I own a 2015 Specialized AWOL Elite and love it except when I am fully loaded and lumbering up a pass.

I'm looking for a way to get more range without completely replacing my drivetrain. This Adventure Cycling article perfectly describes my situation: THE DRIVETRAIN DILEMMA.

Currently I have

  • the stock FSA Omega 30/39/50 MegaExo crankset paired with

  • 9-speed triple Sora 11-32 front/rear derailleurs and shifters.

I'm confused about STI vs MTB indexing on Shimano 9 and 10 speed shifters. I am considering swapping out the crankset and rear derailleur with a

  • FSA Afterburner 26/36/48 crankset and
  • 9-speed Deore rear derailleur with an 11-36 cassette

My question is will these new components work with the original Sora front derailleur and shifters?

  • Welcome to Bicycles @Brian. I have edited you question to try to make it easier for your readers to groc. If you don't like what I've done, please feel free to revert it :-)
    – andy256
    Jul 17, 2015 at 7:19
  • As I understand it, the problem is only at 1) rear shifter to cassette 2) front shifter to chainrings. The other components can be mixed up. So you will not have problem with front if you place Sora derailleur, road shifter, while you put 2 chainrings (NOT 3). You can have a problem with rear shifter not shifting well if you have MTB cassette and road shifter.
    – Alexander
    Jul 17, 2015 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


The replacement of the 9 speed Shimano road RD with a 9 speed Shimano mountain RD is fine -- the cable pulls are the same. You'll need to re-size (i.e. put on a longer) chain for the bigger cassette though.

As for the crankset swap, I think with the new cassette it isn't going to be necessary. In any case, the Sora FD-3403 (which is what you likely have) has a maximum front chainring difference of 20 teeth whereas you're asking for a difference of 22 teeth, so you're technically out of spec. Since its 2 teeth, you might be able to get by, but you'd have to try it and tune it to see if it works. You do need a Shimano road FD to work with the Sora shifters.

  • Thanks for the help! I have the Sora FD-3503-B front derailleur, but it looks like the maximum front chainring difference is still speced at 20 teeth. Looking at the Afterburner again I see there is a 22/32/42 option as well. That's a chainring difference of 20 teeth, but the ratios are just a little small for my taste. I think I should go with the 26/36/48, try it, and if it doesn't work find a 46 tooth big ring.
    – Brian
    Jul 17, 2015 at 17:54
  • Also the Afterburner is a mountain crankset so the chainline is 2.5mm outboard from the current setup. I know that means more lateral chainwear when in the big cogs in the back, but I think it should really be detrimental when in the big ring up front (where you shouldn't be anyways).
    – Brian
    Jul 17, 2015 at 18:48
  • Depending on what rings you want to change, you can also just replace the relevant rings on the original crankset, provided you lower the FD if necessary and the jumps aren't too severe.
    – Batman
    Jul 17, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    The smallest ring is 74 mm and you can easily get 24, 26, 28 and 30. But I'd start with just doing the cassette and RD and if its still not enough, switch the crank.
    – Batman
    Jul 17, 2015 at 19:57
  • 1
    You're right about the BCD on the little chainring! How could I miss that? Now I don't need to buy a new crankset, I can just get new chainrings. I'm all sorted now, thanks again.
    – Brian
    Jul 17, 2015 at 20:33

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