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New Build

Old 12-06-12, 04:53 PM
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New Build

I've been talking to my LBS about building a touring rig. I plan to use it primarily for mountain tours. The LBS is suggesting to use a double as opposed to a triple. He is of the opinion that a triple is a hassle to keep in adjustment and that the same basic spread of gears could be obtained with a double. He also recommends barcons as opposed to STI. I admit that I am clueless. The one bike that I do currently own with a triple, seems to suffer from dropped chains quite a bit.
I searched the forum, but couldn't find related threads, although I'm sure that they are there.
Opinions and comments would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-06-12, 05:27 PM
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One thing I did when setting up my triple is a chainguard disc on the outside, sturdy aluminum.
a chain minder on the inside, and so the chain only had the 3 chainrings to settle upon.
perhaps the kids working at the LBS there never saw any of those ..

Bar end shifters: Shimano 8 or 9 have a bail out friction mode for the rear, friction only for the front.

advantage, hand stays on the bars.. and FD cage can be re centered to not scrape the chain.


My new rig uses a 14 speed internal gear.. I like it better than my derailleur touring bike, now.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-06-12 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 12-06-12, 05:45 PM
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Difficult to make recommendations without knowing how much you intend to carry.
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Old 12-06-12, 05:55 PM
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He is of the opinion that a triple is a hassle to keep in adjustment and that the same basic spread of gears could be obtained with a double.
I believe that you would get much smoother shifting and a better usable range of gears with the combination I have listed below than to try to get that same range with a double.

I would go with a triple because it provides a wide range of gears with less "jump" between gears. Has the person at your LBS ever toured before?

Front derailleur adjustment is not an issue with bar-con shifters. It is not really an issue with STI shifters either. I prefer the STI shfters, but there are others who prefer the bar-con type. Either type will work hassle free with a triple. There are a lot experienced people on this forum, and I'm sure you will get a range of opinions.

I have put this identical setup on 4 bikes: 11-34 rear cassette, 44/32/22 mountain crankset, 103 mm bottom bracket on 68 mm BB shell (to keep road chainline, 45-47 mm, with mountain bike cranks), Shimano LX rear derailleur, Tiagra front derailleur (really forgiving and rugged), and Tiagra shifters/brake levers. Unfortunately, the Sugino DX 500 crank is no longer available, but there are some others that may work as well.

This combination has proven to be reliable for 1000's of touring miles.


I used exactly the same drive train and STI shifters when I built up my wife's custom made frame.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-06-12 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 12-06-12, 06:05 PM
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Mountain tours = low gear inches. Like 18" on 9 speed set up. I never had any serious problems with a triple. Occasionally the chain would jump off the small ring if I was careless with the shift. No big deal. Add a guard as fietsbob suggest. Bar cons are good. I preferred friction front and rear. The Sram indexed grip shifters I use now are good to. Precise and trouble free. Did not like STIs.

If the lbs can get you the needed gear inches, low and high, with a double, that might be ok. When loaded for touring on the DF, I rarely needed the big ring. Unloaded, I did need it. Just make sure if you go with a double, it won't be a compromise you'll regret.
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Old 12-06-12, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
One thing I did when setting up my triple is a chainguard disc on the outside, sturdy aluminum.
a chain minder on the inside, and so the chain only had the 3 chainrings to settle upon.
perhaps the kids working at the LBS there never saw any of those ..

Bar end shifters: Shimano 8 or 9 have a bail out friction mode for the rear, friction only for the front.

advantage, hand stays on the bars.. and FD cage can be re centered to not scrape the chain.


My new rig uses a 14 speed internal gear.. I like it better than my derailleur touring bike, now.


What do you mean by this? Sorry but confused.
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Old 12-06-12, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheels Of Steel View Post
Difficult to make recommendations without knowing how much you intend to carry.

Primary usage is in supported tours, so trunk bag is all that is usually needed.
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Old 12-06-12, 07:02 PM
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Primary usage is in supported tours, so trunk bag is all that is usually needed.
This could change the whole equation. What frame are you working with, tire size etc??
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Old 12-06-12, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by curdog View Post
Primary usage is in supported tours, so trunk bag is all that is usually needed.
Is this what your lbs guy is basing his recomendations on? If so, cool, but if you asked him for a touring rig for loaded touring and they still think a double is the way to go find a different bike shop.
Sorry, but some shops do not understand why anyone would ride anything other than sram red and want more than 20 spokes.
A triple will sometimes throw the chain, but for them to say that it will be to hard to keep adjusted is a little silly. A mountain bike will get tons more abuse than a tourer, and they seldom need much adjustment on the front derailer.

