to smaller front sprocket: Chain tension increases with smaller sprockets, causing rapid wear to the dual effects of fewer teeth to transfer the load, and higher tension causing even bigger tooth force.

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    Senior Member Shilun's Avatar
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    I'm wondering, with 11-speed cassettes on the horizon, whether the Capreo could be extended with a 30 and 34 tooth rear. Together with a 40 tooth front, that would give a pretty good set of gears for touring all on a single chainring.

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
    Shimano says it is comparable to 105 but IMO they are more like tiagra groups. I am not saying that they are bad (In fact tiagra components are quite good), but they are definitely not up to ultegra or DA level.
    Two questions:

    (1) When people write the hub is like 105, what precisely does it mean? That is, what are they comparing? Bearing quality? Weight? Number of seals? Construction quality/tolerances?

    (2) Given the answer above, how can you tell? Note that some of these are obvious; i.e., weight.

  8. #8
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    Weight may always be an issue but probably not an overriding one on most folders. Quality of design and execution I personally think is very important and is what I like about many things from custom made knives to great watches.

    If there could only be one quality it would probably be "suitability to task". How well does it work for the intended purpose. For example on one of my bikes I have a 9 speed SRAM X9 system. I am always impressed as to how quickly and effectively it shifts even in comparison to a Ultegra group on another bike.

    Jim

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    9,10,11T cogs of capreo cassette are proprietary, but rest of the cogs use standard shimano spline. So you can mix and match cogs to build your custom cassette. I have seen a guy who made a custom 9-21 cassette that way. 9-34 is also possible too (I have seen such MOD in bike friday homepage)

    And I (subjectively) rate the grade of parts by its finish, relative weight and material used. If you compare capreo and 105 parts side by side, you can see that 105 parts look somewhat better worked.

  10. #10
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
    9,10,11T cogs of capreo cassette are proprietary, but rest of the cogs use standard shimano spline. So you can mix and match cogs to build your custom cassette. I have seen a guy who made a custom 9-21 cassette that way. 9-34 is also possible too (I have seen such MOD in bike friday homepage)

    And I (subjectively) rate the grade of parts by its finish, relative weight and material used. If you compare capreo and 105 parts side by side, you can see that 105 parts look somewhat better worked.
    OK. Followup, I assume that you are just talking about the rear cassette and hub, right?

    I will have to take a look at my 105 and capreo cassettes.

    RE Custom size cassettes: The Harris Cyclery will make custom capreo cassettes. From memory, I recall that the four smallest cogs cannot be separated -- you must keep 9, 10, 11, and 13 -- but otherwise the rest are interchangeable with regular cogs. I think Bike Friday will begrudgingly modify a cassette.

    EDIT: maybe not the 13 ... my memory is fuzzy and my spare capreo is not close by.

  11. #11
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    I know a guy who managed to make a 9-21T cassette with 9,10,11,12,13T. I don't know how he inserted 12T though.

    And my rating is based on other parts too (derailleurs, brake arms, brake levers, etc.) whose finish I don't like very much. Bear in mind that it is a subjective opinion and should not be considered too seriously.

  12. #12
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
    I know a guy who managed to make a 9-21T cassette with 9,10,11,12,13T. I don't know how he inserted 12T though.
    My workplace is blocking web-based e-mail now. I will look up an old e-mail to Tom D. at the Harris Cyclery regarding the modified Capreo. He discusses the limitation there.

    But I agree with the assertion that a more narrow cassette is a bonus for "serious" roadies. My personal complaint with the Capreo cassette is its lack of granularity.

  13. #13
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    I just modded my Capreo with the 21-19-18-17-16-13 from a D/A 9 speed cogset. The Capreo's 11-10-9 cogs remain. Yes, there is a 3 tooth jump in the middle, but the rest, save the bailout gear, are 1 or 2 tooth jumps. The original Capreo cogs, iirc, are 26-23-20-17-15-13-11-10-9. Should be 45 degrees here this weekend, so I will give it a shot on the road.

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    I just ordered a new 451mm rear wheel from BF. They have a new, lighter weight rear Capreo hub that weighs 310g and costs $225. It can accept 9 or 10 speed custom cassettes. The 10 speed Ultegra/Capreo cassette saves another 30g and the 10 speed D/A/Capreo custom cassette saves 80g.

  15. #15
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folderfan View Post
    I just ordered a new 451mm rear wheel from BF. They have a new, lighter weight rear Capreo hub that weighs 310g and costs $225. It can accept 9 or 10 speed custom cassettes. The 10 speed Ultegra/Capreo cassette saves another 30g and the 10 speed D/A/Capreo custom cassette saves 80g.
    Cool. I wonder how they get the spacing correct for the small cogs.

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    I'll ask my contact in BF service.

  17. #17
    jur
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    I suspect you don't have to worry about the spacing for just a few gears - I currently run an 8sp cassette on a 9sp shifter, and only at the lowest gear there is noticeable misalignment so that I have to click 2 settings.

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