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10 speed triple crankset - choosing Deore or Deore XT

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10 speed triple crankset - choosing Deore or Deore XT

Old 02-06-20, 03:00 PM
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10 speed triple crankset - choosing Deore or Deore XT

Hey All, I'm on the verge of getting a Kona Sutra. I haven't decided whether to get complete or frameset, but either way I would want 170mm crank arms. This is a problem on complete because I'm 6' tall and they always come with 175 arms.

I've been trying to do research on the difference between deore and deore xt. It has been very frustrating. I get that the xt is lighter, but some sources claim the arms are stiffer, too. Then there was one report that stated the chainrings and cogs on the xt group wear out a lot faster than they do on the plain jane deore.

Either way I have to find old stock somewhere since they don't make these anymore. I like the mtb triples for the option of gearing choices. I would start with the 48-36-26, like the old road triples they don't make anymore. I like that I can put a 22 on the bottom and even change the whole thing to 44-32-22 for loaded down touring.

Anyway, if anyone can give me the lowdown on the whole deore vs. deore xt I would really appreciate it. I saw an xtr crankset (9 speed) without rings and thought maybe I could put my own rings on. Choose light aluminum or heavy steel. Can you put 10 speed rings on earlier cranksets?

This will be my main bike for awhile. This summer I will be using it mostly for bikepacking and long day rides. I live in a very hilly area of central Maine.

Thanks for any help. I wasn't sure which forum to use for this, but I figured the use mostly fit the touring forum.
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Old 02-06-20, 03:31 PM
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re crank length--have you ridden 170s before? For a long time I thought I would prefer 170, I have bikes with 172.5 and 175, I'm a bit shorter than you, 5'10 and a bit, but importantly Im a slight guy who prefers a faster cadence "overall", although not always.
When I got my last bike, to be used for heavy touring, I wanted to try 170s but bought the bike used, and the crankset was just what I wanted, an XT 44/32/22 but 175mm.
In the end, I just used it, and I would have to say that along with my other old mtb that has 175 that I use as my winter commuter, I dont really see a difference between the 175 and 172.5, but unfortunately havent had the opportunity to ride 170s....
I think it might be able to be felt with a "fast bike", but because my "fast" bike with 172.5 is so diff from my 175 bikes, and given that my newer 175 bike is my heavy tourer (Surly Troll set up with dropbars that I tend to use wth four panniers and rack pack, ie heavy) the fact that I ride the bikes so differently its hard to see or feel the diff.
I tend to spin the "fast" bike more, and the Troll and winter commuter tend to be ridden more conservatively to maintain endurance all day, Troll especially, so lower cadences arent an issue and the longer cranks seem to help with climbing with a heavy bike....

geez, short answer is I'm not sure, and I'm someone who rides a lot and tries always to evaluate small differences to see advantages or disadvantages.
Honestly I think for most riding, we slightly adjust our cadence so that diff crank lengths just "feel" right to us----your thoughts????

deore vs deore xt--said Troll has the xt stuff, 9 spd, and yes its lighter than deore, partly cuz the mid ring is a mix of carbon fibre and alu, and the other rings are most likely a good quality alum. My wifes bike has 10 spd era Deore 48/36/26 and clearly is heavier (larger rings, material) but you know, as you say, this crankset is a great compromise, especially as you point out that its easy to change the 26 to a 22.
re longevity--I'm really careful of keeping my drivetrain clean on the xt bike , well all my bikes, and have a reasonable amount of kms on the xt crank now, and it seems fine. I did however buy some used replacement rings, the 32 fancy one, and a regular 22 for down the road sometime. I figure given that I havent ridden that much in really gritty conditions and I keep on top of keeping drivetrain clean, longevity isnt an issue, plus Im not a strong guy so I dont put lots of power into my drivetrains.
Over 30 years of touring etc, I've always had good long life out of chains etc, so Im not concerned.

