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Subcompact Doubles v Triples

Old 02-20-23, 03:11 PM
  #1  
Germany_chris
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Subcompact Doubles v Triples

So it looks like the Franken >Lake Garda tour is going to happen this summer barring any unforeseen circumstances.

I'm not inclined to take my Cross Check since it's going to require more weight than that bike can handle without becoming too flexy so I've drug out my Rock 'n Road frame. My parts bin is fairly deep so I can build how I like which leads to my question...

If you were going to build a bike to cross the Alps with say 50ish pound of gear would you build on a mountain triple 44/34/24/6 or go with a 44/28 double, if I go triple I'm going to use barcons and 11-36 10 speed if I go compact double I'll probably go 11-42 11 speed double tap. In day to day use I don't use that big of a cassette because it's not needed and has some holes in the cassette stack that make me uncomfortable, but on a ride like this I can deal I think.

I don't love barcons though I have no issue using them but If I had my druthers I choose integrated shifters, the flip side is my brake levers are long pull so I'll be able to use full length linear pulls v mini's since this bike is going to be built around 32mm tires I'm not sure that will make a difference but it exists.

When push comes to shove I'll be able to ride the route with either setup and since I own all the parts cost isn't a consideration. I'm leaning triple since i'll have a closer spaced ratio but I don't know if that's a benefit over a change of hand position to make it work.

So would you choose traditional or modernish for my ~600k est. 10 day trip?
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Old 02-20-23, 03:29 PM
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Another idea. The brifter is optimum for the close spaced 10-speed. (I'm assuming - I haven't gone brifter yet and not more than 9 but I'm not sure I'd want to friction shift more than 9.) So put on the 2X brifters of your choice. Now, park a SunTour Command left/front shifter right behind the left brifter and run the triple off it. It's just a friction shift; nothing fancy, but it works well and is good from the levers. I ran the Mooney fort years with the Commands. Right wasmarginal when SunTour FWs got scarce. Sedis/Sachs didn't quite index properly. The front simply worked.

This would give you the triple and it's nice cassette and range, the nice brifter shifts for the rear and keep your hands where they should be (you do need to upshift to the bigger chainrings from the levers or behind, not the drops.)

If you wanted to go this route, I've got an NOS pair I believe and a well used pair that is marginal on the rear but just fine in front. (Index was never SunTour's forte but friction they did with the best.)

Edit: Germany. So that shifter would have to cross a continent and another great ocean.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 02-20-23 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 02-20-23, 05:00 PM
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My derailleur touring bikes, my rando bike, and my errand bike all have triples.

My road bike has my only double crank, I bought that as a complete bike and it came with the double.

