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Old 08-11-14, 10:45 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
I ran 22X36 on a gear calculator. That results in a ratio that would produce 5mph at a 100-105 cadence.

I've been wondering, just how slow can you go. I'd fall over. I'm just trying to get an idea of how far the low end of my utility bike can go.
The key advantage of the 48, 36 & 22 t chainrings on the triple is the ability to use a road cassette, like a 12-27, and still climb unusually steep roads. A 22 chainring ring and a 27 rear cog can climb moderately steep roads with a moderate touring load on the bike at 3 or 4 mph at a > 50 rpm cadence. It also provides tighter 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-27 spacing, which is very useful on flatter roads.

For steep roads, more than 12%, an 11-32 provides the possibility of climbing at 3-4 mph at a 60 cadence. Very few roads are steeper than this for a half mile.
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Old 08-11-14, 10:41 PM   #27
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Well, I'm basing this request for info, on a combination of Sheldon Brown's advice, and comments in the over 50 loaded, long distance touring forums. Their consensus seems to be get a really low bail out gear. I get that 24 -34 seems to be a realistic limit, and one I'd use, cause the reality is that decades of smoking, (finally quit in 2012), have damaged my lungs to the point that long hills with a heavy load can be a real heart-breaker. Thanks again for all the great advice.
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Old 08-19-14, 06:27 PM   #28
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And here is where I get to be the contrarian . . . .

For loaded touring, I say lose the Shimano brifters and go with Shimano barcons instead. There are several interrelated reasons. First and foremost, unless something drastic has changed when I wasn't looking (and that is very possible), I would hate dealing with the very limited number of positions on a left-hand Shimano brifter. That makes them far too finicky to expect acceptable front shifting adjustment and performance on anything more than a weekend tour. The barcons are essentially friction, which means virtually infinite trim options. At the same time, the rear shifter is indexed, which can be a lifesaver on a steep climb that you miscalculated. At the same time, if something goes kaflooey with the indexing, Shimano barcons can be changed to friction mode on the fly, which means you can keep going and still be able to shift. Something goes wrong with a brifter in the middle of nowhere and you are SOL.

Barcons also mean you can still have two hands on the bars while you shift. That is a very nice thing when that steep uphill you miscalculated and have to downshift on is also narrow and heavily trafficked and maintaining a straight line is a survival imperative. It's also why I would not tour with downtube shifters again.

Understand that I have lots of experience with loaded touring with downtube friction shifters (not any more, thank you) and with Shimano barcons (yes, please). I also have lots of experience with other non-loaded road riding with Campy brifters (love 'em) and a fair amount with Shimano brifters (hate, hate, hate the minimal number of clicks on the left/FD brifter). For most riding, I prefer my Campy brifters, but the reality is that Shimano barcons give you 95% of the performance and a bunch more flexibility and reliability on a long tour. On a long loaded tour, simple is usually better than complex and field-serviceable (or at least field workaround-able) is always better than "it has to go to the shop."

And now that I have tossed the hand grenade into the tent, I'll just be on my way . . . .
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Old 08-19-14, 09:03 PM   #29
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I run Tiagra STI with an 28t inner chainring on one of my bikes without problems. I run bar end shifters on my other bike with a 24t chainring. 24 is the smallest you can get on a road triple. If you want to go down to 22t, you will have to use a mountain crankset.
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Old 08-19-14, 09:21 PM   #30
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And here is where I get to be the contrarian . . . .For loaded touring, I say lose the Shimano brifters and go with Shimano barcons instead.
And now that I have tossed the hand grenade into the tent, I'll just be on my way . . . .
OK, now another "grenade" gets tossed in. Consider Retroshifts (now renamed "Gevenalle" for some reason. Gevenalle - Cyclocross ). These are pretty much standard Tektro road brake levers, available in either caliper/canti or V-brake format, fitted with mounting brackets and bosses that let you use either downtube or barend shift levers on them. They provide almost all of the convenience of brifters, cost a lot less and are as reliable as downtube/barend shifters. They are extremely versatile since you can use friction or any "speed" indexed rear shift levers from 6 to 11. Front shifting is friction so almost any front derailleur can be paired with almost any crank, double or triple.

