Bike packing gearing with Dura Ace 9100

Hi all. Im new to this forum but need some advice please.
Im having a crack at my first bike packing ride in a few months and am currently running Dura Ace 9100 mid compact 52/36 to an 11-30t cassette. This wont be enough range for me when fully loaded so I need to increase my gear spread. Dura Ace 9100 has a 30t limit at the rear so my question is two fold.
A) If I bought a medium cage rear mech in say Ultegra or 105 and a 11-34 cassette, will my front deraileur Dura Ace 9100 handle a 34t cassette? I’d be keeping the 52/36 cranks in this case to range would be F:36t, R:34t. Thats a good gear range right there but can the front deraileur handle this?
B) Or, would I be better off just getting a compact crankset? This is the more expensive option. Compact front 34t to existing rear cassette 30t. Not quite as good range as above.

I would most likely remove all this gear after the trip so looking for the best option with a balance of cost and performance.
This can or worms is now open.
Advice would be appreciated.
Thanks : )

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If your bike has a standard derailleur hanger then there could be another cheaper option available by installing Wolftooth road link: New Wolf Tooth RoadLink DM (Direct Mount) - BIKEPACKING.com.

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Oh my God! LEGEND. Thanks Scott. That looks perfect : )

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Yup…I use one of the Wolf Links and run a 40t rear cassette with my Ultegra 8000 mechanical RD for my gravel bike. Works great.

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There should also be no issue with your front derailleur for this change. Only the spread between the two chainrings matters for the front.

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Why have I never posted anything on this Forum before? This is great. Thanks so much guys.

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lol, if only all mechanical queries were as successfully and tidily answered as yours, this place would be a gold mine…

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Don’t forget when fitting the larger cassette to pop a 10 speed spacer behind it.

The only exception is with a SRAM 11-36 one.

I’ll second that recommendation, the goat link is super quick to fit and just needs the b-tension adjusting. Although Shimano is relatively conservative with tooth capacity so you might be able to push to a 32 without needing it.

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I would mount a Shimano GRX-RX600 46x30 crankset and keep the existing cassette. It costs barely more than 100€. You will have lower a bit the front derailleur, reduce the length of the chain and lower and buy a new one when you come back for that trip but who knows, maybe you’ll figure out that you are fine with a 46t big ring. I certainly am.

The spacing is different with GRX chainrings and road ones. Would a Dura Ace front mech work fine with a GRX crankset? It’d certainly need reindexing at the very least.

Also if it’s a braze on front mech, the braze on may not allow the front mech to go that low.

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It will not be perfect but it will work. The spacing is the same, the chainlineis different. That means dialing the upper and lower limits. Keep in mind the difference is only 2.5mm, so it should be within the capabiity of the limit screws. Since OP will have to lower a bit is derailleur he will need to readjust and most probably change the cable.

Actually, I bought a GRX equipped bike last year and my front derailleur was out of tune (from factory duh) and I found out it was a real pain in the ass to setup and virtually impossible to fix on the road. In a moment of despair while I wanted to ride and stay sane, I mounted temporarily a campagnolo veloce 2x10 front derailleur I had in stock and I had no issue shifting with it. In the end I managed to setup the GRX one but had I not decided to sold back that bike I might have kept the campy front derailleur.

RE being low enough. It will probably be suboptimal for fast front shifting but the hanger should allow it to be low enough for it to at least work. Keep in mind the context will not be racing. It will be bikepacking which means, low stress, plenty of time to shift and not too many front shifts might be involved.

Absolute Black has subcompact chainrings ( 46-30 https://absoluteblack.cc/oval-road-chainrings-30-46-and-32-48-for-110-4bcd/ ) for your cranks. Being oval, they feel slightly smaller on climbs, too. I run their normal chainrings for over 20000km now and I am very happy :slight_smile:

I’ve got 46-30 in front and 11-30 in back on my bikepacking bike. The 1:1 low end is good enough for me, and I rarely wish for a higher high end. I’m using an Easton crank with a DA front derailleur. I should really replace that front derailleur, probably with a GRX derailleur, because it doesn’t track the big (“big”) ring well, and I get a bit of rub in top gear.