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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449

    Smile Campy vs Shimano; Crank-arm Length and Fit.

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    Hey everyone. I've been gone a lot, but I started a master's program a couple of months ago, so not much time to post. (It's spring break).

    I want to remove the SRAM from my road bike. I'll replace with either Campy or Shimano. But, I've never used Campy. I'm thinking either Chorus II or Record. Or Ultegra. Not Dura Ace. Only Considering Record because I may get a good deal on it.

    I've never used Ultegra, just 105. But my 105 is far crisper in shifting than my more expensive SRAM Force, so I figure I'm safe with Ultegra. Not interested in electronic shifting.

    Anyone have experience riding both Campy and Shimano? Doesn't have to be the higher end stuff. Just need opinions if Campy is worth the risk. I'd order online and have my friends help me build it. (REad, they build, I watch and occasionally do what they tell me).

    Mechanic's question: How do you tell if your bottom bracket is english or italian? I've heard it's width, right? Anyone know specifics so I don't order the wrong stuff?

    Next question. I use a zero-offset seat post, and even then, have trouble getting my knees far enough forward. My cleats are all the way back. Saddle all the way forward. Still just barely forward enough. My seat tube is almost 74 degrees, if memory serves. I probably need 75 or 76 degrees, but only old-school bikes and tri-bikes have that.

    My current crank-arms are 172.5 mm. My inseam is 33.33 inches. Would it be a good idea or a bad idea to try 170 mm to get my knees forward? My last bike had 170 mm, but…I don't know. The bike never felt like it had good power transfer, but that bike had a lot of flex, which isn't appropriate for someone with my build (that's body, not bike build!). Everything I've read says someone with my leg length needs at least 172.5 crank arms. (Current bike is stiff racing bike, last bike was relaxed 'plush' bike, which meant kind of uncomfortable for me. I know. I'm backwards).

    So. Mechanics? Fitters? People who have experience with Campy and Shimano? I need info.

    Thanks!!
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,636
    Can't address all your questions, but I have used Ultegra on several bikes, and it's a great group. I also once owned a bike I built with Campy Chorus (don't know anything about Chorus II, this was ten years ago), and it was AMAZING. Super pricey, a huge splurge for me, but I loved the shifting SO much, the shape of the shifters, the way they fit my hand, and how it looked. It was a beautiful thing. I'm perfectly happy with the Ultegra I have now, but if money were no object and I had a choice, heck yeah I'd go with Campy Chorus again!

    Also, I found your comment interesting about 75-76 degree STA being "old school". Perhaps for taller gals, which I suppose you are, but in my tiny little sizes (I'm just barely 5'2", probably 5'1.5" now), that's the typical STA for road bikes. I have just the opposite problem as you, though -- I use setback seatposts and still have trouble getting my knees far enough back, which of course only lengthens the effective top tube, not something I need! Anyway, just thought that was interesting. I expect you're quite a bit taller than me, and that would explain why the geometry is different. I ride bikes in the 44.5 cm to 47 cm size range.

    Good luck in your quest!
    Emily

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
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    1,352
    FWIW, the people in my club that can afford it use Campy.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449
    Quote Originally Posted by emily_in_nc View Post
    Can't address all your questions, but I have used Ultegra on several bikes, and it's a great group. I also once owned a bike I built with Campy Chorus (don't know anything about Chorus II, this was ten years ago), and it was AMAZING. Super pricey, a huge splurge for me, but I loved the shifting SO much, the shape of the shifters, the way they fit my hand, and how it looked. It was a beautiful thing. I'm perfectly happy with the Ultegra I have now, but if money were no object and I had a choice, heck yeah I'd go with Campy Chorus again!

    Also, I found your comment interesting about 75-76 degree STA being "old school". Perhaps for taller gals, which I suppose you are, but in my tiny little sizes (I'm just barely 5'2", probably 5'1.5" now), that's the typical STA for road bikes. I have just the opposite problem as you, though -- I use setback seatposts and still have trouble getting my knees far enough back, which of course only lengthens the effective top tube, not something I need! Anyway, just thought that was interesting. I expect you're quite a bit taller than me, and that would explain why the geometry is different. I ride bikes in the 44.5 cm to 47 cm size range.

