I came about a lovely old Merlin road bike about half a year ago and have enjoyed every second of riding it, and am planning on taking it with me on a tour across Europe this summer. My only worry is that my ratios aren't all that great for climbs, especially when carrying weight.
Not being an expert, i can't give you the model of any of the components but my best insight is:
-6 speed cassette 13-?
-2 rings on front 42-52
both derailleurs are campagnolo.
After reading several other posts on here i'm pretty confident that the front derailleur has plenty of space for changing the inner ring to a smaller size... although i'm not sure quite how to match the chainrings to the crank, other than the knowledge that it is 5 arm...?
If i were to replace the cassette would i need to stick to the 6 speeds or would the derailleur accomodate a larger range?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for my ignorance!
At the rear you have an obscelete pattern but you can still get compatable rings. Is it Shimano or some other hub. Is it a screw-on freewheel or a splined freehub design with a locknut (engraved with "Lock->") Marchisio allow you to select each ring so build up the cassette with a wide range. A 12-28 is good for a light load or unladen mountain climbing.
Your crank will limit the smallest cog you can use because of the diamter of the bolt circle.
Compact cranks have a circle of 110mm and can take rings down to 34 t. A 34/48 will carry you up most mountains but you will probably freewheel down the fastest descents.