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Double or Triple(10 posts)

Double or Triplelott
Apr 15, 2001 5:02 PM
I hope this topic hasn't been beaten to death. I need some advice on purchasing a Double or Triple Ultegra Chainring. I found this Trek 5200 that I like and it has a Triple ring on it. I need to know what are the drawbacks to the Triple. Obviously(I hope that's spelled correctly) if I'm going to climb huge hills then I may need it, but what confuses me is this "Why Not Get One". Even if I don't ever use it then what is the problem with them??? Does the Triple break down more easily??? Is it harder to adjust??? The weight issue??? Any advice would help. Thanks!!!
re: Double or TripleLBS Guy
Apr 15, 2001 6:17 PM
I work at a lbs here in GA and we have some road bikes with triples, the shifting on triples is not near as smooth or fast, and never has been perfect on any of them. Another drawback is the big chainring is not as large as on most doubles, thus creating a problem if your want blazing speeds. Yet another drawback, the triple doesn't have as much of a trim adjustment, meaning in certain gears the chain will rub the derailuer. Plus, if you ever go to france or italy and ride with a triple people will laugh at you, later hope this helps some.
are you a climber?lonerider
Apr 15, 2001 6:54 PM
if you climb easily, then you probably don't need the triple. if you struggle on hills and there are steep hills where you expect to ride, then go for the triple.
People say triples are for girls...Bruno S
Apr 15, 2001 7:04 PM
When I bought my first road bike about a year ago, I bought a triple. I had two reasons: a)I thought I needed it. b)I thought more speeds, more high end.

It turned out to be that I didn't need the triple and that in most cases triples are used in touring bikes but not really in road bikes unless you live in a very hilly region.

My bike still has the triple but I hardly use it. One thing to take into account is that the middle ring of a triple is 42, the small ring of a double is 39. There are also many cassettes, if you need a lower gear you can use a 12x25 or even a 27. My triple came with a 12x23 and I find myself climbing on a 42x23 combination most of the time. In some distant future my Trek or Litespeed will have a double and two cassettes: 11x23 and 12x25.
re: Double or TripleMeDotOrg
Apr 15, 2001 8:17 PM
Triple front derailleurs are trickier than doubles, no doubt about it. A double with 29 on the rear will give you a lot of climbing power, but a triple will give you 27 speeds instead of 18 or 20. It sounds like overkill, but sometimes when you're going up a long hill it's great to have EXACTLY the right gear. Triples give you great piece of mind if you are worrying about having enought "gas" to get home. You know you can always make it on a triple.

The argument that people will laugh at you just doesn't wash. I'm 50 years old with a bone graft and 7 pins holding my left knee together, I really don't care what anybody thinks about my triple.

Having said all that, I'll agree with LONERIDER: If you climb hills that give you troulbe, consider a triple. If not, get a double.
re: Double or Tripletommyb
Apr 15, 2001 8:38 PM
As long as I'm struggling up hills with my double, getting passed by people spinning triples, I say there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing triples on road bikes. It's just not fair...
re: Double or Tripledustin
Apr 15, 2001 9:06 PM
well, i got my road bike about a year ago, and never really thought about double or triple. to be honest, i thought "you know, i'm 19, i should be able to get up any hill with a double, and if i can't i need to work out more." so i went ahead and got the double. so far, i've only come across 1 hill where i wish i would've had a triple. and i'm guessing that since you're looking at a 5200, you must have some cycling background, and be in descent shape 'cause that's a nice bike. i say go double....oh, and it'll make getting up that hill oh-so-much sweeter....
No Big DealStew
Apr 15, 2001 11:47 PM
I have an Ultegra Triple and am very happy with it. There's absolutely no problem shifting the front chain ring, you don't even have to think about. I do sometimes have a little chain rub in extreme gears, but that's because of cable stretching that I need to adjust (the bike is still going through its break-in period).

It's very hilly where I live and although I rarely use the small ring, I appreciate it when it's there. Last week I went on a 50 miler with my riding buddy and he had some bike trouble that was best not fixed on the road. I took the most direct, but very hilly and windy route back so I could get the car and pick him up. I popped into the granny gear several times and was very thankful I had it.

There may be some legitimate reasons for going with a double over a triple, but having a larger big gear (with the double) is not one of them. A 53x12 (on a double) gives you an effective "gear" of about 119 inches while a 52x12 (for a triple) gives you an effective gear of 117 inches. Not a big difference as far as I can tell.

The other thing to consider is what your rear cassette is going to look like. For a number of reasons (including ignorance) I have an 11-21 rear cassette. That gives me the same approximate gearing as someone with a double and an 11-28 cassette. I get a little more range than a typical 12-25 setup, but much tighter shifting (11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21) compared to a 12-25 double (12,13,14,15,17,19,21,23,25 - I think that's the setup of a 12-25). I may change my mind, but this works very well for me right now. For forty bucks and a labor charge I can always get a different cassette and change my gearing. (You can do your own calculations by using this formula: Big Ring divided by small ring times 27 inches - or for greater accuracy use 700mm instead of inches).

My feeling is that I'm on the bike to ride. I'd rather ride up the hill with a triple than walk up the hill with a double. Like I said, there may be legitimate reasons to go with a double, but "appearance" should not be one of them.

By the way, just for perspective, I'm not some out of shape couch potato who relies on a triple to make up for my lack of fitness. I'm 6'5", weigh 180 lbs. and have a resting heartbeat of 48. I love riding hills and, among my small group of riding buddies, am considered a decent climber.

Please excuse me if I've given you information you already have.

Good luck with your decision.
Bases loaded?Breck
Apr 17, 2001 6:49 AM
a grand slammer would be nice.

if it's a long uphill pull to home plate, a triple scores more points.

otherwise a double will do if mild pulls are required to second or third.

a single will get you home on the flats.

re: Double or Triplegunter kampitsch
Apr 17, 2001 11:25 AM

I live in Austria and we have a lot of hills. I use a Trek 2300 triple. Many of my friends use a triple. Shifting is no problem at all, my Ultegra works really fine. I did not try a double but what could be better? Why I got a triple was that we do long runs every two weeks, about 100 miles with about 2000 altitude. If you are at 80 miles and you have to climb the last mountain you are very happy to have some more gear. I also to biking for recreation and not racing. Why should I hurt my knees just to be cool because I managed this hill with only double? What I also like is at the beginning of the season you have some more possibilities not to get into you red area of your heart rate when you begin to train in April.
If you do a lot of hill climbing. Get a triple.