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Gearing down a 3x10?

Old 09-12-23, 04:33 PM
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schnee
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Gearing down a 3x10?


Loaded out for a fast summer week ride

My current 'medium touring' bike is a Salsa Vaya Travel.
I travel light - mostly with a single set of panniers and frame/seatpost bikepacking bags.
It's got a triple drivetrain that's pretty highly geared, and I want to get it lower. I'm having a hard time figuring that out without swapping everything.

The bike specs here - it's basically still pretty stock: https://www.salsacycles.com/bikes/2013_vaya_travel
  • Shimano 105 3x10 shifters
  • Shimano Ultegra long cage derailleur (40t capacity)
  • Shimano Ultegra 3x10 crankset (30/42/52)
  • Shimano 10-speed cassette (11-30)
  • IS standard disc brake mounts
I'm trying to gear it down without replacing the whole drivetrain, but I'm coming up empty.
  • Most triple 10-speeds are the same old 30/42/52 gearing.
  • Triple cranks with smaller chainrings seem to be only 9-speed or less.
  • The triple means the rear derailleur is already at the limit of capacity, so I can't put on a bigger cassette.
Am I missing some obvious choices in cranks that have smaller chainrings?
If you can give advice that works with this triple, I'm all ears, thanks in advance.

(I'm also contemplating 2x with a wider cassette, but I'll save that for another thread.)

Last edited by schnee; 09-12-23 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 09-12-23, 05:23 PM
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I have Shimano Deore 44-32-22 on mine, found an almost new set for $40.



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Old 09-12-23, 05:25 PM
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Crazy thought here; change just the ring you want to a smaller size

Last edited by abdon; 09-12-23 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 09-12-23, 05:33 PM
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Steve B.
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A 24 or 26 small ring and a cassette maybe 12-36 or so.
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Old 09-12-23, 06:04 PM
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schnee
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
A 24 or 26 small ring and a cassette maybe 12-36 or so.
That crank has a 92mm bcd on the inner ring, and the only chainrings I've found that fit are Shimano 30 tooth.
Have a link to a place that sells ones that are smaller?
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Old 09-12-23, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by schnee
Triple cranks with smaller chainrings seem to be only 9-speed or less.
If you're willing to take the gamble that fiddling will be involved, one option is to simply take the dive and coax it into working. Modern chains are pickier with compatibility than the old stuff, but 9-to-10 isn't a big leap.

A couple years ago I put together a bike that had an 11-speed chain running on what was basically a 5-speed wide-range triple. It required a friction shifter, a bit of trial-and-error with FD profile, and a dab of JB-Weld to re-profile the back side of the big ring to ensure a crisp downshift to middle, but the end result was fairly crisp. Chances are you wouldn't have to get nearly as wild.
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Old 09-12-23, 10:23 PM
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Get the 10-40 cassette. That is extremely low gearing and should be able to handle most inclines. If you are looking at 10 speed chain rings, they will only have bigger rings because they are designed for larger cassettes.
You may need a new chain
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Old 09-13-23, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by schnee
That crank has a 92mm bcd on the inner ring, and the only chainrings I've found that fit are Shimano 30 tooth.
Have a link to a place that sells ones that are smaller?
On 92bcd the smaller is indeed a 30 tooth ring. Is there a triplizer ring that will fit your crank? Basically the smaller ring is mounted on the 2nd (triplizer) ring itself.
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Old 09-13-23, 01:38 AM
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schnee
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Originally Posted by sloar
I have Shimano Deore 44-32-22 on mine, found an almost new set for $40.
This is so strange, I checked the thread last night and this post wasn't rendering for me.

