What do people think of the compact cassettes? 50/34 in front and whatever it is in the back (I forget).
How do they shift compared with doubles and triples? What applications are they typically used for?
I use a 48/34 compact I made from a old Sugino 48/38 110 double crank for my commuting road bike. The 34 gear is a real knee saver if you have a lot of hills or lots of stops. Less mashing up hills and less stress on the knees during starts at stop lights.
A triple would give you the same benefits and a wider gearing, but upgrading a double to a compact is a whole lot more economical than upgrading it to a triple. At least in my case.
I do find that I need to double shift anytime I change chainrings due to the large gearing change.
Honestly, I think that the real question you should be asking yourself is "What gears do I need for the kind of riding that I do?" You, of course, are the only one who can answer that. Once you do, your drivetrain choices will immediately become much more clear.
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
I have a 50/34 crankset along with a 12/25 rear cassette and it's perfect the the kind of riding that I do. I don't find the front shifting to be clumbersome, but I don't find triple front shifting to be a problem either. I often find myself making an additional rear shift when I shift front chainrings. I don't race so the time that it takes to make an additional rear shift doesn't matter to me. If I'm going over 30 mph on a downhill, I'm probably going to be coasting so I don't need the 53 chainring.