So, my highly biased answer is ... <sound of drum roll>, ... triple.
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Old 02-20-23, 05:52 PM
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Going through the Alps with 50 lbs of gear on a fairly heavy bike to begin with, yea, I would need a really low gear to protect my knees.
It would have to be a triple for me to get that low of a low and not have enormous gaps between gears and/or not having an adequate high end to go with it.
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Old 02-20-23, 05:59 PM
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Lowest gearing. 50lbs I hope includes the bike weight.
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Old 02-20-23, 06:32 PM
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I would use a mountain double instead of a compact road double. Triples are obsolete in my opinion. I run a SRAM mountain 2x11 drivetrain on my bike, bar end shifters.
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Old 02-20-23, 07:41 PM
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I'm biased towards triples, and find the 32 or 34 mid ring and 24 or 22 small ring to be very very versatile for loaded riding, very much moreso in mountainy terrain--,of which I've done a lot of.
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Old 02-20-23, 08:30 PM
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Lago De Gurda is just down the way from several bicycle manufacturers. Not to mention the little shops in around Verona, and of course the Campy plant in Vicenza. Why don't you just pick up a used bike over there and save yourself some money. Also if you want a set up for the mountains consider the experts in the shops around Bassano Del Grappa.
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Old 02-21-23, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Lago De Gurda is just down the way from several bicycle manufacturers. Not to mention the little shops in around Verona, and of course the Campy plant in Vicenza. Why don't you just pick up a used bike over there and save yourself some money. Also if you want a set up for the mountains consider the experts in the shops around Bassano Del Grappa.
I live in Germany, this ride is from my home in Bavaria to Lake Garda, so I am ďover thereĒ
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Old 02-21-23, 04:00 AM
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whichever setup gives you the most usable gears, especially at the low end, is the way to go. for me that means a triple for more variety.
nothing obsolete about triples. they remain useful, particularly with loaded touring. it's decidedly frustrating to be unable to find the right gear.
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Old 02-21-23, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
If you were going to build a bike to cross the Alps with say 50ish pound of gear would you build on a mountain triple 44/34/24/6 or go with a 44/28 double, if I go triple I'm going to use barcons and 11-36 10 speed if I go compact double I'll probably go 11-42 11 speed double tap. In day to day use I don't use that big of a cassette because it's not needed and has some holes in the cassette stack that make me uncomfortable, but on a ride like this I can deal I think.
none of us have asked directly, but have you toured before with this heavy a load? For me and my legs, my 44/32/22 triple works so well for loaded touring and the speeds that I bike at. Like I mentioned earlier, especially in hilly terrain, being in the mid ring is so versatile for most moderate climbing, and then the small ring again is so versatile when you hit steeper stuff and want to take care of the legs and knees by keeping the cadence up.
Being a 34t and 24t in your case make these two chainrings even a bit more versatile, as the speed range vs my 32 and 22 is even a bit higher--and possibly even higher with 700 wheels. I have an old 700 wheeled bike with a cheap crankset of 42/34/24 and the 34 ring and bigger wheels (so higher gearing) allows me to go that bit faster in the mid ring than on my 26in touring bike with the 44/32/22

the only downside to a mtb triple is if lightly loaded, you sometimes have to shift more between big ring and middle ring, its never really been a problem with my touring, but when touring much lighter than usual, I have at times wished for a bigger mid ring---which you do have and may have taller wheels also, so higher gearing overall.

my touring bike has a 9 spd 11-34, but my wifes bike has 10 spd 48/36/26 and 11-36 (same you are thinking of using) and the jumps between her 11-36 and slightly closer than my 9 spd 11-34, so this is a really good touring cassette.

you'll have to look at a gearing chart for the 11 spd setup to see how they compare---this is the most important thing to do, see the actual black and white numbers , both the actual gear inches of the gears, but also the percentage in steps between each shift---maybe the 11 spd setup is almost exactly the same, but perhaps not the same low--important perhaps to you if you really are carrying 50 pounds of gear (and not 50 lbs of bike AND gear)

do the gearing charts and show them here bitte.
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Old 02-21-23, 08:08 AM
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chris, heck I just looked at the gearing charts for both, and while there are different cassettes with diff cogs depending on the company, it would appear that it is likely the 10 spd 11-36 and the 11 speed 11-42 will have the same cogs except for the added 42 on the 11 speed----so in other words, the same jumps

so I take back what I said, and if you can get the brifters to work properly with what parts you own, heck why not go with the brifters--they certainly are super nice to ride with.

I couldnt help myself and did screenshots of the two setups, which btw I see the frame is 700 wheeled, so others can see the range and easily the percentage jumps between the shifts

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Old 02-21-23, 08:11 AM
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do 11 speed drivetrains wear out a lot faster with more cross-chaining than 10 or 9 speed with less cross-chaining?

is this a problem or not a big deal?

is 11 spd + more susceptible to chain breaks? or not really a big deal unless you are a bull in a chinashop with how you shift?
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Old 02-21-23, 08:23 AM
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Can you still source Shimano Sora 9-speed brifters?
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Old 02-21-23, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Can you still source Shimano Sora 9-speed brifters?
as a general question or for this guy in germany? Im sure you can find out mit herr google
I have a set but got them a bunch of years ago, pre covid
aren't they still being put on bikes?
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Old 02-21-23, 11:50 AM
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Either set up will work, but I like the simplicity of a double. I have a 42/26 using the two inner rings of a triple and a 11x34 cassette on one bike and it works just fine and it would be easy to go to 12x36. Look at lightening the load as well as lowering gears. With a light load I used a 46x34 with a 12x36 cassette to do the Northern Tier and I'm not a particularly strong rider.
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Old 02-21-23, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
So it looks like the Franken >Lake Garda tour is going to happen this summer barring any unforeseen circumstances.

