Road bike setup at the moment is: Shimano Tiagra (9 Speed) Shifters / Front Derailleur / 52-39T Chainset / Short Cage Rear Derailleur / Casette 27-11T.

Will I be able to do a straight swap and install an Ultegra 6300 52-39-30T Triple Chainset designed for 10 speed? If not any other ideas? Many thanks Steve

  • An important question: does your front shifter lever have three positions? If not, do you plan to exchange it? Feb 22, 2012 at 12:50
  • You will probably need to replace the crank axle -- don't know whether you were figuring on that. And the front derailer and shifter may need exchanging (and certainly some adjustment). Feb 22, 2012 at 12:58
  • @DanielRHicks: Is that what the q-factor refers to?
    – OMG Ponies
    Feb 22, 2012 at 15:01
  • I believe my shifter has 3 positions. I was hoping to install the Triple Chainset straight off but might consider a whole groupset if necessary.
    – steve
    Feb 22, 2012 at 16:30
  • @OMGPonies -- Sorta. The "Q-factor" (strange term) is apparently the spread between the two pedals, measured at the pedal thread. But significant to triple cranks is that the right side axle sometimes needs to be a few silly millimeters longer than the left ("offset") to provide clearance for the granny. This produces a slightly off-center pedal arrangement, but not enough to notice while pedaling. Feb 22, 2012 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


If, by "a straight swap" you mean "Can I change only the crank set, and no other parts, then the answer is in short, no, it will not be a straight swap.

If I read the question correctly, you are currently using a 52/39 double designed for 9 speed, and you want to install a 10 speed triple.

A triple shifter has 5 positions, not 3, because it requires additional "trim" positions which move the derailleur without actually shifting gears. This prevents the chain from rubbing as you get closer to extreme chain line angles. (Shifting into very large or very small cogs on both the front and rear gears at the same time.)

To do this job with 10 speed, you will need to change your shifters, front dérailleur , rear dérailleur, cassette, chain, crankset, and possibly bottom bracket bearings.

If you use 9 speed, you will save the cassette, rear dérailleur, and possibly rear shifter.

I assume your purpose is to get easier climbing type gears? If so, consider using a compact double (50/34), possibly combined with a different cassette on the rear of the bike.

It should get you quite a lot better gearing, and will only require changing the crank itself, and readjusting the gears on your front derailleur.

I hope that helps.

  • A Modern triple front derailleur/shifter pairing has TRIM support, to help reduce chain clatter. Older triples simply don't, so you get a lot more finicky with setup, or you learn to reduce cross chaining a lot more. Mine's set so there's no chain rub on big chainring even when fully crosschained, but the granny gear rubs FD when on 5 smaller rear cogs. It works.
    – Criggie
    May 25, 2017 at 21:29
  • 1
    @Criggie, yes, as I noted in my answer, trim is one of the advantages of a 10 speed, or now 11 speed, drivetrain. It is certainly helpful. However, the question was about changing from a 9 speed double to a 10 speed triple, and whether there would be additional parts beyond the crankset required by that swap. The answer, "Yes, it would require more parts.", led me to recommend a compact double, which could offer many of the benefits of a triple, with the added benefit of not requiring a large number of additional parts to make the change.
    – zenbike
    May 25, 2017 at 21:35

For those still looking at this question... My wife has a similar bike and commutes up a steep hill with with a heavy load. I changed the cassette and rear derailleur to a mtn bike set up. You give up the closer spacing between gears, but get a lower low end and it only costs about $100 for cassette and derailleur. You can also change your front chain ring to the smallest that will fit. Her Jake came with a 36-tooth small ring. You could get that down to 34 for sure. It's a small change, but they all add up.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.