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Compatibility [05] Front derailleurs - article comments

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Wheel Wizard
Staff member
To prevent article pages from being miles long, but preserve all the useful questions and answers provided over time, I've decided to copy/paste the website comments to the forum - and "move" further discussions here.

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Compatibility [05] Front derailleurs

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If you can't find the answer to your question in this thread, please open a separate thread with your question/problem, in an appropriate forum section (this is the compatibility-mix/matching section).

    • MEvans
      07/06/2017 at 18:55
      Excellent information – thank you. Have been hunting the internet for answers on FD angle of inclination / curve to match front chain ring – and at last found the answer I needed .
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      06/11/2019 at 20:29
      Thanks!! Do you think a Shimano Sora R3000 FD will work with 36/22 or 38/24 chanrings? The FD limit is 46T
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        06/11/2019 at 20:39
        It won’t work brilliantly, since the larger chainring is a lot smaller than what the FD is designed for.
        The fact that smaller chainring is also smaller than anything one would generally expect on a road double (34 is general, while 30 is the absolute minimal) certainly doesn’t help.
        Having said that, depending on one’s criteria of “good” (or “good enough”), it can be OK. Especially if (front) shifting under load is avoided (though that’s generally always advisory, but in this case even more so).
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      19/02/2020 at 18:18
      Thank you very much
      This is very informative and has everything i needed to know!
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      Edoardo Berto
      26/03/2020 at 15:15
      Hi, I have Shimano Tiagra 4700 2×10 shifters and I need to use a top pull FD, but for road doesn’t exist…I see the Salsa fargo is using tiagra shifters and deore fd-m6025…is it correct?
      • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

        26/03/2020 at 17:07
        As far as I know, it’s not a perfect match, but for 2x drivetrains, it should work (4700 shifter will, as far as I know, pull more cable than needed per shift, but FD limit screws will keep it from oveshifting).
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      Edoardo Berto
      26/03/2020 at 17:14
      Then If I will use any 2x shimano FD with tiagra 4700 road, playing with the screws It will work..not perfectly but works..isn’t?
      Even if the FD is a dyn-sis technology?
      • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

        27/03/2020 at 05:31
        It depends on your criteria. In my experience, for 2x, almost anything can be made to work OK. Not perfectly, as good as it possibly can – in terms of fast shifting, especially if attempted under (slight) load, but OK.
        However, I haven’t tried every possible combo, so can’t bet my life on it, sorry.
        Either way, do let us know what combo you end up making and how well it works.

