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  1. #1
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    Drivetrain for touring -- 3x8 crankset?

    Hey all,

    As of last month, the drive train on my touring bike was cobbled together from different manufacturers: 3x8, with a Shimano 105 front derailleur, Campagnolo front crankset (50/40/28), Shimano RSX rear derailleur, and a Shimano 11-32 rear. It was a Shimano/Campy mix when I got it, but somehow it worked. The shifters are SRAM MSX grip shifts. (I like grip shifts.)

    Then I started planning for a camping-based tour through Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. More hills than I generally do, and with more stuff than I've carried on this bike. So I tried to give myself an edge... I got a 26T inner ring for the front.

    You see where this is going.

    Amazingly enough, it worked -- for one ride, unloaded. Then the rear derailleur started grinding against the big ring in the back when I was in lowest gear (aka easiest to pedal, aka small ring up front, big ring in the back). Well, Shimano hasn't made RSX since 1999, as near as I can tell -- time for an "upgrade". Shimano, 3x8, large capacity, easily available... on went an Alivio derailleur.

    I took the bike for a shakedown ride yesterday, and it was just sad. The back end grinds in the lowest gear worse than it had before, and I'm throwing the chain off the inner ring up front when I downshift. Before I started di--, er, messing around, this bike had the crispest shifting I could want. Now, I shift, and things grind for 5 seconds before anything changes.

    The problem, of course, is that there just aren't components to handle a 24 tooth range in the front. I could handle a 26 low gear if my front gear were 46 or (maybe) 48 teeth. I looked into getting a replacement chainring, but the Campagnolo parts have a different BCD than just about everything else on the market, and Campy doesn't believe in 46 or 48.

    So as near as I can tell, I'm left with three choices:
    1. Undo - I could just swap things back so that the bike is in the configuration it was 2 months ago. If I do that (simplest, cheapest), I'm doubtful that I'll be able to handle the hills on my trip; I might need to change my plans from camping to hoteling, to drop weight. Cost: several nights of hotel in New England, plus pride.
    2. New 3x8 crankset: I've got so many Shimano parts on the bike now that it should be straightforward to find a 3x8 Shimano (or Shimano-compatible) crankset and put it in. Problem here is that, as many of us have lamented before, there's an unfair division between "road" (50-39-30 ish) and "mountain" (42-32-22). I'd be pleased with 46-36-26 or 44-34-24. Any ideas on where I could find a nice crankset? There's a Sugino XD600, 46/36/26, which would just add to the meeting of cultures that is my bike...
    3. New drivetrain (3x10?) -- and, of course, I could just give up the whole Frankenbeast drivetrain and get something new. If I wanted something midrange Shimano, this might even be straightforward -- FSA makes some lovely Shimano-style components that even recognize 48-36-26 for tourers. But I like gripshifters, and I hate thumbshifters. So that means SRAM. And SRAM 3x10 systems start with gripshifters at 250+ for the pair, before deraillers, cranks, and cassettes. Ouch!
    4. New drivetrain (3x9?) -- or I could go hunting for older SRAM 3x9 parts. These would be less expensive, but harder to source...


    I'm rambling, and I have option paralysis. Insights invited.
    - Jeneralist

    The Pope himself can't stop my MS Society 200 mile weekend! Donations cheerfully accepted at http://goo.gl/Hbw5he

  2. #2
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I have the xd-600 on two of my bikes and like that crank very much. I have 11-28 or 11-32 cassettes and they give me enough range for the riding I do. I try to pack light when touring so the riding is a bit easier. On one of my bikes I used the alpina-d front derailleur because I got it from a friend and needed a braze-on model. It looks a lot like a Tiagara FD but it's apparently designed for cranks like the xd-600. It sounds like your rear derailleur to be set up better, likely the b-screw needs adjustment and perhaps cable tension as well if the shifts are slow.

