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Gearing Upgrade

Old 12-14-15, 04:15 PM
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Timtruro
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Gearing Upgrade

I have a Roubaix elite triple with 105 gearing. Thinking of upgrading to Ultra 6800 with a double. I've noticed that companies are getting away from triples, and the new bikes with doubles but a wider gear range in the rear that seem to negate the need for the granny gear. What do you think, worth the investment?? Cost is about $560 if I do the work.
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Old 12-14-15, 04:31 PM
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I’d stick with the triple, but that’s good for me. You have to decide what’s best for you. I'm a triple oriented rider and find they provide the best overall gearing.
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Old 12-14-15, 04:48 PM
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I have both. I much prefer the triple, because for a similar gear range I can retain closer ratios on the cassette. Plus on the triple I cruise most of the time in the 39 middle ring, and it isn't quite as easy to find the right gear on the compact double, so there's more shifting up front. Unless the 105 groupset is giving you trouble, I wouldn't spend money to swap it out.
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Old 12-14-15, 04:53 PM
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My Upgrade is Rohloff its a Mountain triple drivetrain in 14 even steps ..

you get rid of a lot of parts so weight comparisons has to include the stuff you no longer Need

Up spending is not necessarily improving things but it is Commerce.



Make up a gear-inch chart see what gears you have and use ..

wide step double with a Lot of double shifts between commnly used gears is a PITA.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-14-15 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 12-14-15, 04:58 PM
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I have the same bike as you do and, for me, there is no way I would do it. I like having the ability to get some low gearing for the steep, long climbs that I will occasionally do. I know there is always discussion that triples are problematic but mine has performed flawlessly since I have had it. Provided your setup is working well, you really won't be gaining much except for a few grams.
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Old 12-14-15, 05:02 PM
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I do like the 'granny gear' when I hit a good size hill.
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Old 12-14-15, 05:06 PM
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My Tour Easy Long wheel base recumbent has a triple,,I use all three.


My Mountain bike is a 1 x 11 but that's a different animal all together...
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Old 12-14-15, 06:25 PM
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All the cool kids ride doubles because they don't know how to shift a triple properly, or how to set one up so that it does shift properly. Shimano pushes them out of self-defense because there aren't enough good mechanics who know how--or will follow the directions properly--to set up a triple.

Unless you're a racer, there's nothing inherently "better" about either drivetrain--provided you know how to use it and it's set up properly.

If you're happy with your triple, keep it. If you want a double only because that's what the cool kids ride, or you have some other itch to scratch, then there's nothing anyone can say. Go buy the 6800.

As for me, it's not so much the double part as it is the compact part that bothers me.

My typical cruising speed is right in that range where you're cross-chained in either the 34 or the 50. Annoying as hell. So my Litespeed's double is a standard not a compact.

The other thing about wide-range drivetrains is that people look only at the ends, not the middle. Maybe it's not an issue if you live someplace hilly, but I certainly don't like drivetrains with big jumps between the gears in the midrange.

There's a guy on another forum, former racer, now a custom builder of racing bikes. The man's never owned a triple in his life. On a recent trip to France, all he could rent was a triple. He fell in love with it because of the tight gearing in back. Even in the mountains he liked all those extra gears.

So it's not always a case of range.
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Old 12-14-15, 08:25 PM
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It seems that it all depends on what you are looking for. Does Shimano make a triple in a crankset above Tiagra any more? I find the double to be simpler and with all of the new derailleurs covering 11x28 or 30 pretty much right out of the gate climbing is no longer that big of a problem. Plus if you ever go to SRAM or Electric shifting a double is about all you will be looking at.

To me Ultegra shifts a lot better than 105 and night and day better that Tiagra and Sora. But the only way you will ever know is to ride them back to back on roads you normally ride.
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Old 12-14-15, 09:16 PM
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My road bike is a double and wouldn't think to do otherwise. MTB is a triple and wouldn't think to do otherwise. Prefer doubles but what's appropriate for purpose/use and all that, ya know......
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Old 12-15-15, 12:07 AM
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Out of necessity I swapped out the 105 triple for a lower geared FSA to help with the hills around here. A lot depends on the individual needs and preferences. These are tools to be used for specific purposes - Road Racing, Cross, Touring, Commuting, Mountain Bike, etc.

I want something that helps me get up the hills, carry a load and go the distance. The OP may be trying to scratch an itch that only s/he gets.
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Old 12-15-15, 01:36 AM
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My current favorite road bike is 53/42/30 x 11-25 10-speed. Single tooth steps for most of the cluster, GI from 32 to 125. On flat or rolling routes I can stay in the big ring, climbs get the middle ring, and the granny for a bailout.

