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Why 11 speed w/double crank? Would shifting be smoother with 9 speed w/triple crank?

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Why 11 speed w/double crank? Would shifting be smoother with 9 speed w/triple crank?

Old 12-16-09, 09:11 PM
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Why 11 speed w/double crank? Would shifting be smoother with 9 speed w/triple crank?

Campagnolo just released an 11 speed groupset, I am sure that Shimano & SRAM will follow suit. My question is that the main complaint about triple cranks is weight (1/4 water bottle), cross-chaining (not sure about the term), & lack of cool factor. Wouldn't an 11 speed groupset with double crank suffer cross-chaining? Would there be a problem with the rear wheel, I think the term is called dish? Are all the gears necessary or just cool tech stuff? An 11 speed double crank would weigh as much as a 9 speed triple crank, correct? What are your thoughts?
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Old 12-16-09, 09:15 PM
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I went to 11 due to the tighter spacing in the cassette. Easier to find just the right gear for my preferred cadence and the speed I happen to be riding. And the Q-factor of a triple makes my knees hurt.
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Old 12-16-09, 09:21 PM
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What is the Q factor?
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Old 12-16-09, 09:24 PM
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Old 12-16-09, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by OldPilot
What is the Q factor?
It means the "Quantum Factor," a gear ratio that produces more power that is supplied by your body.
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Old 12-16-09, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by OldPilot
What is the Q factor?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_Factor_(Bicycles)
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Old 12-16-09, 09:30 PM
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Okay, Q-factor is the width of the crank double being thinner than a triple.
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Old 12-16-09, 10:22 PM
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Doubles shift better than triples. I haven't ridden 11 speed, but I know my 10 speed shifts better than my old 9. I have no reason to believe that a narrower chain 11 speed system would shift worse.

Generally doubles and compacts have less overlapping gears than a triple system.

The better chainline on a double system results in less chain rub across more of the cassette than a triple. Also triple derailleurs have to do more work than a double (think dropping a ring and stopping the chain, rather than just nudging it up or down between two rings) having tighter tolerances, creating more rub.

The one downside I'd be concerned with (other than price) going to a narrower system with 11 speed could be durability. But anyone spending the kind of scratch for an 11 speed bike can probably afford new chains and cassettes as part of regular maintenance. It's probably not going on a commuter bike.

Whether it's necessary or not is really a matter for debate. People have said the same thing every time they add a cog. 7 is enough. 8 is enough. 9 is enough. Sure, maybe it's 'enough' but that doesn't mean that more isn't a small fractional amount better.
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Old 12-16-09, 10:38 PM
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Q-factor: the lateral distance between the pedals. In other words, the pedals are farther apart with a triple than with a double. Not much, but it's enough to cause knee pain for me. As it is with a double, my cleats are positioned such that my feet are as close together as possible. Can't use that adjustment to fix it with a triple.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jinker
Doubles shift better than triples. I haven't ridden 11 speed, but I know my 10 speed shifts better than my old 9. I have no reason to believe that a narrower chain 11 speed system would shift worse.

Generally doubles and compacts have less overlapping gears than a triple system.

The better chainline on a double system results in less chain rub across more of the cassette than a triple. Also triple derailleurs have to do more work than a double (think dropping a ring and stopping the chain, rather than just nudging it up or down between two rings) having tighter tolerances, creating more rub.

The one downside I'd be concerned with (other than price) going to a narrower system with 11 speed could be durability. But anyone spending the kind of scratch for an 11 speed bike can probably afford new chains and cassettes as part of regular maintenance. It's probably not going on a commuter bike.

Whether it's necessary or not is really a matter for debate. People have said the same thing every time they add a cog. 7 is enough. 8 is enough. 9 is enough. Sure, maybe it's 'enough' but that doesn't mean that more isn't a small fractional amount better.
Your 9 must have been old, as new 9-spd systems shift at least as well as new 10-spd from the ones I've tried. I was fine with 8, if they would have just kept refining that. Half of my shifts are two gears at time, especially when I'm on a solo attack or training for a solo attack. I get down in the invisible aero bars, and when I pull an elbow out to get my hand to the shifter, I buy two for that trip. Even the fact that I have to downshift two cogs for a sharp turn in a race bugs the hell out of me. When the road starts to go up, I always stay on it a bit, then dump 2 or 3 gears all at once.

I can understand the placebo effect of imagining you have some magical ideal cadence and getting 5 rpm out of it would mess you up, but it's not true. If you want to see an example, try to keep up with a good single speed MTB rider when you're on a geared bike off road.

More gears is annoying. If your cadence slows by 5 rpm, just go a little harder until it's too much, then back off a gear. If Shimano and SRAM go higher than 10, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Maybe ride 11-28 and pull my upper limit screw down to the 23...

Anyway, different strokes. More is not always better.