    If you have the microfriction front shifter (SRAM MRX is available like this) you should be able to use any old crank you want. There's a few iterations of Alivio (or acera if you wanna save money or use square taper BB) cranks that might give you the gearing you want too, they come in 48-36-26 I think and probably have a matching FD if your current one doesn't work well, but if you have the friction front shifting that might solve most of the front shifting issues assuming the limit screws and cable tension are set properly.
    Last edited by clasher; 08-02-15 at 08:40 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    I do not understand your grinding problem, not sure what the specific issue or problem is.

    I am running on two different touring bikes a Campy triple front with an aftermarket 24t granny gear (52/42/24). Rear, I am using Shimano XT derailleurs (I think vintage is from the 1990s) and an Sram 11/32 eight speed cassette. Shimano eight speed bar ends (I think the number is BS-64) and for front derailleur a vintage (1980s?) Suntour Le Tech high normal derailleur. On both bikes I have a chain catcher to prevent dropped chains - if you do not have a chain catcher, you might want to add one.

    IMG_4890.jpg

    I like this system so well that when I built up a second derailleur touring bike, I tried to use nearly identical components.

    On my last tour I switched the 52t big ring for a Stronglight 46t ring, ordered it from a seller in Europe in 135mm BCD. I wanted to try half step gearing, it would have worked well on flatter terrain but the ground was too undulating for the half step to be much of an advantage. When I got home I put the 52 back on because unladen around town I like the higher gears for downhills. But I am keeping the 46t chainring to try on my next derailleur bike tour.

    20IMGP1372.jpg

    I assume you have the right number of links in your chain so that if you shift onto your big ring up front and the biggest cog in back, you just barely have enough chain so nothing jams. But if you have too much chain, that can make shifting on the smallest chainring more problematic if the derailleur can't take up the slack. Specifically, if you are on the smallest ring in the front, you might not be able to use the smallest ring(s) in back if your derailleur does not take up all the slack. I can't use the 24t front and the 11 or 12 tooth cogs in back for this reason, but since that is highly cross chained I would never use those gears anyway, so not a problem for me. Occasionally I forget that I can't use those two gears and hear some weird noises in back, which reminds me to shift to other gears. On my rando bike I can't use the three smallest cogs when I am on the smallest chainring for the same reason.

    One thing to be careful of is your rear spokes, if you are having rear derailleur problems, if you do not have a spoke protector you run the risk of a very bad day if your derailleur cage gets into your spokes or your chain gets between your spokes and cassette. I might be the only person out there that actually buys and installs spoke protectors for my own bikes when most other people are taking them off and throwing them away so that their bikes look faster.

    One last point, if your problems started with a new chainring, maybe that new chainring has the teeth sitting further in or further out than your old ring. I bought a chainring that I can't use because it was cut differently than what I needed. If that is the case, perhaps go back to where you were.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
    I do not understand your grinding problem, not sure what the specific issue or problem is.
    What's happening is that when I am in the lowest gear (36T in back, 26T in front), the rear derailleur moves upwards enough that there's no space between the derailleur's teeth, the chain, and the rear cog. If I try to put more tension on the derailleur by removing a link or two from the chain, I don't have enough chain to encompass big rings front and back.

    I'm envious of your set up: the range in front is astonishing!

    And when my chain has been coming off, it has been coming off in the front, not the back.
    - Jeneralist

    The Pope himself can't stop my MS Society 200 mile weekend! Donations cheerfully accepted at http://goo.gl/Hbw5he

  5. #5
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    I have the xd-600 on two of my bikes and like that crank very much. I have 11-28 or 11-32 cassettes and they give me enough range for the riding I do. I try to pack light when touring so the riding is a bit easier. On one of my bikes I used the alpina-d front derailleur because I got it from a friend and needed a braze-on model. It looks a lot like a Tiagara FD but it's apparently designed for cranks like the xd-600. It sounds like your rear derailleur to be set up better, likely the b-screw needs adjustment and perhaps cable tension as well if the shifts are slow.

