Need help with Front Derailleur

zenoq

New member
Hi everyone,

I bought a used bike in a v. good condition (I know the seller who's has a bit more knowledge about bikes than I have but he preferred to use local bike shops if you know what I mean) ) with a broken front derailleur Tiagra FD-4503. Would you be kind enough to recommend a FD replacement for my bike. I went to 3 shops and got different answers some conflicting with what I read so far about what could be compatible here.
My bike related components:
RR: 9 speed, 11/32, Deore RD-M531
FRT: Triple 48/38/28
Brifters (getting to know components) : ST-4500
I have a ~29mm seat tube, FD bottom pull type.
Your help will be very much appreciated.
Thank you.
 
Hello and welcome to the BikeGremlin forum. :)

Your system should work nicely with Shimano road triple FDs, except the latest 10 and 11-speed stuff (like Tiagra 4703).

So, Sora, old (9-speed) Tiagra, old 105 (5703), and "even" the 8-speed Claris.

The main things to pay attention to are:
  • How the FD is mounted (if your bicycle has a brazed-on FD mount, you should look for FDs without the mounting clamp).
  • Look for a triple FD for road bicycles (again, apart from the latest 10 and 11-speed stuff).
Relja
 
Thank very much for your input.
I like your website (at early stages of exploring/learning) and your pragmatic approach to the bicycle world.
I think I have a bigger issue with my bike - I likely need to replace shifters per bike mech.
What would you do in this situation: a/ spend more "updating" components or b/get shifters and FD.
What is your opinion re microshift components as possible replacements, or it's better to stick with one brand (my feeling)?
Zenon
(It's Bianchi Volpe 2009, BTW)
 
Thank very much for your input.
I like your website (at early stages of exploring/learning) and your pragmatic approach to the bicycle world.
I think I have a bigger issue with my bike - I likely need to replace shifters per bike mech.
What would you do in this situation: a/ spend more "updating" components or b/get shifters and FD.
What is your opinion re microshift components as possible replacements, or it's better to stick with one brand (my feeling)?
Zenon
(It's Bianchi Volpe 2009, BTW)

Hi Zenon,

Appologies in advance for the long-windedness and imperfect English.

There are several different ways to do that, with pros and cons of each choice.

What I prefer and do is use friction shifters (my video explaining the friction shifters pros and cons). They are robust, durable, reliable, and work with any derailleur or number of gears. The downside is they are getting a bit tricky to come by - and the bar-end mounting is not ideal for riding technical (off-road) trails.

A decent middle-ground that I haven't tested personally are the Gevenalle levers which provide a "normal" mount, but can take friction shifters.

The more "standard" approach would, of course, be to get modern brifters (the ones that aren't as durable and aren't built to be repaired). I love the ergonomy of Shimano Claris brifters. Yes, the 8-speed stuff. They shift well and precisely. The 8-speed cassettes and chains are cheap, and Claris comes with 3x8 shifters (you can use the triple front shifter with a double FD and cranks, but you can't use a double front shifter for triple cranks, so I see that as having an extra option if needed). 3x8 provides a huge gearing range on the cheap and I like that.

For an even more "standard" approach, I would look for Sora brifters (2x9, or 3x9). Sora stuff is good quality.

If you wish to further "update" the drivetrain, there aren't many options I would call reasonable (unless you really want just 1-tooth difference across at least the "faster/smaller" half of your cassette sprockets). The new Tiagra 4703 would require new derailleurs (both the front and the rear), and a new 10-speed cassette and chain. The current 105 and Ultegra are compatible in terms of derailleurs, but they work with 11-speed cassettes and chains, and don't offer any triple shifters.

Shimano GRX comes with some interesting choices. A 46-30 chainring crank, that should work fine for most climbs and flats, while being "only" double (IMO that is better than having a 50-34 crank). However, it is designed for wider ("boost") hubs. So, you'd be running with a less than ideal chainline on your Bianchi (though, when using 46 instead of 50 T at the front, you would be using smaller, more outwards cassette sprockets and that would compensate for the chainline to a great degree - in practice).

GRX comes in 10 and 11 speeds.

All the above-listed solutinos are roughly double the price from one to the next (it adds up, and the "higher end" components come with a price premium, and a slightly lower weight - other differences are debatable).

Microshift stuff is OK. I would say it's not up to the Shimano mid and high end quality, but it's far from what I'd call bad (though Shimano is no longer what it used to be in terms of durability I'd say).

I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision.

