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Let's talk Crankset Chainring spacing between 10s and 11s...

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

Let's talk Crankset Chainring spacing between 10s and 11s...

Old 03-12-14, 06:01 AM
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Campag4life
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Let's talk Crankset Chainring spacing between 10s and 11s...

Thought I inquire about center to center chainring spacing of different brands of cranksets out there.
Goal is to accumulate a bit of data base because many of us run different brand cranks on our groupsets but moreover probably more now than ever are running 10s cranks on 11s groupsets as Shimano and Sram 11s groups become more prevalent and owners are switching over their groupsets and keeping their old 10s cranks but running a 11s chain.

I will tell you in part why I am posting this subject. I ran across something that was quite astounding to me. I was reading reviews on Force 22 which is new 11s Sram and discussion was about the new Sram 11s crank which btw bang for buck is probably one of the best now available. What was revealed is...for Force 22, Sram actually increased the spacing between chainrings...which is quite counterintuitive to those that follow the transition from 10 to 11 speed. Most know the chain has been made thinner on 11s and yet Sram has elected to 'increase' the gap between chainrings in front. Reason given which makes some sense when explained is...they did this to allow for greater X-chain capability because the new Shimano/Sram freehub/cassette is wider and therefore X-chain angles can be greater and creating more clearance between rings averts the small ring rattle when running on smallest cogs in back.

So I wonder about DA as well. Is the new DA 9000 crank, the same spacing as 10s or more or less?

Anybody know the spacing for 10 versus 11s Campy?

Because the chain is thinner for 11s, there is concern of course about the chain getting stuck between rings. Apparently this doesn't bother Sram or they wouldn't have taken the direction they did with their new 11s crank.

For those that know some of the data on this, please contribute if you would. Yes chainring 'thickness' is in the mix as well which may complicate this data base because spider spacing has to include chainring thickness differences as well.

Thanks


Below is an interesting exchange relative to a Campy 11s chain getting caught between 10s rings. Each of us will have to decide:

More feedback:
Don’t use a 10-speed crank with an 11-speed chain!
I read Lennard Zinn’s article [on running a 10-speed Record crank with Campy's 11-speed chain] and thought that it was informative up until the point that I crashed on a ride just yesterday because of a chain-suck issue. In shifting from upper chain ring to lower the chain dropped in between the rings and stuck so hard that I lost control. My bike was professionally built and even my mechanic warned against using the 10-speed crank. How could someone that is so knowledgeable even think to tell people that this is okay? I spoke with my mechanic yesterday afternoon and he has informed me that any components that are damaged are not covered under warranty since I didn’t use the 11-speed cranks. I knew I should have waited the extra two weeks for my shop to get the crank I wanted in stock. Now besides buying the crank I need to buy a new chain and possibly a rear derailleur. Not to mention the road rash (ouch). I have lost faith in VeloNews and its staff.
Frank
Dear readers,
With this feedback, I have to officially recommend against using an 11-speed chain with 10-speed chainrings, at least Campagnolo (and Fulcrum) ones. And Campagnolo is very clear in its warranty policy that nothing is covered unless the entire 11-speed group is used together — no substitutions.
However, I’ve been riding for months on 10-speed cranks with the 11-speed Super Record group, and I’ve never had any problem. I’ve used it with both SRAM Red chainrings and Shimano Ultegra SL chainrings without a hint of shifting hesitation, much less getting stuck. And as you may have read in my article on Shimano Di2 electronic in the current print edition of VeloNews, I shifted this combination under extreme loads repeatedly, trying to duplicate the performance of the electronic front derailleur with a cable-actuated one.
As I feel is my duty, I will continue to try cross-compatibility issues, since lots of readers ask me about them. They expect an answer other than the one the manufacturer would give, which is of course always to the effect that all of the parts need to be used together as a system.
I avoid advising people on setups I have not tried, but I’ve tried this one pretty thoroughly, albeit not with Campy 10-speed chainrings. Similarly, when the change from 9-speed to 10 came, I used 9-sped cranks on 10-speed groups interchangeably for years and never had a problem.
As I have switched Campy, SRAM, and Shimano 10-speed cranks all around on each other’s 10-speed groups for years without problems, I would not have expected that it would have mattered which brand of 10-speed cranks you used with the 11-speed chain, but perhaps it does. I have to say that I’m very surprised. The chain is 0.5mm narrower than the Campy 10-speed chain. That’s not much.
I remember hearing once about a chain jamming between chainrings when I was racing —I think it was at the 1981 U.S. nationals time trial in Bear Mountain, New York. Somebody told me that a top rider, whom I had expected to do very well in the TT, had jammed his chain between his chainrings; he had been using a 7-speed chain on a 6-speed Dura-Ace Dyna-Drive crank.
I was also on a Shimano-sponsored team, racing on Dura-Ace EX and AX, but I was still using the same 180mm Campy Super Record crank that I’d used for 5-speed and 6-speed (because Shimano did not offer a crank longer than 175mm back then). Those were some big differences in chain widths as the widths started coming down back then, but nobody thought twice about mixing cranks from different generations with them, and that’s the only incident I remember of somebody jamming a chain.
Shimano’s spacing between cogs has narrowed from 3.70mm for 5- and 6-speed, to 3.10mm for 7-speed, 3.00mm for 8-speed, 2.56mm for 9-speed, and 2.35mm for 10-speed. When SunTour introduced narrow Ultra-7 freewheels in the early 1980s, Shimano countered with wider freehub bodies that fit seven widely spaced cogs (at 3.70mm apart) and the wide 6-speed Shimano chain. But at the time, we all started using Sedis Sport chains, because they were cheap (four bucks!), they worked well, and, most importantly, they were narrow and worked with any of the new 7-speed narrow systems. And it never occurred to any of us at the time to switch cranks because we were using that chain. Sedis merged with Maillard, which was acquired by Sachs, which was purchased by SRAM, and so the Sedis chain lives on!

