Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
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The nice thing about a compact crankset is you can get lower gears without having to buy anything but the crankset. A triple will give you a wider array of gears but, to make it look like a factory installation, you also need to replace the bottom bracket, both derailleurs, and sometimes the shifter.
The downside to a compact double is it's lack of overlap gears. It pretty much mandates when you have to shift chainrings and each front shift may also require one or two rear shifts. If you find yourself making front shifts a lot on relatively flat roads, it's a PITA.
In the interest of full disclosure, My Klein road bike didn't have the low gears that I need for many of the hills in my area. I tried unsuccessfully for a year or so to find somebody locally who had an Ultegra triple but wanted a double crankset. A couple of years ago I installed an FSA Energy compact and immediately loved it. I think that it's the best equipment change that I've ever made.