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Chain length for classic Campagnolo rear derailleurs?

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Chain length for classic Campagnolo rear derailleurs?

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Old 08-04-12, 02:50 PM
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Chain length for classic Campagnolo rear derailleurs?

What is your opinion of the correct chain length for vintage Campagnolo rear derailleurs (this will go for other old models as well)?

Do you agree with Park Tools simple formula:
2 (C) + (F/4 + R/4 + 1) = L = chain lenth in inches
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...-length-sizing

At what gear do you like the derailleur cage to be close to vertical?

Here is a classic Olmo catalog photo for inspiration:
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Old 08-04-12, 02:54 PM
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I just do it the old way, no formulas needed: wrap the chain around the big chainring and big cog (without going through the derailleur). Pull the end until it meets the rest of the chain, then add about 2 links (these 2 links should include the master link if you're using one). That's it. It's always worked for me.
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Old 08-04-12, 03:06 PM
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Thanks lostarchitect, when doing the classic way I've got 1,5 inch shorter than Park Tools simple formula.
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Old 08-04-12, 03:10 PM
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I have been puzzling over this myself as I'm using NR derailleurs for the first time and am having some issues. I've done it the big/big way, with a new chain, which works...but tends to skip on the small cogs/big ring. That's with the axle way back in the dropouts. With the axle more forward, the pulley cage actually hits the biggest cog while shifting to the fourth cog. Yikes!

I also tried the chain two half links shorter, which was way too tight. Maybe it needs to be even looser than it is now.

One thing I haven't yet done is compared the new chain to the old one (the original c. 1974 I think). However I have a different FW on there, with 28 vs 24t max cog, so don't think that would help...unless I go back to the old FW, which I am tempted to do.
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Old 08-04-12, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
One thing I haven't yet done is compared the new chain to the old one (the original c. 1974 I think). However I have a different FW on there, with 28 vs 24t max cog, so don't think that would help...unless I go back to the old FW, which I am tempted to do.
28t is going to be a real stretch with an NR rear derailleur. Pulling the wheel all the way back will help but 28t is beyond the design spec of the NR.

I always use the "classic" way too and it has always worked well for me.
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Old 08-04-12, 03:18 PM
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@Chicago Al, I guess we are in the same boat. The problems appears when reaching maximum. And according to Campagnolos specifications 26T is max for NR and 28T is max for SR. With proper adjustments you should be able to combine NR DR with 28T FW. But that starts up another discussion, that is well covered in the forum.

This time I am mostly interested in correct chain length and you ideas about it.
And what might be the most aesthetically pleasing for a vintage bike.
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Old 08-04-12, 03:23 PM
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I have never tried this on an older bike, but with modern Campagnolo a sure fire way to have proper chain length is to go small-small, through the RD, with just enough length to load the RD. Never fails. I have no idea if it works with vintage RD's or not.

Aesthetically pleasing for a vintage bike? Vertical RD when in big-small.
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Old 08-04-12, 04:02 PM
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I have no trouble using a Nuovo Record rear derailleur with a 14-28T modern 5-speed Sunrace freewheel. The axle is in the middle of the dropout, not all the way back. It's never given me any trouble at all. Maybe I was just lucky.
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Old 08-04-12, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
I have no trouble using a Nuovo Record rear derailleur with a 14-28T modern 5-speed Sunrace freewheel. The axle is in the middle of the dropout, not all the way back. It's never given me any trouble at all. Maybe I was just lucky.
Does your bike have a long derailleur hanger?
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Old 08-04-12, 05:56 PM
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Note: When using Park Tools rigorous equation you get very close to the simple one. When rounded up you will in most cases (if not all for a road bike) get the same result.
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Old 08-04-12, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueDevil63 View Post
28t is going to be a real stretch with an NR rear derailleur. Pulling the wheel all the way back will help but 28t is beyond the design spec of the NR.