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Old 12-15-15, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post

As for me, it's not so much the double part as it is the compact part that bothers me.

My typical cruising speed is right in that range where you're cross-chained in either the 34 or the 50. Annoying as hell. So my Litespeed's double is a standard not a compact.
I'm one of your cool kids with a road double 39/53. My cassette is a 12-28 on a Cannondale Criterium setup to ride fast. There are a few hills in our very hilly northern lower Michigan that I cant make, one is a half-mile 10% that only a handful ride. The 39/28 on light racing wheels/tires makes a huge difference in riding as will doing pushaways from the evening table. One other factor is make hills your friend, dont avoid them.
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Old 12-15-15, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
All the cool kids ride doubles because they don't know how to shift a triple properly, or how to set one up so that it does shift properly. Shimano pushes them out of self-defense because there aren't enough good mechanics who know how--or will follow the directions properly--to set up a triple.

Unless you're a racer, there's nothing inherently "better" about either drivetrain--provided you know how to use it and it's set up properly.

If you're happy with your triple, keep it. If you want a double only because that's what the cool kids ride, or you have some other itch to scratch, then there's nothing anyone can say. Go buy the 6800.

As for me, it's not so much the double part as it is the compact part that bothers me.

My typical cruising speed is right in that range where you're cross-chained in either the 34 or the 50. Annoying as hell. So my Litespeed's double is a standard not a compact.

The other thing about wide-range drivetrains is that people look only at the ends, not the middle. Maybe it's not an issue if you live someplace hilly, but I certainly don't like drivetrains with big jumps between the gears in the midrange.

There's a guy on another forum, former racer, now a custom builder of racing bikes. The man's never owned a triple in his life. On a recent trip to France, all he could rent was a triple. He fell in love with it because of the tight gearing in back. Even in the mountains he liked all those extra gears.

So it's not always a case of range.
This. If you live in a relatively flat area, you might find yourself constantly hunting for a comfortable cruising gear on a compact double, with the 50 tooth a little too big, and the 34 tooth, a little too small. A 39 tooth middle ring is just right for many cyclists.
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Old 12-15-15, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
I have a Roubaix elite triple with 105 gearing. Thinking of upgrading to Ultra 6800 with a double. I've noticed that companies are getting away from triples, and the new bikes with doubles but a wider gear range in the rear that seem to negate the need for the granny gear. What do you think, worth the investment?? Cost is about $560 if I do the work.
I would say no. Why spend $560 for something that, maybe, isn't even as good as what you have? It is too bad Shimano is no longer making high end triples. I understand why, because with 10 and 11 speed cassettes, a triple crankset seems like overkill. That said, for many cyclists over 50, a 50 - 34 crankset is not optimal. If I had to switch over to a compact double, I might consider something like a 46 - 30, or 44 - 30 crankset. Why? Because with an wide range cassette of 11 - 32, you have a low gear of 25 gear inches and a high gear of 107 gear inches, plus 3 more useful gears in the middle when using the 44 tooth chainring compared with a 50 tooth chainring.

Last edited by MRT2; 12-15-15 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 12-15-15, 09:36 AM
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I wouldn't switch.

Triples should be the best option for many riders. But it's easier to sell compact doubles, with fewer different bikes and an easy sales pitch.

Comparing the triple and compact double

Look at the range of 15 mph to 20 mph on both charts. The triple has lots of close gears, so it's easy to get your wanted cadence. And the middle chain ring range is around 13 mph to 22 mph. The double has more gaps on the big chainring from 15 to 22, and it's missing the 16 tooth cog, which makes a gap right at the low 20 mph range.

The Mike Sherman gear calculator links below have these two setups pre-loaded. (The popup message is just saying that you can save those settings as a bookmark.) Changes to gears or cadence update the charts on the fly.

The 105 10-speed triple with 50/39/30 and 12-27. Link to Mike Sherman calculator. A great middle chainring range, and lower low gears too.




Shimano 11-speed compact double with 50/34 and 11-28. Mike Sherman link.

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Old 12-15-15, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
I'm one of your cool kids with a road double 39/53. My cassette is a 12-28 on a Cannondale Criterium setup to ride fast. There are a few hills in our very hilly northern lower Michigan that I cant make, one is a half-mile 10% that only a handful ride. The 39/28 on light racing wheels/tires makes a huge difference in riding as will doing pushaways from the evening table. One other factor is make hills your friend, dont avoid them.
Clean your reading glasses. Even in the part you quoted, I said the cool kids ride compacts and that my double is a standard.

