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Chain rings for an old Shimano crank?

Old 03-11-18, 04:19 AM
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Chain rings for an old Shimano crank?

Building upon a W.F. Holdsworth, UK built circa 1990 frame.

I currently have a full Shimano Golden Arrow FCS-125 groupset. The crank is has a 42-52 ringset. I am trying to use the set, but want to change the rings and cassette to better fit my hilly environment. I removed the casette which was tiny and hoped to replace it with a Shimano 11-32T cassette and 50-34T rings on the crankset, per this article:

https://road.cc/content/feature/213519-struggling-hills-if-you-need-lower-gears-make-climbing-easier-heres-how-get

Unfortunately, it appears that my rear derailleur, a Shimano Golden Arrow RD-A105 has a Maximum front chain ring difference of 13T.

https://velobase.com/ViewComponent.aspx?ID=c519b68e-0989-4857-aedf-689dc718cbcb

It has ONLY taken me a week to figure this out, and I have already made three purchasing errors on this, my first bike project in 51 years.

My questions thus are these:

1) How do I tell if rings are actually available to fit this crank?
2) Do I bother buying them if they do exist?
3) with the rear derailleur limited to a maximum front chain ring difference of 13T,do I replace it with a newer 16T tolerant Shimano 105?
4) Do I just toss the Golden Arrow groupset alltogether and search for a different set?
5) Do I keep the set and use a specific cassette to maximize my hill climbing ability?
6) I do not know what the old cassette was, as I gave it away. It was Shimano and apparently was build to change the cogs. I can get it back if necessary.

I am trying to keep an earlier technology look, so am avoiding the space age, Aero-looking components.
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Old 03-11-18, 05:52 AM
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If the frame is truly circa 1990, then Golden Arrow is a much, much earlier group and could be replaced entirely with newer Shimano 105 (1055/56) or Shimano 600 Tricolor (6400/6401), both of which are 7 or 8 speed indexed. However, both are like Golden Arrow, in that the RD is supposedly limited to 28 teeth. You might be able to get to 30 teeth with some careful adjustments, but likely not 32. Also, both of those cranksets -again, like the GA-have a 130 BCD, which means you cannot go smaller than 38 teeth on the inner ring. No 50/34 for you!


You might want to consider changing the crankset to a 6206 or MT series (visually similar but 110/74 BCD triple) which can take a 50/34 combination. If you just want a double, remove the inner ring and bolts and use a narrower spindle BB. Pair that with a mid-80's Deore RD, which will easily shift that 34 cog out back, and you're right where you want to be.
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Old 03-11-18, 05:56 AM
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The Golden Arrow crankset has a 130mm BCD (bolt circle diameter), the smallest ring you can get for it is a 38T. It's phisically not possible to fit a smaller ring, the modern 50-34T cranksets use 110mm BCD. Look up what BCD means.

As you can see on Velobase the max cog size for the Golden Arrow rear derailleur is 28. That limits you too.

Also, even if you bought a modern crankset the GA front derailleur might not cope well with the 50-34 jump.

All this means is that the lowest gear ratio you can do with this groupset is 38-28.

1) How do I tell if rings are actually available to fit this crank?

You need a chainring with: 5 bolt holes, 130BCD, 6 or 7 or 8 speed. If all these check out the chainring should fit the crankset.

2) Do I bother buying them if they do exist?

You have to decide.

3) with the rear derailleur limited to a maximum front chain ring difference of 13T,do I replace it with a newer 16T tolerant Shimano 105?

You could, since it's friction shifting you don't have to worry about compatibility that much.

4) Do I just toss the Golden Arrow groupset alltogether and search for a different set?

Personally I would do that, unless you want to stay retro.

5) Do I keep the set and use a specific cassette to maximize my hill climbing ability?

Depens on your fitness level and where you live, and as I said the best you can do is a 28T cassette. Personally I love low gears, 38-28 is way too high for me.

