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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    For those that want a touring double crankset

    I know it's not cheap but a 46-30T double crankset and a 11-34 cassette would take you a lot of places without the sometimes finicky triple. May just have to hit up ole' Santa for this one.

    IRD Defiant Wide Compact Road Double Crank Set (46-30T)

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    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I like this a lot. VO sells a 46-30 crank which also runs around 200 clams, Grand Cru 50.4 BCD Crankset MK II - Cranks - Cranksets - Components

    Very nice set up for a double; I've been thinking of getting one.

    I'd still get a triple for loaded touring though.
    Last edited by bikemig; 10-05-14 at 10:23 PM.

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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post

    I'd still get a triple for loaded touring though.
    Yea, I know it's not super low but when I think back to all the touring I did with a 52-42-30T crank and a 12-28 cassette for a low of 28 gear inches, and here's a double that will get you down to 23 inches, just might be worth considering.

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    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Yea, I know it's not super low but when I think back to all the touring I did with a 52-42-30T crank and a 12-28 cassette for a low of 28 gear inches, and here's a double that will get you down to 23 inches, just might be worth considering.
    Agreed, this is a clever design. Also sunxcd crank, Soma Feed: Sun XCD Cranks and Hubs

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I think there are quite a few MTB doubles that go a good bit lower. If buying new parts, wanting very low gearing, and wanting close spaced gears with crisp shifting, I'd probably go with one of them and probably the rest of the MTB drive train. I personally like the 10 speed mountain bike setups, so that would be my choice.

    I have toured with a double made by leaving the big ring off of a triple. It worked very well for my purposes. I was able to have the range I needed, use the double shifter set that were on the bike, use the short cage derailleur that I wanted to use, all at a cost of $0 since I had all of the parts. The setup allowed for very crisp easy shifting and was a little lighter than a triple.

  6. #6
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I think there are quite a few MTB doubles that go a good bit lower. If buying new parts, wanting very low gearing, and wanting close spaced gears with crisp shifting, I'd probably go with one of them and probably the rest of the MTB drive train. I personally like the 10 speed mountain bike setups, so that would be my choice.

    I have toured with a double made by leaving the big ring off of a triple. It worked very well for my purposes. I was able to have the range I needed, use the double shifter set that were on the bike, use the short cage derailleur that I wanted to use, all at a cost of $0 since I had all of the parts. The setup allowed for very crisp easy shifting and was a little lighter than a triple.
    +1

    2x10 from SRAM with an 11/36 cassette is a nice solution.

    https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/2x10/gear-range

    For a long time people have been setting up triples as super compact doubles by just leaving the outer ring off. I have a 42x26 on one bike using TA rings on the middle and inner positions of a Sugino XD triple.

    Another solution is just to combine a regular 50/34 compact double with a 12/36 cassette and a long cage derailleur, that gives a range of 112 to 25 gear inches. Personally I ride 46/34 on an FSA Gossamer crankset that my bike came with. I've swapped out the 50t ring for a 46t Sugino ring that I had lying around to put the gearing on the big ring in a better range for all day loaded riding. I replaced the original 12x25 cassette and short cage SRAM rival derailleur with a SRAM 12/36 cassette and an X9 long cage rear derailleur.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    +1

    2x10 from SRAM with an 11/36 cassette is a nice solution.

    https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/2x10/gear-range

    For a long time people have been setting up triples as super compact doubles by just leaving the outer ring off. I have a 42x26 on one bike using TA rings on the middle and inner positions of a Sugino XD triple.

    Another solution is just to combine a regular 50/34 compact double with a 12/36 cassette and a long cage derailleur, that gives a range of 112 to 25 gear inches. Personally I ride 46/34 on an FSA Gossamer crankset that my bike came with. I've swapped out the 50t ring for a 46t Sugino ring that I had lying around to put the gearing on the big ring in a better range for all day loaded riding. I replaced the original 12x25 cassette and short cage SRAM rival derailleur with a SRAM 12/36 cassette and an X9 long cage rear derailleur.
    Yes, but don't you dislike the big steps between gear ratios on those mega-range cassettes?