Campagnolo’s 5.9mm-wide 10-speed chain (its first-generation 10-speed chains were 6.1mm wide) allows 10 cogs to fit in the same space that used to only accept nine with the wider 9-speed chain and cogset, and now the even narrower 5.4mm wide 11-speed chain allows 11 cogs to fit in that same space. The thickness of the spacers on either side of each cog has come down as far as 2.2mm with 11-speed, whereas the width of each chain roller and thickness of each cog has stayed the same. The tooth-to-tooth distance on Campagnolo 9-speed is 4.55mm, 4.15mm on Campagnolo 10-speed, and 3.9mm on Campagnolo 11-speed. Chainring tooth spacing is hard to measure, because of the height difference between the two rings, but the spacing between cogs is only 0.25mm less on 11-speed than on 10-speed! That’s not much.

One final note: When I told Dave Batka, the president of Wheels Manufacturing, about this jammed chain, he said: “I hate to say it, Lennard, but I can’t believe this at all. I’ve got 600 miles on my new 11-speed chain with 10-speed chainrings and it has never even come close to jamming in between the chainrings. You may quote me, if you wish.”
So there you have it, from both sides of the debate. Forewarned is forearmed.
Lennard

Last edited by Campag4life; 03-12-14 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 03-12-14, 08:37 AM
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I'm using 6800 on a 10 speed FSA crankset. The chain won't fit between the rings even if I try to force it.
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Old 03-12-14, 08:47 AM
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I've wondered about this since Q-Rings are 10 and 11 speed compatible.
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Old 03-12-14, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Adrianinkc View Post
I've wondered about this since Q-Rings are 10 and 11 speed compatible.
I believe what is comes down to is spider spacing...which takes chainring thickness out of the equation. Sounds as though there is almost nothing between spider spacing finger width for all manufacturers. As Zinn stated, .25 mm diff for Campy is quite small.
I admit surprise about Sram actually increasing spacing however for 11s in spite of 11s chains being around 5.5mm in width...but maybe Sram 10s crank crank rings were a hint tighter together than industry standard. Hard to know without actual nos.
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Old 03-12-14, 10:46 AM
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I have a hard time believing that story as well. Sounds like smoke to me. My boss and his son both went to 6800 shifters, derailleurs and 11 speed chains on 6700 and 5600 cranks, respectively. I was the one who did the install for them. Both bikes have a ton of miles and I've heard nothing but good things. It was actually their experience that made me go 11 speed.

