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  1. #1
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    Triple required for Touring

    I currently have a double up front with a 34T granny gear on the rear.
    Plan on touring the Trace in May. Do I really need a triple crank?
    Will be carrying loaded panniers.

    Thx

  2. #2
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Yep, you need a triple.

    A double is fine for day-touring but for bike camping and expeditioning a triple is required equipment. Rivendell sells a 46-36-26 road triple. http://www.rivbike.com/

  3. #3
    X-Large Member Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
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    Think of it this way...

    "A triple for touring is like a spoon for eating soup"... you can eat the soup without one but it sure makes the experience more efficient & pleasurable.

  4. #4
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    Of course there are those who tour on a single speed or fixed gear
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
    - Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBiker Guy
    I currently have a double up front with a 34T granny gear on the rear.
    Plan on touring the Trace in May. Do I really need a triple crank?
    Will be carrying loaded panniers.

    Thx
    If you are starting out from Nashville, I wish you the best of luck with a double, especially if you are fully loaded!!!!

    I changed my crank from 30-42-52 to 24-34-48 and my cassette is 11-34. Think of it this way, you are not out to impress people or try to go as fast as possible. You are out for just you and for your comfort.

  6. #6
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    This is what I thought. Hoped someone might have another oppinion.
    I don't know that changing the crank is an option before we plan to go, not enough $.
    A new bike is out of the question.
    I'll see how light I can make my load.
    First training ride is this weekend.

    Thanks for the replies.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Inoplanetyanin's Avatar
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    If there are any hills, yes, very much needed, but if you are riding, let's say, in southern Saskatchewan... the double would be sufficient there...

  8. #8
    One knee is enough SchreiberBike's Avatar
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    It's not required.

    I did a lot of touring in my youth with a 40 x 28 as my lowest gear, but it hurt a lot and I even walked up more than a few hills. I wouldn't do it now, especially since front dérailleurs which can handle triples are much better.

    Unless your moniker of "OLDBIKER GUY" is gentle sarcasm, I'd guess that a triple is in order.
    "The more you tighten your grip . . . the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

  9. #9
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    Depends on how steep the hills will be and how strong a rider you are.I have toured through moderately steep rolling north Florida hills and moderately steep south Florida bridges with a double with a low of 42x30 but I am a natural climber and like to ocassionally stand and crank it out rather than sit and spin comfortably the whole way.For steep hills or mountains you would likely want lower gearing than this.I am currently replacing my gearing and keeping a double though with a new low of 36x34.I found a real good deal on stronglight chainrings online from ThorUSA about $5 a piece though they were running low on inventory last I checked.You might consider replacing your small chainring with a 34 or 36.

  10. #10
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWTD
    You might consider replacing your small chainring with a 34 or 36.
    If he is running a Shimano crankset with 130 mm bolt circle diameter the smallest chainring it will take is 38t.

  11. #11
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Get the triple, they won't do you any harm, you won't regret it, and your touring will be much more enjoyable...

    George
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  12. #12
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    Thats right I have a sugino 110bcd not uncommon on older sports touring models .I noticed Thor also had a 130bcd double to triple conversion ring for about $15 would this be an option for him if he has a 130 rather than 110.Here is the link for those interested I got 36/46 110bcd chainrings for just under $20 including shipping. http://www.thorusa.com/weekspecial.htm

  13. #13
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    I think you could swing it with two chainrings. For regions similar to the Trace, it is possible to get by if you're willing to sacrifice top speed in favor of good hill gears. Most of my riding is loaded touring. At age 65, I now use a range tending toward the low side. The following table shows the smaller two of my three chainrings, and gives the gear "inches" for each combination with the cluster based on my 27" wheels.

    -----14 16 18 21 24 28 32
    38: 73 64 57 49 43 37 32
    24: xx 41 36 31 27 23 20

    The 73-inch gear is admittedly a pretty low "high"(bikes are typically delivered topping 100), but I've been happy staying my middle range (the 38-tooth ring) on most days, so maybe you'd find the same. The 20-inch granny is great, though probably unnecessary on the Trace. (Your 34-tooth cog would yield an awesome 19-inch granny with a 24-tooth chainring.) I don't know your tooth counts, but if they span at least the 20-73-inch range shown in the table I think you should do fine with just two chainrings.

    In case you're unfamiliar with gear-inches, calculate each one by multiplying wheel diameter in inches (27?) by the number of chainwheel teeth, and dividing that by the number of cluster teeth. For example, my 38-tooth chainwheel coupled with the 24-tooth cluster cog yields a (27 x 38) / 24, or about 43 inches. This 43-inch gear gives the same feel as if you were riding a direct-drive bike (pedals attached directly to axle--no gears) whose wheels were 43 inches in diameter. The higher the number, the harder the pedaling but the longer you travel with each stroke.