    For loaded touring I use a Rohloff, which pretty much makes this discussion irrelevant. But on the road bike I use for ultralight or credit-card touring, I have a standard Shimano 50/39/30 triple with a 12-25 cassette. Low enough to climb pretty much anything when lightly loaded, and for general riding I cruise in the 39 middle ring going up and down the nice close ratios at the back. I really hate the big jumps one has to put up with on the big cassettes, and the triple means I shift much less frequently up front.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  8. #8
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Yes, but don't you dislike the big steps between gear ratios on those mega-range cassettes?
    Yea, I run a 10 speed 11-34 cassette on a couple of my bikes and wouldn't want to push those larger steps any further. Presently on one of my bikes, I run a 46/34 and a 10 speed cassette, 11-34 and I sit in the 46 ring 90+% of the time.

    I realize that we've been taking a single chain ring off mountain bike cranks in the past but this crankset is rather elegant, simple and I'm not sure I would want my front derailleur to have to deal with more than a 16t difference.

  9. #9
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Yes, but don't you dislike the big steps between gear ratios on those mega-range cassettes?

    For loaded touring I use a Rohloff, which pretty much makes this discussion irrelevant. But on the road bike I use for ultralight or credit-card touring, I have a standard Shimano 50/39/30 triple with a 12-25 cassette. Low enough to climb pretty much anything when lightly loaded, and for general riding I cruise in the 39 middle ring going up and down the nice close ratios at the back. I really hate the big jumps one has to put up with on the big cassettes, and the triple means I shift much less frequently up front.
    Cassettes with 34 or 36 t largest cogs will all have some big steps at the end of them. In the middle where you spend most of the day on the flat it isn't so bad, but those big steps at the bottom end can be a bit jarring.

    I like the idea of the Rohloff, but the weight and the expense are drawbacks. In the end I think a derailleur system is simpler and if it does break it can be fixed in the field or the derailleur removed and you can ride single speed.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    I know it's not cheap but a 46-30T double crankset and a 11-34 cassette would take you a lot of places without the sometimes finicky triple. May just have to hit up ole' Santa for this one.

    IRD Defiant Wide Compact Road Double Crank Set (46-30T)
    It's a solution looking for a problem. I've been using triples on road bikes and, more importantly, on mountain bikes for 30+ years. I've never found them to be "finicky". Certainly not enough to go with this "solution". If you calculate the gears on RitzelRechner.de, it's pretty clear how bad the two chainring system is. Here's a screen shot comparing a 46-30 to a 46-34-22 with an 11-34 10 speed cassette.



    It's easy to see that the double doesn't give you "almost as much gearing as a triple". The low is significantly higher and you end up with a really funky shift pattern that requires multiple shifts to keep your cadence constant. For example, if you are riding along in the 26 on the big ring and you suddenly find a hill in front of you, you drop from a 46" gear at 60 rpm to a 30" gear at 90 rpm to maintain your speed.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I see the 46-30 set up as being useful for long distance riding. You can run an 11-28 on the rear and get closely spaced gearing plus good climbing gears. For touring, I'm a little skeptical of the mtb double. I think it's an interesting idea but there is nothing particularly wrong with a triple for touring and a lot right about it. You can sometimes have your cake and eat it to (adequate gearing for climbing and rolling plus a cassette without large steps).

  12. #12
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Yea, I run a 10 speed 11-34 cassette on a couple of my bikes and wouldn't want to push those larger steps any further. Presently on one of my bikes, I run a 46/34 and a 10 speed cassette, 11-34 and I sit in the 46 ring 90+% of the time.
    I like the 46t big ring for riding and I also find myself staying in it all day. That's probably not the best idea because of the chain angle, but I admit to climbing in 46/36 when I should probably be in 34/25 or 28.

    For a long time it was difficult to find these super compact cranks, you could always make up something with TA parts, but it's nice to find more of the 94BCD cranks
    Last edited by nun; 10-06-14 at 10:59 AM.

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    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Cycco, though for you a triple might not be finicky, it's just not as sweet as a double when it comes to slap it and you're home, there is no too much or too little shift and no need to trim for chain rub.

    I never said it was as low as a triple can be made but a 23 gear inch will get many where they need to go.

    As far as your claim on awkward shifting, actually I sit in that 46 ring all the way up to the 30 cog now (sometimes I'm a bad boy and shift big to big... 46 to 34 cog) but that 30 ring will only be a bail out ring for us flat landers. Anyway, it's just another possibility, no ultimate solution, everyone's cycling needs are too variable for one size fits all.

