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Triple vs compact

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Triple vs compact

Old 08-07-16, 01:46 PM
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a94501er
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Triple vs compact

First post, been a lurker for a long time.

I've had the Ultegra 6703 Crankset (52/39/30) paired with the XTR 11-34T for a few years now and absolutely love it.

Unfortunately (for me), triples appear to be on the way out. The new bike I'm considering has Dura-Ace 11-28t paired with a 50/34. fwiw, it also has the Di2 derailleurs.

Will I be giving up a lot of low gears that are so useful on the hills we have here in the bay area?

Cheers.

Last edited by a94501er; 08-07-16 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 08-07-16, 01:51 PM
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You dont have to follow trends ..

Do you do Maths?

Chainring tooth # '/, Cassette cog teeth # is a ratio . compare gear ratios.
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Old 08-07-16, 01:54 PM
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You will be giving up a lot. Do you use/need your 30/34? Only you can decide that.
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Old 08-07-16, 01:55 PM
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You will be losing your bottom 2 or 3 gears. If that is a problem you would need to look at bigger cassettes and derailleur mods. Has been discussed on Tandem Forum.
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Old 08-07-16, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
You will be losing your bottom 2 or 3 gears. If that is a problem you would need to look at bigger cassettes and derailleur mods. Has been discussed on Tandem Forum.
Can you a derailer modification on Di2 ?
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Old 08-07-16, 02:32 PM
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The new bike has a low gear 38% higher than your present bike. That is a lot. If you use your low gears, you do not want that new setup.

I used to ride the Bay area. Unless you plan on getting younger and stronger, I would pass on this new bike as is. If 34 is as low as you can get in front for this bike, you would need a 39 in back to get your current low gear. I am a huge fan of triples, especially for areas like where you live.

Ben
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Old 08-07-16, 03:24 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Will look at bigger cassettes/derailleur mods as suggested (not sure if they can do this with Di2).

Another option might be to transfer my existing setup to the new bike (if I endup geting it) -- looks like there's an XTR Di2 rear derailluer that might work (?)

Yes, I use my low gears a fair amount (just did Palomares/Sunol 2 weekends ago).

My knees are also a lot happier

Last edited by a94501er; 08-07-16 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 08-07-16, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by a94501er View Post
I've had the Ultegra 6703 Crankset (52/39/30) paired with the XTR 11-34T for a few years now and absolutely love it.

Unfortunately (for me), triples appear to be on the way out. The new bike I'm considering has Dura-Ace 11-28t paired with a 50/34. fwiw, it also has the Di2 derailleurs.

Will I be giving up a lot of low gears that are so useful on the hills we have here in the bay area?
Yes.
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Old 08-07-16, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by a94501er View Post
First post, been a lurker for a long time.

I've had the Ultegra 6703 Crankset (52/39/30) paired with the XTR 11-34T for a few years now and absolutely love it.

Unfortunately (for me), triples appear to be on the way out. The new bike I'm considering has Dura-Ace 11-28t paired with a 50/34. fwiw, it also has the Di2 derailleurs.

Will I be giving up a lot of low gears that are so useful on the hills we have here in the bay area?

Cheers.
I'm in the market for a 6703 setup - so PM me if you wanna sell... !

I would never buy a whole new bike and pull the new **** off so that I could put old **** on it... If you like the old **** buy a frame and new wheelset and then put on the old ****.

I see the 'compact v triple' debate is still goin strong here.

I live in an area where we have lots of long climbing and fast ride opportunities - some, like Stearn's Wharf-GibraltarRd-to LACumbre Peak is almost 4K vertical ft with plenty of 10%+ grades and a few 15%. Or like Ladera Rd, which is a non-variable 12%, straight up for one leg breakin mile - itz what bike fun/pain is all about ;-)
or do the weekly 'worlds' ride so you can have some crazy fun pack riding opportunities at 30+ mph for long stretches.

so here's why I like a triple 52(53)/39/20 & 12-25 :

