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Old 03-29-14, 02:40 AM   #1
Wits_Of_Fury
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LHT commuter--double vs triple crank?

I'm finally building the commuter I've talked about for two and a half years. It's going to be a Long Haul Trucker frame. My original plan was to upgrade my CAAD10 to Ultegra 6700 and slap the 105 on this one. The main compatibility issue I have with that is the Ultegra triple crank on the LHT (FSA compact double crank is BB30 and must stay with the CAAD) with the 105 double shifters and vice versa. I want STIs on my LHT, as I'll be navigating the streets of San Francisco and for personal preference.

Can I get away with a double on the LHT? Will a 52/39/30 give me that much more than a 52/34 when weighted down and likely going uphill? And could I even put the 105 shifters with an Ultegra compact double?
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Old 03-29-14, 07:30 AM   #2
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I'm most certain that a triple will behoove you most on those steep and frequent hills while loaded in San Francisco.
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Old 03-29-14, 11:31 AM   #3
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Just go with a compact crank 50-34. That should take care of most of what you need AND shift better than a triple.

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Old 03-29-14, 12:16 PM   #4
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What about a triple that goes down to 22 or 24 teeth? I'm kinda thinking about waiting on the Ultegra upgrade now. I can get a 5600 or 5700 groupset for a few hundred bucks less than the 6700 and then get a Deore crank that might be more suited to my needs.
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Old 03-29-14, 01:10 PM   #5
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What about a triple that goes down to 22 or 24 teeth? I'm kinda thinking about waiting on the Ultegra upgrade now. I can get a 5600 or 5700 groupset for a few hundred bucks less than the 6700 and then get a Deore crank that might be more suited to my needs.
For SFO, that sounds like the perfect setup.

It's flatter where I live, but the grocery store is still downhill. While my roadie has a standard double, I appreciate the triples on my commuters every week when I haul a load of vittles up the hill. My 2006 Trek Portland came with 5600. It's been nearly flawless for seven years now. I've gotten tired of stocking both 8 and 10-speed parts, so my other commuter is getting NOS 5600 levers in a week or two when I do the spring desalination.

5600 levers (and other models of the same generation) have a well-deserved reputation for eating right shift cables. I've gotten so I replace mine every 2000 miles or so, just as a preventative. Cables are under $5, and it takes just a few minutes, since half the time I don't even replace the housing. I just buy cables in sets of three. I go through two right cables by the time the left is ready for one.

The clue that the cable has started fraying is a sudden change in rear shifting, requiring an adjustment every few days. The breaking point is near when you can get it to shift properly in one direction, but not the other--your choice, up or down. You'll be single-speeding soon after that.
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Old 03-29-14, 01:32 PM   #6
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a triple can be made into a double and you will have a low gear , in the smaller 3rd position
and the middle one as your large gear ..

but you are quoting the stock component that bike assembly factories buy by the thousands
and they take the 52/39/30 and put them on one after another all day long

ditto the 50-34 ... But, the chainring combination of the whole component
does not have to be retained by the final consumer ..

an example of a 2 out of a triple combination for those who just want to change whole components

is Velo Orange they have a few 46 30 combinations some of the shift speeding features

are only on one side of chainrings , so big outers may not work great with your STI stuff as a middle .
flipped over and the countersink around the bolt is only on one side reversed for outer and middle..

[having lived and cycled there]
You can go around a lot of hills in San Francisco, but in the past 200+ years
that is where they have grown the highest traffic streets .
because the traffic wanted to take that easiest route too .

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-29-14 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 03-29-14, 03:46 PM   #7
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Will a 52/39/30 give me that much more than a 52/34 when weighted down and likely going uphill?
Yes. Esp when you can swap that 30t ring for a smaller one.
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Old 03-29-14, 04:31 PM   #8
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3rd ring 1/2 the teeth of the big one works for me .. 50,24... 52,26.




double 34 46 woud do.. question? why you need a 114 top gear 95 is plenty

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-31-14 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 03-29-14, 10:23 PM   #9
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I can certainly see the advantage of a triple vs a double in SF, though a compact double with a wider range cassette might be OK.

I guess it really depends how strong you are, how loaded you are expecting to be, and where in SF you need to ride.

