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42-26 chainring

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42-26 chainring

Old 10-28-23, 05:07 AM
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42-26 chainring

Hello,

My father wants to get a new road bike, every year we go together in the mountains to do some climbs and he needs a super low gear.

He says 50-39-30 with 12-36 is ok for him, but we struggle to find good 50-39-30 bikes, and we see a lot of nice 50-34 ones.
On his budget groupset will be either Tiagra 4700 or Sora r3000.

I was thinking we could get a 50-34 and replace the chainrings just for our 1 week yearly holidays in the mountains to something like a 42-26.
But I see that Sora R3000 wants a big chainring between 46 and 52, so it looks like the 42-26 set up i have in mind won't work.
I guess we could also just replace the little chainring from 30 to 26 and keep the 50 in front.
Chain would be stuck on the 26 ring but he won't ever use the 50T in a climb anyway

1) do you think a 42-26 would work even though it says big chainring should be in the 46-52 window ?
2) would it be a problem to have a 50-26, with the chain stuck on the 26 ? It would just be for a week, and the rest of the year he would have a nice 50-34 11-34 that suits him on a good bike he likes

If you have other ideas in mind, feel free to share them

Thank you!!
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Old 10-28-23, 06:55 AM
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Chain rings that are not matched pairs will nearly always shift poorly. I use Shimano grx 46/30 cranks with my SRAM AXS 12 speed drivetrain. They do require 2 or 2.5mm washers behind each chain ring bolt to move the chain line inward for a road bike. I have them on 3 bikes for 3 years with no chain drops. I use stock 10-36 force cassettes.

I recently bought a matched pair of 44/28 chain rings for grx cranks from Specialties TA and tried them. The shifting down to the little ring was always perfect, but the shift to the big ring only worked from the left half of the cassette. From smaller sprockets it nearly always tossed the chain to the outside. That's unacceptable compared to the great grx chain ring shifting. I tried many tweaks to the FD position, but nothing helped. I put the grx rings back on, moved the FD back up and the perfect shifting returned.

Another issue is whether the FD will go low enough to work with a 42.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 10-28-23 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 10-28-23, 06:56 AM
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have you considered a 1x setup that will give him the relatively close ratio's? You could do a mullet setup where you run a 10-52 or 11-50/51 in the back and a 34 to 38 in the front. Would give him a super low climbing gears and generally close cluster for the flats. I just built up a SRAM mullet for a gravel bike and used a 46 front and 10-52 , but I am in a flat area so I did not need as small of a ring up front. I can easily change out the front ring\chain with something lower for the times when I will have steeper climbs.
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Old 10-28-23, 02:16 PM
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Unfortunately road doubles that small aren't common. Personally I think they should be, because there are a lot of riders for which it serves as an effective 1x-plus-granny arrangement.
And the drivetrain component manufacturers usually choose bolt circles that don't allow for chainrings significantly smaller than the ones they install, so you often can't just swap smaller rings on.

New Albion sells a square-taper crankset with 42-26 chainrings that would probably work with the drivetrains you're looking at, at least if you can adequately lower the front derailleur.

You could cobble something together from random stuff, but unless the rings are a matched pair, they're not guaranteed to play well with indexed shifting and modern chains. Plus you'd need to be fairly willing to tinker.

Last edited by HTupolev; 10-28-23 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 10-28-23, 06:37 PM
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For a good father-son rides without over-exerting him, get him an e-road bike.
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Old 10-28-23, 06:59 PM
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To get that gearing on my gravel bikes I ended up going with a mtb crankset. Even old road triples didn't tend to go as low as 26t and the biggest obstacle can be the bolt pattern. If it's a newer bike with a 135 or 142 rear it can be a viable way to go, I also had to use a grx front der to make road levers work with that gearing.
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Old 10-29-23, 04:57 AM
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Thanks a lot everybody for your inputs !!!

Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Chain rings that are not matched pairs will nearly always shift poorly. I use Shimano grx 46/30 cranks with my SRAM AXS 12 speed drivetrain. They do require 2 or 2.5mm washers behind each chain ring bolt to move the chain line inward for a road bike. I have them on 3 bikes for 3 years with no chain drops. I use stock 10-36 force cassettes.