1. you have a 'std' 52/39 paired with a one-cog spaced cluster in the key cogs 12-17. In a fast group having one cog differences with the smaller gear diffferential often makes the difference how well you can ride at pace. It means you can find a good balance of cadence with power (pushing a gear). Th larger the gear differential between gears the more often yo have to decide to either spin out a gear or 'push' another.
2. Closer gear differential means less need for double shifts of both front & rear at the same time.
3. A triple in the gearing note gives a top end of 115 ish gear inches and a low of 31.5 - with lots of nice even steps between.
4. I like my Big ring choices to be even, small steps between 96 and 80 gear inches for high speeds of flats, so that I can keep a cadence between 90 & 110.
5. for a ride pace of 15 thru 22 mph I like the 39 ring with gears 80 to high 50's
6. for serious climbs of 7% + and some length I need gears high 40's to low 30s.
in all these cases, more choice means I have more left over for the rest of the ride...

I tried compacts. They're ok, but just too much spread between gears if you're running a 12-28 or 11-28 to get the same outside range. Having only one usable gear in the 70's and only 2 gears in the 80 to 94 range is just no fun.
SO it's back to STDs 53/39 and Triples for me.

But many strong riders seem to like and ride well with compact setups. And electric shifting comes only in 2 ring setups. Again, I see no advantage in electric shift for me.
Problems of a triple - poor shifting? never had a shifting problem - triple is as solid and as precise as 2 ring, if setup properly. more weight - yes, whatever few grams the granny ring takes. different Q - yes, only a problem if different Q is a personal problem. Finally there is the unkoolness of triple, like a pocket pen protector. Hangups or preferences, its all resolved where the rubber meets the road.

I also like Mike Sherman's gear calculator
Mike Sherman's Bicycle Gear Calculator

Like I said, you wanna sell the 6703 stuff, PM me.
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Old 08-07-16, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
I'm in the market for a 6703 setup - so PM me if you wanna sell... !

I would never buy a whole new bike and pull the new **** off so that I could put old **** on it... If you like the old **** buy a frame and new wheelset and then put on the old ****.

I see the 'compact v triple' debate is still goin strong here.

I live in an area where we have lots of long climbing and fast ride opportunities - some, like Stearn's Wharf-GibraltarRd-to LACumbre Peak is almost 4K vertical ft with plenty of 10%+ grades and a few 15%. Or like Ladera Rd, which is a non-variable 12%, straight up for one leg breakin mile - itz what bike fun/pain is all about ;-)
or do the weekly 'worlds' ride so you can have some crazy fun pack riding opportunities at 30+ mph for long stretches.

so here's why I like a triple 52(53)/39/20 & 12-25 :

1. you have a 'std' 52/39 paired with a one-cog spaced cluster in the key cogs 12-17. In a fast group having one cog differences with the smaller gear diffferential often makes the difference how well you can ride at pace. It means you can find a good balance of cadence with power (pushing a gear). Th larger the gear differential between gears the more often yo have to decide to either spin out a gear or 'push' another.
2. Closer gear differential means less need for double shifts of both front & rear at the same time.
3. A triple in the gearing note gives a top end of 115 ish gear inches and a low of 31.5 - with lots of nice even steps between.
4. I like my Big ring choices to be even, small steps between 96 and 80 gear inches for high speeds of flats, so that I can keep a cadence between 90 & 110.
5. for a ride pace of 15 thru 22 mph I like the 39 ring with gears 80 to high 50's
6. for serious climbs of 7% + and some length I need gears high 40's to low 30s.
in all these cases, more choice means I have more left over for the rest of the ride...

I tried compacts. They're ok, but just too much spread between gears if you're running a 12-28 or 11-28 to get the same outside range. Having only one usable gear in the 70's and only 2 gears in the 80 to 94 range is just no fun.
SO it's back to STDs 53/39 and Triples for me.

But many strong riders seem to like and ride well with compact setups. And electric shifting comes only in 2 ring setups. Again, I see no advantage in electric shift for me.
Problems of a triple - poor shifting? never had a shifting problem - triple is as solid and as precise as 2 ring, if setup properly. more weight - yes, whatever few grams the granny ring takes. different Q - yes, only a problem if different Q is a personal problem. Finally there is the unkoolness of triple, like a pocket pen protector. Hangups or preferences, its all resolved where the rubber meets the road.

