Finding the 34

For my cycle tour in May I’ve realised I’m going to need VERY low gears. I’ve estimated my bike is going to weigh 25-30lbs, maybe more! My route is on B-roads and lanes with Day 3 over some of the steepest roads in North Wales.

When I came up with this idea last year I’d already planned a transmission change anyway as part of servicing my bike after the winter commute and getting it ready for Spring/Summer and my tour. I originally pencilled in a full groupset change (double chainset only, no triples here!) and new wheels but I think I’ve changed my mind.

You see, new is great on paper. New wheels and a new groupset will look all nice and shiny but I have a couple of problems with that. 1. My frame is old, used, scratched and a new groupset isn’t going to do the bike any justice in looks stakes. 2. Do I actually need ALL of a new groupset? My BB is fine, my chainset is fine, my shifters are fine, my front mech is fine. 3. I would need to switch the outer ring to a 46T as thats my preference and 4. I have canti brakes which would make the brake calipers redundant anyway.

Its got me thinking and I’ve actually decided to bin the groupset idea now and do it all on a budget but make sure I get EXACTLY what I want.

My first job was to make a list of what I want/need. So I came up with this.

  • New or Nearly-new wheels
  • 46T Outer Rotor QRing 110BCD (34T inner is fine, its rarely used)
  • 10spd chain
  • 11-34T Cassette
  • 10 spd rear mech compatible with Shimano Ultegra 6700 shifters that will do a 34t sprocket
  • New cables & Bar tape

My first job was to see if my shifters would work with a rear mech that would do a 34t sprocket. I was thinking MTB or Hybrid rear mechs initially. If I could find one, the rest was pretty straight forward.

I new the GS (or long cage mech) for the Ultegra 6700 groupset and compatible 105 5700 rear mech would only do a 30T. I did a bit of googling and I found a really useful link to a Shimano compatibility chart which shows you what shifters work with what mechs, chains and chainsets. Perfect!

Here is the link. Take a look. Its very useful. It covers all speeds, MTB, Road and Hybrid.

Shimano Products Compatibility List 2017-2018

This is an extract from the key page for me. 10 speed road


So you can see my shifters are listed as ST-6700 in the 2nd column (ST/SL) and in the RD (rear derailleur) column, the only mech that will do a 34t is the RD-350-10-SS. This is the mech I need!

The next step was to simply google that model number and see if I could get one. They are rare. No longer produced. It was a non-series mech, so it never featured in an actual groupset series. I found a few available abroad but there were a couple available on Ebay in the UK. So I bought one for £35 and used 4500 Nectar card points to get a £22.50 discount on that so I actually only paid just over £12 for it. BARGAIN!

So for £12 I’ve bought a nice neat solution that is what I want, what I need and without the need to make do with MTB or Hybrid components or make something not compatible work in some kind of bodge.

Happy Days!

Shimano RD-350 Rear Derailleur

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