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Campy Veloce/FSA Compact Crankset Mystery Problem

Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Campy Veloce/FSA Compact Crankset Mystery Problem

Old 05-16-07, 03:37 PM
  #1  
Zeriman
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Campy Veloce/FSA Compact Crankset Mystery Problem

I recently purchased a 2006 Bianchi 928 Carbon with Campy Veloce (12-25) and FSA Megaexo Gossamer Crankset (50/34). I love the bike, but I quickly discovered that I can't shift from the small chainring to the large one. It shifts down just fine, but when I shift up the change just mashes against the big ring and makes a horrible noise and doesn't move. I've tried adjusting the cable tension and adjusting the limit on the FD, but nothing worked. Then I took it to my LBS and they tried everything they could think of for hours and it still doesn't work. Funny thing is that when the guy at my shop gives it a test ride it at least works most of the time, but for me nothing. I am giving it a quick full throw on the lever so I can't think of what I may be doing wrong.

I have done an extensive internet search on the issue and others have had the same problem, but I cannot find any answers. Meanwhile others have the same setup and no problems. What is the deal?

Here are some things that I have come across on the internet and tried:
Tighten cable -- Nope
Adjust FD outer limit -- Nope
Raise the FD by 1-2mm -- nope. Makes it worse.
Toe out the rear of the FD cage -- Nope.

Now here are some other things that have been suggested:
Change small ring to a 36 to lower tooth difference -- not ideal since I really need the lower range for hills.
Switch to a standard FD or a triple FD instead of compact -- I have no idea why this would work.
Switch to a 2007 Campy Compact FD -- someone suggested they upgraded the design. True?
Switch crank to a Campy Compact -- perhaps, but I would need a new BB and this is starting to get expensive.
Dump the Compact crank and just put a triple on the thing!

Now all of these options are going to cost some dough. What should I try first?
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Old 05-16-07, 03:40 PM
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I have the same driveline on my Bianchi CX bike. While not thrilled with the crank it does do the job. Since it's new it should work fine or the shop should make it work just fine. If money and parts are to be thrown at it then I'd first toss the crank for a Campy model.
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Old 05-16-07, 03:52 PM
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Just so you know, the ultra-torque cups are pretty cheap for campy cranks so it wouldn't be as bad as having a new bottom bracket.

Is the big chainring ramped and pinned?
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Old 05-16-07, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hocam
Is the big chainring ramped and pinned?
There are ramps and pins, but I don't know how the pins are supposed to help since they protrude on the outside of the ring rather in than the inside close to the small ring. My LBS said that was normal though.
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Old 05-16-07, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeriman
There are ramps and pins, but I don't know how the pins are supposed to help since they protrude on the outside of the ring rather in than the inside close to the small ring. My LBS said that was normal though.
??? Maybe I'm wrong, but this doesn't make any sense, The pins are there to lift the chain onto the chainring. I don't have a pic, but on my Campy rings the smaller side of the pins do protrude outside, but the larger side of the pin definitely extends out of the inside of the ring.
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Old 05-16-07, 05:21 PM
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Are you easing up on your pedalling as you make the shift onto the big ring?
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Old 05-16-07, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix
Are you easing up on your pedalling as you make the shift onto the big ring?
I've tried easing up. I've tried going hard. I've tried stop peadling, shift, then pedal again. Nothing works.

The funny thing is that it shifts (poorly, but it does actually get up to the big ring) while in the mechanics stand and when the guy at the shop rides it, it mishifts less. I am a big guy (240#) so perhaps the force I am generating is causing some flexing in the crank or chainrings that is preventing the shift? But I don't feel any flex in the frame at all, and if I'm easing up there shouldn't be any flex in the crank/rings either.

As for the pins. . . yeah it doesn't make any sense to me either. Maybe it is a defective chainring.
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Old 05-16-07, 06:48 PM
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Try getting a new chain. Also check out the cable travel through the plastic block under the BB shell, sometimes the molding has "flash" and needs to be relieved with a needle file, there should be basically no binding on the cable there. My rule of thumb for FD mounting is that there should be enough space to fit the width of a nickle between the big ring teeth and the FD cage. You should always be able to adjust the FD to the point where it will unship the chain off the big ring or else something is wierd. The "pin" you are talking about on the outide of the ring is supposed to be aligned with the drive side crank arm and I believe it is there to prevent an unshipped chain from jamming between the crank arm and rings?

Last edited by Ernesto Schwein; 05-16-07 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 05-16-07, 06:51 PM
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Your weight shouldn't have that effect. I'm a bit less, but with a full bag on my back could well be north of 240#. I'd discount that.

The shift pins go through the chain ring and should be visible on both sides. Time to start swapping parts.
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Old 05-21-07, 12:30 PM
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Fixed -- for now

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. The local wrencher at my LBS worked on it over the weekend and nothing seemed to work. I was going to order a campy crank, but then the shop pulled out a standard Daytona FD and decided to see if it would work. Sure enough, after getting it dialed in it shifts fine now. But it is still a mystery why this would make a difference. We noticed that in the compact FD there was significant play in the main pivot point while the standard FD is rock solid with no play. So this could be the source of the problem, but there was a Chorus equiped bike in the shop with a compact FD and a FSA crank with the same kind of play in the FD, and it shifts great. Perhaps the play is part of the design of the compact version. Who knows. Anyways, it works great now.

I still want to put a campy crank on it, but now that everything works it is hard to justify the extra money.
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Old 05-21-07, 12:45 PM
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Glad to hear it worked out.

Save that money for all the tires you'll wear out riding.
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Old 05-21-07, 01:40 PM
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This is going to sound weird, but I experienced similar problems with my FSA compact with Shimano components. The problem wasn't as severe as yours, but my small ring is 36T. I could get it to work OK with lots of time getting mechanics to help me adjust and readjust the FD. It would always be perfect on the stand, horrible under load.

If I cleaned the chain, rings, and drivetrain after every ride, I'd only mis-shift about 1/2 the time, but I didn't like that I'd increasingly lock up the entire crankset by getting the chain stuck on some mis-shifts. Recently, I think I stumbled upon the trick. I noticed that R&R lube was starting to make the chain feel dry, even though they say you can't wipe off too much of it. I switched to ProLink and left the chain fairly wet to touch (not dripping or anything but definitely quite oily). Shifts like a dream. I still soft-pedal when shifting and I keep the chain 3 or 4 rings up from smallest in the back. Such a pain, but it keeps working just fine until the chain starts getting too dirty again.


You might want to try readjusting on the stand one more time first, though. I had a point where it would just rub and never catch, and a cable adjustment was definitely needed.
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Old 05-21-07, 02:55 PM
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onething i've discovered is that campy likes campy, whatever it is. ditch the fsa cranks and go ultratorque.
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