  1. Chris Woodward
    31/03/2020 at 16:58
    Hi, Hope you can help. I have bought a Calibre Stitch hybrid bike which i like, apart from the chain rubbing the front derailleur Claris) in a few gears when the chain is over angled. I have a spare front Altus, which has a wider gate. Do you think this would be compatible, and solve the rubbing problem?
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      31/03/2020 at 18:53
      If all is properly adjusted, having the chain rub when “severely cross chained” (as in – using the largest 2-3 rear sprockets from the largest front chainring and/or using the smallest 2-3 rear sprockets from the smallest front chainring) is a nice, harmless warning that your choice of gearing is not very good for the chain.
      I suppose that going with a wider cage FD can help eliminate that, or at least make it audible only for the very extreme combos (like the last 1 rear sprocket at the opposite side from the used front chainring, not 2-3 sprockets).
      Altus is not a perfect match for the Claris shifters, but it could be made to work satisfactory (depending on one’s criteria), especially with double front chainrings (with 3x it’s a bit more of a hassle). But it would be solving a problem that doesn’t really exist. Like using poor brakes, because a bicycle goes hardly when brakes are applied (sorry, can’t think of a better example).
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    Chris Woodward
    01/04/2020 at 10:19
    Thanks for that. I think i will just live with it, and take note when its rubbing, and change to a more appropriate gear.
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    04/04/2020 at 10:47
    Hi, Maybe you can help me out.
    It seems there is too little information around yet about 12 speed stuff. However, I’m trying to hack together a 2X12 system for a 29+ Drop bar frame for extended off-road touring (probably using 2.5”- 3.0”). I’m a Campagnolo user and have worked out everything except for the front derailleur / chainring combinations. I’m thinking I’d like somewhere from 19-120 gear inches. Jtek make a shift mate for Campy 12 – Shimano MTN 12. So with the Shimano 12s 10-45 rear cassette I’d need a 42-28 or 40-30 chainring or thereabouts (boost spaced 104-64 spider on Race Face cranks). This leaves me with a quandary. How do I get a derailleur to work with a 12 speed Campagnolo shifter over teeth that are that size? The smallest chainrings that Campagnolo suggests for the Chorus front derailleur are 48-32. Could this derailleur be modified to work? (Angled shims, Band on adapter for boost spacing). Would the Shimano 2X12 derailleur work better even though it’s specced for 36-26 chainrings. Is the pull of the Campagnolo 12 shifter going to be able to move the derailleur into the right position? I’m so lost.
    Thanks for the write up btw. I learnt more about the front derailleur from this post than all the previous things I’ve ever read.
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      04/04/2020 at 11:15
      I’m afraid that I can hardly say anything you don’t already know – sorry. But won’t waste too much of your time (the reply is still under 10 pages long 🙂 ).
      Firstly I have to make a disclaimer: I live and work in Serbia, a rather poor, devastated country, so don’t see much of the new stuff – until it becomes the old stuff. 🙂
      My estimates from charts, specifications and manufacturer inquiries are usually correct, but think it’s fair to point out for stuff that I haven’t personally tested.
      To make things even worse, Campagnolo is like a unicorn here: everyone knows it’s nice and cool, but no one’s actually seen it! 🙂
      OK, being a mechanic, I get to see a few – more than the “normal” cyslists (if there is such a thing 🙂 ), but still not very much.
      Secondly, I’d give myself the liberty to add, even if not asked, that for touring I’d go with simpler, more robust stuff – like friction shifters and fewer cogs at the back.
      Using triple front chainrings.
      This easily provides wide enough gearing ratio, with gears still being “tight” enough so that the desired gear ratio is always available.
      Another advantage of such systems is they work flawlessly with practically any chain (or cassette for that matter) that you throw at them (this can matter in case of a malfunction while away from any well equipped store).
      OK, with all that out of the way:
      I would expect 42-30 to work OK with a derailleur for 48-32. If fast shifting under load is not needed (like when racing), and if one’s criteria of fast/smooth front shifting is not too strict, it would probably work OK. I’ve mix-matched road 50/53 large chainring double FDs with MTB cranks and had them do just fine – especially with the doubles.
      For mixing Shimano FD with Campagnolo shifter – I haven’t tried that, so will have to look up the manufacturer specs (if there are any cable pull specs) and see. I would bet a beer that it can be made to work, with a double, but can’t say for certain, unfortunately.
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    22/04/2020 at 14:56
    Thanks for great content on the site! I have a bit of conundrum with my front mech setup, hoping you would be able to help maybe?
    I’m looking to build a CX bike around an old frame which is equipped for a top pull cable routing. I find it extremely hard to find a fitting FD
    – CX70 (top pull) seems to be good candidate, but it proves extremely hard to get (at least based on my attempts so far – either out of stock, or even when sellers claim they have this, in the end they delay and decline the order…) and then also I’m worried about compatibility – would it work with Tiagra 4700 shifter? (Shimano claims compatibility with 10 speed groupsets, but apparently 4700 has different pull ratio than previous ones…)
    – secondly, Ultegra FD-8000 claims to be “Dual Pull” which would mean both bottom and top; 105 and GRX seem to share the construction and also claim “more cable routing options” but any setup instructions only show the bottom pull setup – so how is that in real life?
    – finally another option would be to engage some MTB derailleur which more commonly come in top pull, but then again would that work OK with road shifters (Tiagra 4700 or 105 7000 series)?
    Thanks in advance for any insights on this!
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      22/04/2020 at 18:40
      Shimano’s compatibility charts are given on their website and are usually quite conservative – meaning that whatever they say will work, works.
      4700 front shifter (as well as their 11 speed road shifters) pulls more cable than the other Shimano’s front shifters. For doubles, FD limit screws can help so one can make it work OK (depending on one’s criteria of how good it has to be for it to be considered “OK”).
      Stated “more cable options” means that the FD accepts both the “naked” cable, and the cable that comes with housing, all the way to the FD (the FD has a housing stop built in). However, for all I know, in order for that FD-8000 to accept top routed cables, one would need to use an adapter.
      Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.
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    25/05/2020 at 06:04
    Good day,
    Just wanted to know if the old 105 fd(5800) is compatible with the new 105 crankset (r7000)?
    Thank you in advance!!
Last edited:
  1. Tom
    26/05/2020 at 13:00
    Hi I just broke my cx70 on my CX bike so need a new top pull front deraulier with 31.8mm clamp but as metioned above a new cx70 is hard to obtain now.
    I have 105 STI 5700 shifters
    A run an altus mtb rear mech and it works perfect, this made me think try a mtb front mech also.
    48t big ring 34t small ring double 110bcd road crank.
    Read else where online that a XTR mtb front one may work for cx but there a a multitude of models, any advice what models of FD to try?
    How about:
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      26/05/2020 at 13:56
      I live in a country that is war/crisis torn and impoverished. So getting proper parts is often difficult – both because they aren’t available, as well as because of the price. Hence – I would try with whatever is at hand (old spare parts, trashed donor bikes etc.). FD-s aren’t too picky, especially if handled properly, with friction shifters. 🙂
      The point of this is that what I would do (and perhaps recommend) might not be the optimal choice for everyone. Now to the question at hand – what are the options?
      If in a position to order a new part, I would use what’s the most optimal choice.
      FD you linked is for 66 to 69 degrees chainstay angle (which is the angle between the seat tube and the chainstay).
      While most road FD-s are for 61 to 66 degrees chainstay angle.
      So that would be a deciding factor for me. To choose one that fits the bike best.
      As for compatibility – most Shimano road double FD-s are designed for 52 to 46 largest chainring, and can handle 34 toothed small chainring. The up-to 10 speed ones (apart from Tiagra 4700 FD-s) should work perfectly fine. There is no reason to go with an MTB FD if you already have road shifters – unless it matches your frame better.
      If the angle is over 66 degrees – the FD you linked should be OK.
      If the angle is 66 degrees, or smaller, I’d go with 10 speed 105 FD (5700 series, or older), or, if on a tighter budget, Sora 9 speed one:
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    12/08/2020 at 15:23
    Hi Relja, When I looked on the map, I realized I was most likely passing by your shop during my many visits of my friends in NS. Well, next time I will stop by 🙂
    I would like to ask you few questions:
    I am riding 3×9 XT set on my 2009 GIANT Reign X0 (my old reliable friend). Now, the time to change both FD and RD came again, but this time I can not find 3×9 XT in the stores here (Slovakia) anymore. BTW: My Crankset is 42-32-22.
    The only options I found here for FD is 3×11:
    XT FD-M8000 pre 3×11 Side-swing. I can lead the cabe to the FD from the front, so that is fine and according to what you said 3×11 should be fine for 3×9 too. The only problem seems to be the 2 mm narrower cage. I kind of hope to find a way to make it +2mm wider…. ?
    More importantly:
    I would like to get a cassette with 40T (or max 42T). https://tinyurl.com/y6hnto85
    But the only 9sp RD I foud still available is XT M772GS. I was trying to find the SGS model, but no succes. According to the official document the 772 RD can handle max 34T. Is there any solution to this?
    I was also considering to change to 10sp instead, but than I realized, that I will probably face the same problem as with 9sp – According to the official document the 10sp RD can handle max 34T. So I thought to use 11sp RD with 10sp shifter – but from your other article I realized it wont work either.
    Full 11sp, seems to me to much and to expensive…. and I would like to keep the 3-crank in the front.
    Is there a way to make the cage of the new FDs little wider? Would it be better to keep looking for original 3×9 FD?
    What do you think about the 9×3 or 10×3 with 40T option?
    Would you please have any other suggestion?
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      13/08/2020 at 08:19
      There’s my phone number on website contact info, so even if I’m not at the shop, feel free to contact me (Viber, WhatsApp, call, SMS…) when you’re in the neighbourhood. 🙂
      – Front derailleur –
      I would rather choose a lower end model (or, to be more precise, a “less top-end model”), like Deore, or Alivio, instead of buying an “11-speed” XT.
      Narrower cage will cause the chain to rub a bit sooner, when cross-chaining. So, for example, when on the big up front, now you might get away with no chain rub except when on the largest sprocket at the back. But with a narrower FD cage, you can expect to get some rubbing even when on the 2nd largest sprocket, or even the 3rd. Such cross chaining (big up front – 3rd largest at the rear) is not considered as “severe cross-chaining” by today’s standards, even though it’s not a perfect/very good combo.
      However, apart from that, I wouldn’t expect any more serious problems with the narrower chain. Though I’d still go with cheaper, quite good and durable Deore FD, preferably for 9, or 10 speeds.
      – Rear derailleur –
      Short answer:
      WolfTooth, or similar product sold by a less known (Chinese) brand can help. You can see it here:
      Video showing it installed on an 11-speed bicycle
      Video description has a link to on-line store, showing what the product looks like (though I would encourage shopping and supporting local bicycle stores).
      Longer answer:
      Shimano is often quite conservative when noting derailleur limits. So, for example, Shimano Alivio RD-M3100-SGS has the limit of 36 teeth (with a total chain-wrap capacity of 45 teeth).
      Depending on your frame’s current RD hanger design, if you screw in the B screw (almost) all the way in, you might see it nicely going over the 40 T chainring. 42 would be pushing it a bit too much, requiring the RD hanger extension (noted in the “Short answer”).
      There’s also a “trick” of screwing the B-screw the other way round, so its head is facing the RD hanger, making it push the RD even further, but I think that’s a bit more likely to bend the screw, or damage the small “lip” on the RD hanger that the screw hits into, pushing the derailleur. Similar goes for replacing the B-screw for a longer one (I think it’s an M3, or an M4 screw, would have to measure and check to be sure).
      “Philosophy” answer:
      I fail to see the point of having more than 34 teeth at the back, with a 22 T smallest front chainring. Even for muddy riding conditions, or loaded touring.
      So would advise giving a 34 teeth a try, if you haven’t already and found it not low enough gearing.
      As far as 3×10 goes, I prefer 3×7 with friction shifters: it’s super cheap, super durable, can use practically any modern multi-speed chain (tried from 6 to 10 speed chains on such setup so far, all worked fine). Good 2nd hand Shimano friction shifters, the ones made of steel/aluminium are practically indestructible, and very reliable. 7 and 8 speed chains are much cheaper. Same goes for 7-speed cassettes – cheaper, and there are 11-34 and 12-34 options available. And, with some spacers improvised from any old cassette, they fit 8-9-10-11 speed Shimano MTB freehubs (and road freehubs as well). Video explanation of 7-speed cassette on an 8-9-10-11 speed freehub.
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      13/08/2020 at 15:18
      THANK YOU, Relja. I am clear now: I would keep all the components in my set as they should be – 3×9. The only think now is the cassette – i will grab either Deore CS-HG400 11-36T or Sunrace CS-M980 11-40T. I also found the clamp to make the RD bit longer: https://tinyurl.com/y3lpbzgz just in case the simple RD tunning would not help…
      I am using the 11-34T XT cassette, I remember when I installed my first 34T cassette I could noticed the difference from previous 11-32Ts – most of my trips are in the forest with quite steep hills. I do not know of anyone using 40T cassette on 22T crank, so I do not know how this would work, neither I know if the 36T would bring the desired effect. So both will be a kind of blind shots…
      AND, thank you for you invitation. 😉
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    27/08/2020 at 01:21
    Hi Relja,
    Greetings from Spain. Thank you so much for all this technical info.
    Today I ‘succeeded’ mixing a Shimano GRX 400 10 speed FD with a Claris 3 speed shifter, 2 speed crankset and 9 speed chain.
    This GRX FD has features and adjustment bolts I never saw before at any front derailleur. It was little bit complex to assembly and adjust.
    I shortly tested on the turbo trainer. Let’s see how it works outdoors.
    Again, thank you for all this info.
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    28/08/2020 at 22:43
    Pozdrav Relja,
    I am totally lost and helpless…. For more than a week I am trying to figure out what is happening.
    1 new out of box RD XT M772 – 9sp
    2 new out of box Cassete SunRace – 9sp (Tested also with previously used XT 9sp cassete with the same results)
    3 new chain HG93
    4 new out of box bowden and cable
    5 new out of box DEORE 9sp shifter (Tested also with previously used XT 9sp shifter with the same results)
    Sum Total: not able to make it work flawlessly. It is jumping over one of the cogs, the shiftig is not exact.
    3 prophesionals + me, where trying to make it work, they (we) didnt succed.
    Of course hanger was checked right from the begining.
    Absolutly frustrating. Would yu have any idea, what is going on here. Perhaps a bunch Gremlins are involved here, what do you thing? 🙂
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      30/08/2020 at 08:04
      Pozdrav 🙂
      This video in Serbian shows and explains most of the possible problems (and troubleshooting) when tuning derailleurs:
      Štelovanje menjača bicikla
      When things like this happen, especially if I can’t even see the bike, I recommend starting “from the top”, testing even the “silly things” that “of course are correct” – sometimes mistakes happen even to the most experienced. So:
      1. Check the cables and housing – are they routed properly, are the housings for shifters (not for brakes).
      2. Is the cablee attached where it should be at the derailleur? Is it attached after the shifter has been shifted all the way to release the cable for as much as it can?
      3. Is the cassette tightened properly, without wiggling on the freehub?
      4. Is everything else tightened properly (RD, RD hanger, even shifters, wheel itself, in the dropouts)?
      5. RD B-screw position – is the top RD pulley wheel close enough to the cassette?
      6. Are the H(igh) and L(low) RD limit screws set properly – can the RD move all the way?
      7. Does it cause problems even when the chain is not crossed?
      8. Chain lenght of the new chain – is it optimal?
      Additional things to think about:
      When do the problems occur – only when pedaling with force, when riding in whichever way, or on the stand as well (with no rider on the bike)?
      Is there only one particular sprocket that gets skipped/problematic, or does it happen on several different sprockets? Are those several ones also always the same few, or does the problem happen all over the cassette?
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    17/09/2020 at 06:17
    Thanks!! Do you think a Shimano Sora R3000 shifter will work with 36/52 chanrings? The FD is deore
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      18/09/2020 at 07:42
      I would expect it to work fine.
      Would be more worried about the Deore FD with a 52 largest chainring – expecting it to have to be set a bit higher than it is optimal, to prevent FD cage from hitting the chainring, since it has a sharper curve, since the cage is shaped for smaller front chainrings than 52 (so it has a smaller curve radius).
  1. Duncan Strutt
    16/10/2020 at 22:32
    I’m trying to replace an old XT Triple (22-32-42) 9 speed front mech. Will a Shimano 10 speed work ok? If not MTB specific, what about a Tiagra Triple? I currently run a Triple (26-36-46) 9 speed on a road bike with STI, but would the same front mech work with MTB LX 9 speed STI?
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      17/10/2020 at 05:48
      FD should match the cranks (chainring size) – as explained in chapter 4 of this article.
      And it should match the shifter’s cable pull (see chapter 8).
      I’m not sure what kind of shifter and cranks are used on the bike we are talking about. Or planned to be used with the new FD.
      If it’s 26-36-46, with 9 speed Shimano road STIs, then I’d expect any triple FD for 6 to 9 speeds, that is designed for largest chainring of 44 to even 50 teeth to work acceptably well. This covers most road and MTB FDs.
      10 and 11 speed road FDs won’t work very well.
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    Joel Benjamin
    10/11/2020 at 19:31
    Thanks for the blog, super useful for a beginner delving into bike upgrades
    I’ve got an old Giant CRX4 flat bar touring bike, with original 3x 8sp shimano components (Tourney 48-38-28) with a clamp fitted top pull front derailleur (bulky old version circa 2000s).
    The FD is so large I can easily clear 40mm tyres at front, yet only 30mm at rear. I’d like to run larger tyres for offroad/touring, so want a work around solution for the bulky FD.
    Side swing FD looks ideal, but Shimano have only put out 3x 10 speed for the Deore groupset as far as I can tell, and don’t yet, and probably wont do either a 3x 9 or 3x 8 speed side swing FD https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/technologies/component/details/side-swing-front-derailleur.html
    Will I get away with running a Deore or SLX 3×10 side swing FD on a 3×8 setup? especially given the Deore is optimised for 42T max, and I’m running 48T?
    Are there other lower profile (non side swing) FD options that would buy me another 1cm of tire clearance?
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      10/11/2020 at 22:07
      FD designed for 42 T will sit a bit higher with 48 T cranks (in order to avoid hitting the largest chainring with the rear part of the cage).
      That will create even more tyre clearance (in general/most cases), but will not make for perfect shifting.
      Especially when shifting up to the largest chainring.
      Now, that might work “OK”, well enough for your taste and needs – or it might not.
      Other options would be:
      – Sourcing a 48 T side swing FD.
      – Swapping the cranks for a 42 T model (though, with a smaller chainring, FD will sit lower, and probably provide less tyre clearance).
      – Perhaps, I’m not certain, a high-clamp (i.e. bottom-swing) FD might just offer a bit more tyre clearance, compared to a top swing one (if that is what’s currently on the bike).
      The potential problem here, from what I can conclude, is not the 3×10 vs 3×8, but the FD cage profile (if it’s not matched with the cranks).
      Finally, a “Solomon’s solution” as they say here, 37 mm is a whole lot wider than 30 mm. While it won’t be a mud/snow riding champion, it can be a capable off road and touring tyre. If one whole cm can’t be achieved, but it is manageable to get at least half, or so.
      P.S. Problem I have on my “haul-everything” bicycle (if that’s of use in this case, to consider) is that 42 T cranks, with a FD for 48 T, require the FD to sit so low that its cage hits against the chainstay. So I make do with less than perfect shifting (though I use friction shifters), FD sitting way too high. It’s not bad enough for me to bother replacing, either FD, or the cranks. But it is an issue worth noting. 🙂
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    Béla Törőcsik
    15/11/2020 at 13:19
    Hello Rejla,
    i’m kinda stuck with my bike, i tried matching mtb parts with drop handlebar and road brifters.
    The RD is an old deore xt, with 7 speed casette, the FD is a FD-M591, and the cranks are FC-M770 with SM-BB52
    (with spacers in right place). The brifters are ST-3300s. I can’t shift to the smallest chainring, unless i loose some on the in-line barrell adjuster. Could it be unproperly set-up, or the brifter-fd-cranks are not compatible each other?
    Thank You!
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      15/11/2020 at 20:25
      To avoid any misunderstanding:
      ST-3300 are for two chainrings.
      ST-3303 are for three chainrings.
      Cranks are with three chainrings?
      If yes – and the shifters are in fact for 3 chainrings also (i.e. model ST-3303), then I would try tuning/adjusting.
      Inline barrel adjuster makes fine-tuning a lot easier.
      Without one (or even with one, for starting), low end FD limit screw can help in achieving the otpimal cable tension (tightening it a bit more than needed, attaching the cable, then loosening the screw).
      Hmm – I do plan on making a video demonstration on tuning the derailleurs – it’s a bit more difficult to explain all the procedures using words and images. At least for me.
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      Béla Törőcsik
      15/11/2020 at 23:45
      thanks! yes, the shifter is for triple speed. I will try to overadjust the lower limit screw, and then reattach the cable. maybe this will help!
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      Törőcsik Béla
      18/11/2020 at 17:41
      I tried what You described, but the low end FD limit screw is already all the way in 😀
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      18/11/2020 at 19:10
      Not sure when I’ll manage to make a video – so only text for now:
      – Loosen the FD shifter cable pinch bolt
      – Adjust the FD low limit screw so that the smallest chainring sits near the inner side of the FD cage.
      – Turn the barrel adjuster all the way in (lowest housing length/cable tension).
      – Pull the cable tightly and secure it with the pinch bolt.
      – Unscrew the FD low limit screw so that the smallest chainring sits in the middle of the FD cage plates.
      – Shift into the largest chainring.
      – Pull the shifter cable by hand, and adjust the FD high limit screw so that the inner side of the FD cage can come a bit closer to the largest chainring (compared to the outer FD cage side), but not too much – to prevent overshifting and having the chain drop off on the outside.
      – Use the barrel adjuster to fine tune.
      If good setup isn’t achieved this way, let me know what exactly the problematic shifts are, and in which positions they occur.
      Generally, if it won’t shift to the smallest chainring, try loosening the low FD limit screw (unscrewing it) further.
      If that too doesn’t help (FD cage stays in place when you unscrew it), then repeat the procedure (as stated above), only this time unscrew the barrel adjuster half way out – so you have more “room” for loosening the cable later. Either that, or start with the FD limit screw a bit less screwed in (so that the smallest chainring is right in the middle of the FD cage, when looking from above).
      Hope I’ve explained the procedure clearly enough.
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    Törőcsik Béla
    18/11/2020 at 20:02
    As you write, it’s easy as 1-2-3 😀
    I’ll give it a try tomorrow, and leave a reply.
    Thanky very much
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      Törőcsik Béla
      10/03/2021 at 09:48
      It’s me again,
      i just saw your videos on youtube, they’re excellent!
      I’ve followed every instructions, yet I can not find a solution to my problem (either the big or the small chainring was rubbing in front. Until I figured out, the main problem was with the cranks. One day it became eventually loose on the non-drive side, so i loosen the two bolt, inspect the little tab with the security pin (it was not in its designed place) applied some mild force on the drive side to go all the way in, and then installed the nds crank and the security tab, and voilá: after some minor fiddling on the barrel adjuster i can shift all the three chainrings, without rubbing.
      Anyway, keep up with the good work Relja!
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      10/03/2021 at 12:52
      Hi Bela,
      Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
      Such problems are exactly the reason for making the last three videos on shifting and derailleur tuning.
      Loose cranks, or worn BB bearings are a show-stopping problem that prevents many people from ever getting their shifting perfectly. Not sure how well it’s explained and demonstrated, but I tried my best. 🙂
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    27/11/2020 at 04:40
    what about using a claris fd with a tiagra drivetrain?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      27/11/2020 at 10:33
      Shimano Tiagra 4700 shifters won’t work very well with a Shimano Claris FD.
      Older Tiagra shifters will work.
  1. Elaine
    30/11/2020 at 10:35
    Hi Bikegremlin,
    Can you solve a problem for me please?
    I have fitted Sora 8 spd triple sti shifters and I can’t get them to work with the XT FD.
    The chainrings are 44/34/26. (Are these sizes the real problem)?
    I have been offered an old Dura Ace FD-7400 which I am told may work. (Although it’s a double).
    Otherwise I have a Sora 9 speed Triple FD?
    Or should I just go with a Sora 8 spd triple one?
    If none of these, then what?!
    The bike is a lovely old Basso lugged bike and I am trying to keep it ‘in the era’!
    Thank you for any help.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      30/11/2020 at 15:07
      There are several things to consider here. First thing that pops to mind: does FD cage curve fit (follow) the curve of the largest chainring? That’s as far as the sizes go.
      Now, generally speaking: triple FD is more likely to work properly on a triple chainring, than a double FD.
      Also – both 8, an 9 speed road FDs are more likely to work properly with road shifters, than an MTB FD. 9 speed one might have a bit narrower cage, so the 8 speed chain may be more likely to rub when riding cross chained, but that is not advisory anyway, so one could consider that as a “fair warning” to change the gearing combo, more than a problem/malfunction.
      Having said that, Sora FDs are more likely to have their cage shaped to fit a 50 tooth largest chainring, not a 44 tooth one. So in those terms, a matching MTB FD might have an advantage. The problem with those is their cable pull differs a bit compared to the road ones. However, I have used MTB FDs with Sora STI’s with no problems. It isn’t perfect, but it shifts and works. A friend, who is also a mechanic, is having problem with such setup though. Trying to talk him into hopping to my garage, before buying a new FD. If he does, I’ll take a look at it and, if he isn’t in a rush, try to record a video of the (hopefully successful) procedure.
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    13/12/2020 at 05:46
    The section on derailleur mounting angle is confusing, as written. In English, (American English, at least) steeper implies more vertical and perpendicular. I would write “Seat tube angle (onto which FD is mounted) is usually about 70 degrees for road bikes, while MTBs usually have a more relaxed seat tube angle, around 65 degrees. If a FD designed for more vertical tube is mounted on a tube that has a more relaxed angle, the effect will be similar to that of placing a smaller chainring designed FD on a much bigger chainring. And vice versa.”
    It might also be useful to make a note that Shimano trekking and MTB derailleurs often come in two orientations, 63-66° chainstay angle (not to be confused with seat tube angle) which is common on road bikes and 29ers… and a 66-69° chainstay angle which is common on older mountain bikes with a 26″ wheel.
    Thank you, Relja, for all the hard work you put into this helpful website!
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      13/12/2020 at 09:27
      Thank you for the feedback – it’s very good.
      I have edited (in fact corrected) the article. I think, thanks to your feedback, it is more clearly explained now (if even a bit more long 🙂 ).
      For laughs: analyzing the mistake – in my native, we use words translated as “sharp” for below 90°, and “blunt” for over 90° angles. Seems I have “switched” the words “steep” and “sharp”, using them as if they’re synonyms in this context, while they have opposite meanings.
      While the angle originally noted for MTB seat tubes was in fact average seat tube to chainstay angle. While trying to make the article less outrageously long, I wasn’t sure whether to use that, or the frame angle. Ended up mixing them – without ever noticing it. Still, with your feedback, I suppose an extra two paragraphs explaining that do a lot more good than harm – for anyone interested in this topic.
      P.S. The amount of high quality feedback (both on the websites and YouTube channel) never ceases to amaze me. Over the years, it has helped make them a lot better, a lot more useful – both to myself (I usually use my websites as a reference/reminder, especially the compatibility and standards articles – can’t keep it all, always, in memory 🙂 ), and, hopefully, the other cyclists/mechanics. Cycling community seems surprisingly supportive, at least in my experience over the past decades.
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    Wilfred Duiven
    15/12/2020 at 09:49
    Hi Relja,
    First, let me thank you for all the helpful info !
    I am doing my first build: converting my 2001 Klein Attitude into a 27,5 Gravelbike. I’m almost there but (of course) it’s the shifting I’m struggling with. I have 3×9 Sora Sti shifters I’d like to use with the existing 3×9 drivetrain (which is still in very good shape). Now the 9 speed front derailleur needs more cable pull than the Sora STi’s offer so it will either not work with or will work poorly I’ve read. I also read I can fix this by
    1. get a 9 speed mtb derailleur and replace the Sora’s with Campa Ergo and go ‘Shimergo’
    2. stick with the Sora’s and 9 speed mtb derailleur and buy a Shiftmate7 from Jtek
    Frankly, I’m not thrilled about option 1 [hassle] nor option 2 [yet another adapter..]
    So I thought about option3 and I’m curious if you think it can work (or better, if you’ve tried it):
    3. get a 3×8 FD like the Shimano FDM310X6. My theory is: because of the slightly larger cage, the lack of cable pull from the Sora Sti shifters will be compensated. You’d start off on the BB side with the left side of the cage at a normal position which would give some extra room on the right side which you need when you shift to a larger chainring.
    Very curious what you think !
    Thanks in advance for your response.
    kind regards
    PS Looking at the specs the FDM310X6 ticks a lot of the other boxes [chain line, angle, teeth].
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      15/12/2020 at 11:00
      Hello Wilfred,
      If I understand correctly, front shifting is a concern.
      Sora front shifters (all the models up to date) are compatible with any Shimano road FD except the new 11 speed (and the new Tiagra 4700 10 speed ones… and Shimano GRX… see where both me and Shimano are going with this? 🙂 ).
      So any road FD for 3 speeds (different cage shape compared to 2 speed FDs) should work fine.
      Before buying, I would check if it can be configured to work OK with the existing (MTB I assume) FD.
      In case shifter pulls less cable than is optimal, a “hack” I use is to start with the cable just slightly tighter (up to the point when downshifting to the smallest chainring is a bit “lazy/slow”, but still works properly).
      That often gets it just right for the middle chainring, and still fine on the largest chainring, if with some slight chain rub when using the smallest rear sprocket.
      Potential problems with using a road triple FD depend on the cranks. MTB cranks with 28-38-48 tooth count are more likely to work fine with road triple FD-s, generally designed for 30-39-50 cranks.
      On the other hand, smaller MTB cranks, like 24-32-42, are going to see FD cage being too straight for the largest chainring curve. Which can affect shifting, and cause chain rub even when the chain is not severely crossed.
      Bottom line:
      The only really “safe bet” is to buy everything new, matching all the components (which can be both wasteful, and needlessly expensive in my opinion).
      Everything else is a bit of “hacking” – and quality results require a bit more tuning, and also depend on how strict one’s criteria for “OK” are.
      Long ago have I completely switched to friction shifters, never to look back.
      I tune other people’s bikes, especially when they mix-match, but for my own – I prefer something that just works, reliably, always, even if (when) something gets whacked against a tree, or a rock on a ride (I fall down – a lot 🙂 – always keeping it on the edge 🙂 ).
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    Nabiel Pasha Indrawan
    21/12/2020 at 09:03
    Hi Relja.
    Great article, I found it to be very helpful.
    Recently I broke the left shifter of my claris r2000. Im planning to change it to a tiagra 4700 shifter (left only) along with the 4700 fd.
    Would this cause any compatibility problem as I plan to keep the rest of the parts still with my claris.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      21/12/2020 at 09:38
      Hi Nabiel,
      I’m afraid Tiagra shifters won’t work with the Claris compatible derailleurs (and vice-versa).
    • b0e66df6a7610216b417b9d7c3e1c50d.jpg