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    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Cycco, though for you a triple might not be finicky, it's just not as sweet as a double when it comes to slap it and you're home, there is no too much or too little shift and no need to trim for chain rub.

    I never said it was as low as a triple can be made but a 23 gear inch will get many where they need to go.

    As far as your claim on awkward shifting, actually I sit in that 46 ring all the way up to the 30 cog now (sometimes I'm a bad boy and shift big to big... 46 to 34 cog) but that 30 ring will only be a bail out ring for us flat landers. Anyway, it's just another possibility, no ultimate solution, everyone's cycling needs are too variable for one size fits all.
    I think bike tourers worry a bit too much about gearing.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Yea, I run a 10 speed 11-34 cassette on a couple of my bikes and wouldn't want to push those larger steps any further...I'm not sure I would want my front derailleur to have to deal with more than a 16t difference.
    Great arguments for a triple, imo
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  16. #16
    Wheel Builder Dream Cyclery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I think bike tourers worry a bit too much about gearing.
    Bike tourers worry about everything. That's why they carry so much stuff.
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    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Cycco, though for you a triple might not be finicky, it's just not as sweet as a double when it comes to slap it and you're home, there is no too much or too little shift and no need to trim for chain rub.

    I never said it was as low as a triple can be made but a 23 gear inch will get many where they need to go.

    As far as your claim on awkward shifting, actually I sit in that 46 ring all the way up to the 30 cog now (sometimes I'm a bad boy and shift big to big... 46 to 34 cog) but that 30 ring will only be a bail out ring for us flat landers. Anyway, it's just another possibility, no ultimate solution, everyone's cycling needs are too variable for one size fits all.
    +1
    I don't like front shifts and am abandoning 50-34 for that reason. I'm testing a 44-28 (11-28 rear) for light touring --adapted from an octalink era 52-42-30 crank (pic below), but the plan is still to make it a 42-26 crank for slightly more loaded touring (I don't do fully loaded touring. My definitions: "Light touring" is minimal support. "Slightly more loaded" is unsupported credit card. That's all I do). I stay on the 44 (or 42) most of the time, and only drop down for long steeps.

    20141001_203244.jpg
    Last edited by dbg; 10-07-14 at 08:20 AM.
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  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Cycco, though for you a triple might not be finicky, it's just not as sweet as a double when it comes to slap it and you're home, there is no too much or too little shift and no need to trim for chain rub.

    I never said it was as low as a triple can be made but a 23 gear inch will get many where they need to go.

    As far as your claim on awkward shifting, actually I sit in that 46 ring all the way up to the 30 cog now (sometimes I'm a bad boy and shift big to big... 46 to 34 cog) but that 30 ring will only be a bail out ring for us flat landers. Anyway, it's just another possibility, no ultimate solution, everyone's cycling needs are too variable for one size fits all.
    I've owned some doubles and never found them to be better (or worse) than a triple. I have triple cranks of just about any flavor or range you could ask for (52/40/24, 50/39/30, 46/34/20, 44/34/22, 44/34/22 and 42/32/22) running mountain bike and road bike derailers and I've never had any issues with too much or too little shift. Granted, my current stable doesn't include anything that isn't indexed for the front but I don't find that to be a problem either. My fast bike (52/40/24) and my touring bike (46/34/20) shifts as crisply as anything I've ever ridden.

    I don't know where you have toured but I've never toured anywhere that was "flat". Even flat areas aren't. I probably spend most of my time around a 46/26 gear but I have also use the entire range of a 46/34/20 11-34 gearing in many places around the US...and could have use something a bit less high in some instances. But I was also glad that I could transition from 46/11 to 20/34 is fairly easy regular steps.

    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I think bike tourers worry a bit too much about gearing.
    Some of us like to actually ride to the top of mountains rather than push our bikes up them. Even unloaded, I use lower gears for climbing...and am thankful to have them.
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  19. #19
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

    Some of us like to actually ride to the top of mountains rather than push our bikes up them. Even unloaded, I use lower gears for climbing...and am thankful to have them.
    I didn't want to imply that gearing isn't something to be considered, just that people often fixate on it as a panacea for their fears and problems with climbing when basic fitness, weight, technique and psychology are also important factors. People need to be comfortable on their bike and select a gear and cadence to match the fitness of their legs, core and cardio system. I might spin for a while and if I find myself getting out of breath I'll go up a gear to use my leg muscles a bit more and vis-a-versa.

