Not the old controversy about Double V. Triple but it could almost be.
Where I live we have hills. Not long ones but about 600 ft height climb at anything between 8 and 12%. My bugbear is the 3 to 5% that goes on for a couple of miles with just a couple of steep bits in it and it just gets through to me.
I can normally do these hills on a compact 50/34 and 12/27 10 spd cassette although I am currently using a Triple 50/39/30 with a 12/25. However the Pinnie came with a compact and 12/25 cassette and this is the reason for using the triple on a hilly ride. I am not as fit as I would like and that lower gear works.
But I am fortunate in having bikes with a different gearing set up. Mick my riding partner is not. He has the one bike with a compact and 12/25 cassette. He has only been riding for a year and although fit- does not have bike fitness fully yet. Give him a hill and he will climb it. Give him two and he will struggle and 3 and he is gone. Well yesterday we fitted an 11/28 cassette so today was the day to find out if it works. Plenty of short sharp hills and I mean plenty. 200 ft height climbs at anything from 10 to 20% but luckily there was only one 20%. Some of these climbs followed on in quick succession aswell and 1/2 way through the ride we hit his bugbear. It is a 300ft height climb at around 8% and just at the end there is a 15% section round a hairpin. I kept him in front of me just to see when he was going to flag and he didn't.
On all of these hills he sat in the saddle and rode. He did not have to get out of the saddle and his cadence didn't drop too far. After about 15 miles we hit some flatter sections for a rest and I was still behind him. Struggling to stay with him aswell.
So that simple change of gearing has changed his ride manner completely. Having the 28t means that he no longer wears himself out whenever gravity goes the wrong way and his bug bear of a hill is no longer. The 11t has given him some top speed that he had before but has now improved. Today's ride involved 3,000ft of climb in short sharp chunks. I know that is easier than a long drawn out hill but have 4 or 5 of them in quick succession and you know you have done a ride. Mick felt that he could have gone further today so next week it will be hill time. Lets see how he gets on with the 16% I know how to walk that one if it gets too hard and Mick has Road shoes and cleats.