      Nabiel Pasha Indrawan
      21/12/2020 at 12:58
      Thanks for the fast reply Relja
      Would the Tiagra 4600 shifter work with the claris r2000 fd?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      22/12/2020 at 10:41
      Tiagra 4600 shifters will work with Claris derailleurs. Both the front, and rear (provided a cassette is chosen to match the shifter’s number of speeds). 4700 won’t, but 4600 will.
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    Chris Selkirk
    02/01/2021 at 12:06
    Hi Relja, I am running a 10 speed setup with hydraulic disc brakes. I have been using RS405 shifters with a 105 5700 rear derailleur and, because the frame is top pull for the front derailleur, I have a CX70 front derailleur. Since my right hand shifter failed recently I decided to go for a set of GRX RX400 shifters, so keeping with 10 speed. I now discover that shimano have changed the cable pull on these shifters to be the same as 11 speed systems. I have purchased a 4700 rear derailleur to be compatible. Can you suggest a top pull front derailleur that would be compatible, or should my CX70 work with the RX400 shifters?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      02/01/2021 at 15:36
      Just as is the case with the rear, the front shifter will require a “Shimano road 11 speed” compatible FD (not sure how else to name it, since that cable pull is now introduced in 10 speed road, and 10 & 11 speed “gravel”).
      The road FDs work only with bottom cable routing.
      I’m not sure if FD-RX400 is designed for bottom (or dual-side) cable routing. If the frame allows it, a work-around can be done using a cable routing adapter (as shown in the 2nd picture of the 2nd, Cable Routing chapter of this article).
  1. Ron
    15/01/2021 at 05:58
    Hi, I have a crappy Mongoose MTB-style bike and I need to replace the front derailleur because it is too worn.
    I’m having difficulty finding anything that will work, and I hope you can suggest a suitable FDR.
    I need 3×7, top-pull, and my chainrings are 52, 34, 24 teeth with a 31.8mm clamp mount. Shifters are twist-type.
    Unfortunately I havent found anything that goes up to 52 teeth with a top-pull that also supports the 28 teeth difference from the largest to smallest chainring.
    I will really appreciate any advice you can give!
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      15/01/2021 at 09:46
      That is a large range in chainring size. For top-pull, unless using an adapter (to effectively make the cable run from the bottom), it limits the choice to MTB FDs.
      However, most MTB FDs are designed for the largest chainring with 48 teeth, or fewer.
      I haven’t tested any with such setup, but if I had to pick, I’d first try with a MTB FD for 48 teeth largest chainring. Shifting may not be perfect, but it could work acceptably well.
      Not even many of those available from the currently produced models (manufacturers are pushing for fewer chainrings up front, and more at the back). I know that older model Acera FDs were made for 48 teeth (as well as some models for fewer, with a “sharper” curve). Not 100% sure about Alivio and Deore.
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    17/02/2021 at 16:40
    Hello and great information you offer here.
    I recently purchased a Shimano SLX compact M672 40-30-22 crankset to install on my Novara Mazama, a gravel bike. The problem I ran into was that the back end of the FD cage ( Shimano low clamp SLX ) would hit the chainstay if lowered to the 1-2mm height above the chainring. Is there a FD made specifically for a triple crank with such a small range, or is the problem the frame geometry with more bb drop being the issue, compared to less drop on a mountain bike? What about a 2x FD? I have an 2013 Jamis that runs a 2×11 using a short cage SLX FD.
    Thanks for any insight you can offer.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      17/02/2021 at 17:34
      Hello Dave,
      …this reminded me of the 2001 A Space Odyssey. 🙂
      When it comes to books and films – that’s my cup of tea. 🙂
      Back on the topic:
      There are a few things to consider. I’ll use numbering for easier reference of any potential follow-up questions. I’ll also write as if you don’t know anything, to avoid any misunderstanding, and in case anyone else with a similar problem reads the question and the reply. You can just skip any redundant info, and please don’t take any offence for some of my stating the obvious stuff.
      FD cage being 3, even 5 mm above the largest chainring is often OK and results in good shifting, even when using indexed shifters.
      “Back end” of the cage is the part you described to be hitting the chainstay. It’s a good definition that I’ll use to refer to it, to avoid any misunderstanding.
      Is the FD cage shaped to follow the curve of the largest chainring (40 toothed one)?
      If not, getting one that is, might result in its cage “back end” being closer to the front part of the bicycle, possibly avoiding the chainstay (since most chainstays are angled “upwards” as they go towards the rear wheel dropouts).
      Not 100% sure I’ve explained this properly. :/
      If the FD cage shape is a matching one, on to the next point:
      I have a trekking bike frame that was designed for a 48-38-28 crank. Swapped that one for a 42-32-22 one, in order to more easily haul a kid-trailer up steep hills.
      This modification resulted in the same problem that you faced.
      From what I could tell, using a FD with a cage shaped for 40-42 teeth chainring size would still end up hitting the chainstay, or being very, very close – at least on this particular frame.
      Haven’t tested it yet, though. For me, shifting works fine with the FD cage being over 5 mm above the largest chainring. I use friction shifters, so suppose that helps with this.
      And I never seem to find the time to fix my own bikes – there are always some other people’s “in-queue”, and I’m thinking: “don’t touch it while it works,” “I’ll probably swap the cranks for larger ones pretty soon” and so on. 🙂

