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Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad stories(24 posts)

Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storiespaulyboulder
Apr 21, 2003 1:47 PM
Made the move from NYC to Boulder, and while my enthusiasm and energy for being a serious rider is high, unfortunately these mountains are higher. To help my legs a bit, I’m thinking of moving from a double to a triple for my Trek 5200. Was curious if anyone had any bad experiences making the move, either mechanically or mentally? I’ve already changed my rear cog to include a 27-inch gear, but that’s just not enough on some of these rides. Think I should suck it up and work at it or make the move to a triple? Also, anybody recommend a good shop for me out here in Boulder? I was thinking University Bikes. Thanks for any wisdom shared.
re: Triple versus DoubleLeroy
Apr 21, 2003 2:13 PM
I'd get a triple. Of course, I'm 59 years old. The thing about a triple, you can use a tighter cassette closer gearing. Excel Sports has been so great to deal with on the internet you might check them out.
re: Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storieskenyonCycleist
Apr 21, 2003 2:36 PM
how old are u? never been to boulder, but i believe the hills a long gradual climbs? i'mm from pittsburgh, PA where >25% grade climbs in races are not uncommon. i would stick with the double..most people here use a 25t cassette and have no probs..sounds like strength more than anything. also a triple would just add more weight to your bike and might cancel out the advantage of the i believe u have to buy a new derailleur in addition to the cranks and u are looking at an pretty expensive move for something that might be achieved simply by loosing weight and getting some strength.
Strange set of commentsKerry
Apr 21, 2003 4:40 PM
Never been to Boulder, don't know this guy's abilities, just tell him to gut it out with the 25 and lose some weight while getting stronger. OK . . . . . but what if he wants to ride up those 15 mile climbs and doesn't see himself getting that extra strength and slim waistline right away? Just forget it? And the added weight would "cancel out" the advantage of the gearing? A simple calculation shows that the 1/4 lb. penalty for a triple would cost about 1 second when climbing for an hour at 8 mph (typical speed for a recreational rider on a 6% grade). New derailleur not needed in most conversions (cranks and BB are expensive enough!) Short answer is that whether someone needs a triple is totally an individual thing - if you're straining and uncomfortable in your current low gear and you feel you're already in reasonable shape, then get the triple.
get the triplelaffeaux
Apr 21, 2003 2:52 PM
If you think that you need a triple, you probably do. A triple will allow you to climb the same grades at a higher RPM. If you ride in the Rockies no one should question your need for a lower gear.
I think it's a 'macho' thing..........davet
Apr 21, 2003 3:53 PM
Anyone who says you don't 'need' a triple has never pedaled a mile in your Carnacs. If you need the gearing to be comfortable and complete your rides, by all means get a triple! What the heck to you care what anyone else thinks? It won't be cheap to buy and install the equipment you will need, but if it enables you to get the job done, great! There's got to be a zillion good shops around that can give you MUCH better advice than you will find here, from someone who has never ridden the mountains at your altitude.
Who's the guy that used to ride on the 7-11 pro team, Ron Kiefel? He owns Wheatridge Cyclery. Visit him.
I think it's a 'macho' thing..........kenyonCycleist
Apr 21, 2003 3:58 PM
before we get into the debate thingy, it would be nice to know if the guy is a competitive racer or not.
I think it's a 'macho' thing..........davet
Apr 21, 2003 4:27 PM
Let's see, the guy moves from New York city (elevation sea-level) to Boulder Colorado (elevation 5,430 ft), says nothing about racing, just that he is serious rider. I think, unless he is a racer, a triple makes good sense. No debate, if he needs it, he needs it. If he doesn't, OK.

But people who categorically state that someone doesn't NEED a triple, in my opinion is being 'macho'. Hence my statement.
I think it's a 'macho' thing..........kenyonCycleist
Apr 21, 2003 9:37 PM
what is a serious rider if not a racer....never heard of it? a serious touring cyclist maybe but not serious rider.
odd definition you havelaffeaux
Apr 21, 2003 10:09 PM
There are a lot of "serious" riders that are not racers.