I always use the "classic" way too and it has always worked well for me.
I've been running 28s with NR since 1972 without a problem. I make the chain as long as it needs to be for both big cog/big chainring going through the cage (though I'd never ride there). For me that's the correct chain length; any less would be too short, why would you need any more?
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Old 08-05-12, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Does your bike have a long derailleur hanger?
Hmm.. Not compared to other bikes I have. They're typical Campy horizontal dropouts.
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Old 08-05-12, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
I just do it the old way, no formulas needed: wrap the chain around the big chainring and big cog (without going through the derailleur). Pull the end until it meets the rest of the chain, then add about 2 links (these 2 links should include the master link if you're using one). That's it. It's always worked for me.
+1. Another vote for the classic method. Forget the Park Tools method.
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Old 08-05-12, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 1987 View Post
@Chicago Al, I guess we are in the same boat. The problems appears when reaching maximum. And according to Campagnolos specifications 26T is max for NR and 28T is max for SR. With proper adjustments you should be able to combine NR DR with 28T FW. But that starts up another discussion, that is well covered in the forum.

This time I am mostly interested in correct chain length and you ideas about it.
And what might be the most aesthetically pleasing for a vintage bike.
Where have you seen Campy's specification for the NR, recently? My recollection from 40 years ago agrees with what you say, but it would be good to show a primary source if possible. And I think my "knowledge" comes from discussions with the bike shop workers.

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Old 08-05-12, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Where have you seen Campy's specification for the NR, recently? My recollection from 40 years ago agrees with what you say, but it would be good to show a primary source if possible. And I think my "knowledge" comes from discussions with the bike shop workers.
A good source is Campagnolo Components catalog 1982 (Olympic)
page 12 or 13 depending on which scan.
http://www.velobase.com/CatalogScans...82_olympic.zip


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Old 08-05-12, 04:26 PM
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Hmm, I could show you at least 30 of my bikes running a 14/28 freewheel with a Nuovo Record. Guess I'm just lucky, its my standard setup...

oops, red Carlton is a Gran Sport, but it will run a 28 too!
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Old 08-05-12, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Hmm.. Not compared to other bikes I have. They're typical Campy horizontal dropouts.
Yeah, after posting I took a look at your Bob Jackson, and it looks pretty normal. I've read that longer derailleur hangers allow the jockey pulley to clear larger cogs.
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Old 08-05-12, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
+1. Another vote for the classic method. Forget the Park Tools method.
I fully respect the classic method, but the equation provided by Park Tools gets closer to what I am looking for. That is: Max front, Max-1 rear and vertical rear derailleur cage.
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Old 08-06-12, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 1987 View Post
A good source is Campagnolo Components catalog 1982 (Olympic)
page 12 or 13 depending on which scan.
http://www.velobase.com/CatalogScans...82_olympic.zip

If I'm not mistaken, that chart confirms that 26 teeth is Campagnolo's recommended capacity of the Nuovo Record derailleur.
Will it work with 28? Given dbakl's evidence, yep. Is Blue Devil 63 also correct? Yep.
I am curious though, with enough chain to cover, say, a theoretical 52/28 combo, how well the derailleur performs in 52/13.

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Old 08-06-12, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dbakl View Post
at least 30 of my bikes .....
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Old 08-06-12, 05:16 AM
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Thanks a bunch for finding that catalog page!

Ok, so Campy's intent was to make sure it worked for up to 26 teeth. That doesn't mean it can't work for 28 or something larger. And my experience that it's more difficult, or sometimes may result in a tight cage or a loose chain, is not surprising.

Kudos to those who made it work or found an acceptable compromise!
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Old 08-06-12, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I've been doing this 40 years... and I never read the Campagnolo spec sheet! Actually, I ran a 30 once for a tour down the California coast. Now I'm hooked on triples. May try a 34 freewheel with a Rally next.

BTW, I pretty much stick to the old 5 or 6 speed Suntours. Never gave me a problem.

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Old 08-06-12, 09:10 AM
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Oh, it not that Dbakl. I first rode a 28 tooth 40 years ago myself. It is the SIZE of your collection that makes me go EEK!
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Old 08-06-12, 09:25 AM
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BTW,

there's an interesting thread over on the CR list on this subject. Some members thinking there wasn't much of a meaningful limit capacity for the NR derailleur.
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Old 08-06-12, 09:36 AM
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Dumb question alert: does the "teeth capacity" in the Campy lit refer to the total chain capacity (big-small chainring teeth + big-small FW teeth), or the largest cog it will handle? Seems like the discussion here is conflating the two.
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