    Yep, the b-screw is the problem -- or more accurately, I'm having a problem with the setting that the b-screw adjusts. I've got it screwed in all the way, and I'm still not getting the distance I need between the derailleur and the biggest cog.

    Will the universe end if I replace the b-screw with something longer? I tend to think that manufacturers know what they're doing when they choose the screws, bolts, etc that they're putting into their products, so I have visions of the whole derailleur shredding itself from extra tension if I use a longer screw.
    - Jeneralist

    The Pope himself can't stop my MS Society 200 mile weekend! Donations cheerfully accepted at http://goo.gl/Hbw5he

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeneralist View Post
    What's happening is that when I am in the lowest gear (36T in back, 26T in front), the rear derailleur moves upwards enough that there's no space between the derailleur's teeth, the chain, and the rear cog. If I try to put more tension on the derailleur by removing a link or two from the chain, I don't have enough chain to encompass big rings front and back.

    I'm envious of your set up: the range in front is astonishing!

    And when my chain has been coming off, it has been coming off in the front, not the back.
    Sounds like your derailleur just can't handle a 36t cog on your cassette. (Your first post said 11/32 cassette.) If you tried an 11/32, you would be in a slightly higher gear but it might do what you need.

    If you have a 32 and accidentally said 36, I am not sure if there is another adjustment you could use to fix it.

    If your chain is dropping down on the bottom bracket shell inside (to the left of) the smallest chainring, that is why I have a chain catcher on each bike. I do not recall where I bought mine, I think that $9 is a bit expensive for an injection molded piece of plastic and I think I paid a lot less.

    Third Eye Chain Watcher - REI.com

  7. #7
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    You may get more clearance by reversing the b screw. That Sugino crank works well and is a popular choice. What brand small chainring did you use? I found the Sugino small ring did not play well with my Shimano triple, Salsa was fine. Don't know about Campy, be worth a search.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    maybe a 32t rear and a 24t front combination is more within your existing RD capacity.. ?

    It works, did 3 long tours with such. 50, 40, 24t triple, 110-74.. I also have a Campag 135-74 triple on a bike .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-03-15 at 09:42 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    You can swap the b-screw, I've done it a couple of times, had similar issues using a 12-36 cassette with a derailleur rated for 34T max and it worked out fine. I would really try to avoid cross-chaining the big-big rings.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    The new 26T front chainring is indeed Sugino -- which has a different lateral offset than Campy/Shimano.

    So first attempt: get a 26T front chainring with Campagnolo/Shimano offset, and get a longer b-screw, and try that set-up.
    If no luck there, will convert whole crankset to Sugino XD 600.

    Will report back in a few days.

    Thanks, all!
    - Jeneralist

    The Pope himself can't stop my MS Society 200 mile weekend! Donations cheerfully accepted at http://goo.gl/Hbw5he

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeneralist View Post
    The new 26T front chainring is indeed Sugino -- which has a different lateral offset than Campy/Shimano.

    So first attempt: get a 26T front chainring with Campagnolo/Shimano offset, and get a longer b-screw, and try that set-up.
    If no luck there, will convert whole crankset to Sugino XD 600.

    Will report back in a few days.

    Thanks, all!
    I would not bother getting a different chainring, instead get the chain catcher to keep the chain from dropping off the chain ring. I just did a google search for chain catcher image, here are a couple good photos of what I am talking about.

