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Old 08-01-08, 02:23 PM   #1
mcsurly
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Touring/Utility Build questions

Hey Everyone,
Im in the process of building a bike and need some advice on drivetrain components. Most of my riding will be on roads and the bike trail near my house (and some dirt), but i also want to be able to load up the panniers and do some light touring. I have been round and round trying to decide to go with a compact double or a triple setup (9sp?). the think the Compact would be fine for most of my riding im just concerned about touring (although i could always have lower geared cassette) and durability off road.
I have been looking at Shimano 105/ultegra stuff and possibly XT if i go with the 9 speed triple.
Any advice?

My frame is the Surly Cross Check
Ultegra/Open Pro Wheels

Todd
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Old 08-01-08, 07:01 PM   #2
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why not get the triple? Dont see any reason not to except saving a small amount of weight. I still havent used my granny gear on my new bike but Im sure Ill be thankful I have it.
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Old 08-01-08, 08:57 PM   #3
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FWIW, my preference is agains triples. Too much shifting up front, more likely for chain to fall off, etc. With a compact crank and mtb cassette and rear derailluer, you can have pretty low gears -- probably adequate for everything except heavily loaded touring on steep grades. OTOH, triples are so prevalent these days that you can't go all that wrong if you go that way either. Comes down to personal preference and riding style more than anything.
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Old 08-01-08, 10:16 PM   #4
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I think they have made great strides in improving the shifting of triples in the last couple of years. You should test ride one. I think you will be impressed, especially on the 105/Deore models and above.
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Old 08-02-08, 01:08 AM   #5
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There is no downside to getting an XT drive train for this type of bike. I have/had recent bikes with 105, LX, XT, XTR and Ultegra components with doubles, compact doubles and triples and can report that, properly adjusted, they all work extremely well and are reliable.
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Old 08-02-08, 10:49 AM   #6
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If you're going to tour with a load you'll want the triple. If you're not going to tour, or if you're going to do a supported tour where someone else carries your load, the double may be what you want.

I toured with an old 10-speed in the 70s. It worked, but I'm sure glad I had my 27-speed on my recent tour in the mountains.

When I ride my touring bike locally I almost never use the granny. I could do fine with a double if I never went touring.

I want to buy another bike for local rides, centuries, etc. It would be light and have a double. My wife wants new siding for the house and pavers for the back patio. Guess who's not getting a new bike this year?
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Old 08-02-08, 12:02 PM   #7
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i toured the oregon coastal range (there were some hills, to say the least) a couple of weeks ago, fully loaded, with a compact double. i can say that it worked fine for my touring bike. a bunch of old, complainers itt.

Last edited by Jaron; 08-02-08 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:55 PM   #8
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i toured the oregon coastal range (there were some hills, to say the least) a couple of weeks ago, fully loaded, with a compact double. i can say that it worked fine for my touring bike. a bunch of old, complainers itt.
I don't know what you're trying to say. I get that you think compact doubles are good enough for any purpose on a tour, but what does "a bunch of old, complainers itt" mean?
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Old 08-02-08, 09:18 PM   #9
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basically i am saying that people that complain about that kind of **** are either old and stuck in their ways, or out of shape. itt = in this thread.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:25 PM   #10
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basically i am saying that people that complain about that kind of **** are either old and stuck in their ways, or out of shape. itt = in this thread.
Thank you for clarifying. It's not nice to insult people just because they like more chain rings than you do, by the way.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:44 PM   #11
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basically i am saying that people that complain about that kind of **** are either old and stuck in their ways, or out of shape. itt = in this thread.
Well I don't think I'm any of the above but I still like a tripple on my touring bike.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:40 AM   #12
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One of the reasons I dislike triples on a road bike is that the STI indexing shifting is difficult to adjust. If I were to run a triple, I would consider swapping the left brake-shifter for a simple brake and using a bar-end or down-tube friction shifter for the front derailluer. Perhaps you're already considering running something other than STI, which makes a lot of sense on a touring bike -- simpler, more durable, less likely to fail, less expensive to replace, etc.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:14 AM   #13
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Heck I would like to have one with 4 rings on it.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:28 AM   #14
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One of the reasons I dislike triples on a road bike is that the STI indexing shifting is difficult to adjust.
I have found it to be pretty easy with the components I have tried it with. I guess it will vary with different cranks and dérailleurs. It works fine with the Sugino XD600 and Tiagra components. It also seems to work fine on another bike with the same crank and Tiagra STI shifter, but an old (probably pre STI) 105 front dérailleur.

FWIW: I really like STI on all my bikes touring or otherwise.
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Old 08-03-08, 10:21 AM   #15
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I also find shifting with a triple sometimes a bit touchy, but nearly everyone will be better off with a triple when touring.

One intriging alternative (suggested by the OP) is to go with a compact double and a 11-21 road cassette, which gives you roughly the gear ratios of a standard triple with a 12-25 road cassette, and then when touring loaded use a 12-27 cassette. This is by no means touring bike gearing, but it gives you a low equivalent to a 32 tooth front ring (standard MTB) with a 32 tooth cog in the back (think 11-32 MTB cassette). IOW's, think mountain bike without the small ring in front. In this way you have simpler shifting up front and gives you some flexibility in the back for touring or for just plain getting old. This way you can be a poser too.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:27 AM   #16
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If you're going to tour - especially CA / Pacific coast or Sierras - get a triple and go low. When I rode down Route 1, I spent a great deal of time in my lowest gears.

One option to consider is getting a crankset that can be set up as either a double, compact double or triple; the stock cranks on the Surly Cross-Check do this. One less thing to swap out if you start as a double & change your mind.

I'd also go for bar-end shifters. It's very easy to adjust the triple on the fly, very robust, and less of an inconvenience than STI if some aspect of the shifters happen to break.
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