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Double vs. triple crankset

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

Double vs. triple crankset

Old 11-04-10, 11:25 PM
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pgjackson
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Double vs. triple crankset

What are the pros and cons of a double vs. a triple crankset? My Fuji has a triple and I was glad to have that third sprocket on a huge hill the other day. I'm considering getting another bike, that happens to have a double crankset, so my wife and I can both ride. Rocommendations?
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Old 11-05-10, 01:25 AM
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I have a triple on my bike and plan on replacing it with a compact within the next year mainly so I do need to shift front chain rings. I can stay in the 50 chain ring with a 12-27 98% of the time.

Triple advantages:

Close gear ratios. My bike has a 13-26. This is about the same gear ratio as a 12-29 on a compact. So the jumps between gears will be closer with the triple.

It is possible to have a higher and lower gearing with a triple but may not be necessary depending on where you live.

Compact (double) Advantages:

It weighs less

For the majority of the riding you will do in So Cal, you may only need the big chain ring. So, you will seldom need to shift the front chain rings.

Some say a compact double shifts better than a triple although I have not had an issue with my triple.

You will not have an issue with cross chaining on the compact where it may be a concern on the triple.
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Old 11-05-10, 02:41 AM
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please choose triple crankset
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Old 11-05-10, 05:33 AM
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The more you get into cycling, its likely the less you'll want a triple. Recommend you want until then, or else you'll regret a purchase you make now.
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Old 11-05-10, 08:12 AM
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The older you get, the more you'll appreciate a triple. I'm 59 and I have a triple on my Allez. I like it.
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Old 11-05-10, 08:37 AM
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you can get a double and compensate with bigger cogs in the cassette.
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Old 11-05-10, 09:33 AM
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Triple has more options, but is a bit more complicated and heavier. Usually the more gearing is better for older riders, or brand new riders.

Double weighs less, tends to shift better, and weighs less.
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Old 11-05-10, 09:41 AM
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I'm sure the weight difference is a mere few grams, and at 42 and a new rider I'm all about the low gears to get me up the hill. I'm getting the idea that if I want to be a competitive racer I want the lightest bike I can get, which means a compact. But a non-competitive "older" new rider like myself with knee surgery upcoming, the triple sounds like the way to go.
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Old 11-05-10, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
I'm sure the weight difference is a mere few grams, and at 42 and a new rider I'm all about the low gears to get me up the hill. I'm getting the idea that if I want to be a competitive racer I want the lightest bike I can get, which means a compact. But a non-competitive "older" new rider like myself with knee surgery upcoming, the triple sounds like the way to go.
Well you can 'almost' get the same gears as a standard triple with a compact. A double will shift a lot better then a triple, this has been discussed here ad naseum and people will argue but a double is much better shifting then a triple period. Friction shifters work well with a triple and I have that on my touring bike but a compact will give you so many gears that if you can't climb then you just need to walk
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Old 11-05-10, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbon ***t View Post
You will not have an issue with cross chaining on the compact where it may be a concern on the triple.
I find the opposite to be true: the triple has so many overlapping gears that cross-chaining is rarely necessary. The compact double, on the other hand, lacks that overlap and so I end up cross-chaining it much more than the triple.

I don't have any shifting or setup problems with my Ultegra triple. It works flawlessly, just like my SRAM Red compact double.

I can't tell the weight difference between the triple crank and the compact double without using a gram scale.

Anything I can climb using my triple (52/39/30 + 12-27 cassette) I can also climb using the compact double (50/34 + 11-28 cassette); there's just not enough difference in gearing that it matters.
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Old 11-05-10, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by simonaway427 View Post
The more you get into cycling, its likely the less you'll want a triple.
Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
The older you get, the more you'll appreciate a triple.
That looks like a concensus. Do what they say.
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Old 11-05-10, 10:26 AM
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Someone posted in one of my threads about the ratios between a Triple and a Double. You can get the same low gear ratio on a Double if you get a SRAM Apex Gruppo. So a 34/32 is the same as the 30/28 combo. For me, there is only one bike out of 3 choices that carries an Apex. The other cheapest option for the other 2 bikes if I were to get a Compact is to switch out the cassette to an 11-32 with MTB RD. Otherwise, I have 2 options out of the 3 that are available in Triple with 11-28.

So this is really more of a personal taste than anything else. I may end up getting a Triple with 11-28 so I can basically use the 39 mid-ring for almost everything to rebuild my legs, use the 30 for steep climbs, and once the legs return, at least I still have the Standard 52/39. Competing is not in my list so this is probably the reason why I favor the Triple over the Compact even if it is a few grams more. Those few grams are nothing if all you're after is fitness and leisure.

