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I have a Canyon Ultimate CF SL 8.0 Ultegra Di2 2020 with a rear 11/30 cassette and a 52/36 chain ring. It has a short cage rear derailleur (Ultegra Di2 R8050 SS short cage). I do long distance cycling with lots of hills. Is there an upgrade you could recommend to make it easier for climbing? The short cage will take up to 11/32 rear cassette. Maybe I could change the derailleur and go for a bigger rear cassette (11/34) and maybe a smaller chain ring too (50/34 is available)? I'd imagine I'd need a new longer chain also.

I'm unsure of the best option. A rear cassette (Ultegra R8000 11-34)can be bought for about €100, a new crank will cost around €350 and a new medium cage derailleur will cost around €250.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks

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    The chainrings can be replace independently of the crankset, which should be considerably cheaper than replacing the entire crankset. Bear in mind that you typically have to match chainrings to avoid degraded shifting performance (e.g., 50/34 or 52/36, but not 52/34). Sep 5, 2022 at 21:12
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    Consider that a 2 tooth increase in rear cog has more effect than a 2 tooth change in chainring because the chainring has more teeth, percentagewise.
    – Criggie
    Sep 5, 2022 at 21:30

4 Answers 4

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As Will said in the comments, you don't need to change the crankset, just the chainrings. And you might be able to replace just the cage on your current derailleur.

Another option is to change your crankset and use ultra-compact chainrings (46/30). Technically there is an aftermarket set of 46/30 chainrings that fit on your cranks, but there's so little material between the bolts and the teeth that I'd be concerned about something going wrong.

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    Unfortunately, the Shimano chainrings are quite expensive, basically most of the cost of a new crankset.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Sep 6, 2022 at 0:21
  • It's academic, since you can't put Shimano's ultra-compact rings on the cranks in question.
    – Adam Rice
    Sep 6, 2022 at 0:59
  • At least for Ultegra R8000, the same 36 tooth small ring used with a 52t large ring can be used with a large 46t ring. Then you need only replace the 52t with a 46t. The large Ultegra chainrings are expensive however and going that many fewer teeth may require a different front derailleur or at least a cage replacement to maintain optimum shifting.
    – Jeff
    Sep 6, 2022 at 11:20
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Largely depends on your preference. Changing to a larger cassette (say 11-36, with appropriate derailleur and new chain) gives a wider spread between gears and maintains the highest gear. Changing to a 46/30 chainring means you gain low gears at the expense of high gears but keep a close spread between gears.

If you regularly ride in your top gears, then you may not want to loose the 52. You may be able to meet half way and drop to 48 or 50 on the top and 32 or 34 on the small chain ring, adjusting cassette size to suit if lower is still needed.

Over a few rides, I suggest paying close attention to you upper gear use. On one ride try to record how long you spend in the upper two or three gears. On another ride, do not use your highest (smallest) three cassette cogs and see how it feels. This will guide you as to how much high gearing you can sacrifice and help drive the decision between cassette or chain ring changes.

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I’d recommend:

1.A) Get a long cage for your rear derailleur so you can use a 11–34 cassette.

1.B) Get a 11–32 cassette and hope it works with the short cage derailleur. If you get the Shimano 105 cassette for 40€ this would be the cheapest option but only gives you a 6.6% easier gear.

2.) Get a 34 or even 33t chainring for your crankset.

3.) Get a matching 50t chainring.

You might get away with using a 52/34t chainring combination.

Keep in mind that used chains usually don’t work with new chainrings.

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Your current lowest gear ratio : 36/30 = 1.2

  • Option 1: easiest, ratio : 36/32 = 1.125

    Get 11-32 cassette (105 groupset for example as mentioned by @Michael)

  • Option 2: Also easy, ratio : 34/30 = 1.133

    Get 34-50 chainrings for your crankset

  • Option 3: Not as easy, ratio : 36/34 = 1.059

    Get a longer cage for your derailleur and the 11-34 cassette

  • Option 4: easy but a bit more expensive, ratio = 34/32 = 1.0625

    Option 1 + 2

  • Option 5: Most expensive and complex, ratio = 34/34 = 1.0

    Option 2 + 3

Depending on the state of your current drive-train, you might want to consider to change the chain for any options.

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