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Double or Triple ?

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Double or Triple ?

Old 09-22-01, 02:31 PM
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Double or Triple ?

A triple seems way overkill when I consider that I used to ride a 12 spd and that seemed to be just fine. 27 spd? Hmmmm......

What are your preferences? Seems like a lot of wasted gears...
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Old 09-22-01, 03:12 PM
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I see you are a fellow Californian. you live in the San Juanquin Valley. I invite you to hit the San Bernardino Mtns. Unless you are pro- material; it will be evident very quickly how helpful they can be. Of course crank/cog size is a major factor, but then even when you have a triple, too. Hit the mountains before you decide. my original road bike had a double. When I moved to a hilly area, it was soon retrofitted.
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Old 09-22-01, 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by cyclezealot
I see you are a fellow Californian. you live in the San Juanquin Valley. I invite you to hit the San Bernardino Mtns. Unless you are pro- material; it will be evident very quickly how helpful they can be. Of course crank/cog size is a major factor, but then even when you have a triple, too. Hit the mountains before you decide. my original road bike had a double. When I moved to a hilly area, it was soon retrofitted.
Only one problem... Don't have a road bike to try the hills I have to decide which to get when I decide which bike I want. It would be nice to get it right the first time and not have to switch later on.
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Old 09-22-01, 08:16 PM
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If you are going to be riding in hills get the triple. You will not regret it.
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Old 09-22-01, 10:01 PM
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Double. If you log any serious miles on the road bike, you'll grow out of the triple REALLY quickly. I have a 12-25 cassette on my bike [double] and I find that that can handle ANYTHING. Sure, I grind down to 8 km/h on a 20% grade [who wouldn't?], but a triple probably wouldn't help much there except to allow me to keep pedalling at such a slow speed that I fell over.

Triples shift less accurately than doubles, the smallest chainring is a gunk magnet in wet weather and, frankly, it looks really Fredly... :-)

Just try to make sure you get a decent range on the cassette [12-25 will handle most situations].
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Old 09-22-01, 10:58 PM
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I'm a heavy rider (200 plus) but I've gotten by with a double for years. I do plenty of hills in the 800 - 1500 foot range without too much problem, some with brutal grades. I've tried some climbing before with a triple and it's just too slow for me... I need to get the damn hill over with. If you get a chance, try a triple before investing in one.
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Old 09-23-01, 12:38 AM
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A triple will enable you to climb steep hills without putting too much force through your knees. It is vital if you are carrying much in the way of luggage.
I think the stock double gears on most road bikes are more suited to elite athletes than normal riders. You can gear them down to more reasonable ranges if you want (eg 36/48). As long as the shifter works, the gearing is up to you.
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Old 09-23-01, 07:15 AM
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Michael makes a very good point: If you plan to carry a load on your bike [packs and panniers] and you ride in particularly hilly or mountainous terrain, a triple may be a good idea.

On the other hand, the contention that climbing in a double in, say 39/25 [that's a ratio of 1.56] is somehow more stressful on your knees than climbing in 30/25 [typically a triple's lowest gear, a ratio of 1.2] is specious. The problem is that, to keep from losing balance, you'll almost have to spin in the triple's lowest gear to stay upright. At about 50 rpms, you'll only be going 5 km/h at the most.

Now, if you could use a triple with no degradation in performance, I'd say go with it. But, to accomodate the extra chain ring, the derailleur cage is longer. That makes for sluggish shifts -- very noticeable when you come from a double -- and half the cassette is still inaccessible to the outside chainrings. Seems like a compromise that might work for tourers, but is utterly superfluous for roadies.

One last thing... If you ride in groups, you'll find that almost everyone else is a double. This is important because one of the [many] ways to pace yourself in a paceline is to see what gear the guy in front has shifted into. Unless you have a gear conversion chart handy, that'll be impossible in a triple.

