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Discussion Starter #1
Got a Cannondale Trail 6 a few weeks back. Can't say I have any drivetrain problems other than a little rough shifting from 2 - 3 on the front sprocket. The bike still has not yet been back to the shop for the first tune up, though.

That said, I can see the front sprockets are quite cheap. I am guessing the front derailleurs are also.

Can you all give me a few recommendations on what would be a decent upgrade if I want to replace the front cranks, front sprockets and front derailleur? Not a $500 professional upgrade, just something practical and solid for under $200.

My riding is in NE Texas, wooded trails, small hills, short climbs and occasional rocky crossings.

There are just so many options I don't know where to begin.

Thanks!
 

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Mountain Man Dan
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This is the best crank for the money. Undoubtedly. Very stiff, has an externall BB, you can service them too. Should last a longgggggggg time! Also pretty light.

Shimano LX FC-M582 Crankset > Components > Drivetrain > Cranksets | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

You can replace those front chainrings, in case you wear them out.


You might want to hold off on the front deraileur. It probably needs a tune up, but this new crank has better "chain pickup pins", when you push the lever to go into a bigger ring, there's some pins that pick the chain up and put it on that ring, your stock crank probably has very lousy ones....this one not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! After looking over some drivetrain build kits for $400+, I was getting worried.

Just to ask, if this is what I currently have:

Crank
Shimano, FC-M191, 42/34/24

Bottom Bracket
Tange Seiki LN-3912

Shifters
Shimano M310

Cog Set
SunRace M56, 11-32, 8-speed

Front Derailleur
Shimano FD-M190, 34.9 clamp

Rear Derailleur
Shimano Altus

Can I just swap out my crank set with this?
Shimano LX FC-M582 Crankset > Components > Drivetrain > Cranksets | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

Thanks!
 

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Mountain Man Dan
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Yup, should go right in. Just make sure you put the spacers right. 2 spacers should go on one side, 1 on the other. Check with your bike shop on that. But it WILL fit.

I'm assuming they will do this work for you, if so, then no worries!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks!
I don't mind pulling the cranks out myself and swapping it out, just wanted to be sure it will match my derailleurs and existing setup. Should I replace the BB with the new one or keep what I have?

Thanks again for the help.
 

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Mountain Man Dan
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You need special tools for each BB, that's why I hinted bike shop.

You have to use the BB that comes with the new crank, as it's an External BB, not internal like what you have now. So the new crank will not bolt up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You need special tools for each BB, that's why I hinted bike shop.

You have to use the BB that comes with the new crank, as it's an External BB, not internal like what you have now. So the new crank will not bolt up.

Works for me. I really appreciate the detailed info.
 

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Mountain Man Dan
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Glad I could help.

I went through the same upgrade, I just used a higher trim model crank.....same Brand and design though. Fantastic crank, very stiff, light. Helps with power transfer to the wheels, no flex.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Was $600 your "real" number? Sometimes people exchange newer bikes without taking a bath on the original purchase price...

That said, the new crank should drop right in in place of the old one. Sometimes the bottom bracket shell won't have been faced, and that's a good thing to take care of while you're at it. Basically, if there's paint on the faces that the new BB cups will press against, get the shop to face it. It's an easy job that requires a very expensive tool.

Front derailleurs that work are, IMHO, a vastly undersung part of a mountain bike. A new one, Deore or better, will make a big difference.

The trap is that you can replace literally every part that's hanging on that frame to advantage. However, it will end up costing a whole lot more than buying the Flash in the first place. At pricepoints in between where you are and the Flash, moving up a pricepoint buys you a bit more time before things start quitting, so you can at least spread out buying the "nice bike" over a longer period.

I've been there. I have an upgradeitised 2007 Hardrock. The only original parts are the frame and the seat post. While it's a nice bike, I also know that had I been able to spend the money upfront, or been able to pay for a complete do-over when I started racing, I'd actually have spent less getting to this point than what I've ended up spending.

So, longer answer than what you were looking for I think. But before you start throwing parts at it is a really great time to stop and think about your long-term plans for the bike.

Also, get your new bike tune before you throw parts at it. And, learn to tune your drivetrain. My friend's X0 (second highest-end SRAM) drivetrain was behaving like the drivetrain on a department store bike last night.

Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Front Derailleur Adjustments
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Long term plans for the bike:

Yes, very good point because I paid $529 for the bike and I know I can throw parts at it and bring it easily over $1000.

Plans are:
1) Convert to tubeless to stop getting a flat every other ride.
This is done. I did this myself this past weekend with Gorilla tape and Stan's. Will see how long the setup works. (Cost $30)

2) Upgrade front crankset.
Will do this first thing next month (next paycheck) (Cost $90)

3) Saddle
I only ride 1-1.5 hours at a time so I will mainly just get a mid-range saddle and white (to spiff up the look a bit). (Cost $60)

4) Pedals
Switched to M520's. (Cost $35)

So far the cost of upgrades is around $215. So I am into the bike $530 + $215 = $745

Not too bad, I suppose. I may end up dropping another $75-90 if I switch tires and valves.

Good points, thanks. I really liked the base frame of this bike and planned to upgrade to some extent. I hope to not go overboard.
 

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Long term plans for the bike:

Yes, very good point because I paid $529 for the bike and I know I can throw parts at it and bring it easily over $1000.