      Possible solutions:
      Simplest, based on point 1): rising the FD to be 3, or even 5 mm above the largest chainring and giving it a try.
      This will, of course, require tightening of the shifter cable (re-clamping it, barrel adjusters won’t allow for taking up that much slack).
      Based on point 3): getting a matching FD, unless that is already done.
      Based on point 4): getting larger front chainring(s).
      If memory serves me correctly, there are some 44-32-22 cranks available, so lowest gearing won’t be affected, while it might give that little extra room for the FD cage to completely clear the chainstay while being optimally positioned.
      Trying a double FD: these don’t work very well with triple cranks.
      Triple FDs can work OK with standard double cranks – the cranks that have up to 14 tooth difference between the large, and the small chainring (such as 53-39).
      Triple FDs don’t work OK with modern compact cranks – the ones that have a 16 tooth difference between the large, and the small chainring (such as 50-34, 52-36, 46-30 etc.).
      The other way round – using a double FD for a triple crank is not very good. Shifting to and from the smallest chainring could be problematic. Chain could be scratching over the rear bottom part of the RD cage when it is on the smallest front chainring and not on the largest few rear sprockets. Also, FD could have problems “convincing” the chain to move from the smallest, to the middle chainring.
      Final thoughts/notes:
      Many of the “not recommended,” or “borderline” cases depend on the particular gearing, and even frame geometry, i.e: how much does the BB drop relative to the rear wheel dropouts, how long are the chainstays, rear sprocket count, size of the rear and front chainrings etc.
      So I think it’s worth testing the options that are first “on-hand.” Like: if you don’t have a matching FD, or larger chainring, try lifting the existing one by a few mm (in case this suffices) and see how the shifting works.
      Or, if you have a double FD available – it doesn’t hurt to give it a try (preferably on a stand before making a test ride).
      It’s fairly simple – hope I haven’t made it sound too complicated.
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    10/03/2021 at 09:16
    Hi Relja,
    Once more I would like to ask the PRO guy 🙂
    I am considering to swich from 3×9 (11-34t) to 2×11 (11-46). While doing this I would like to keep the 42 chainring in the front, because it gives me the speed while moving around of the trail. On the other hand to keep the low range of gears I would like to install 28T chainring.
    My present chainring is 22-32-42
    My plans for the new one are 28-42-0
    Here goes my concern: would the FD make the jump from 28 to 42? I guess the books will say NO. But would the experiene say something else? The FD I am using now is FD-M980.
    BTW: The 30 or 32 are still in the game, but I will loose the lowest speeds, I use while climbing those hills around.
    Thank you for any advice.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      10/03/2021 at 09:50
      Hi Leo,
      When people ask about potential changes, or upgrades, my first question is:
      “What is the current setup lacking?”
      1x systems, and even 2x systems do have some advantages over 3x, but it could also be argued (at least for the cyclists who aren’t racing/competing) they are solving a problem that doesn’t exist.
      3x systems can provide a huge gearing range, with relatively small gaps in adjacent gear-ratios, at a relatively budget price and with a good degree of robustness.

      For the FD: anything over 16 teeth difference in adjacent chainring sizes is usually problematic – for 2x FDs. 3x FDs are even more sensitive!
      So, if my calculation is correct, 42 (the answer to life the universe and everything) minus 28 equals 14.
      14 is a piece of cake for any 2x FD worth their salt! 🙂
      3x FDs are at their limit with such a jump, but I would expect even those to work fine. It’s definitely worth giving it a try.
      As long as the FD cage matches the curve of the largest chainring, of course, and is tuned properly.
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    10/03/2021 at 16:34
    Yes, Relja,
    I know what you mean but asking that question. 🙂
    The thing is that I am running 3×9 for ages. I am unable to set it right for last couple of years. Well, I was trying to solve it (also with your help :)) but even with basically all the involved components new – starting from the shifters, cables, chain, FD, RD, hanger, casette… the problem is still not solved. It must be because of the strange pull ratio of the Shimano 9s system. I read many articles where people got into the same problem.
    The 3×9 is not an option anymore. Shimano doesnt work for me and I do not want to go to SRAM.
    I am considering to get 3×10 with pull ration more 1,2. or 2×11 with pull ratio 1,1.
    Both options will give me gearing range I use to have with 9s sytem. Moreover the 2×11 will save me some troubles during the ascents, when I usually need to change the from the middle to the smallest ring. With 30 in the front and 46 ad the rear I should get what I used to with 22 infront and 34 at the back with 3×9.
    I am still little uncertain, though if all will work if I jut drop the 22 ring and keep 42 and 30 at the place they are now. So now it is 42-32-22 and I plan the new arrangement for 42-32-00. I would rather not go to the 00-42-32 option, because it will create another situation of improvisation.
    What do you think? What would you suggest?
    Thans again, Relja.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      10/03/2021 at 17:54
      Sorry in advance for the long digressions. 🙂
      Gearing can be a bit of a trial-and error. Depending how important the details are.
      3×10 vs 2×11?
      Some people really insist on having 1-tooth size difference across the faster half of the cassette. In that case, more sprockets is usually better.
      When it comes to the total range – I personally have never had any problems using triples.
      Sure – 2x is a bit simpler, no doubt. When racing, and you sometimes need the effort to at least keep the “video” on (“audio” often gets shut down when pushing really hard, at least for me) – not having to worry about cross chaining, or where you are at the front is beneficial in such situations. But for non-competitive riding, even when it is very “spirited,” I’ve never had problems with triples, as long as it’s all tuned properly.
      Hell – last problem I had was pushing a half-step double, since 42T smallest chainring is a bit too much for me nowadays, at least on long and steep climbs – but that has nothing to do with any shifters, or derailleurs, it’s a problem with the “engine.” 🙂

      My choice, if changing anything, is robust (2nd hand) friction shifters, and 7, or 8 at the back. But that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
      I’m not sure why you are having problems with your 3×9.
      For example: this long & tedious video is with a Shimano 3×9 hard-working bicycle courier bike. Shifts fine (for) now. 🙂
      I made another video for the really stubborn problems: derailleur tuning show-stopping problems.