I am not an elite athlete. I am a serous cyclist who rides 450 km per week at peak. I have never had any use for a triple. Just ask yourself how often you use the granny on your MTB. I've used mine about three times in four years. Now think about how much easier it is to climb on a road bike due to the design.
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Old 09-23-01, 09:24 AM
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I was faced with the same decision a few years back and went with an Ultegra triple. I have questioned the decision ever since.

Cons for me:
- With the 52-42-30, you are a tooth down on the big ring than a double.
- I get smirks and comments from both posers and real riders in groups.
- I find I use the small gear because it's there.
- I can climb all hills in similar ratios to low in a double.
- It cost $30.00 more.
- There are a lot of gears you never touch.
- On the middle ring you have an extra derailler position for the small cogs than for the large cogs which means extra work to get it to function right (are doubles like this?).
- It weighs more.

None of these things keep me from enjoying the bike or the ride. I think if I had gone with the double, I'd have a number of reasons why a triple would be nice.

Go with the double unless you plan to climb telephone poles.
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Old 09-23-01, 10:23 AM
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Thanks for the input guys. It's been about 6 yrs since I had a road bike and a lot has changed in that time. I got by with 12 gears back then so 18 ought to be plenty

One of the things I really like is the combo brake lever/shifter. What a clean set up! Who came out with that one first? From 1st impressions, I like the ShimaNo with both paddles in the same spot as opposed to the Campi with the thumb paddle. Very little time spent with either, just a first impression.

Getting ready to go test ride!!!!! Yeah baby!!!!
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Old 09-23-01, 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by Greg
I was faced with the same decision a few years back and went with an Ultegra triple. I have questioned the decision ever since.

Cons for me:
- I get smirks and comments from both posers and real riders in groups.
It always did make me wonder why people wasted so much of their energy focusing on other people's decisions.
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Old 09-23-01, 03:11 PM
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I have a triple on my touring bike, and my road bike is a double. Even when fully loaded, I can count on one hand the times that I really needed the granny ring. Unloaded, I never use the inner ring, even on a 12% grade.
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Old 09-23-01, 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by D*Alex
I have a triple on my touring bike, and my road bike is a double. Even when fully loaded, I can count on one hand the times that I really needed the granny ring. Unloaded, I never use the inner ring, even on a 12% grade.
Kind of the same here. I use mostly my 27 speed Bianchi touring bike for day to day use and loaded trips and my beloved Benotto 10 speeds (with bar-end shifters) for my week-end ride(s). THere are some fair hills around here (ok it is not SF but still) and occasionally I feel happy to use the inner ring but I could quite easily do without it esp. without load. There are many speeds that I never use on my touring bike. Not that long ago I was commuting on a 3 speed or fixed speed bike so 10 speeds appeared to me as great comfort. Switching from 10 to 27 is a less significant improvement.
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Old 09-23-01, 05:29 PM
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Well, both of my road bikes have double chain rings, and I have gotten along okay. And I am a long way from being a road warrior, too, just an everyday rider. I just put an R/ah cassette (11x28) on my Schwinn, and it gives me all the choices I want. Actually you lose one gear with this setup, as you can't go from big front to big rear, but you shouldn't do that anyway. I can easily handle most hills around here without using the lowest gear, but it is there if I need it!

My bike has Shimano Ultegra with the STI shifters, and I love them. I have only used the Campi setup once, and I am sure that once you are used to them, they would work fine, too. Either way, they sure are a lot handier to use than the down tube shifters my other road bike has!!

Good luck!
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Old 09-24-01, 11:13 AM
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OK, guys, you shamed me out of putting a triple on my Bianchi. I called the LBS to cancel the order. But I am going to replace the 42 inner with a 39. I do have a triple on my commuter, and it stays. That will also be my tourer, if I get to tour. sigh.
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Old 09-24-01, 12:12 PM
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Gosh Rainman, didn't think anyone ever listened to what I said! Comes from years of marriage and being a father! Of course, maybe you were talking about some of the other fine posts, too!