Having used downtube, barend and Shimano and Campy brifters over the years, I can say with confidence that the Retroshift setup has all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks of all of them.
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Old 08-19-14, 10:21 PM   #31
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The issue that I'd anticipate would be the upshift from the granny to the middle ring. You might find yourself shifting to the big ring and back down. That wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.
It's not a problem. I have several bikes with this kind of range and they shift just fine without overshift.

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No need for an MTB front derailleur and it won't work with road STI's, particularly on a triple. The standard 105 front derailleur is correct for the big chainring's curvature (50T on current FC-5703 cranks) and will easily handle a 24 or 26T replacement granny ring. I have two FC-5703 cranks on my bikes and the 26T granny works fine. As noted, the shift from the granny to the middle is a bit sluggish but you will almost never be in a hurry for that one.
Actually, the 105 isn't the best choice. Shimano's higher level triples are narrower and more finicky in set up than the less expensive Tiagra and Sora front derailers. There's more space between the plates which makes gives the derailer a wider range without rubbing.

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When touring, you're not likely to need or want higher gears than you use when commuting, being that you'll want to conserve energy. Depending on your fitness, you may not need much more than a wide-range cassette since 100k/62mi per day should allow for ample rest time each night, and a leisurely pace during the day.
I wouldn't agree. There are lots and lots of downhills out there even while touring. Just because you are touring doesn't mean that you can't, or shouldn't, go fast.

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Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
I ran 22X36 on a gear calculator. That results in a ratio that would produce 5mph at a 100-105 cadence.

I've been wondering, just how slow can you go. I'd fall over. I'm just trying to get an idea of how far the low end of my utility bike can go.
It's not impossible to balance on a bike at zero mph.

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I think most folks can still ride okay at about 3 MPH. There is a point where it can be easier to just walk a bike.

Brad

Having ridden at 3 to 4 mph for hours at at time and having had to walk for far too far, riding is always better than walking.
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Old 08-19-14, 10:25 PM   #32
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And here is where I get to be the contrarian . . . .

For loaded touring, I say lose the Shimano brifters and go with Shimano barcons instead. There are several interrelated reasons. First and foremost, unless something drastic has changed when I wasn't looking (and that is very possible), I would hate dealing with the very limited number of positions on a left-hand Shimano brifter. That makes them far too finicky to expect acceptable front shifting adjustment and performance on anything more than a weekend tour. The barcons are essentially friction, which means virtually infinite trim options. At the same time, the rear shifter is indexed, which can be a lifesaver on a steep climb that you miscalculated. At the same time, if something goes kaflooey with the indexing, Shimano barcons can be changed to friction mode on the fly, which means you can keep going and still be able to shift. Something goes wrong with a brifter in the middle of nowhere and you are SOL.

Barcons also mean you can still have two hands on the bars while you shift. That is a very nice thing when that steep uphill you miscalculated and have to downshift on is also narrow and heavily trafficked and maintaining a straight line is a survival imperative. It's also why I would not tour with downtube shifters again.

Understand that I have lots of experience with loaded touring with downtube friction shifters (not any more, thank you) and with Shimano barcons (yes, please). I also have lots of experience with other non-loaded road riding with Campy brifters (love 'em) and a fair amount with Shimano brifters (hate, hate, hate the minimal number of clicks on the left/FD brifter). For most riding, I prefer my Campy brifters, but the reality is that Shimano barcons give you 95% of the performance and a bunch more flexibility and reliability on a long tour. On a long loaded tour, simple is usually better than complex and field-serviceable (or at least field workaround-able) is always better than "it has to go to the shop."

