Ultegra triple to Wi-Fli style compact

by Cyclosis   May 14, 2013  

Hi Folks,

I have an Ultegra/Tiagra mix triple — it's a 2012 Giant Defy 0, so Ultegra shifters and derailleurs with the rest made up of Tiagra and R563.

I'm interested in switching to a compact with the option of a Wi-Fli like 11/32 on the cassette. The idea being that I can keep similar ratios, but have the simplicity of a double up front, with fewer gear changes and less trimming etc.

What are my options do you think? What can I keep from the current setup, and what are my options for the cassette?

Or will it be more cost effective in the long run to just replace the groupo entirely?

Cheers,

Jim

14 user comments

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Well all you could really keep is the rear shifter.

You would need a new front shifter, front mech, rear mech, chainset and cassette.

WiFli is only really of use if you have a double or compact up front already. Else its just money to have something your don't really need Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [8645 posts]
14th May 2013 - 15:26

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Fair doos. So pretty much a whole groupo!

It's the trimming and chain rub that irks me the most, so perhaps I need to just keep on practicing my shifting while I save up for Di2! Wink

Jim

posted by Cyclosis [33 posts]
14th May 2013 - 16:35

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You could splash some money on new cables and a proper LBS service and that could potentially be less than a cassette and chain alone.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [536 posts]
14th May 2013 - 16:39

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
You could splash some money on new cables and a proper LBS service and that could potentially be less than a cassette and chain alone.

Yeah, fair point. It's actually set up reasonably well, but it's probably more my cack-handed shifting that leads me to desire fewer gear combinations!

posted by Cyclosis [33 posts]
14th May 2013 - 16:43

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I believe the Ultegra rear mech will work with a cassette of up to 30 teeth, so you could fit the Tiagra 10sp 12-3. with a compact chainset. The 11-28 gives a fractionally higher bottom gear. Not sure about whether you can retain your front derailleur and LH shifter.

If you know you're hamfisted isn't the answer to work on that? After all, you only get better at something by practising it. I'm sh*t at wheelies and would probably not be great if I spent 4 hours a day on it but I bet I'd be better at it than I am now.

Are you cross-chaining? The diagonal chain line can make front mech rub appear worse.

If you're confident the front mech is set up correctly why not practice shifting somewhere quiet where you can spin the pedals gently (and not too slowly) and get a feel for how much lever travel the mech requires to swap chainrings smoothly. Always ease off on the pedals a bit as you make the shift as putting the chain under too much tension doesn't help it move as easily.

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posted by Simon E [1888 posts]
14th May 2013 - 21:55

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I did this with my 8 speed after getting fed up with a triple and wanted simplicity. Got a MTB rear mech and whacked on an 11-32 cassette. It works wonderfully, although the 32 is very very low. (Option 1 right there).

Next bike I went straight for SRAM's WiFli Apex, and bought an Ultegra cassette for better gear spacing (12-30 vs Apex' WiFli 11-32, plenty of people aren't happy with the cog choices of this cassette, it's not just the range). Check your rear mech for its tooth capacity - I haven't looked into it, but considering you can buy the Ultegra cassette, Shimano must make a rear mech that's long enough - your bike might not come with that particular model though.

Good luck! Anecdotally - it changed my riding for the better, and I enjoy being able to scale 20%s 'on a compact' whilst others are walking.

@oddbydefault

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posted by oddbydefault [91 posts]
15th May 2013 - 8:45

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12-30 is 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27, 30
That's a pretty even spread.
11-32 is 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28, 32
Can't see much wrong with that either, the only jumps are at the bottom end. With a 34t chainring the difference between adjacent ratios isn't that big anyway.

I find 12t is tall enough for most things, including descending hills in TTs. The people who can genuinely push 50x11 do not need a 32t cassette!

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posted by Simon E [1888 posts]
15th May 2013 - 10:10

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shimano tiagra rd-4600 rear mech will handle up to 30t

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [664 posts]
15th May 2013 - 10:21

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Oh, and you can (probably) keep the triple shifters and just swap out the cassette, chainrings, front mech - and rear mech if required.

I've been using my 8 speed compact setup with a triple front shifter for nearly a year, and apart from the fact that the shifters are now worn out and iffy anyway, it works(/ed) fine. You just get a dead shift. Takes time to set up properly, but certainly do-able.

@oddbydefault

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posted by oddbydefault [91 posts]
15th May 2013 - 18:10

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I don't think you'd need a rear mech. If it works with a 50 - 30 triple, I guess it's a long enough cage. I don't know about the front, but my guess that it would also be ok with it's limit screws set. You could possibly get away with the front shifter, just trying to shift into the smallest ring would release the cable with no effect (assuming the limit screw is set right). Just seen odd by default post - dead shift is a neater way of saying what I was trying to

posted by Stratman [36 posts]
16th May 2013 - 21:39

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Stratman wrote:
I don't think you'd need a rear mech. If it works with a 50 - 30 triple, I guess it's a long enough cage.

I believe in this context the capacity of a rear derailleur is how large a sprocket it will accept. This is limited by the proximity of the top jockey wheel to the teeth, not the length of the cage.

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posted by Simon E [1888 posts]
16th May 2013 - 21:49

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Yes, you'd need to know both - the longer cage allows a bigger range of gears without losing chain tension

posted by Stratman [36 posts]
16th May 2013 - 21:56

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Thanks a lot guys.

@oddbydefault: You summed it up, it's simplicity I'm after and that's a good shout on the 12-30. Oh and thanks for the advice on the dead shift.

I've got the long cage version of the rear mech, so it might actually turn out to be cheaper than I thought!

Jim

posted by Cyclosis [33 posts]
16th May 2013 - 22:38

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Seeing as I was pulled up on this by my old LBS mechanic, I think I'm right in saying it's the hangar, rather than the cage on the deraillieur that affects the size of cassette sprocket you can use.

On a side note, when my chainrings wear out (new dura-ace chainrings cost HOW MUCH?) I'll get the Praxis ones, quite probably in 50/36 - giving me a bit more leeway in the inner ring and hopefully allowing for less cross chaining. I guess I'll stick that 12-30 block on the back to give a hand up the 20%-ers....

posted by bashthebox [594 posts]
17th May 2013 - 9:05

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