I also like Mike Sherman's gear calculator
Mike Sherman's Bicycle Gear Calculator

Like I said, you wanna sell the 6703 stuff, PM me.
Great post! Thanks.

I run a standard 53/39 with 12-25, a compact 50/34 with 12-25, a triple 50/39/30 with 12-28, and a 46/36 with a 12-32. The terrain around here is moderately hilly, but nothing like what you described. I don't have a preference of one over the others. On the triple I'm on the 39T ring most of the time.
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Old 08-07-16, 04:59 PM
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I would suggest going to EBay and patiently shopping for whatever lightly used or NOS triples as you can buy. Maybe someday bike makers will rediscover triples, but I wouldn't bet my ride on it.
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Old 08-07-16, 05:19 PM
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My first bike (a BD Mercier Galaxy AL) came with a triple. It's what I learned to ride on and absolutely loved that bike and it's set up.
Then a month later I joined a bike club and felt I was handicapped by the $400 bike and triple set up, so I bought a compact CF bike and learned that I was faster on the $400 triple bike. Now that I have learned to ride the compact and adjusted my riding style, the compact works well for me.
Moral, I wish I never bought another bike after the $400 Mercier because that was all I needed, and I ride w/ an A group.
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Old 08-07-16, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the reply, very informative. I haven't had any problems with triple shifting either.

I wasn't suggesting putting old *** on the new bike. Instead, I was going to buy a brand new set. In other words, get a brand new Ultegra 6703 triple + XTR 11-34T + XTR Di2 rear derailluer. Would this work?

Basically the crankset and cassette are the same models as what I have now just a new derailleur to work with the Di2 shifters.

btw, If I do endup with a new bike, my existing one is spoken for

Cheers.


Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
I'm in the market for a 6703 setup - so PM me if you wanna sell... !

I would never buy a whole new bike and pull the new **** off so that I could put old **** on it... If you like the old **** buy a frame and new wheelset and then put on the old ****.

...

Last edited by a94501er; 08-07-16 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 08-07-16, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Can you a derailer modification on Di2 ?
Yes. K-Edge can mod cage/pulleys to get required clearance for a 40t sprocket. Cheaper option is a thingy (can't remember brand) that extends down hanger mount to get the clearance.
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Old 08-07-16, 10:40 PM
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My point was that 6703 cranks are not being manufactured now and soon will no t be stocked anywhere, and buying a few in advance might make sense if you want to ride the bike for many more years as a triple.

I love the Biopace chainrings I have on one bike ...

I think tthe derailleur hanger thing is called a wolf's tooth. (Wolf Tooth RoadLink Derailleur Hanger Extender Review)
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Old 08-07-16, 11:09 PM
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Ah .. got it! Good idea

Sorry if this is a dumb question, will the Di2 front derailleur work with a triple as well? From your link below, Di2 rear + 11-40 appears to have been solved.

Or do I even need a triple if I get a 11-40???

Another combination that would provide ultra-low gearing would involve pairing a Shimano Di2 rear derailleur, coupled with a K-Edge derailleur cage conversion (which usually allows for a 36T to be used on its own) and then pairing it with WolfTooth RoadLink. We have used the K-Edge conversion on many, many Di2 bikes, with great results and this combination would allow a 11-40 11 speed cassette to work on a number of frames. In some (rare) cases it might even allow the use of a 11-42 cassette… Now that is low gearing!

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
My point was that 6703 cranks are not being manufactured now and soon will no t be stocked anywhere, and buying a few in advance might make sense if you want to ride the bike for many more years as a triple.

I love the Biopace chainrings I have on one bike ...

I think tthe derailleur hanger thing is called a wolf's tooth. (Wolf Tooth RoadLink Derailleur Hanger Extender Review)

Last edited by a94501er; 08-07-16 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 08-07-16, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by a94501er View Post
Thanks for the reply, very informative. I haven't had any problems with triple shifting either.

