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Verdict: 
Simple and well-made subcompact crankset that adds zest to hard climbs, heavy tourers and adventure riding
Weight: 
789g

With its mountain-bike-like 96mm bolt circle diameter (BCD) for tiddly 11-speed chainrings, Miche's Graff subcompact chainset offers super-low gearing. It's just what gravel bikes need, but roadies on well-loaded bikes, beginners, and lovers of seriously steep climbs will find much to enjoy as well. It's a little heavy and basic, but the Graff is a no-nonsense route to meaningful gearing change at an attractive price.

  • Pros: Easy to fit, stiff arms, good shifting, tough finish
  • Cons: Heavy, 96mm rings relatively scarce, only two standard gearing options

The Graff comes with either 46/30 or 48/32-toothed CNC alloy rings, and slots straight into a Shimano Hollowtech bottom bracket (it doesn't come with its own). Miche doesn't offer any larger tooth-counts if you find you've gone too low, and third-party options are currently hard to find.

> Find your nearest dealer here

It's also worth checking that your front mech is free to drop low enough to accommodate it. While Miche doesn't list the chainline offset, it's presumably standard as the Graff works fine with a regular road mech. Many gravel-orientated chainsets offset the rings another 2.5mm, to accommodate the larger tyres, and consequently need a new mech to work.

Fitting is extremely easy, with only an 8mm hex key required, though a torque wrench is a very good idea (the rating of 45-47Nm is handily etched onto the left arm) to accurately eliminate play. Removal is just as simple, as the self-extracting bolt pulls the crank off the splines as you undo it. It takes a fair bit of force in both directions, so invest in a long key.

Those cranks may look quite Hollowtech-y, but they're actually solid, with a large scallop in the back. They're plenty stiff – I couldn't honestly feel any difference between these and the Shimano 105s they replaced – and account for the relatively high weight of 789g (without a BB). It's available in 165mm, 170mm and 175mm lengths, with a 172.5mm in between. In use, the gearing benefits more than pay for the mass.

Fitting the 46/30T Graff for this test in place of a 52/36T made a world of difference, even though I threw on a larger cassette (11-28T) at the same time. The 30T inner is basically the granny ring from a triple, and finally let me clear a hideous 30-minute test climb that starts with a 500ft, 0.8-mile, 11 per cent nightmare that at times reaches over 23 per cent gradient. I can't do it on a semi-compact without stopping halfway to think about my life choices and not exploding. The 30x28 combo lets you ride down to around 4mph without stalling.

> How to get lower gears to make climbing easier

> How to get ultra-low gearing for your gravel bike adventures

One downside, though, is the limited top speed of around 32mph which – at least on my hilly Welsh terrain – arrives pretty quickly and for some fairly extended periods on descents. In flatter areas with shorter ups and downs, it wouldn't be that much of an issue. The ups would still have to be steep, however, as this is overkill for enthusiastic road riding on anything much below a 10 per cent gradient.

More of a problem was that the changeover between inner and outer rings sits at around 16-18mph, which really is quite a common place to find yourself. I found myself shifting rings far more regularly than normal, searching for a straighter (and quieter) chainline as my speeds wavered through this area. While that's rarely going to be a problem on gravel, where averages are a little lower, it's inconvenient on the road.

The attractive matt black paint is thick, showing only minor scuffing during the test period, with no bare metal showing despite my heels tending to go through cranks like oxy-acetylene torches. The low-key graphics make it look more expensive than it is, and I like how Miche writes necessary info (sizes and torque ratings) so clearly on each component. They arrive protected well, too, in sturdy but not excessive cardboard packaging.

We're only going to see more sub-compact chainsets in the future, but for now, the Miche Graff is up against the likes of the Praxis Works Alba M30 at £150, which manages to cram 48/32 rings onto a five-arm 110mm BCD, or FSA's Energy Modular 386Evo chainset, which has some neat design ideas but is twice the price of the Graff.

At £130, the Miche subcompact represents great value thanks to its strong build, tough finish, meaningful drop in gear ratios and reasonable – if not fantastic – weight. It's easy to fit and plays well with your existing road mech. In fact, it might be tough going back to a semi-compact afterwards...