And now that I have tossed the hand grenade into the tent, I'll just be on my way . . . .
This is a very old and very wrong argument. STI isn't any more finicky nor delicate than barend shifters. I've used them on touring bikes and commuting bikes. Commuting bikes see far more use and far more abuse than touring bikes do. My touring bike has 10,000 problem free miles and my commuting bike has about 18,000 problem free miles. If something goes wrong and the shifting goes bad, you fix the problem rather than just switch over to friction mode.
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Old 08-19-14, 11:47 PM   #33
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It's not impossible to balance on a bike at zero mph.

.
Sure, it's possible, but is it practical?
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Old 08-20-14, 12:07 AM   #34
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Hi,
Thanks for responding. At present, I have a Tiagra 48-34, 12-25, spending 90% in the big ring, commuting, so an additional question is, given that, what number big ring would be suggested for touring? I have no parts yet, still in the research phase for a cross Canada next summer, west to east. Planning around 40lbs, 100k a day. Appreciate you taking the time
The big ring doesn't matter much for loaded touring. I'd be concerned about the lowest gear since you will be climbing with a lot of gear.
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Old 08-20-14, 12:12 AM   #35
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This is a very old and very wrong argument. STI isn't any more finicky nor delicate than barend shifters. I've used them on touring bikes and commuting bikes. Commuting bikes see far more use and far more abuse than touring bikes do. My touring bike has 10,000 problem free miles and my commuting bike has about 18,000 problem free miles. If something goes wrong and the shifting goes bad, you fix the problem rather than just switch over to friction mode.
That's a little tendentious. The left on a shimano 9 speed bar end is friction. That will work with a wider range of front derailleurs and triple cranksets than STIs. That may be an advantage for certain uses. Or perhaps the product managers who spec out touring bikes are clueless since they generally choose bar ends over STIs . . . . You should let Surly know that they're doing it all wrong with the LHT.

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Old 08-20-14, 05:48 AM   #36
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Sure, it's possible, but is it practical?
Very practical. It works well for stopsigns, stoplights, showing off, etc. Just stopping a bike usually requires handling a bike at speeds slower than 3 mph. Unless you hop of the bike when it hits that speed and skid your feet along the ground or fall off the bike when you reach a stop, you ride at or very near 0 mph a lot everyday.
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Old 08-20-14, 05:57 AM   #37
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That's a little tendentious. The left on a shimano 9 speed bar end is friction. That will work with a wider range of front derailleurs and triple cranksets than STIs. That may be an advantage for certain uses. Or perhaps the product managers who spec out touring bikes are clueless since they generally choose bar ends over STIs . . . . You should let Surly know that they're doing it all wrong with the LHT.
No more tendentious that stating that STI is "delicate". Using barends or STI is a personal choice with each having advantages over the other. Having the shifters right at the place your hand is when climbing is more advantageous than having to move your hand to the end of the bars to downshift rapidly on a steep climb. Not having shifters that get bumped by everything which knocks the bike out of gear when you park is advantageous. Being able to simple "click" the bar and the bike shifts is advantageous.

Surly (and other bike makers) put barends on touring bikes because tourists have a streak of retrogrouchiness a mile wide and don't like any of that new fangled stuff because, well, you know, it fails all the time just like all that other new fangled stuff...like aluminum and any crankset, derailer, or hub made after 1992. In lots of tourists minds, anything made in 1992 is too new.
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Old 08-20-14, 06:28 AM   #38
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No more tendentious that stating that STI is "delicate". Using barends or STI is a personal choice with each having advantages over the other. Having the shifters right at the place your hand is when climbing is more advantageous than having to move your hand to the end of the bars to downshift rapidly on a steep climb. Not having shifters that get bumped by everything which knocks the bike out of gear when you park is advantageous. Being able to simple "click" the bar and the bike shifts is advantageous.

