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Triple or Double

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Old 07-30-08, 09:43 AM
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tldga3
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Triple or Double

How much do you think I would notice the difference between these setups?

what I ride now:
52/42/30 with a 12-25 cass

considering buying a bike with one of these:
48/36/26 with a 11-26 cass (Trek 7.6FX)
50/34 with a 11-25 cass (Jamis Allegro 3)
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Old 07-30-08, 09:48 AM
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It depends alot on how you use your current setup.
How often are you in 52-12 or 30-25?
Do you even haul alot of gear or have serious wind and have to gear way down or not ride? maybe long rides when you have to use the granny to spin up a hill because you have nothing left.

I have a road bike that I believe is 53/42 with a 11-22(?) in the back. It is fine if all I have is a backpack and I'm not hitting a headwind but with a fierce headwind on my 20+ mile one way I really don't like being out there.
My current commuter is a 53/40/30 with a 11-27+(maybe 30?) or so in the back and I use every gear. pretty much every day.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:55 AM
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You will notice a big difference between those setups. As above, pay attention to what you're using now. I have a triple and have only used it on my commute a handful of times in the past 6 years.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:57 AM
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I've rarely found myself wanting to use a higher crankset, except for when barreling along at top speed. I think you'd be fine with the double, or even a single.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:00 AM
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Substantial hills of any kind? You'll notice a big difference unless you typically like to stand when climbing.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:09 AM
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I like the triple with a 42 middle ring. It handles 99% of my commute. If I had a 50/34 it seems like I would be shifting between the two all the time.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:31 AM
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I like my triple too; the 42 to 12-25 9 speed has really nice close spacing. The 30T works great on hills, while the 52 gets some usage on the other side, depending upon my mood. Like AlmostTrick, I spend most of my time in the 42.

But it'd drive me nuts if I was biking loaded down with stuff. I've been towing around my kids in a trailer (using my mountain bike), and I find myself often doing double downshifts on a 7 speed 11-28, when I hit a hill. That'd be like downshift 3-4 gears each time on my road bike!

In the end, it comes down to your ability, terrain, weight and your mood. If you are already riding a 30/42/52 with 12-25, the question becomes, what gears are you usually using? Do you never use the 30T? Never use the 52? Or are you going to start carrying heavy loads? Do you shift a lot?
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Old 07-30-08, 10:43 AM
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What a great thread I had the same question. I am currently commuting on a hybrid 48/38/28 to 11-30 cassette, but I plan to buy a road bike within the next week or so. That is a large range huh? 11-30.....48/38/28

The one I am currently looking at is a compact double crank 50/34T 12-25 cassette.

I spend most of my time in 38, but use 28 for some hills by my house. I am moving to a much more hilly place so I would definitely be in my 28 on my hybrid bike. Since I am new to cycling....I really had no clue this was important..but the more reading BF the more I've learned.

Now I am contemplating looking for another bike, because I really do use my 38 ALOT and I use my 28 for some relatively small hills that aren't miles long.

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Old 07-30-08, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tldga3 View Post
How much do you think I would notice the difference between these setups?

what I ride now:
52/42/30 with a 12-25 cass

considering buying a bike with one of these:
48/36/26 with a 11-26 cass (Trek 7.6FX)
50/34 with a 11-25 cass (Jamis Allegro 3)
26-26 is mountain bike gearing. I'd say complete overkill for anything on the road unless you are hauling a trailer up 10% grades into a headwind. The compact gearing on the Allegro will probably be enough for any normal commuting. You will notice the difference in all these setups. Whether or not the difference means anything depends on your usage and strength.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
26-26 is mountain bike gearing. I'd say complete overkill for anything on the road unless you are hauling a trailer up 10% grades into a headwind.
Come ride my daily route. I climb a hill on the way home in 26/26 every day. 26/30 when I'm on the 29er.


tldga3: check out Sheldon's gear calculator:
http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Plug in your current numbers,then the stats of the bikes you're looking at.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
Come ride my daily route. I climb a hill on the way home in 26/26 every day. 26/30 when I'm on the 29er.


tldga3: check out Sheldon's gear calculator:
http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Plug in your current numbers,then the stats of the bikes you're looking at.
I don't pretend to speak for everyone when I say "normal commute". Also, your statement says nothing, I could do my entire commute in 26/26 too. Then again I can also do it with my 53/39+11-28 road bike or 42-16 fixed gear. Like I said, it depends on your usage and strength whether or not the difference in gearing the OP purposed will make any meaningful difference.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:39 AM
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I lived for the last 2 months on top of Ithaca, NY 's south hill. That was 1.2 miles at a 9-10% grade at the end of a leisurely commute. Coming from Florida where it was flat, I lived in 26-30 up that hill and on days where I was really tired 26-34 was the ticket especially if I had a load of groceries. Like everyone has been saying it depends on what you are used to and the conditions you typically see and your fitness level.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TheatreME View Post
I lived for the last 2 months on top of Ithaca, NY 's south hill. That was 1.2 miles at a 9-10% grade at the end of a leisurely commute. Coming from Florida where it was flat, I lived in 26-30 up that hill and on days where I was really tired 26-34 was the ticket especially if I had a load of groceries. Like everyone has been saying it depends on what you are used to and the conditions you typically see and your fitness level.
I would not have understood this post if I didn't read a gear tutorial and do Sheldons gear calculator. Man...God bless that man's family. His website was the first I came upon...when I decided to embark upon this cycling journey. I had no clue he was even gone..just thought this guy was Amazing!

