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Compact Crank: Are my expectations just wrong?

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Compact Crank: Are my expectations just wrong?

Old 04-06-09, 08:55 PM
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swaustex
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Compact Crank: Are my expectations just wrong?

First of all this is not the typical compact vs triple debate. The gearing on a compact works just fine for me in the Texas hill country and around town. My issue is the shifting. On my mountain bike I have a Deore XT triple and when I say shift, it shifts under intense pressure or a light pedaling. On my road bike, its a different story. Unless I am applying very little force, I cannot shift from the small to the large chain ring OR from the large to the small. It also deciced that every once in a while the chain needs to overshoot the big or small ring. The bike I have is a Fuji Roubaix Pro that I bought from Performance Bike, and it had 105 components with an FSA Gossamer Expo Compact 50/34 crank. Other than this shifting on the front rings thing I have no complaints about the bike. I have let the mechanics there tweak it a couple times and it always seems fine in the stand, but under load it is very different. I tried another brand new bike with the same crank and it felt the same as mine.

So the question is: What do I do now? Do I get a Shimano 105 compact, or is the shifting only under super light loads a compact crank limitation? Jenson is selling a 105 double at a compelling discount, but there are hills around here that might win a battle with the 38 tooth small ring. Do I need to lower my expectations with the shifting on a compact crank?

Last edited by swaustex; 04-06-09 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by swaustex View Post
First of all this is not the typical compact vs triple debate. The gearing on a compact works just fine for me in the Texas hill country and around town. My issue is the shifting. On my mountain bike I have a Deore XT triple and when I say shift, it shifts under intense pressure or a light pedaling. On my road bike, its a different story. Unless I am applying very little force, I cannot shift from the small to the large chain ring OR from the large to the small. It also deciced that every once in a while the chain needs to overshoot the big or small ring. The bike I have is a Fuji Roubaix Pro that I bought from Performance Bike, and it had 105 components with an FSA Gossamer Expo Compact 50/34 crank. Other than this shifting on the front rings thing I have no complaints about the bike. I have let the mechanics there tweak it a couple times and it always seems fine in the stand, but under load it is very different. I tried another brand new bike with the same crank and it felt the same as mine.

So the question is: What do I do now? Do I get a Shimano 105 compact, or is the shifting only under super light loads a compact crank limitation? Jenson is selling a 105 double at a compelling discount, but there are hills around here that might win a battle with the 38 tooth small ring. Do I need to lower my expectations with the shifting on a compact crank?
Yes ..switch out that Gossamer for a 105..600.. or 700 the shifting will improve greatly. I switched out to the 600 and love it.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by swaustex View Post
The bike I have is a Fuji Roubaix Pro that I bought from Performance Bike, and it had 105 components with an FSA Gossamer Expo Compact 50/34 crank. Other than this shifting on the front rings thing I have no complaints about the bike. I have let the mechanics there tweak it a couple times and it always seems fine in the stand, but under load it is very different. I tried another brand new bike with the same crank and it felt the same as mine.

So the question is: What do I do now? Do I get a Shimano 105 compact, or is the shifting only under super light loads a compact crank limitation? Jenson is selling a 105 double at a compelling discount, but there are hills around here that might win a battle with the 38 tooth small ring. Do I need to lower my expectations with the shifting on a compact crank?
The problem you describe is not normal and I would not accept it. I'd return the bike and gt something that works.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:17 PM
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In my limited experience, a Shimano crankset will shift better than an FSA one, likely because of all the pin & ramp engineering put into Shimano's rings. Just look at Shimano's rings and then look at FSA's rings.

It suggest that you later go to a Shimano compact but not until you feel you've exhausted your options with your FSA crankset.

Perhaps take it do another Performance Bike store to have a different mechanic look at it though I'm not sure what exactly could be done. They set the height and rotation of the front derailleur, then the stops and cable tension. AFAIK, there's not much else that can be tuned.

Last edited by thirdin77; 04-06-09 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:21 PM
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+1 I have been very impressed with the shift quality on my 50/34 Ultegra SL cranks. You should definitely get your situation fixed - that kind of shifting performance is not normal.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:25 PM
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Just buy some new rings... no need for a whole new crankset. BCD is standardized for a reason.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ZeCanon View Post
Just buy some new rings... no need for a whole new crankset. BCD is standardized for a reason.
except when you have campagnolo 110BCD.