Soooooo, all that blah blah is to say, heck go either way. I do think however that the 48/36/26 is a fantastic all rounder chainring sized crankset, especially with it easy to use 34 and 36t cassettes with very standard rd's (like my wifes 10 spd, 11-36 cassette with a deore rd)
If you ever decide to do a heavy tour, changing the rings is a great option. I really like the 44/32/22 for heavy touring in mountainous regions, and it was perfect for the Latin America tours I did where I caried more stuff than usual and did a lot of climbing---but for most riding, and especially unloaded or lightly loaded riding, the 48/36/26 is nicer cuz you wont be running out of gears in a 32t mid ring so much....

so again--your thoughts?

ps, I dont know as per question of putting 10 spd rings on a 9 spd crank. I also dont know if its necessary, its not clear to me if a 10 spd chain has issues with 9 spd rings....I'd like to know as I might change my troll to 10 spd one day....
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Old 02-06-20, 03:52 PM
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Hey djb, thanks for your thoughts and feedback. Yes, I rode thousands of miles when I lived out in Nevada, California and Oregon on a 52-42-30 with 170 arms. An old Cannondale I bought new in 1991. When I got my Surly Disc Trucker in 2013, it of course had 175 arms. I didn't think about it at all at the time. I just got the bike. I disliked it immediately. I've put many thousands of miles on this bike since then, but in 2016 I modified a GT Grade with a 105 10 speed road triple. I got it with 170 arms. Yes, it just feels better to me.

So you think most of the weight difference is in the rings? Is the talk of superior stiffness and weight in the arms just hype? That's interesting. I also keep my drivetrain well maintained. No worries there, but as long as I have to buy a crankset, I'm willing to spend more money as long as it's something I'll feel and not just shaving off seconds for every 10 miles. I will say that going from that triple on the Surly with its jis square BB setup to a hollowtech was VERY noticeable to me. And for one who likes to keep the crankset and rings clean, the ease of disassembly is a big bonus for me.
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Old 02-06-20, 04:56 PM
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If I were buying a complete bike, I'd just ride whatever cranks it came with. I also prefer 170 over 175, but I have both and it's not that big of a deal for me either way. If I were building from a frame, I'd go with a 9 speed triple and get the clipper from riv or a sugino XD600. For 10 speed, I'd go with the Sugino Alpina 2, but the extra gear is not worth the extra money when you have a triple. 9 speeds is enough. I can't imagine a scenario where I'd spend money on a new HT crank for a touring bike. Square taper bottom brackets just last longer.
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Old 02-06-20, 05:15 PM
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XT is a couple levels better than Deore, but some trekking stuff only comes at Deore (or LX) level (like 48-36-25 trekking cranks). XT cranks don't come stock with those larger trekking chainrings, but they will take them, if you want to assemble your own crankset.

XT is lighter and has those hollow cranks.
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Old 02-06-20, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
Hey djb, thanks for your thoughts and feedback. Yes, I rode thousands of miles when I lived out in Nevada, California and Oregon on a 52-42-30 with 170 arms. An old Cannondale I bought new in 1991. When I got my Surly Disc Trucker in 2013, it of course had 175 arms. I didn't think about it at all at the time. I just got the bike. I disliked it immediately. I've put many thousands of miles on this bike since then, but in 2016 I modified a GT Grade with a 105 10 speed road triple. I got it with 170 arms. Yes, it just feels better to me.

So you think most of the weight difference is in the rings? Is the talk of superior stiffness and weight in the arms just hype? That's interesting. I also keep my drivetrain well maintained. No worries there, but as long as I have to buy a crankset, I'm willing to spend more money as long as it's something I'll feel and not just shaving off seconds for every 10 miles. I will say that going from that triple on the Surly with its jis square BB setup to a hollowtech was VERY noticeable to me. And for one who likes to keep the crankset and rings clean, the ease of disassembly is a big bonus for me.
clearly if you feel better on 170s, stick with em. One day I will try them I guess.
re stiffness and weight....who knows, all I can do is look at crankset weights, but as for stiffness, like I said, as a lightweight, 135, I just dont think its a real life issue for me.
I do know though that my troll with lighter crankset, lighter wheelset than my wifes stock troll, is lighter by a number of pounds. I cant recall the exact diff though.
re hollowtech--I also noticed a real difference, and my troll was my first bike with it, and I disassembled the whole bike after I got it and regreased everything, and the same hollowtech bb has been on that bike now for three trips, and stuff, and has maybe 7, 8000kms on it, and is still fine and smooth---again, I am sure because Im a slight guy and dont put out tons of torque, as well as it being used more touring so Im not standing that much--but I do notice it feels stiffer etc as well as turning very nicely, rotating I mean.
Now Ive been told that xt bearings are a step up from deore quality wise, but as others have pointed out, trekking cranksets are deore, so the diff is probably not that much. To me it seems the most important thing is that gritty gunk is kept off and out and that the preload is set properly....I think this is more of a factor for long life. Oh, and that the frame bb is nice and parallel, as this is supposed to put more pressure on one side of the bearing, leading to premature life--ie facing a bb is a good idea.