I recently bought a matched pair of 44/28 chain rings for grx cranks from Specialties TA and tried them. The shifting down to the little ring was always perfect, but the shift to the big ring only worked from the left half of the cassette. From smaller sprockets it nearly always tossed the chain to the outside. That's unacceptable compared to the great grx chain ring shifting. I tried many tweaks to the FD position, but nothing helped. I put the grx rings back on, moved the FD back up and the perfect shifting returned.
Another issue is whether the FD will go low enough to work with a 42.
Interesting thanks. In my case it is not that big of a deal if my father can't shift rings actually. We are usually doing 1 climb a day that is 2hours or more long for him, so he'll just sit on the small ring the whole time.
Maybe he can switch by hand at the top not to run a 26T ring on the descent but even if he has to use the 26T, not ideal but what matters is the climb. Then he can't switch to a normal 50-34 for the rest of the year and have a normal set up.

Originally Posted by jaxgtr
have you considered a 1x setup that will give him the relatively close ratio's? You could do a mullet setup where you run a 10-52 or 11-50/51 in the back and a 34 to 38 in the front. Would give him a super low climbing gears and generally close cluster for the flats. I just built up a SRAM mullet for a gravel bike and used a 46 front and 10-52 , but I am in a flat area so I did not need as small of a ring up front. I can easily change out the front ring\chain with something lower for the times when I will have steeper climbs.
Yes could be an idea. If we get a 50-34 and then get a seperate crankset for this yearly week of climbing, might aswell get a double ? I mean a single would work but with a double he would get a higher gear for the descent

Originally Posted by HTupolev
Unfortunately road doubles that small aren't common. Personally I think they should be, because there are a lot of riders for which it serves as an effective 1x-plus-granny arrangement.
And the drivetrain component manufacturers usually choose bolt circles that don't allow for chainrings significantly smaller than the ones they install, so you often can't just swap smaller rings on.
New Albion sells a square-taper crankset with 42-26 chainrings that would probably work with the drivetrains you're looking at, at least if you can adequately lower the front derailleur.
You could cobble something together from random stuff, but unless the rings are a matched pair, they're not guaranteed to play well with indexed shifting and modern chains. Plus you'd need to be fairly willing to tinker.
Yes that's what my father has just realized : there is no 110mm ring that is smaller than 33T, so my initial plan doesn't work.

Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
For a good father-son rides without over-exerting him, get him an e-road bike.
I appreciate your input, but that is not something that would interest him. He's in his 60s, he rides to get back in shape after 5/10 tough years.
Plus, those father and son rides are just a week a year, so he would need a normal bike for his normal rides, and an e-bike for the mountains and that's off budget.

Originally Posted by Russ Roth
To get that gearing on my gravel bikes I ended up going with a mtb crankset. Even old road triples didn't tend to go as low as 26t and the biggest obstacle can be the bolt pattern. If it's a newer bike with a 135 or 142 rear it can be a viable way to go, I also had to use a grx front der to make road levers work with that gearing.
Yes we just realized that. I think that's the solution ! Cool to know with a grx FD that will work with road shifters.
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Old 10-29-23, 09:07 AM
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Shimano still makes triples.
SHIMANO TIAGRA Road Crankset 3x10-speed | SHIMANO BIKE-US
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Old 10-29-23, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Unfortunately, while a "110/74" triple like that would normally be quite versatile, the Tiagra 4703 uses a special asymmetric bolt circle. You can't stick just any 74BCD ring with the correct number of bolt holes on the inside.
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Old 10-29-23, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Unfortunately, while a "110/74" triple like that would normally be quite versatile, the Tiagra 4703 uses a special asymmetric bolt circle. You can't stick just any 74BCD ring with the correct number of bolt holes on the inside.
It comes with a 30 small ring. Pair that with a big cog of your choice.
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Old 10-29-23, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen
Hello,

My father wants to get a new road bike, every year we go together in the mountains
If your dad wants climbing gears on a 'new' bike then he may want to consider a bike spec'd with a 46/30 2x crank (Shimano GRX) and a 11-36 cassette - many reasonably-priced bikes like this. BUT, make sure the new bike has a 68mm threaded bottom bracket rather than a press fit - in case he wants to try a different crankset - much easier to DIY with a threaded BB.

46/30 is a capable crankset for 'road' use.

If 30-36 gearing isn't low enough, then there are plenty of new cranksets in a 42/26 size - or something close. Many options are shown in the following videos at Path Less Pedaled:



I use a 40/26 crank with 11-32 cassette (10 speed) on one of my road bikes. It's a Sun XCD crank with TA Proviz 5 chainrings. The crank is a 50.4 mm BCD so lots of possible ring combos will fit. It's an excellent road 1x but also includes plenty of bail out gears using the 26T ring. These can be found here:

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

Don't be afraid of square taper cranksets - many high-quality BBs available and not necessarily heavier than a 2 piece/external BB crankset.