You have to take any safety recommendations with a grain of salt when it comes to Zinn. He writes for a big magazine, and thus they have a huge (real or imagined) liability issue with something like this. All it would take is for one idiot to crash, say it was because of something Zinn said was ok (sound familiar?), and boom...lawsuit time. Same thing for Campy's position that a group has to be all 11 speed or not at all. Some hack mechanic piece meals a group together, breaks it, crashes, and calls a lawyer.

My own uneducated, unsubstantiated guess is that there are thousands of 11 speed setups on 10 speed cranks out there. If this were a real, true problem you would've started hearing about it.
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Old 03-12-14, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kv501 View Post
I have a hard time believing that story as well. Sounds like smoke to me. My boss and his son both went to 6800 shifters, derailleurs and 11 speed chains on 6700 and 5600 cranks, respectively. I was the one who did the install for them. Both bikes have a ton of miles and I've heard nothing but good things. It was actually their experience that made me go 11 speed.

You have to take any safety recommendations with a grain of salt when it comes to Zinn. He writes for a big magazine, and thus they have a huge (real or imagined) liability issue with something like this. All it would take is for one idiot to crash, say it was because of something Zinn said was ok (sound familiar?), and boom...lawsuit time. Same thing for Campy's position that a group has to be all 11 speed or not at all. Some hack mechanic piece meals a group together, breaks it, crashes, and calls a lawyer.

My own uneducated, unsubstantiated guess is that there are thousands of 11 speed setups on 10 speed cranks out there. If this were a real, true problem you would've started hearing about it.
Well said. I find Zinn to be spot on and really don't recall ever disagreeing with him...except I believe he is a bit over the top with his long crank references...right to only a degree because of other tradeoffs. Zinn is the latter day Sheldon Brown as difficult as it is to fill the late Mr. Brown's shoes.
Zinn artfully discounted the crash being because of a chain stuck between rings if you read between the lines.
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Old 03-18-14, 01:11 PM
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Now -- 6-7 speed crank arms in a 10-speed build

Could we attack this subject from a different direction? I intend to use a pair of 6-7 speed Sugino-manufactured cranks in a Campy 10-speed build with Ergo levers. I intend to use modern, 10-speed TA rings, compact, 50-34.

Do I need to reduce the spacing between the rings? I'd very much like to accomplish transparent, factory-equivalent performance. If I do need to thin the spacers, what is my target spacing? Yes, I am doing this for a classic appearance. The cranks are nicely polished Specialized "flag" style.

Thanks for indulging the question,

~pb
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Old 03-18-14, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PBridge1300 View Post
Could we attack this subject from a different direction? I intend to use a pair of 6-7 speed Sugino-manufactured cranks in a Campy 10-speed build with Ergo levers. I intend to use modern, 10-speed TA rings, compact, 50-34.

Do I need to reduce the spacing between the rings? I'd very much like to accomplish transparent, factory-equivalent performance. If I do need to thin the spacers, what is my target spacing? Yes, I am doing this for a classic appearance. The cranks are nicely polished Specialized "flag" style.

Thanks for indulging the question,

~pb
maybe start a new thread mr. bridge.
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Old 03-18-14, 07:13 PM
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I'll add a non-campy data point, Praxis Works cyclocross chain rings, SRAM 10 speed Rival crank/spider, Shimano FD-CX70 10 speed, Shimano CN-9000 11 speed chain, SRAM 1091 10 speed cassette and XX RD; no problem, the narrow chain fixed a high gear FD cage rub issue as I suspected it would. The chain will not fit between the chainrings.
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Old 03-18-14, 08:13 PM
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For what it is worth, I have had 10 speed chain issues on a supposed 9/10 crank, with both 105 and KMC chains. The crank was a Stronglight clone of a Sugino. The chain could not wedge between rings, but in shifting large to small the chain would drop with the pin link plate on top of the tooth form , and essentially front freewheel. It would do this with an indexed shifter, and occasionally with a friction shifter.

