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Thinking about going to a triple

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Thinking about going to a triple

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Old 01-18-07, 08:45 PM
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Falkon
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Thinking about going to a triple

I've got an R700 compact on my bike right now, but I'm considering trading it for an Ultegra double or triple. The 34t ring just feels too small for riding, but the 50t feels too big unless I'm really moving. I need something in about a 39 or 42 for cruising. I'm thinking the triple for climbing while I've got my heavy loads [books, clothes, etc]. Maybe I'm trying to do too much with one bike?

I'm just trying to get something that feels comfortable. It feels fine if I'm down in about the 6th or 7th cog, but then to go any farther, I have to shift back up to about the 3rd and put it in the big ring. The steps are small, and there's an issue of missing gears once I get into the large ring.

I'm really not sure where to go with it. Perhaps I just need to get more saddle time in and get back in shape and just go to a double.
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Old 01-18-07, 09:01 PM
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I have a Shimano 105 50/39/30. I probably spend 70% of the time on the 39, 28% of the time on the 50, and 2% of the time on the 30. I have a cassette that has a 27, so there is little call for the 30t chainring.
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Old 01-18-07, 09:05 PM
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What do you got on the rear?
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Old 01-18-07, 09:13 PM
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I live in terrain where I figure the more choices the better so I've got triples on all my rigs. What the heck. I may not be a racer but I'm no slouch either. If I lived in flatter country maybe a double would do. I say if you're thinking you may need it, go ahead.
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Old 01-18-07, 09:57 PM
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Is there much difference in weight cost between a double and a triple? I've seen some Specialized having a more expensive triple, while a similar bike from Trek would have the same price for double and triple.
If there isn't much difference between price and weight, wouldn't having a triple just make your bike more versatile?
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Old 01-18-07, 10:00 PM
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draxine, it's the coolness factor not logic. The difference in weight as a percentage of total rider/vehicle weight is very small. But everyone can say they ride a triple. Only fit riders can brag they ride a double. [PS doubles make more sense in flatter terrain and not in mountain terrain.]
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Old 01-18-07, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
draxine, it's the coolness factor not logic. The difference in weight as a percentage of total rider/vehicle weight is very small. But everyone can say they ride a triple. Only fit riders can brag they ride a double. [PS doubles make more sense in flatter terrain and not in mountain terrain.]
ahhhhh NOW i see!!
That brings up an interesting question actually. I've been commuting (22 miles roung trip) in London on a cheap Raleigh mtb since summer, and I'm thinking of getting myself a nice roadie too to take on weekend rides and sometimes commute on. Now, considering that I'm pretty much a cycling noob should I go for a triple first even though London doesn't have too many dramatic hills in it?
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Old 01-18-07, 10:10 PM
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Falkon, if all you are concerned about is having a different small chainring, you can probably swap out your 34 for a 42 or similar. I find that when riding my road bikes unloaded, I spend the vast majority of the time in the 42 (with a 12-25 cassette) unless I'm climbing the really steep hills. If I had an 11-30 cassette, I could probably get by with just a 42 up front unloaded but since I do sometimes carry loads on those bikes, the 30 is nice to have.
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Old 01-18-07, 10:22 PM
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This is the reason I have been reluctant to go for the compact double idea. I figure I would spend a great deal more time shifting between the chain rings to get the gear ratio I want. Even if the shifts are theoretically faster than on my triple, I could see me doing a lot more. I really love the versatility of the 42t ring.
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Old 01-18-07, 10:47 PM
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I rarely use the granny on my triples (except on the MTB of course) but the 42t ring seems like the perfect ring for almost all my riding. A 39t always seems too small unless I'm really climbing.

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Old 01-19-07, 04:25 AM
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You could pick up a used triple in good nick for $30 - do it, I say. I had a compact double on my tourer/commuter, and I hated it. Felt like I was riding into a headwind all the time on the small ring, but the big was too big. 42 teeth rules. If you feel like you need a real granny too, then get a triple, but honestly, I only have one on my cheap and nasty department store mountain bike, and there, I never use it. Who ever wants to go lower than 42/28 anyway?
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Old 01-19-07, 04:44 AM
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Regardless of how fit a bicycle commuter is, we all have good days and bad days. The energy level of our bodies can vary from one day to the next. Most times, more gear options are better.

You said you were not comfortable with your present crank. It's important to be comfortable so most of our concentration is on our navigation. Instead of trying to find the right gear.

Get the Ultegra Triple. It's a great crank. And, yes, I seldom use the 30t ring. I have used it. And was glad I had it when I did.
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Old 01-19-07, 07:23 AM
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I had been using Ultegra triple for years and was loving it. Then i bought a new bike with compact double: 48x34 up front and 12-25 out back. The range is good even for light touring and hills, yet the gear ratio jumps when I switch rings still drive me crazy. With the triple, I knew when to switch between rings and not have such big ratio changes.

Having said that, I spend a lot more time in the small ring with the compact double, and the small and middle rings with the triple. YMMV
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Old 01-19-07, 07:51 AM
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I'm thinking about just changing the 34t out for a 36t. I just need to bring the ratios in a little closer.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:01 AM
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I don't think coolness counts much here. But my problem with a triple is that it increases choices, and I just can't handle that many decisions. I also hate it when I shift and can't feel it. Close-ratio gearing is fine for racers and sports cars, but when I shift during my commute, I want to feel it.