Hills are my friend, FWIW. I'll be riding the hilly route to work today. With my standard and a 12-23 out back. I do it a couple of times a week, just because. Sometimes (although not today) with loaded panniers.
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Old 12-15-15, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Clean your reading glasses. Even in the part you quoted, I said the cool kids ride compacts and that my double is a standard.

Hills are my friend, FWIW. I'll be riding the hilly route to work today. With my standard and a 12-23 out back. I do it a couple of times a week, just because. Sometimes (although not today) with loaded panniers.
No, I dont even need reading glasses but I was referring to your first line in your post. But nevermind, I'm chuckling anyway and we really are not afar off in the points made and I really am a cool kid.
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Old 12-15-15, 10:32 AM
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IMHO, I'm not a fan of compact doubles with a 16T or larger gap between rings. Depending on my bike, I either ride a standard double with a low gear of about 38-39 gear inches (with a 39 chain ring, with a 27 or 28 cog) or, on my bikes with low enough gears for serious climbing (below 30 gear inches), I ride a triple - with 9 speed index in the back.

But a couple of caveats: On my bikes with triples, I use downtube shifters, with friction shifting in front. I find it works better than index shifting on the front (I do use index shifting on the back 9). And I know how to tweak and adjust the drivetrain so that it all works properly. Personally, I think that if you need a low gear in the low thirties to as low as the mid 20s, a triple is the way to go to get that low gear while retaining reasonably tight spacing in the normal riding range.
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Old 12-15-15, 11:11 AM
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That bike has to make only one person in the entire world happy. You're the one.

When you ride your bicycle, what gears do you use? As a general rule a triple will yield a little wider gear range so, if you are presently using them all, I'd stick with the triple.

If you aren't using them all, think of which gear ratios you wouldn't mind not having. If you're planning to re-gear your bike, work out all the ratios and look for a crankset/cassette combination that includes all of the gears you need and eliminates the ones you don't use.

FWIW, I have no difficulty riding my compact double equipped recumbent. I do most of my riding in the big chain ring and only use the little ring for climbing big or steep hills. When I'm ready to gear down for the climb, I simply shift chain rings at a point at which I can take the big gearing step in my stride.
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Old 12-15-15, 11:13 AM
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Triple. I run 52-39-26 with 11-25 in back. Nice close gearing.
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Old 12-15-15, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
I do like the 'granny gear' when I hit a good size hill.
Then there's your answer.

Maybe use a Gear Calculator, to see how the triple compares to a double, and what gear ratios you would lose, and whether or not you need them.

GH
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Old 12-15-15, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
Out of necessity I swapped out the 105 triple for a lower geared FSA to help with the hills around here. A lot depends on the individual needs and preferences. These are tools to be used for specific purposes - Road Racing, Cross, Touring, Commuting, Mountain Bike, etc.

I want something that helps me get up the hills, carry a load and go the distance. The OP may be trying to scratch an itch that only s/he gets.
I have ultra doubles on a touring bike and another road bike, the shifting is smoother with the ultegras but I'm not dis-satisfied with the 105's either. My thought process is a nicer shift and still a wide range of gearing options might be the right combination for this ride.
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Old 12-15-15, 02:41 PM
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Because my old stuff still works well and and I don't want to swap it out I am riding a double. But my wife went from a double to a triple and she will never go back.

Others have given a lot of great advice, but here is one more... if you don't want a triple don't shift into the granny and save yourself some money.

Actually there is some truth in setting up the gearing on your bike as a double and then only use the granny when you have to. Swap out the cassette, maybe change the chainrings and, if you have enough latitude, adjust the chainline. You can still leave the granny on there, and have a very minor weight penalty. Then don't shift into it unless you really need it.

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Old 12-15-15, 02:46 PM
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How much lighter would your bike+rider combo be if you just took $560 in cash from your pocket and set fire to it? Because I'll bet that is a similar effect to what you are proposing. Unless something is not functioning properly (which is almost always a result of poor set-up when dealing with Shimano) then there is very little you can do to make it demonstrably better. You could just change the crank and front derailleur to a double setup, but that is imho just taking a step backwards for no practical reason. Practice shifting your triple and make sure you know how to keep it super-tuned. If someone is faster than you it isn't your small chainring's fault.
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