Shimano FC-R700 review

It's taken a while for the people at Shimano to hop on the compact wagon, with the FC-R700 representing a long-awaited addition to their Hollowtech 2 stablemates. While this shares similar styling to the Hollowtechs...

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £159.95 RRP
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Our review

Limited ratio options, but good compatibility, smooth shifting and excellent stiffness
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It’s taken a while for the people at Shimano to hop on the compact wagon, with the FC-R700 representing a long-awaited addition to their Hollowtech 2 stablemates. While this shares similar styling to the Hollowtechs, it’s not as elegant as the 105, with a smaller mass of metal around the crank arms and a darker anodised finish on the chainrings. The crankset itself is simply branded with ‘Shimano’ (which scuffs quite easily) but is ‘Ultegra’ in quality – a shame then, that it’s £10 more expensive than the standard Ultegra double.

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We’re big fans of compacts because they make considerable sense to many road enthusiasts. In this case, 50T still offers a decent top whack, while a 34T inner ring favours a knee-saving cadence that’s ideal if you’re heading off for the Etape or a Cyclosportif. This is the only option available, though, when a 48T outer would have suited some, while others might have favoured a 36T inner.

Out of the saddle, there’s a commendable and efficient stiffness that’s the trademark of the Hollowtech 2 system. In addition, upgrading is easy and the FC-R700 is designed to run with a standard Shimano double front mech. Shifting with my old Dura-Ace model worked flawlessly, even under the pressures of a race.

The set is officially only recommended for a 10-speed cluster because chainring spacing is a fraction narrower than a 9-speed double. In use, however, I had no problems. Another bonus is how easy it is to fit the integrated hollow aluminium axle to any bottom bracket – you just need the correct tool (TL-FC32) and must remember to face steel bottom bracket shells first for longevity.

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Outboard cartridge bearings are larger and further apart than conventional cranksets to reduce stress on the axle, and we’ll report back on how well they fare this winter. Of particular note if you’re a crosser is how the larger surface area of the chainrings clog more than conventional, narrower types. Crank lengths are 165/170/172.5/175mm and both English and Italian thread-on bottom bracket cups are available.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Ultegra FC-R700 Chainset
Brand Shimano

Bottom Bracket Included Yes
Chainrings Included Yes
Splined Crank Yes
Weight (g) 809
Available Colours Silver
Material Aluminium Forged
Gearing 34/50
Fits Shell Width 68mm 70mm
Chainring Size (No of Teeth) 34 50
Chain Speed Compatibility 10
Bottom Bracket Type Hollowtech II
Crank Arm Lengths 165mm 170mm 172.5mm 175mm
Chainring Options Double
Bolt Circle Diameter 110mm