Surly (and other bike makers) put barends on touring bikes because tourists have a streak of retrogrouchiness a mile wide and don't like any of that new fangled stuff because, well, you know, it fails all the time just like all that other new fangled stuff...like aluminum and any crankset, derailer, or hub made after 1992. In lots of tourists minds, anything made in 1992 is too new.
That's not exactly right. Getting shimano STI shifters to work with anything other than the 130/74 bcd shimano triple can be a bit of a hassle. The 130/74 triple is not ideal for touring. I recently set up a bike with an mtb triple and STI shifters. It took some fiddling to make it work. It works but the shifting is less than ideal. I doubt any product manager would want a set up like that which would be a pain to deal with in a bike shop.

There is a really interesting review of the Salsa Vaya 2 in Adventure Cycling which criticizes (hard to believe that a mag can actually criticize a bike) the choice of the shimano triple with STIs for exactly that reason. The product manager basically said yeah it was less than ideal but that's what you have to do if you want to live in the Shimano STI universe. Here is a link to the review: http://www.adventurecycling.org/defa...aya_OGrady.pdf

Bottom line: there is a real upside to friction shifting if you want to use something other than a shimano road triple and there is a real upside for tourists in not using a shimano road triple. So maybe Surly actually knows a thing or two about spec'ing out a touring bike,
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Old 08-20-14, 09:21 AM   #39
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That's not exactly right. Getting shimano STI shifters to work with anything other than the 130/74 bcd shimano triple can be a bit of a hassle. The 130/74 triple is not ideal for touring. I recently set up a bike with an mtb triple and STI shifters. It took some fiddling to make it work. It works but the shifting is less than ideal. I doubt any product manager would want a set up like that which would be a pain to deal with in a bike shop.
I agree that a 130/74 triple isn't ideal for touring. That's why I don't use that BCD. I have a RaceFace 98/54 BCD crank with 46/34/20 rings using a 105 STI and Tiagra front derailer. It was no trouble to set up and it works ideally and has for the better part of 10 years. I've also had a Shimano XT 48/38/24 external bottom bracket crank using Ultegra STI and an Ultegra front derailer on another bike. Still was pretty easy to set up, although it was more difficult that the Tiagra. That's how I learned about the difference between Ultegra and Tiagra derailers. When I compared the two, I noticed a large difference in width between the plates that makes the Tiagra more forgiving and gives it a wider range.

I suspect that if you were having troubles getting the front derailer to work properly, it was because you (or the customer) thought that the more expensive derailer was "better".

On a side note, I've noticed the same thing in Shimano's mountain bike line. The more expensive derailers are more difficult to set up without rubbing and, in my opinion, don't work as well as the less expensive derailers. Sram, on the other hand, makes a much better front derailer all around without the issues that Shimano derailers can have.

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There is a really interesting review of the Salsa Vaya 2 in Adventure Cycling which criticizes (hard to believe that a mag can actually criticize a bike) the choice of the shimano triple with STIs for exactly that reason. The product manager basically said yeah it was less than ideal but that's what you have to do if you want to live in the Shimano STI universe. Here is a link to the review: http://www.adventurecycling.org/defa...aya_OGrady.pdf
Propriety forbids me using the proper saying but his answer is an answer that involves the southbound effluent from a northbound chicken.

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“This is the best low gear we can get on the market today with integrated drop-bar shifters, in a method that is approved by the company producing
the parts,” said Krueger
In other words, "screw the needs of the customer and the intended purpose of the bike since Shimano has told us what we have to do". It can be done. It can be done easily and efficiently but Salsa just doesn't want to go up against the giant.

