Slightly off topic, but i need opinions from Power Forum Readers



tmctguer

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Sep 9, 2003
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please pardon my slightly off topic post, but i value the opinion of the people who frequent the Power Training forum.

I have a 2002 Cannondale CADD 7 with Campagnolo Record components (52/39 front, 13/26 rear). I am very happy with my Campy gear but want to move to a triple chain ring in front and use this bike as my "steep climbing" bike. my other bike is Dura Ace and I am contemplating switching the entire Campy Record gruppo to a Shimano gruppo. as a bit of background, I will probably rarely use the small front ring except on infrequent unusually steep climbing rides (probably 2 - 3 times/year). I just turned 50, and getting up 10% grades in 39/27 is getting harder each time I try it.

here's where i need the advice: the Dura Ace 7803 triple ring gruppo is around $1875 US while the Ultegra SC Triple gruppo is $1145 US. Since I am used to great shifting gruppos (my Campy Record and my Dura Ace), i wonder if I will see a quality or performance difference with the Ultegra gruppo? i do not plan to use the triple ring bike any less than I use it today -- I split time between both bikes.

so that is my dilemma -- do I save about $700 and go with the Ultegra triple gruppo? or do I spend the $700 and go with Dura Ace triple gruppo?

your comments & experiences would be much appreciated.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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I wouldn't change manufacturers just to solve a gearing problem. It means your wheels won't be interchangable, you'll need to keep multiple tool sets around and in general it's a hassle. If you like Campy, stick with Campy and just get the gears you need.

Have you looked into compact cranks instead of a triple? I went to a 50:34 compact setup for my road bike last summer and I'll never go back. Pair those chainrings up with a 11:25 or 11:26 cassette and you get more top end with the 50:11 than you'll get with a 53:12 and you get a lot more low end with a 34:25 vs. even a 39:28. It's a lot of useable range and it allows you to keep your existing shifters, I didn't even switch front or rear derailleurs, just lowered the front a bit and it shifts great. I've swapped in a 12:27 rear cassette for really steep hill climb events and it's amazing what I can ride seated with a 34:27 (that's a 34" gear!). Anyway, it's an alternative to a triple that shifts a bit better, gives you a lot of gearing range and will almost certainly save you money.

-Dave
 

tmctguer

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Sep 9, 2003
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compact cranks is a great suggestion. i will look into that option. i never thought about a 50/34 front with a 11/23 (or 12/27) on the rear. Do you ever feel like you run out of gear when in 50/11? If not, then compact cranks might be the way to go since I am trying to solve a climbing gear problem.

oh and just to clarify.......now I have a bike with Campy and a bike with Dura Ace. one of the benefits of changing gruppos was to get my two bikes aligned so I COULD swap wheels and spares. (good point !).

thanks for your feedback, Dave !
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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tmctguer said:
... Do you ever feel like you run out of gear when in 50/11?....
My previous high gear was a 53:12 which is 119 gear inches.
The compact setup with a 50:11 is nearly 123 gear inches. IOW, the 50:11 has more top end than a 53:12 so no I don't run out of top end with that setup.

-Dave
 

Mike Lawson

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Feb 4, 2007
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I went Compact just over a year ago for a climbing trip to Italy (50/34:12/27) and it made the riding completely manageable and enjoyable when I felt like gearing down and taking an easier day in the mountains.

Have since thrown on a 12/23 for local hilly road races and crits and have a gear for every situation. Shifting is sweet...and that's even with me having been too slack to lower my front derailleur! Anyone wanna buy my now spare 53/39 crankset?

Mike Lawson

http://mikelawsonscyclingblog.blogspot.com
 

jD_Empath

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Sep 3, 2007
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I have raced with triple cranks. They are great when they work, but IMO they have too many potential problems. The crankset is much wider than a double, and hence you create a lot of cross-chain problems (this is why triples have two click-settings for the middle gear, and still you will get front derailleur rub on some combinations that otherwise would be useable).

I used to drop chains a lot more often with the triple. So far that has only happened once with the DA double (and not in a race). I have seen other riders drop chains with triples too.

I would add another vote for a 50-34 crank. SRAM makes 11-26 cassettes that cost less than half of what a Dura-Ace model costs (they are heavier though).

Another option that a friend of mine does on hilly time-trials is to take his standard 12-27 DA cassette and swap out the 12 cog for an 11. He says he doesn't mind the big jump between 13 and 11.



clear as mud.
 

Felt_Rider

Active Member
Oct 24, 2004
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I also love the compact for the same reasons.
My rides can range from flat to Cat 1 Tour de Georgia hills and the same bike is comfortable on both. I use a SRAM 11-28 so the range is great for a variety of terrain up to Burkhalter gap that has a short section of 22% gradient.
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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tmctguer said:
I just turned 50, and getting up 10% grades in 39/27 is getting harder each time I try it.
That's the part we can best help with. They should be getting easier if you're doing it right. :)
 

tmctguer

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Sep 9, 2003
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thanks for all the helpful suggestions. i just ordered a Campagnolo Record compact crank set. even got them on sale !

as far as making 1.5 mile 8% - 10% grade climbs easier at my age, i may have to give up on all my hill climbing repeat training and go straight to EPO. :D
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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tmctguer said:
as far as making 1.5 mile 8% - 10% grade climbs easier at my age, i may have to give up on all my hill climbing repeat training and go straight to EPO. :D
Better watch out complaining about your age. It makes the real old timers cranky. :D
 

Roadie_scum

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Nov 14, 2003
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daveryanwyoming said:
My previous high gear was a 53:12 which is 119 gear inches.
The compact setup with a 50:11 is nearly 123 gear inches. IOW, the 50:11 has more top end than a 53:12 so no I don't run out of top end with that setup.

-Dave

+1 Plenty of gear for P/1/2 crits when I got a compact on my new bike but hadn't built it up with the old groupset a couple of years ago. Can be a little tricky to set up the front derailleur perfectly, but not compared to a triple. Also, less weight and q factor penalty.
 

pelotoncamden

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Dec 4, 2006
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+1 for the compact.

You may want to look at a $35 device called ShiftMate that allows you to interchange drive train components - cassette, rear derailleur, etc without missing a shift. All of my wheels to include PT's are set-up for Campy but when I purchased a TT bike with Shimano, I couldn't afford the added expense of swapping everything over to Campy. The bike shifts like a dream and I'm using a Shimano chain and rear derailleur with my Campy cassette on my Zipp wheel.

http://jtekengineering.com/shiftmate.htm