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Touring with a Shimano 105 Road Triple

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Touring with a Shimano 105 Road Triple

Old 10-06-15, 03:40 PM
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Touring with a Shimano 105 Road Triple

This is just some advice for anyone who wants to tour with a road-bike triple and what I learned from the experience.

Firstly, I toured Spain and Italy for 5 weeks last summer with my bicycle (Charge Plug 4 2014 - 10-speed 105 kit) configured 50/34 and 12-28 (1.21 turn ratio, 32.7 gear inches). Some mountains were killer and I had to walk up but overall I survived, with some painful knees at times.

By last winter I'd changed to a 50/39/30 and 12-30 Tiagra cassette for my tour in South America (1:1 - 27 gi). It was much better but climbing some mountains was real tough, though I'd managed to go as high as 1250m on a very hot day with lots of horseflies buzzing around to motivate me to keep going, it was tough.

Upon my return I reversed the b-screw on my short-cage rear derailleur and successfully fitted an 11-32 SRAM cassette (0.93 - 25.4 gi). A recent weekend in the Welsh mountains made me reconsider my options... I was climbing better, but still there were some places just too steep to handle, and that's carrying no gear! So recently I decided to see if I could change my granny ring from 30 to 26 - success!

So to summarise with a standard 10-speed 105 triple, if you need more gearing you can get from the official 30/30 front/rear short cage limit to 26/32 (0.81 ratio - 21.9 gear inches)

I think that's probably the maximum one can get out of a road-triple, but I'd like too see if anyone improves on it.

Obligatory bike photo attached with current setup.

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Old 10-06-15, 04:06 PM
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I would first go with a 105 GS RD, or even a SGS 9-speed mountain RD to get it to 34 or 36 cog.

For my 8,9 speed bikes instead of the 74/130mm crankset I would simply go with a 74/110mm crankset, but on 10 speed this may be problematic. Shedon Brown says older cranksets will work with 10-speed, but I would want to put in some research before trying it.

Touring Triple Cranks and Cranksets for Bicycles 110-74 BCD

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Old 10-06-15, 04:35 PM
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Yup. You're better off touring with touring gears.
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Old 10-06-15, 06:38 PM
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After my first tour, I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as too low.
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Old 10-07-15, 04:45 AM
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I've done credit-card tours with a 105 50/39/30 triple and 11-28 cassette. With no more than about 10lbs in a saddlebag, I found I could get up most things. It's much higher gearing than I would use for fully-loaded touring, but significantly lower than I normally run on my other road bike, when my lowest would be 36/27.

So it boils down to what sort of experience you want. Go ultralight and you can manage with taller gearing, but it is certainly a higher speed, less relaxed trip than one gets with a more traditional touring-specific setup.
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Old 10-07-15, 04:53 AM
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You can go as low as a 24 tooth on a 130/74 bcd crank. That means you'll get a 15 tooth drop from the middle chain ring to the small (from a 39 to a 24) which is tough for a lot of front derailleurs to handle. I picked up a 2009 fuji touring bike recently that came stock with a 130/74 bcd crank and I'm going to swap it out before I go touring with that bike.

Shimano has done a poor job in recent years of providing gear for touring cyclists which tells you that touring is a small piece of the market.

The deore trekking crank is a better choice for touring than a road triple.

The deore 9 speed rear derailleur is a better choice for touring than a ultegra/105/tiagra long cage rear.
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Old 10-07-15, 08:05 AM
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It has been done.. riding across the country without asking on this forum too..

Build factories fit components as shipped to them at the best price.. in volume.

Its up to the buyer to seek out non standard parts substitutions , if that is what they want.
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Old 10-07-15, 04:14 PM
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I suggest that you get a 11-36 cassette (9 or 10 speed) and a Shimano M592 RD, along with your 26T granny ring.
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Old 10-08-15, 12:53 PM
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Some interesting points to think about from everyone, thanks. I think I'm going to be just fine with this new 26t granny ring - will report after the next tour
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