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Crankset upgrade from Shimano M171, 48/38/28

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Crankset upgrade from Shimano M171, 48/38/28

Old 12-21-19, 09:36 PM
  #1  
daoswald
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Crankset upgrade from Shimano M171, 48/38/28

I have a 2014 Cannondale Quick CX 3. It comes with a Shimano M171, 48/38/28 crankset. I don't love this crankset:
  • It came with a plastic cuff-guard that broke off exposing an ugly stamped-metal chainring. I'm happy to have no cuffguard. Unhappy to have ugly stamped metal exposed.
  • It sometimes mis-shifts.
  • It's just not up to the level of quality of most of the rest of the bike.
  • It's probably heavier than a decent crankset would be.
But I do like the gearing; 48/38/28. That pairs up nicely with the 11-34 8-speed rear cassette. I use the bike for commuting, with 32mm GP 4 Season tires, Tubus rack, and Ortlieb panniers. In the wintertime put fenders on it. But in the summertime the fenders come off, the Tubus Cargo rack swaps over to a Tubus Fly (incompatible with my fenders, but a great lightweight rack for commuting), and the bike gets used as both a utility/commuter and as a loaner to my brother so he can chase me on my road bike (ok, sometimes I'm chasing him).

What would be a decent crankset upgrade for this bike that maintains the gearing I'm currently getting? As a commuter who lives in hilly terrain, I like that 28t chainring for short portions of my climb home. But as a loaner to my brother for road riding when he tags along with me, and for more my ride IN to work where I lose 650 feet in four miles, I like having the 48t ring. So I can't see myself going to mountain-bike gearing in front, and yet the aerodynamics and weight of this bike don't make a larger than 48t chainring all that useful either, at least not with the cassette I'm using.

Suggestions?
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Old 12-21-19, 10:52 PM
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Not sure if it is still available, but Shimano made a trekking crankset in the Deore series, which was geared 48/36/26, and was less ugly than the cheaper M171. I have this crankset on two of my bikes. It is hollowtech, so you will need to replace the square taper bottom bracket also. This trekking crankset option might have gotten bumped down to the Alivio series, however, as the Deore has gotten upgraded to 10 speed. In either case, the newer Alivio option was essentially the same as the older 9 speed Deore, and should work the same. The new 9-speed crank (either Deore or Alivio) will require you use a 9-speed chain, which will interface fine with your current 8-speed cassette and derailleur setup.

Last edited by SalsaShark; 12-21-19 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 12-21-19, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Not sure if it is still available, but Shimano made a trekking crankset in the Deore series, which was geared 48/36/26, and was less ugly than the cheaper M171. I have this crankset on two of my bikes. It is hollowtech, so you will need to replace the square taper bottom bracket also. This trekking crankset option might have gotten bumped down to the Alivio series, however, as the Deore has gotten upgraded to 10 speed. In either case, the newer Alivio option was essentially the same as the older 9 speed Deore, and should work the same. The new 9-speed crank (either Deore or Alivio) will require you use a 9-speed chain, which will interface fine with your current 8-speed cassette and derailleur setup.
Great info. So the RD will shift ok with a 9-sp chain? I won't need different derailleurs front nor back?
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Old 12-21-19, 11:27 PM
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The rear will be fine with the current derailleur. The front likely will be fine also, but might need some adjustments to outer and inner limit screws as well as cable tension to get the shifting snappy with the slightly narrower chain. I run one of my bikes with the Deore 9-speed trekking crankset, with an Acera rear derailleur shifting an 8-speed cassette, and a front deraileur designed for 6/7/8 speed crank, and it works great.
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Old 12-22-19, 06:09 PM
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Hi OP.

