With long rando rides in my sights this spring, it’s time for a drivetrain refresh on the Wolverine. Here’s some of my thought process.
The current configuration, which is the same on Stephanie’s bike, is a clutched Shimano XT 2x10 with a 38/24 crank and 11-36 cassette. Long days on pavement ask for more gears at the upper end of the range, fewer at the easiest, and preferably smaller jumps between gears.
To achieve the longer gears up top I’m moving to what is in current lingo called a subcompact crank, but actually a long time rando standard: a 46/30 chainring combo. I’d then be looking for a low gear somewhere just harder than 1:1. Maybe an 11-28 cassette, maybe smaller... I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the individual ratios of all of the cassette options and finding the exact gear jumps that stand out.
At first I thought it was simple: replace the whole drivetrain, minus cranks, with a SRAM Rival 22 mechanical group. I’ve ridden no less than five Rival groups in the past year and have absolutely zero complaints about its performance. I like the ergonomics well enough, and definitley prefer SRAM’s DoubleTap system to Shimano’s STI.
At some point I realized I would need a new Road 11 freehub body to run a SRAM system on my DT Star Ratchet hub, and my mind started turning. I have a Campy freehub body, could I somehow put together a system using Ergo levers? I did like the 10-speed era of Campy and you can still find used (but rebuildable) Chorus and Record.
But then I thought about how an extra cog means smaller jumps, and I got wondering how much a new 11-speed Campy setup would cost. The multi-cog dump only comes on Chorus and above these days. And that ain’t cheap! I came out of that rabbit hole lusting for new Chorus, but feeling like it wasn’t the best decision financially.
I quickly pondered new Veloce 10-speed before realizing I’d probably feel like I sold myself short. The most cost-effective option I’ve been considering is to keep the existing 10-speed XT drivetrain, but simply swap the cassette for a tighter one and likely move the shifters to the bar ends.
It’s a dilemma, but it’s also kinda fun to think about. What would you do?