Relja
 
Hi Zenon,

Appologies in advance for the long-windedness and imperfect English.

There are several different ways to do that, with pros and cons of each choice.

What I prefer and do is use friction shifters (my video explaining the friction shifters pros and cons). They are robust, durable, reliable, and work with any derailleur or number of gears. The downside is they are getting a bit tricky to come by - and the bar-end mounting is not ideal for riding technical (off-road) trails.

A decent middle-ground that I haven't tested personally are the Gevenalle levers which provide a "normal" mount, but can take friction shifters.

The more "standard" approach would, of course, be to get modern brifters (the ones that aren't as durable and aren't built to be repaired). I love the ergonomy of Shimano Claris brifters. Yes, the 8-speed stuff. They shift well and precisely. The 8-speed cassettes and chains are cheap, and Claris comes with 3x8 shifters (you can use the triple front shifter with a double FD and cranks, but you can't use a double front shifter for triple cranks, so I see that as having an extra option if needed). 3x8 provides a huge gearing range on the cheap and I like that.

For an even more "standard" approach, I would look for Sora brifters (2x9, or 3x9). Sora stuff is good quality.

If you wish to further "update" the drivetrain, there aren't many options I would call reasonable (unless you really want just 1-tooth difference across at least the "faster/smaller" half of your cassette sprockets). The new Tiagra 4703 would require new derailleurs (both the front and the rear), and a new 10-speed cassette and chain. The current 105 and Ultegra are compatible in terms of derailleurs, but they work with 11-speed cassettes and chains, and don't offer any triple shifters.

Shimano GRX comes with some interesting choices. A 46-30 chainring crank, that should work fine for most climbs and flats, while being "only" double (IMO that is better than having a 50-34 crank). However, it is designed for wider ("boost") hubs. So, you'd be running with a less than ideal chainline on your Bianchi (though, when using 46 instead of 50 T at the front, you would be using smaller, more outwards cassette sprockets and that would compensate for the chainline to a great degree - in practice).

GRX comes in 10 and 11 speeds.

All the above-listed solutinos are roughly double the price from one to the next (it adds up, and the "higher end" components come with a price premium, and a slightly lower weight - other differences are debatable).

Microshift stuff is OK. I would say it's not up to the Shimano mid and high end quality, but it's far from what I'd call bad (though Shimano is no longer what it used to be in terms of durability I'd say).

I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision.

Relja
Thank you for time - you're very generous. Hvala.
The only disappointment here is your shop is too far away but this might be a good thing for you... (positive: would be bringing beer for sure).
For now I'd like to get this bike fixed and start getting health and other benefits. This we get, I think, regardless of $ of bikes or components as long as they work as intended.

Your Claris option will be good enough for me. But my understanding is I'll need to replace cassette, chain, shifters, and FD. With Sora (R3030?), however, only brifters and FD (correct me if I'm wrong here). I'm OK with either of these two options with Sora inclination at the moment.

Thanks again.
Zenon
 
Thank you for time - you're very generous. Hvala.
The only disappointment here is your shop is too far away but this might be a good thing for you... (positive: would be bringing beer for sure).
For now I'd like to get this bike fixed and start getting health and other benefits. This we get, I think, regardless of $ of bikes or components as long as they work as intended.

Your Claris option will be good enough for me. But my understanding is I'll need to replace cassette, chain, shifters, and FD. With Sora (R3030?), however, only brifters and FD (correct me if I'm wrong here). I'm OK with either of these two options with Sora inclination at the moment.

Thanks again.
Zenon

Hi Zenon,

I presume you are running a 3x9 road system (if that is not the case, please correct me and disregard the info below), and your FD and brifters are broken.

With Claris 8-speed brifters, you would need to also get an 8-speed cassette and chain (the existing RD should work fine, and you would need a new FD to replace your broken one).

With Sora 9-speed brifters, you could keep your existing setup completely (unless something is already worn or broken) - except the broken FD, of course, which must be replaced either way.

So, Sora would be a more straightforward replacement so to speak and it makes perfect sense to go that way.

Arguably, a 3x8 Claris system might be a bit cheaper in the long run compared to a 9-speed one, and it is also a bit more robust (fewer speeds, more widely spaced sprockets, less "sensitive" to any RD hanger alignment or cable/housing imperfections). But the differences are not huge and you won't do wrong by going with Sora.

Relja
 
What I have is, I think, a "cyclocross hybrid" but 3x9 road system is a good assumption.
I'll look at these two options more closely. Will let you know about my choice later.

Zenon
 

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