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New SRAM Apex vs Triple - CC Touring, Centuries, Weekend Rides

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New SRAM Apex vs Triple - CC Touring, Centuries, Weekend Rides

Old 02-27-11, 11:16 PM
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divtag
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New SRAM Apex vs Triple - CC Touring, Centuries, Weekend Rides

The new 10 speed Apex group looks interesting with a compact double. I have been eyeballing the new Casseroll: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/casseroll/. It has the Sugino triple, but then I also started seeing new offering with the SRAM Apex group. Including the newly announced Vaya: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/.
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Old 02-28-11, 06:46 AM
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I for one am a bit "meh" on compact doubles these days. Triples are a little bit less convenient in some cases, but offers a little bit smoother operation with a potentially much wider gear range. Compact doubles will have a huge gap between the front rings and may result in more cross-chaining.

If you're a strong rider the 34-34 combo may well be sufficient, but just keep in mind that on tour you'll be carrying extra weight; and at the tail end of a century you may want lower gears.

Also I'd say both of these Salsa bikes are extremely close to the Cross Check, which (based on your signature) it appears that you currently own, assuming the CC is set up with gears and not as a SS/fixed.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:48 AM
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The Vaya is not close to the Cross Check and the Casseroll is a bit more laid back as well.

I use a compact double on a La Cruz, which is a disc cross bike or it was billed that way. I run the Apex system there for the most part. I think for unloaded touring, its wonderful. My front is 46/34 with a 11-32 rear cassette. It shifts very very smooth, no problems.

I'm building my Vaya though with the XT components from my V1 Fargo which is 9 spd, "traditional" 48-36-26 crank, 11-34 rear, bar end shifting, etc. I decided that it just offers a better overall drivetrain for loaded down touring. I'll buy another V2 Fargo which is a double and it will be more for off road "tours" than on, probably wearing a suspension fork too. The V2 Fargo with 40/26 crank and 12-36 gears out back should work about perfect for my off road touring camping rides.

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:53 AM
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I did some UL touring of the Marin headlands and GGNRA in California this summer with an Apex-like compact double mated to a 34 tooth cassette. Cross chaining is not an issue with the compact doubles, except in chain wear. you can use all the gears, just a little chainring tooth jingle when running small front/small back.

Works fine, even up steep grades and gravel. Having a granny bailout on a triple has a nice psychological effect on tour, however.for trad loaded touring, i think a triple is still the way to go for most people.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:02 PM
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I have the compact crankset & Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette on a road bike and a road triple (50, 39 & 26t) and a 12-27 on a cyclocross bike.

I would use a triple on a touring bike, unless the cyclist is very strong (and being young wouldn't hurt either) and the touring gear is very light. If you can keep the racks & camping gear to less than 10 lbs, the Apex compact crankset & Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette could work.
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Old 03-01-11, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I have the compact crankset & Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette on a road bike and a road triple (50, 39 & 26t) and a 12-27 on a cyclocross bike.

I would use a triple on a touring bike, unless the cyclist is very strong (and being young wouldn't hurt either) and the touring gear is very light. If you can keep the racks & camping gear to less than 10 lbs, the Apex compact crankset & Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette could work.
I don't see the utility of 10 speeds. I have nothing against it but I'm fine with 7, 8, 9 or 10 as long as the range is right ie combined with the crank it it gives something like 20 to 100 gear inches. For a touring bike standard compact doubles don't give gearing low enough (IMHO), but if you take a MTB cassette with something like 11/34 and combine it with 42/26 front rings you have an excellent touring setup.

I like regular compact doubles for my road bike and run a 48/34 with an 11/25 cassette.
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Old 03-01-11, 04:01 PM
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Sram must be giving away their new apex systems. I have seen a lot of "touring" bikes turned to commuters or less by this system. I was absolutely shocked to see the Vaya go with this system which is what I decided to build for my wife. I built my Soma DC with the XT trekking crank and love it (180mm arms). I dont use the low gears often but on a century that ended on a gravel road they were not only nice but neccasary
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Old 03-01-11, 09:11 PM
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Seems the Vaya and the Casseroll should be swapped. I'd think it make more sense to have the Apex on the LD Casseroll and the triple on the Vaya for touring. Is the Sugino triple cheaper? Was it a way to keep the Casseroll cost down?
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Old 03-02-11, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I have the compact crankset & Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette on a road bike and a road triple (50, 39 & 26t) and a 12-27 on a cyclocross bike.

I would use a triple on a touring bike, unless the cyclist is very strong (and being young wouldn't hurt either) and the touring gear is very light. If you can keep the racks & camping gear to less than 10 lbs, the Apex compact crankset & Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette could work.
I agree with this. My touring bike started out with a 50/39/30 triple crank and 12-27 cassette. Even with only 22lbs of gear, I decided that slightly lower gearing would be a bit more knee-friendly when climbing long hills. Switched to a trekking crank (48/38/26) with the same cassette and was quite happy. With a heavier load, I'd probably want a MTB-like 22/32/44 crank. I spent quite a bit of time training on the touring bike before I left, so I was in relatively good condition. Someone less fit might appreciate the lower gearing even more than I did...
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Old 03-02-11, 11:44 AM
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I am a young strong rider with a medium self-supported load and had no problems on my last 8000 mile tour with a compact 50-34 double crankset and 11-32 9sp cassette. I intentionally sought out the steepest mountains and passes and never felt like I needed lower gearing.
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Old 03-02-11, 02:59 PM
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Well throw you a fish. Doesn't really adress the issue at hand.
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Old 03-02-11, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by digger531 View Post
Sram must be giving away their new apex systems....
Maybe to manufacturers. AFAIK it's pretty close to 105 in terms of price range if you buy it separately, and cheaper (by $300?) when it's stock on a bike.
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Old 03-03-11, 05:11 AM
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+1 on using a triple vs a double.