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Bottom line: there is a real upside to friction shifting if you want to use something other than a shimano road triple and there is a real upside for tourists in not using a shimano road triple. So maybe Surly actually knows a thing or two about spec'ing out a touring bike,
No. That's not the "bottom line". That's the company line. Given the other things that are on the Salsa...like the 11-28 cassette, the 30 tooth inner chainwheel (74mm BCDs will take a 24) and the bendy 27.2 mm seatpost (for a bike that is intended for some off-road use?!)...I'd say that they could learn a thing or two about what the touring public needs and wants...not what Shimano wants
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Old 08-20-14, 09:33 AM   #40
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Very practical. It works well for stopsigns, stoplights, showing off, etc. Just stopping a bike usually requires handling a bike at speeds slower than 3 mph. Unless you hop of the bike when it hits that speed and skid your feet along the ground or fall off the bike when you reach a stop, you ride at or very near 0 mph a lot everyday.
Fair enough; to each his own. I've gotten good at unclipping my right foot and holding myself up with my toe, leaning to the right slightly. I'm also good at clipping in after starting.

I agree that STI's are reliable enough. They're not perfect, but nothing is. I had bar-ends on a 3x9 drivetrain, and it wasn't nearly as nice. The biggest problem with brifters is the cost, not the reliability. A good amount of fishing can mitigate that. I recently traded bar ends for brifters with a friend. We both feel we got the better half of the deal.
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Old 08-20-14, 09:36 AM   #41
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On a side note, I've noticed the same thing in Shimano's mountain bike line. The more expensive derailers are more difficult to set up without rubbing and, in my opinion, don't work as well as the less expensive derailers. Sram, on the other hand, makes a much better front derailer all around without the issues that Shimano derailers can have.
It's really interesting and useful that you say this! I've handled a couple of Tiagra FD's recently, and I'm impressed. I'll stick with them, so thanks for the advice.

SRAM FD's have given me trouble recently, but maybe I just have to learn their quirks to appreciate them.
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Old 08-20-14, 09:45 AM   #42
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I agree that a 130/74 triple isn't ideal for touring. That's why I don't use that BCD. I have a RaceFace 98/54 BCD crank with 46/34/20 rings using a 105 STI and Tiagra front derailer. It was no trouble to set up and it works ideally and has for the better part of 10 years. I've also had a Shimano XT 48/38/24 external bottom bracket crank using Ultegra STI and an Ultegra front derailer on another bike. Still was pretty easy to set up, although it was more difficult that the Tiagra. That's how I learned about the difference between Ultegra and Tiagra derailers. When I compared the two, I noticed a large difference in width between the plates that makes the Tiagra more forgiving and gives it a wider range.

I suspect that if you were having troubles getting the front derailer to work properly, it was because you (or the customer) thought that the more expensive derailer was "better".

On a side note, I've noticed the same thing in Shimano's mountain bike line. The more expensive derailers are more difficult to set up without rubbing and, in my opinion, don't work as well as the less expensive derailers. Sram, on the other hand, makes a much better front derailer all around without the issues that Shimano derailers can have.



Propriety forbids me using the proper saying but his answer is an answer that involves the southbound effluent from a northbound chicken.



In other words, "screw the needs of the customer and the intended purpose of the bike since Shimano has told us what we have to do". It can be done. It can be done easily and efficiently but Salsa just doesn't want to go up against the giant.



No. That's not the "bottom line". That's the company line. Given the other things that are on the Salsa...like the 11-28 cassette, the 30 tooth inner chainwheel (74mm BCDs will take a 24) and the bendy 27.2 mm seatpost (for a bike that is intended for some off-road use?!)...I'd say that they could learn a thing or two about what the touring public needs and wants...not what Shimano wants
I'm sorry but you're not really contesting that friction is more forgiving when it comes to front crank/front derailleur combos than indexing, right? That was my point (or bottom line if you prefer).
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Old 08-20-14, 11:03 AM   #43
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I'm sorry but you're not really contesting that friction is more forgiving when it comes to front crank/front derailleur combos than indexing, right? That was my point (or bottom line if you prefer).
I'm saying that having a friction mode is unnecessary. Mountain bikes haven't had nor needed friction mode since the mid90s. Road bikes, with the exception of some die-hard luddites, haven't needed them either.
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Old 08-20-14, 11:54 AM   #44
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I'm saying that having a friction mode is unnecessary. Mountain bikes haven't had nor needed friction mode since the mid90s. Road bikes, with the exception of some die-hard luddites, haven't needed them either.
I understand your point and your views about Luddites. But I'll try one more time. You are not contesting (at least you haven't until now) that friction is more forgiving when it comes to front crank/front derailleur combos than indexing or are you?