    Ride happy,

    Lew
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  14. #14
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Much depends on what sort of terrain you'll be riding. As virtually all of my tours spend at least some time in the mountains, I wouldn't be without a triple. It also gives you freedom to go places you wouldn't be able to go with a double.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  15. #15
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    Here is my suggestion: If you are going to keep your double, do not start out on the trace at highway 100. There is a ~ 1 mile climb at, I am guessing, a 6 - 7 % grade. I climb it on my Giant TCR, double chainring, but I could not imagine climbing it on my Giant OCR Touring, fully loaded, if it only had a double.

    If you start out from highway 96, your climb will be significantly shorter getting onto the trace. I will tell you, there is one more steep climb near Centerville, TN, and it's very steep climb also!

  16. #16
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    Meanderthal suggests a Low Ratio double (38/24), which is fine in theory, and works in practice if you have a small BCD chainset such as a Stronglight, but with std Shimano chainset, the smallest ring you can fit is a 38t, and for Campy its 39.
    If you cant stretch to a new chainset, have you considered a bold-on granny ring. I believe that TA still make them.
    I started out with a Campy road triple, but stopped fighting it, and switched to a Shimano MTB chainset. I go just as "fast" but can tackle the steepest, roughest trails.

  17. #17
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    Thanks everybody for the info. This does help.
    I'll carry my bike to the LBS and see what can be done, short of buying a new bike.
    I'll let you know how it goes.

  18. #18
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBiker Guy
    I currently have a double up front with a 34T granny gear on the rear.
    Plan on touring the Trace in May. Do I really need a triple crank?
    Will be carrying loaded panniers.

    Thx
    You don't say what your double chainrings are. If the small one is down around 30, you might get by with a double. I have a double on my touring bike - micro drive crank with 29x44 chainrings.

  19. #19
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    My smallest ring up front is a 40, my biggest rear is a 34.

    That noted, I did a shake-down ride from Joelton, TN to Herndon KY 65 miles one-way Good Friday, returned Sat. The first 20 miles out and the last 20 miles in is VERY hilly with a 1 mile climb at mile 58. I did ok with the rack loaded with 25+ lbs. No walking either day. So I'm gonna stay with what I've got. Don't need to spend the $ if I can help it
    I've got 5 weeks to keep my climbing legs in shape, with plenty of hills to do it on.
    Thanks for everybody's input.
    I'll let you know how things go on the Trace in May.

  20. #20
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    Glad your test run was good. Sounds like you're all set, then. Nothing works like success. Enjoy your ride!

    Lew

    p.s. Your tooth count translates to a 32-inch low gear (on 27-inch tires), which should be sufficient for the Trace.
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanderthal
    Glad your test run was good. Sounds like you're all set, then. Nothing works like success. Enjoy your ride!

    Lew

    p.s. Your tooth count translates to a 32-inch low gear (on 27-inch tires), which should be sufficient for the Trace.
    I just got back yesterday from the Trace and to be truthful, I had no problems climbing. There were only 2 times that I had to drop into the granny gear, and I was using 42-32 on most of the climbs. The bicycle weighed in at 66 pounds, fully loaded.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pletcgm
    I just got back yesterday from the Trace and to be truthful, I had no problems climbing. There were only 2 times that I had to drop into the granny gear, and I was using 42-32 on most of the climbs. The bicycle weighed in at 66 pounds, fully loaded.
    Good to hear.
    How far did you go?
    Did you start at HWY 100?
    Thought about riding the first 20 miles out and bike in a couple weeks.

  23. #23
    One knee is enough SchreiberBike's Avatar
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    If it's a choice between going on your tour and waiting until you can get a triple, go and ride.

    If you ride, the worst that can happen is that you have to hike up some hills. If you wait, the best that can happen is that you ride later. Go and ride.
    "The more you tighten your grip . . . the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBiker Guy
    Good to hear.
    How far did you go?
    Did you start at HWY 100?
    Thought about riding the first 20 miles out and bike in a couple weeks.
    I went to Shilo, TN, 253 miles down and back. There were only 3 places that I had to use the granny gear. The first was coming onto the trace at highway 96, the second was just past Leipers Fork, and the third was at the falls, near Centerville. I didn't start at Hwy 100, because even with the granny gear, that climb intimidates me on my touring bicycle. If I am riding my Giant TCR, I have no problems with it.

  25. #25
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    One of my mottos is this:

    "No granny gear is too small."

    Each time I replace my gears, I go for a tinier and tinier granny gear. On my new touring bike, I run a 24 tooth cog in the front with a 34 tooth ring in the back. I can practically ride up the side of a building.

    Two years ago I toured the Charlevoix region of Quebec, where 12% grades are common. Once or twice I found myself struggling up an 18% grade in 35 degree heat (95 degrees F.) It wasn't fun. For those occasional times when the grade is steep, the wind is against you, and you are tired, that super-low gear can make a huge difference to your riding pleasure. For me, pleasure is what touring is all about.

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