I wasn't suggesting putting old *** on the new bike. Instead, I was going to buy a brand new set. In other words, get a brand new Ultegra 6703 triple + XTR 11-34T + XTR Di2 rear derailluer. Would this work?

Basically the crankset and cassette are the same models as what I have now just a new derailleur to work with the Di2 shifters.

btw, If I do endup with a new bike, my existing one is spoken for

Cheers.
LOL, there's plenty of triple stuff out there. I'm not worried...
Manufacturers (shimano) will go with the marketplace, and that may mean the loss of triples...

on to your ideas.

when you say DI2 rear, you're meaning a cable front shifter ??? I don;t really have a good handle on DI2 - have ridden it and decided its not for me, so what specific configs are available is not something I'm intimate on.
so, is triple shifting available?
IF, you really need/must have a 30/34 combo (re your 6703 granny and the 34 cassette), I don;t see how you can mimic that with any compact.

BTW, I've taken the triple shifter to an obvious conclusion, which is use a normal brake lever on the left and add either barend shifters or downtube shifters. For the amount of times I shift the front, either the DT or barend/barcon) work fine for me. OCP would defintiely do the 'SCREAM' (munch) on spotting this unholy alliance of old and new. But it/they really work well.
I know, archaic. BUT, I never drop the chain. I can feel every front shift and handle it so the front shift is always smooth and positive.
So iffn I like it or don;t like it I'm only out the cost of a Suntour Ratchet shifter ( did I forget to mention the front barcon is NOT indexed.... ;-) ).

Not de-volving into retro-grouch. I LUV 10 spd, luv crap-on, luv modern saddles, the new wheels incredible, tires are so good, flattop bars, cushy/comfy bar tape, great helmutts.
But if you never had a chance to use a bar-con for the front shift - after an hour of use, you'll never drop a chain , ever again.
lettuce no what you decide and how it works out...
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Old 08-07-16, 11:48 PM
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I was curious if it was possible to use the Di2 derailleurs with cassettes other than the stock 11-28.

Please see message above for a workaround.


Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post

when you say DI2 rear, you're meaning a cable front shifter ??? I don;t really have a good handle on DI2 - have ridden it and decided its not for me, so what specific configs are available is not something I'm intimate on.
so, is triple shifting available?
IF, you really need/must have a 30/34 combo (re your 6703 granny and the 34 cassette), I don;t see how you can mimic that with any compact.

.
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Old 08-08-16, 03:11 AM
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Longer cage di2 can handle 32 cog. While it's not your existing bottom gear it's still plenty of gear which I don't imagine people needing more unless loaded for touring and riding up a wall
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Old 08-08-16, 07:38 AM
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Once in a similar dilemma about a car part (totally different story), and the mechanic asked me:

do you want cheaper and more reliable part, or the more expensive, less reliable, but slightly lighter?

Same goes for bicycles. I'd always go with a Shimano Claris 3x8 system, than Ultegra 2x11, or 2x10.

With 3x8, and a tighter, road cassette, you'll get both wider range of gearing than 2x11, and tight enough gears for the "fast" part of the cassette.

Shimano Claris STIs are comfortable for me, and the whole system is good and reliable. And cheaper than Ultegra.

If buying a whole new bicycle, that is different, of course, but still I'd rather get a good frame, for keeps, and put equipment I like on it.
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Old 08-08-16, 10:17 AM
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1x is the future.
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Old 08-08-16, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
1x is the future.
Yup, it's already very popular on Mtb's, contrary to what others posted in another thread about triples. On the road bike, it's a non issue (single, double or triple chain rings) but on a mtb, for REAL single track rides, most aggressive riders prefer a single chain ring with 11 on the back cassette but 12 is either here or almost here.