You should check out one of those 11X28 cassettes, too! That coupled with your 39 chainring would almost give you a mountain bike! (All right, just kidding! No letters, please!)
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Old 09-24-01, 12:28 PM
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Don't worry-there aren't enuf hills around the gulf to need a triple, anyway. You'll be glad that you stuck with a double, and will probably stick that 42 tooth ring back within a year.
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Old 09-24-01, 12:50 PM
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D*Alex, there is one hilly and beautiful ride a couple of hours from here that the local racers make regular pilgrimages to in order to get some hill time. I have been summoning up the nerve to go try it out. Think I'll do it by myself first before I go with others. That way, if I have to walk at least no one will be there to see it! I am no racer. I still spend most of my time on the small ring. I'm still mainly working more on maintaining cadence in the mid-high 90s. I just noticed the other day that I have pretty much worn out one of my cogs, but I'm too embarassed to say publicly which one.
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Old 09-24-01, 01:32 PM
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Have any of you guys ever climbed a road so steep that the sidewalk consisted of steps? Ive seen roads like that in Madeira. We have a few "bust-a-gut" climbs in the UK, much steeper than any Alpine road. Our local one, up to the south downs is a 130m in 1000m , reaching 30% grade in places.
Lets play "mine is steeper than yours"

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Old 09-24-01, 01:49 PM
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You can almost get the best of both worlds with a Campy 10 speed if you get a double, the medium cage derailleur, and the 13-29 cassette. It seems that most triple riders just stay in the middle ring most of the time (that's MOST, not ALL!). I think doubles tend to make you use the gears more effectively.
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Old 09-24-01, 06:42 PM
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I just put an R/ah cassette (11x28) on my Schwinn, and it gives me all the choices I want.
Yeah, I have a 12-27 and I'm new to road biking. I'm getting along pretty well without using the 27. There is one hill by my house that makes me miss my mountain bike gears, but it's short. Other than that I figure the hills around here are as steap as any.
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Old 09-24-01, 09:15 PM
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Hey, Rainman, go for that hill! So what if you have to stop! I have a similar hill here...first time up, had to stop and rest for a few minutes, then back on the bike, and struggled over the top. Next time up, my pedal cadence could have been counted in minutes per revolution, but I made it! What a great feeling! I have worked that hill about 6 times now, and as soon as my knee if fully healed, will hit it again. Each time it gets a little better. One of the things I love about biking, hitting the wall, but trying again untill you can make it! Really a great accomplishment!
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Old 09-25-01, 07:08 AM
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MikeC has a good point, in order for me to get a really decent cadence, I'm on the middle ring most of the time.

Seems like a waste.
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Old 09-25-01, 10:06 AM
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You folks are give great advice here, but you fail to remember that there's a wide range of experience and capabilities on this board. I am 49, weigh 240lb, and started cycling 2 months ago, and I do 25 miles a day... Compared with a 25 yr old guy, who weighs 110.02 lb and has 0.00302% body fat, and rides 100 miles to get a cup a coffee.. The latter will not need a triple, but when I am on my way home, and run out of gas in the middle of a hill, I thanks god I have a triple to get me home...

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Old 09-25-01, 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by sorebutt
You folks are give great advice here, but you fail to remember that there's a wide range of experience and capabilities on this board... Compared with a 25 yr old guy, who weighs 110.02 lb and has 0.00302% body fat, and rides 100 miles to get a cup a coffee..
That's a good point, Butt. [BTW, I'm 37 and weigh about 164 lb -- I'm TRYING to get down to 160 :-(]

On the other hand, WildHare seemed to be looking for a performance road bike and that, IMO, equals a double. The problem for dirtbags who want to become roadies is that, they're so used to having a granny on their MTB's that they feel they ought to have one on their road bikes as well -- whether they really need one or not. If you're in for a tourer, the granny's a great thing, if you're in for a performance road bike for long, fast rides, the triple will just add problems.
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