It did not wedge, and I don't believe there would exist clearance enough between the small ring tooth tip and large ring for it to wedge. But there may be a wide enough gap that the tooth doesn't fall in the roller gap on a narrower chain.

In the case of the Strong light, study showed an off center tooth form on the small ring, and it was supplied with it oriented off center toward the frame. I flipped the little chainring, making the off center toward the big ring, and it has shifted like a dream since. No more chain riding up on tooth form.
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Old 03-18-14, 09:20 PM
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Good Lord, I started reading this thread....y'all might have been speaking in Mandarin for all I understood.

I feel so humbled...all I know is that I push the lever and it shifts to a different gear.
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Old 03-19-14, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Werkin View Post
I'll add a non-campy data point, Praxis Works cyclocross chain rings, SRAM 10 speed Rival crank/spider, Shimano FD-CX70 10 speed, Shimano CN-9000 11 speed chain, SRAM 1091 10 speed cassette and XX RD; no problem, the narrow chain fixed a high gear FD cage rub issue as I suspected it would. The chain will not fit between the chainrings.
Interesting. I have wondered the same. Does a 11s chain on 10s groupset make a fair amount of sense? It may because of potential elimination/reduction to chain rub when X-chaining. It may not be intuitive to run a 11s chain of 5.5mm width on a 10s driveline but it may have the best function as you state.
Thanks

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Old 03-19-14, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
...Does a 11s chain on 10s groupset make a fair amount of sense?...
In my application there were a few minor tradeoffs. Occasionally, there is a little chain to sprocket noise when shifting, and the range for appropriate cable tension became very narrow. The good thing about Shimano's CN-9000 is nothing sticks to it, and the bad thing about the CN-9000 is nothing sticks to it.
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Old 03-19-14, 02:55 PM
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I have a (stupid?) question. If the chain gets stuck between the chainrings, how does that lead to a crash? The rear wheel shouldn't know the difference between a stuck chain and the rider simply coasting, right? Unless maybe that led to some other problem, or the rider panicked, or?? Just wondering. I had a chain get stuck between chainrings once, but it was because of loose fasteners holding the small chainring on (story for another day.) Sure the pedals didn't want to turn, but the bike just coasted, I pulled over, got off, and fixed it with a multi-tool. There was no drama or almost crashing or anything like that.
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Old 03-19-14, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeEckhaus View Post
I have a (stupid?) question. If the chain gets stuck between the chainrings, how does that lead to a crash? The rear wheel shouldn't know the difference between a stuck chain and the rider simply coasting, right? Unless maybe that led to some other problem, or the rider panicked, or?? Just wondering. I had a chain get stuck between chainrings once, but it was because of loose fasteners holding the small chainring on (story for another day.) Sure the pedals didn't want to turn, but the bike just coasted, I pulled over, got off, and fixed it with a multi-tool. There was no drama or almost crashing or anything like that.
You nailed it. Just like dropping a chain altogether can cause some people to crash, so can jamming the crank. I've seen many many people have something go haywire, panic, and hit the deck.

A lot of people treat dropping a chain to be the worst possible thing that could happen, when if they'd just chill out, stop pedaling for a second, and slowly shift back to the big ring the chain will ride right back on. Never even have to stop. If the chain gets jammed, QUIT TRYING TO PEDAL, clip out, and find a safe place to stop.