bottom line for you, clearly stick wth a 170, but xt vs deore....I dont know. It takes me eons to wear out rings, so Im not a good example.

oh, and of course keeping on top of chain wear and replacing chains at proper intervals, will always help chain rings last longer......
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Old 02-06-20, 08:51 PM
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I bought an XT bare crank for my tourer a couple of years back, and fitted steel for the 22 and 32, and an alloy 40 on the outside, using the idea that I rarely am in the large chainring. Even then they weren't commonly available anymore. I can't remember if I got 170, 172.5 or 175. Either way there haven't been any problems. On a recent 7 day trip the XT bottom bracket I only just fitted 7-800k ago started creaking, On returning home I found it had come slightly loose on the non-drive side. I'm not home currently, but need to take it on a few rides to see if it still gives any problems after retightening it. More than likely it won't until Day 2 of my next trip...
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Old 02-06-20, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tspoon View Post
I bought an XT bare crank for my tourer a couple of years back, and fitted steel for the 22 and 32, and an alloy 40 on the outside, using the idea that I rarely am in the large chainring. Even then they weren't commonly available anymore. I can't remember if I got 170, 172.5 or 175. Either way there haven't been any problems. On a recent 7 day trip the XT bottom bracket I only just fitted 7-800k ago started creaking, On returning home I found it had come slightly loose on the non-drive side. I'm not home currently, but need to take it on a few rides to see if it still gives any problems after retightening it. More than likely it won't until Day 2 of my next trip...
thar must be an installation issue for it to loosen.
I had never worked on an outboard bb before, after disassembling it and reinstalling it according to general standards (I don't recall if I used my automotive torque wrench or not) it has been untouched for all those kms, and four and a half months of touring. Pretty darn good imo.
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Old 02-06-20, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
Hey All, I'm on the verge of getting a Kona Sutra. I haven't decided whether to get complete or frameset, but either way I would want 170mm crank arms. This is a problem on complete because I'm 6' tall and they always come with 175 arms.

Either way I have to find old stock somewhere since they don't make these anymore. I like the mtb triples for the option of gearing choices. I would start with the 48-36-26, like the old road triples they don't make anymore. I like that I can put a 22 on the bottom and even change the whole thing to 44-32-22 for loaded down touring.
I went with the Deore 48-36-26 with a 11-34 cassette. 26 X 34 seems a low enough gear depending on your terrain. I just went on a ride (unloaded). I hit a very steep road and barely made it to the top (about a km). I don't think I would have made it with a full load. Mind you it is the winter and I am not in great shape, but it makes me consider putting on a 22t, or a cassette with 36. I need to crunch the numbers
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Old 02-07-20, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I went with the Deore 48-36-26 with a 11-34 cassette. 26 X 34 seems a low enough gear depending on your terrain. I just went on a ride (unloaded). I hit a very steep road and barely made it to the top (about a km). I don't think I would have made it with a full load. Mind you it is the winter and I am not in great shape, but it makes me consider putting on a 22t, or a cassette with 36. I need to crunch the numbers
marcus, with 700x35 ,my guess, your bike has a low gear of 21 gear inches
that can work for some loads, some gradients, and some knees---- but having lower is simply easier one your knees, easier on your lungs and muscles.
only you know of you need lower, your fitness, your age, your knees
but my opinion is that there is no downside to lower gearing, there are always situations where we will use it, and when we don't need it, we don't, simple as that.

I've toured with 25 g.i.
21, 19.5, and 17, and 30 years ago realized 25 wasn't low enough, went to 21 which worked fine for many age and where I toured then.
got lower with age and touring destinations that have much steeper gradients and carrying more load, and use the lower gears when needed.

Your bike has that great ability to easily and cheaply lower the gearing with small chain ring changes, so you're set
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Old 02-07-20, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
marcus, with 700x35 ,my guess, your bike has a low gear of 21 gear inches
that can work for some loads, some gradients, and some knees---- but having lower is simply easier one your knees, easier on your lungs and muscles.
only you know of you need lower, your fitness, your age, your knees
but my opinion is that there is no downside to lower gearing, there are always situations where we will use it, and when we don't need it, we don't, simple as that.

I've toured with 25 g.i.
21, 19.5, and 17, and 30 years ago realized 25 wasn't low enough, went to 21 which worked fine for many age and where I toured then.
got lower with age and touring destinations that have much steeper gradients and carrying more load, and use the lower gears when needed.

