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MTB drivetrain question(15 posts)

MTB drivetrain questionvibiker
Dec 28, 2003 9:27 PM
I am looking at a used cyclocross bike that has a full XTR drivetrain. I have been told that I probably won't like the wide gearing of an 11-32 cassette. Any thoughts? I am looking for a second (or third) opinion on this issue please.

Depends on your intended usagepitt83
Dec 29, 2003 9:41 AM
If a trail bike, that's probably what you want.

If a commuter / road, you're going to be mostly big-ring and wanting higher gears.

If racing, it depends on where and how strong you are. If you're advanced, I'd guess that's under-geared.

I might consider a different crankset to fit your intended application.
Depends on your intended usageMShaw
Dec 30, 2003 8:51 AM
The XTR crankset has a removable spider and ring assy. You can go to Cambria and get a 110mm adaptor for it and run whatever rings you want to. I am.

If you're racing flatter races, you may wanna go with a smaller cassette and block off the inner ring. I've got a short cage "Xtegra" rear derailleur on my bike with a Cook Bros E-crank (34/46) running a 12-16t cassette. Its a little high to go off mtn biking on this setup, but for all-round cruising and racing it ain't bad.

If you're going to go off in the woods and play, I'd leave it like it is till next racing season.

Road riding on my bike is a matter of changing out the rings to a 38/50t setup. I just bought a 53t 110mm ring, so I may go all the way to road gearing this time... TBD.

That help?

re: MTB drivetrain questionjrm
Dec 29, 2003 12:26 PM
I used a full LX drivetrain with a 12-27 cassette. It worked great on the trails and on steep road climbs. But it weighed alot and lacked the smoothness of a 2 x 9 road specific drivetrain. Als the road gruppo is more road/commuter friendly.
The cassette probably wouldn't be the issue...The Walrus
Dec 29, 2003 2:43 PM
...the XTR crankset will give you gearing that's too low. If you're going to use the bike as a trail or "adventure" bike, mainly ridden off-road, it'd be all right, but you'll want something higher for racing or road use. A double chainring setup with a 48t and a 34-38t coupled with the 11-32 is a great compromise for "real world" riding. If you're primarily going to be racing, though, use something like a 12-25 or 12-27.
Great timing on this question!!!arctic hawk
Dec 30, 2003 5:36 AM
I was looking into a Race Face crank & ISIS BB. I was thinking of 48/36 (Deore chainrings) up front & leaving the Ultegra cassette as is.
With the present Ultegra crank, on the road, I don't think I ever engaged into 53x11(or the next cog up), not even going downhill. I thought of swapping the 53 for a 48, which will be fine on the road commutting. But while racing CX, the inner 39 doesn't provide enough low gear for me personally (beginner).
Since I am using a road racing group, there is not much choice in chainrings that will help me in lower gears, thus the thought of moving to a MTB crank. With the ISIS BB, I suppose in the future, I can always get a Truvativ Elita CX crank & swap the cranks in & out depending on what the heck I am doing.
Any thoughts?
Have I gone a little over board?
Will start to accumulate a great collection of pieces soon. Must look at getting another frame ...
I don't recognize the concept of "going overboard"....The Walrus
Dec 30, 2003 3:35 PM least with respect to bikes.

Look into the new "compact" road/cross cranks from TA, Sugino, Ritchey, etc.--they're compact only in the sense that they have a 110mm BCD as opposed to 130. Depending on the intended application, they are supplied with 48/34 or 50/34 chainrings. It's great to see someone offering actual choices again for riders instead of shoving their concept of what you should be running down your throat.