A friend of mine used to routinely ride double centuries and had done the Death Ride 5 or 6 times. He trained a lot to do those rides. He does not race. Was he a serious rider? I think so.

Read the posts of MB1 on the general board. I don't think he races, but he rides 20,000+ miles per year. Is that a serious cyclist?

A lot of people ride for different reasons than racing. For some of those people a triple is nice - imagine hitting a 25% grade at mile 175 on a ride - a triple would be really nice.
one of eachDaveG
Apr 21, 2003 3:46 PM
I run Veloce triple on one bike and Centaur double on the other. If I had to go with one bike I'd stick with the triple. There is a small loss of front shifting speed with a triple (rear is the same) but if you are not racing its of no consequence. The weight difference is 1/4 lb or less. In steeper terrain, I'd rather spin and save my knees then suffer with too big a gear. Some would argue that the triple allows you to get lazy because you have more bailout gears. That may be partially true but if you are riding with others that helps force the pace. Riding the same hilly route, I've been faster with the triple than the double. I would attribute this to more spinning and less fatique with lower gears.
Simple...Campy Record triple!!!!!..............cycleaddict
Apr 21, 2003 4:24 PM
Q factorkilimanjaro
Apr 21, 2003 4:35 PM
I think weight and performance are minor tradeoffs for ability to spin comfortably. However, I have heard of people having knee pains because of increased Q factor (distance from crank to center of BB) of triples. Of course you will not know until you try it.

My $0.02
re: Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storiesdickruthlynn
Apr 21, 2003 5:57 PM
I have a DA triple, 30/39/53, on a Y-Foil with a 12/25. By comparision I also have 39/53 on a Chisallo with a 12/27. Believe me when I tell you the DA triple is worthless as the parts are not manufactured correctly. 50% to 70% of the time when you shift from the 53 to the 39 the chain goes to the 30. I have had this bike adjusted in 5 to 7 different shops and it can not be adjusted correctly. Also, the chain consistantly rubs in the 39 to the extreames in the 12-25. I am not wrench guy. I just ride. I would strongly suggest against the DA triple. My suggestion would be a Campy double with a 13/29.
re: Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storiesmarkkar
Apr 23, 2003 1:03 PM
Do you have the re-engineered 39 chainring? Apparently that was a common problem with the mis-shifts down to the 30 when the group first came out. Shimano re did the 39 tooth chainring to solve this. As an aside, it doesn't matter how many shops you take your bike to if they don't know what they are doing. My impression is there are not that many wrenches around that know how to set the Dura Ace triple up correctly.
re: Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storiesSteve Bailey
Apr 21, 2003 6:40 PM
I used to spend my summers in Santa Fe, NM - altitude 7,000 ft, while living the rest of the year in Freeport, NY - altitude 23 ft.

The first year I had my road bike ('91) I had a 42/21. The 2nd a 42/23. The 3rd a 42/26, then a 39/23, then 39/26, then finally said f _ _ k it and got a triple. 10 years later and I'm at a 24/23, sad to say.

7,000 ft, no matter how "easy" the gradient is still a whole different ball game then sea level.

Get a triple and save yourself a whole lot of suffering.

The best shop in Boulder is Peter Chisholm - Vecchios.

Probably one of the finest shops in the whole USA.

Steve B.
re: Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storieskenyonCycleist
Apr 21, 2003 9:35 PM
save u self a lot of suffering? why ride? if it is scenery u are after buy a motorcycle :OP
thanks, good suggestionpaulyboulder
Apr 22, 2003 11:27 AM
I gave Pete a call and will be probably dropping my bike off shortly. Sounded like a genuinely nice, helpful guy and had pretty competitive pricing.
A picture of a trek 5200 with a triple...PeterRider
Apr 21, 2003 8:54 PM
I never have to stand on the pedals if I don't want to, including steep roads with more than 20%. I'll probably go back to 'regular' road triple with 12-27 cassette though.