Your bike has that great ability to easily and cheaply lower the gearing with small chain ring changes, so you're set
Thanks DJB
I had an old Deore MTB crankset with a 22t chainring. It took 10 mins to switch the ring out. I should be good now.
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Old 02-07-20, 12:23 PM
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Confession: I ride triples.

It's sad that marketeers keep telling me triples are dead. When I had my friction 3x7 drive train changed out on my grocery getter I lol'd at the cost inc labor. Freewheel $17, Chain $15, RDR $40.

Back to your question:
#1 : 32T middle rings drive me bonkers in any situation besides 4 bag touring.
#2 : Modern triples tend to have a wide Q factor. (I'm looking at you Deore sitting on my travel bike for the last 12 years) However, you really need a shifter capable of trimming on narrow flat ringed triples.
​​​​​​#3: Inner rings on hollow tech cranks are simple to replace.
​​​​​​


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Old 02-07-20, 03:44 PM
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In all the reading I've done in the past few days, I've discovered that you can use your 10 speed drivetrain with 9 speed cranksets. Apparently, the chain doesn't care, but the indexed shifter might. I'm using bar end friction for my front derailleur. This is turning into an unbelievable rabbit hole. I know there must be some good value cranksets from the 9 speed era, but I don't know anything about mtb components. I've looked for hours and can't find reference info for the different group sets from that era. If anyone could point me in the right direction or offer some suggestions, I would be very grateful.

I did find the XTR fc-m970. It came in 26-36-48 and 22-32-44. Very difficult to find in 170 arms. It also seems like the special ring materials is a huge part of the deal. Now I'm wondering if everything minus the chainrings is much of a deal.

I also agree with escii_35. 32 in the middle ring is ridiculous for anything but fully loaded touring. But I want that to happen someday, so I want that option.
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Old 02-07-20, 06:02 PM
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I'll dig my troll out from behind other bikes one day and look at what xt 44/32/22 it is, its from the 9 speed era but cant recall number.

and yes, 32 mid rings unloaded are too low generally, hence my recommendation for a 48/36/26
but even on my wifes 26in wheeled troll with 10 speed 48/36/26 and 11-36 stock, it has a low gear of 18 g.i. which is pretty darn good. It would be a bit higher on a 700 wheel bike, but again , so easy to change to a 24 or 22.
Cant recall if you have mentioned what sort of shifters you were thinking--bar end shifters right? So you'll need to look into 10 spd bar ends that work with shimano mtb cable pull...
good luck with finding proper info

Last edited by djb; 02-07-20 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 02-09-20, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I went with the Deore 48-36-26 with a 11-34 cassette. 26 X 34 seems a low enough gear depending on your terrain. I just went on a ride (unloaded). I hit a very steep road and barely made it to the top (about a km). I don't think I would have made it with a full load. Mind you it is the winter and I am not in great shape, but it makes me consider putting on a 22t, or a cassette with 36. I need to crunch the numbers
I am considering switching from 11-32 to 12-36 If that not low enough 48-36-24?
I agree with keeping the middle ring at 36 since it is so useful in the flats
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Old 02-09-20, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by danders View Post
I am considering switching from 11-32 to 12-36 If that not low enough 48-36-24?
I agree with keeping the middle ring at 36 since it is so useful in the flats
on 700x32 tires, a 24 small ring and a 34 cassette gives you 18 gear inches, which is actually very good.
but only you know how much stuff you carry and if you hit steep hills a lot, and how you are for climbing.....but really, 18 g.i. is a good low gear
and also, only you know what gearng you had or have now, and how this would relate to 18g.i.
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Old 02-09-20, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
I know there must be some good value cranksets from the 9 speed era, but I don't know anything about mtb components.
Basic Deore 9 speed trekking crankset (48/36/25) for $80:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-FC-...cAAOSwkYleHeuW

(I was eyeballing that until I saw the cranks are 170mm - too short for me)
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Old 02-09-20, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by danders View Post
I am considering switching from 11-32 to 12-36 If that not low enough 48-36-24?
I agree with keeping the middle ring at 36 since it is so useful in the flats
So, I just did the same route again with the 22T and it made a big difference. I still huffed and puffed and grunted a few choice words, but made it to the top with some energy to spare.
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Old 02-10-20, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
on 700x32 tires, a 24 small ring and a 34 cassette gives you 18 gear inches, which is actually very good.
but only you know how much stuff you carry and if you hit steep hills a lot, and how you are for climbing.....but really, 18 g.i. is a good low gear
and also, only you know what gearng you had or have now, and how this would relate to 18g.i.
Currently 26/32 is my low. 24/34 and 26/36 are very close to same ratio.
24/36/48 seems like it might be too large of a jump from 24/36? A 12-36 cassette would tend to move everything lower.
I spend almost zero time in 48/11 and I'm sure 48/12 would be plenty high.