6) I do not know what the old cassette was, as I gave it away. It was Shimano and apparently was build to change the cogs. I can get it back if necessary.

If it was really old and you could take the cogs apart it was most likely a Shimano Uniglide cassette. It's a long dead standard. If you rear hub is Uniglide you won't even be able to buy a new cassette for it... Only used old stuff.

Last edited by Facanh; 03-11-18 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 03-11-18, 07:59 AM
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So the article on changing gears was incorrect in stating that a 105 derailleur system is compatible with an 11-32T Shimano 105 Cassette. That the first few iterations of the 105 were more limited. So supposedly it is for a more recent iteration with the mid length?

Why is 8 speed vs 11 speed meaningful to me? The 11-32 cassette is 11 speed? Is the compatability issue only with the rings and derailleur or also with physical thickness due to the number of cogs?

I think my head is going to explode.

If I buy a 1055/1056 era 105 crank and derailleur set, I cannot then run it with an 11-32T cassette? If I buy a more recent derailleur set will it work with the 11-32 cassette and does that mean I need a different chain ring and crank set?
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Old 03-11-18, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Sepharad View Post
So the article on changing gears was incorrect in stating that a 105 derailleur system is compatible with an 11-32T Shimano 105 Cassette. That the first few iterations of the 105 were more limited. So supposedly it is for a more recent iteration with the mid length?
That article talks about modern components, things changed since the 80-90s, including the 105 groupset. You shouldn't even look at this article to be honest because it's a bit irrelevant to your Golden Arrow groupset.
105 officially started supporting a 32T cassette around 5800 I think. Sometimes you can go a bit over the manufacturer recommendation tho, but a vintage short cage rear derailleur will not cope well with a 32T cassette.


Originally Posted by Sepharad View Post
Why is 8 speed vs 11 speed meaningful to me? The 11-32 cassette is 11 speed? Is the compatability issue only with the rings and derailleur or also with physical thickness due to the number of cogs?
Generally 7spd cassettes go up to 28T but I think I might have seen exceptions. 11-32T cassettes are available in 8-9-10spd, not just 11.

First of all you need to determine what rear hub you have. Is it a cassette or freewheel? Is it Shimano HG or UG? If it's a HG cassette body is it 7spd compatible, or 8-9-10spd compatible?

After you find these out, we can talk about all the compatibility issues between different speeds. Then your head will explode again.

Originally Posted by Sepharad View Post
If I buy a 1055/1056 era 105 crank and derailleur set, I cannot then run it with an 11-32T cassette? If I buy a more recent derailleur set will it work with the 11-32 cassette and does that mean I need a different chain ring and crank set?
1055/1056 will not cope well with a 32T cassette, officially. The 1056 medium cage might do it, i'm not sure.

Check your rear hub and we can give you options.

Originally Posted by Sepharad View Post
I think my head is going to explode.
Yup, that's a big possibility. You have to do more research. If you want low gears and a vintage groupset the biggest possibility is that you will have to frankenstein something together with the help of some MTB parts.

Last edited by Facanh; 03-11-18 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 03-11-18, 09:12 AM
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If you have a a Golden Arrow rear hub with a cassette, you have an old Uniglide setup. Probably 6 speed. Once upon a time, I think but not sure, there were wide range 6 speed cassettes. They are probably pretty expensive, but may be found on eBay.

You would be best served by posing this question in the Classic & Vintage subforum. Even though I still run a bike with a 7 speed freewheel, I wouldn't consider any pre-SIS/Suntour inspired Shimano even with friction shifting.

Don't let your head explode, but you probably will never get what you want with that group.

Good luck.

John
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Old 03-11-18, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If you have a a Golden Arrow rear hub with a cassette, you have an old Uniglide setup. Probably 6 speed. Once upon a time, I think but not sure, there were wide range 6 speed cassettes. They are probably pretty expensive, but may be found on eBay.

