Groupsets for smaller cyclists

I enjoyed the article on petite road bikes in the June-July issue. I have been looking at small-frame cycles and the groupsets that come with them. Shimano STI levers I find bulky and uncomfortable. Campag Veloce controls felt much better but the shortest crank length is 170mm.

I use Stonglight 165mm cranks and chainrings with my Chorus system but there is no indexing on this. My ideal groupset would be Veloce levers and a 165mm crankset. Is that possible?

Brian Tunbridge

Campag no longer offer metal cranks shorter than 170mm. Veloce cranks and all of Campag’s triple cranks are aluminium. So if you want 165mm from Campag you’ll have to pay more for carbon and be content with a so-called compact double’s 34 tooth inner ring. If that’s compact enough for you (doubtful, since shorter legs are better for spinning than heaving), then Centaur – the next group up from Veloce – offers that in the same ‘deep black’ colour.

And are you sure you want the front shift indexed? This feature is superfluous with a double, and although it seems like a good idea with a triple, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth. But if you must: Shimano middle rings are pre-worn and gap-toothed as necessary to assist front indexing. And Shimano 105 is available with 165mm cranks on a triple with the same rings (50/39/30) as Veloce and in a similar ‘lodestar black’. What’s more, 105 is one of the few remaining road triples with a 74mm inner bcd, to which may alternatively be fitted an inner ring as small as 24!

Chris Juden


This was first published in the August / September 2014 edition of Cycling UK's Cycle magazine.