I'm not inclined to take my Cross Check since it's going to require more weight than that bike can handle without becoming too flexy so I've drug out my Rock 'n Road frame. My parts bin is fairly deep so I can build how I like which leads to my question...

If you were going to build a bike to cross the Alps with say 50ish pound of gear would you build on a mountain triple 44/34/24/6 or go with a 44/28 double, if I go triple I'm going to use barcons and 11-36 10 speed if I go compact double I'll probably go 11-42 11 speed double tap. In day to day use I don't use that big of a cassette because it's not needed and has some holes in the cassette stack that make me uncomfortable, but on a ride like this I can deal I think.

I don't love barcons though I have no issue using them but If I had my druthers I choose integrated shifters, the flip side is my brake levers are long pull so I'll be able to use full length linear pulls v mini's since this bike is going to be built around 32mm tires I'm not sure that will make a difference but it exists.

When push comes to shove I'll be able to ride the route with either setup and since I own all the parts cost isn't a consideration. I'm leaning triple since i'll have a closer spaced ratio but I don't know if that's a benefit over a change of hand position to make it work.

So would you choose traditional or modernish for my ~600k est. 10 day trip?
Iíd opt for traditional over the ďmodernĒ silliness. Modern doubles are designed by idiots who seem to know nothing about gearing. Using the excellent German gear calculator, Iíve compared the 48/28 to a 44/34/26, 44/34/24, and 44/43/22. Since pictures are better, hereís the various gear combinations. The first thing to notice about the ďmodernĒ gearing is how really bad it is. Say you are riding along in the 44 chainring and the 28 tooth cog on the cassette. You need to down shift and there is a huge gap where to catch up speed you have to vastly increase the cadence of immediately upshift 2 gears to get the 10Ē drop that youíd get with the triple.


The 26 tooth chainwheel, however, doesnít give you a very good low gear.



The 24 tooth chainwheel would give you a similar low gear to the 2x system with better shifting.



But there is no issue with going to a standard mountain bike 22 tooth inner gear. Itís not going to tax anything on the drivetrain to use that gearing. It will work with a minimum of fiddling.



Now letís go to Crazy Town! Itís possible with a little bit of filing to get a 20 tooth inner ring to work on a 64mm BCD crank. Iíve done it with several bikes. That drops the low to almost (but not quite) stupid levels. This is gearing I currently run on my touring bike. I am using a Wolf Tooth Roadlink to increase the range of the 9 speed derailer Iím using.



If you want to follow me further down this crazy hole, I have also used a 40 tooth low gear with the 20 tooth inner on my bikepacking bike (mountain bike with 26Ē wheels so itís even lower). I did that without the Roadlink and have to tell you that a 14Ē gear gets you nowhere fast but it does get you up a whole lot of steep things. I have a 42 tooth low gear that I havenít tried yet because I need a Roadlink which I havenít tried yet. A 14Ē gear is already kind of silly.

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Old 02-21-23, 03:03 PM
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Go triple. I have an 8 speed 42-32-22 with an 11-34 cassette I installed on my 99 trek 520 and itís a great set up. When the triple front crankset wears out im gonna swap in a 40-30-22 for what I speculate will be an even more useable overall range (since I very very ever rarely spin the 42-11 combo). I know with this crankset set up I have a very useable gear range on all 3 chain rings on top of great chain line as well.
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Old 02-21-23, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
I would use a mountain double instead of a compact road double. Triples are obsolete in my opinion. I run a SRAM mountain 2x11 drivetrain on my bike, bar end shifters.
That's what I would do too - or even a mtb 1x with something like a 12 spd 10-52 cassette and maybe as small as a 34-36T front chainring. That would mean eliminating one derailleur, shifter and chain ring. Paul's Components makes a nifty gadget to mount an MTB shifter on a drop bar handlebar too.

Triples are obsolete, IMO.
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Old 02-21-23, 05:13 PM
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When a lot of people are still recommending triples, they are not obsolete.