John
Yup, we a few wider range UG cassettes laying around at the shop where I work. They mainly came off city bikes with a single front chainring. The biggest i've seen was a 32T.

But UG is so dead I wouldn't consider it for anything other than a super budget "I have some old parts laying around" bike.
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Old 03-12-18, 02:48 AM
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Living in the past

Originally Posted by Facanh View Post
Yup, we a few wider range UG cassettes laying around at the shop where I work. They mainly came off city bikes with a single front chainring. The biggest i've seen was a 32T.

But UG is so dead I wouldn't consider it for anything other than a super budget "I have some old parts laying around" bike.
So first off, I wondered why everyone was calling a freewheel, a cassette? Well, you know these kids today, so I called the thing a cassette. Yesterday I SAW a cassette. I had no idea things were structurally so different. This is an old style freewheel, by shimano.

So on top of my group being unable to accomodate a wider range of cogs and a larger number of cogs. My hub cannot accomodate a larger "cassette", and there are a limited number of freewheels available. Thus I need a new set of wheels as well. I may need to just put this set back together and start from scratch on my second frame.

Learning is proving painful and costly.
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Old 03-12-18, 07:46 AM
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Not so fast, buddy.


There are 6 and 7 speed freewheels with a range of 14-34 teeth, which is plenty. Pair that with a 50/34 compact crank and a Deore RD, and you have exactly what you need without too much expense. Chances are, you don't need more speeds, just more range.


You can buy a Shimano MT series crankset for under $40 and 50/34 chainrings for about $45 a set on eBay- they just bolt together to make a vintage style compact. You may or may not need to buy a different bottom bracket, but those are also inexpensive.


Get a wide range HG freewheel (14-28) in 6 or 7 speed, available new from Shimano on eBay, for under $20. Or if you want something in UG that's vintage, go to the C&V thread and look for PastorBobinNH, who makes custom freewheels to order.


Deore RD's are available, also on eBay, for under $30.


Done!
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Old 03-12-18, 11:42 AM
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Dear OP,
I feel your pain, truly I do.

Back in November, I found a post here @ bikeforums.net saying how easy it was to go from 6 to 7 speeds. I made the mistake of buying Dura Ace 7-spd downtube shifters [sl-7401] to retain indexing function...that were incompatible with my 105 [RD-1055] rear derailleur, which led to Sheldon Brown's site and enlightenment.

Here is the link:
6-speed, 7-speed, 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed?

That single mistake led to a cascade of change: a full swap of 105 [1055] series drivetrain to Dura Ace [7401/7410] series drivetrain. Yes, I managed to get to 7 speeds, but now I have a full box of perfectly good 105 gear in my garage. And knowing all of the part #s now brings little satisfaction. FWIW: I'll be headed to the local co-op to make a donation.

At this point, I am no different than the guy who drilled holes in his frame, then asked the forums if it was an OK thing to do after already having done it. Aim 1st, shoot 2nd. With bicycle gear swaps, it's easier said than done. They say hindsight is 20-20, but it often bruises self-esteem. Live & learn.

Good luck! [And I mean that!!!]
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Old 03-12-18, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by LKA View Post
Dear OP,
I feel your pain, truly I do.

Back in November, I found a post here @ bikeforums.net saying how easy it was to go from 6 to 7 speeds. I made the mistake of buying Dura Ace 7-spd downtube shifters [sl-7401] to retain indexing function...that were incompatible with my 105 [RD-1055] rear derailleur, which led to Sheldon Brown's site and enlightenment.

Here is the link:
6-speed, 7-speed, 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed?