Same thing with people who get "stuck" in their pedals. They look like they're in the middle of a seizure, stop pedaling, and fall over. If it happens look for someplace to keep rolling, and try twisting out again.
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Old 03-19-14, 04:37 PM
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When chain wedges in crank, any crank movement removes chain from the slack side. Just like chain suck. So pedaling shortens the bottom, stretches the RD taught, and puts the system in tension to failure. So assume you are climbing a hill, putting out 300 watts, and dump rings. Chain wedges, and within 1/2 revolution of a 50 tooth crank all play is removed, and your crank stops dead solid ( force goes not to rotate but to collapse center distance). Now if you stop before that, no harm no foul. If you don't you are putting your body weight to a dead stop and up and over you go. Ideally before you rip off your RD and go up and over.

Different scenario, but a cohort had his chain snap beside me at 42 mph. Bottom of a huge descent, levelled out, and he starts sprinting to blow by me. His chain snaps. With no resistance (the opposite of above), his foot blows out of us clipless pedal, his foot hit the road, and it got bad from there. Only reason I say this is we put far more force into pedals than you think, and unpredictable changes can cause havoc in a hurry.
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Old 01-13-16, 10:38 AM
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Hi
I have recently bought a 11-speed crankset (SRAM RED 22 GXP 53/39) ; the rear derailleur (SRAM Force WiFli) and the cassette are 10-speed components.
Shall I mount a 10 or 11 speed chain? Which would you advise, which would work best?
Thanks,
Florian
NB I had to change my crankset initial 10-speed for an 11-speed one because the first was much more affordable than the latter...
Florian
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Old 01-13-16, 10:56 AM
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I'm looking at a bike that comes with Ultegra 6800, except for the crankset, which is FSA. Boo! Hiss!

I have a 6700 crankset. It was a thing of beauty and grace.

Can I use the 6700 crankset on the 6800 bike? What if I replace the chainrings?
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Old 01-13-16, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by tregorpower View Post
Hi
I have recently bought a 11-speed crankset (SRAM RED 22 GXP 53/39) ; the rear derailleur (SRAM Force WiFli) and the cassette are 10-speed components.
Shall I mount a 10 or 11 speed chain? Which would you advise, which would work best?
Thanks,
Florian
NB I had to change my crankset initial 10-speed for an 11-speed one because the first was much more affordable than the latter...
Florian
I'd use 10 speed chain, as it's compatible with your cassette.
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Old 01-13-16, 11:47 AM
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I'm using a DA 10-sp crank and FD with 9-sp everything else, and a 9-sp KMC chain, so I have no useful info to share other than that it works.
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Old 01-13-16, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
I'd use 10 speed chain, as it's compatible with your cassette.
Thanks dr_hla for your answer

I am wondering prior starting assembly, I have a 10-speed front shifter and a 10-speed front derailleur (both SRAM Force again) : will this set-up work with the 11-speed crankset (SRAM RED 22 GXP 53/39) ?

Thanks,
Florian
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Old 01-13-16, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tregorpower View Post
Thanks dr_hla for your answer