    Google Image Result for http://softsolder.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/dsc03449-chain-catcher.jpg

    Google Image Result for http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/photos/2006/giro06/giro_bikes2/IMG_0520.jpg

    If you do switch to a Sugino crank, you are likely getting a different bottom bracket as well. Campy square taper (if that is what you have) is ISO, the Japanese use JIS square taper. Some people have mixed these tapers, but I prefer to stick to the correct square peg in the correctly sized square hole.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...99261572,d.eXY

  12. #12
    Pie Smuggler timdow's Avatar
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    If you end up getting the Sugino XD600, you could swap in a 24T Sugino ring for not much more. Or you could go with this: Sugino XD500 110/74mm 48-36-24 teeth - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts

    This is what I would have gone with if I had it to do over. I ended up with an SRAM 22/32/42 crankset, which did not offer the spread and top end. I then found 24/36/48 Deore rings on clearance for about $35, which are on the way now.
    Last edited by timdow; 08-02-15 at 08:42 PM.
    Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry... charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. -Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeneralist View Post
    The problem, of course, is that there just aren't components to handle a 24 tooth range in the front. I could handle a 26 low gear if my front gear were 46 or (maybe) 48 teeth. Problem here is that, as many of us have lamented before, there's an unfair division between "road" (50-39-30 ish) and "mountain" (42-32-22). I'd be pleased with 46-36-26 or 44-34-24.
    I'm using front crankset (Shimano FC-M590 8-9 speed 48/36/26) w/22-tooth range along with Shimano XT M771 front derailleur. Front shifting is fairly responsive so I've considered if 24-tooth diff would work. Folks say that manufacturers are a bit conservative on specs so perhaps the 24-tooth diff might work?. I agree about the unfortunate road/mtb division.

    MC-M590 also avail in 44-32-22. Most experienced tourists recommend having granny gears vs having a high top gear. I agree but if touring market was important to manufacturers couldn't we have both? It's nice to have a high top gear for descents: not for speed but for comfort & control. Previous setup was Sugino XD-600 48/36/26 with 11-32 cassette. Sugino crankset worked fine though low gear wasn't low enough for comfiest climbing on long climbs.

    IMHO a durned shame that Campagnolo doesn't make touring stuff. Their segment of racing market has declined a lot while their tradition of sturdy & maintainable parts would seem to fit w/high-end touring market.
    Last edited by DropBarFan; 08-02-15 at 09:08 PM.

  14. #14
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    You can use any modern 130-74 BCD road triple crank and install 48-38-24 t chainrings. Throw in a mountain rear derailleur with sufficient capacity for your chosen cassette-chainring combination and you're good to go. If you insist on not installing custom chainrings, I'd get a mountain crankset. You should have a high gear of 42-11, which I guarantee you will almost never use.
    Yan

  15. #15
    Senior Member mstateglfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    You can use any modern 130-74 BCD road triple crank and install 48-38-24 t chainrings. Throw in a mountain rear derailleur with sufficient capacity for your chosen cassette-chainring combination and you're good to go. If you insist on not installing custom chainrings, I'd get a mountain crankset. You should have a high gear of 42-11, which I guarantee you will almost never use.
    +1

  16. #16
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    I run a 13t high gear. I have a 44t big ring and was thinking of maybe a 48t. Then I ran it on a gear calculator. With my tires it would move me from (in theory) 24.7 to a whopping 27.0mph at 100rpm. I decided to deem myself old and slow and leave things as they are.
    Current Bike Stages--Click PR Logo
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  17. #17
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    So my replacement 26T chainring arrived yesterday -- a Shimano- and Campagnolo-compatible one made by Origin8 to replace the Sugino that is made to a different "standard". Also got a longer B-screw for my derailleur. Went for a ride tonight, looking for hills.

    It works! "Vector" once again shifts quickly and confidently, without any grinding of the rear derailleur against the largest cog. In the front, shifting between the chainrings even under moderate load was quick and silent.

    Current set-up:
    135-74 BCD triple, 50/40/26 (Campy-Campy-Origin8)
    Shimano 105 front derailleur
    Shimano MegaRange 8 speed rear, 11-34 (The "36" mentioned above was a typo)
    Shimano Alivio derailleur with longer-than-standard B screw (M4, fine pitch, 15mm, in case anyone ever needs that level of detail)
    SRAM MRX grip-shifts

    I may someday switch to a 130 BCD setup to allow for more specialty or mountain gearing, but for now I'm just delighted that I have a 26-32 gear and that the bike is shifting well again.

