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Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?(24 posts)

Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?SSgt Jeremy in Germany
Jun 2, 2001 11:10 PM
What should a new road biker buy, double or triple? I will be riding in hilly terain, some very steep. One guy at a LBS told me buy double and suffer until I am fully conditioned. But a triple is only minimal extra weight, what do you think?
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?-Pulsar
Jun 2, 2001 11:25 PM
I'm new to road bikes as well... but I have hear that doubles are more acurate on shifting then triples, however I recomend having someone with more experianced back this theory up.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?mackgoo
Jun 3, 2001 6:21 AM
My first road bike after a long time away was an Athena group with a racing tripple. After a month I never used the smallest ring. The shifting was great, in fact I picked up a used bike with Dura Ace and I think the Athena was a much better shifting system. Just as an aside as to riding style. I in fact rarely get of the big ring. I do have some fairly large hills on my rides. I just shift all the way over and mash.
So the tripple really depends on riding style. My experience is the tripple shifts great.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?sidley
Jun 3, 2001 6:21 AM
I would err on the side of caution and get the tripple. I rellied on my granny ring very heavily my first few months of riding. Even if you are pretty good shape, those Bavarian hills will work muscles in your legs that probably haven't been isolated before.

Coincidentally, I logged on to see how to convert from a triple to a double.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?nutmegger
Jun 3, 2001 7:29 AM
Jeremy, I ride a triple and very quickly grew out of it. I used it the first couple of days but then found out I could make it up the hills just fine from the middle ring without getting out of the saddle. Now, we talked about those hills coming up out of the Mosel valley and I can tell you I haven't faced anything that steep on my bike. For those you might want a triple at first but everything else you would probably be fine with a double. IMHO you should probably rely on the opinion of the guy from the LBS who has experience cruising up through those vineyards.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?mr tornado head
Jun 3, 2001 11:00 AM
Go with the triple and spin up the hills. If you are new, it'll take awhile to both get used to spinning, and staying seated going up hills. Just mashing up the hills has the potential to blow your knee out.

The guy at the LBS is probably very conditioned and trying to be a "hard guy."

I just completed a century yesterday and I have a double (52 x 36!) and a wide ratio on the back (13-28). While it is effective, there where a few steep hills that I had to stand on. I'd go with the close ration rear and a triple up front anyday. In fact, it's what I'm planning on.

Just my $.02
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?JohnG
Jun 3, 2001 8:00 AM
A racing triple with a close ratio cassette is a very good combo. If you go with Daytona then you can be assured of perfect shift performance. My Dtrip setput works as good as my Record .... perfect.

This setup gives me a near straight block with the benifit of wide ratios. The problem with a double and wide ratio cassette is crappy gear selection..... makes it difficult to really hammer. If you truely are in super hilly/mountainous area then you won't "grow out" of a close ratio trip setup.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?nutmegger
Jun 3, 2001 11:39 AM
Jeremy is kind of on a plain above the steep Mosel River valley in southwestern Germany. Probably 1.5 hr east of Bastogne for you racers out there. The roads coming out of the valley are steep but not exceptionally long.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?SSgt Jeremy in Germany
Jun 3, 2001 1:41 PM
First of all, let me thank all of you for replying to my post. Nutmegger is right on about the hills, the steep ones arent too long. There is one close by here that is probably 1/2 long, and a high grade, and I cant wait to ride it, just to see if I can make it. Of course with a triple I shouldnt have a problem. I am probably going to go with a triple, the weight difference is minimal, plus, like someone mentioned, after a long ride, it can be worth its weight in gold. Thank you all for the great advice. Still trying to decide on a bike, I have to hurry, the summer will be over soon. I plan to ride in the winter on the more mild days though. After all the last place I was stationed was Iceland, and I sold my mountain bike before going there so I ended up riding a old huffey around. I figure that made me battle hardened. THANKS AGAIN!
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?JohnG
Jun 3, 2001 3:21 PM

OK, I'll amend my previous comments somewhat. If you are talking about 1/2 mile long hills then a triple really isn't "necessary". It won't hurt having a trip' but even a newbie could probably "stand" and crank up even a very steep short hill with a double. The only real downside to a trip' is the BS snob issue. One hidden benifit of a trip is the humiliation you can inflict on bike poseurs..... it's not the bike remember!