I am wondering prior starting assembly, I have a 10-speed front shifter and a 10-speed front derailleur (both SRAM Force again) : will this set-up work with the 11-speed crankset (SRAM RED 22 GXP 53/39) ?
Well if you read the original post in this thread, it talks about how SRAM increased the gap between the front chainrings for 11speed, so for that reason there may be compatibility issues between a 10 speed front deraileur and an 11 speed crank, as presumably an 11 FD will swing more. I have never tried it though, so have no personal insight.
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Old 06-21-16, 11:51 AM
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Knowing that this thread was started off by Campag4life, 18 months ago now, I thought it worthwhile adding a few comments for future use following a recent problem I solved with a bike I had in recently and relating directly to 10 and 11 speed chainring compatability. It was on a Trek Madone with a 10 speed Shimano 6770 Di2 system where the rear derailleur had failed and trying to locate a replacement, either new or used, was very difficult due to the demise of that particular model (thanks once again Shimano). The only real solution was to upgrade to the next model, ie: 6870, which is 11 speed. The cassette, front/rear derailleur and chain were all duly replaced, but retained everything else including the levers and double chainset as I have done before on other bikes and which have worked fine without any problems.
The problem arose when the owner thought his chain seemed to be tugging his rear derailleur forward in certain gears a few months later. This resembled chain sucking and only when on the stand and turning the crank could it be clearly seen that the chain was getting stuck in between the rings when dropping from the big to small ring and whilst the chain was on the last few small cogs of the cassette, ie, cross chaining. No problem changing from small to big ring though. It appeared that that the small ring was just too far away from the big ring to catch. Either that or the new front derailleur was at fault in not throwing the chain over far enough, but this was only a remote possibility.
I removed the chainset and measured the distance between the 2 rings which was 9mm. After checking a brand new 11 speed Shimano 105 chainset I found the distance was only 8mm, which I knew was the source of the problem. After fitting the new 105 chainset, the problem disappeared immediately and all back as it should be.
For reference the 10 speed chainset I replaced was an FC-R565 and I did read somewhere that the rings on this particular set (midway level between Tiagra and 105) were supposedly spaced slightly further apart to avoid chain rub if cross chaining at any time(which we all know is to be avoided).
So this post is really to just warn others to never take blanket advice that all 10 speed chainrings will work with 11 speed systems and whilst some chainrings may very well do so, some may let you down.
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Old 06-22-16, 05:17 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by CerveloMad View Post
Knowing that this thread was started off by Campag4life, 18 months ago now, I thought it worthwhile adding a few comments for future use following a recent problem I solved with a bike I had in recently and relating directly to 10 and 11 speed chainring compatability. It was on a Trek Madone with a 10 speed Shimano 6770 Di2 system where the rear derailleur had failed and trying to locate a replacement, either new or used, was very difficult due to the demise of that particular model (thanks once again Shimano). The only real solution was to upgrade to the next model, ie: 6870, which is 11 speed. The cassette, front/rear derailleur and chain were all duly replaced, but retained everything else including the levers and double chainset as I have done before on other bikes and which have worked fine without any problems.
The problem arose when the owner thought his chain seemed to be tugging his rear derailleur forward in certain gears a few months later. This resembled chain sucking and only when on the stand and turning the crank could it be clearly seen that the chain was getting stuck in between the rings when dropping from the big to small ring and whilst the chain was on the last few small cogs of the cassette, ie, cross chaining. No problem changing from small to big ring though. It appeared that that the small ring was just too far away from the big ring to catch. Either that or the new front derailleur was at fault in not throwing the chain over far enough, but this was only a remote possibility.
I removed the chainset and measured the distance between the 2 rings which was 9mm. After checking a brand new 11 speed Shimano 105 chainset I found the distance was only 8mm, which I knew was the source of the problem. After fitting the new 105 chainset, the problem disappeared immediately and all back as it should be.
For reference the 10 speed chainset I replaced was an FC-R565 and I did read somewhere that the rings on this particular set (midway level between Tiagra and 105) were supposedly spaced slightly further apart to avoid chain rub if cross chaining at any time(which we all know is to be avoided).
So this post is really to just warn others to never take blanket advice that all 10 speed chainrings will work with 11 speed systems and whilst some chainrings may very well do so, some may let you down.
I read your post and yes a 1mm might matter...but not that can't be adjusted out with correct front derailleur set up which eluded you. Only my opinion.

I personally don't believe 1mm matters in the least and I have owned different combinations of 10s and 11s cranks with 10s and 11s groupsets...in fact do currently....own Campy 10s UT crank with Chorus 11s groupset and 11s Shimano 105 crankset with Campy 10s Centaur groupset.

I don't buy that 1mm makes much of difference in getting the chain stuck in particular. Reason I believe it got stuck in your instance is...you didn't have the front derailleur set up properly...inboard stop was too tight and shift from big chainring to small chainring wasn't abrupt enough...a languishing and not deliberate shift would precipitate this.


My counterpoint.

Last edited by Campag4life; 06-22-16 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:16 AM
  #25  
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Old thread, but it doesn't surprise me that SRAM would increase the chainring spacing slightly -- they've really committed to allowing any gear combination without issue or rattle (regardless of whether us nerds on BF approve of extreme cross-chaining ), and adding spacers between one chainring and the spider was the old-school way to do it.
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