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Old 05-11-10, 06:01 AM   #1
tarwheel 
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Converting my touring bike to a triple

I came across a good deal on some Dura-Ace triple components yesterday, so I'm switching my commuter/touring bike from a 50/34 compact crankset to a 52/39/30 triple. The compact has been perfect for commuting, but I began to realize it would not have low enough gearing for loaded touring. I still may need to change the rear derailleur as the DA group limits me to a max 12-27 rear cassette.

It will be my first triple, and I'm not sure how I will like it. I'm using DA bar-ends, so shifting shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 05-11-10, 06:16 AM   #2
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As you say, shifting shouldn't be an issue if you use friction, not indexed. I've just finished converting my carbon randonneering bike to a triple Ultegra, with an XT 32-11 cassette and XT SGS (long cage) rear derailleur. You are likely right about the need for a new rear derailleur as the chain does get too tight in the wrong gears with even the medium cage DA/Ultegra versions.

I think that if you keep in mind that each of the chainrings represents a range of gears -- 52 and bottom four cogs on the rear for flat cruising and tailwinds; 39 and just about all cogs for general purpose riding (round town, moderate hills, headwinds); and 30 [plus the top four cogs for climbing with those loads.

You'll probably end up in 39 for the majority of your riding. For this reason, I try to use a steel intermediate ring, if I can source it, to give me that longevity.
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Old 05-11-10, 06:45 AM   #3
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IMO, Road Triple gearing is still too high for fully loaded touring.
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Old 05-11-10, 07:03 AM   #4
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I'm working on something similar at the moment, but opting for something like a 24-36-42 with the stock 11-28 out back. I'm even sort of on the fence about just going with a double 24-36. 36-11 at 90 rpms is still 23 mph which I only ever hit going downhill on tour, and 30mph is about the top of my comfort zone with the trailer.
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Old 05-11-10, 07:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I came across a good deal on some Dura-Ace triple components yesterday, so I'm switching my commuter/touring bike from a 50/34 compact crankset to a 52/39/30 triple. The compact has been perfect for commuting, but I began to realize it would not have low enough gearing for loaded touring. I still may need to change the rear derailleur as the DA group limits me to a max 12-27 rear cassette.

It will be my first triple, and I'm not sure how I will like it. I'm using DA bar-ends, so shifting shouldn't be an issue.
Respectfully .... was this really a "good deal"? You didn't gain much by going to a DA triple. Use a good gear chart http://home.earthlink.net/~mike.sherman/shift.html , and you'll see you gained only one extra low end gear, which is not low enough.

The DA triple is about the worst triple ever invented. It offers no customization options. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/dura-ace.html#chainrings

Don't feel bad, we all get duped by the "It's DA, so it must be better" disease
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Old 05-11-10, 07:36 AM   #6
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Respectfully .... was this really a "good deal"? You didn't gain much by going to a DA triple. Use a good gear chart http://home.earthlink.net/~mike.sherman/shift.html , and you'll see you gained only one extra low end gear, which is not low enough.

The DA triple is about the worst triple ever invented. It offers no customization options. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/dura-ace.html#chainrings

Don't feel bad, we all get duped by the "It's DA, so it must be better" disease
Hogwash. DA cranks are known to be the best if not one of the best ever made. If a 30 small ring is small enough for the OP it's a great choice. For some a 30 is plenty small for touring.
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Old 05-11-10, 07:47 AM   #7
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Hogwash. DA cranks are known to be the best if not one of the best ever made. If a 30 small ring is small enough for the OP it's a great choice. For some a 30 is plenty small for touring.

One of the best made(does it matter?), but least customizable cranks ever made. The OP spent all this extra $$ for one extra gear, and he has no choice to go any lower or use any other rings. Any other 130/74 crank would at least allow a 24t small ring if so needed.
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Old 05-11-10, 07:51 AM   #8
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One of the best made(does it matter?), but least customizable cranks ever made. The OP spent all this extra $$ for one extra gear, and he has no choice to go any lower or use any other rings. Any other 130/74 crank would at least allow a 24t small ring if so needed.
The OP went from a 34 to a 30.. that is a big change. Not everyone needs a 24.
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Old 05-11-10, 08:03 AM   #9
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The OP went from a 34 to a 30.. that is a big change. Not everyone needs a 24.

That's 4 gear inches. Not big at all. He could have just gotten a new RD (which he'll need anyways), and a 11-34 cassette which would get him two extra lower gears.

My whole point here is do some homework on gearing before you buy.
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Old 05-11-10, 08:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I came across a good deal on some Dura-Ace triple components yesterday, so I'm switching my commuter/touring bike from a 50/34 compact crankset to a 52/39/30 triple. The compact has been perfect for commuting, but I began to realize it would not have low enough gearing for loaded touring. I still may need to change the rear derailleur as the DA group limits me to a max 12-27 rear cassette.
I have a 52/39/30 triple crank and 12-27 cassette on my touring frame. When I load gear on the bike, I take the 52/39/30 crank off and replace it with a 48/36/26 trekking crank. The road triple is fine on the flats, but the trekking crank is much nicer if you have to climb hills with a 20-40lb load. If I were carrying a lot of gear, I'd probably want a 44/32/22 mountain bike crank.
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Old 05-11-10, 03:56 PM   #11
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Where are you Garth? Tell sstorkel that he's only gained 4 gi, and tell him it hardly makes any difference...