      Cranks configuration
      Here my concern would be the chainline. And the availability of chainrings, as well as which sizes can be mounted in which positions on the cranks.
      (if I understood correctly what “42-32-00,” and “00-42-32” mean – I agree and also think that the latter option would complicate things quite a bit)
      What do I suggest?
      Well, I’m really passionate about fixing stuff that doesn’t work. So the first thing I would do is try and fix that 3×9 – if for no other reason, then for curiosity, to figure out why it hadn’t worked! 🙂
      If changing anything, I’d prefer 3×10, because they don’t require the huge (and still often more expensive) cassettes for the really low gearing.
      But this boils down to the above discussed preferences – 2x systems definitely have their pros, as you also mentioned. Plus they look more cool, it has to be said! 🙂
      The thing to consider if going the 2×11 route, while keeping the current 3x cranks, is the chainline. Chain will be at quite an angle when on the largest few rear sprockets (with the “42-32-00,” while 00-42-32 will probably be tricky to put together using the same crank spider). Depending on the cranks, and BB model, as well as the frame, the front chainline can be altered to a degree.
      Hope this helps, more than it confuses. 🙂
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    10/03/2021 at 20:24
    Yes, it helps, as also your video I watched now. 😉
    Šteta da nisam u Novome Sadu! I would gladly give my bike to your hands, to find that gremlin hidden in there 🙂
    I have a question which came to my mind after I checked my drivetrain once again after watching your video – how about the diference in the measurements of the cassettes.
    Now I have 9s XT cassette which is about 40 mm tall
    Do you know where to get the measurements of the 10s and 11s cassettes?
    I am little bit afraid that I would not have enough space for 10s or 11s cassette. There is maybe only 3 mm left between the cassette and the frame where the axle connects to the frame…
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      10/03/2021 at 20:36
      Actually, I just read a very good article about the compatibility of the rear hubs and there is says:
      “10 speed cassettes have even narrower, more tightly spaced sprockets, so their overall width is actually smaller than that of 8 and 9 speed cassettes. That is why placing a 10 speed cassette on a 8, 9 and 10 speed freehub requires a 1 mm wide spacer.
      11 speed MTB cassette is put straight on, just like 8 and 9 speed ones.”
      So I guess, I am safe with both – for 10s I will need even a spacer, though.
      Here is the link to the article, just in case 🙂
  1. John
    12/03/2021 at 23:44
    Is there any problem running a older Dura ACE 8 speed front dérailleur double with the Sora st-r3000 shifter brake lever combo ,Shimano claims only compatible with r3000 front derailleur.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      17/03/2021 at 13:04
      Haven’t tried that particular combo.
      Would I bet my life on it working perfectly? No.
      Would I give it a try, expecting it to work reasonably well? Definitely!
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    17/03/2021 at 16:41
    Thanks for your advice should this combo not work well I have another combo to run by you.Hate to replace the beautiful Dura ace 8 spd fd but if need be have a source for a clamp on Sora 3000 fd.The dilemma is the 52 tooth max chain ring size limit.I’m currently running a campy chorus 9 spd 39/53 crank set ,is this really a problem with just one tooth over max?If so would it be prudent to swap out the 53 outer with one of those beautiful TA vento 52 chain rings.The Campy ones are prohibitively expensive.
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      17/03/2021 at 20:39
      I would be surprised if that 1-tooth difference makes a noticeable difference.
      Regarding the potential chainring swap, I wrote an article explaining the chainring mounting standards. Matching the mounting bolt hole BCD and number (of bolts) is what matters. If that’s matched – the chainring can be mounted and it usually works fine in my experience.
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    19/03/2021 at 20:41
    Hi Relja!
    First I gotta say that your service is great and thank you very much for it.
    Now I got a question. Will a Shimano 105 R7000 left shifter work with a shimano tiagra 4700 FD ?
    do i got to take precautions for some other part?
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    Eduard Benda
    21/03/2021 at 22:03
    hello Relja,
    coudl you please tell me your opinion for the following case :
    I am using Shimano GRX crankset 46/30 + GRX FD RX400 FD . In order to get lower speed I let LBS installed new 3rd party GRX compatible chainrings 42/26.
    However , seat tube has irregular shape and I can not move braze -on FD hanger lower or use any other adapter on the seat tube that would move FD lower.
    so, in result , FD outer cage about 6-7 mm (almost whole difference between 46-42 teeth GRX’s radiuses) above bigger chainring and shifting to higher chainring is very bad, chain is falling down 8 out 10 cases.
    LBS guys told me it will not be perfect as before, but this is not usable at all.
    They have not changed any other FD settings. previously with 46/30 I had never single chain fall for whole season,
    I would think that at least keep 26 or I also have 28 teeth lower chainring installed to let me run easier low-gearing and re-install back original 46 chainring.
    question : do you think that Shimano GRX FD RX400 could handle 26/46 or 28/46 combination ? is it the worth to try to install it or let it be and return back for original 46/30 ?
    Thank you, kind regards, Eduard.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      22/03/2021 at 06:30
      Hello Edward,
      My “haul-everything” bicycle faces a similar problem. I use friction shifters, which does help, but still – chainstays prevent FD from moving close enough to the chainrings.
      I had to choose between very poor shifting to the largest chainring, or the chain dropping off on the far side – from the largest chainring, towards the pedals.
      For me, swapping for the larger chainrings is an option, but this works well enough, so I don’t bother (I got a good frame very cheaply, and just packed it with the parts I had at hand at the time).

      46 to 26 is a 20 teeth difference.
      I think that even 18 teeth is probably a huge difference for a double FD to handle.
      Would I give it a try with 46-26? If it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – i.e. if I had the chainrings at hand, so I can swap and test: surely. Out of curiosity, if for no other reason.
      Would I expect it to work well enough? By well enough I mean shifts that take up to one pedal turn. I give it 30 % chance.
      Those aren’t the odds I’d bet my life on, or even a 100 $. But a few dollars and an hour of work? If the lower gearing is important for me – definitely!
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    Ca Sladek
    02/04/2021 at 05:42
    Do you have any first hand experience or knowledge of the following front mech setup working well?
    Shimano GRX 2×11 Crankset
    Shimano GRX FD-RX810
    Shimano SL-M8000 XT Shifter
    Someone mentioned to me the GRX FD-RX810 has a different pivot point (than previous shimano road FD’s) and the XT shifter’s cable pull may be an issue for the RX810 though it could be fine. As of yet, I haven’t found anything online or anybody’s online post talking about the above setup.
    The bike’s current setup is the above 11 spd GRX Crankset and 11 spd XT Shifter though with an older FD-CX70 10 spd derailleur. The current setup shifts good enough though I would like it to shift better and have another use for the FD-CX70.
    Thanks for any insight and/or experience you may have and keep up the great work on bikegremlin and your videos.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      02/04/2021 at 06:47
      To help improve this article, before reading the answer:
      Please take a look at the chapter “8. Exceptions,” in this article, and let me know if it answers your question clearly enough?
      The answer:
      As far as I know, it won’t work properly. Shifter lever doesn’t pull enough cable for the GRX FD to work.
  1. Ca Sladek
    02/04/2021 at 07:12
    Thank you Relja for the quick reply. I had read the section 8 on exceptions but was hoping you may have tested this setup since you last updated that section. As you know Shimano’s official compatibility documentation is fairly conservative and often “unsupported” setups work just fine (i.e., many shops told me the FD-CX70 would not be able to shift GRX cranksets…but it does, just fine). Thanks again…
    p.s., If I decide to test the setup, I’ll let you know the results.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      02/04/2021 at 08:43
      GRX FDs have the same cable pull ratio as the Tiagra 4700 and other Shimano 11 speed road FDs.
      I haven’t tried combining any of those with different-pull shifters, but I have combined:
      11-speed shifters (Road bike STI-s) with a non-compatible FD (one that requires less cable pull).
      Couldn’t be set properly.
      It worked… very, very remotely OK, in my opinion, and compared to my standards of “really good.”
      Can vice-versa be made to work?
      Using a shifter that pulls less cable than the FD requires.
      I’d be surprised, but I’m looking forward to your feedback.
      What I’d try (if that’s of any help – let me know if it’s not explained clearly):
      0) FD mounting
      Mount the FD to be aligned with the chainrings (cage parallel to the frame’s longitudinal axis).
      Make it stay about 2 mm above the largest chainring. I’ve shown and explained these basics in my derailleur tuning video (starting at 4:59 – to roughly 6:00 – the link should make the video start right there 🙂 ).
      1) Starting position
      Screw-in the low limit screw to push the FD cage a bit more out than is optimal (by about 1-2 mm).
      Tighten the cable pinch-bolt.
      Loosen the low limit screw and see if the FD moves back so it can shift to the small chainring.
      2 a) Loosening the FD cable
      If not, start screwing in the low-limit screw back in.
      Does the FD cage start moving immediately as you start screwing it in?
      If yes, then screw it out by 2 full turns and test the shifting again.
      If not, then stop immediately, screw it back out by half a turn, release the cable pinch bolt, let the cable slide out as the FD moves towards the frame, then re-tighten it again.
      Do this in half a turn increments until it starts shifting to the small ring properly.
      If you have barrel adjusters, then you can go wild – doing one full turn increments! 🙂
      Now you’ve got the cable as tight as possible – since the shifter doesn’t pull enough for that FD, you’ll need that.
      2 b) Tightening the FD cable
      If the FD shifts perfectly to the small ring, then try screwing the FD low limit screw in by half a turn, loosen the FD cable pinch bolt, pull the cable tight, then re-tighten the pinch bolt.
      Until you get to the point where it won’t shift to the small ring properly.
      Once you’re there – you know what’s too much.
      Now, as explained in the 2nd paragraph of 2 a), loosen the FD limit screw by half a turn, release the FD cable pinch bolt, let the FD slide over the cable as it moves slightly towards the frame, and re-tighten the cable pinch bolt.
      In both of these scenarios, you are aiming for the cable to be as tight as possible, while still allowing the FD to shift to the small chainring.
      3) Testing
      Check the downshifts from various chain positions on the cassette. You might see it shifting fine when it’s on the middle, but slack when it’s on the largest cassette sprocket (or vice-versa).
      If it’s not working OK, you’ll need to loosen the cable further – as explained in 2 a).
      Once the testing is done and you’ve set it to be satisfactory, unscrew the FD limit screw by one turn and leave it at that. It should prevent any chain drop in case the cable snaps, but won’t interfere with the FD movement.
      Also, if you are using a new cable, or new housing (or both), expect the tension to slacken just a little bit after some riding (and shifting).
      So, if you don’t want to re-do the 2 b) procedure, you might want to make the shifting to the small chainring just a little bit “lazy” (“slower than good”).
      5) Outer limit screw adjustment
      Shift to the largest chainring. Without turning the pedals, click the shifter for a down-shift (to release any cable tension).
      Pull the FD cable with your hand, or push the FD directly – to make it move as far out as possible.
      If it moves too far out, tighten the FD limit screw.
      If it doesn’t move far enough, loosen it.
      The idea is to get the FD cage to move just 1 mm further out from being perfectly centred over the largest chainring.
      7) Final touch
      Light a candle, say a prayer to the cycling gods, and see how the shifting works.
      Problems I’m expecting are the FD cage not moving far enough out when the shifter lever is released, after having clicked to shift up.
      While you’re pushing it all the way with your hand, it might keep the FD cage in a good position, but as you release the pressure, it will likely move a bit back, and you’ll get some chain rub.
      Especially when the chain is on the smallest few sprockets in the rear.
      If you manage to get it so-so OK, take it for a test ride and see how it performs “under pressure.”
      Do let me know how it works, and if you’ve faced any problems I couldn’t perceive.
      Good luck. 🙂
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    Eduard Benda
    02/04/2021 at 20:15
    hi Relja,
    regarding our discussion of GRX FD RX400 chainrings 46/28 – it does not work reliably…keeping this diffrence of 17 teeth is importnat apparently.
    I returned to original 46/30 chainrings.
    anyway, thank you for your time and advise.
    Kind regards, Eduard
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    Ilcho Trajkovski
    09/06/2021 at 10:59
    Pozdrav iz Makedonije Relja,
    Question regarding the Mix I am trying :).
    Currently i have Specialized Sirrus 4.0, Carbon frame with Sora RD, No name FD 48/32 Cranks (no name, but I think its Tourney), Microshift R9 shifters.
    ordered and arriving soon XT SGS M8000 RD, XTR M9000 Right Shifter (all 11 spd). Now, the question remains about the Cranks.
    Option 1 – Would existing 9spd cranks (48/32) work with 11 spd chain (what I have red it says, yes, but one more check – inner width of chain is the same…)
    Option 2 – Shimano GRX 48/31 or GRX 46/30 – Will current FD work? If not, what? (remind You, flat bar shifters 🙂 )
    Option 3 – 1x system with 40 or 42 and 11-46 11 spd at the back – I do not like to be limited with 1x, but if that is only option, so be it.
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      14/06/2021 at 11:20
      Pozdrav, 🙂
      I would first try the first option – expecting it to work OK.
      With one note for the “rear end,” just to be sure:
      an 11 speed cassette and an 11 speed chain will be needed for the 11-speed shifter and derailleur.
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      Ilcho Trajkovski
      18/06/2021 at 16:43
      Option 1 works like a charm!
      One more addition, during the install i saw that FD is Microshift Centos. I have to say, FD works even better with 11sp chain.
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      18/06/2021 at 21:45
      Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
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    11/06/2021 at 17:22
    Okay lot of good information! One thing you did not touch on though is total capacity. I’m trying to put together a touring bike with half step plus granny. It is, seemingly, impossible to find a front derailleur that will shift 24-44-48 combination. I currently have an 11 – 32 8spd in back but will probably change to A 13 – 36 nine speed and try to use a double with a 24 / 48. I have resigned myself to modifying the FD cage. I use friction thumb shifter for FD, Index thumb for RD. Fully loaded, I NEED a 24/36 lol. I AM pretty fit… for a 58yr old….
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      14/06/2021 at 11:40
      Hi Terry,
      I did talk about that topic in the 4th chapter (“Double vs triple”) – but it’s probably not stressed clearly enough.
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    19/06/2021 at 20:52
    Hi Relja,
    Wish I had read this article before buying some components! I appreciate the wealth of information in your article, and also the time that you’ve taken to answer so many questions. I have another question, which I hope you can answer. I recently purchased the GRX 810 FD and RD for a new 2 x 11 bicycle build which I’m pairing with a White Industries R30 crankset. I purchased a 40 and 26 tooth chainring, but now realize that this isn’t going to work with the FD.
    The GRX 810 crank uses a 46/30, and believe that the FD is designed for a minimum top gear of 46 teeth, with a 16 tooth difference. My plan is to use an 11 – 36 or even 11 – 40 cassette. But I’m wondering if I can use 44/28 chainrings in the front? A few teeth lower than minimum but still within the 17t capacity of the FD?
    Appreciate any advice that you may have!
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      20/06/2021 at 20:19
      Hi Tak,
      I’ve had good results with FDs that were up to 2 teeth off, compared to the used chainrings.
      The shifting isn’t perfect, but it does work.
      I’d definitely give that combo at least a try (46T FD, with a 44 T largest chainring).
      With a greater mismatch, it can still work with friction shifters, but with indexed shifters, the shifting gets noticeably sluggish/poor.
      FD capacity is important to mind while mix-matching.
      For double FDs, anything over 16 teeth can be challenging.
      Triples are even more sensitive and have problems with more than 12 teeth difference between adjacent chainrings.
      Hope that helped,
  1. Jeremiah
    06/07/2021 at 20:52
    Hi relja, I recenly bought a m3100 fd side swing for my mt300 crankset (44/32/22). I’ve read on the specs and shimano website that the max teeth for m3100 fd is only 40t. Will this work with my crankset? And does my fd being a side swing have an advantage with the combination I’m planning of? Thank you so much in advance for the answer
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      07/07/2021 at 10:36
      Hi Jeremiah,
      Side swing FD design is about mounting points, tyre clearance, and cable routing.
      In terms of shifting, I don’t think it’s any better, or worse than the rest (all else being equal, matching equipment used etc, of course).
      40 T FD will have its cage with a bit more “sharp” curve, compared to a 44 T chainring. Thus, it will probably have to sit a bit too high, to avoid the cage from hitting the largest chainring when shifting to it. This will not help the shifting and could cause a bit more chain rub in some combinations.
      Can it work OK?
      If you already have it, it’s worth giving it a try and seeing if that’s good enough for you.
      For example: my haul-everything bike has a completely non-matching FD, but I’m not racing, it does the job OK, and I haven’t gotten down to replacing it for years now. 🙂
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    04/08/2021 at 20:15
    Hi Relja, just wanted to leave a “thank you” comment! In the jungle of FDs, this page was exactly what I needed!! 🙂 BR, Sven
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    Alfredo Angulo
    06/08/2021 at 05:06
    Hello Relja, My wife has a Full Claris bike. The thing is that left shifter is too stiff for her if you compare with a Tiagra or 105 for example. Reading and checking, the “problem” there is that the Claris FD is the stiffer than the other models, so the question is, what if I change just the Claris FD with a Tiagra FD and keep all the other things. Should it work? I mean, is a Tiagra FD compatible with a full claris set?
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      Alfredo Angulo
      06/08/2021 at 05:38
      Sorry, I forgot to ask the last thing. Can I change my full claris set to a Tiagra set but keep the Claris crankset? Is one of the most expensive part so I prefer to avoid that part. Thanks
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      09/08/2021 at 17:28
      Hi Alfredo,
      I would expect Claris cranks to work with Tiagra groupset.
      Tiagra 10-speed (4700 series) FD will not work very nicely with a Claris shifter.
      Hope that helps. 🙂
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    11/08/2021 at 17:21
    Hello guys,
    i wan’t to share my exprience:
    I’ve installed:
    FD-M6025-l + FC-M6000-2 (38-28T) + SM-BB52 + GRX ST-RX400 L
    ST-RX400-R + CS-HG50-10 (11-36T) + ST-RX400-R
    It work very well if not perfectly.
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    Curtis Repen
    13/09/2021 at 23:58
    Great info. Unfortunately it’s a bit above my head as far as answering my actual question.
    I have road bike with 31.8mm clamp-on Tiagra FD-4600. The derailleur is no longer working – I think the spring is broken or the FD is seized and the spring is not strong enough to pull it (I can move by hand, but spring won’t pull it in to the little ring).
    Can I replace the FD without changing the shifter, and if so what would you recommend (I can’t find the FD-4600 anywhere for sale).
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      14/09/2021 at 00:53
      Hi Curtis,
      Here’s a list of matching FD models, sorted by the order of preference:
      – Older 10-speed (pre-Tiagra 4700), like 105 5700, 10-speed Ultegra etc.
      – Shimano road FD for 9 speeds (like Sora).
      – Shimano road for fewer than 9 speeds (8, 7…).
    • b41d23d7a0fca4705c097845f3eb7673.jpg