    Good luck in your quest!
    Yep. I'm 5'7", I've noticed what people need in STA tends to be backwards for what happens in the geometry. (Should have mentioned that I meant in larger bikes). If a bike has a very steep ST, I can (theoretically) use an effective TT of 52.5 with a 120 mm stem (not so long in this size). As is, I use 53.5 with a 110 mm stem. My position is very forward horizontally compared to a lot of people, I think. I suppose if I ever get a custom bike, the STA would be steep. Maybe?

    Thanks for the Campy info. May come down to price, but I'm shopping.

    Thanks Karen.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 03-14-2014 at 04:37 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,958
    I have both Campy (Record) and Shimano (Ultegra). I far prefer the Campy. The shifting is crisp and precise and you can shift down or up several gears at once which is a huge advantage when you're cresting a hill and want to get into the right gear quickly. The Shimano shifts sluggishly and just doesn't have that crispness. It's hard to describe.

    Honestly the biggest downer about my bike with the Shimano is the fact that is has Shimano; and otherwise it is a great bike. (The only reason it has shimano is because it's a disc brake bike and was an early version not compatible with Campy).

    I also love that you can rebuild Campy parts. We've re-built shifters several times over the years after thousands of miles.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    6,449
    Definitely leaning towards the Campy!
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I’ll have to replace the rear hub on the wheels. Right?
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
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    5,958
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Definitely leaning towards the Campy!
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I’ll have to replace the rear hub on the wheels. Right?
    I believe so.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,063
    I ride both. Definitely prefer the Campy to ride and shifting for reasons others have mentioned. I've had one brifter rebuilt so I, of course, love that feature. One other reason I like the Campy is that I'm a teensy bit dyslexic. When I get tired, I never confuse a Campy shift; now, on the other hand, I always screw up.

    Yes, the rear wheels are different. There is a way to make a campy hub work with a shimano (and vice versa), but what I read implies that the shifting will suffer a bit.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983
    I agree with the folks that prefer Campy over Shimano. I've been riding Campy since 1994, and have loved it! The ability to shift multiple gears in one shot, AND the fact that I can rebuild the shifters(which I have) is a big bonus. Their customer service is incredible, and quality is wonderful. My trainer bike is an old 8 speed Chorus bike, which was the first bike I built Campy, and it still has the original cassette.(steel) Since then I have three other Campy bikes, some Chorus and others Record and have had great luck, many happy miles, with many more to come. Oh! and the other three bikes, still all 10 speed... why change if it works so well?

    Good luck with your decision!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post

    Anyone have experience riding both Campy and Shimano? Doesn't have to be the higher end stuff. Just need opinions if Campy is worth the risk. I'd order online and have my friends help me build it. (REad, they build, I watch and occasionally do what they tell me).
    I will join the ranks and add my vote for Campy. I've ridden both in several models and on the whole I think Campy is better.


    Mechanic's question: How do you tell if your bottom bracket is english or italian? I've heard it's width, right? Anyone know specifics so I don't order the wrong stuff?
    The easy way would be to tell me the frame make and I'll ask Tom, he'll know. Otherwise Tom says, "English has a 68 mm width, Italian 70 mm. Italian has a larger internal diameter. Italian threads right hand on both side, English threads left on the ride side of the BB."

    Next question. I use a zero-offset seat post, and even then, have trouble getting my knees far enough forward. My cleats are all the way back. Saddle all the way forward. Still just barely forward enough. My seat tube is almost 74 degrees, if memory serves. I probably need 75 or 76 degrees, but only old-school bikes and tri-bikes have that.
    This would help with that problem and there are frames out there with steeper seat tubes in your size. Custom is of course an option. But we're talking about building this particular bike, not a different one so...

    My current crank-arms are 172.5 mm. My inseam is 33.33 inches. Would it be a good idea or a bad idea to try 170 mm to get my knees forward? My last bike had 170 mm, but…I don't know. The bike never felt like it had good power transfer, but that bike had a lot of flex, which isn't appropriate for someone with my build (that's body, not bike build!). Everything I've read says someone with my leg length needs at least 172.5 crank arms. (Current bike is stiff racing bike, last bike was relaxed 'plush' bike, which meant kind of uncomfortable for me. I know. I'm backwards).
    The suggestion for 172.5 crank arms is based on the estimated proportion of femur length to tibia length for a given overall leg length and that varies from person to person. The best way to decide on crank length is empirically, that is by observation. If you know without a doubt that on this bike you will still be set back too much, then I would say go with the 170. The danger of going too short is that people tend to have more problems from having knee position too far forward than they do from being too far back. Also, think about the difference between a 172.5 and 170, it's about 1/10th of an inch. It may not be enough to correct you positioning issue. Also, going with a shorter crank arm changes the torque you can apply with a pedal stroke and will change how your gearing feels a bit. A shorter lever arm means that slightly more effort is required to turn the same gear. What is your expectation in terms of functional performance by trying to achieve a perfect knee over pedal axle position? If you can tell me that, I might be able to help you understand what you stand to gain or lose by going one way or the other. There are always pros and cons.