Cost wise it's not a big deal and it gives you options to have a triple. You can always optimize your chain rings to keep you in the middle and big ring most of the time and just have the granny for "emergencies".
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Old 03-03-11, 07:25 AM
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for those of us into trying a double, wide range cassette system for touring, a shimano shadow rear derailleur will accommodate a 36t cassette.

a 50/34 mated to a 11-36 tooth cassette will get a rider 25 to 123 gear inches with a 35c tire.

this is a wide range of gearing. 25 gear inches is pretty darn low.

on my heavy touring bike, a trekking 48-36-24 crank and a 11-34 gives me 19 to 118 gear inches.

For a person packing relatively lightweight a wide range double is certainly a possibility.

as far as i can tell the current trend in ultralite touring and 'bikepacking' is similar to the lightweight revolution in backpacking equipment in the 1970's.

More people are touring super light and engaging in touring that might stretch the boundaries of 'touring' for those accustomed to schlepping 90 pound bike across the tarmac.

the double crank / wide range cassette is a very viable option for those looking outside the parameters of trad touring.
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Old 03-03-11, 07:28 AM
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as a side note, APEX is one of the least expensive gruppos for bike manufacturers looking to spec a bike with brifters.
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Old 03-03-11, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
a 50/34 mated to a 11-36 tooth cassette will get a rider 25 to 123 gear inches with a 35c tire. this is a wide range of gearing. 25 gear inches is pretty darn low.
I agree, though it does depend on the rider's abilities and how steep the hills are.

For example I did a short credit-card tour of Ireland where the lowest I had was 28 gear inches without too many problems. However a tour of the coast of California, with about an extra 10 pounds for camping gear, benefitted from lower gears.

(Also iirc the Apex cassette is an 11-34, not 36, so his setup would be closer to 28 than 25.)

As such I'd think a wide triple setup is a little more versatile. Not required, but possibly worth the trouble, especially when paired with bar-end shifters.
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Old 03-03-11, 09:05 AM
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Again, the problem here is not with trying the double (even though all well known and experienced tourers will tell you its not low enough) its with the fact that you cant change to a triple WHEN you realize you were wrong.
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Old 03-03-11, 09:50 AM
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'all well known and experienced tourers will tell you its not low enough'




There's a new trend in bike touring in case you hadn't been watching the trends. its no longer 90 pound, trad loaded bike touring anymore. A compact double crank / wide range cassette is a very viable option for those looking outside the parameters of trad touring.

Did you read the recent adventure cycling article about bikepacking?

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Old 03-03-11, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
(Also iirc the Apex cassette is an 11-34, not 36, so his setup would be closer to 28 than 25.)
Apex and Rival both offer 11-32 and 12-32 cassettes.

If you want a larger cassette you have to buy it from one of SRAM's 10-speed mountain bike component groups (X7 and above). I would assume that the spacing for a 10-speed MTB cassette is the same as for a 10-speed road cassette, but I haven't checked....
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Old 03-03-11, 01:37 PM
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yes, and people can set up equivalent systems with shimano gear using shadow rear derailleurs and their 11-36 tooth options.

Maybe apex isn't ideal out of the box for loaded touring, particularly if people get the 28 rear derailleur and cassette option.

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Old 03-03-11, 03:33 PM
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a companion on a trip, in the 80s, down California Coast. used a TA cyclotourist Double . a 50 and a 28t.
14-28t freewheel..

now with 11 tooth top cogs , a 44,22 is possible, but for the chain rings being asymmetrical these days
so outers dont work so good as middles on triples.
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Old 03-04-11, 09:23 PM
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I'm buying a Specialized Sirrus Expert, which has SRAM Apex with cassette 11-32 & chainrings 50-34. I'm looking forward to it, but it'll be a new adventure for me. I plan to do some "light" touring (3-4 days max), and lengthy rides outside of that, and I consider myself a pretty strong rider so it will be interesting if I feel a need for lower gearing. I hope not! I'll let you all know...
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Old 03-05-11, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
Maybe apex isn't ideal out of the box for loaded touring, particularly if people get the 28 rear derailleur and cassette option.
Correct. Apex with a 32-tooth cassette gives you a low gear (34f, 32r) of 28.0 gear-inches. This is exactly the same as a standard road triple w/28-tooth cassette (30f, 28r = 28.3 gear-inches). You might get by with that if you've got a light load or a relatively flat route, or legs+knees of steel. If you're going fully loaded, you'll likely want something a bit lower especially if you have any significant climbs... I certainly did!
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Old 03-05-11, 12:14 PM
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yes, and there's a lot of touring being done these days that breaks past the 'fully loaded' barriers these days. And how about the ever growing 'supported' touring market?

and how about the usual uses of a bike when not on tour -centuries, weekend rides, etc. like the title of the thread suggests.

For trad touring, yes, it's not the right gruppo. My trad, heavy touring bike has a trekking triple with a 24 inner ring.

APEX can't be converted cheaply to a triple, unlike shimano barrend systems.

However, for those riders looking to ride in a style other than 'fully loaded', a compact front/ mountain range rear drivetrain IS a gearing to consider. SRAM apex is quite viable.

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Old 03-05-11, 05:29 PM
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What about centuries or long weekend rides with a lot of climbing? Most still opt for the triple?
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