Have you considered just getting a broader-range cassette? That's how I addressed this "problem." I went from a 12-25 to a 12-32. That dropped the effective low gear by 28%. It also required a longer-cage derailleur and the obligatory new chain, but going to a triple would have required both of those plus a new crankset, bottom bracket and front derailleur. If you've already considered all that and still want a triple, though, go for it.
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Old 01-19-07, 10:32 AM
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The reason I am considering switching to a compact double is not for the weight or coolness factor but for the Q-factor. I find I am more comfortable on a narrow crank and triples are wider than doubles. A 39tooth low chain ring sounds much too high for longer rides so I am interested in a compact. Plus I think with a wider range cassette a 50t chainring will provide the gearing I need for 90% of the time.
I think for a commuter I would just go with a 1x9 setup with a 44-48t front ring and a 11 to 34 cassette. Ofcourse I currently run a fixed gear for my commuter so that setup would greatly increase my gear range.
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Old 01-19-07, 10:52 AM
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Get a triple with a 23 or 25 big cog at the back. You will still have a low gear for taking loads up hills when you are tire, but the close ratios will give slicker shifting when you want to keep up your speed. I would be happy with a double for 99% of my riding, but the big ring is nice for long downhill runs or when there is a strong tailwind.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by newbojeff
I have a Shimano 105 50/39/30. I probably spend 70% of the time on the 39, 28% of the time on the 50, and 2% of the time on the 30. I have a cassette that has a 27, so there is little call for the 30t chainring.
I regeared my 52/42/30 + 12/25 to 50/39/30 + 11/28 and am very happy w/ how that turned out. I use the 30 more and 50 less than you do, but I could do my whole commute on the 39 if I had to. I really like that 39 on that bike. w/ the 50, I could start at 13 on the cassette, but it was $15 from nashbar so I tolerate the extra weight of the 11 and 12 (and using them w/ the 39 spares 'wear' on the 50 anyway).

and then, I should add, I pretty much switched over to a mountain bike anyway, but more for fit/comfort than gearing (though do need the mtn bike to pull a trailer of kids/groceries up the hills I am dealing with)

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Old 01-19-07, 11:22 AM
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I boils down to what kind of terrain you cover. My daily commute is all hills. I'm rarely in the middle ring of my triple. I need the range of gears. Never been to Huntsville, so I can't say what your needs are.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:23 AM
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Definitely sounds like you should change something if you're not happy.


Doesn't necessarily HAVE to be a triple though. The double on the bike I road today is a 39/48 with a 12-25 rear. I've been happy with it, but I live in an area without very big hills. Basically my ride is uphill, then flat, then down - both coming and going. I start in the 39, then switch to the 48 about a third of the way.

They changed the gearing this year (kona JTS) to 36/46, which would be better for cross, but not as good for commuting I think.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:32 AM
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The problem seems to be that the 34 is just too low and there's gears missing between going from 34t to 50t. Having to downshift the front and upshift the back is what sucks.
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San Jose has to be the most boring place I've ever been. And I live in Ohio.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:53 PM
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Most of my commuting is done with my Big Buzz. It's got a compact 50/36 up front and a 9sp 11-34 out back,and it's pretty much perfect. I switch front rings from 5th;if I'm in the small ring I go big before using 6th,if I'm in the big ring I drop down to the small before going 4th. I've got some monster hills,but only rarely drop below 3rd out back,so I figure it'll go low enough to handle snow too. Going with a wide MTB rear might be cheaper and work better than changing the front.

I recently regeared my cross bike from a 39/48 double to a 30/42/52 triple because of the hills(rear is 9sp 12-26). If I was going to do it again,I think I would've redid the rear. The front triple was easy to find(Truvativ Elita),but the derailleur was a PITA. Had to find NOS on eBay;Shimano doesn't do a 9sp triple anymore. Spent little over $100 in parts;a new cassette and rear derailleur would've been like $75.
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Old 01-19-07, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP
Get a triple with a 23 or 25 big cog at the back. You will still have a low gear for taking loads up hills when you are tire, but the close ratios will give slicker shifting when you want to keep up your speed. I would be happy with a double for 99% of my riding, but the big ring is nice for long downhill runs or when there is a strong tailwind.
That's my setup. 52/39/30 and a 12-25 on the rear.
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Old 01-19-07, 02:21 PM
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If you feel like getting a triple, get one.

I don't often use the granny on the front on mine, and I don't use the big ring all that much, but they are both nice to have as options. I believe I have a 52-42-32 on my 'dale touring bike.

If you end up travelling somewhere hilly, you'll be insanely grateful that you have the option. Also, when you've pretty much bonked completely and are trying to limp home it's a really nice out at the end of a long day.

My commuting bike does not have a triple, and I wish that it did constantly.
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Old 01-19-07, 02:43 PM
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I've gone from a 48/38 12-32 to a Triple 46/36/28 with 12-28 in the rear.......I ride a lot of hills, and generally go though most of the gears at one point or another. At the end of the day riding home, I an often glad to have the triple now.
 
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