Last edited by shipwreck; 12-06-12 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 12-06-12, 08:56 PM
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What brand/model for touring bike are you thinking of getting?

A double crankset will give you a little smoother shifting than a triple, but there's no reason for a triple not to work well if properly adjusted. If you're pairing a double crankset with a 10 speed cassette (11-36t), it should work well for your current light touring needs. Should you go with a double (compact) crankset, get one with the least number of chainrings in the small chainring... 34 t seems to be the standard for compacts, although you can get some as low as 30t like the Velo Orange Polyvalent crankset.

A triple crankset w/ a 22t small chainring, on the other hand, will give you the advantage that if you ever want to tour with heavier loads, you'll be able to obtain much lower gear ratios. They are paired best with an 11-34 cassette. This set-up will do better without so much huffing and puffing on mountain roads with steep grades.

Most well-designed tourers will not short-change the user. They will automatically come with a triple. Personally, a triple chainring is the way to go on a touring bike.

As far as shifters, it's a toss up. Try both and go with what you like most. If you ever decide to use a handlebar bag, remember that they can get in the way of your STI shifters.

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 12-06-12 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 12-06-12, 09:12 PM
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What gear setup do you currently use for biking in the mountains? That would go a long way toward answering your questions. If you're a really strong rider that doesn't need the range of a triple in that sort of terrain, then you may not need ultra low gearing when you add 15 pounds of gear for a supported tour.
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Old 12-06-12, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
What gear setup do you currently use for biking in the mountains? That would go a long way toward answering your questions. If you're a really strong rider that doesn't need the range of a triple in that sort of terrain, then you may not need ultra low gearing when you add 15 pounds of gear for a supported tour.
A mountain double 42/28 with a 10 speed 11/36 cassette will get you an excellent touring range.

Combos like 42/26 and 11/34 can be done if you want 9 speed.

The size of MTB cassettes really means that you don't need a triple anymore and I can see them falling in popularity.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
This could change the whole equation. What frame are you working with, tire size etc??


Have been considering Comotion Cascadia. Not fully decided. Hope to be able to run tires at least up to 35mm.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
Is this what your lbs guy is basing his recomendations on? If so, cool, but if you asked him for a touring rig for loaded touring and they still think a double is the way to go find a different bike shop.
Sorry, but some shops do not understand why anyone would ride anything other than sram red and want more than 20 spokes.
A triple will sometimes throw the chain, but for them to say that it will be to hard to keep adjusted is a little silly. A mountain bike will get tons more abuse than a tourer, and they seldom need much adjustment on the front derailer.
This could be part of the challenge. I'm not expecting to do any unsupported touring, but I don't want to rule it out entirely.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
A double crankset will give you a little smoother shifting than a triple, but there's no reason for a triple not to work well if properly adjusted.
That a double crank shifts better than a triple was hardly true 20+ years ago and it's even less true today. Of the 32 bikes I've owned, I've used triples on all of them but 2. The doubles on those two bikes weren't any crisper than any of the triples I've used. Any issues with lack of crispness is, as you've correctly pointed out, is due to adjustment and not due to any kind of design flaws with triples.

Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
A triple crankset w/ a 22t small chainring, on the other hand, will give you the advantage that if you ever want to tour with heavier loads, you'll be able to obtain much lower gear ratios. They are paired best with an 11-34 cassette. This set-up will do better without so much huffing and puffing on mountain roads with steep grades.
I'll agree with the caveat that there's still a lot of huffing and puffing going on


Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
If you ever decide to use a handlebar bag, remember that they can get in the way of your STI shifters.
Never had a problem with a handlebar bag and STI shifters.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
What gear setup do you currently use for biking in the mountains? That would go a long way toward answering your questions. If you're a really strong rider that doesn't need the range of a triple in that sort of terrain, then you may not need ultra low gearing when you add 15 pounds of gear for a supported tour.

I am not a strong rider. The only short mountain tour was donen the Rivendell. It has a triple at 46-36-24 and a 9 speed cassette at 11-32.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by curdog View Post
I am not a strong rider. The only short mountain tour was donen the Rivendell. It has a triple at 46-36-24 and a 9 speed cassette at 11-32.
Go for the triple. Get one with a similar gear spread.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by curdog View Post
I've been talking to my LBS about building a touring rig. I plan to use it primarily for mountain tours. The LBS is suggesting to use a double as opposed to a triple. He is of the opinion that a triple is a hassle to keep in adjustment and that the same basic spread of gears could be obtained with a double. ...
i suggest you find a new LBS, one that doesn't hire unemployed walmart greeters
as sales assistants.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:02 AM
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Here is what I did. For me there is much more to the gearing than just the total spread of the gearing. My desire was to have main gears centered around the middle chain ring. I then wanted a range of granny gears at least 6 for riding the rolling hills around here without always shifting in and out of the granny. To get that I had to go with a wide spaced cassette and that lead to wishing I had close spacing when road riding. That determined my big ring size to fill in the gaps.