...or, find a used RSX crankset; these came in double or triple configurations, with 46/36(/26) rings. I've used several, and never had any reason to complain about 'em. They might be a little less high-zoot than some other options, but if you get them muddy, who's gonna know? There's currently a NOS triple on eBay that looks pretty good...
I don't recognize the concept of "going overboard"....arctic hawk
Jan 1, 2004 5:43 AM
Thank you for the info! The only compact crank I have found on the manufacturer's websites is from FSA-Carbon Pro Elite Compact. The word carbon doesn't sound cheap :( but at least, I don't have to swap out the octalink BB. No other manufacturer has any compact cranks on their websites :(
A few places to look...The Walrus
Jan 1, 2004 2:34 PM has several "compact" cranksets listed under their 'cross drivetrain category. The Ritchey crank still seems to be "under development" (I've seen a lot of teasers), but here's a link:; the crank's near the bottom of the page. Also, take a look at the thread below about the Stronglight Crank.
Ritchey & Schwab info / Octalink or ISIS?arctic hawk
Jan 1, 2004 9:00 PM
For the Ritchey crank that's "under development", it is also "A favorite among cross racers" too. Go figure! I guess I have to wait a little longer but I am curious if it will be compatible with Octalink or will it fit their new ISIS BB only that is likewise "under development".

Thanks for the info on Schwab. Any idea what the Sugino crank is all about? Not much info to be had. For a square taper BB? Looks like one of the older XD500/600 triples minus the granny gear.

Finally, which is better, Octalink or ISIS? My original thought was to go with a Race Face crank & ISIS BB. But then, I was directed towards compact cranks & thought that I won't need to change the Ultegra BB. Schwab carries the FSA compact crank, ISIS version only, but will special order for Shimano. This makes me wonder what's wrong with Octalink.

Nothing like starting a new year than with a problem! What was simple, so I thought, is starting to get complicated!

Can't comment on ISIS vs Shimano--I don't believe in either...The Walrus
Jan 2, 2004 1:02 PM
...which is just the retrogrouch in me talking. I just spent a month running down a source for square-taper BBs with ultra-short (103mm) spindles so I could use some Cook Bros cranks (anodized purple, no less) I had recently scored, which oughta tell you where
i my
head is at....
re: MTB drivetrain questionlexington476
Dec 29, 2003 5:12 PM
I raced with my MTB hardtail this year, a 11-34 in the back, and 44/32/22 up front. In the pavement it was not uncommon for me to run out of big ring with only that 44. The 11-34 on the 32 did seem to miss sizes a bit.
re: MTB drivetrain questionatpjunkie
Dec 30, 2003 11:03 PM
have 2 bikes with MTB drivetrain(mostly). Bike A (multipurpose) has a 48/36/26 XTR (came with a triple and I'm too lazy to change it) crank with 9speed 12-27 Ult Cassette and XTR Der's. Use the granny ring trailriding or maybe on the last hill or 2 of a race if I'm dying. (blasphemy I know but as a Clydesdale a 36/27 sometimes isn't quite low enough) Bike B (more race) runs a 44/36 crank with a 11-30 XT 8 speed cassette. I find for most races this covers me. I've never spun out of gears with a 44/11 or 48/12 in any race. I switched out Bike B from a 48 to a 44 (or is it 46?) to tighten the gap between rings to help with dropping chains (can run a shorter chain=less slap)
On a road rig I can see the need for higher gears but I commute on Bike A (or at least I used to) and again 48/12 is fine for all but FASt downhills. I experimented on flats last year and you just don't hammer that long on a flat in a 53/11 or 53/12. Usually rear cog is in 13 or 14 so as to maintain better cadence. So the big drawback besides weight (but you gain durability) to MTB is chain slap/drop.
with a bigger cassette or wider gear 48/34 for example or a triple rear der. needs longer cage to maintain the chain. this makes bike more susceptable to chain drops. This is the advantage of a tight cluster/short cage der. MShaw as stated has a Hybrid MTB Rear Der w/ a Ultegra pulley, it's pretty swank, bets of both worlds IMHO. A short cage 1997 XT 8 sp rear to me is the Holy Grail.
Nah, short cage XTR is the holy grail! nmMShaw
Jan 2, 2004 9:06 AM
I've had better reliability.....atpjunkie
Jan 6, 2004 12:51 PM
with the older XT than the XTR, lighter doesn't always mean better. Happy Birthday ya trackie! Hey my XTR's are 170 are yours 175? wanna trade?