Technical FAQ: Mixing Campy hydro with SRAM, gear ranges, and more

Lennard Zinn addresses questions related to mixing components, gear ranges, and some follow-ups to previous columns.

Campagnolo hydro 1x options

Dear Lennard,
With Campagnolo hydro now out, I am keen to use it for my cyclocross setup. What is the best approach for a 1x drivetrain?
— Campagnolo shifters with a SRAM 11 speed clutch rear derailleur and a 1x narrow/wide front chainring (would this shifting combo work?)
— Campagnolo rear derailleur and shifters set up with 1x narrow/wide front chain ring and chain catcher
— Neither/try something else?

Dear Andrew,
I have tried mixing Campy 10-speed levers with SRAM 10-speed derailleurs, and, as I wrote in this column long ago, it works OK but not perfectly throughout the entire range. I would have considered that combination good enough to use on the road but not good enough that I would have been willing to race cyclocross on it, other than for an occasional race or two in dry conditions. I have not tried mixing Campy and SRAM 11-speed shifters and derailleurs, though.

I would either do your second suggestion of a Campy 1x drivetrain with an X-Sync-type fat-thin-fat-tooth 1x chainring and a good chain catcher over the top, or I’d use the straight SRAM 1x drivetrain. I would accompany that with a good chain catcher over the top if using it in freezing mud.

Tandem drivetrain setups

Dear Lennard,
I’ve tried to keep up with your previous pieces about the possibilities — and potential pitfalls — of using Di2 systems on a tandem. I’m aware of some of the earlier problems/incompatibilities in combining road and mountain components, but I wanted to see if it is yet possible to combine road shifters (i.e., Ultegra ST-R8050 or ST-R785) with a mountain rear derailleur (i.e., XT M-8050-GS) and, ideally, a road front derailleur (i.e., Ultegra FD-R8050)? The ultimate goal would be to run 50/34 (or 52/36) chainrings with an 11-42 cassette.

I suspect that Campy’s EPS system (and their general lack of wide-range gearing options) would not allow such a setup. Does SRAM offer any eTap combinations which would work similarly?

P.S. — I’m assuming that running a standard, triple chainring tandem setup is not possible with current electronic shifting systems.
— John

Dear John,
No, you still can’t use Di2 road shifters with the combination of an MTB Di2 rear derailleur and road Di2 front derailleur. You can use Di2 road shifters with a MTB Di2 front and rear derailleur, but that limits your chainring sizes to very low tooth counts for a road tandem.

Campy EPS offers no more range. SRAM eTap will go to 11-36, as you saw in last week’s column.

A triple crank is possible only with MTB Di2 derailleurs.

Feedback about frame size and gearing range

Dear Lennard,
Reading the Tech Tuesday today about the guy with the Eriksen, who is successfully running an 11-36 cassette with SRAM eTap. It looks like his Eriksen has a replaceable hanger that is the long option. I’m not sure if Eriksen uses Paragon Machine Works hangers or makes their own, but PMW does offer a long and a short hanger option. The long hanger is long enough and the tab for the B-tension screw is at a sufficient angle that it’s usually no problem to run larger cassettes than recommended by either SRAM or Shimano.

Because of this longer hanger, readers who also want to duplicate Eric’s gearing choices may not have the same success if their hanger length is on the short side and/or if the B-tension tab’s angle is not as extreme. Your readers might like to know that Shimano’s range of dimensions for hangers has quite a bit of variance that may or may not allow this combination to work well or at all.

Dear Mike,
I believe you are correct on the dropout. That looks like a Paragon DR0022, which is the same dropout we use on our titanium custom frames. The length difference on the hanger is subtle, and I can’t say for sure that you are correct about it being the longer one. If it is about 1 1/4 inches from skewer to mounting bolt, then it is long. If it is about 1 inch, it’s the short one. The center of the axle to the center of the derailleur bolt is 1.188 inches on the long hanger and 1.040 inches on the short hanger. So the difference is only 0.148 inches, or 3.8mm.

The one on my bike in this post is the long hanger on a Paragon DR0022 dropout, which I know helps it work with the 11-32 cassette and a short-cage rear derailleur.

Of course, you can always add a Wolf Tooth RoadLink (formerly Lindarets, hence both the goat and wolf-head logos on it) to get away with a bigger cassette on a given drivetrain.

Dear Lennard,
“The longer stem makes for less reactivity to steering inputs (the same length of push of the hand rotates the fork less), so the chances of overreacting to a crash in the peloton are slightly reduced.”

Thanks for pointing this out! I get so tired of arguments with those who think the reverse is true.

Feedback on converting a 10-speed freehub body to an 11-speed

Dear Lennard,
I got an XT freehub machined by a lathe guy who also did a 5800 cassette and smoothed off the protruding rim from the back of it. It cost me a bottle of decent red wine, but it was straightforward if you have a big chuck for the freehub and an internal expansion head for the cassette.

It was to convert a 10-speed freehub to 11-speed. I would then only recommend large cassettes, 11-28 and up, as the bigger the largest sprockets, the more spoke clearance you get. As a cyclocross rider, that suits me fine.

Feedback on Campy rear derailleur going into the spokes

Dear Lennard,
I might have some insight into what happened.

I recently upgraded from 10-speed campy to 11-speed (Revolution) on my 2014 Cervelo R3 and kept my 2009 Zipp 303s. The new 11-speed derailleur sits much closer to the wheel than the 10-speed version did. In fact, in first gear the cage was just lightly touching the spokes using the 2x 0.25mm axle washers in the cassette body (the number recommended by Zipp). I had to use a total of four washers to keep the cage far enough away, but it’s still too close to my liking. When I move the same cassette over to an old set of Eurus wheels, there is ample clearance. Maybe a similar situation to what happened to Franco and with some wheel flex, the derailleur got caught in the spokes.