Just make sure rear derailleur can do 36.
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Old 02-10-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by danders View Post
Currently 26/32 is my low. 24/34 and 26/36 are very close to same ratio.
24/36/48 seems like it might be too large of a jump from 24/36? A 12-36 cassette would tend to move everything lower.
I spend almost zero time in 48/11 and I'm sure 48/12 would be plenty high.

Just make sure rear derailleur can do 36.
a 12t jump is nothing, I rode a bike with a 16t jump for years, which is a bit annoying, 24 to 40.
I have a 50 39 26 setup on a bike and it works fine, but yes smaller jumps are nicer. You just have to shift up twice instead of once gong to granny generally, snick snick and it's done.

if you can find a 12 to 36 then great, yes a 48-12 is amply high.

ill let you calculate the 26/32 vs 24/36 gear inches for us.
a black and white number is what's needed to compare, and to relate to what you know
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Old 02-14-20, 07:27 AM
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JWK, one thing to consider if thinking about changing chainrings is how the gear inch numbers in each chain ring relate to each other, and not have replicating numbers in both mid and large rings.
here is a screen shot of two examples, my 44/32/22 with my 26x2in wheels and tires, compared to if I changed the mid ring 32 to a 34.
You will see how with the 34 you end up duplicating a number of gears, ie almost the same gear inch number, so while the idea is great to have a taller middle crank, it kinda ends up being redundant.
In the large ring I tend to use the top half of the cassette, so not to have cross chaining, ie the chain at an extreme angle, not good for stuff long term.
but you can see that with the 34, I would end up with gear inch numbers almost the same as some gears in the large ring

so something to think about, and either the sheldon brown gear calculator or the "html gear calculator" can show you black and white actual numbers in gear inches, so you can play arouind with ideas and compare.

generally, the large companies that make chainrings will have thought this all through already and have a good choice of rings. This doesnt mean of course that using a 48/36/26 and changing the 26 to a 24 or 22 isnt a good idea, its a great idea to have an easy and fast and cheap way to lower gearing which can make all the diff to real world riding being more pleasant and easier.
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Old 02-14-20, 11:02 AM
  #22  
gauvins
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
I would start with the 48-36-26, like the old road triples they don't make anymore.
The XT trekking group is available in Europe. The problem is that for some obscure reason, they aren't distributed in North America. If you have a friend living in Europe, or perhaps search Ebay, you might be able to get it. (On Ebay, I could find an entry for the MTB triple, 42-32-24).
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Old 02-14-20, 09:36 PM
  #23  
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djb, I've been all over the gearing charts for years. I know exactly what I want for gearing. I've been using triples since 1991 almost exclusively. What I want/like isn't made so much anymore. My biggest problem is my ignorance when it comes to the component groups. I just don't know the difference between Deore, SLX, XTR. I don't know if an older Deore M591 crankset is every bit as good as the newest Deore that comes on the Sutra. I don't even know what that model number is. I can't make an informed decision if I can't get info, and my LBS doesn't have any info for me. It seems to me that Deore triples are now OEM only, so no info.
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Old 02-15-20, 01:18 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
djb, I've been all over the gearing charts for years. I know exactly what I want for gearing. I've been using triples since 1991 almost exclusively. What I want/like isn't made so much anymore..
I feel your pain. Modern mtb triples from the big parts companies have wide q factors and middle rings which annoy me unloaded. Don't get me started on the durability of the outboard BB's these devices use.

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Sunrace 8sp 12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32(34).
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Old 02-15-20, 01:29 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by escii_35 View Post
I feel your pain. Modern mtb triples from the big parts companies have wide q factors and middle rings which annoy me unloaded. Don't get me started on the durability of the outboard BB's these devices use.

​​​​My one ray of sunshine in the drive train world.
Sunrace 8sp 12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32(34).
honestly though, the deore 48/36/26 ten speed is still an excellent option, and as Ive recounted, my experience with the hollowtech 2 bb has been perfectly fine.
and 9 spd 11-32/34 has the eleven, which is nice with the smaller 42 or 44 or 40 or 32t rings. Sure, we dont use it that often, but its there.
As with the ten speed 11-32/34/36 which has very reasonable jumps with the two/one extra cogs compared to 8 and 9.
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