Cyclocross Campagnolo crank setup

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Location: Milton, Canada

by nspace

I am in the very early planning stages of building up a cross bike and would like to set it up with a Campagnolo group, but I am trying to establish the best route to go for cranks. For sure the BB will be a standard 68mm english threaded.

I should also mention while I may try to do the odd CX race, or point to point style suited for CX bikes, I mostly plan on using this for longer multi terrain rides on the road/gravel/little bit of trail.

Here are my thoughts:

Option A: Go with a Chorus or older Athena level group with Ultra Torque and compact cranks, run 50/34. Will be steep in a traditional cross race and I probably won't get out of the 34t ring for very much of it, but may lend itself to the road quite well as this is what I run on my road bike. My current experience with Record and UT has been very good, but I don't know how well these bearings are sealed when it comes to mud and grime.

Option B: Go with a Campagnolo cross group and use their Power Torque cranks. Power Torque seems like a hassle and a bit of a weak design from what I've read, but I don't have any first hand experience. The PT CX cranks from Campagnolo seem to have better seals from the dirt. Does anyone have any experience with these? This would put me running a 46t ring as the largest which will be a little more appropriate in a race, but not sure if will be too small on the road.

Option C: Square taper. I have so many bikes that I've had great luck with square taper BB's. I could find an old Chorus or Record square taper crank and pair it up with a more modern group. I don't know how 10spd cranks work with 11spd shifters and cogs, but I could be convinced to do 10spd throughout, although that eliminates wheel compatibility with my road bike (well they would work but I'd have to swap cassettes).

Option D: Is there another Campagnolo compatible crank that is recommended for CX?

What have you all done to run Campagnolo in cyclocross? Has anyone run a Compact? UT vs PT?

Any thoughts appreciated!

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by c50jim

A few thoughts more from riding cross frames with Campy compact in various conditions than actual racing (which I don't do, just commissaire).

If you'd like a 36 tooth inner ring, let me know. Just pay the Canada Post charge and it's yours. I got it when I traded a SRAM crank to a friend who'd used his Chorus for cross (in 46/36). It's a 10 speed.

I have an almost infinite number of Campy compact equipped bikes (13 is the current number I think). All but three are UT, the others (and my kids' bikes) are square taper. I've talked with my mechanic about PT because I have a couple of bikes with 10 speed shifters and NOS 10 speed cranks are not readily available. He says PT is OK to install and works OK but is tough to remove. I have two 10 speed bikes (and sold another earlier this year) with 11 speed cranks and have no problems with them. In the old days, I used 9 speed, and even I think an 8 speed, cranks on 10 speed bikes with no problems. They all seem to work best if the chain, derailleurs and cassette are from the same number of gears. I understand that the outer ring is the same between 10 and 11 and that the differnce is on the inner. It's probably cheaper to buy a new Chorus 11 speed crank from Ribble than it is to find a used or NOS square taper on line. I search eBay regularly for Record and Chorus compact cranks (never know when I might build another bike) and there's not much there and a lot of sellers don't want to ship to us Canucks.

RIbble has 10 speed chainrings that I've used in 48 with no problems. I think they're Stronglight or TA. The Chorus had a 46 that was actually a regular 110 that our mechanic drilled out. I think it's still around here and I could ship it with the 36 if you'd like them. Worked fine in 10 speed. I had it on a cross frame that I use on the pathways and on gravel trails in parks here and occasionally on roads in lousy weather. I found that the 46 just didn't give me a high enough gear for riding on the roads and put on a 48. However, it might be OK with an 11.

If you're thinking of 10 speed, remember that the new Centaur shifters don't have front derailleur trim. I had them on my winter bike and replaced those with NOS Chorus because I just preferred the way the Chorus/Record shifters function. If you'd like used, good condition 10 speed Centaur (about 1,500 km) I have shifters, new cables, braze on front and mid-cage rear derailleurs that I took off a cross frame that I sold to a kid who wanted to use Shimano.