Riding 1x is one less thing to think about when you already have your hands full and focus on the trail ahead.
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Old 08-08-16, 11:15 AM
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My friend just got into biking and I really pushed him to get a triple crank with a 32 rear cog cassette. He did, and I promptly told him to ignore the smallest chainring and the largest rear cog. "Use them as safeties and only use them when you absolutely needed them to get up a hill." He found the advice to be helpful and kept him from shifting erratically. I think the option of a triple crank is great when you first start riding but once you develop the leg strength, moving to solid double crank is more ideal because you have more useful gears.

I personally get frustrated with the speed of my climb using an overly too easy of a gear. My suggestion is based off a riders fitness level and age (as it brings uncontrollable variables).

I'd do the 50/34 double and throw in the 32 rear cog, if you must, as a safety.

Though a 50/34 crank and 11/28 cassette should get you up any mountain, assuming your fitness isn't an issue. Often I hear older riders wishing for an easier gear and that is understandable too, but they're still getting the climbs done.

I know my opinion is against the grain but hopefully you found it helpful.

All the best.
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Old 08-08-16, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Bumnah View Post
My friend just got into biking and I really pushed him to get a triple crank with a 32 rear cog cassette. He did, and I promptly told him to ignore the smallest chainring and the largest rear cog. "Use them as safeties and only use them when you absolutely needed them to get up a hill." He found the advice to be helpful and kept him from shifting erratically. I think the option of a triple crank is great when you first start riding but once you develop the leg strength, moving to solid double crank is more ideal because you have more useful gears.

I personally get frustrated with the speed of my climb using an overly too easy of a gear. My suggestion is based off a riders fitness level and age (as it brings uncontrollable variables).

I'd do the 50/34 double and throw in the 32 rear cog, if you must, as a safety.

Though a 50/34 crank and 11/28 cassette should get you up any mountain, assuming your fitness isn't an issue. Often I hear older riders wishing for an easier gear and that is understandable too, but they're still getting the climbs done.

I know my opinion is against the grain but hopefully you found it helpful.

All the best.
Interesting. As a rider who is over 50, and who prefers a triple, I would advise something much different. Once a beginning rider figures out how to use the front shifter, I would advise that rider to use the small chainring early and often. The time to shift into the small chainring is at the base of a hill when the legs are still fresh, not as an emergency halfway up a hill when you would have to shift under load.
(Now, there are riders who just hate to front shift, like my wife. The work around for her was to set up her gearing as a 2x 8 with fairly low gearing. 39 and 30 tooth chainrings and an 11 - 32 cassette. Her low gear in her "big" ring is 33 gear inches, which is pretty low. If she really needs a true bailout, the two lowest gears are 28 and 25 gear inches)

Also wondering how you get more useful gears with a double over a triple. Maybe just me, but I just don't understand this.

Last edited by MRT2; 08-08-16 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 08-08-16, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bumnah View Post
My friend just got into biking and I really pushed him to get a triple crank with a 32 rear cog cassette. He did, and I promptly told him to ignore the smallest chainring and the largest rear cog. "Use them as safeties and only use them when you absolutely needed them to get up a hill." He found the advice to be helpful and kept him from shifting erratically. I think the option of a triple crank is great when you first start riding but once you develop the leg strength, moving to solid double crank is more ideal because you have more useful gears.

I personally get frustrated with the speed of my climb using an overly too easy of a gear. My suggestion is based off a riders fitness level and age (as it brings uncontrollable variables).

I'd do the 50/34 double and throw in the 32 rear cog, if you must, as a safety.

Though a 50/34 crank and 11/28 cassette should get you up any mountain, assuming your fitness isn't an issue. Often I hear older riders wishing for an easier gear and that is understandable too, but they're still getting the climbs done.

I know my opinion is against the grain but hopefully you found it helpful.

All the best.

Not sure what you mean by more useful gears. With a 50-39-30 triple, and a 12-28 cassette, you get tight gearing with decent climbing range.

50-34 has a big gap between those two chainrings, plus it takes a 32 largest sprocket to get the same climbing gear as the afore mentioned triple.

I'd be happy with a 50-34 if cassettes were more widely available with a 14-34 layout. This way, the equivalent would be a 46-30 double, so I could stay on the big ring without much cross chaining on flats when speeding up, or riding in headwind.
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