Last edited by waterrockets; 12-16-09 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
I can understand the placebo effect of imagining you have some magical ideal cadence and getting 5 rpm out of it would mess you up, but it's not true. If you want to see an example, try to keep up with a good single speed MTB rider when you're on a geared bike off road.... More is not always better.
Good point. This isn't really relevant here, but a few years ago I converted an old Trek touring bike to single speed, just because I had it around and never used it. To check the gearing, I rode a couple of the routes I do regularly on my Rambouillet. I figured I'd be quite a bit slower without all those gears to play with, but my times were (and still are, when I check) just about identical to those on my "real" bike. On the steepest climb, about 150 yards of real granny-gear grunting, I'm actually faster on the SS, because I have to go hard or roll backward and crash.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:05 AM
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"Generally doubles and compacts have less overlapping gears than a triple system."

That's only because there are ten less gears on a double or compact. Triples squeeze out one or two more useable gears than a double or compact can, no matter the number of duplicates.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:12 AM
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2x9 is pretty damn good

any perturbation from that is sub-optimal
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Old 12-17-09, 12:50 AM
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More gears is annoying
I consider that more a failure of the shifting system. I think i'd prefer something like a simple bar end shifter somehow mounted under the brake lever (so that you can jump as many gears as you want at a time). I think i prefer the cheap mountain bike shifters on my winter bike to my STI's.
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Old 12-17-09, 01:00 AM
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Just released???
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Old 12-17-09, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by OldPilot
Campagnolo just released an 11 speed groupset, I am sure that Shimano & SRAM will follow suit. My question is that the main complaint about triple cranks is weight (1/4 water bottle), cross-chaining (not sure about the term), & lack of cool factor. Wouldn't an 11 speed groupset with double crank suffer cross-chaining? Would there be a problem with the rear wheel, I think the term is called dish? Are all the gears necessary or just cool tech stuff? An 11 speed double crank would weigh as much as a 9 speed triple crank, correct? What are your thoughts?
sounds like you dont understand how adding more cogs to the rear actually works: the spacing gets tighter, not an overall width change. 11-sp cassettes fit on hubs designed for 10-sp.

and just for the record, 11-sp shifts flawlessly.
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Old 12-17-09, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by AngryScientist
sounds like you dont understand how adding more cogs to the rear actually works: the spacing gets tighter, not an overall width change. 11-sp cassettes fit on hubs designed for 10-sp.

and just for the record, 11-sp shifts flawlessly.
Yeah, I'd rather nurse my $250 cassette with $50 chains than $85 chains though. Really, the benefit is minute, and in my opinion, 11 is a negative. So is 10, it's just too pervasive for me to ignore in a practical sense.

In a race, if you get someone else's wheel out of the truck, you might be completely hosed since I don't think I know anyone racing on 11.

I wish they'd use the technoligical impovements for good, not evil. Narrow-as-Calista-Flockheart chain? Don't give me more gears, give me wider hub flanges. Idiots. Just think how light a 7-speed cassette would be with that narrow setup.

Last edited by waterrockets; 12-17-09 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 12-17-09, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
Yeah, I'd rather nurse my $250 cassette with $50 chains than $85 chains though. Really, the benefit is minute, and in my opinion, 11 is a negative. So is 10, it's just too pervasive for me to ignore in a practical sense.

In a race, if you get someone else's wheel out of the truck, you might be completely hosed since I don't think I know anyone racing on 11.
Exactly. If your racing a lot and need an extra set of wheels, you may be on your own. I have an 11-speed and don't really notice a difference between that and the 10-speed. The newer Record group is nice, comfortable, and smooth. But when I'm grinding my teeth to the roots from being 100% for over an hour, I don't stop to think, "Man, this does shift so much nicer. I'm glad I got it. Well worth the money." All I'm thinking is which way to throw my vomit.
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Old 12-17-09, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
Yeah, I'd rather nurse my $250 cassette with $50 chains than $85 chains though. Really, the benefit is minute, and in my opinion, 11 is a negative. So is 10, it's just too pervasive for me to ignore in a practical sense.

In a race, if you get someone else's wheel out of the truck, you might be completely hosed since I don't think I know anyone racing on 11.

I wish they'd use the technoligical impovements for good, not evil. Narrow-as-Calista-Flockheart chain? Don't give me more gears, give me wider hub flanges. Idiots. Just think how light a 7-speed cassette would be with that narrow setup.
I'm with you on those points, though the price and availability of 11-sp chains should be coming down in the future.

for what its worth i still regularly ride a 7-sp set-up and never miss the extra 4 out back.
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Old 12-17-09, 08:39 AM
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aside from spacing isn't the reason an 11spd shifts smoother from the 11 to 21 is that you are only shifting in onetooth incriments?