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by Nutellaurent

the compact comes in handy if you're planing on doing some road in your rides. i have my CX bike equipped with an campagnolo compact crankset and a cassette that goes up to 29. if you dont plan on doing CX racing, i think thats the way to go. it's ideal to combine road/trail/forrest whatever... but thats just my opinion :)

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by mattr

If you go for a 46 outer ring, paired with an 11 up cassette, you will be Ok for most road riding. It's actually a pretty sizeable gear.

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by SalsaLover

This one is the perfect setup. I don't think is available on the market anymore though ;)

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by Briscoelab

I just use UT crank compact cranks with the Campy 11 speed CX rings (46/36) installed. The cranks are nicer than the PT cranks (although, those are fine as well). Plus, I already had the cranks laying around.

I've used TA rings and Zank before as well on standard 135mm bcd cranks.

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by nspace

Everyone, thanks so much for the responses!

c50jim: thanks so much for all the offers! I will hold off for now until I am a little closer to buying my crank and other stuff. Just putting together a build list of what I'd like at this point so I can start keeping an eye out for classifies depending on which direction I go. What you describe about PT is exactly what I've read. I don't mind buying special tools if they are necessary, but using a gear puller to remove cranks seems a little beyond that for me! What are the differences between a 10spd crank and 11spd? Is there a difference in chainline or something? I'd like to keep the group and cassette 11spd if possible so I can switch wheels with my road bike. Some of the 10spd crank options do look good, and it sounds like from what you described that they should work together.Once I know what I am doing, if I decide to not go compact, I will PM you about those rings!

Shipping to Canada can suck, but I am only about an hours drive from the border, so I can always ship to a mailbox in Buffalo, NY. Going to keep my eyes out. It sounds like 11spd drivetrain, and UT will be my constants. May have some more questions as I do a little more investigating!

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by c50jim

OK, let me know if I can help. I'm in Canada so shipping's not a problem. Heck, I remember going to Milton back in the 70s to that park up by 401 (Kelso). Might even be back there some day to look at the track.

My understanding is that the 10 and 11 speed cranks are the same but the inner ring on the 11 is a little bit differently offset. I haven't tried 10 speed cranks on 11 speed but suspect they'd be OK based on past experience on all the older Campy cranks. Anyway, for the $20 or so Canada Post would charge to ship the rings, it would be worth trying them on an 11 speed crank. You can always take them off if they don't work properly, although from what I've heard the outer should definitely work.

If you go 11 speed, I'd stick with Chorus. Best value per $ as I see it. UK sites seem to have the best prices and they mail the stuff quickly enough that it arrives here in about a week from the time of order, which is faster than my LBS gets it from Vancouver. It seems as though parts from the UK are often cheaper than used parts off eBay or here.

Posts: 323
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 3:08 am
Location: Milton, Canada

by nspace

Will keep you posted and thanks so much for the advice. I think whatever I do, will be some sort of mix. I have an affinity for the Chorus rear derailleur from 2010, the polished alloy/carbon build, I don't know why, so I will probably try to find one of those when the time comes.

I bought my Record group from Uk from ShinyBikes and it was pretty affordable and arrived in no time!

Awesome that you have been to Milton. Kelso is about 5 minutes from me, lots of good mountain biking around there, and lots of nice back roads to ride around up and down the escarpment. I wasn't even born back when you were there, so no clue how much its changed. Milton is at 100,000 people now!. Track will be about 5 min drive from where I am. It seems to be a good hub for cycling, the trade-off is of course the commute for work, but its a much welcomed changed from living in Etobicoke when you can ride out your front door on decent roads. Let me know if you're ever in town!

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by AC0

For cross I'm running an UT athena 11s alloy compact with a Salsa 44T single speed (no ramps or pins) outer ring and a TA Nerius 36T inner. I used a dremel to elongate the hidden mounting hole on the Salsa. Front shifting isn't great, but since the rings are so close in size, it works well enough.

With UT, the seals are fine and since it is so easy to remove the crank, you can get at the bearings, flush with degreaser and repack them. The PT based cx cranks may have better seals, but it will be much harder to get at the bearings.


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