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Shimano Triple Conversion Questions(12 posts)

Shimano Triple Conversion QuestionsRickC5
Aug 2, 2002 7:33 AM
We recently bought another road bike for my wife, a 1999 Trek 5500 with all Shimano Dura-Ace components.

We want to convert it to a triple crank, probably using Shimano Ultegra parts. I know we need the BB, cranks, cassette, & both derailluers. No problemo.

My question(s) relate to the STI shifters. I'm pretty sure the right shifter will be compatible with this conversion (both 9-speed in the rear), but what about the left? Is there a "special" left shifter for Shimano triples, or will the Dura-Ace work for a triple?

Anybody know for sure?

Thanks in advance....
I don't know for sure about Dura Ace.Spoke Wrench
Aug 2, 2002 7:55 AM
DA sometimes tends to be a little different than the other Shimano groups. I do know that Ultegra, 105 and the like use exactly the same shifter for both doubles and triples. You end up with one shift position for the granny, two for the middle ring and one for the big ring. Even the flite deck computer works for both.

If it was my bike, I'd sure give it a try.
Why are you dumping the DA?jtolleson
Aug 2, 2002 8:21 AM
They offer a triple now. You would need a new shifter, crank, BB, and FD.
Aug 2, 2002 8:45 AM
I know a DA triple is now available, but I just don't want to spend the extra bucks at this time. My Ultegra triple works beautifully, and I don't see why an Ultegra set-up won't work equally well for my wife. Any objective data to the contrary?
If $$ is the driving forcejtolleson
Aug 2, 2002 10:15 AM
then the swap makes really the least sense of all. You'll drop about $300 and not add anything to the value of the bike. Why not sell the 5500 and buy her something equipped with a triple?
If $$ is the driving forceRickC5
Aug 2, 2002 11:46 AM
Please read on....

a) this particular bike was her choice. We just bought it. Its a 1999 Lance commemorative and she loves the paint scheme.
b) we got a truly smokin' deal on the bike, but not from a shop, so we had to take it "as-is". I looked at new 5200s, but they were actually much more expensive than this bike will be AFTER the conversion.
c) our intent is to keep the DA stuff in case we decide to sell the bike down the road. Some people honestly feel these bikes have a collectible value, so we'll find out.
d) not to go into specifics, but she requires a triple for health reasons. She can't over-exert herself on climbs.
That's cool.jtolleson
Aug 2, 2002 12:03 PM
I can understand wanting to keep a bike for commemorative or emotional reasons. Nothing can separate me from my 1990 tange prestige celeste lugged Bianchi, for example, even though I have other, technically "nicer" bikes.

And I'd never rag on anyone for wanting a triple. I have one on 2 out of my 3 bikes.

Good luck!
Consider D-A triple-Chen2
Aug 2, 2002 8:56 AM
The D-A triple comes with a 39t middle ring. The Ultegra triple has a 42 middle ring. With the 39 middle ring she'll be able to climb most hills without having to shift to the granny ring. To me that would make it well worth the extra cash. You're going to need to replace both shifters either way. The D-A double shifter and derailleur won't handle a triple crank. The D-A triple also comes with a 53t big ring instead of the 52. I don't know if you can replace that 53, but it might be worth a try to replace it with a 52 triple big ring. All chain rings for the triples are specific for the crank sets, replacing them with rings designed for doubles will generally hurt shifting performance.
To convert to either D-A or Ultegra triple drive train you will need to replace both shifters, crank-set, bottom bracket, front and rear derailleurs, and bar tape.
Another route to consider.........gogene
Aug 2, 2002 10:05 AM
If you want the triple set-up for your wife because of difficult hills, I might suggest installing just a MTB rear der and cassette. Shimano XT der and an 12-32 or 12 34 cassette could be just the ticket and relatively cheap. With a 12-24 cassette the gear inches using the 39/34 combo will be almost the same as a 30/27 combo using a triple. An MTB cassette has wider spacing between the gears, but unless she's competing someway, it's not that important. And the whole thing could cost you less than a hundred bucks if you shop smart. If you DO go the triple route, you will have to have a triple left shifter. The Dura-Ace shifter doesn't have enough swing to put the chain on the big ring of triple.
Here's the answerKEN2
Aug 2, 2002 12:12 PM
I just did a similar triple conversion, and yes, you must have a triple-specific left DA STI shifter, if you go DA (all other Shimano models do double or triple on the same left lever). And they can be very hard to get at a good price separately, i.e. you can pick up the L+R mail order for almost the same price as your LBS will likely charge you to special order the left only.

I disagree with the poster above about the DA triple cranks being preferable because of the 53/39/30 (Ultegra has 52/42/30). There is no real advantage to "staying off" the granny ring for a recreational rider, and the 52/42 is a much better combination for crossover shifting, i.e. you can double shift left and right just one position and get the next usable gear ratio.
It seems to me that you/your wife need to decide whether she needs close ratios, i.e. smooth and close "steps" from one gear to the next, vs. wide ratios, i.e. larger jumps like on most mtn. bikes. If wide is ok you can get the same range of gears by simply getting an XT 11-32 or 12-24 cassette and and an XT rear derailleur (works fine with STI, I use them on my commuter road bike) and save $100s of dollars over the triple conversion.
Thanks KEN2RickC5
Aug 5, 2002 4:44 AM
I'm going to follow your suggestion. It's far simpler and much less expensive than my earlier thoughts. The wife and I discussed the gearing issue, and she said she would be fine with wide ratios. Most of her older/other bikes have wider ratios, so I trust her decision.

I recall in days past that an individual could decide in advance what gearing they desired, and then buy the specific gears to satisfy their desire. Doesn't seem that degree of flexibility exists any more. Oh well.....

Thanks to everybody for your answers/proposals.
One more thoughtB2
Aug 5, 2002 6:07 AM
They do make a 12/27 DA cassette. The gearing is not quite as low as a mtn cassette, but pretty darn good. I've found that the 12/27 works just fine with the standard DA derailleur.

Also, if you're going to have to buy an XT derailleur anyway, why not buy the med or long cage Ultegra or DA derailleur instead?