The thing you forgot is that the percentage change at the lower end is much more significant than at the upper end. So gaining 4gi from 30 is a much better proposition than 4gi at 100.

I am not sure if Garth has actually put foot to pedal with a variety of crankset and cogset combinations, rather than just using theory through a gear calculator.

sstorkel is right, of course, that having two or three cranksets can give you a whole set of options depending on the type of terrain you intend to travel. The 22-32-44 MTB option is quite flexible for all touring unless you desperately want high speed and a big ring... but few touring cyclists do.

I currently run the 26-36-48 MTB crankset on my touring bike after a long period with the 22-32-44. Intervening, I did some touring on a fixed gear... which obviates any need to think about such things. I still have the option of bolting on a 22T inner ring to the current crankset if I so feel the desire (which also is cheaper than having a second crankset).

The point about the DA crankset setup is taken, but then the OP did say he was also opting for additional gears on the rear which would give him a few more low-range options compared with the road cogset. In addition, as I alluded to in my first reply, the doubled-up gi for the three chainrings doesn't really matter unless you like double shifting a lot.
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Old 05-12-10, 07:12 AM   #12
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Where are you Garth? Tell sstorkel that he's only gained 4 gi, and tell him it hardly makes any difference...

The thing you forgot is that the percentage change at the lower end is much more significant than at the upper end. So gaining 4gi from 30 is a much better proposition than 4gi at 100.

I am not sure if Garth has actually put foot to pedal with a variety of crankset and cogset combinations, rather than just using theory through a gear calculator.

sstorkel is right, of course, that having two or three cranksets can give you a whole set of options depending on the type of terrain you intend to travel. The 22-32-44 MTB option is quite flexible for all touring unless you desperately want high speed and a big ring... but few touring cyclists do.

The point about the DA crankset setup is taken, but then the OP did say he was also opting for additional gears on the rear which would give him a few more low-range options compared with the road cogset. In addition, as I alluded to in my first reply, the doubled-up gi for the three chainrings doesn't really matter unless you like double shifting a lot.

I'm well aware of the benefits of 4 GI on the low end. I live on top of a large river valley where we have many 8-18% grades up to a mile long. All I do is ride hills. Relaying info via a gear calculator is the only way I know how to translate the experience of the road, into a written word. In my experience big hills for loaded bikes could use GI's in the low 20's. It's always better to have too low than to not have it at all. People often let their ego get in the way ...... thinking they won't be caught dead using a 22,24 or 26t small ring. It beats walking


For flat riding, the OP could get by with their low end, but if he/she rides and steeper longer grades he may have issues, it depends on how strong they are. If they opt for a 11,12-32,34 cassette .... that should do it.
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Old 05-12-10, 08:07 AM   #13
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I'm well aware of the benefits of 4 GI on the low end. I live on top of a large river valley where we have many 8-18% grades up to a mile long. All I do is ride hills. Relaying info via a gear calculator is the only way I know how to translate the experience of the road, into a written word. In my experience big hills for loaded bikes could use GI's in the low 20's. It's always better to have too low than to not have it at all. People often let their ego get in the way ...... thinking they won't be caught dead using a 22,24 or 26t small ring. It beats walking


For flat riding, the OP could get by with their low end, but if he/she rides and steeper longer grades he may have issues, it depends on how strong they are. If they opt for a 11,12-32,34 cassette .... that should do it.

All that being said.... It really isn't one size fits all. My Garmin tells me that for the last 30 days my elevation gained is 57.024 ft. I'm familiar with climbing and also what I need to climb. I can say that I've never walked my bike. You are correct that having gearing best suited to you is important and research is a big part of that.

Even with what I just wrote I would go with an XT RD and an 11/34 cassette along with the above mentioned crank. Tarwheel might be much stronger than I.

That is the problem with thinking one size fits all.
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Old 05-12-10, 11:57 AM   #14
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First some clarification. It is very hilly where I ride, and I've always done just fine with a 52/39 double and 12-25 cassette on my other road bikes. I've been using the 50/34 crank with 12-27 cassette for the past year on my commuter bike, which typically weighs about 30 lbs when loaded with gear, and it is perfectly adequate on a hilly route. I realize that the 30 small ring on the DA crankset is not as small as many tourers use, but my goal is to travel light while touring. I also could easily add a DX or XT rear derailleur and 12-30 or 12-34 rear cassette if I find that I need lower gearing.

The reason I jumped at the DA components is that I already have DA or Ultegra components on my bikes, so all of the parts will be compatible. The price was much less than what Ultegra or even 105 components would cost new. I don't intend to use the DA rear derailleur on my touring bike. Will keep the Ultegra RD that is currently on the bike and replace with a DX/XT or long-throw Ultegra/105 and larger cassette if needed.

Last edited by tarwheel; 05-12-10 at 01:31 PM.
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