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Getting an external BB XT crank to work on a road bike

Old 03-18-08, 02:18 PM
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Getting an external BB XT crank to work on a road bike

I am getting ready to finally by my crank for my new long distance road bike. I want gearing for a normal human being so a 48/36/26 chainring set would be perfect. The XT crank would be a good high performance value in my opinion.

My issues ...

The front derailer. I like STI shifting but realize that the MTB crank chainline is further out. My guess is that one would need a XT front derailer to shift the chain to the big chainring implying that a bar-end or downtube shifter would be needed. How do the hoods of Campy or Shimano STI shifter compare to their brake-lever-only cousins? That is, are they approximately the same size and shape? Alternatively, one could go with the IRD Alpina triple derailer and hope that it reaches. Anyone with such experience?

Lastly, how much wider is a XT crank relative to road triple crank? Is it one centimeter -- my guess from the chainline being 50 mm instead of 45 mm?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 03-18-08, 02:21 PM
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Oh ... this is a pseudo touring bike. Steel frame with the ability to mount racks and such. I posted here since the question has been bouncing around for ages and touring forum members (cyccocommute comes to mind) have debated the question for a while.
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Old 03-18-08, 04:09 PM
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You may be able to fit the chainrings you want to your existing crank. Slsa make some nice ones and you should be able to get them from your lbs.
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Old 03-18-08, 06:30 PM
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It's hard to say without looking at your project, but I'm guessing you might be looking at trouble. There's 3 of things to think about-- chainline, fitting the crankset to the new frame, getting a front derailer that will work with your shifters.

I'm not saying this can't be done, but unless you're pretty savvy working on bikes, you may have a lot of headache.
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Old 03-18-08, 08:16 PM
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Shimano "Mountain" Front derailuers have a different cable pull than their "Road" FD's. However If memory serves the chainring spacing is the same between the two breeds. You might want to look into something like a 3rd eye chain watcher just to make sure you don't overshift off the little ring with a road DR houwever. I wouldn't expect the chainline to be enough different to cause significant problems, the only likely issue would be if you tried to cross chain from the big ring to the bigger cogs, but you shouldn't be doing that anyways. Also be aware that you will probably need to take a couple links out of the chain if it was sized using a 50 or 53 Big ring.

Having said all that a (possibly) simpler option might be to switch rear cassettes to something like a 12-35. This might be cheaper and easier than swapping the cranks. IRD makes one in 10spd if thats what you have. Could do it with simple cassette and RD swap. See the Harris cyclery website. https://sheldonbrown.com/harris/k7.html#10
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Old 03-18-08, 08:33 PM
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What about the sugino xd crank?

https://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Cranksets.aspx

The chainrings are 46, 36, 26, and I think they work fine with STI. Don't quote me on that though, I use bar end shifters.
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Old 03-18-08, 08:37 PM
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I'm watching this with some interest because I've been thinking along the same lines.

Is a Tiagra triple front derailleur so fussy that it wouldn't be able to shift it's range out by 5 mm? Until the spring sprung I used an older Shimano 600 double front derailleur with a triple crank. No problem. Even with that both the outer and inner limits were set by the stop screws not by maximum travel of the derailleur.

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Old 03-18-08, 09:14 PM
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It's not only the frount derailer that's the trouble, it's the ramps and pins on the chainrings. Because it's harder to trim the front shifting with STI, the chain, FD cage and chainrings need to be parallel.

This is why using friction for front shifting is so much better if your building a bike out of spare parts.

Most newer bikes are designed for Shimano shifters and cranks (Sram, Truvativ, ect use the Shimano specs) Older bikes built with Suntour, SR, ect... are tougher to retrofit.
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Old 03-18-08, 10:30 PM
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I've got a used XT two piece in the mail, no chainrings, gonna run 44-32-22 with barends cuz I've already got all that. Doesn't have quite the high end I'd like, but the spacing actually looks excellent with an 11-28 8 speed cassette. 48-36-26 has a higher top, natch, but the spacing has bad overlaps with every cassette I've plugged into sheldon's gear calculator. You may be better off looking for a 110/74 crank with 48-38-28 rings if you want decent spacing and a good high end.

