The Chainlink

Im building out an 88 Fuji Ace to use as a Rando rig.

I rode it as a single speed commuter and really like the ride and fit of the ACE.

I will be using a Dura Ace 7400 8 spd. gruppo.

with DA 7402 175 cranks, Stronglight 53/42 rings and DA 13-23 cassette .

Its plenty of gear for hauling ass and hammering but I would like to lower the gearing a bit for spinning and headwind/ hill climbing and 8 hours in saddle.

These are non pinned or ramped rings.

Wondering if I can run compact rings 50/38,36 on old DA with 130?

Can I use newer ringsets with the 8 speed shifters derailuers, chain?

My wheels are 700c Mavic MA 40 rims with Campy Record high flange hubs.

 I plan on using are 27mm Challenge Parigi-Roubaix  or G.B. Cypres.

Unfortunately my 7400 brakes do not have long enough reach with this frame/wheel combo.

I need a minimum of 50mm caliper reach. (Bolt hole to center of rim)

Does any body know if 7600 7700 or 7800 Dura Ace had longer reach?

Or... does anybody recommend a newer  caliper set that they think would kick ass without looking out of place with old DA gruppo and not be to much $$$$?

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38 is the smallest you can go with a 130... so 50/38 is fine while 50/36 requires a new crankset. 

There are plenty of 9speed rings/cranks out there that would work fine with an eight speed chain and cassette.  I'd be hesitant to use a 10 speed crankset with an 8 speed chain, but it might work.

I think Velo Orange has long reach calipers that would be a good match. There's also Tektro R559 @55mm.

You can easily put an external BB compact crankset into that thing.  Cheapest & easiest way to do it is with something like this one from FSA

It even comes with the bottom bracket.  You should have your LBS face the BB shell first but that is all you would have to do.  

I saw a really nice Ultegra compact crankset at the Winter Swap for $80.  Sure, it's not vintage but who cares?  It'll work better than anything of the original era of that bike.

As for calipers,  I'd just throw anything I could find on it that were modern, reached your rim, and worked well.  If they can reach, put on a set of newer Shimano dual-pivot calipers.  Even the Sora ones are pretty good, especially with a set of KoolStop Dura pads w/ Holders.  I see 105 and Ultegra ones on CL at at swaps for not too much.   If you don't have the reach then go with Tektro Dual-pivots (R359,  R539, or R559 depending on your reach) and also with the KoolStop Dura pads too. 


The VO calipers are really pretty, but also pretty expensive.  VO sells bling, that's what you are paying for.  I've got a bunch of their stuff, don't get me wrong, but a lot of their stuff you are just paying for the high polish...

While you are doing upgrades and speaking of VO another thing that would do a lot for that bike is a new modern headset.

VO makes their Grand Cru Sealed 1" headset which is really as smooth as butter.   Just be careful about stack height as it really needs a bunch and some older bikes just don't have a long enough steer tube/threads to accommodate it unfortunately.   But if you have the height it's a great upgrade. It's also ISO and I don't recall if your '88 Fuji is ISO or JIS.  But an ISO headset and fork can be reamed by your LBS and converted fairly easily.

I didn't notice before but some of the Shimano Dual-pivots can just do 50mm.  You could always give it a try.  There is an issue with needing to drill your fork for the flush-mount brake nut.  You can use a front for the rear caliper since a front has a longer bolt.  The shorter Tektro is good for 55mm I think, and Tektro brakes can be bought with both the old-style longer bolts or the newer-style flush nuts. 

I'm currently using an FSA Triple Gossamer external-bb crankset with an 8-speed indexed set-up: 

Ultegra SL-BS64 8-speed Bar End Shifter, Ultegra RD-6600 GS Rear Derailleur, Ultegra FD-6503 Triple Front Derailleur, and running a Deore XT CS-M737I Hyperglide 11-30T MTB Cassette out back to get some good range.  The 8-speed triple in the front runs very VERY well although I added a set of 0.5mm chainring bolt spacers to both the large ring and the granny to open them up a tiny bit and avoid some minor rubbing in the higher 2 cogs with the wider 8-speed chain.  That totally cured it BTW.  

It shifts like Buttah with the pins and ramps.  Pins & ramps are the way to go in the 21st century.  I wouldn't spend money on a new set of chainrings, especially if they were not pinned & ramped. Jan Heine can go on all he wants about how old chainrings are just as good but he's selling non-pinned and non-ramped chainwheels and cranksets on his website.  Of course he'd say that.   With a modern external BB crankset you get modern snap shifting and an 8-speed chain works fine on a 10-speed chainwheel.   Shimming 0.5mm is a snap if you can change a chainwheel you can add shims.  Even without the shims the system worked really well.  I just have a thing about things being totally silent and the tiniest bit of rubbing drives me nuts.

