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How much cross chaining with a triple?

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How much cross chaining with a triple?

Old 04-06-09, 09:09 PM
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deepakvrao
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How much cross chaining with a triple?

Hi guys,

Pretty new to biking and am riding a compact 34/50 with a 11-26 and Sora. Am planning an upgrade of bike to maybe 105 groupset and am a bit torn between a compact and a triple. I know its been discussed a lot, and I've probably read ever post made in the last few years here.

I'm tempted to stick with a compact as I plan on getting lighter as well as stronger BUT I'll also get older.

I think I need a lower gear than what I have for some hills, and I have a choice of getting a 11-28 with a 34/50 or a triple with maybe a 12-27. I was thinking of going the triple route and just using the granny as a bail out, while mostly riding in the larger two rings.

I read an interesting post which said:

Its not the same thing to have a triple and avoid the granny, because with a compact all the 10 cogs are usable with either chainring, while with a triple that would not be possible without significant cross chaining - leading to more frequent front shifting.

So - say you are on the 40 chainring can you use the entire cogs at the back? Or do you have to avoid the extreme 2 cogs? And when on the 50, how much can you cross chain?

Is the front shifting on a 30/40/50 easier/faster than a 34/50 because the shifts are only 10 teeth?
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Old 04-06-09, 09:39 PM
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I switched from triple to compact double. From my experience you can't use all 10 cogs in either ring of a compact double - the big/big and small/small are a no-no, due to cross chaining as well. On the triple, you can pretty much play it by ear. Where I found it a hassle was that I would do most of the climbs in my 39T, but would notice that 39x27 (on a 12-27 cassette) would not be very smooth - i.e. I would cross chain - but to switch from 39 to 30 in the middle of a very steep climb was no fun, I dropped a chain a couple of times, the very WORST point to do that. I much prefer knowing that the 34 is "the climbing gear" and then I'm just focused on where I want to be on the cassette. Much less fuss.

The advantage with a triple is that there is more overlap in the gears, so it's very easy to switch between 39 and (in my case) 50T chainrings without having to go to the end of the cassette before switching. FWIW my 50/34 shifts more cleanly than my 50/39/30 did though.

Why not get the 11-28 first and see how it works for you? At least then you'll be able to test out the new gearing without investing in the whole groupset. I'm a big fan of Sheldon's gear calculator, and you only gain one extra gear going from a low gear of 34x27 compared to 30x27. The difference would be even less comparing 30x27 with 34x28.
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Old 04-06-09, 10:01 PM
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I've only just returned to cycling after 20 years so I'm no expert, but there are a number of factors to be considered including the terrain, your age, your general fitness level, etc. I'm in my 60's riding a 30/39/50 triple with a 12-27 10 speed cassette. I can handle up to about 8% grade in my 39-27 combination and only use the 30 as a bailout on steeper hills. If I were taking a longer ride I'd go to the bailout sooner to ensure that I stay aerobic. Most of my riding is done in the middle chainring and I can reach all 10 cogs giving me a pretty wide range.

I would start with the least expensive change first (cassette) and see how it goes. Incorporate a ride, perhaps once/week, with what you would consider challenging terrain and use your progress to evaluate the potential benefit of a triple.

At my age I have no qualms about "bailing out". In fact I'm thinking about going to a 26t chainring since when I go low there is no low too low.

Good luck! oh, and BTW, more learned advice will be coming along shortly.
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Old 04-06-09, 10:22 PM
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didn't we just do one of these today?
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Old 04-06-09, 10:26 PM
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He's looking for a magical answer that just isn't there. Get a compact... it's that simple.
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Old 04-06-09, 10:28 PM
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BF Thread topics are like buses -- nothing for ages then 3 show up at once.
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Old 04-06-09, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
I've only just returned to cycling after 20 years ... I'm in my 60's riding a 30/39/50 triple with a 12-27 10 speed cassette... Most of my riding is done in the middle chainring and I can reach all 10 cogs giving me a pretty wide range.
At my age I have no qualms about "bailing out". In fact I'm thinking about going to a 26t chainring since when I go low there is no low too low.
I'm in my 60s, too, though I've been riding about 12 years after a long layoff. I'm running a 26-36-46 triple on one bike, 26-36-48 on the other, and it's plenty--I don't ever wish for higher gears, and since I live in the Sierra with 7500-foot passes all around, I use the 26 a lot.
One point to remember is that there's no disadvantage to a triple. If you don't need the granny, you don't have to use it, the weight penalty is undetectable, and anybody who's been riding for 15 minutes can shift down to the middle without going past it to the small ring. I can't even guess how many downshifts I've made in the last dozen years, and I don't remember ever missing the middle.
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Old 04-06-09, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
One point to remember is that there's no disadvantage to a triple..
What about increased weight, and how bad they shift?
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Old 04-06-09, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Tapeworm21 View Post
He's looking for a magical answer that just isn't there. Get a compact... it's that simple.
Because it's bigot-approved?

