Problems with FSA K-Force Compact cranks

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by kennethn, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. kennethn

    kennethn New Member

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    Recently I switched to FSA K-Force compact 50/34 cranks on my Specialized E5 S-Works. I also bought an FSA C-16 derailleur because I'd heard of problems with the compact cranks and normal derailleurs. My LBS installed the cranks and attempted to install the C-16, but couldn't get smooth shifting. The guy said "it just didn't work." They put my Ultegra 6600 derailleur back on and claimed that Ultegras work fine with compact cranks.

    Since then I've had nothing but problems. Warming up on the trainer before races I often can't get into the big ring, and I occasionally experience that while riding. Shifting is fine on a work stand. Today I had to bail out of a race because I couldn't shift into the small ring. Tonight I spent several hours trying to work out the shifting. I reinstalled the C-16 and it didn't seem to be any better, so I went back to the Ultegra.

    Here's the problem - the limit screws seem to be very sensitive. I can't shift onto the big ring, so I twist the limit screw a quarter of a turn and then it overshoots the big ring. Same with the smaller ring - it either won't shift down or it blows right off into the bottom bracket. I've adjusted lots of front derailleurs in my life, usually it's a trivial operation. But something just isn't right with this compact. I followed some instructions on FSA's web site suggesting that I move the derailleur up higher than normal (I seated it about 4 mm above the crank instead of the typical 2 mm). Eventually I got it so the shifting was workable on my stand, but 9 times out of 10 I can't get into the big ring while on the road. When it does shift up it chews and spits for several turns before locking on.

    Any advice? Unless I'm missing something obvious or there's a secret trick, I'm ditching these compact cranks and going back to my 53/39.
     
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  2. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Have you cleaned all the protective grease off the chain and chainrings?

    Are the chain and chainrings both 10 speed?

    Don't take the word of the shop or the stickers on the parts/boxes, get a magnifying glass out and check out the manufacturers marks on each of them. Check the chain is not installed upside down (manufacturers marks up).
     
  3. kennethn

    kennethn New Member

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    Yes, both chain and chainrings are 10-speed. My LBS even put a new Dura-Ace 7801 chain on with the cranks.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I installed an FSA SLK Megaexo compact crankset (50/34) on my road bike (Campy Chorus) a year ago and have no problems with shifting. I did not change the front derailleur and IIRC my LBS had to make only minor adjustments. The FSA compact cranks are pretty popular here because of the hills and I'm pretty sure there are Shimano users who are running the FSA compact cranks with their standard Shimano derailleurs. I do find the compact crank provides me with a lot of flexibility to set up my bike for different courses by simply changing the cassette. I run a 13/29 for hill climbs and an 11/21 or 11/23 for flat courses.
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    OLD or NEW cables? Who did the installation?

    Regardless, check for binding in/through the housing ...

    More important:

    CHECK TO ENSURE THAT THE FRONT DERAILLEUR CABLE IS PROPERLY ROUTED (!?!) THROUGH THE CHANNEL BENEATH THE BOTTOM BRACKET!!!

    Use this extended moment-of-frustration as an excuse to switch to Campagnolo shifters! In addition to being better (I'm just tossing that out to get STI users a bit riled up :) -- I do have both, but definitely prefer Campagnolo), Campagnolo shifters will make you look smarter ...
     
  6. kennethn

    kennethn New Member

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    Originally old, but I put new cables on and am still having problems.

    Palo Alto Bicycles, quite reputable.

    I've doublechecked that, and in the process of putting a new cable on was able to route it again, so I don't think this is the problem.

    Heh, I don't care how I look, as long as I win. :)
     
  7. tanggoman

    tanggoman New Member

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    I have a FSA Gossamer compact cranks with D/A 10 FD. I installed it last June and so far, its been going very well - no problems with shifting from small to big or vice versa, no chain drops from both sides. You just have to be patient when adjusting the FD. Do a search on the web on how to adjust FD and you'll find tons of articles. Or go to www.sheldonbrown.com as this site is anything and everything bicycles.

    Good luck!
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Okay, humor me and check the cable routing, again ...

    Think about it. Your OLD front derailleur generally would NOT require any adjustments to the stops when being re-installed onto the bike it came off of ... okay, the chainrings on different cranks aren't always the same distance from the bike's centerline, but more often than not, they are, now; so, the only adjustment you/whomever really needed to make was to mount the OLD front derailleur in a lower position than before (presuming you had a 52t or 53t large chainring in the past).

    THIS PRESUMES YOUR SHIFTER WORKED PROPERLY BEFORE YOU CHANGED CRANKS ...

    BTW. To state what should be obvious, when you are turning the adjusting screws, you want to be sure the derailleur's pivot/"mechanism" is NOT pressing against the particular stop.

    Campagnolo shifts first time, everytime -- if you can't shift, you're going to have a tough time training/winning ...
     
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