One last thing about the FSA Gossamer series of cranksets is that the MegaEXO BB has sort of a weaksauce reputation.  it'll be OK but they are known to not have the greatest longevity -a season or two. That is no big deal because the Shimano BB cups work just fine.  I got a deal on a Dura-ace BB-7900 bottom bracket and just swapped mine out prophylactically since it was only $20 shipped (extra stock from build-kits for bikes that never got built they said.)   There was a time when there were a bunch of deals like that on the 7900 BB's but now they are all gone.  Still you can get Ultegra ones for not much more than that.  Very nice BB's.  And working on an external BB is a real snap compared to Square-Taper.  Pulling the crankset takes a minute and swapping cups doesn't take much more.   I'm sold on the external BB. Great stuff IMHO.

 

Are you using the 7400 shifters and derailleurs? 7400 is a sweet looking group but I don't think the 8 speed DA shifting-bits are index-compatible with any other Shimano generations. That's something to think about as you start changing stuff around. 

9 and 10 speed chainrings will work fine with an 8 speed chain in you upgrade to a modern crank. Chainrings are the same distance tooth-to-tooth, its just the width that changes and it's not much of an issue.

I think as long as he keeps the shifters and derailleurs all together in the 7400 group it's a moot point.  Mixing and matching becomes difficult but The Sheldon says other Shimano derailleurs can be used with 7400 shifters using the alternate cable routing on the derailleur cable fixing bolt.  


The larger issue is replacement Uniglide cassettes if he is unlucky enough to have the rarer 8-speed version. 

Sheldon "Mix-n-match" Brown on Shimano Dura Ace Compatibility

Unless you have legs like telephone poles, I'd agree that that gearing is a bit much, especially for an all-day bike. 8s DA will shift a 28t large cog in back and I think it will shift a 30t cog if you set it up carefully. I would be more inclined to just replace the crank with a compact double, though. I replaced the 740x crank on my 8s Dura-Ace bike with a Ritchey Logic compact double with new 48/36 TA rings. Still shifts great; perhaps there is some degradation from the original setup but I can't tell. I don't remember if they're 9s rings or not - they might be.

I've heard that VO Grand Cru brakes are very good, and they look very nice. I think that would match the nice look of your DA bits.

There is always searching for rings at Working Bikes too.  They have a huge selection of used chainrings and crank parts.  Be sure to bring a caliper along so you can measure BCD on what they have in stock because nothing is going to be marked or neatly sorted and shelved.  Be prepared to dig through piles and milk crates full of rings and cranksets.  You might need to buy a whole crankset to get a nice set of rings as they frown on stripping parts apart in the store (if you even could there as some of those old-style skin-rippin' chainring bolts can be quite finicky to get apart with those nasty CNW-2 tools.)   You also have to have an eye for what a good chainring looks like next to one that is too worn to be servicable.  Not everything they have in the piles is still good...

But it's a cheaper alternative to think about.  It's always fun to trudge down there to dig through their used bike parts Nirvana.  Double check that they will be open as they have weird hours/days when they are open to the public. 

Did I mention they would be cheap?  They only charge a few bucks for chainrings.  I can't quote their exact prices but they are very reasonable.  

Be prepared to dig.  And I'm serious about a caliper, sometimes it is really  hard to eyeball BCD and there are many rings that are not marked.  Most rings will have a tooth count marked but BCD not always.  I've traced the bolt hole circle through the holes onto a piece of paper before and then brought that along to WB a few times.  That is a pretty handy technique too. 

But I've found a cheap vernier caliper like the one they sell at Harbor Frieght for $3 is just worth it to carry around. I often bring it with me to bike swaps as well as to Working Bikea. It saves you from buying the wrong thing. Handlebars, stems, stuff like that between ISO and JIS there isn't much difference, especially fork crown race diameter.  Hate buying the wrong one...  

HF sells an economy digital caliper for a few more bucks but the vernier is just as accurate if you know how to read it, and won't get messed up if you drop it or abuse it like leaving it in your pocket in the wash...

I got a pair of the VO Grand Cru brakes on my new build. They sure do look mighty nice. They do match the VO Grand Cru polished headset  Can't speak about how well they work, since the build is still in progress.

David P. said:

Unless you have legs like telephone poles, I'd agree that that gearing is a bit much, especially for an all-day bike. 8s DA will shift a 28t large cog in back and I think it will shift a 30t cog if you set it up carefully. I would be more inclined to just replace the crank with a compact double, though. I replaced the 740x crank on my 8s Dura-Ace bike with a Ritchey Logic compact double with new 48/36 TA rings. Still shifts great; perhaps there is some degradation from the original setup but I can't tell. I don't remember if they're 9s rings or not - they might be.

I've heard that VO Grand Cru brakes are very good, and they look very nice. I think that would match the nice look of your DA bits.

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