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Thread: Drive train dilemmas

  1. #1
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    Default Drive train dilemmas

    So, Vaya needs a new drive train. I finally wore it out; front chainrings are jagged, rear cassette worn in places, bottom bracket is clunky, and of course chain and cables need replaced.

    I've always said when the time comes, I want to switch to something with better hill-climbing capacity. I'm a spinner, not a masher, and my knees are not getting younger. Vaya truly gets used as a go-anywhere bike, including but not limited to loaded touring (when I really need the low gears), long-distance rides, gravel and commuting. So I want the lowest gears possible while still having a wide range for the other stuff.

    Current build is Ultegra 10-speed triple. Kinda obsolete, and I'm told that the rear derailleur won't allow a bigger cassette.

    I'm not ready to commit to a 1x11, so exploring my options:

    • Minimal parts swap ideas. Is there any other rear setup I could use with my Ultegra STI shifters? Found a Tiagra 10-speed rear derailleur and an XT mountain derailleur that would allow for a bigger cassette, but I'm told neither would be compatible. I could try them for free, but if it results in wonky shifting I won't be happy. Any experience/clues if that could work?
    • Upgrading to Ultegra 11-speed won't get me much gearing advantage, and would be pricey. Kinda ruled this out already.
    • Vayas sold today include SRAM Apex. I got a quote for a SRAM Rival setup, 12-36 rear cassette, 50/34 compact double in front. Even if I buy the whole group, it's less expensive than Ultegra. I've never used SRAM, am I going to like or regret it? I plan to go out and test ride a couple.
    • Other ideas??


    All opinions welcome, please enlighten me with your sound reasoning so I learn something.

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    •Vayas sold today include SRAM Apex. I got a quote for a SRAM Rival setup, 12-36 rear cassette, 50/34 compact double in front. Even if I buy the whole group, it's less expensive than Ultegra. I've never used SRAM, am I going to like or regret it? I plan to go out and test ride a couple.
    Do you have other drop bar bikes that are shimano? All of my drop bars are SRAM - not because I necessarily prefer it to shimano, but because my first one was SRAM and I decided I didn't want to bother dealing with the different shifting techniques from bike to bike. It's just too much for my brain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    Do you have other drop bar bikes that are shimano? All of my drop bars are SRAM - not because I necessarily prefer it to shimano, but because my first one was SRAM and I decided I didn't want to bother dealing with the different shifting techniques from bike to bike. It's just too much for my brain.
    My other bike is Campagnolo. So I'd be adapting to a third shifting technique and the Shimano would go away. But hey if SRAM is easy to live with, I'm teachable!

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    Goes for Shimano only:
    You can use a 9 speed mountain rear der with 10 speed road shifters (but not 4700). Same cable pull ratio.

    So this would work: http://www.jensonusa.com/!Ed6pKfDjL3...ar-Derailleur?

    You cannot use a 10 speed mountain der with 10 speed road shifters. Also, as far as I know, the newest Shimano 10 speed road stuff (Tiagra 4700) does not shift the older 10 speed stuff (4600, 6600, 6700, 5600, 5700).

    If you're switching to a double up front, you'll need a new front der shifter, so you might as well upgrade the entire drive train. If you're going to stick with the triple up front, you can find replacement rings for that crankset (find them online or have a shop find them for you)... or you can put a 4700 triple on in front.

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    I have no experience with this item, but it's billed as a cheap way to make your existing derailleur compatible with larger cassettes.

    https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/products/roadlink

    Ultegra is nice stuff, personally, I'd be reluctant to replace those parts.

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    I put SRAM 1x on my gravel bike, coming from all Shimano previously, and I fell in love. I'm coming to a decision point about upgrading the groupset on my road bike. I really want electronic shifting, but SRAM e-Tap is too expensive. So my decision will be to go SRAM mechanical or Shimano electronic. If there was no desire to go electronic, I'd just switch to SRAM without hesitation, both for the feel of shifting and because SRAM seems to be better about allowing for much lower gearing in the back without having to go to a MTB groupset.

    As for learning a new system, I switch back and forth between Shimano and SRAM on an almost daily basis, and haven't found it confusing or anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    My other bike is Campagnolo. So I'd be adapting to a third shifting technique and the Shimano would go away. But hey if SRAM is easy to live with, I'm teachable!
    I found switching between Campy and Sram is far more challenging than Campy and Shimano. All my bikes are Campy shod, and had to ride a Sram equipped bike on a ride and found it to be completely counter intuitive to the Campy scheme. I suggest that you try doubletap first before committing.

    Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk

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    You may wish to explore upgrading to a Shimano 105 setup rather than Ultegra. Yes, it's not quite AS nice, and it's a little heavier, than today's Ultegra, but you'll probably find that it performs better than your older Ultegra system. On top of that, replacing worn out parts (chain, cassette, etc.) will be cheaper in the future than with Ultegra.

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    My bikes have SRAM now. I much prefer the shifting.

    In SRAM the cable pull ratio is 1:1, which is (I believe) means more cable pull than Shimano. (Not sure about their road stuff, but I believe Shimano 9spm MTB was 1:2.)

    Anyway, this has implications:
    (1) SRAM delivers (IMO) clearer, crisper shifts even as drive train wears or gets subjected to dirty conditions. I first switched to SRAM 1:1 on my MTB because I had really bad experience with Shimano stuff getting gummed up in races. Never looked back.
    (2) The act of shifting into easier gears is also, in my experience, harder on SRAM double tap levers. Part of that may be the smaller effective lever (compared to moving the whole brake lever for Shimano), some of it may be the additional cable that needs to be pulled, and some of it may just be my setup (though I tend to use pretty decent compressionless shifter housing and stainless jagwire cables.).

    For me Shimano shifting -- especially when it's more than a few hundred miles into the drivetrain -- just feels vague. Other people like it because it's really quiet and nuanced (SRAM is loud clunk-clunk shifting, but I love that). I felt like I was always fiddling with my derailleurs on the commuter when I ran Shimano 105 because shifting would get really sloppy. This is not a problem I've had since moving to SRAM.

    SRAM levers are also rebuildable. The parts may not be especially cheap, but you can replace the shift paddle, brake lever, etc. Certainly a lot nicer than having to buy a whole new one (Shimano). I know Campy has this advantage too.

    SRAM levers are reach-adjust so good if your hands are smaller. The hoods are also quite small on the non-hydro levers, which was a negative point for me, but now that I'm all hydro I'm very happy (mostly because of the hydro, but the ergonomics are much better for bigger hands too IMO).

    Finally, I think SRAM is the way to go for a gravel-type rig, since they have good drivetrain intercompatibility (well, mtb 10sp parts are compatible with both road 10sp and road 11sp), lots wide-range cassettes and longer-cage derailleurs, etc. Of course, I like 1x, but it may not be the best for you.

    I don't think moving between Shimano and SRAM shifting is a big deal. A few times I found myself trying to "shift" the non-movable SRAM brake lever after transitioning from a Shimano rental. Once I got used to SRAM, I liked being able to pull the shift paddles to the bar and shift from the drops. I also like being able to downshift while braking (e.g. going into a turn and knowing I need a lower gear coming out of it), which I don't think works with the STI levers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I also like being able to downshift while braking (e.g. going into a turn and knowing I need a lower gear coming out of it), which I don't think works with the STI levers.
    I do this all the time with my 105 levers...it's just a little more awkward than with SRAM.

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