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Smaller chainring for Ultegra crankset or FSA Compact?(6 posts)

Smaller chainring for Ultegra crankset or FSA Compact?lendog
Jan 5, 2004 8:47 AM
I was wondering if there is a smaller chainring available to put on an Ultegra crankset. I have a 53/39 and was looking for something smaller to aid in the steep hill climbs I have where I live. I don't want a triple and I know FSA makes a CF Compact crankset that could be an option.

Just wondering what I can do with the Ultegra if anything AND any opinions on switching to the FSA compact 50/34.


Probably best change I ever made...Cory
Jan 5, 2004 9:00 AM
Can't help you with Ultegra advice (can't remember the bolt circle diameter offhand; I think 39 is about as small as you can go). On the general question of chainring sizes, though, the best change I've made in 30 years of cycling was to quit trying to turn a 53-tooth ring. My main road bike now uses a 46-36-26 triple with 11-28 cassette (the other's a 50-34 double), and it's perfect for the terrain around here and my ability.
Take a look around at the gears people actually USE (not what's on their bikes, but what they ride in) and you won't see very many who need a 53-11.
re: Smaller chainring for Ultegra crankset or FSA Compact?pmf1
Jan 5, 2004 9:23 AM
Siguno makes a 38 tooth ring that goes for around $20. Excel has them. I bought one for a bike tour I did once (Ride the Rockies). It helped a little, but not a huge amount. I used a 12x27 cassette too.

You could also run a mtn bike cassette in the back if you use a mtn bike rear derailer also. Mtn bike cassettes run up to 32 teeth.

The FSA compact would be the most expensive option since that involves new cranks, right? Sounds like ti would work well in a hilly area. One way to find out.

Not meaning to insult Cory, but 46-36-26 set up would drive me buggy. You'd be out of gear at 20 mph. I for one do ride in 53-12 combination. On long downhills or on flats with a tail wind, I use all the gear I have. I could see it for San Fran, but not where I live.
20mph w/ a 46/11 is a cadence of about 60.Cory
Jan 5, 2004 12:56 PM
I'm an aging Clydesdale and I live where there are 8,000-foot mountain passes in every direction, so I use the triple without shame.
The idea that you run out of gearing too soon is wrong, though. Twenty mph with that gearing is only about 60 rpm at the crank. That's as fast as I cruise on a good day, and I normally gear down so I can turn 80 or so. Even 30mph would only be 90rpm in 46/11.
There are some advantages, too. I spend much more time in the big ring than I did with the 53 (so less front shifting), and I have more usable gears. Everything above about a 53/15 was unexplored territory for me.
"Unexplored territory" -- So true, Cory!Dale Brigham
Jan 5, 2004 1:55 PM
I guess they stick a 53/11 or 12 as the big gear on road bikes for the same reason my Hyundai Elantra has a 150 mph speedo: it makes you feel fast, even if you never use it. On my Steelman, I do every once in awhile use my 46/11 top gear on a descent, just to keep the old legs churning.

One thing I like that Campy does on their, uhh, let's say, more sensible cogsets (those with 26, 28, or 29 tooth big cogs) is to start with a 13, instead of a 11 or 12, on the small end. A 53/13 top gear makes a lot of sense for some old geezer like me who needs a 26 to 29 tooth bale-out cog to crawl up the inclines. If I'm going that slowly uphill, does it really matter if I can pedal a 53/11 downhill?

re: Smaller chainring for Ultegra crankset or FSA Compact?Chen2
Jan 5, 2004 10:58 AM
Your crank-set is 130mm BCD and the smallest ring size to fit it is a 38. I believe that TA Specialties rings have the best reputation but there are also less expensive rings available.
Mountain bike cassettes go up to 34 teeth but the ratio jumps from cog to cog are too big for flat land rides and can cause problems with maintaining a good cadence. Any cog bigger than a 29 or maybe a 30 will require a mountain bike rear derailleur.
Another possibility is a custom cassette (build your own) with a 28 tooth cog. If you now have a 12-25 you could convert it to a 13-28 by replacing the 12 with a 13 with built-in spacer and adding a 28 on the back. This will run with your existing derailleur and should shift perfectly. I've converted my 9-speed Shimano cassettes to 13-25, 13-26, and 13-27 with 16's in the middle. My wife runs a 14-28.