No one else I know has a setup like this but that was my logic and I like the results. Link below.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...4-28-32-36)-o)
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Old 12-07-12, 10:15 AM
  #20  
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Triple is definitely the way to go for loaded touring if you are planning on any significant climbs.

I have two touring bikes, both with triples. I live out West so no mountains is usually not an option.

For light touring I have a Gunnar Sport with a Sugino XD-600? 46-36-24 crank and a Campy 13-29 cassette with Chorus front and rear derailleurs. I use Centuar brifters and it works fine.

For heavier touring I have a Long Haul Trucker with an XT triple 44-34-22 and 11-34 casette. XT rear derailleur and Tiagra front derailleur. I have the Dura-Ace bar end shifters on that one and they're great. Campy triples, IMO, shift and especially trim better than Shimano, but I agree that you should have no problem with a decent-level Shimano triple. And, of course, the bar end shifters make shifting perfect on a triple, since you can manually trim the front end easily. By the way, the Sugino XD triples are definitely available and give you a much lower option than standard Shimano or Campy triple road cranks.

The simplest and most easily available way to go would probably be with XT RD and 11-34 cassette, Tiagra triple FD, XT 44-34-22 crank and Dura-Ace bar ends. There are differences of opinion on these pages between bar ends and brifters. But I will tell you I have both and like both. They're just different, but you get used to both. The buttery smoothness of the trim on the bar end front shifter is really nice with a triple. Some people say they favor brifters for their quick and easy shifting, but remember that your shifting pattern is a lot different when you are touring than on a quick fast training ride on a road bike.

From your comments I think it is unlikely that your LBS guy has ever done any touring. You will really be glad you have the lower gearing and the smaller steps of a triple at the end of a long day, facing that last long hill or mountain. This is especially true for you since you say you plan to use the bike primarily for mountain tours. I would listen more to the people on this page, especially the ones who have done some longer tours in mountains.
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Old 12-07-12, 12:39 PM
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Have been considering Comotion Cascadia. Not fully decided. Hope to be able to run tires at least up to 35mm.
My wife's bike in the photo above is a Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour. She really likes it, and has put over 7,000 miles on it since she got it a little over 2 years ago. It is a beautiful bike, and the folks at Co-Motion are great to work with. The Cascadia is the same bike with disc brakes. The bike is fully capable for fully loaded touring. If there is a loaded tour in your future, it might be a good idea to outfit it with that in mind. It is pretty expensive to change from a double to a triple once the bike is built.I doubt if the triple will go out vogue soon. On a double, 10-speed set up there are 20 gears, with perhaps only 18 of the being usable. On a triple 9-speed setup there are 27 gears with 25 being usable. The jumps between gears are smaller in a triple/9-speed setup that has close to the same gearing range . Just based on that alone, I'd opt for the triple. I like finding that "sweet spot" when I ride, especially when loaded. I didn't realize how much I actually shifted until we did a ride through Michigan this summer. On those little rollers we encountered in what was supposed to be a "flat" state, I was shifting every 3-4 minutes (that is why I like STI shifters). I also used most of the gears on the bike.

IMO- If you are a light rider there is no reason to run 35 mm tires on a supported tour. or a loaded tour for that matter. The most we ever run loaded is 32 mm. I just put 28 mm on my wife's bike a couple of weeks ago for recreational and club riding. According to my wife, just the difference between the 32 mm and the 28 mm tires makes a significant difference; and she knows bikes. Since she got the Co-Mo her other bikes have been mostly collecting dust!

Last edited by Doug64; 12-07-12 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-07-12, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
My wife's bike in the photo above is a Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour. She really likes it, and has put over 7,000 miles on it since she got it a little over 2 years ago. It is a beautiful bike, and the folks at Co-Motion are great to work with. The Cascadia is the same bike with disc brakes. The bike is fully capable for fully loaded touring. If there is a loaded tour in your future, it might be a good idea to outfit it with that in mind. It is pretty expensive to change from a double to a triple once the bike is built.I doubt if the triple will go out vogue soon. On a double, 10-speed set up there are 20 gears, with perhaps only 18 of the being usable. On a triple 9-speed setup there are 27 gears with 25 being usable. The jumps between gears are smaller in a triple/9-speed setup that has close to the same gearing range . Just based on that alone, I'd opt for the triple. I like finding that "sweet spot" when I ride, especially when loaded. I didn't realize how much I actually shifted until we did a ride through Michigan this summer. On those little rollers we encountered in what was supposed to be a "flat" state, I was shifting every 3-4 minutes (that is why I like STI shifters). I also used most of the gears on the bike.

