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Double for light touring

Old 02-19-24, 09:05 AM
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Double for light touring

I am looking to switch over a classic style Mariposa touring bike from somewhat clunky 2001 Daytona/Racing T 3x9 to 2x11. I have already bought Centaur 11 levers and derailleurs and am now trying to decide on crankset and cassette.

I do occasional group B&B touring with perhaps 20 lbs of luggage but the bike would mainly be used on day rides with just a rack top bag. However, I am 61 YO and not all that fit. I was thinking 46/30 up front and Miche 12-34 (SH) in the back (I would never need more than 105 gear-inches on this bike so am far more interested in the low end). I know that that total would exceed the rated 37 chain wrap by 1 tooth and that the front derailleur is not designed for subcompacts. I don't need the level of precision in the shifting that I have with Athena 11 on my road bike but I also wouldn't want to be constantly fiddling with shifts from the saddle.

I suppose I could go with a Miche 13-34 to meet the rated chain wrap but I might then miss the top end once in a while. So the quick question is whether my 12-34 46/30 combination will work well and - if the chain wrap would be a problem - then will the 46/30 work at least, as I could probably live with 46/30 and 12-32, in which case I would probably use the Centaur 11 cassette rather than the Miche.SH one.

Thanks in advance for any good advice.

Last edited by KLittler; 02-20-24 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 02-19-24, 11:08 AM
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46t front 12t rear works out to 45 km/h at 90 rpm leg cadence. Even a 13t cog still gives you 41 km/h. Do you ride that fast often or is this more of a downhill thing?
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Old 02-19-24, 08:57 PM
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Never, aside from a big downhill run and I get edgy approaching 40kmh.

So thanks, the 13 tooth small cog makes sense then but the question remains as to whether a 46/30 will be shifted OK by Campagnolo 11 - and Centaur 11 in particular?

Last edited by KLittler; 02-20-24 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 02-20-24, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by KLittler
Never, aside from a big downhill run and I get edgy approaching 40kmh.

So thanks, the 13 tooth small cog makes sense then but the question remains as to whether a 46/30 will be shifted OK by Campagnolo 11 - and Centaur 11 in particular?
not too many campy users here, I would suggest also looking into some sort of campy forums or other online resources. An experienced bike mechanic may help, but often the store they work at shy away from "it might work" answers, its just easier and less hassle going with known answers. Helping a customer with improvisation or maybes can easily be a headache if the customer is a complainy sort of person.
Lets say you find yourself not getting an easy working solution, would you ever consider going to a friction front shifter? With the right shaped fd , front friction is a nice, easy to use, elegant and quiet solution--and you arent shifting chainrings a ton anyway, so not in my opinion, a problem or hassle pain in the arse day to day thing.
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Old 02-20-24, 12:09 PM
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I suppose that I would consider a friction shifter if nothing else worked and just turn my left Ergo lever into a brake lever - but I don't really want a bar end or downtube shifter unless I have to and I am presuming that a bar-mounted thumbie might limit my ability to mount a strap on bagel bar bag (maybe not).
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Old 02-20-24, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by KLittler
I suppose that I would consider a friction shifter if nothing else worked and just turn my left Ergo lever into a brake lever - but I don't really want a bar end or downtube shifter unless I have to and I am presuming that a bar-mounted thumbie might limit my ability to mount a strap on bagel bar bag (maybe not).
Again, no personal campy experience, but I once changed a 50/39/30 to 50/39/26 and my Shimano left brifter and fd had no issues at all with a 4t smaller chain ring--if your fd is made to work with a 16t difference in chain rings, as long as you can position the fd properly, one would think it would work
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Old 02-20-24, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Again, no personal campy experience, but I once changed a 50/39/30 to 50/39/26 and my Shimano left brifter and fd had no issues at all with a 4t smaller chain ring--if your fd is made to work with a 16t difference in chain rings, as long as you can position the fd properly, one would think it would work
Thanks. That is what I was thinking/hoping..

When 50/34 and 52/36 compacts first came out, people were using the same front derailleurs that came with standard 53/39 cranksets, so a three-tooth difference and I note that the current Chorus 12 FD is used for 52/36, 50/34 and 48/32, so a four-tooth difference. I am sure that the curve of the cage more closely follows one size than another but I have to think that there is some tolerance for different sized big rings.

Fortunately, I do have a clamp-on FD currently rather than a braze-on, as I showed up with full components before my frame was built in 2004, so the frame-builder never bothered with a braze-on. I should be able to position the derailleur well..
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Old 02-20-24, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by KLittler
Thanks. That is what I was thinking/hoping..

When 50/34 and 52/36 compacts first came out, people were using the same front derailleurs that came with standard 53/39 cranksets, so a three-tooth difference and I note that the current Chorus 12 FD is used for 52/36, 50/34 and 48/32, so a four-tooth difference. I am sure that the curve of the cage more closely follows one size than another but I have to think that there is some tolerance for different sized big rings.

Fortunately, I do have a clamp-on FD currently rather than a braze-on, as I showed up with full components before my frame was built in 2004, so the frame-builder never bothered with a braze-on. I should be able to position the derailleur well..
My Shimano brifters have those half position thing also for the left brifter, can't recall name of it. It works really well for not getting rub with a triple.