FSA rings on their cheaper lines = garbage, switch to shimano rings.
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Old 04-07-09, 01:00 AM
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I'd adjust my front derailleur correctly before I'd go shelling out for new cranks.
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Old 04-07-09, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Super Guanche View Post
I'd adjust my front derailleur correctly before I'd go shelling out for new cranks.
+1 to this. I have reasonable shifting on my 50/34 FSA Gossamer. Not as good as on my other bikes with 53/39 but definitely tolerable. FD adjustment makes a huge difference. Don't forget there's height, rotation and sometimes even angle (on a braze-on FD). I note that angle could just have been dodgy installation of the FD on my bike
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Old 04-07-09, 01:22 AM
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did the bike come with a compact front derailleur?
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Old 04-07-09, 02:12 AM
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I may be just old school, but really is it good practice to shift under pressure? maybe on a mountain bike conditions might change quickly and you end up shifting under pressure, but on a road bike...do you just ride until you can't turn the pedals anymore? I mean most of the roads I ride, I've been on before and I know when the hill is going to start and I my stuff works better and last longer if I shift early. really.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Super Guanche View Post
I'd adjust my front derailleur correctly before I'd go shelling out for new cranks.
+2. I ran a set of FSA compact cranks for a long time; I forget the model, one or two steps up from Gossamer. At any rate, I had it shifting fine. How high above the big chainring does your front derailleur sit? If it's much more then the width of a penny, then it's way too high. In my experience, getting the front derailleur positioned correctly is critical to shifting performance.

There are some good pictures of how a front derailleur should be aligned here: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75. Before you go replacing anything, take a good close look at how your front derailleur is positioned. If you think it's off, and you trust your mechanical skills, the article I linked you to will tell you everything you need to know. Otherwise, take it to a competent shop and let them handle it.
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Old 04-07-09, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Super Guanche View Post
I'd adjust my front derailleur correctly before I'd go shelling out for new cranks.
+ a big number.

This has nothing to do with the cranks and everything to do with the adjustment of the derailleur: position, angle, cable tension, and stops. Get that done right and it'll shift just great.

And yes, it is way old school to think you can't shift under load.
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Old 04-07-09, 07:06 AM
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I've heard before of FSA Gossamers not shifting well and have some experience with the one on my bike... it seems like 9 times out of 10 it's fine, but once in awhile it simply won't go to the big ring and I have to shift back to the inner ring and try again. The derailleur seems to be adjusted fine and it works beautifully 90% of the time.

What I'm hearing is that in the future if I had a few bucks laying around I could switch to Shimano 110BCD rings and they shift noticeably better?
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Old 04-07-09, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
I've heard before of FSA Gossamers not shifting well and have some experience with the one on my bike... it seems like 9 times out of 10 it's fine, but once in awhile it simply won't go to the big ring and I have to shift back to the inner ring and try again. The derailleur seems to be adjusted fine and it works beautifully 90% of the time.

What I'm hearing is that in the future if I had a few bucks laying around I could switch to Shimano 110BCD rings and they shift noticeably better?
If this is what you're hearing, then you're not listening. It's not the fault of the crankset, but the derailleur. You might want to move this or ask it in the mechanics forum; you'll probably get better quality answers.
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Old 04-07-09, 08:51 AM
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Adjustment.

I bought a new K2 road bike late last summer that came with the FSA Gossamer Compact. After a couple of weeks, I switched out the FSA for the Shimano FC-600 that I had on my CX bike. After riding both bikes with both cranks, I can subjectively say the Shimano is the better of the two. Shifts quicker, quieter, less feeling like the chain is taking its time deciding whether or not it wants to switch rings.

However, I have no issues like the one the OP mentions on the FSA on either bike. Unless I'm standing or going up a steep hill, the FSA shifts. If I didn't have the Shimano on my other bike to compare, I would have never had thought of changing out the crank.
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Old 04-07-09, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by swaustex View Post
First of all this is not the typical compact vs triple debate. The gearing on a compact works just fine for me in the Texas hill country and around town. My issue is the shifting. On my mountain bike I have a Deore XT triple and when I say shift, it shifts under intense pressure or a light pedaling. On my road bike, its a different story. Unless I am applying very little force, I cannot shift from the small to the large chain ring OR from the large to the small. It also deciced that every once in a while the chain needs to overshoot the big or small ring. The bike I have is a Fuji Roubaix Pro that I bought from Performance Bike, and it had 105 components with an FSA Gossamer Expo Compact 50/34 crank. Other than this shifting on the front rings thing I have no complaints about the bike. I have let the mechanics there tweak it a couple times and it always seems fine in the stand, but under load it is very different. I tried another brand new bike with the same crank and it felt the same as mine.