  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I didn't want to imply that gearing isn't something to be considered, just that people often fixate on it as a panacea for their fears and problems with climbing when basic fitness, weight, technique and psychology are also important factors. People need to be comfortable on their bike and select a gear and cadence to match the fitness of their legs, core and cardio system. I might spin for a while and if I find myself getting out of breath I'll go up a gear to use my leg muscles a bit more and vis-a-versa.
    Gearing is a panacea for many when it comes to climbing. It isn't about basic fitness, weight or psychology. And it definitely isn't about technique. It's about mechanical advantage. I'm fit and can climb better than most people in my weight class. However, there is nothing wrong with having a gear that allows you to pedal at a slow speed rather than try to mash at a slow speed. A 23" gear isn't all that low and I've been in may situations where it would be a painful grind...even on an unloaded bike.

    There is a certain machismo about grinding up hills in the highest gear possible to which I don't subscribe. Even the term "granny gear" implies a certain weakness. I prefer to use intelligence rather than brute strength to get me to the top of hills. That's technique. I may not be the fastest to the top of a hill but I'm not racing someone, so why do I need to strain to get there? This subforum is supposed to be about "touring". Getting to the top of the hill as fast as possible is too much "de France" and too little "Tour".
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  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    dbg's 2/3rds of a triple works well in the '1 by', big ring, mode, now in the middle.. and the bail out granny..

    I did a 52-36 back when top cog was just 13t. not 11.. [ but I Was under 40 &160, then ]



    I bought a Swiss Mountain Drive crank, the chain stays on the chainring, the crank arm is connected

    to a planetary gear , which in turn connects to the chainring.. so they can turn at a different rate .

    It works where a 2 chainring set would struggle with the big difference, Ie like a 50-20t combination .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-07-14 at 12:34 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Gearing is a panacea for many when it comes to climbing. It isn't about basic fitness, weight or psychology. And it definitely isn't about technique. It's about mechanical advantage. I'm fit and can climb better than most people in my weight class. However, there is nothing wrong with having a gear that allows you to pedal at a slow speed rather than try to mash at a slow speed. A 23" gear isn't all that low and I've been in may situations where it would be a painful grind...even on an unloaded bike.

    There is a certain machismo about grinding up hills in the highest gear possible to which I don't subscribe. Even the term "granny gear" implies a certain weakness. I prefer to use intelligence rather than brute strength to get me to the top of hills. That's technique. I may not be the fastest to the top of a hill but I'm not racing someone, so why do I need to strain to get there? This subforum is supposed to be about "touring". Getting to the top of the hill as fast as possible is too much "de France" and too little "Tour".
    I'm actually going to agree, cough, cough, with CC on this, . There's a lot to be said for spinning up a hill; my knees say thank you when I do, . I also agree that triples are oddly undervalued. I understand why the market has moved away from them as the manufacturers want to save the expense of having too many different components on hand and most consumers don't know any better and buy what is available. But triples have a lot of advantages and no real disadvantages unless, of course, one is racing. Otherwise the pluses and minuses tend to be a bit of a wash with the triple having the indisputable advantage of giving you a bailout gear.

    Edit: setting up a triple on a racing bike can present some issues in which case a double like the one that Robow posted (46-30) can be a valuable alternative to a triple.

  23. #23
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    dbg's 2/3rds of a triple works well in the '1 by', big ring, mode, now in the middle.. and the bail out granny..

    I did a 52-36 back when top cog was just 13t. not 11.. [ but I Was under 40 &160, then ]

    With a chain catcher on the inside and chain guard on the outside, ---I just "slap" the front shift and it falls/climbs perfectly into place.
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  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I did similar on my Touring Triple, so all 3 front shifts are always onto the chainrings ..

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    I put a Salsa chain guard on the outside of a triple with 44t tucked right next to it and 30t inner ring. Sure would be nice if there were more stock cassettes with 12 or 13 small cog.

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