Have you ever heard of gevenalle shifters? I have them on my touring bike. A neat alternative to bar end shifters or dt
You could use only the left one, but you might not like the weird look, Frankenstein setup.
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Old 02-20-24, 04:21 PM
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The 30/46 crank on my Topstone, with the 11-34 cassette would be a perfect setup for light touring. It’s a readily available set of components.
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Old 02-20-24, 05:53 PM
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I use Record 11 speed shifters with Chorus 11 speed derailleurs. Rings are 50/34,16 tooth difference. 46/30 is a 14 tooth difference. I'm fairly certain the curvature of the der. that works with a 34t ring will work with a 30t ring, and the tooth count difference is nothing to be concerned with at 14t.
FWIW the shifters and derailleurs are set up for rim brakes, the crank set is a Record 11 HF (hydro brakes) which has different spacing than rim brake crank and everything works to perfection.
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Old 02-20-24, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by KLittler
I suppose that I would consider a friction shifter if nothing else worked and just turn my left Ergo lever into a brake lever - but I don't really want a bar end or downtube shifter unless I have to and I am presuming that a bar-mounted thumbie might limit my ability to mount a strap on bagel bar bag (maybe not).
When I built up my rando bike, I used a rear brifter (Veloce 10 speed) but had no front brifter, so I used a downtube friction shifter as a temporary measure. That was in winter of 2015/16, the front downtube shifter is still in use and is now considered permanent.
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Old 02-20-24, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
When I built up my rando bike, I used a rear brifter (Veloce 10 speed) but had no front brifter, so I used a downtube friction shifter as a temporary measure. That was in winter of 2015/16, the front downtube shifter is still in use and is now considered permanent.
I seem to remember that there was a racing cyclist who used a downtube shifter up front because the brake lever/downtube shifter combination was lighter than the brifter. At a minimum, the cable was shorter.
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Old 02-20-24, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
I use Record 11 speed shifters with Chorus 11 speed derailleurs. Rings are 50/34,16 tooth difference. 46/30 is a 14 tooth difference. I'm fairly certain the curvature of the der. that works with a 34t ring will work with a 30t ring, and the tooth count difference is nothing to be concerned with at 14t.
FWIW the shifters and derailleurs are set up for rim brakes, the crank set is a Record 11 HF (hydro brakes) which has different spacing than rim brake crank and everything works to perfection.
Thanks, though I think you had a momentary brain-freeze (not that I don't have them as well). 46/30 is a 16 tooth difference, just like 50/34. The rest of your post is reassuring.
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Old 02-21-24, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by KLittler
I seem to remember that there was a racing cyclist who used a downtube shifter up front because the brake lever/downtube shifter combination was lighter than the brifter. At a minimum, the cable was shorter.
That was Lance Armstrong, not sure how long he did that but it was for at least one year, one of his early years.

Photo is of mine, lever is a vintage Huret shifter from a bin of used ones from a local bike charity. The cable end back when this was made had a different shape than now. The screw that held it to the shifter holder was not an M5 thread like the frame braze-on, so I used a bolt instead.



I use mine with a triple crank, but if you are using a double, no need for indexing because the lever is either all the way forward or all the way back. But in my case, I have to do a bit of back and forth when shifting on to the middle ring.

For a while I used a thumb screw from a Suntour shifter, but went back to the bolt. I always have a small multi-tool in my handlebar bag.

In my case, the older Tektro brake levers matched the older style Campy Ergo brifters, so the front brake lever visually matches the Campy brifter. Photo below is from when I first built it up, it was winter at that time.



But if you look close, I have a right hand brake lever on the left side of the handlebar, but you have to look close to see that. The bike charity where I bought it, that is what they had.

I had a touring bike with a defective frame, the frame went into the metal recycle bin, so I had a lot of parts looking for a new home, this frame provided that. But I tour with bar end shifters, for this bike I bought a used Campy brifter on Ebay.

Since the second photo was taken, dyno hub powered lights have been added to that bike too. I initially put spoke reflectors on, but now have tires with a reflective strip on the sides, the reflectors came off. For touring and for brevets, visibility is more important than looking cool, so reflective stuff is desired.
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Old 02-21-24, 07:47 AM
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KLittler, thanks for the correction! Its the simple things in life that get more difficult as one ages. LOL
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Old 02-21-24, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by KLittler
Never, aside from a big downhill run and I get edgy approaching 40kmh.

So thanks, the 13 tooth small cog makes sense then but the question remains as to whether a 46/30 will be shifted OK by Campagnolo 11 - and Centaur 11 in particular?
my touring bike has about the same top gear you are thinking of for this bike, about 105 gear inches, and I can spin it out to a bit over 50kph (at a fairly high cadence though)
I agree, this is a good top gear, as for 95% (or more) of the time, this is fine and we can still easily ride at 40kph if we have a giant tailwind or slight downhill, and you made it clear you prefer staying under 40kph.

re "light touring", I guess I am biased, but I would always go the route of a lower low gear when you are choosing components.
As you say, prioritising the low end in the real world is more important, and you already know what high is high enough.
I guess you need to figure out what low you would really like, and consider the compromises that work best for you if you would really prefer a tighter cassette with smaller jumps between shifts for all the unloaded rides - vs - a wider cassette with a lower low gear---but then you of course get into component ranges etc

good luck figuring out your priorities and what actually works, and at X cost etc.
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Old 02-21-24, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
KLittler, thanks for the correction! Its the simple things in life that get more difficult as one ages. LOL
And thanks for the advice.

BTW, those Ti Habaneros are lovely. I remember first seeing them on the Harris Cyclery site years ago when they offered a complete version (Shimangolo, Sheldon Brown called the mix). That frameset is one of my Walter Mitty ones, built only in my head, along with several fantasy Pegorettis and currently, the Ritchey Logic road.

Last edited by KLittler; 02-21-24 at 12:15 PM.
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