    Thanks for the assist!
    Last edited by jeneralist; 08-16-15 at 06:48 PM. Reason: corrected typo
    - Jeneralist

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    I run a 13t high gear. I have a 44t big ring and was thinking of maybe a 48t. Then I ran it on a gear calculator. With my tires it would move me from (in theory) 24.7 to a whopping 27.0mph at 100rpm. I decided to deem myself old and slow and leave things as they are.
    Only time I'm going over 25 mph is downhill basically & unless one is randonneuring one might as well gravity do the work there. OTOH spinning on 25+ mph descents can be a bit unstable & sometimes it's nice to be able to pedal down longer descents to keep the circulation going. Tom Slick 1.4's (559 wheel) have a fairly small circumference so gear development considerably less than 622 wheels.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeneralist View Post
    So my replacement 26T chainring arrived yesterday -- a Shimano- and Campagnolo-compatible one made by Origin8 to replace the Sugino that is made to a different "standard". Also got a longer B-screw for my derailleur. Went for a ride tonight, looking for hills.

    It works! "Vector" once again shifts quickly and confidently, without any grinding of the rear derailleur against the largest cog. In the front, shifting between the chainrings even under moderate load was quick and silent.

    Current set-up:
    135-74 BCD triple, 50/40/26 (Campy-Campy-Origin8)
    Shimano 105 front derailleur
    Shimano MegaRange 8 speed rear, 11-32 (The "36" mentioned above was a typo)
    Shimano Alivio derailleur with longer-than-standard B screw (M4, fine pitch, 15mm, in case anyone ever needs that level of detail)
    SRAM MRX grip-shifts

    I may someday switch to a 130 BCD setup to allow for more specialty or mountain gearing, but for now I'm just delighted that I have a 26-32 gear and that the bike is shifting well again.

    Thanks for the assist!
    Great.

    If you want to go lower than a 24 chainring, then you would need a different crankset, but otherwise I am sure that the Campy will serve very nicely. I have no complaints about my Campy square taper triple cranks, have a couple spare ones in storage for future projects. About a month ago I put this Campy triple on a 1961 vintage Columbus tubing frame and use it with the 1961 Campy front derailleur.

    20IMGP0035.jpg

    If I recall, you were leaving very soon for a trip, I hope you got this finished in time to have a great trip.

  20. #20
    Clark W. Griswold
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    Sugino makes great stuff. I currently have two of their cranksets and have eventual plans on a third. They are generally of decent quality and they look quite nice.

    I would stick with the 3X8 more gears doesn't always equal better. A 9 speed set up isn't bad but anything more than that is just silly. With all this technology and more speeds and lighterweight and blah blah friggin' blah none of these fancy pro-riders can topple Eddy Merckx who rode a 2x5 friction set up (the real 10 speed). I grant we are tourists and not concerned with racing but I just don't see some of this new stuff really being all that awesome for performance.
    Quote Originally Posted by jhess74 View Post
    just flip it over to fixed and forget about brakes. check out the documentary "premium rush" for more info.

  21. #21
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    Good job sorting it out! I expect a lot of us have extra Sugino inner rings that didn't work well with our Shimano or Campy cranks. It's not exactly a secret but obscure enough you have to search for the info.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
    Good job sorting it out! I expect a lot of us have extra Sugino inner rings that didn't work well with our Shimano or Campy cranks. It's not exactly a secret but obscure enough you have to search for the info.
    I am not sure how much of that is Sugino vs Campy vs Shimano standards. On one of my Campy cranks with 10 speed chainrings, I need extra spacers to use an 8 speed chain because the newer 10 speed chainrings are thinner. More info here:

    Chainrings - Branford Bike - Seattle/Bellevue - Campagnolo Pro Shop

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