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Shifting 28-39-53?

Old 01-01-16, 07:15 PM
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Chancy
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Shifting 28-39-53?

Hi Folks,

We live in South Louisiana and rarely use the small ring, but we do tour (self-supported) where we encounter hills. On our current tandem, Santana Arriva with 30-42-52 rings with an 11-34 cassette, we swapped out the 30t small ring for a 26t and it helped us last year in Croatia. The one drawback was the upshift from the small ring to the middle ring is difficult at times. I often have to over-shift to the large ring and come back down to the middle. We use the small ring so little it hasn't been too much of a pain and when needed, the 26t ring helps us flatlanders up hills! We are getting a new Santana Beyond soon and the stock chain rings are 30-39-53 and we've opted for the 11-36 cassette because we are going to the Czech republic in late May...and I've heard there are hills there! I am considering also having the 30t ring swapped out for a 28t. With a 28x36 low gear we will be close to our current 26x34 in gear inches. The new bike will have an Ultegra front derailleur and I think the shift from 28t to 39t should be okay, only an 11 tooth jump, what say you? Anyone with an Ultegra FD running a 28t small ring with a 39t middle and care to share how it shifts?

Tailwinds,
Charlie
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Old 01-01-16, 11:43 PM
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jnbrown
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WE have 50/39/28 in front and 12-32 in back. Front shifts great using Campy Centaur derailleur.
One key is to have low friction in the cables. Since our cables run through holes under the BB of frame they would get coated with dirt and gummy drink from our bottles and then I could barely shift at all with fear of breaking the cable. The solution was to cut open some shift cable housing and put the thin plastic liner through the holes in our frame. I also put some Rock N Roll cable magic lube on the cables. Now it works perfectly.
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Old 01-01-16, 11:51 PM
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You could consider a 48-38-28 crankset
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Old 01-02-16, 12:15 AM
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B. Carfree
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We use an old Dura Ace triple front derailleur with 53-39-26 up front. It shifts great. Like the OP, we rarely use the smallest ring, but when we do loaded rides in the coast range or Cascades it comes in mighty handy.
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Old 01-02-16, 12:23 AM
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We run a 26-39-53 which shifts OK. To get the middle ring, captain calls the shift, we spin up the granny, ease off the power, and it shifts fine. If we get into a climb where we should have been in the granny, we have to get the power off the drivetrain to get it to shift down, which isn't always easy, but nothing to do with the 26. I'm glad we have the wide range. We have 12-34 in back, which was fine for us touring loaded in the Czech Republic, though we packed light, about 40 pounds counting everything. On the flat we normally ride in the big ring even loaded, maybe only 1/2 mph slower than in sport trim.
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Old 01-02-16, 11:14 PM
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Well it looks like some of you are using 28-39-53 and even 26-39-53, so we should be okay with 28-39-53 with an Ultegra FD. We'll definitely put it on for our trip to Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. It it shifts good we'll leave it alone, if not we'll switch to the original 30t and save the 28t for trips away from home...every where else is hilly compared to South Louisiana!

Tailwinds,
Charlie
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Old 01-03-16, 02:20 AM
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The shifting is never going to be as good when not using matched chainrings with synchronized shifting ramps and gates. However, 28-39 normally works better than 26-39. Also, make sure that the spacing of the small, 28-tooth chainring matches that of the original 30 tooth. On most Shimano cranks, the inner ring has a small step that puts the teeth slightly further inboard than on many aftermarket rings; to achieve the same spacing with an aftermarket ring, find some thin washers with a large enough hole for the chainring bolt and place one between the ring and each mounting arm (about 0.5 or 1 mm thickness is all you need).

Another way to improve things is to put a Campagnolo shift/brake lever on the left side. Campagnolo shifters give a more continuous control of the front derailleur so that you can overshift the front derailleur slightly to ease the chain into the middle ring more easily. An old left-hand shifter from a Campy 10-speed group that someone doesn't want anymore is ideal if you can find one. Another alternative is a left-hand bar end shifter. There's no need to change your front derailleur with either of these options, and having mis-matched levers just shows other people that you're really picky about your gear and that you really know what you're doing.
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Old 01-03-16, 09:05 AM
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One of our bikes came with sort of a strange combo 54-44-26. Shifting from small to middle is fine. This is an XT front derailer with 9-speed. On the other hand, shifting into the small that has been more problematic. Sort of have to plan for it, give it time to do its thing. Can't do it under any sort of load. I am swapping middle-small out for 41-28 as the 26 was definitely overkill with a 36 in back.
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Old 01-03-16, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
We use an old Dura Ace triple front derailleur with 53-39-26 up front. It shifts great. Like the OP, we rarely use the smallest ring, but when we do loaded rides in the coast range or Cascades it comes in mighty handy.
We run this gearing and front derailleur along with a Campy Record long cage rear with a 12-30 10 speed cassette. Bike shifts fine up and down all three chainrings and I'm running FSA middle and big rings - and a salsa 26 little ring.
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Old 01-03-16, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
The shifting is never going to be as good when not using matched chainrings with synchronized shifting ramps and gates. However, 28-39 normally works better than 26-39. Also, make sure that the spacing of the small, 28-tooth chainring matches that of the original 30 tooth. On most Shimano cranks, the inner ring has a small step that puts the teeth slightly further inboard than on many aftermarket rings; to achieve the same spacing with an aftermarket ring, find some thin washers with a large enough hole for the chainring bolt and place one between the ring and each mounting arm (about 0.5 or 1 mm thickness is all you need).

Another way to improve things is to put a Campagnolo shift/brake lever on the left side. Campagnolo shifters give a more continuous control of the front derailleur so that you can overshift the front derailleur slightly to ease the chain into the middle ring more easily. An old left-hand shifter from a Campy 10-speed group that someone doesn't want anymore is ideal if you can find one. Another alternative is a left-hand bar end shifter. There's no need to change your front derailleur with either of these options, and having mis-matched levers just shows other people that you're really picky about your gear and that you really know what you're doing.
I agree. Our front shifting, especially down to granny under load, improved greatly when we moved to campy pre 07 shifters from ultegra / da 10 speed shifters.
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