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Losing a chainring

Hello everybody,
I am new to this forum and I've been cycling now for almost 64 years, so please forgive me if the terms I use to describe the various parts of bicycles are a bit 1960s.
My question is this. Earlier this year I purchased a new Whyte Wessex (V1?) and any pleasure I got from owning it was very short lived because the gears were so hopelessly out of adjustment. Two visits to independent bike shops did get the problem largely sorted out but the gears (part Ultegra, part 105) still aren't as sweet running as the all 105 set up on my Specialized Allez Elite and nowhere near as nice as the 30 year old 12 speed gears on my Raleigh Record Sprint.
So I've been thinking that if I am quite content with 12 gears on my Raleigh, having just 11 on the much lighter Wessex would be no hardship at all, so why do I need 22?
I've noticed that Shimano do sell an Ultegra single chain ring with either 40 or 42 teeth, the 42 being exactly in the middle, ratio wise, of the two chainrings I have at the moment. I understand that I would also need a new chain to match it but would I need to change the existing cassette? If yes, which one would best suit? The existing rear changer is an Ultegra RDR 8000-GS 11 speed.
And is there anything else I need to consider changing?
Thanks, Andy


  • lesfirthlesfirth Posts: 1,382
    It is not the number of gears that matter it is the range. Will you be OK with a higher bottom gear and a lower top gear?
    There is no reason why your present gears should not be set up to work satisfactorily. If you have not learnt how to fix your own bike after 64 years I suppose there is no point in telling you to look on Youtube and learning but you could.
    I am as old as you so I can say that. :)
  • andyfranklin2553andyfranklin2553 Posts: 5
    edited October 2020
    OK thanks Les. I understood the new single chain ring had a different tooth profile, just wasn't sure if that applied to the cassette too. I used to do all my own car and bike maintenance but nowadays my eyesight is good at a distance but close up stuff is too much like hard work.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 26,947 Lives Here
    A single tooth chain ring has alternate narrow and wide teeth so it holds the chain better, so long as you put the chain on with the outer plates over the wide teeth of course. The profiles of the teeth in the cassette wouldn't change but generally with a single ring at the front people fit a wider range cassette at the back. If you never trouble either end of your current gear range that may not be an issue.
    Oh, and you wouldn't need to replace the chain just for making that change.
  • Thanks for your help on this, I had been told I'd need a different chain. Certainly on the Wessex the lower ratios are very low, so I might try the existing cassette and see how I get on.
  • amrushtonamrushton Posts: 1,245
    You are looking for a thick/thin chairing. Chain should be alright but may need shortening.
  • Thanks for your help everybody, much appreciated.
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