I think Cyccommute uses an XT trekking crank with a Tiagra triple and STI shifters. Road and mountain front derailleurs are not interchangeable due to different cable pull ratios. Thusly, if you want to use STI shifters you MUST use a road front derailleur, which will probably shift as well as indexed front shifting gets. The chainline is not an issue up front; it's why all derailleurs have limit stop adjustment screws. Chainline in back may be less than ideal if your spacing in back is 130 or less.

As for your brake lever question... I presently have a set of broken STI levers, with the internals removed and remnants JB welded together, curing on my windowsill. I have found shimano aero brake levers to be too small for my comfort, and I don't like the feel of the tektro ergo knockoffs. Wish shimano would update their aero lever with the new STI shape, but I've found my own path as usual.
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Old 03-19-08, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Thasiet
As for your brake lever question... I presently have a set of broken STI levers, with the internals removed and remnants JB welded together, curing on my windowsill. I have found shimano aero brake levers to be too small for my comfort, and I don't like the feel of the tektro ergo knockoffs. Wish shimano would update their aero lever with the new STI shape, but I've found my own path as usual.
Cane Creek makes a decent lever that I really like the feel of. They have more of an STI shape to them with the larger diameter to the hoods.

https://www.canecreek.com/scr-5-brake-levers.html
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Old 03-19-08, 01:28 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys. I should have gone into more detail. So here is what I have figured out so far ...

The frame is a Salsa La Raza. Essentially a classic sport-touring/road bike that can fit 28 mm tires. In addition to "fast" centuries/club rides I am thinking of using the bike for sporty credit card tours while using the Bike Friday for loaded tours/plane travel.

The XT crank can fit onto the frame. The crank comes with spaces to fit the 68 mm shell. I understand that there might be issues with the angle from the BB to the rear cassette. Although it appears that different XT front derailers are made to accommodate the different angles.

I have tested a 105 front derailer to see how far out laterally the cage could be moved past the big chainring of a road crank. It might work ... I just need 5 mm. But it is a close call and, consequently, not a very robust system. Hence my thought about using a downtube shifter -- the La Raza has downtube mounts -- for a MTB front derailer while keeping an STI shifter for the rear.

An alternative is to fit a 48/38/26 chainrings to a regular road 130 BCD crank or go with a square taper or octalink BB 110 BCD triple or compact crank with a "triplizer". New ramped and pinned chainrings for a 130 BCD crank, however, would be pretty expensive and without the flexibility I would like ... it would be nice to change one's mind in the future and do a 48/36/24. Moreover, I would like to avoid using a MTB cassette to maintain the granularity of a road cassette.

BTW, has anyone else noticed that Terry is now selling a bike with a Sugino external BB crank with a 48/38/26 chainring combination? I have yet to see one available at any store; but it would make the decision easier.

Oh the other issue that crossed my mind is that the XT crank will have 9-speed chainrings on it and have difficulty with the more narrow 10-speed chain.
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Old 03-19-08, 01:51 PM
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Oohhh. You're trying to go 10 speed on top everything else.

I like the gears for a 44-32-22 and an 11x32 9 speed cassette. You get a reasonable high, a knee loving low , good granularity, and the complications of trying to mix the mountain/touring equipment and the 10 speed equipment go away.

I really like the external BBs. I would like to have a bike with STI. I am feeling the dream of having both at the same time slipping away...

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Old 03-19-08, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BikEthan
Cane Creek makes a decent lever that I really like the feel of. They have more of an STI shape to them with the larger diameter to the hoods.

https://www.canecreek.com/scr-5-brake-levers.html
The cane creeks are, I'm pretty sure, made by tektro but sold at a higher price... My comments on tektros still apply therefore, as well as my suspicion that unless you want the aesthetics of gum hoods, the Cane Creeks are a ripoff. Both companies newly offer a v-brake compatible aero lever however, which I do like, and thought about switching to v-brakes to use that lever:

https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=1597

Since v-brakes need to pull more cable, the cable anchor needs to be farther above the lever pivot, forcing the hood to have a sharper, taller horn. This I like because my hand can wedge more securely against it. It is more like the campy 8 speed shape than the 9/10 speed shape the standard pull levers use.

