Q: I have a standard 9-speed Dura-Ace chainset (53-39) but would like to reduce my gearing. I've seen 50 (maybe even 49) tooth outer and 38 tooth inner chainrings advertised - will these work without difficulty or would I have to make other adjustments too?
A: Jonathan, you should be able to fit a 50/38 chain wheel set-up instead of the standard 53/39 without any problem.
You will need to drop your front derailleur a few millimeters so it just clears the 50-tooth ring. This is best done by slackening the cable clamp when the derailleur is in the smaller chain wheel. Then you can loosen the derailleur clamp and drop it down whilst keeping it parallel to the chain wheel. Re-tighten the cable and you are away!
Alternatively, you may be able to fit a lower gear-range cassette, which might be cheaper but this depends on what you already have fitted to your bike.
If you have a question you would like our panel of experts to answer simply email it to firstname.lastname@example.org