Verdict

Simple and well-made subcompact crankset that adds zest to hard climbs, heavy tourers and adventure riding

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Miche Graff Chainset

Size tested: 46/30

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's a subcompact crankset that's not purely aimed at gravel bikes, and feels at home on road bikes too. The super-low gearing is ideal for steep climbs or heavy bikes.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Miche lists these specs:

11 speeds

Compatibility of all derailleurs

Weight 733g W / O BB (42T - 165 mm)

Aluminum

Lengths 165 mm - 170 mm - 172.5 mm - 175 mm

48/32T or 46/30T gearing

Chainrings are CNC 7075 T6 aluminium

96mm BCD

Compatible with Shimano Hollowtech BBs

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Solidly made, well finished and neatly designed, if unspectacular in all those areas as well.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Stiff enough under power, and make up for the weight with very climb-friendly gearing. Not so useful on the way back down, though.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Chunky build and good finish should last well.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

Solid arms and tough build mean it's no lightweight, but it's perfectly acceptable for the price, and lighter than cheaper gravel options.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Should last well and easily do double duty in gravel bikes as well as road, plus it's a little better specced and lighter than some at this price.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Good shifting, stiff under power and a boon on very steep climbs, but more suited to heavily laden tourers or gravel bikes than pure road use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Strong build and super-low gearing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Limited chainring sizes thanks to small BCD; weight.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It does well against those we've tested recently, and only £10 more than Shimano's 11-speed GRX (which requires a dedicated front mech).

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes – for a dedicated climbing machine, adventure or touring bike.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Simply and solidly made, and offering gearing few cranksets can accommodate, the Graff deserves a high score. The high weight and solid arms (and, in the 46/30T tested, slightly-too-low gearing for anything but the most extreme road climbs) are minus points that leave it settled on a firm 'good' with a 7.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking

16 comments

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srchar [1489 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

FYI, the shopping links point to the 1x version of this chainset.

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amazon22 [309 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Times are changing - 2 years ago when I was building my bike, the only 46/30 I could find with a 24mm axle was the OX901D Compact Plus+, rather expensive at £300, although that did include a BB, which didn't last long. Now, at long last, more choice, not the least with the Shimano GRX 46/30. The Miche is available from The Cycle Clinic.

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alan sherman [30 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Great point about the excess front shifting because the high and low ranges cross over just where you spend the majority of your time. I've just fitted a 12 to 28 cassette on my road bike because on rolling roads there were too many changes with the 11-25.

I'm still surprised triples aren't more popular on gravel bikes. 50 outer for on road smashing it. 39 middle ring for general road riding. 30 inner for off road, loaded or plain nasty uphills!

Left 3 speed grx sti would be great. 10 speed mechanical shift with hydro braking.

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pockstone [301 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

I've just had an FSA Omega 46-30 delivered in a quest to ease the knees on laden gravel rides, bought  as a direct replacement for a Mega Exo compact, so I don't have to change the bottom bracket bearing.

I was toying with the idea of buying a  pair of Absolute Black oval rings for 5800 105 on the road bike as well (getting lazy), which would compare fairly well with the Miche set pricewise...until you factor in the need for a Dura-Ace chain!

That leaves the Miche looking like good value, with minimum faff if it will be a straight in/out replacement for  a Shimano chainset .

Then again, as Eddy sez, 'don't buy upgrades...'

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Simon E [3798 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Hollow crankarms don't save a great deal and I don't think 789g is particularly heavy for a double.

alan sherman wrote:

Great point about the excess front shifting because the high and low ranges cross over just where you spend the majority of your time. I've just fitted a 12 to 28 cassette on my road bike because on rolling roads there were too many changes with the 11-25.

Yep. I noticed this with a few people I've ridden with - particularly on gently rolling terrain - they were swapping frequently between big-big and small-small. Fitting a wider range cassette isn't really a proper solution.

I've since always thought that a CX double (46/36 or 46/34) would be a better fit for most recreational riders. I now have a 50/34 compact and don't like this aspect. For anyone doing any offroad or very steep climbs then sub-compact is the way to go.

Triples have fallen out of favour thanks to the marketing bods, mainly thanks to SRAM. The 1x trend (which really means having to buy a stupidly expensive cassette only to find you still don't have a tall enough top end or low enough bottom end) has only made triples seem even less 'cool'. But I used to spend 95% of my time in the 39T and never found a third chainring to be a problem and I couldn't GAF about being thought of as 'cool'. It's time to kill the macho bullshit chainring thing and just fit what works for the riding you do.

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alan sherman [30 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Attached should be the sheldon gear chart with the mph@ 90 RPM view.  The middle is the cruise all day ring, the outer the race ring (probably for road tyres to be fair), the inner woudl be useful off road or for touring.

So for an n-1 do it all bike with 2 sets of wheels (one road, one off road)  a triple gives a similar simplicity to 1x ut with an overdrive and bailout options top and bottom.

