For my cycle tour in May I’ve realised I’m going to need VERY low gears. I’ve estimated my bike is going to weigh 25-30lbs, maybe more! My route is on B-roads and lanes with Day 3 over some of the steepest roads in North Wales.
When I came up with this idea last year I’d already planned a transmission change anyway as part of servicing my bike after the winter commute and getting it ready for Spring/Summer and my tour. I originally pencilled in a full groupset change (double chainset only, no triples here!) and new wheels but I think I’ve changed my mind.
You see, new is great on paper. New wheels and a new groupset will look all nice and shiny but I have a couple of problems with that. 1. My frame is old, used, scratched and a new groupset isn’t going to do the bike any justice in looks stakes. 2. Do I actually need ALL of a new groupset? My BB is fine, my chainset is fine, my shifters are fine, my front mech is fine. 3. I would need to switch the outer ring to a 46T as thats my preference and 4. I have canti brakes which would make the brake calipers redundant anyway.
Its got me thinking and I’ve actually decided to bin the groupset idea now and do it all on a budget but make sure I get EXACTLY what I want.
My first job was to make a list of what I want/need. So I came up with this.
- New or Nearly-new wheels
- 46T Outer Rotor QRing 110BCD (34T inner is fine, its rarely used)
- 10spd chain
- 11-34T Cassette
- 10 spd rear mech compatible with Shimano Ultegra 6700 shifters that will do a 34t sprocket
- New cables & Bar tape
My first job was to see if my shifters would work with a rear mech that would do a 34t sprocket. I was thinking MTB or Hybrid rear mechs initially. If I could find one, the rest was pretty straight forward.
I new the GS (or long cage mech) for the Ultegra 6700 groupset and compatible 105 5700 rear mech would only do a 30T. I did a bit of googling and I found a really useful link to a Shimano compatibility chart which shows you what shifters work with what mechs, chains and chainsets. Perfect!
Here is the link. Take a look. Its very useful. It covers all speeds, MTB, Road and Hybrid.
This is an extract from the key page for me. 10 speed road
So you can see my shifters are listed as ST-6700 in the 2nd column (ST/SL) and in the RD (rear derailleur) column, the only mech that will do a 34t is the RD-350-10-SS. This is the mech I need!
The next step was to simply google that model number and see if I could get one. They are rare. No longer produced. It was a non-series mech, so it never featured in an actual groupset series. I found a few available abroad but there were a couple available on Ebay in the UK. So I bought one for £35 and used 4500 Nectar card points to get a £22.50 discount on that so I actually only paid just over £12 for it. BARGAIN!
So for £12 I’ve bought a nice neat solution that is what I want, what I need and without the need to make do with MTB or Hybrid components or make something not compatible work in some kind of bodge.