Does that crank just slap right on? I looked into it, but the crank's wider than a road crank.
Q-factor seemed to be much higher, which I'm totally fine with - I have huge hips - but how does that work with chainline?
Does it put the chain on a different part of the cassette?
Any issues with shifting/ installation?
Any details would be appreciated!
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Old 09-13-23, 05:54 AM
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I bought the crankset without any research, it was a good price and the exact gearing I was looking for. I didn’t realize it was wider until I got it. One spacer on the drive side and two on the non drive. Perfect alignment and perfect shifting. No problems
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Old 09-13-23, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar
I bought the crankset without any research, it was a good price and the exact gearing I was looking for. I didnít realize it was wider until I got it. One spacer on the drive side and two on the non drive. Perfect alignment and perfect shifting. No problems
I did the same. HollowTech II is great. That interchangeable spacer arrangement makes installation and chainline adjustment easy. I bought a cheap knockoff HollowTech II crankset. Heavier, but it works fine.
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Old 09-13-23, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Get the 10-40 cassette. That is extremely low gearing and should be able to handle most inclines. If you are looking at 10 speed chain rings, they will only have bigger rings because they are designed for larger cassettes.
You may need a new chain
His derailleur doesn't work with a 10-40 cassette.
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Old 09-13-23, 07:30 AM
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Your setup is already the lowest possible with road components. If you want any lower gearing, you need mountain bike components.

Unfortunately as you discovered, mountain bikes evolved to 1x years ago. Nowadays if you want to buy a 3x crankset, you're limited to Walmart level components such as that 9 speed you found.

If you want a higher quality 3x crankset, you'll have to look around online for old stock.

And yes, the chainline will be different on a mountain crankset. It will still work though. On a triple you can't cross chain anyway, even if you have proper chainline. That's part of the reason why triples went away.

Last edited by Yan; 09-13-23 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 09-13-23, 07:44 AM
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first of all, one of my bikes had a 50/39/30 that I changed to 50/39/26 --- but the bcd of your crank means you cant go smaller than the 30-- but wanted to mention that yes, I get that your 52/42/30 is too tall for touring--and that smaller chainrings will be a lot more enjoyable.

you could look for a 48/36/26 deore crankset. 9 speed era will work, and they made it in a 10 spd model also, but its very possibly the same as the 9 speed. They use hollowtech 2 bb's.

I guess you could look into doubles like a 42/28 or whatever, but then you get into shifter changes and stuff

oh, your probably ultegra fd made for triples is apparently not as forgiving as the lower triples from this era of 9 and 10 speed for working well with diff cranksets, but you can do searches to confirm or deny this. (Im thinking of going a lot smaller of a triple, like a mtb triple) but then also get into shifter issues and can you easily move the fd down if you go with a. smaller crankset?

does this bike have the fd clamped onto. tube or one of those braze on things? This may limit how much wiggle room you have to lower the fd.

nice setup btw, looks nice and compact. It is fun riding with less stuff isnt it?
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Old 09-13-23, 07:56 AM
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Have you looked into using using a Wolftooth Roadlink to increase your derailler capacity?
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Old 09-13-23, 08:04 AM
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Crankset change to a smaller BCD triple or double seems to be a good option.

Another is to change the cassette and derailleur to a RD-5701-GS or RD-4601-GS that will accept a 32t ring per this compatibility matrix:
https://productinfo.shimano.com/#/co...-454&cid=C-453
(I did not check chain wrap, which might be an issue).

Here is another option which carries some risk:
If a couple of cog difference is enough, you can put a 32T cassette on it, leave the same chain on it, and not shift to the big-big combination. Shimano is pretty conservative in their numbers, so you might be OK even if you accidentally shift big-big.
You can get an idea by shifting to big-big and looking at the chain stretch.
I personally would never shift big-big anyway, but most/many would want to ensure that it will not grenade if I it was accidentally shifted to big-big.

I personally would go 34T and accept the risk, but that's just me.
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Old 09-13-23, 10:26 AM
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Do you do your own work on your bike?
Are you open to friction shifting?