Another possibility is replacing the cassette with an 11-42 and keep the 46/30 crank to get a 30-42 low gear. But, he may need a different RD to clear a 42T cog - try maxing out the B screw before buying a new RD, might get lucky.

Good Luck.

Last edited by jlaw; 10-29-23 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 10-30-23, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Chain rings that are not matched pairs will nearly always shift poorly.
That's only an issue with indexed front shifting. A friction shifter will allow you to overshift slightly to get the chain on the next ring, then trim to stop the chain from scraping on the derailleur cage.
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Old 10-30-23, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
Even old road triples didn't tend to go as low as 26t and the biggest obstacle can be the bolt pattern.
Not really. Popular loaded touring cranks BITD could use rings that small, e.g. TA Cyclotouriste (26T minimum), Stronglight 99 (28T minimum, 86mm BCD), Sugino AT (24T minimum;74mm inner ring BCD), Avocet/Ofmega triple (24T minimum; 74mm inner ring BCD).
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Old 10-30-23, 01:28 PM
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A few years back I was running a GRX 46/30 crankset with an 11-40 casette. I used a Shimano MTB derailleur and a Wolftooth Tanpan (not Road Link). The Tanpan allows the road shifting cable pull to work with the different MTB cable pull. The MTB derailleur not only is designed for larger cogs, it also has more capacity. I think I could have even run an 11-42. It worked very well.

If I understand the OP correctly, he wants to have a 26 up front while running an 11-34 cassette. A 26-34 combo is pretty close to a 30-40 and like I said, I think an 11-42 is an option for even lower gearing.
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Old 10-30-23, 03:44 PM
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dirtydozen

JohnDThompson makes a good point about friction shifting the front being very effective when the chainrings lack pins/ramps. Maybe your dad already has experience with friction shifting?

One easy and cheap way to do this is to use a bar end shifter. A Microshift bar end is a decent choice for FD shifting. Friction shifting the FD also allows for infinite trim so you never have to listen to the chain rubbing on the derailleur cage.

My bike in the photo is a 3x9 that uses a Shimano 'brifter' for the RD and and Microshift bar end for the front. You can run the cable kind of long to avoid interference if using a big front bag. You need a cable stop at some point before the FD. You can keep the bar tape simple by running the cable housing over it and the securing the housing with a couple wraps of electrical tape.
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Old 10-31-23, 07:32 AM
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[QUOTE=JohnDThompson;23056705]That's only an issue with indexed front shifting. A friction shifter will allow you to overshift slightly to get the chain on the next ring, then trim to stop the chain from scraping on the derailleur cage.[/QUOTE


I'm old too, but I haven't used a friction shifter for over 30 years. I had Ultegra STI in 1991. By '93 I'd switched to Campy indexed shifting. In 2020 I switched to SRAM AXS electronic.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 11-01-23 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 10-31-23, 06:41 PM
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Indexed shifting certainly is useful, but friction-shifting can be pretty handy for certain situations. I put an ENE Ciclo ratchet-friction bar end on my new gravel bike that is tied to an 11 speed SRAM GX rear derailleur. The shifting is fast, precise, and I like being able to descend or climb the gear cluster with one quick swing.

I find it easier to friction shift an 11 speed than a 9 speed or below. The cog spaces are smaller so landing on the cog just happens. The ratchet action of the shifter is key.

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Old 11-14-23, 12:40 PM
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For anybody wondering my dad came across a 2nd hand sora groupset for 150€ with a triple ring

he'll just get a 50/34T bike or just a frame and put his groupset onto it


I am sorry i didn't see the messages about friction shifting, i didn't know about this and its quite interesting
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Old 11-14-23, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen
For anybody wondering my dad came across a 2nd hand sora groupset for 150€ with a triple ring

he'll just get a 50/34T bike or just a frame and put his groupset onto it


I am sorry i didn't see the messages about friction shifting, i didn't know about this and its quite interesting
Glad he's sorted and thanks for the follow-up - it's more satisfying for us and more helpful for readers in the future!
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Old 11-15-23, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen
For anybody wondering my dad came across a 2nd hand sora groupset for 150€ with a triple ring
Look after that well. My triple road bike front shifter got ruined by me on the trainer. I covered the bars with a towel but still managed to rust it without realising over 2 years and trying to get a new ultegra triple shifter is not easy nor cheap. Ended up picking up a used 105 double and that bike will probably never have a triple on it again. That 30:30 gear was the only thing that got me over this climb 😆

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