That single mistake led to a cascade of change: a full swap of 105 [1055] series drivetrain to Dura Ace [7401/7410] series drivetrain. Yes, I managed to get to 7 speeds, but now I have a full box of perfectly good 105 gear in my garage. And knowing all of the part #s now brings little satisfaction. FWIW: I'll be headed to the local co-op to make a donation.
I do feel your pain on this issue. Unfortunately that 7401 shifter will work with your 105 RD. When I switched my 7401 RD to a M910 RD I kept using the DA downtube shifters. You just have to re-route the cable position on the derailleur. I only bring this up so you can go to a wider range gearing someday in the back and keep your shifters.

Those are great shifters. Back when I would really push it, I loved that loud click that signaled the person riding ahead that I was hunting them down. These days they only let that person know how far off I'd fallen... lol.

John
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Old 03-12-18, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I do feel your pain on this issue. Unfortunately that 7401 shifter will work with your 105 RD. When I switched my 7401 RD to a M910 RD I kept using the DA downtube shifters. You just have to re-route the cable position on the derailleur. I only bring this up so you can go to a wider range gearing someday in the back and keep your shifters.

Those are great shifters. Back when I would really push it, I loved that loud click that signaled the person riding ahead that I was hunting them down. These days they only let that person know how far off I'd fallen... lol.

John
Hello John,
I read the entire section on Sheldon Brown's web site, so I was aware of the alternative cable routing. My own flavor of OCD wouldn't allow me to go there. No way I could afford DuraAce back then [edit: 1989], but can now, so I went full Monty. Now I look @ my Miyata like a long married guy who's overweight wife lost enough poundage to fit back into her wedding dress. Happy, happy, happy.
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Old 03-12-18, 03:25 PM
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As we go OT... I always liked the 74XX stuff, but I love the first gen XTR for triples and 32t cassettes and freewheels. I'll never go back. I'm using DT shifters so there are no FD compatibility issues. I foresee problems up front if I go to brifters some day. I have used a DA 7703 FD with some success but it is not nearly as smooth with a 30-38-46 chainring setup.

John
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Old 03-12-18, 10:06 PM
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I am tossing the old set.

I am having wheels built that accomodate a casette rather than a freewheel. The frame has downtube, post mounted shifter posts. I give up on trying to reconfigure the old parts.

1) What 10 speed cassette can I use,perhaps a 12-28.
2) What rear and front derailleur and post mounted shifters will work without issue with this cassette?
3) What crank can I buy that comes with the appropriate rings for a fat guy to climb up hills, that LOOKS OLD SCHOOL.
4) What size do those rings need to be?
5) Can this be done with 2 rings or must there be three?

For a crank, I found this old school looking system that has several different ring combinations totalling a difference of 16, like the 12-28 cassette.

https://www.veloduo.co.uk/collections/sporting-goods-cycling-bike-components-parts-chainsets-cranks/products/sunxcd-50-4bcd-double-chainset-44-32-or-48-32-ta-cyclotouriste-stronglight-49d

Would one of them be appropriate and if so, with what derailleur and post mounted shifter?

Last edited by Sepharad; 03-12-18 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 03-13-18, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sepharad View Post
I am having wheels built that accomodate a casette rather than a freewheel. The frame has downtube, post mounted shifter posts. I give up on trying to reconfigure the old parts.

1) What 10 speed cassette can I use,perhaps a 12-28.
2) What rear and front derailleur and post mounted shifters will work without issue with this cassette?
3) What crank can I buy that comes with the appropriate rings for a fat guy to climb up hills, that LOOKS OLD SCHOOL.
4) What size do those rings need to be?
5) Can this be done with 2 rings or must there be three?

For a crank, I found this old school looking system that has several different ring combinations totalling a difference of 16, like the 12-28 cassette.

https://www.veloduo.co.uk/collection...tronglight-49d

Would one of them be appropriate and if so, with what derailleur and post mounted shifter?
Many of us are not in peak "hill climbing" shape, and have struggled with getting lower gears on a road-type bicycle. In order to lower the gearing, you have two factors to change: smaller chain rings, and/or larger cassette.