      Curtis Repen
      14/09/2021 at 03:03
      Wow, thanks for the prompt and thorough answer! If I can’t fix the FD, a 5700 it shall be!
  1. Curtis Repen
    17/09/2021 at 00:25
    Wow, thanks for the prompt and thorough answer! If I can’t fix the FD, a 5700 it shall be!
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    27/10/2021 at 10:22
    Hi Relja,
    Thanks to the pandemic, i am not able to find a 2X Claris FD but i have access to a SORA 2X FD.
    Could you please let me know if i can use a SORA FD in place of the Claris FD. The remaining components are as below:
    Claris shifters, 8 speed chain,
    Claris 50-34 crankset
    8 speed (11-32T) cassette.
    Hoping to hear from you.
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    27/10/2021 at 10:43
    Thank you for the speedy reply!!
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    03/11/2021 at 15:41
    These are great articles, especially the exceptions on the 11sp FDs and the Tiagra. Have you done any articles on converting a road bike drivetrain to a MTB drivetrain? Looking for closer gear ratios and an overall lower ratio (I’m on a 2010-ish Specialized Sequoia – wanting to use a MTB crankset).
    Everything mentioned makes sense (using MTB shifters with MTB derailleurs etc.) but it’s difficult to find what MTB FDs will work on a road bike without contacting the chain stays. There’s virtually no specs given on the FD cage lengths so determining this issue before purchasing seems impossible. The more recent Shimano MTB FD cages seem to curve downward more acutely than past road bike FDs, implying they may contact the chain stay when in the lowest chainring. Is that your sense of it too?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      03/11/2021 at 17:04
      Hi Greg,
      That is a concern, but I’d say it depends on the frame and the chainring size. Not many people do such swaps so I haven’t got tons of data to tell if it’s generally a problem, or not (I suspect it could be a problem, as you’ve noted).
      If modern 46-30 compact cranks don’t offer low enough gearing, there are some pretty huge cassettes that modern RDs, even road bike RDs can handle (like 34 teeth largest sprocket for a mid. cage length road RD).
      Finally, even Shimano still sells triple cranks, STIs and FDs. Mostly in their “lower tier” equipment, but the likes of Claris work quite well, the main downside compared to the more expensive groups is more weight.
  5. facad76afd2100ed32b3e79b9142827e.jpg

    03/11/2021 at 18:10
    Thanks Relja. You know I did go from an 11-28 cassette to a 12-30 (which was the most the RD would handle). But with age and steep hills, the gear ratios just seem too tall and also if feels like their a wider set of ratios. My ‘urban’ MTB setup, if I feel a like the gear I’m in is a little to easy or difficult, I’m usually just one shift away from the perfect gear (for that terrain). This road bike always feels like I’m doing a lot of shifting to find a gear that feels right and it sort of does but sort of doesn’t feel right.
    I am looking at a Shimano Deore Triple (FC-M6000 3) which ‘may’ work but then I introduce chainline differences, derailleur differences (and chainstay interference). Sigh. . . I’m getting a better sense of a new term I’ve just learned in this search, “Frankenbike.” : )
    Thanks for the input – very helpful stuff you write on.
  1. Marco
    05/11/2021 at 15:44
    Hello Greg,
    i have a 2019 Sequoia and I have done something very similar to what you ask.
    I’ve installed:
    FD-M6025-l + FC-M6000-2 (38-28T) + SM-BB52 + GRX ST-RX400 L
    ST-RX400-R + CS-HG50-10 (11-36T) + RD-RX400
    As you can see i mixed both grx lever and rear derailleurs with mtb front derailleur and crankset and It work very well if not perfectly.
    • facad76afd2100ed32b3e79b9142827e.jpg

      07/11/2021 at 21:48
      Thanks Marco, this is sort of what I have in mind, though I want to retain a triple front chainring setup. Having a hard time finding a short-cage FD and the may be the hurdle I can’t get over.
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    Eduard Benda
    27/11/2021 at 23:34
    hello Relja,
    as there is lack of some components now due to coronavirus , I intend to use Shimano 10 speed GRX front derailleur FD-RX400 with 11 speed series Shimano GRX shifter ST- RX600.
    as 10 speed series shifter ST- RX400 will be available in – they say – few months, at least.
    I suppose that will work without problems, just it is about 25% more expensive……
    what is Your opinion please – do You agree with me ?
    Thanks , kind regards, Eduard.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      29/11/2021 at 06:59
      Hi Eduard,
      Yes, I would expect it to work fine with 11-speed GRX shifters. In spite of what Shimano says.
      Haven’t tried that combo though.
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    Eduard Benda
    29/11/2021 at 08:23
    Thank You for confirmation, Relja,
    Have a good day, Eduard
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    Guan Dacasin
    12/02/2022 at 12:20
    Hi Good Sir!
    I hope you can help me with my build. My frame has a top pull for its FD. And I’m looking for 2x road FDs that are top pull. But I mostly see the available ones as down pull and stores or even online stores where Im from don’t have the Fd Cable Routing Adjuster/Adapter to work from a down pull to a top pull.
    I have been suggested the CX70 but that is also not available in my country. And I have read in the comments above as you mentioned that it can only accommodate 46T as its largest.
    Are there any versions of the Claris/Sora/Tiagra that happen to be top pull FDs?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      12/02/2022 at 18:52
      Hi Guan,
      Without a top-pull derailleur available, and without a cable-routing adjuster available, I’m really out of ideas.
      Shimano CX70 FD is available in bottom-pull and top-pull versions, and it fits chainrings from 46 to 52 teeth.
      Where did I say it takes only 46 teeth? I should correct that if it’s the case.
      Note that CX70 will not work with the new Tiagra 4700 10-speed, GRX, and 11-speed road shifters, but it should work with older style road shifters for up to 10 speeds like Sora, older Tiagra (4600), 10-speed 105 (5700) etc.
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    Guan Dacasin
    12/02/2022 at 20:55
    Hi Relja!
    Thanks for replying. I dont know how to reply to yout specific comment so Ill just do a new one.
    Sorry about the misunderstanding, it is probably I that has read something wrong about the 46T limit for the CX70 FD.
    My last resort now is to use a Top Pull Altus MD370 FD (I have read somewhere that 12T is the difference with the middle and big chainring). Which has the 48T max limit. I am contemplating now if I should still use my current 3X micronew STI, or if I should switch to a 2x instead.
    Since the Altus MD370 happens to be a 3x, I plan on just using the first two clicks. So in theory, from middle to big chainring (48-36T, following the 12T rule difference).
    I would be using a 3x ixf crank and putting the 48-36T chainrings manually, excluding the smallest chainring. In turn having it as a 2x.
    Should I keep the current 3x Micronew STI (in order to follow the 3x FD) or should I switch to a 2x instead? since I dont have the need for a third click.
    I have also read somewhere that its okay to use a 3x FD with a 2x crank (as long as maximum teeth, and teeth difference of middle and big chainring are followed, and for the mechanic to have it tuned properly)
    What are your thoughts on this one? Do you think the above mentioned is compatible? I would to hear your thoughts on this.
    Thank you in advance,
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      13/02/2022 at 07:51
      Hi Guan,
      I’d expect Altus MD370 to work fine with a triple crank (even if one chainring is removed) and a triple shifter (even if one click is left unused because of the removed chainring).
      If you had a double crank with 14 or more teeth difference chainring size, then you should consider a double FD. But even then, the shifter can be a 3x one (as long as its pull matches the FD – chapter 8 of this article addresses that problem).
  1. Ben
    15/02/2022 at 07:12
    Great Thread. Building up an old ti mtb with Alt bars for gravel, using a 30/46 sub compact crank with a Shimano CX70 (cross but meant for use with road shifters) top pull F. Der. I have a set of SRAM GX 2×10 trigger mtb shifters. I’m gathering from above you believe this will work well? Can you confirm? Thanks for any help.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      15/02/2022 at 18:23
      Hi Ben,
      Yes, I would expect CX70 to work with MTB front shifter, even if it’s a SRAM shifter (not Shimano).
      But, I haven’t tried the combo, so can’t confirm it.
  2. 63161e2fbd3542ab7acffc72ea96c344.jpg