It is unlikely you will find anyone recommend cup and cone bottom brackets or headsets, that means that they are obsolete.
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Old 02-21-23, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When a lot of people are still recommending triples, they are not obsolete.

It is unlikely you will find anyone recommend cup and cone bottom brackets or headsets, that means that they are obsolete.
A modern 2x11 drivetrain covers everything from slow to mid speeds. The only capability missing is being able to pedal at 30+ mph. If one plans on riding that fast, a triple is indeed necessary. Personally my legs are not strong enough to sustain that kind of speed on a road bike, let alone on a touring bike.

And if I'm going downhill at that kind of speed, I'm already coasting long before I get to 30 mph. That large chainring would never get used.

If one really wants to ride fast on a double, one could simply use a modern hub that allows for the use of a 10t small cog. That 11t to 10t change on the cassette is an instant 9% increase to the top speed.

I could see the argument for using a triple with a closely spaced cassette, to have less jarring ratio changes between gears. It's a more compelling argument than getting a useless ego-boosting fantasy top speed.

Last edited by Yan; 02-21-23 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 02-21-23, 06:47 PM
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I'd go 42/34/24 triple. Play with that calculator cyccommute referenced. It is fun and enlightening. Slide the chainrings around to minimize duplicate gearing. As near as I can tell, people think triples are obsolete because nobody could figure out how to make them index well so they stopped offering them widely while trying to convince everyone they are obsolete. In friction mode, even without ramps and pins, a triple shifts just fine. Don't worry about matching chainrings because, as cyccommute mentioned the manufacturer pairings make little sense. Play with the calculator, choose the rings you want, put them on with an old Suntour front derailleur in friction mode and it should all be good - more range, closer steps. You're touring, double shifting to get just the right gear is no big deal once you figure out the shift patterns. The chart helps you visualize that.
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Old 02-21-23, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When a lot of people are still recommending triples, they are not obsolete.

It is unlikely you will find anyone recommend cup and cone bottom brackets or headsets, that means that they are obsolete.
What people recommend has nothing to do with it. It's what is manufactured in quantity that determines what is obsolete and what isn't.

But I get it that there are a lot of triple cranks out there on bikes and some people like them. It's sort of like manual transmissions on cars - yeah, you can get them but your choice is really limited, you can get it only on a very limited number of models, and it's around 2% of the market. That's kind of the situation triples are in only probably worse and way less than 1%. Is that obsolete? Maybe not but pretty close especially since there's some other technologies that fill the bill at least as well.
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Old 02-21-23, 11:07 PM
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As I said early in the thread, triple fan here. I love the close gear spacing without having to do double shifts all the time. I like having enough overlap between middle ring choices and both big and small rings if I can do it so I can ride long, slightly varying grade stretches on one ring. And I like having a big gear if there are going to be either big time tailwinds or downhills. Losing out on an all day tailwind because I have nothing bigger than 85"? Passing up a shot at heaven on Earth? And big downhills - pedaling that big gear can do a lot to stabilize speed wobbles, including wobbles that come from the load the bike is now carrying. So that big gear might allow higher speed or just lower HR.

Big ranges plus great choices without double shifts is getting into un-ubtainium but triples allow you to get closer. Obsolete" Well, the manufacturers are doing their best to make them so. I'm hoping enough of us stay triple that enough makers see us.
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Old 02-21-23, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
I live in Germany, this ride is from my home in Bavaria to Lake Garda, so I am “over there”
WOW... That's gonna be a real nice ride. I was in my 20s when I rode in the Dolomite's. I don't remember any Triple Cranks being used. I do remember that may of the older riders were using 34-42 up front and a custom Regina 5 speed in the back with a huge 34T Bailout that required a long cage derailleur. Those were the old guys from Bassano Del Grappa. In that area it is all UP and very STEEP. I was very surprised when those Italian riders that would normally be quick to cut ya on having anything non-Italian would be perfectly fine with fitting a Suntour Long cage... Ha

Originally Posted by L134 View Post
I'd go 42/34/24 triple...
That's the ticket! Even if ya don't use that 24 it will be awfully nice to have it there...
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