STI is still the best, though, and my frame really isn't compatible with v-brakes in back anyway.
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Old 03-19-08, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand
I have tested a 105 front derailer to see how far out laterally the cage could be moved past the big chainring of a road crank. It might work ... I just need 5 mm. But it is a close call and, consequently, not a very robust system. Hence my thought about using a downtube shifter -- the La Raza has downtube mounts -- for a MTB front derailer while keeping an STI shifter for the rear.
Modern mtb derailleurs are actually designed for 44t max. Shimano trekking cranksets are kind of a b4st4rd child in that respect, and you may actually get better results with a road front, even if you go with dt shifters.

can you get a link to that terry with the sugino crankset? I've been wanting them (or anyone) to do a 110/74 two piece triple.
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Old 03-20-08, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Thasiet
Modern mtb derailleurs are actually designed for 44t max. Shimano trekking cranksets are kind of a b4st4rd child in that respect, and you may actually get better results with a road front, even if you go with dt shifters.

can you get a link to that terry with the sugino crankset? I've been wanting them (or anyone) to do a 110/74 two piece triple.
If I understand the Shimano website, they make two sets of XT front derailers for 44 and 48t respectively. Oh ... I wrote set since they produce a top and bottom pull version.

Here is a link to the bike ... you can see the crank in the specs.

https://www.terrybicycles.com/cycling...isissport.html

BTW, I already wrote to Sugino inquiring about a 110 BCD external bearing triple crankset and they wrote back that there are no plans for one.
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Old 03-20-08, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedo
Oohhh. You're trying to go 10 speed on top everything else.

I like the gears for a 44-32-22 and an 11x32 9 speed cassette. You get a reasonable high, a knee loving low , good granularity, and the complications of trying to mix the mountain/touring equipment and the 10 speed equipment go away.

I really like the external BBs. I would like to have a bike with STI. I am feeling the dream of having both at the same time slipping away...

Speedo
Yep. The project is a royal pain in the butt. But with the new boy and getting ready to move, I still have time to procrastinate and ponder my choice. Although I think that I have exhausted the different possibilities and will choose between the road crank with new chainrings or a 110 BCD compact with the triplizer (the advantage is that it would already have 10-speed rings).

You still can with your NWT. New cassette and shifters and you will be golden.

As someone else wrote, there are 10 speed versions of the ultra-wide MTB cassettes. Moreover there are tweener versions such as 12-30 and 11-30 ... as well as the SRAM 11-28.
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Old 03-20-08, 03:56 PM
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BTW, I already wrote to Sugino inquiring about a 110 BCD external bearing triple crankset and they wrote back that there are no plans for one.[/QUOTE]

Yeah sorry, I wasn't paying attention when I posted and missed the "external bb" part of the equation.
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Old 03-28-08, 04:56 PM
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Update.

One can do it. There is a 6.5 mm spacer external to the outboard bearing on an XT crank. Just move the space to the other side -- or split the spacers to both sides -- to reduce the chainline for a road derailer.

Further research, however, revealed that the q-factor on the XT crank is quite high relative to a road crank. I have seen estimates on the order of another 2 cm. I will probably pass.
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Old 03-28-08, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Thasiet
I've got a used XT two piece in the mail, no chainrings, gonna run 44-32-22 with barends cuz I've already got all that. Doesn't have quite the high end I'd like, but the spacing actually looks excellent with an 11-28 8 speed cassette. 48-36-26 has a higher top, natch, but the spacing has bad overlaps with every cassette I've plugged into sheldon's gear calculator. You may be better off looking for a 110/74 crank with 48-38-28 rings if you want decent spacing and a good high end.

I think Cyccommute uses an XT trekking crank with a Tiagra triple and STI shifters. Road and mountain front derailleurs are not interchangeable due to different cable pull ratios. Thusly, if you want to use STI shifters you MUST use a road front derailleur, which will probably shift as well as indexed front shifting gets. The chainline is not an issue up front; it's why all derailleurs have limit stop adjustment screws. Chainline in back may be less than ideal if your spacing in back is 130 or less.

