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Triple Testimonials - Please!(19 posts)

Triple Testimonials - Please!Fred2000
Mar 25, 2003 3:21 PM
I am thinking about making the switch to a triple and I wanted to hear from people who already had as to there impressions.

I am bascially looking for some bail out gearing for the really steep stuff so I can spin more instead of mash.

Look forward to hearing your responses.

Also does anyone make a 180 mm Road Triple?

Thanks, JONPOD
Consider which double you have now. & the trip mid-ring..PdxMark
Mar 25, 2003 5:28 PM
I started with triple, went double, tried triple again, reverted to double... I like a 53/39 double with a 12-25 cassette alot. I lose some granny gears, but I can get most of them back with a 13-29 cassette (Campy), compared to the 13-23 (or 13-25?) cassette I ran with a triple.

One combo I hated compared to a 53/39 double was a 52/42/30 triple. For alot of hills, the 42 was just enough more work that I felt that I needed to use the 30 ring more than just as a granny bail-out. The problem was that shifting 42-30 on a climb kills motion for me. So I reverted to a 53/39 double.

A 53/40/30 or 53/39/30 triple would be a good set-up. You get your granny gears and you get to avoid the 30 ring for as long as possible.

re: Triple Testimonials - Please!Trent in WA
Mar 25, 2003 9:49 PM
What's your current gear range? Your lowest gear? How often do you find yourself spinning out your highest gear? How often do you find yourself suffering like a pig in your lowest? What sort of riding do you do, or are you looking to do?

I heartily endorse triples (we have them on all our bikes), but without knowing more about how and where you ride, it's hard to make good, concrete recommendations. There are a lot of options out there for triple cranksets, some better than others depending on how you want to use them. In general, modern triples shift quite well, weigh only a few ounces more than comparable doubles, and allow you to run close-ration cassettes in back if you're so inclined. I run a 48/38/24 on all of my bikes, with a 12-27 on the brevet bike and a 12-32 on the tourer. I don't miss the high gears particularly, and I always enjoy passing people struggling with a 39xwhatever on their double going uphill. Of course, they pass me on the downhill because I am a weenie descender, but that ain't the triple's fault.

If you want a triple with a 180 crankarm length, check out the TA Alize, available from Peter White Cycles. They're available with a variety of chainring combinations and they're beautiful to boot.

Hope this helps,
Trent "Triple" Hill
Currently Running 53/39 with a 12-25 (9 spd)Fred2000
Mar 26, 2003 8:12 AM
I live and ride in the SF Bay Area so there is good amount of varaition in terrian. As far as my interest in the triple, I typically end up in 39-23 on most climbs (Ave. 7-8%) but I then drop to the 25 in the 9-12% range. That typically ends up being a slow, seated grind.

My new challenge of a local climb hits 16% for a little and I think I am going to blow up. That and some little guy spinng happily past me right after made me think of the triple.

I am a big guy (6'7" 275#) so I am pulling a lot around with me so I was interested in what others experiences were.

Thanks for the feedback, JONPOD
Currently Running 53/39 with a 12-25 (9 spd)Trent in WA
Mar 26, 2003 8:21 PM
Yeah, I'm in Seattle--I hear ya on the grindy hills. In your shoes, I might go with something like a TA with a 50/40/26 setup. That'll give you a good range of closely-spaced gears that, with your strength, will give you the option of spinning or winching your way of any hill you encounter. If after a while you find yourself longing for your 53x12 going down, you can always swap out your 12-25 for a 11-23.

Just curious .. what bike and wheels do you use.Maartin
Mar 27, 2003 8:55 AM
Since so much bike gear is for real light guys I was wondering what you ride. One of my riding buddies is 245 lbs. and destroys everything but he is a masher not a spinner.
Strong Custom Steel and Ultegra/ CXP 33Fred2000
Mar 27, 2003 9:57 AM
The Strong Steel (Foco) frame ( has been fantastic. Solid and well built. I have not complaints, plus Carl is a great guy to talk to in regards to frames, materials, sizing etc.

On the wheel side of things I have Ultegra Hubs with CXP 33 Rims. A nice set up which can be worked on by anyone. I have 32 Spokes in Front and 36 in Rear. I have had 32 in the Rear with a few issues but I suspect a crap build.

Overall, it is a pretty great ride, espeically for a guy my size.
re: Triple Testimonials - Please!Leroy
Mar 26, 2003 5:34 AM
I have a veloce triple that I like and my other bike is racing-t; both 9 speed triples. Good for peace of mind.
re: Triple Testimonials - Please!eflayer
Mar 26, 2003 6:12 AM
52 year old in decent condition, lots of hills in SF Bay area. Flawless Ultegra triple on one road bike, now flawless DA triple on bike two, and soon to install Ultegra triple on third and last bike. Thought about trying mountain derailleur on rear with big cassette, but really am quite satisfied with my triples and am often glad at the end of 50 mies on the last hill that I have all the gears I can stand.
A Contrarian ViewSharkman
Mar 26, 2003 11:50 AM
I'm 50 years old, live in a very hilly area of SW Washington, and ride with a 53/39 double and a 12-25 in back. Before this year, when I really got in shape, there were times when the 39/25 was not quite enough. I would have to stand to effectively create a lower gear.

