Compact crank/bottom bracket upgrade: Ritchey WCS 110V vs Shimano (R600/700/Ultegra)?
I'm currently running Ultegra 9 (39/53 in front, 12-25 in back) on my 2004 Litespeed Firenze. I'm replacing the cassette with an Ultegra 12-27, but I'd also like to go compact up front. After much research, it seems the best "bang for the buck" options are:
1) Shimano's Hollowtech II compact cranks: R600 (http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=15754, Ultegra (http://www.probikekit.com/display.php?code=D1050), or R700 (http://www.probikekit.com/display.php?code=M1236),
2) Ritchey's WCS 110 V (http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?sku=20106).
In scanning the forums, it seems that most people using all of these cranks are quite satisfied, but I'm still trying to choose. The Ritchey costs less (<$100 with discounts/coupons) and doesn't require a new Hollowtech II bottom bracket like the Shimanos (~$175-200). So, I'm inclined to go that route, but I'm wondering if anyone has used both and can speak to a comparison. In particular:
How does the Ritchey compare to the Ultegra 9 Octalink in terms of stiffness/quality?
Is there any merit to the Shimano claims about its compacts having better shifting with standard derailleurs due to the "compact specific chainrings"?
Is Hollowtech II worth the upgrade over Octalink?
In short, is the additional cost to shift to one of the Hollowtech II Shimano cranks worth it?
Thoughts on these questions, as well as on your experience(s) with any of these cranks, are most welcome,
Octalink BBs are fading fast. I wouldn't buy into one now anymore than I would an ISIS BB crank (I've got four used ISIS triples to sell).
Before switching to a compact, see how the 12-27 cassette works out. With a 50/34 crank, the 50/12 top gear might feel inadequate, since it's nearly the same as a 53/13. The 34/27 low is like a 39/31.
Your crank options are really wide open, since just about any 10 speed crank should work with your 9 speed setup. Don't rule out the lower level Campy Centaur or Veloce UT cranks.
Good point, though, presumably, a single replacement Octalink BB is available (they seem plentiful in the web), and the current one shows no signs of needing replacement.
Hadn't thought of the Campy options. Are there any compatibility issues with Shimano FD. And I'd still incur the new bottom bracket cost, right?