    16/03/2022 at 21:14
    Hi Relja,
    your web page is really gold mine of useful information! I will definitely add it to my favorites for those long rainy days! 😉
    Now to my question – I bought Salsa Fargo Tiagra few years back and it is my favourite bicycle since I got it. Since I am more MTB orientated I miss those super easy gears for climbing. And there lies a problem, since those Tiagra shifters are not compatible with MTB rear derraileurs to go for a really big cassette in the back. So, I started to consider to change front chainrings from stock 26/36 to 22/36. Question is, will Deore front derailleur work with wider capacity of 14T, since it is specified at 10T? What is your opinion? Is there any other front derraileur from Shimano for 2×10 that would support this range and I could swap it easily?
    All the best from Slovenia!
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      17/03/2022 at 14:33
      Hi Matjaz,
      You could use an MTB cassette with 11-34 teeth with many modern road rear derailleurs. Even when Shimano says otherwise, 2 to 4 extra teeth size is often manageable.
      If that doesn’t cut it (or you want an even bigger cassette), you could use a rear derailleur hanger extender. It’s shown in this video (for a 2×11 drivetrain).
      As for the front derailleur, it might just work well enough – the only way to be certain is to give it a go. I haven’t tried that combo so can’t confirm.
      The risk is that the relatively short cage of that FD could cause the chain to drag along its rear section when using the smaller front chainring with the smallest (few) sprocket(s) at the back.
      So, if you don’t cross-chain a lot, it might work fine.
      Another potential problem is the front shifting performance. It might be a bit slower, but I’d expect it to work.
      I don’t know of any modern MTB double FDs with a specified wider range. 🙁
      Finally, a thought to consider (sort of a Solomon’s solution):
      26 front chainring is not a huge one. I know you have more hills in Slovenia than we do in Vojvodina 🙂 but there’s no shame in pushing-walking on parts that get too rough, while having a bit less super-short gearing can be good in terms of pushing one to work a bit more.
  3. 87bd63d5bf6e7f753dc8671dd74a4e99.jpg

    30/03/2022 at 13:38
    I hope you can help me 🙂 I’m building a gravel-like bike, road shifters and MTB derailleurs. Rear is working ok (ST-5700 + RD-M772), but I can’t fix front derailleur. Shifter ST-5703, crankset FC-M780 (42-32-24) and shifter FD-M781. I can’t set all three gears to work. Are this parts compatibile, or I should change something? I have spear FD-M591 from 3×9 groupset, maybe this one will work better?
    Thanks and best regards
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      31/03/2022 at 09:20
      Hi Pawel,
      For perfect front shifting with your Shimano 105 road shifters, you’d need a road front derailleur.
      You will also need cranks with a bit larger chainrings, since I don’t know of any 100% compatible road FDs that are built for fewer than 50 teeth (like Claris FD-R2030).
      Hence, road triple cranks would also be necessary for perfect shifting (like Claris FC-R2030 – requiring a Hollowtech II BB as well, like BB-RS500).
      For good-enough? I’d give it a go with what’s at hand. 5703 shifters have the trim option if memory serves me correctly (correct me if I’m wrong) so that also gives some wiggle room.
      I’m going with these shifters for my “gravel” build – hopefully they’ll arrive today! 🙂
      Shimano Dura Ace SL-BS77 Bar End Shifting Levers 2/3×9
      With some brake levers:
      Shimano BL-R400 Brake Lever (Pair) – black
      Cost an arm and a leg, but I expect they will last for at least one decade. 🙂
  4. 87bd63d5bf6e7f753dc8671dd74a4e99.jpg

    31/03/2022 at 12:16
    Hi Relia,
    Thanks for quick answer. Even if it’s not what I expected 😀
    I don’t want to use road cranks, it’s just to big for me. So I will try again to fix it and have three gears. If it won’t be possible, I will use double crankset instead of triple.
    Regards from Poland 🙂
  5. 853f2cc524317f2b4da920f712636518.jpg

    Timothy Takemoto timtak
    22/04/2022 at 10:50
    Thank you for this super set of articles.
    I did not know the difference between any of the pulls or mounts. I was lucky to get a dual mount but my front new front derailleur is low clamp when before it was high. It seems that the only issue is that the low mount would get in the way of my rear bottle cage screw so I may well get both types.
  1. Hamish
    21/05/2022 at 09:28
    Hi, I have a SRAM rival road bike 2×11. I’m having real issues with shifting on the FD. Shifting is sloppy and often won’t shift while riding. I’ve taken it to bike shop they’ve spent hours trying to adjust it with no luck. New cables (outer and inner).
    I’ve been doing some internal searching and see that you can swap SRAM FD for Shimano. Lots of users with similar issues say this solves the issues.
    If I was to swap for Shimano FD what version should I go for? Maybe R7000? Any help would be great.
  2. 3c337f542ec4fd956c4fba29d8c0c0b3.jpg

    24/06/2022 at 17:28
    Hi Reija,I have a technical question for you. I have a full Campy 10 drivetrain on my Gios compact pro minus the crank which is a fsa compact carbon elite.The only problem is that the bottom bracket is a Shimano octalink Italian thread which is getting harder and harder to find every day.Thinking of updating to an outboard bearing system ,leaning towards that beautiful Sram red 11 GXP wanted 10 but most of the high end stuff is nonexistent.Only issue with 11 Sram might be the yaw system,is this going to be a significant with the 9/10 Campy front derailleur?Any suggestions, trying to keep things light and relevant. Thanks John
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      Relja Novović
      24/06/2022 at 17:41
      Hi John,
      For what it’s worth, I’m running new 9-speed Shimano Sora compact double with a Hollowtech II bottom bracket. It runs and shifts perfectly fine with an 8-speed chain. I’ve also used 10-speed chains on 7 and 8 speed cranks. But I haven’t tried using a 10-speed chain on 11-speed cranks.
      If all else is OK (e.g. chainring size compared to the FD cage shape), I would expect it to work fine.
      Edit, almost forgot: 🙂
      SRAM Yaw FDs help reduce (eliminate?) chain rub when severely cross chaining (without the need for a front shifter’s trim option), and people say they help improve front shifting, but their double cranks should work fine with “ordinary” front derailleurs.
      Also, as far as I know, the yaw cable pull is the same as for the “ordinary” FDs.
  3. edbbd2c34c0907b08ebc84c6e813e395.jpg

    Rob Bishop
    16/08/2022 at 05:01
    Hello Relja,
    Thanks for your very interesting and informative article. I don’t know if you’re still responding to questions on this thread but I thought I’d try anyway.
    I’m trying to create a “gravel bike” from my 1980 Peugeot Corsa. It has a 2 x 6 spd drive train with 52/42 chainset & 12-24 cassette using the older friction shifters on the down tube. I have removed the big ring, the FD & shifter to make it a 1X. I also found I could fit the wheels from my 2004 Cervelo which has a 9 spd cassette into the frame. Amazingly, after adjusting the limit screws on the 6 spd RD, I can get all 9 gears using the friction shifter. All worked well on paved roads, gravel road and a fine gravel “rail trail.” My difficulty arose when trying a narrow trail with rapid changes in gradient. It was difficult & felt unsafe to make rapid changes using the friction shifter on the down tube rather than the modern STI shifters on the handle bars that I use on my other bikes.
    My idea is to try to find some used STI shifters & RD compatible with the 9 spd cassette & also possibly put in a 2x FD with a Sora 9 spd (50/34) crank set I already own. I can’t find any used Sora 9 spd equipment but have an opportunity to buy a 10 spd set up. Do you think the following combination of components would work?
    Shimano 105 STI 10 speed shifters (probably 10 years old)
    Shimano 105 10 speed RD (also probably 10 years old)
    Shimano Tiagra 2x FD (also probably 10 years old)
    Sora 9 speed (50/34) crank set (about 2 years old)
    Shimano 9 spd (11×26) cassette (normally in an Ultegra drive train on the Cervelo)
    Shimano HD 9 speed chain
    I read that older Shimano 9 and 10 speed drive trains are compatible but I would greatly value your expert opinion on how well the above combination might work.
    Thanks for any thoughts you may have.
  4. edbbd2c34c0907b08ebc84c6e813e395.jpg

    Rob Bishop
    16/08/2022 at 16:42
    Thanks for your help. Sorry for the double post. I got an error message when I tried to submit the first comment & thought it had not gone through to you.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      Relja Novović
      17/08/2022 at 06:53
      Hi Rob,
      No problem – it happens.
      Do you remember what the error message was (so I can see and troubleshoot that)?
      Also, could you share which browser you used?
      You can send the info via private email (it needn’t be public):
      my name (relja) @ this domain (bikegremlin.com)
      I’ve been having problems with dozens of spam comments per day.
      Had to make some way of blocking those.
      It seems like the spam-blocking needs to be tuned to not work “too strictly.”
      As people say: “that’s why we can’t have nice things.” 🙂
      There’s a ton of abuse and hack attempts each hour.
      It would be easiest to just disable the comment options altogether, but I find the visitor feedback (especially additions and corrections) to be highly important.
      And I think it’s good to help people with answers to their questions – makes the world a better place. 🙂
  5. 0dd7d54cf11b89d2428398792b8d8f7c.jpg

    02/11/2022 at 17:01
    Hey Relja,
    Thanks for the informative article! I have a new Shimano Sora left brifter (ST-R3000) and an old Shimano 105 front derailleur (FD-5501). Both are 2x. I have heard that these will not be compatible because the new Sora FD-R3000 derailleurs have a longer pull arm than older models, so the cable pull ratio will not work out if a new shifter is used with an old short-arm derailleur. Can you confirm if this is true, or is it possible to make these two components work together by adjusting limit screws, etc? Thank you!!
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      Relja Novović
      02/11/2022 at 17:54
      Hi Elijah,
      As far as I know, Sora is still compatible with the older stuff.
      This article explicitly notes the groups which are not compatible in chapter “8. Exceptions” – I try to keep it all up-to-date.
  1. Ian Pearson
    22/01/2023 at 07:25
    I am having trouble with replacing a shifter on a 7 speed mtb. The old shifter is a shimano friction shifter and easily makes the jump to the third ring. The new shifter is a trigger shifter ltwoo a2. This doesn’t make the jump at all. Is it possible the cable pull isn’t enough? The shifter works fine but seemingly doesn’t pull enough cable to move derailleur onto biggest ring on triple.
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      23/01/2023 at 06:59
      Hi Ian,
      I’d first check if it a triple or a double shifter. If it’s a double, it won’t work well for several reasons. If it’s a triple shifter, I’d check the cable routing and cable attachment. I’d also check the cable tension (check that first).
      I made a video on how to tune derailleurs – front derailleurs are explained starting from 4:30.
      Relja Novović
  2. 8e55c26ccb5e8dfd62d110507283658c.jpg