Oldpilot most people that I know normally use the middle and large ring for most of their riding and the 'granny' is reserved for climbing. so even though a 3x9 may seem to be a better system you are still shifing a 2 or three tooth difference so shifting is not a 'smooth'
with todays low profile cranksets I can't believe that anyone would really notice a Q factor diffference between a 105 double or triple nor a Campi racing triple.

personally I think the bike industry is starting to work against us and selling us things we do not really need but they convince us that we do.
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Old 12-17-09, 08:58 AM
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So many questions to answer. About cranks - double cranks are always a little lighter and 11 speed adds no weight at all. Triple cranks don't have to be that much heavier. 100 grams of additional weight is possible, since the added little ring only weighs 30-40 grams. Shifting on the new 11 speed crank is excellent.

As an expereienced Campy 10 triple user, I can say that an 11 speed compact definitely shifts better up front (after riding 11 speed all this season). Shifting from the middle to big ring on a triple is about the same, but shifting up from the little ring to the middle is rarely as quick or smooth. If I rode terrain that required that shift a lot, I'd rather have a compact, unless I absolutely needed one more low gear.

To correct a few misconceptions, Campy actually added one cog larger to all of their existing cassettes (except the 11-25), when 11 speed came out. The closest 10 speed spacing was had with either an 11-21 or 12-23, but those are now 11-23 and 12-25. Those who previously used a 12-25 could choose the new 12-25 11 speed and gain the 18T for closer spacing at one point. They now have a new 12-29 cassette in production, but still no 11-27 or 11-29. Campy hates to omit that 16T cog.

Although the cassette fits on the same hubs, the overall length is a little longer, by virtue of moving the largest cog a little further left (offset on a carrier), which has caused problems with some hubs - mainly those made my companies other than Campy. Sometimes the solution is a 1mm spacer, behind the cassette.

Since the largest cog is further to the left, the chainline is a bit more extreme, but not an issue as long as you don't use the big/big (wise riders never do). With a compact, just about any bike will have the chain rubbing on the big ring in the little/little and 11 speed is no different.

A triple's chainline is not "worse" than a double. You just have to be smart enough to know where each ring is located. A triple's middle ring is nearly as far to the right as the big ring on a double, so it should be treated like that with regard to cross chaining angle. The big ring is about 5-7mm further to the right, so that means that the big ring and second largest cog creates a chainline that's a bit more extreme than the big/big on a double.

Campy has nearly abandoned triple cranks, but still offers one (plus a FD and long cage 10 speed RD). All Campy shifters can operate a triple FD, even the 11 speed models.

As for racing with 11 speed, Shimano's 3.95mm spacing is not so far off Campy's 3.8mm that you couldn't get by with it in a pinch and the cog thickness is the same 1.6mm. I've often read where people use Campy or Shimano cassette with the other brand of drivetrain and find the shifting acceptable (not me). This is not as extreme. 11 speed spacing is only .15mm less than Shimano 10, but Shimano 10 is .2mm less than Campy 10.

As for the cost of cassettes and chains, that depends on where you buy. Campy really screwed themselves last year when they jacked up prices to US sellers by 50-75%, but parts sold from European dealers only went up about 2%. I haven't bought a Campy part from a US seller since then. I bought all of my 11 speed parts from the UK or Germany when the exchange rates made parts cheaper than they have been in several years. I bought nine 11 speed chains for about $35 each. I paid about $110 for Chorus cassettes and Record shifters were only in the $240-280 range. 11 speed parts from Europe are still no more than good 10 speed prices from US sources, back in 2008. In 2008, $280 would have been an excellent price for Record 10 shifters.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-17-09 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 12-17-09, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
As for racing with 11 speed, Shimano's 3.95mm spacing is not so far off Campy's 3.8mm that you couldn't get by with it in a pinch and the cog thickness is the same 1.6mm. I've often read where people use Campy or Shimano cassette with the other brand of drivetrain and find the shifting acceptable (not me). This is not as extreme. 11 speed spacing is only .15mm less than Shimano 10, but Shimano 10 is .2mm less than Campy 10.
That 0.15mm doesn't sound like much, but if you throw a spare wheel on and the small cog is aligned, then the big cog is going to be almost 1.5mm out of line. I haven't ridden with a 10/11 mixup, but it seems that you'd notice it at one end of the cassette or the other.

Nice rundown on the 10/11 stuff though. Thanks.
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Old 12-17-09, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
That 0.15mm doesn't sound like much, but if you throw a spare wheel on and the small cog is aligned, then the big cog is going to be almost 1.5mm out of line. I haven't ridden with a 10/11 mixup, but it seems that you'd notice it at one end of the cassette or the other.

Nice rundown on the 10/11 stuff though. Thanks.
You most certainly will notice the difference, whether it's .15 or .2mm since the error accumulates after every shift. That's why I never suggest such mismatches as a regular practice. In theory, you can cut the error in half by precisely setting the shift cable tension to center the RD on the middle cog, to split the error equally between upshifts and downshifts. In practice, an undershifting drivetrain is usually more annoying than a overshifting one. In the worst case, the RD will be about 35% off location after 9 shifts.

Anytime you're forced to change wheels, there a chance that the first cog will not be positioned the same.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by umd
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Okay, new to me...
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