In your state, go with what you think is comfortable for you, but if your concerns are weight and low gearing, find a bike that carries an Apex. A high 18 or low 19 pound bike with an Apex gruppo is still fairly light... considering you are aiming for a CF. It will be cheaper too! Then again, if looking at my choices, the Triples seem to be lighter than the Apex gruppo. Must be the Wheelset... and it's more expensive too!

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Old 11-05-10, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
I'm sure the weight difference is a mere few grams, and at 42 and a new rider I'm all about the low gears to get me up the hill. I'm getting the idea that if I want to be a competitive racer I want the lightest bike I can get, which means a compact. But a non-competitive "older" new rider like myself with knee surgery upcoming, the triple sounds like the way to go.
In my case, it isn't just a few grams. The difference in weight between a 2006 Campangolo Chorus triple crank and a 2011 Chorus compact is 330 grams. However, it isn't the weight savings that has me interested in moving to a compact. The shifting will be better on the front dr. The new Campy 11 speed also shifts better on the back because the cogs are closer. 98% of the time I can ride in just the big chain ring and here is why:

I have a 53/42/30 triple with a 13/26 on it.

A 42 X 26 on a triple is the same as a 50 X 29 on a compact; a 53 X 13 on a triple is almost the same as a 50 X 12 on a compact. The 50 X 12 is a slightly larger gear which is an advantage. So, the 50 on the compact will replace both the 53 and 42 chain rings on the triple. For climbing gears, a 34 X 29 is the same as my current 30 X 26. So, I am not losing anything at all. I am losing 330 grams off the crank alone. I suspect that I will loose even more off of the entire group.

As for the age, I am 53 soon to turn 54. I too needed a triple when I first started riding 4 years ago. I no longer need the small chain ring. However, going to a compact will give me the same gear ranges with few gears.

You will never use all 30 gears on your triple, you will use a range of gears. For example, you will use the first 2 or 3 gears on the small chain ring and maybe the last 2 or 3 gears on the big chain ring. With a compact, you will use all of the gears.
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Old 11-05-10, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by gundom66 View Post
Someone posted in one of my threads about the ratios between a Triple and a Double. You can get the same low gear ratio on a Double if you get a SRAM Apex Gruppo.
FYI, the latest Rival gruppo also features a medium cage rear derailleur, so it can accommodate the same 32-tooth cassette that Apex uses....
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Old 11-05-10, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbon ***t View Post
In my case, it isn't just a few grams. The difference in weight between a 2006 Campangolo Chorus triple crank and a 2011 Chorus compact is 330 grams.
Time to switch to Shimano: the difference between the Ultegra 6703 triple crank and 6750 compact crank is only 104g (=3.67oz). At least according to them...
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Old 11-05-10, 10:49 AM
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No more polarizing question than this on BF. It's a personal decision. I'm bad at making decisions which is why I have a triple on one bike and a compact double on the other. There are advantages to each...but I will provide the opinion that the only place a 32-tooth cog belongs is on a mountain bike!
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Old 11-05-10, 10:51 AM
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I went from a triple to a compact double a few months ago and I wouldn't go back. My double shifts better and I can use more of my rear cogs with the same chain ring. I live in the mountains so I'm always climbing and never wish I still had a smaller chain ring in the front. If it were me I would get a compact double with larger rear cassette if u need it
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Old 11-05-10, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
Time to switch to Shimano: the difference between the Ultegra 6703 triple crank and 6750 compact crank is only 104g (=3.67oz). At least according to them...
The reason for the big difference in weight between a Campy triple and a compact is because the new Ultra Torque crank doesn't use a bottom bracket. The crank is one piece. This makes the crank much stiffer and much lighter. Campy is moving away from the triples and not putting more R&D into them so their triple technology is outdated.
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Old 11-05-10, 11:09 AM
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Actually, when I tested a Compact 11-28, the 34/28 combo isn't all that bad on climbs. Though I haven't encountered an S turn where the inside turn is much more steeper than the outside. If and when I get my bike, there are a couple of S turns back to back in my area. However, I'm not looking into tackling that climb until the legs are much comfortable. One thing I realized is that you don't necessarily have to always go fast on a climb all the time.
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Old 11-05-10, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
....But a non-competitive "older" new rider like myself with knee surgery upcoming, the triple sounds like the way to go.
Yes. My wife is new to cycling, and if she had a double she would've quit by now (she's 28).

Originally Posted by Carbon ***t View Post
..You will never use all 30 gears on your triple, you will use a range of gears. For example, you will use the first 2 or 3 gears on the small chain ring and maybe the last 2 or 3 gears on the big chain ring. With a compact, you will use all of the gears.
Good post!
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