I'm currenlty going from a triple to a double...niteschaos
Apr 22, 2003 6:47 AM
but not after almost a year of interval work. The climbs in the Appalacians may not be as long as in Colorado, but there are some steep grades that are long enough to kill momentum of any sort. I started out huffing and standing in a 30/23, which came stock on my Felt F75. I now ride most terrian, even some steep climbs, in my 42/23 combo. I feel that if you aren't sure you need a triple, than you probably do. If it turns out not for you (to much complexity or loss of rythm between big shifts) then you can always sell it on Ebay.
Thanks all for the advice...paulyboulder
Apr 22, 2003 8:19 AM
Awesome feedback, and unbelievably quick. I am actually going to make a move to a triple this weekend, there are some climbs that could be so much more enjoyable, and I know I could push it further with the ability to spin more.

Also, just so you know, kenyonCycleist, I'm a 25 year old, 165 pound guy that can honestly say couldn't find any weight to lose unless I wanted to start reshaping the muscle on my body. Less than a year into the sport, but hit up a few centuries on the East Coast in the 6 hour range and was looking to vastly improve upon that out here. And like I said, these mountains have just blown me away, when you're talking about 3000 to 3500 elevation gains over 10 to 12 miles, WOW.

Thanks again for the help, and who know, might be going back to the double within a year.

- Paul
Thanks all for the advice...jimsanta
Apr 24, 2003 7:41 PM
This thread may have played out, but I'm sure your enthusiasm never will! So I say get the triple, use it only when you KNOW you need it (which I can tell is the way you will handle yourself), and outgrow the need for it if you should become strong enough to ride up to Pike's Peak some day! Until then, let it add to your enjoyment of a great sport, just as the great pro's who still occassionally resort to a triple on the most savage climbs of the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta!!! They're not afraid or ashamed to do what they know they must do, so no-one else should be either!!! Keep on spinning!!!
re: Triple versus Double, any suggestions/good or bad storiesFred the Cross Poser
Apr 22, 2003 8:26 AM
Hi Paulyboulder -

Interesting discussion, most points have been made - some few observations:

With all respect to the Dura-ace triple post above, triples can be made to work just fine. Almost the entire mountain bike community is using triples - and you can be sure they are not wishing for a double... I have three bikes with triples - one campy racing tee, one campy veloce crank/shimano 105 derailuer hybrid, and one completely XT - all shift through the chainrings just fine after proper adjustment. I have doubles too, the only difference I notice is the double chainring shifts are little crisper - no big deal.

Most of us (probably all of us) would not notice the difference in weight from the added chain ring - believe me, a 1/4 lb is way over estimating the added weight.

I usually only use my granny ring occasionally, the rest of the time I use the triple just as if the middle and big rings were a double. But, I am sure glad I have the granny when facing Castle Hill Road in Truro, Cape Cod (of all places) at mile 88 of a century...

Get the triple and have fun!
It's not just the extra ring...Matno
Apr 22, 2003 10:20 AM
"Most of us (probably all of us) would not notice the difference in weight from the added chain ring - believe me, a 1/4 lb is way over estimating the added weight."

When you switch from double to triple, you add WAY more than just a small chain ring. You add the smaller ring (plus extra crank material to mount it to), a longer bottom bracket spindle, a longer rear derailleur (and a new front derailleur, but I don't think it's any heavier), and most importantly, you add several extra chain links. (Believe it or not, just a few chain links makes a big difference in weight. Chains are the heaviest component on the bike, if you factor in size). Thus, 1/4 pound is not "way over estimating the added weight." However, you're right that most people would not notice the extra weight. Especially on any hill steep enough to require a granny gear. I rode a double (with a 42 small ring) in the Rockies for 10 years. It was doable, but now that I'm more conscious of knee injury, I'd get a triple if I had to do it over again. Now I live in NYC, and a double suits me just fine...