As you've figured out, your old Rear Derailleur (RD) maxes out with a 28t cassette. Not horrible, but not low enough with a 130 Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD) road crankset.

A) Larger cassette: Modern mid-cage RDs (Shimano "GS") can fit a 32t max cog. Long-cage RDs (Shimano "SGS") can fit a 36t max cog; these RDs are for trekking/MTB. FYI, you can use a 9-speed Shimano MTB RD (M77x series are excellent) with 10-speed road shifters. They both use the same index ratio, which changed for 10-speed MTB.

B) Smaller crankset: "Compact" cranksets have a 110 BCD, so they fit smaller rings (down to 34t). Many folks find that small enough, especially if mixed with a 32t large cog (GS RD cage). "Subcompact" cranksets use an even smaller BCD (or spider, or direct mount) to fit even smaller rings. There's a whole thread on them here. Velo Orange makes a nice, modern, affordable copy of that vintage TA crank you found.
Triple cranksets add a third, small ring for climbing (usually 30t on road triples).
Get a front derailleur that fits the chain ring sizes. Shimano's CX70 FD is designed for smaller rings, so is the IRD Alpina. If you are using downtube shifters, then you can use almost any front derailleur (vintage, modern, whatever). Friction shifting FTW.

I used both of the above solutions on my touring bike, an older Rivendell.
It has a MTB RD (RD-M772) with a 34t max cog, and a Campagnolo triple crankset. More gear range than I need.

On my gravel bike, I used a compact 50/34 double and I put an 11-34 cassette on the rear.

The mid-cage SRAM RD is rated for 32t max, but it can handle the 34t fine. I could put a SRAM MTB RD on it if I wanted a larger cog (up to 40t), the 10-speed generation was cross-compatible for SRAM.


To answer your specific questions:
1) depends on the RD you choose. 28t for short cage SS, 32t for mid cage GS, 36t for long cage SGS.
2) Shifters: SL-7900, 10-speed downtube. Front derailleur: CX70, IRD Alpina, or vintage if you go with smaller chainrings. Get a triple-specific FD if you use a triple crankset. Triple-specific FDs usually work well with compact/subcompact doubles too.
3) Compact, subcompact, or triple?
4) I used Sheldon Brown's gear inch calculator. High 20s is low enough for me, my gravel bike has 1:1 gearing (34t:34t) and that gets me 27 inches. My Riv, with 30t:34t low gear, has 23 gear inches.
5) Subcompact doubles will get you as low of gearing as a triple's granny, but the gap between 46 and 30 is pretty noticeable. I prefer a triple in that case, but many folks love the 46/30. Same problem with using a larger cassette: the gaps between the gears can become noticeable. A triple with a small/medium cassette has the same range as a subcompact double with a medium/large cassette, but the triple has smaller gaps in the gearing.
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Old 03-14-18, 05:10 AM
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You have opened a bit of a can of worms. I guess the first question is whether that hub will fit your 1990 Holdsworth rear dropouts. The answer is probably no. The new hub will be 130mm and the frame 126mm. But you can get the frame cold set to 130mm. Make sure the new hub OLD is not 135mm.

Now comes the number of speeds and shifters. The general rule is more speeds equal more performance. The only exception would be very wide mountain bike gearing that goes beyond 34t. If you are struggling up a hill in a 28t cog it doesn't matter how many gears you had to get there. You can go with 7, 8, 9 or 10 speed cassettes and still struggle in that 28t.

I have been running 7 speed freewheels and cassettes, but for you, I'd recommend going to 10 speeds with a much wider range cassette. As mentioned above you can go to a 36t max cog with a compact or triple crank. Don't let a shop talk you into a 28t max because it is an easy sell. It may not work for you. As Is have gotten older I've geared down and happily ride a triple with a 32t max. It is better to have one more gear when you need it.

What is going to be important is to get the shifter-derailleur compatibility.

John

Last edited by 70sSanO; 03-14-18 at 05:13 AM.
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