I commute in and out of SF, and I am amazed at the high % of commuters I see with single speeds. This works for many people as depending on where you live, work, and other places you need to ride you can often avoid the crazy hills that make SF famous.
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Old 03-30-14, 12:26 PM   #10
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On my commuter (Vassago Fisticuff) I run a triple crank with the small gear removed. I really like my 46/36, I can shift to the smaller ring for hills and the gear transition is seamless. The bike could have a better gear range with a different combo but I have found this combo to be perfect. I have quite a few chainrings and have tried a few different combos, the small gear goes on for long hilly rides and provides a nice bail out gear.
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Old 03-30-14, 01:23 PM   #11
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just the Ideal chain line of remaining middle of a triple in the frame is further out , than the inner of a double .

As is, essentially its a single front ring with a bigger one when the top gear on the mid ring is too low.
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Old 03-30-14, 11:59 PM   #12
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Triple adds about 100 grams of weight, but gives you a lot more choices of gears, plus better chainline. I'd keep doubles for racing - triples for everything else.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:36 PM   #13
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Triple adds about 100 grams of weight, but gives you a lot more choices of gears, plus better chainline. I'd keep doubles for racing - triples for everything else.
That makes perfect sense to me. I don't race, so my only bikes with doubles are vintage that I'm deliberately keeping original or at least period correct (not that triple cranks wouldn't be period correct necessarily, but not so easy to find or afford). I would love to get my hands on a factory Campy NR triple, but I suspect if I happened on one it would cost more than the whole bike in question is worth to me). Same goes for Stronglight 93.
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Old 04-01-14, 11:18 AM   #14
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Went in to the LBS yesterday to gain some perspective. The guy told me that I likely won't be able to mix and match so easily with the 105 and Ultegra sets, not to mention it's hardly worth an upgrade on my roadie if the shifters and crank are going on the commuter. He also mentioned that it's more a matter of personal preference whether to use a double or triple in the city. I'll have to get out there and decide what's more comfortable on my own.

I'm going to take a step back, visit a few shops, and ride a few frames before I continue this decision. However, I am leaning now towards just getting another 105 groupset for the commuter and waiting on the Ultegra upgrade.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:04 PM   #15
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Went in to the LBS yesterday to gain some perspective. The guy told me that I likely won't be able to mix and match so easily with the 105 and Ultegra sets, not to mention it's hardly worth an upgrade on my roadie if the shifters and crank are going on the commuter. He also mentioned that it's more a matter of personal preference whether to use a double or triple in the city. I'll have to get out there and decide what's more comfortable on my own.

I'm going to take a step back, visit a few shops, and ride a few frames before I continue this decision. However, I am leaning now towards just getting another 105 groupset for the commuter and waiting on the Ultegra upgrade.
I think riding a few bikes with compact doubles on some of the hills you expect to ride will be the best way to figure out if a double will work for you or if you want a triple.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:09 PM   #16
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Which 105 are you talking about? 5600 or 5700? If it's 5700, IMO don't bother with upgrading to 6700 and just get 5703 shifters and a triple FD for your LHT.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:09 PM   #17
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I'm finally building the commuter I've talked about for two and a half years. It's going to be a Long Haul Trucker frame. My original plan was to upgrade my CAAD10 to Ultegra 6700 and slap the 105 on this one. The main compatibility issue I have with that is the Ultegra triple crank on the LHT (FSA compact double crank is BB30 and must stay with the CAAD) with the 105 double shifters and vice versa. I want STIs on my LHT, as I'll be navigating the streets of San Francisco and for personal preference.

Can I get away with a double on the LHT? Will a 52/39/30 give me that much more than a 52/34 when weighted down and likely going uphill? And could I even put the 105 shifters with an Ultegra compact double?
Double if you can spin 39x21, 23, or 25/26 up most of the hills you can encounter and manage the rest depending on your starting cog preference and cog count.

That could be

xx-39 x 11-21 10 cogs
xx-39 x 11-23 11 cogs
xx-39 x 12-23 10 cogs
xx-39 x 12-25 11 cogs
xx-39 x 13-26 10 cogs
xx-39 x 14-23 10 cogs
xx-39 x 14-25 10 cogs

where xx could be a 53 or 50 depending on taste.