Anyway, if you do go with a trip' I'd highly recommend a close ratio cassette. Maybe a 13-23 or 12-23 depending on how fast you want to go.

Good rides JohnG
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?SSgt Jeremy in Germany
Jun 3, 2001 4:59 PM
Ok, you are saying there are people out there that will look down on you cause you have triple? Man, that is messed up. I mean really, how silly is that? Still thinking on the issue, I will just have to ride both a little and see for myself. Thanks all.
Easy to switch from triple to doubleRedDog#1
Jun 3, 2001 9:11 PM
Greetings form the Azores, are you in the Air Force also?

My two cents,is that I'm glad I went with a double to begain with, it made me have to get better sooner. Still it's relatively inexpensive to convert a triple bike to a double when you get stronger, but much more expensive to go the other way.
Easy to switch from triple to doubleSSgt Jeremy in Germany
Jun 4, 2001 1:47 AM
Thanks for your two cents. Yep I am in the Air Force, stationed at Spangdahlem AB. I would like to go to the Azores for a short tour after here, how do you like it there? On the bike issue, may be a double would be best, I could always stand and make it up the short hills until I can do it sitting down. Hmmm, this is a hard desision. Thanks.
Double or Triple dilema.....RedDog#1
Jun 4, 2001 9:58 AM
It's not too bad here. There's enough good roads on the island to get me by for two years, but a lot others look like some major WWII battles were fought on them. And you've never really rode until you've done some time on coble stones. There are absolutly no flat places on the island to ride, so you had better bring your climbing legs! If your into mountain biking there isn't hardly any single track, but the washed out jeep roads are a lot of fun and can be just as challenging. From Novemeber to late Febuary/early March it's windy winter season, you'll need a trainer, or take up running.

If your really not sure get the triple. If you change your mind you can get another crankset and bottom bracket. Everything else, including the shifters can still be used.

If you get orders here drop me a line on this board. There's only a couple of us roadie's here, so we're always looking for someone to ride with.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?Cartman
Jun 3, 2001 8:50 AM
I bought my first road bike last year, a Bianchi Giro with a 105 tripple. I verry rarely use the granny gear, only on very steep climbs, or relatively steep climbs at the end of say a century ride. You may not use it much, but it's nice to know that it is there. Yesterday a very steep, long climb after about 100 miles, I said to myself, "it's worth its weight in gold".
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?Jz
Jun 3, 2001 5:32 PM
I have a triple and I must admit, I have only used the small chainring one time because I HAD to. I certainly don't live in colorado or anything, but I think that most rides you can get by with a double. Having said that, do you want a bike that you could ride up the hill if you absolutely had to, or one that you can just kick back and cruise from time to time? Every ride is not a training ride and sometimes it's nice to shift down and take the hill easy. The whole roadie snob thing is definately an issue, but I figure if someone wants to be an a$$hole about it just biotchslap them or burn them with a full out sprint and drop them? If you can't go faster than them with the triple you probably couldn't beat them with a double either so in that case what does it matter? Just a thought...
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?Tigercoach
Jun 3, 2001 8:50 PM
Hey Staff, I know you've gotten a lot of suggestions, but I'll put in mine. I would suggest getting a triple crank. That way you can spin if you like up hills and make them easier. I'd hate for you to buy a double then be hating life on some hills wishing you had a triple. Biking should be enjoyable, not a chore, and you wouldn't want to put good money into a bike only to not like it and let it sit. I started with a triple on my first bike, and I now have a double, but there are times a triple would be nice. I did a century today and found myself missing my triple..hehehehe. As for some "snobs" out there, don't worry about them. I bike a lot and I'd say at least 50% if not more of the people I see on the road have a triple. If someone with a double wants to look down at you, you don't need them around you anyways. What counts is that we're all out there enjoying ourselves.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?Lone Gunman
Jun 6, 2001 7:43 PM
One Phrase on the topic: Triple = INSTANT POWER. You now have a bike with the technology that can climb just about any hill in the country. When I bought my Lemond, triple was a must have, I wanted to ride that bike anywhere in the country and because of the rest of life away from cycling, I may not get the opportunity to train for a week long event the way I should, therefore....
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?Lazy
Jun 4, 2001 8:00 AM
As an aside, don't worry about "manliness" on this issue. I happened to be marshalling yesterday and saw several guys in the CAT 3 peleton who were riding triples. Any one of them could probably drop most of us like a bad habit (me included), and I doubt they'd be embarassed by their triples while riding off into the sunset.