    31/01/2023 at 02:08
    Hi Ian,
    IS it the right shifter that you re replacing ?
    Coz i tried to Put a sis shifter on a friction RD and it didnt work coz of the RD that dont have the same déplacement than any sis shifter existing
  3. 8e55c26ccb5e8dfd62d110507283658c.jpg

    31/01/2023 at 02:13
    IS it the RD you re trying to replace?
    • 98f1de248407aa919060ce7e3734e41a.jpg

      Ian Pearson
      03/03/2023 at 04:36
      It’s a 3 speed shifter and triple chain ring. . Not sure if it’s the wrong cable pull ratio or something.it goes into gears one and two but then you cannot force it onto three. Limit screws all the way out.cable is taught.
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      03/03/2023 at 06:01
      Hi Ian,
      When you remove the chain and detach the cable, can you move the FD by hand to “cover” all the three chainrings?
      If not, perhaps the chainrings are too close to the bike (if you can’t shift onto the smallest chainring) or too far outwards (if you can’t move it over the largest chainring).
  4. 7b63368e1861cb989033e9141aa5b8b2.jpg

    02/03/2023 at 18:16
    Hello Relja,
    Thank you for the very informative article. I want to ask you, I have a shimano MT 210 crankset with (44-32-22T) and 9 x 3 speed, will it match with Shimano alivio m3100 front derailleur which on the shimano site stated that m3100 fd maximum teeth is 40T.
    I also have another alternative by using Shimano Tourney TY510 which is cheaper and can handle max 48T, but this FD is for 6/7 speed. My cassete and my chain is 9 speed. Will it be compatible with the fd. As you stated above that 10 speed FD is still compatible with a 6 to 8 speed chain. but what about if the fd is have smaller speed than the chain, like my case where i have a a 9 speed chain but with 6/7 fd.
    Which one should i choose, should I go with the Tourney TY510 front deraileur or with alivio m3100 fd
    Which one is more compatible and cause lesser negative effect.
    Thank you!!
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      03/03/2023 at 07:56
      Hi Hendy,
      In my experience, when it comes to FDs, this is the order of importance, listed from the most important to the least important:
      1. Shifter cable pull compatibility
      If you are using MTB flat-bar shifters, you should have no problems with that, with any of the models you’ve listed.
      2. Number of largest chainring teeth.
      If the FD cage’s shape doesn’t match the curve of the largest chainring, shifting can be slow or poor. A few examples:
      Scenario A: chainring too large.
      If your FD is designed for 40-44 teeth, and your largest chainring has 48 teeth, you’ll have to place the FD too high, to avoid its rear end from hitting the largest chainring – and this results in slow, poor shifting and a greater risk of chain drop.
      Scenario B: chainring too small.
      It is a bit less bad if your largest chainring has about 44 teeth, while your FD is designed for 48 or more teeth. In that case, you might see some chain rub against the bottom rear end of the FD cage when you shift to the smallest front chainring. Shifting will also be less than ideal, but I’d say this is the “less-bad” scenario (compared to the scenario A).
      3. The number of “speeds”
      This has very little effect in my experience. Perhaps only to a certain degree in most extreme cases (11-speed FD with a 6-speed chain or vice-versa). But generally, it is the least of my concerns and I’m yet to experience any problems when mismatching the speed count (similar goes for the front chainring number of speeds).
      If using MTB flat bar shifters, I’d look for a MTB FD. Preferably one that matches the tooth-count of the largest chainring. The number of speeds would not concern me.
      In this case, Tourney is a low-end product, plus it doesn’t match the tooth count.
      Alivio is a high-quality product, but it too doesn’t match the tooth count, and it mismatches it in the “worse” way (scenario A above).
      With a 42T largest chainring, I’d pick Alivio without second thoughts (that difference is too small to matter). But, as you have a 44T chainring, I’m not sure. Not being able to eyeball it and test how each works, if I had to make a decision: I’d pick Tourney if on a budget (but do read on). If I had more money, this kind of dilemma would actually be more difficult for me. 🙂 At least without being able to eyeball and see how both FDs fit (can’t remember from the top of my head how “bad” a 40T FD aligns with a 44T chainring, i.e. how “too high” it must sit to clear the largest chainring with the rear end of its cage).
      Another concern is the chainstay clearance. The 48T Tourney might have its rear end of the cage hit the chainstay when shifting to the smallest chainring, so you might end up with the FD staying too high even with the Tourney. If that’s a concern (and there’s no way for you to check that before buying), I’d recommend the Alivio. If that’s not a problem – then I’d lean more towards Tourney.
  5. 7b63368e1861cb989033e9141aa5b8b2.jpg

    03/03/2023 at 17:04
    Hi relja,
    Thank you so much for the help and answer. I think i will go for the toruney fd. Since scenario A is worse. And i also think i will rarely use my fd. I will keep looking for a more compatible fd, if i didnt find one i will choose toruney fd. I’m more into durability rather than performance. Even though i think alvio have better durability, but its 3x the tourney price in my place. If i choose tourney i can by it again when its broken
    Thank you so much for the help Relja!
  1. Matheus C
    17/03/2023 at 15:33
    Hello, thats a great article.
    I have a bike with Sora R300 9s FD and crankset (50/34), and i would like to use Alivio M4000 FC MT210 46/30 crankset (also 9s) do you think it could be possible?
    Thanks for the help
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      18/03/2023 at 06:38
      Hi Matheus,
      The new cranks have fewer teeth. That could cause less than perfect shifting, as the FD’s cage won’t perfectly match the chainring’s curve.
      Though I would expect it to work, if with a bit slower shifting.
  2. 5d2d43c12d48849d504abe0212486fd6.jpg

    Meziah Daniel Jolley
    10/07/2023 at 01:05
    Great article, great site. Everything is very easy to understand. I do have one question though. I have a 2011 Santa Cruz Superlight that I have rebuilt from the ground up. I will be using a Shimano FC-MT210 ACERA 22/30/40Т 170мм Hollowtech II BB-MT500 crankset, and am trying to find an Acera FD that will work. The rear is a Shimano Acera Shimano Acera RD-M360. The bike is older, so it will need to be clamp mount, top pull. But here is my problem. The seatpost angle is 72.5 degrees – That’s from the factory sheet. Most FDs I see say they will work with 66-69 degrees angle. Can you please help me understand what I need? I am trying to stay with the Acera groupset. All your help is greatly appreciated.
  3. 8e55c26ccb5e8dfd62d110507283658c.jpg

    14/08/2023 at 21:26
    Thanks so much for this resource. Sorry if I missed it, but how important is ‘FD capacity’? I just picked up a sora fd-3030 to replace an older suntour xct (planning to run with 8 sp chain/RD/cassette)—I checked that the max ring would work with my crank set and that I would have enough chain wrap with my cassette, but I now realize I have a 22 cog difference in my cranks (28-40-50), and the 3030 says it has a max capacity of 20. Should I return it or could I make it work? I don’t spend much time in the small ring fwiw
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      15/08/2023 at 11:13
      Since Shimano is often “conservative” when listing the limits, I would give it a try with the 28-40-50 chainrings before giving up, expecting it to work OK.
      Of course, to be 100% sure before trying, I would stick to the specs and either mount a 48T largest chainring, or mount a 30T smallest chainring.
  4. 3e2b1735a3026aa731a41257c28389ff.jpg

    14/09/2023 at 23:16
    I have a triple deore 26-36-48 octalink crankset and planning to swap it for a custom 44-28 external BB setup.
    I’m thinking about a M785 crank (customized, it is one of the few crank with a round 104/64bcd I found) with a M786 FD.
    The FD is listed for 44 max and 14 tooth difference.
    If I understand correctly it “should” work ? And keeping my current FD doesn’t ?
    Or knowing that I have a 73.5d seat tube perhaps I should use a GRX FD (46-30 and for a narrower chain line) ?
    Using friction so no further problems
    Thank you in advance !
    (I’m not putting a grx crank in since it doesn’t come in 44-28 and has a much smaller chainline compared to my triple)
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      15/09/2023 at 11:32
      Hi Remi,
      GRX cranks set chainrings further out (so, they have a wider chainline). They should work, but it isn’t perfect if you plan to use the large chainring a lot.
      Triple FDs don’t play nicely with compact double cranks (the 16T difference between adjacent chainrings is too much for them).
      So, ideally, you want a double FD with a cage to match your 44T large chainring, and your seat tube angle.
      If that is OK, I would not worry about a 14T capacity (at 16T your setup should work, especially with friction shifters).
      Alternativelly, you could try a matching GRX shifter, but I’m not sure if it can move close enough towards the frame to shift to the small chainring on non-GRX cranks (it might, but it might not).
    • 3e2b1735a3026aa731a41257c28389ff.jpg

      15/09/2023 at 11:43
      Thank you for your answer Relja.
      So it’s going to be a grx FD (built for frames @73° ish degrees) with a mtb double cranks:
      grx cranks have a 47mm chain line (and it’s a pain in the b. to find asymetrical 44 and 28 cranks for them) whearas the mtb doubles hover from 48 to 50 like my triple that sits at 50mm.
      Plus bigger Q factor !
      Have a nice day
Hi, BikeGremlin!
Can you help me choose a front derailleur?

My bike is about 10 years old. I have Ultegra 6700 10v shifters and I have recently upgraded the cassette to 11-32 teeth (using Sora 9v rear derailleur) and changed the 50-34 teeth chainring to 46-34 teeth .... but there is a gap between the new chainring and the derailleur of almost 15mm (is solded) (should be 3mm max) and the chain sometimes comes off towards the pedal. The old 2 x 10v front derailleurs are for 50 teeth minimum. The current ones, for 46 teeth, are tiagra 4700 or grx... I don't know if they will work for me, or if I can use a 2 x 9v front derailleur like the Sora R 3000?

Please, I need advice with what options I have and I think this is the only place where I can get it.

Hi, BikeGremlin!
Can you help me choose a front derailleur?

My bike is about 10 years old. I have Ultegra 6700 10v shifters and I have recently upgraded the cassette to 11-32 teeth (using Sora 9v rear derailleur) and changed the 50-34 teeth chainring to 46-34 teeth .... but there is a gap between the new chainring and the derailleur of almost 15mm (is solded) (should be 3mm max) and the chain sometimes comes off towards the pedal. The old 2 x 10v front derailleurs are for 50 teeth minimum. The current ones, for 46 teeth, are tiagra 4700 or grx... I don't know if they will work for me, or if I can use a 2 x 9v front derailleur like the Sora R 3000?

Please, I need advice with what options I have and I think this is the only place where I can get it.



The new 10-speed Tiagra 4700 and the 11-speed road FDs won't work well with the "old" Ultegra 6700 10-speed shifters. They require a lot more cable pull per shift.

Sora FD should work fine in terms of cable pull. However, there is still the problem of finding a FD with a cage shape that matches the 46T largest chainring's curve, and mounting it at the appropriate height (and angle for that matter).

I've listed the things that need to be matched (with pictures) in the article about the front derailleur compatibility.

Based on Shimano's specifications, Sora FD-R3000-F is designed to work nicely with 52 to 46 tooth (largest) chainrings. So the main question is your mounting options and if you can set it low enough to match the smaller 46T chainring.

Not open for further replies.


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