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I have a 40 minute (each way) daily commute that is particularly hilly. I would like to upgrade the groupset of my faithful steel road bike to make my commute more enjoyable. Money is precious at the moment so I have sourced sourced a Shimano Ultegra 6500 groupset, minus the cranks and cassette. My questions are as follows:

  1. Will a set of 8 speed Shimano 105 cranks (which I already own) work with the Ultegra 6500 group?

  2. What new cassette should I buy to help me with the particularly hilly terrain I will encounter.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Cheers Nathan

  • Your bike currently has 8 gears on the back and 2 chainrings on the front ? Can you tell us the tootcount on the largest rear cog, and whether you have a short, medium or long rear derailleur? – Criggie May 24 '17 at 1:40
  • I hear that you want to make climbs a bit easier, which means either a larger rear gear or a smaller front chainring. Do you find that on the steepest climb your cadence falls too low? Personally I find the front wheel gets a bit light, which means its way harder to apply steering inputs effectively. – Criggie May 24 '17 at 1:44
  • @Criggie do you find that a spinny gear helps with the front wheel getting light, compared to a slow grind? I think I do. Makes sense from the point of view of torque. – Chris H May 24 '17 at 5:57
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    @ChrisH yes spinny / high cadence helps because the pressure is coming more evenly. If you're mashing up a hill there's power in bigger lumps with more dead space between those lumps, so more chance for the front wheel to lift. – Criggie May 24 '17 at 6:30
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    @Criggie - or... look at the RD-6500's spec sheet on Shimano's website. – Batman May 25 '17 at 2:00
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  1. You can use a crankset thats market for 8 speed with a 9 speed group. Im assuming the 8 speed 105 cranks are already on the bike so thats one job done.

  2. Personal preference. Hilly means different things to different people. Note the derailleur will provide some constraints due to its chain capacity and maximum cog size. But for hills, you want lower gearing (larger cogs).

Go to your local bike shop and see what they sell the most for commuters in the area.

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