IMO- If you are a light rider there is no reason to run 35 mm tires on a supported tour. or a loaded tour for that matter. The most we ever run loaded is 32 mm. I just put 28 mm on my wife's bike a couple of weeks ago for recreational and club riding. According to my wife, just the difference between the 32 mm and the 28 mm tires makes a significant difference; and she knows bikes. Since she got the Co-Mo her other bikes have been mostly collecting dust!

Thanks for your comments. It's pretty much the way I was thinking. What do you think of the Ultegra, front and rear, with 11-34 cassette?
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Old 12-07-12, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for your comments. It's pretty much the way I was thinking. What do you think of the Ultegra, front and rear, with 11-34 cassette?
I know CO-Mo offers an Ultegra package, but full Ultegra is not optimum for touring. The Ultegra front crank is only available in 52/39/30, and with even the Ultegra long cage rear derailleur, it wont handle a rear cassette with a large cog of greater 27 teeth very well. However some folks have managed to use cassettes with a 30 tooth cog. For me, that set up defeats the purpose of using Ultegra gear. I like smooth crisp shifting.

Correction: Co-Motion specs out an Ultegra 11-32 rear cassette.

You can use an 11-34 rear cassette in combination with a Shimano LX or or Deore rear derailleur. It will work very well with Ultegra shifters. Even with the 52/39/30 crankset it provides a little better gearing for touring. One of my wife's road bikes is set up this way, and it works well. Due to a bad knee, she is a spinner not a masher, and the lower gearing works for her. A "trekking" crankset, usually having a 48/36/26 or 24 chainrings will also work well without the chainline issues associated with using a true mountain crankset. While some folks view the square taper bottom bracket as obsolete, it offers a wide range of sizes not found in the external and splined bottom brackets. A good LBS or can put the appropriate bottom bracket and a crank like the Sugino XD 600. While it does not have the bling of Ultegra, it is nicely finished, and more importantly, works well. I have my hill climbing/commuter road bike set up this way.
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...0&category=526

We are lucky enough to live about 45 minutes from the Co-Motion shop. I was in there a lot when they were building my wife's frame. It is a 47 cm frame which required quite a bit of collaboration and measuring to get things in the right spots to allow me to use mountain bike cranks, and have the derailleur hanger not hit the water bottle cage mounts. They are great folks to work with and may be able to help you come up with a lower useful range of gears right from their shop.

This is my commuter/winter bike set up using the same concept. The difference here is that it is an 8 speed, and it has the plain Deore rear derailleur. I also have a 24 tooth chainring that will fit this crank. I actually like riding this bike rather than my "good" road bike. The reason is the combination of fit and gearing.


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Old 12-07-12, 02:54 PM
  #24  
pdlamb
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Originally Posted by curdog View Post
I've been talking to my LBS about building a touring rig. I plan to use it primarily for mountain tours. The LBS is suggesting to use a double as opposed to a triple. He is of the opinion that a triple is a hassle to keep in adjustment and that the same basic spread of gears could be obtained with a double. ... The one bike that I do currently own with a triple, seems to suffer from dropped chains quite a bit.
Sounds like it's time for a new LBS and a new mechanic. Can this guy not adjust a triple because the oldest bike he ever had was a compact double, and all the installation he's done is taking new bikes out of boxes and assembling them -- i.e., a high school kid with high self-esteem?
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Old 12-07-12, 03:08 PM
  #25  
Chris Pringle
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Agree that Ultegra would leave you hanging/wishing for lower gear ratios. One is better off using mostly a MTB drivetrain. I did a similar custom build on my Rodriguez UTB earlier this year. For the drivetrain this is what I did:

Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 9 Sp. bar-end shifters. If I'm not mistaken, Shimano 9 Sp. Tiagra or Ultegra STI shifters should work as well.
Crankset: Shimano Deore M590 48-36-26t (replaced the 26t by a 22t) - It comes w/ integrated bottom bracket. This crankset came highly recommended here in the BF. It is very inexpensive crankset for a custom build, but it works really well for touring. The 48t works great for unloaded or lightly loaded rides such as faster Sunday rides or randonneuring.
Derailleurs: Shimano XT front/rear - Both work like butter!
Cassette: Sram PG-990 11-34
Chain: Sram PC-991

You need to decide whether you want to go with a 9 sp. drivetrain or with the new 10 sp.
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