Special front derailleur for small chainrings?

I’m going back to 2X after being 1X for like 10 years…is there a “better” front derailleur for small chainrings like 42/34? I seem to remember the tail of the cage hitting the chainstay in the past. As if you couldn’t get it low enough and you needed to run a big gap between the top of the big ring and the cage.

It’s for a surly crosscheck and I’m going with a friction shifter on the downtube if that matters.

Thanks guys!!


Yes, you can definitely run into issues with the FD cage hitting the chainstay with such small rings. I used to run 46/34t with a 105 5600 FD and it baaaarely cleared. I doubt 42t will clear with a regular shimano road FD.

Since you are running friction shifters, you could get a mtb FD and run that. Or, IRD has the Sub-C FD, and Shimano makes the CX70 FD. Those should work with road STI levers.

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Oh yeah, an mtb derailleur that makes perfect sense! Thanks :slight_smile:

If you’re running friction shifters you could try a triple FD, they’re made to shift from 39 to 30 without hitting anything. I have a tiagra 4603 shifting a 50/39/30 triple without a care in the world. I’ve also had success using the IRD alpina-d front derailleur with a 46/30 setup but that derailleur bears an uncanny resemblance to the tiagra one, and it requires buying a braze-on adapter clamp so it’s not really any cheaper or better IMO. Some folks have also suggested the cx-70 fd but I’ve never used on so can’t comment.

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A triple FD, that’s a good idea too. Time to scour eBay! Thanks guys :slight_smile:

You may want to look at Shimano’s new GRX (gravel) series. They are intended for slightly smaller chainrings (eg. 48-31), and are also moved slightly outboard of road chainrings.

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