Shimano still make trekking components, but the Deore and XT groupsets are 3x10 speed. You would be better off with the Alivio 3x9 groupset. Still, with groupsets, it's usually better to change everything at once, rather than to try to save a few dollars. A worn chain will wear out new cranksets and cassettes faster than a new chain, and Alivio stuff is cheap enough that a new groupset will not break the bank. I would look into changing the crankset, chain, cassette (maybe a Sunrace 8 speed?) and derailleurs if you wanted to keep the shifters. Still, a couple of Alivio trigger shifters aren't going require you to remortgage your home, and you can often get a deal on a whole groupset. Maybe just go for a whole new 48-36-26 crankset with a 9 speed 11-34 cassette?

https://productinfo.shimano.com/#/lc...o_trekking/3x9
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Old 12-23-19, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
I have a 2014 Cannondale Quick CX 3. It comes with a Shimano M171, 48/38/28 crankset. I don't love this crankset:
  • It came with a plastic cuff-guard that broke off exposing an ugly stamped-metal chainring. I'm happy to have no cuffguard. Unhappy to have ugly stamped metal exposed.
  • It sometimes mis-shifts.
  • It's just not up to the level of quality of most of the rest of the bike.
  • It's probably heavier than a decent crankset would be.
But I do like the gearing; 48/38/28. That pairs up nicely with the 11-34 8-speed rear cassette. I use the bike for commuting, with 32mm GP 4 Season tires, Tubus rack, and Ortlieb panniers. In the wintertime put fenders on it. But in the summertime the fenders come off, the Tubus Cargo rack swaps over to a Tubus Fly (incompatible with my fenders, but a great lightweight rack for commuting), and the bike gets used as both a utility/commuter and as a loaner to my brother so he can chase me on my road bike (ok, sometimes I'm chasing him).

What would be a decent crankset upgrade for this bike that maintains the gearing I'm currently getting? As a commuter who lives in hilly terrain, I like that 28t chainring for short portions of my climb home. But as a loaner to my brother for road riding when he tags along with me, and for more my ride IN to work where I lose 650 feet in four miles, I like having the 48t ring. So I can't see myself going to mountain-bike gearing in front, and yet the aerodynamics and weight of this bike don't make a larger than 48t chainring all that useful either, at least not with the cassette I'm using.

Suggestions?
Most chainrings are made of metal. Yours is made of steel, which is very, very durable, and very, very heavy. Most higher end cranksets will use larger rings of Al – which are lighter. Are you objecting to the looks, or the weight? For Al rings, Deore is the first stop.

Depending on what you mean by mis-shift, this could be your front derailleur and/or shifter. Low end cranks have the same profiles and gates as higher end rings, but the shifters and derailleurs are not as good.

2014 CX3 shows up as an Alivio level bike, so its not too far off. OEMs usually hide no name stuff at the BB, headset, and hubs. Cranks are usually -1 tier from the rear derailleur, and an actual Shimano crank is a step up over something from CPI or Quando.

Steel chainrings and a cheap BB is very heavy (about 1400 g). A Deore level crankset and BB should chunk off about 200 g.

I've had good luck running 10 and 11 speed cranks with 9 and 8 speed chains; off the top of my head I am currently running about 4 of these.
Personally, I don’t run anything larger than a 46t these days. With an 11t cog, its as high as I need it. Considering a 48x11 is the same high gear as road pros used BITD, I prefer to have more useful gears in between, with smaller jumps.

46/36(34)/26(24) cranksets are abundant on the used MTB side and 110/74 BCD is a long-running standard which allows one to mix and match chainrings. As much as I like Shimano’s new cranksets, (and I do, a lot) it’s hard to accept their odd BCDs and deliberately un-matchable finishes

Last edited by DorkDisk; 12-24-19 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 12-23-19, 10:41 PM
  #7  
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Shimano square taper crankset with the same gearing: https://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-Ac...quare-Crankset It has bolted chainrings. Looks more classy than M171 to me. You can also get M311, it is riveted.
If you want to get something lighter you can get one with external bottom bracket (Hollowtech). Something like the old FC-M590 for 9 speed or its current analog.
When I had a flat bar bike using friction shifter for the front worked for me. I used Sunrace SL-M10 shifter: SunRace | SLM10 and Avid FR-5 brake levers.
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