By the way (and on a totally unrelated point), perhaps the Luddites were on to something, The new Luddites: What if automation is a job-killer after all?
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Old 08-20-14, 02:19 PM   #45
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I understand your point and your views about Luddites. But I'll try one more time. You are not contesting (at least you haven't until now) that friction is more forgiving [COLOR=#000000]when it comes to front crank/front derailleur combos than indexing or are you?
And I'll try one more time. Friction is unnecessary even with combinations like mine. It's not more forgiving or less. It's not needed.
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Old 08-20-14, 02:39 PM   #46
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And I'll try one more time. Friction is unnecessary even with combinations like mine. It's not more forgiving or less. It's not needed.
Got it and I appreciate the clarity with which you made your point. There's quite a bit of difference between saying that friction is not necessary and denying that it can handle some crankset combinations that indexing cannot.

In any case, while I respect a lot of things you have to say on this website, I will disagree with you on this point. Here is one article on point: Trouble with STI Triples | Off The Beaten Path

Friction is more forgiving; that's obvious. Whether that matters (which I take to be your main point) is up to the OP and the end user. I think it does and will continue to use it for touring bikes but I also don't use shimano road triple cranks for touring.
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Old 08-20-14, 03:12 PM   #47
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Got it and I appreciate the clarity with which you made your point. There's quite a bit of difference between saying that friction is not necessary and denying that it can handle some crankset combinations that indexing cannot.

In any case, while I respect a lot of things you have to say on this website, I will disagree with you on this point. Here is one article on point: Trouble with STI Triples | Off The Beaten Path

Friction is more forgiving; that's obvious. Whether that matters (which I take to be your main point) is up to the OP and the end user. I think it does and will continue to use it for touring bikes but I also don't use shimano road triple cranks for touring.
Heine is wrong straight out of the box

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The most common shifting system for triple cranks, Shimano’s STI, only works with Shimano chainrings.
STI works just fine with other cranksets. Mine works with a late 90 Race Face Turbine. I've had bikes with FSA road cranks, other Race Face, Shimano mountain, Shimano Road cranks, even house brand cranks that are of indeterminate heritage. They all work just fine. I've even had a wide range of shifters from 7 speed RSX to 10 speed Ultegra and never had to pair them with a Shimano crank.

Even his conclusions are wrong

Quote:
-If you want to use STI and triple cranks, you have to stick with Shimano’s stock cranks and chainrings, whether the gear ratios work for you or not.

-If you want to use a triple with custom gearing, you can switch to downtube or bar-end shifters. Make sure you use a smooth-cage front derailleur no matter which shifting system you use.

-If you don’t want to give up STI, maybe an ultra-compact double will work better for you. A 44-28 may give you more useful gears than Shimano’s triple chainring combinations.
You don't have to stick with Shimano stock cranks and chainrings. Nor do you have to go to downtube or barend shifters for custom gearing. My touring bike has gears that are almost inconceivable to most people and about as custom as you can get...46/36/20...and yet they have been shifted for 10000+ miles with STI's without any problems whatsoever. The shifting doesn't hesitate nor are the shifts hard to make nor do I have to overshift to get to the middle ring. The combination works very well.

Finally, we can explore his contention that a 44/28 crank will give you as many useful gears as a triple. I'll choose a common touring triple...a 48/36/22...and an 11-32 11 speed cassette. Using the Ritzel Rechner calculator from Dirk Feeken, I generated the following gear charts. You can easily see that while they have similar range, the gear combinations on the compact double go all goofy if you really want to use them. The drive train for all compact doubles are two separate 11 speed systems. If you want to change between rings, the jump between a 44/16 combination to a 28/16 combination is a drop of 25 gear inches. In terms of cadence, if you are riding at 90 RPM in the 44/16 gear at 20 mph and you drop to the 28/16, you would have to increase your cadence to over 140 RPM to keep up.