    ETA: You might want to set up your seatpost with saddle on the new bike and double check your saddle set back, comparing it to your old bike. There is a lot of variability in the way these things are measured from company to company and it would be good to look at the real life set back comparison before you commit to deciding on your new crank. To do that you have to measure your current saddle height and replicate that on the new frame. Without correct saddle height the setback measurement cannot be accurately compared.
    Last edited by Wahine; 03-15-2014 at 09:41 AM.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Definitely leaning towards the Campy!
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I’ll have to replace the rear hub on the wheels. Right?
    The free hub body will have to be changed. Tom says that's possible on some hubs, on others it's not and in that case you would have to change out the hub completely.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,449
    THanks everyone!

    Wahine,
    The bike is a Pinarello Quattro from 2012. They've replaced that model with something named Marvel? Can't remember. Same frame-set as the Paris. Just costs less. Size 51.5, men's version. The carbon is 30 k throughout. And the bb has zero-flex. (More thinking about power transfer here. This bike has forced me to develop more power because the thing is a beast, really).

    Wheel-set is Fulcrum 5. Came stock on the bike.

    For torque vs effort vs postion: I don't have my old bike anymore. But I had 170 crank arms, and still had the same issue. Even had the exact same seat post since they are the same width and I just transferred it to the new bike. So, not much of a difference? It had a STA of 74 degrees. I think this one is 73.8 or so. Old bike ETT 530. This one 535. Same HTH of 13. Don't know the old S and R, that was a 2008 Cannondale Synapse (carbon), and they didn't publish it back then for that brand.

    I prefer power transfer to knee position.

    I had the same fitter for both bikes. But, he is about 80 miles away from me and very hard to get an appointment with lately. He doesn't work full time in a store but has a separate engineering business and does mechanics and fit on the side. When he initially put me on the zero-offset on the old bike with 170 cranks (coming from a 20 degree setback) he was surprised that it didn't seem to make my knees go any farther forward. NOrmally, his experience showed that it made an immediate difference. Regardless. It gets me in a more comfortable position for my back. I just mention knee position because that is what it is supposed to do. The bike is certainly more comfortable with a zero-offset. Huh. My body doesn't really respond as expected. I initially got a fitting with him for my old bike just a few months before I got the new one. Naturally had to go see him again. I rode 4 years on the old with a 20 degree setback. No other fitter said one word about trying something else.

    Thanks so much. You are all a treasure.
    ~~
    Not one recommendation for Ultegra over Campy, huh? Have to say, I'm surprised. Shimano is popular and reliable. I could go splurge now. OTOH, my new school program is 761 dollars per credit hour. Plus computer fees. Hmm. We'll see how long I last.

    ETA: obviously 172.5, correct?
    Last edited by Muirenn; 03-15-2014 at 05:56 PM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    If you were riding 170s before, I'd say stick with that. You could go to a 165 but, that seems kind of extreme given your inseam.

    Tom says that Pinerello was Italian, but many of the Italian companies are switching to English BBs to make production less expensive, so you might want to double check by looking at the width measurement and the threading.

    Hope that helps.
    C.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Italian bike-->Campy, right?

    My only caution is to consider the availability of parts. Granted, it depends on where you live. (Campy is not widely available in Dayton, I can tell you that!)

    (And I hear you on the SRAM. Granted, mine is Apex and I haven't put much mileage on it, but it doesn't seem to shift nearly as well as the bottom-end Shimano on my road bike.

    I didn't know that you can rebuild Campy, though.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,958
    I was thinking about this on my ride this weekend. DH and I each have a bike where the Campy Record is on its second life - it outlasted the frame it was originally on and we built up new bikes with the old gruppo (I'm sure there were bits replaced within the gruppo). I think that's pretty cool and it sure made new bikes more affordable for us than they would have been.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

 

 

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