If yes to those two questions, your options are vast and inexpensive. Since you are asking, I'm guessing your answers may be no to either or both questions. Then, I guess you will be limited by the knowledge and willingness of somebody else to push beyond the limits of published specs. In that case, I would look for that person/shop locally.
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Old 09-13-23, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
oh, your probably ultegra fd made for triples is apparently not as forgiving as the lower triples from this era of 9 and 10 speed for working well with diff cranksets, but you can do searches to confirm or deny this. (Im thinking of going a lot smaller of a triple, like a mtb triple) but then also get into shifter issues
That's one of the things I'm afraid of. My feeling is this generation of 3x10 was basically made for endurance road cycling, not touring. And it's the end of the line for Ultegra-level triples - IIRC compact doubles were gaining momentum around this time. So there's really nothing else that's compatible.

Originally Posted by djb
can you easily move the fd down if you go with a. smaller crankset?

does this bike have the fd clamped onto. tube or one of those braze on things? This may limit how much wiggle room you have to lower the fd.
The FD is a clamp-on, so it can be lowered. The question is now... how much do I invest to try to keep this all going? I'll be buying used old tech to do it. I'll ping my fave mechanic to see if he's up for the challenge.
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Old 09-13-23, 10:58 AM
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Is the old 10 speed shimano road thesame pull ratio as mtb? If so, just swap it for a mtb rear derailleur. If the pull ratio is different something like a jtek shiftmate and a mtb rear derailleur will work. I'm currently running 105 r7000 brifters with a deore rear derailleur- 46/30 chainset and an 11-42 cassette on my gravel bike.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:07 AM
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My 9 speed era tiagra triple FD works great with brifters, so a Sora 9 speed could be fine. Heck even the ultegra might be ok.
the main issue is getting a smaller chainring setup.

Get lots of ideas and prices and hopefully a local mechanic can be willing to offer non standard suggestions.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rivers
Is the old 10 speed shimano road thesame pull ratio as mtb? If so, just swap it for a mtb rear derailleur. If the pull ratio is different something like a jtek shiftmate and a mtb rear derailleur will work. I'm currently running 105 r7000 brifters with a deore rear derailleur- 46/30 chainset and an 11-42 cassette on my gravel bike.
10 speed MTB for into the dynasis difference, so the devil is in the details.
OP will need to get well informed options.

Rear friction shifting is in my opinion not really that fun, I haven't shifted rear friction since the 70s, don't get the retro thing with it, other than making things work together.
Front friction sure, it works great
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Old 09-13-23, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by L134
Do you do your own work on your bike?
Are you open to friction shifting?

If yes to those two questions, your options are vast and inexpensive. Since you are asking, I'm guessing your answers may be no to either or both questions. Then, I guess you will be limited by the knowledge and willingness of somebody else to push beyond the limits of published specs. In that case, I would look for that person/shop locally.
After giving this one a bit of a think, I'm open to indexed bar-ends, but not friction shifting. That's a bit more Sheldon-esque than I'm willing to go, to be frank. But, kudos for making me widen my thinking on it all.
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Old 09-13-23, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by timdow
Crankset change to a smaller BCD triple or double seems to be a good option.
That's my next fall-back if I can't find something relatively plug-and-play here.
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Old 09-13-23, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by schnee
I'm open to friction shifting, as long as I can run the wires in a way that allow me to keep using handlebar bags.
That's easy. Just route the cabling all the way to the handlebar clamp area like you would with brifter cables, rather than exiting below the levers. With modern shift housing it typically works fine.

Edit:
I'm open to indexed bar-ends, but not friction shifting

If you pick up a Shimano 10-speed bar-end shifter pair, the rear will be indexed.

Bar-end shifters nearly always use friction for the front, and with that shifter form-factor I can't imagine why you'd want front indexing. It would just create adjustment and trim challenges, and with only 3 speeds, it's extremely easy to feel out shifter-to-sprocket alignment.
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Old 09-13-23, 01:21 PM
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Use good cable housings like Jagwire and it works great. I always run my barend cables under the bar tape.
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