Just some food for thought.
Love my tripleAlan B
Jun 4, 2001 10:04 AM
and would get another on my next (hopefully custom, someday) bike. I ride in similar terrain, but I'm 42, so probably older than you. But ask yourself this: Which mistake would be worse to make? "Oh darn, this triple makes hill climbing just too easy. I think I could have done it with a double and now I'm carrying an extra 3 ounces." OR "Oh darn, I HATE climbing hills. Maybe with enough practice it'll get easier. Wish I'd gotten the triple."
Just another suggestion. . .Horace Greeley
Jun 4, 2001 12:24 PM
If you want the benefits of at triple while sticking with a double here is a suggestion which is somewhere in the middle. For what it's worth, I bought my bike as a leftover model and the dealer was not willing to swap out the components from a double to a triple, but he would swap out the cartridge no charge. I swapped out the 11-23 for a 12-27 and have no regrets. Flat terrain is scarce where I ride, and I was willing to sacrifice a slight drop in (potentially) low top end speed with the 11 tooth for the high end 27 tooth granny gear. I can't say I've used it much after the first season, but I also don't race so the 12 tooth is more than adequate. I even know of rider who use a MTB cartridge. Just my 2 cents...
That's what I did ...Crash
Jun 5, 2001 10:29 AM
When I bought my new bike I was torn between a double and triple. I live where it is hilly, but you're not climbing the Alps either. When I test rode the double vs triple I really liked the more precise shifting and lighter weight of the double, but was concerned about extended climbs with the 12-23. I ended up matching where an 39-27 would be on the granny chain ring and went out climbing. At least for me this seemed to be fine for a bail out gear. If I get to the point where I don't need the high gear, I can just swap out the cassette.
re: Newbie, Buy Double or Triple?Cpt. Denny
Jun 5, 2001 2:19 PM
After out growing my tripple with a 12-25 cog, I got the 11-21 cog and now when I need to do steep hills I'm still ready but also have the luxury of having a greater top end for flats and down hills. To me its more choices then I would have had with a double. After a ride with more experianced riders at the beginning of this season all of which were on doubles, we had a steep hill to climb and I ended up eating their lunch, I got to the top first! I was the heavyest of the group by at least 30 lbs. So I'm sold on the tripple, I would only buy another bike with a double if I had another one with a tripple.
Jun 6, 2001 11:39 PM
I've been mountain biking for 12 years. I've just rediscovered the road and am liking it. I'm in better shape than ever but there are some hills on my rides that a 39x23 will NOT pull. I've got a 26 cassette on order. These hills are little backroads that are basically paved goat paths. I had to go down to first gear in my V8 pickup truck on the same hill. Easy climb on my mountain bike with 22x34 setup.

I'm going to get a new bike soon and it's going to be triple. The triple also lets you slow down and ride with weaker riders.

I'm for the triple. It gives you more options, is good for early season, ANY hill can be ridden, resale market is bigger...