Fast forward to this year. Have lost 20 pounds and hardly ever even use the 39/23 even. Most hills now 39/21 is enough. So I say it depends on how fit you really want to get. If just staying recreational and not getting all the excess weight off is where you want to stay (or have to stay, given time constraints, etc), then triples are great.

I have one on my tandem, and it has never shifted flawlessly between the middle and the small rings. So I am happy to be able to use doubles, but realize that everyone is not in the same boat.
re: Triple Testimonials - Please!Just Ride
Mar 26, 2003 2:49 PM
For 180 mm Road Triples, check out DaVinci Designs: .
I run a Campy 52-42-30 on my road bike, and like having the 30 as a bailout. I can climb many of the hills with the 42, but the main advantage is that I don't have big jumps between gears, while still having both top end gears and climbing gears.
re: Triple Testimonials - Please!Sharkman
Mar 26, 2003 4:30 PM
That is the one attribute of triples that may someday get me to go there. Running a 12-25, you lose the 16T cog with nine speed (I know, if I went Campy 10 sp I could get it back) and I find myself missing that alot, especially when in the big ring. I bounce back and forth between the 15 and the 17.

re: 16t!Leroy
Mar 26, 2003 5:43 PM
Actually a campy 9 speed 13-26 has a 16, as does a 13-23.
re: 16t!Sharkman
Mar 27, 2003 9:35 AM
Yeah, but then you give up the 12 or the 11. I use them all the time going downhill, as its really hilly where I live. There's a hill 200 yards from my house that drops 700 feet in about a mile. I can spin out the 53-12 easily and have routinely hit 50 mph going down. Lots of other smaller hills around that make a 12 or 11 pretty useful.

Triples rule !PeterRider
Mar 27, 2003 12:01 AM
if I pass the lottery step, I'll try the Death ride this summer. Not only on a triple, but I may even put a mtb cassette and rear der for the ride.

Last saturday, went with a friend for a 11000ft climbing century (look a couple days down for my last ride report). He has a double, and did half with his big ring. He was in 53x23 when I was in 30x27. He's much stronger than me, but on sunday he refused to ride because of his knees, and I was OK.

mathematical answerDougSloan
Mar 27, 2003 10:32 AM
You can judge whether to use a triple based upon the minimum cadence and speed you ride. For example, let's compare a 53/39 with a 12-25 cassette, and a 53/39/30 triple with a 12-25:

If you want to maintain a minimum cadence of 70 rpms, the slowest you can go without the triple is 8.6 mph. If you use the 30 ring of a triple, you can maintain 70 rpms as low as 6.6 mph. Big difference, actually. Here are some other comparisons:

39x25 60 rpms: 7.4 mph
30x25 60 rpms: 5.7 mph

I think 60 is about as low as you can efficiently pedal for long hills. Below that, your risk lots of standing, knee problems, and premature fatigue.

80 rpms would be much better to save yourlegs and keep efficiency up:

39x25 80 rpms: 9.9 mph
30x25 80 rpms: 7.6 mph

You can run your own numbers here:

So, get the triple if you ever ride below around 7 mph. Around here, that could be quite often, even for some very strong riders.

Another benefit of a triple is more range and intermediate gears, too. You could use an 11-23, and still get a low range. It keeps you from using a 13-29 to get low, which can work, but you lose some high and intermediate gears.

There is some shifting precision lost with a triple, and you gain about 100-150 grams weight, all else as equal as you can. I've found triples much more likely to drop the chain when shifting to the granny ring. To avoid this, I set mine up so that the chain rubs the inside cage just a little in the small/big combination. I'll tolerate the noise to ensure no dropped chains.

If you are concerned about "looking like a racer," then avoid the triple. While pragmatic and beneficial, they aren't as cool.

Excellent post, DougTrent in WA
Mar 27, 2003 10:56 AM
One more thing: If you are worried about dropping the chain on a triple (or on any bike), an easy solution is to get a "chain watcher" doohickey that clamps onto your down tube. They're available at your LBS. And "if you're concerned about 'looking like a racer'," as Doug says, you're in luck, as they're standard kit on a lot of pro team bikes. Or at least they are for Telekom.

Mar 27, 2003 10:23 PM
Thanks for all the responses. Being an engineer the math helps :>

I think the triple might be a must have on my next bike, some of the ones linked above look pretty sweet (racer or not).

the definition of cool...reklar
Mar 29, 2003 3:48 AM
> If you are concerned about "looking like a racer," then
> avoid the triple. While pragmatic and beneficial, they
> aren't as cool.

Then again, you'll look far less like a racer if your knees are shot! Cool? Riding is cool. Being injured is not.
At this point even Andre Agassi would attest that image is not everything... ;)