Triple otherwise. Anything else compromises gear spacing and/or the amount of front shifting you do.

Note that
1. 74mm BCD road triples take granny rings down to 24T.
2. Middle x small cog has a better chain line than small x second on a double

While you can often match the range of a triple using a compact double

50-34 x 12-13-15-17-19-21-23-25-28-32
53-39-26 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26

the jumps will be a lot coarser on flat ground and you'll have to shift to the big ring in a lot more situations (34x13 is like 39x15).

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Old 04-01-14, 12:26 PM   #18
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Just go with a compact crank 50-34. That should take care of most of what you need AND shift better than a triple.

J.
The 16 tooth jump doesn't shift as well as the 10-14 teeth on a triple with comparably pinned and ramped rings.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:29 PM   #19
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You don't have to leave the 50t on there, though that is how it ships .. put a 46 on instead.

... with a triple , 24,40,50... I upshift from the 24 at the crest of the hill .

so not pulling hard on the chain anymore.
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Old 04-01-14, 02:37 PM   #20
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LHT daily rider here, and I find the discussion of saving 100 grams on a double to be laughable. I absolutely love the bike because it's a big heavy workhorse.
I'm continually adding weight in fatter tires, lights, racks, panniers, pump, Brooks, etc. Can't say I ever notice the difference.
I rarely use the small ring, but I'm sure happy it's there when I need it. I say go with a triple and a nice wide range front and back.
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Old 04-01-14, 03:08 PM   #21
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LHT daily rider here, and I find the discussion of saving 100 grams on a double to be laughable. I absolutely love the bike because it's a big heavy workhorse.
I'm continually adding weight in fatter tires, lights, racks, panniers, pump, Brooks, etc. Can't say I ever notice the difference.
I rarely use the small ring, but I'm sure happy it's there when I need it. I say go with a triple and a nice wide range front and back.

I agree with this. I ride my LHT daily and it would be foolish to get rid of the granny gear for weight savings. Though I hardly ever use mine, I am glad it is there. The times I have used it include hauling my son and panniers up a long hill.

I weighed my bike in "race" form last week. That means no lights, panniers or bottles. Still fenders and racks and marathon 35s. It tipped the scale at 34 pounds.

So just add the granny gear. You will be glad it is there when you put it to its true use, loaded touring.

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Old 04-01-14, 03:49 PM   #22
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I think riding a few bikes with compact doubles on some of the hills you expect to ride will be the best way to figure out if a double will work for you or if you want a triple.
Yeah, I might just try that with my own roadie. I know the weight distribution won't be the same as using racks and panniers, but I can throw on a backpack with some extra weight and see how I manage the hills on a double.

I'll prolly also start looking at/test riding the LHT along with Salsa Vaya, Soma Saga, All City Space Horse, and any others I can find or be recommended. I want the braze-ons for front and rear racks as well as fenders. Prolly don't care much about disc brakes, though I might give them a try just because. I'd like the option in the future to use this bike for touring, but for now it will pretty much only be used for commuting and some Postmates courier work.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:17 PM   #23
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I have a bike in the planning stages that has a 24-42 double. I thing the 42-11 is plenty big enough on the high end, and 24-32 should be fine on the low end.
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Old 04-02-14, 10:06 AM   #24
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I like a 50/39/30 triple, combined with a 9/10 speed cassette I have 3 sets of gears I can use without have to shift the front derailleur. The 39T middle ring gives a nice range of 55-80 inches, I find it perfect for all level roads until there's lots of wind at my back, then I'm onto the 50. The 30 is perfect for long climbs, I have 7 gears for any range of wind/incline.

The 50/34 puts a double shift right in the middle of the 55-80 inch sweet spots. I find that irritating for a small weight savings, and the 30T is really nice for long climbs into the wind.
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Old 04-02-14, 12:20 PM   #25
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With wide cassettes so common these days, I think a compact double would be sufficient for SFO. Consider a 30/46 front with 11-34 rear. That will give you a range of 24-113 gear inches, which is about the same as you'd get with many triple setups. You could get even lower gearing with an 11-36 cassette.
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