Plans are:
1) Convert to tubeless to stop getting a flat every other ride.
This is done. I did this myself this past weekend with Gorilla tape and Stan's. Will see how long the setup works. (Cost $30)

2) Upgrade front crankset.
Will do this first thing next month (next paycheck) (Cost $90)

3) Saddle
I only ride 1-1.5 hours at a time so I will mainly just get a mid-range saddle and white (to spiff up the look a bit). (Cost $60)

4) Pedals
Switched to M520's. (Cost $35)

So far the cost of upgrades is around $215. So I am into the bike $530 + $215 = $745





Not too bad, I suppose. I may end up dropping another $75-90 if I switch tires and valves.

Good points, thanks. I really liked the base frame of this bike and planned to upgrade to some extent. I hope to not go overboard.
I would just ride the BB until it wears out....then upgrade.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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If you haven't had someone walk you through saddle setup, start there. Saddles are incredibly sensitive to good setup, and the thing that matters most after that is shell shape. I've had OEM saddles I've kept for a very long time. My track bike and commuter actually still have their OEMs.

If you decide you can't make the stock saddle work for you, buy from a place with a demo program or a good return policy. If you have to buy a saddle upfront, wrap the saddle rails with electrical tape before you install it. (Been there, worked, was able to exchange for full value.) I haven't done well with saddles that retail for $60, they're often too soft lately. Ironic that the cheap saddle has more crap on it. But saddle price and saddle comfort are only tenuously related.

So far you're being pretty good about hitting the big-ticket items. You may also find you need a different stem to fit the bike.

Your next couple places to stop and ask yourself if this is a good idea are if you start thinking about a new fork, hydraulic brakes, or new wheels. You won't get back money you spend on the drivetrain, but at least it's only a piece at a time and if you stick with Deore, LX and SLX-level stuff, nothing's terribly expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here is what I think I want to go with. Can someone please confirm this will all work together? On my Trail 6 I have an 8-speed. I am wanting to convert to Shimano LX:

I have this:
Crank
Shimano, FC-M191, 42/34/24

I want to convert to Shimano LX FC-M582 Crankset

(This should be OK)

I have this:
Bottom Bracket
Tange Seiki LN-3912

(The BB with the new crankset should work fine)

I have this:
Shifters
Shimano M310

I want this
Shimano LX M580 9SP Trigger Shifters > Components > Shifters | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop
(Do I need to change shift cables?)

I have this
Cog Set
SunRace M56, 11-32, 8-speed

Do I need to buy a new cog set? 9 speed? What kind? I do not see an LX Cassette.

I have this
Front Derailleur
Shimano FD-M190, 34.9 clamp

I want this
Shimano LX M570 Front Derailleur > Components > Drivetrain > Front Derailleurs | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

I have this
Rear Derailleur
Shimano Altus

I want this
Shimano LX M581 Rear Derailleur > Components > Drivetrain > Rear Derailleurs | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

In sum, it seems I have most everything for an LX conversion, except I am not sure about the rear cassette and shift cables.

Any advice for a smooth LX conversion? The whole setup is under $200.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I think you'll see pretty good improvements pretty much everywhere.

You do need a new cassette. Any Shimano or SRAM 9-speed cassette will do. I've been ordering PG-970s lately, but if I was a bit less of a cheapskate, I'd probably be getting the Shimano HG61 or HG80. I think they're a bit smoother. Both do the job. Shimano says the HG80 is the matching cassette for Saint, LX and SLX.

I think the Shadow rear derailleurs are pretty cool. That's the Deore M590 or SLX M662. (I think it's the M-662...) Anyway, it's a 9-speed rear derailleur and looks quite different from what you've got.

Cables and housings are quite cheap. I'd just do 'em on general principles. Be a little anal about getting square ends. Park Tool and Sheldon both have good articles.

EDIT: Oops, Deore Shadow is the M-591.
 

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Just Ride
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Gotta say thank you to AndrwSwitch here. I was thinking of upgrading my bike completely then swapping all the parts to a nice frame. I have the SL4. BUT after reading your post talking about the Flash, I think I'm gonna save till I can get that bike! Flash 2 at least. Though by that time I may as well keep saving and go with the Scalpel. I was already considering a Flash as I like the lefty. Or at least the idea of it.

To the OP, just ditch the granny and big ring and throw on some kind of chain tensioner or chainguide and viola, problem solved for little or no money. You can do it for free if you can get away with using your front derailleur as a guide. That's what I did to start and now I have SS specific front ring and bashwich. Works great, no dropping chains and no shifting issues with the frong.

FWIW, I didn't go 1x8 because of shifting issues. I did it because I found I rarely if ever used the granny anyway. The people I ride with think I'm crazy, but I'm so much faster up the hills than them it's ridiculous!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I love my granny! I was just thinking about what you'd call an even lower granny, like the 20/40 that a little hacking and SRAM XXI or whatever they're calling it will make possible.

Maybe the GMILF gear? :D

It's all about your terrain, though. If I was curious about a 1x setup, I think I'd lock out my front derailleur so I couldn't let temptation drag me into using one of my other rings, and ride the most vertical mountain near me. If it didn't make my heart explode and I didn't spin out on the way down, I'd probably look for a singlespeed specific crank. May be a little harder to find cheap, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks! I appreciate the information. I am looking forward to smooth shifting. :)
 
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