So the question is: What do I do now? Do I get a Shimano 105 compact, or is the shifting only under super light loads a compact crank limitation? Jenson is selling a 105 double at a compelling discount, but there are hills around here that might win a battle with the 38 tooth small ring. Do I need to lower my expectations with the shifting on a compact crank?
what front derailer does it have? I seem to recall FSA recommends using one of their FSA FD with their compact cranksets.

http://road.fullspeedahead.com/fly.a...duct&taxid=115

Shimano Compacts can use shimano FD. I think even campy used a different FD when they started using compacts.

If you want to do it on the cheap, find a Triple FD. That's what we used on a friend's FSA compact and his shift quality increased.

personally, Shimano Compact chainrings work dang well and you don't have to change anything.

FSA compact chainrings shift like crud compared to shimano.
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Old 04-07-09, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by shuffles View Post
+ a big number.

This has nothing to do with the cranks and everything to do with the adjustment of the derailleur: position, angle, cable tension, and stops. Get that done right and it'll shift just great.

And yes, it is way old school to think you can't shift under load.
I guess everyone missed the part where the mechanics adjusted it.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Soil_Sampler View Post
did the bike come with a compact front derailleur?
Is that necessary for good shifting? Me thinks not.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Rutnick View Post
I guess everyone missed the part where the mechanics adjusted it.
No. I think people are saying it is still not adjusted correctly. Enough other bikes are running this same setup without the problems the OP is having. I wonder if the mechanics have taken the bike on a test ride after they adjust it in the stand...maybe then they would experience what the OP is. There is no way to apply the same forces to a drive train in the stand as you can while riding. And if it truly has been fully and correctly adjusted, then maybe there is a defect someplace in the either the dr or the crank and replacing either with the exact same brand and model would take care of things.

Originally Posted by Rutnick View Post
what front derailer does it have? I seem to recall FSA recommends using one of their FSA FD with their compact cranksets.
If the bike was shipped with the wrong dr, then this should be fixed under warranty. But I know that both my bikes have a 105 double front dr and work with the FSA crank.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for all the input. I think a combination of things is happening here. There seems to be a consensus that the Gossamer crank while not crap, does not shift nearly as well under load as the Shimano cranks. I think in my situation its aggravated because I weigh 240lbs and I am more of a masher than a spinner so I think that probably I put more stress on the crank than most even when I am not going up a hill standing up. The 105 FD looks fine and seems to have the clearance needed. I am going to bring the bike back again, and give the mechanics another shot at it. I just forgot to put it in the truck this morning cause it was near freezing today. I have nearly 600 miles on the bike now, (with maybe 40 of them on the small chain ring).
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Old 04-07-09, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by BustaQuad View Post
Is that necessary for good shifting? Me thinks not.
on a fsa compact, it helps quite a bit.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BustaQuad View Post
Is that necessary for good shifting? Me thinks not.

you think wrong for FSA
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Old 04-07-09, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by fogrider View Post
I may be just old school, but really is it good practice to shift under pressure?
Shift the rear under pressure: no big deal.

Shift the front under pressure: risky.

I have ripped off two rear derailleur hangers by shifting to the small ring under pressure. I learned my lesson, now I wait until the chain is securely on the small ring before giving it the gas.

In case anyone's interested, here's how to rip off a rear derailleur:

1. Ride up the base of a hill in your big ring, as far as you can at speed.
2. Shift to the small ring while still cranking away.
3. Chain wraps around the small ring (aka "chain suck").
4. Keep on pedaling hard, tension on the chain pulls off the RD.

If you have a chain tool, you can get home by making the bike into a single speed. BTDT, have the grease stains to remind me of the happy occasion.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rutnick View Post
you think wrong for FSA
I have (3) FSA cranksets running with Ultegra derailleurs and the shifting is acceptable; maybe a little "grabby", but the chains don't drop.
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