As for your brake lever question... I presently have a set of broken STI levers, with the internals removed and remnants JB welded together, curing on my windowsill. I have found shimano aero brake levers to be too small for my comfort, and I don't like the feel of the tektro ergo knockoffs. Wish shimano would update their aero lever with the new STI shape, but I've found my own path as usual.
Sorry to come so late to the discussion. Yes, I use an XT trekking on one bike and a Race Face Turbine on my touring bike but both are splined bottom brackets. I do have an external bearing crank on my mountain bike and would love to put one on my touring bike but the current crank is too new to replace.

There's a little adjustment in the RaceFace external crank for chainline and I suspect that the Shimano must make some allowance for adjustment too.
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Old 03-31-08, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
There's a little adjustment in the RaceFace external crank for chainline and I suspect that the Shimano must make some allowance for adjustment too.
Regarding the XT crank, there are also .8, 1.7, and 2.5 mm shims on the inside of the drive side external bearing cup and a 2.5 mm shim on the non-drive side. I think that the 2.5 mm shims are for 68 mm and 73 mm compatibility. But it suggests that you can move those shims around too.

I also think that the 9-speed chainrings/crank is a non-issue with the 10-speed chain.

https://v11.velonews.com/phorum3/read...65462&t=265462
https://www.wheelworks.co.nz/articles...o_10_Speed.pdf
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Old 03-31-08, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Thasiet
The cane creeks are, I'm pretty sure, made by tektro but sold at a higher price... My comments on tektros still apply therefore, as well as my suspicion that unless you want the aesthetics of gum hoods, the Cane Creeks are a ripoff. Both companies newly offer a v-brake compatible aero lever however, which I do like, and thought about switching to v-brakes to use that lever:

https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=1597

Since v-brakes need to pull more cable, the cable anchor needs to be farther above the lever pivot, forcing the hood to have a sharper, taller horn. This I like because my hand can wedge more securely against it. It is more like the campy 8 speed shape than the 9/10 speed shape the standard pull levers use.

STI is still the best, though, and my frame really isn't compatible with v-brakes in back anyway.
I don't think the Cane Creek SCR-5s are made by Tektro but regardless, they are SWEET brake levers. They are very well made and feel good to the hands. They are NOT V-brake compatible. The bike in question has road caliper brakes anyway, so SCR-5s would be an excellent choice to go with bar-end or downtube shifters.
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Old 03-31-08, 02:31 PM
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I have the new Shimano XT trekking cranks 48/36/26 on a road bike with the matching f derailleur. Part No.'s FC-M771 and FD-M773 respectively. I have road hubs (130mm) so there is some minor cross chain but not enough to worry about. (I have this on a Gunnar Sport so it has longish chainstays.) I finessed a lot by using XTR cassette, XTR rear derailleur and Dura Ace down tube shifters. The Q is no problem for me--unnoticeable, even. The whole thing shifts like a dream. The triple is the smoothest even compared to my Ultegra double.

Using BL-R600 brake levers with very comfortable hoods and hidden cables. The exposed cables on Shimano brifters are a show stopper for me although they are supposed to come out with hidden cable brifters later this year in which case I might rethink.

I know this doesn't quite match what you are trying to do but hope my experience is useful to you anyway since I went through a similar design tradeoff process to arrive at the current point. I find dt shifters okay for long distance but not so good in a pace line and that was the big tradoff I eventually came to.
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Old 03-31-08, 09:58 PM
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I run a 44-34-24 9spd splined bb with 105 10spd FD and 105 10spd rear on my long haul. Chainline is identical to the XT external bearing drives. I have no chainline problems. Also 9 and 10spd chains are the same size so there will be no problem with 9spd front rings on a 10spd driveline
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Old 04-02-08, 03:41 PM
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The claim here that STI's must be used with road FD's is incorrect. Co-motion uses Dura-ace STI's and an XT FD. I'm going to be using this same set-up myself, so I needed to make sure the combination would work, and it does.
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Old 04-02-08, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Evans224
The claim here that STI's must be used with road FD's is incorrect. Co-motion uses Dura-ace STI's and an XT FD. I'm going to be using this same set-up myself, so I needed to make sure the combination would work, and it does.
I've tried it and never been successful. If you do a search, you'll find that is most people's experience.
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