The same change on a triple will require an increase in RPM to keep up but only from 90 to 120.



Compact doubles are gaining in popularity because people don't know crap about how gears work nor how to shift their bike efficiently.
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Old 08-20-14, 04:39 PM   #48
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I wouldn't agree. There are lots and lots of downhills out there even while touring. Just because you are touring doesn't mean that you can't, or shouldn't, go fast.
I probably could have worded my response better. I love going fast on downhills while touring, but didn't reckon the OP would need much more than his current 48/12 (not far from your 46/11) to do that, and figured that getting adequate low gears was a more important consideration. In the end, I think everyone ought to have gearing that makes them happy.
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Old 08-20-14, 10:24 PM   #49
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This is a very old and very wrong argument. STI isn't any more finicky nor delicate than barend shifters. I've used them on touring bikes and commuting bikes. Commuting bikes see far more use and far more abuse than touring bikes do. My touring bike has 10,000 problem free miles and my commuting bike has about 18,000 problem free miles. If something goes wrong and the shifting goes bad, you fix the problem rather than just switch over to friction mode.
When the OP is in the middle of nowhere in the prairies or mountains of Canada and many miles from the nearest bike shop, "fixing the problem" with an STI brifter simply is not an option; switching to friction on a Shimano barcon is and takes about a second and a half. I'm glad you have never had a brifter problem on tour, and hope you never do. But saying that a mission-critical part that cannot be fixed on the side of the road and has no work-around is better on a loaded tour than one that has the work-around built in is at best an opinion. Your opinion. And it's one I happen to disagree with.

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And I'll try one more time. Friction is unnecessary even with combinations like mine. It's not more forgiving or less. It's not needed.
. . . until you need it.
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Old 08-21-14, 06:03 AM   #50
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When the OP is in the middle of nowhere in the prairies or mountains of Canada and many miles from the nearest bike shop, "fixing the problem" with an STI brifter simply is not an option; switching to friction on a Shimano barcon is and takes about a second and a half. I'm glad you have never had a brifter problem on tour, and hope you never do. But saying that a mission-critical part that cannot be fixed on the side of the road and has no work-around is better on a loaded tour than one that has the work-around built in is at best an opinion. Your opinion. And it's one I happen to disagree with.


. . . until you need it.
You are welcome to disagree with me but ask yourself one question. When was the last time you had to switch to friction mode? I haven't used friction mode on any shifter...mountain or road...since I gave up thumb shifters on mountain bikes around 1992.

People are afraid that STI is too delicate for any use other than racing but, honestly, shifters just don't have problems. I've had only a single shifter failure in my family's stable of bikes (roughly 50 bicycles). That's thumb shifters, downtube shifters, Rapid Fire, Suntour's version of Rapid Fire and STI. I volunteer at a bicycle co-op as a mechanic and even there with the worst bikes with problems that are almost impossible to image, shifter problems are very low on the list. I see broken or nonfunctioning shifters 4 or 5 times a year.

My current touring bike with STI shifters has been on 5 tours of from 2 to 4 weeks of duration and about 10,000 miles of touring and training. My commuter bike with STI shifters has 12,000 miles of (mostly) commuting mileage on it. That's thousands to tens of thousands of shifts or more and neither bike has every needed friction shifting. I'm more concerned about tire blowouts (something that's difficult to fix in the middle of no where), broken spokes (something that's difficult to fix in the middle of no where), broken frames, or even broken rims...all "mission critical"... than I am about a shifter failing to work...and I'm not all that concerned about those. I more concerned about where to find some place to sleep for a night than I am about shifter failure.
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