Originally Posted by umd View Post
didn't we just do one of these today?
It'll be done again and again. If you're frustrated by it, stop spending so much time on bikeforums.net. Or just keep getting frustrated.

Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
Hi guys,
I was thinking of going the triple route and just using the granny as a bail out, while mostly riding in the larger two rings.
That's much what a triple is for. The 39 middle ring, at least for me, is almost always right. Low enough for most climbing, big enough for most sprinting.

The benefit is that while the 30T or the 50T may be the better ring, I usually don't have to shift rings because I can cross-chain in the 39T ring for a short time like for a short incline or for a short decline or sprint. It's nice not having to shift rings.

Obviously for a longer climb I would probably use the 30T (that's tapeworm's cue to flame me) or for a longer descent or for a sprint interval, I'll use the 50T.

As for using all cogs from the middle ring, I've had three bikes with triples and I've always been able to use everything from my biggest to my smallest cog while in my middle ring. What matters is having your front derailleur match and be wide enough to allow your chain to be situated at those odd angles that it will be in when you cross-chain as, with a wide enough front derailleur, there will be no chain/derailleur rub.

For example, a 9-speed front der will have a cage that's wide enough to allow the 9-speed chain to cross chain without the chain rubbing on the der's cage. You'll have to trim the front der from side to side but that's still less time-consuming and simple than changing rings.

However, if you use a 9-speed chain with a 10-speed front derailleur, the derailleur might me narrow enough that when you cross-chain, the chain will rub on the sides of the derailleur even if you trim.

This is assuming, of course, that the derailleur is installed- correctly- such that its rotation allows cross-chaining.

My 9-speed bikes had 9-speed front derailleurs, my 10-speed bikes had 10-speed front derailleurs, all set up correctly. Hence no chain rub during cross-chaining.

The above is why I stay with a triple despite the insistence of many that a compact offers the same gearing range but with more simplicity and less weight. It does, but for me, the 34T is often too small and the 50T often too big which is why I had to keep shifting between the two as neither was as versatile as the 39T.

If you're especially strong, though, and you can spend most of your time in a compact's 50T ring and shift into the 34T ring only sometimes, the constant shifting associated with compacts may be irrelevant to you.
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Old 04-06-09, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by clink83 View Post
What about increased weight,
BFD. What is the increased weight, 100-200g? That's like 6oz, at most. Most people's beer guts weigh well in excess of that.

How stupid to make an issue of that. Unless the rider has like 3% body fat, it's time to lose some lard before obsessing over so little weight on the bike.

Originally Posted by clink83 View Post
and how bad they shift?
Loaded question- it's your opinion that they shift badly.
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Old 04-06-09, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by clink83 View Post
What about increased weight, and how bad they shift?
Well he did address the weight issue by stating (in his opinion) the weight penalty isn't detectable. Which is true unless you're using a scale and/or measuring your success in 1/10ths of a second over a mile. It should be obvious to you does not apply to him or probably the OP and therefore is not a factor. What do you think, maybe a total of 200 grams or less penalty equivalent quality double vs. triple for the BB, extra ring, longer cage rd?

As for the second point you made on shifting: I think your pronouncement is either totally false (in my experience) or at best there is a minimal, inconsequential difference in shifting quality. So little that most people wouldnt' even notice it and even very perceptive riders would label it a minor difference.

I happen to agree that the triple has no downside for a recreational rider, and has better gearing available: it is exactly the same as a conventional crank PLUS the granny gear. Better on both ends than a compact.
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