Building my first bike - choosing the right components


Retro Guru

I recently embarked in a new project and I decided to build a bike from scratch.
The frame of choice is a steel Hewitt frame, and I would like to make it into semi-retro bike, with some modern and some retro components, hopefully without too much of a mismatch.
I don't have performance in mind, so I will choose parts mostly according to "feel".

It will have:
Downtube shifters (i just got a pait of Shimano SL A 400)
8 speed cassette (I already have a SRAM 12-23)
Square taper BB with Shimano 500LX crankset (which I bought here on the forum a couple of years back. I just need to polish it)

Everything else is still to be decided. What's giving me a bit of a headache is the drivetrain. The original idea was to build it as 3x8, because I would like one day to ship the bike home to Italy, where 12-15% gradients are not at all uncommon, and I need a front triple. But the braze-on front derailleur somewhat limits the choice.

I was thinking to get a Ultegra RD-6500 but I can't find a front derailleur to match. Do you have any suggestions?
In therory, I can use any derailleur, as I use friction shifters, but I'd like to stick with Shimano, just in case one day I will want to shift to modern handlebar shifters.
Do you have any suggestions?

As you probably gathered from the list of components, my budget is not high...

This is the frame btw!



Retro Guru
Yes, I saw that. It looks good and responds to all the requirements.
I wasn't sure what to match it with at the back. That's all.


Old School Grand Master
unless you intend to have a full-luggaged bike, i dont think these days you need a triple for 12-15% hills. A 48-34 compact with a 32 or 34 rear cog can get you up anything except maybe those 20% plus hills. And a compact looks far more elegant than a triple, which always look cumbersome.

obviously, my personal opinion, others may think different


Retro Guru
Oh no, I get that. I think so too. A 3x8 was just a cheaper and easier way to get low gear inches without having too wide steps on the cassette (as I am using 8 sprockets at the back).

I had a 11-32 (8 speed) on my commuting bike here in London and some of the jumps (the 15-18 especially) were a bit too big.

The good thing about having a triple FD is that I would keep it as double until I use the bike around London and only add the triple if and when I ship it to Italy.
But maybe I am just thinking too much ahead...


Retro Wizard
The main disadvantage with an MTB chianset is that the q-factor is rather wide as it has to clear wide chainstays. Personally I try to minimise it and would go for a road triple.
Perhaps the neatest way is with a tripleiser ring, which fits on a double chainset's inner ring and takes the granny. Then nobody need know your dirty secret!

I have run a 12-23 with 30/39/48 triple with a short cage rear mech no trouble and still allowing big-big (essential to avoid wrecking the lot inadvertently). I dislike a compact as the 34T is on the small side for most duties and the jump to 48 is large.
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