 

Tiagra are the top STIs available in a triple, so 10 speed only.  And no hydraulic option (although maybe campag hydro shifters might do a triple chainset?).  So mechanical disc or HyRDs or Juin Tech.

 

The Tiagra triple is a boat anchor at over a kilo without bearings.  The old 105 triple is about 850g  so only 61g heavier than this double reviewed.

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Simon E [3798 posts] 2 weeks ago
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alan sherman wrote:

The Tiagra triple is a boat anchor at over a kilo without bearings.  The old 105 triple is about 850g  so only 61g heavier than this double reviewed.

A "boat anchor"?!?  Does an extra 200g really make that difference in the real world?

(the answer is: no)

But otherwise I agree, the 3 rings correspond with the 3 typical kinds of riding/terrain.

I am still considering whether to fit a 38T inner ring instead of the 34T. With 11-30 cassette (which IMO has better spacing than 11-28) Sheldon's calculator says that it is almost exactly one gear difference, with a bottom gear of 33" compared to 30" for the 34T. 

On the outer ring a top gear of 50x11 is 119" while 46x11 is 110", which I think is plenty big enough as I don't mind freewheeling and there's nothing at stake if I get to the bottom of a descent a handful of seconds later than if I was pedalling the whole time with a 52T ring.

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alan sherman [30 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

On the road I run 50 x 36 front, the 34 always felt too much of a jump. 50 11 was big enough when I raced. 50x12 big enough now I don't! I do have a 50x38 chainset which was for my commuter (cross London) sadly the bike died before I used it!

The tiagra chainset just surprised me with it's heft. I'd expect progress to reduce component weight.

I was a bit sad to miss the sale of decathlon tribans with the triple sora groupset. Some people got amazing bargains there.

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zero_trooper [340 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
alan sherman wrote:

 

Tiagra are the top STIs available in a triple, so 10 speed only.  And no hydraulic option (although maybe campag hydro shifters might do a triple chainset?).  So mechanical disc or HyRDs or Juin Tech.

 

Was there not a recent article stating that Shimano were bringing out new Tiagra hydraulic shifters? That improved on the non-series ones already available?

 

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maviczap [372 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

I bought some Absolute Black chainrings in 46/30 which fit 4 arm Ultegra or Dura Ace chainsets for my trip to the Pyrenees this year, which saved fitting a Ultegra triple chainset. Great choice, as my old legs need the 30 with a 34 rear now, and shifting from big to small and vice versa was superb. Didn't miss the 50 on the descents either

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rdmp2 [75 posts] 2 weeks ago
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I can't understand this- "More of a problem was that the changeover between inner and outer rings sits at around 16-18mph, which really is quite a common place to find yourself. I found myself shifting rings far more regularly than normal, searching for a straighter (and quieter) chainline as my speeds wavered through this area"

 

You have swapped a 52/36 for smaller chainrings and also fitted a larger cassette but now you find the changeover between rings to be at the speed you normally ride at? Using gear charts (assuming 28c tyre) making 16-18mph the crossover between chainrings implies a cadence of 90-95. For your previous 52/36 and (assumed) 11-25 that means you are riding in your 36 and right in the middle of the block. Your previous setup didn't give you much of a bailout for your "local hilly Welsh terrain"

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kil0ran [1580 posts] 2 weeks ago
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If you go from a 50/34 to this, would you need to shorten the chain?

My Faran does double duty - gravel/forest stuff up to the point it gets too muddy, and then road and indoor trainer use over the winter. Wondering if I'd be able to swap between the two chainsets.

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alotronic [631 posts] 2 weeks ago
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Shimano really missed a trick when then specced the new GRX with chain rings offset by 3mm on the road group so you cant just drop a GRX chainring into place on existing road group < doh!

In general I have found Miche cassettes with all their different pesmutations and complete custom options are the way to really fine tune you 2x setup. Shimano ratios are always not quite right...

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kil0ran [1580 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

FSA Tempo Adventure does 46/30 for £80 - although you will need to install a *gulp* JIS square taper BB. Once you factor that in plus perhaps a crank bolt extractor you're close to the price of the Miche, and overall the Miche will be lighter. 

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matthewn5 [1380 posts] 1 day ago
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alotronic wrote:

Shimano really missed a trick when then specced the new GRX with chain rings offset by 3mm on the road group so you cant just drop a GRX chainring into place on existing road group < doh!

Thinking aloud, could you just put 3mm of spacers - perhaps including a crinkle spring washer - behind the left crank?

 

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srchar [1489 posts] 1 day ago
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You'd need to take 3mm of material off the frame on the drive side too though...