I've had a bonk day when I lived in 26-28. I had to pull over. But, now my one significant hill I usualyl do in 20-38. Not great, but better than usual..I do stand up though.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:07 PM
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I love my double, but the range is a little narrow at 39-48. I could almost go 1 x 10 and use only the 48 (and do exactly that many/most days). I think I'd like something more like 38-52, maybe even bigger. Anyway, for my route(s) a double is more than enough.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:31 PM
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I have a 48/38/28. I NEVER use the 28, and have never used my lowest rear (28) when in the 38 up front, even on an uphill at the end of a long commute into a headwind. I could use a 52 up front though, I do sometimes run out of high end.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
I have a 48/38/28. I NEVER use the 28, and have never used my lowest rear (28) when in the 38 up front, even on an uphill at the end of a long commute into a headwind. I could use a 52 up front though, I do sometimes run out of high end.
You run out of the 48? Wow! What's your cadence?
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Old 07-30-08, 12:57 PM
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Since all of this depends on your weight, fitness level, desired level of exertion, terrain and desired RPM, I'll just throw out what I have on my commuter: 53/39/30 and 11-23. I use all my gears. I still like like to blaze down hill at 45+ when I'm feeling good, so I roll the 53x11 almost as much as the 30x23. I can also do this commute on a 47x16 SS, so it just depends on you. If you feel like you're straining for a lower gear, get lower gearing. If you feel like you're spinning out, get some bigger gearing. If you're doing both, get a triple. For logging tons and tons of miles when you have to get to where you're going, even if you're sick and/or tired, I think a triple can't be beat. Having said that, I get by just fine with a 53/39 double on my CF Trek up in the mountains. I'm not superman, it's just that bike is so light and efficient, turning 60 RPM just doesn't seem that hard.

Bottom line is I wouldn't let ego make the decision, do what's right for your body. I personally don't want a compact crank because I like to pedal going down big climbs, too, so for this area, I roll a triple. In contrast, when we vacationed on the gulf coast, I was more than happy with a fixie, even on longer rides.
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Old 07-30-08, 01:18 PM
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I recently switched from a triple to a double on my road bike. It wasn't an ego thing. The MTB I use for the winter is a triple and I use all the gears on basically the same route.

I switched because I like more of a drop between the front chain rings (probably because that's what I'm used to) and because the short chain stays on my road bike created some pretty eccentric chain lines. Plus I don't think triples shift as crisply. It's now a 53-39 and a 12-25. The rear is only an 8 speed. I already have a nine speed shifter so when I get a nine speed cog I'll add a little to the low end to recover some of what I lost in the range.

The smallest chain ring got little use and I don't miss it. If I were ever to find myself in hillier terrain or hauling larger loads that might change. On this bike I might eventually go with a compact double if I needed to gear down a lot more. I don't think I'd go back to a triple.
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Old 07-30-08, 01:35 PM
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I do have a big hill to go up on the way home today. I will try to do it with my 42 and see where I am.

Actually if I can make it up the hill without using my 23/25 cog then I could handle the same hill with the Jamis. I used the Hubbub gear calculator.

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Old 07-30-08, 01:40 PM
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I have a triple and i never used the small ring. That is until i hooked up a kiddie trailer and loaded it with kids. Then it was pretty much all i used. Gearing preferences depend on a lot of factors.
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Old 07-30-08, 01:49 PM
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I have triple on my tandem, which is a good thing, but I don't really like it. I don't like having to baby it when down shifting on the rings. With a double chainring, when I down shift I just dump it. My single has a 48/36, and the stock cassette was 12-25. To get more low end, I had a 12-34 cassette put on it, and I'm really happy with the range it gives me.
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Old 07-30-08, 02:04 PM
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Just get the triple. So what if there are gears you don't use all that often. There's alway that "one day" when you're glad.

If they made a quadruple I'd be all over it.
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Old 07-30-08, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
...the short chain stays on my road bike created some pretty eccentric chain lines. Plus I don't think triples shift as crisply.
Very good points. Triples have a trim position which is used for the higher and lower ends of the middle chain ring. If you are towards the low end of your cassette and in the big ring in the front, you have to downshift the front ring, and then "trim"-shift down again to keep the chain from rubbing bike side of the the derailleur cage. Doubles have a trim feature as well, but the function is much more noticeable on a triple. They are a bit more finicky in shifting as well. Upgrading to better chain rings helps with this, too. I'm running an Ultegra/Dura-Ace mix of chain rings. I noticed right away that the Dura-Ace 53 was much stronger than the Truvativ 52 that came with the bike and the Ultegra middle ring has much better pins and ramps aiding shifting, as well.
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Old 07-30-08, 03:33 PM
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Problem with road racing cranksets is they have that useless huge 52/48 chainring which has no purpose outside of racing, IMO. I can go 35MPH on the middle ring, and there's no need to take a bike faster for commuting or utility. I swap my road racing cranksets for mountain bike triples 44/32/22 that have some real climbing and hauling gears. So, I would not even consider the 50/34 you list because the big ring is too large and the small ring is too large as well.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by HeIncreasesMe View Post
You run out of the 48? Wow! What's your cadence?
This wasn't directed at me, but this happens to me, too. I spin out on the 48-13 combination on my hybrid at about 45 MPH. Not often. Downhill. I usually run out of hill before I hit my mas RPM, or I rest my legs for the hill climb on the other side of the canyon.

If I had to choose between a gear range that had me walking up the steepest of hills, or spinning out down the steepest of hills, well...that's not really a tough choice. If I wanted to walk, I wouldn't have biked.

I personally spend most time in the 38 chainring and about 15t or so in the back. Large hill climbing I do 38-30. Trailer pulling drops me down to the 28 chainring on hills.
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