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Do I get a 28 or a triple?(23 posts)

Do I get a 28 or a triple?rideslikeagirl
May 13, 2002 7:08 AM
Okay - I'm currently riding an eight speed with 39-26. Once in a while (this weekend!), I face a climb that really puts the pressure on - like barely being able to turn the cranks. Short jaunts are not problem, cuz I'll just jump outta the saddle for a bit. But on long climbs, that's not an option for me.

That really slow, hard cranking really puts the pressure on my bad knee and lower back.

I know by the end of the season, this won't be an issue. But in the meantime, I don't want to do any irreparable damage to the ol' bod.

I HATE the idea of getting a triple (no offense to any triple users out there), and am hoping that having two more gears will make a difference.

Why fool around? Get both.MB1
May 13, 2002 7:15 AM
I run a 30/42/52 with a 12-32 cassette. If they can pave it, I can ride it. We don't let our equipment limit us.

That is what smart girls do anyway.
re: Do the arithmeticdzrider
May 13, 2002 7:26 AM
A 30x23 will give you a little more help than a 39x28. It will also give you lots of gears in your middle range. The 8 speed on my son's bike - used to be my beater - allows individual cogs and lots of choices.

The question is whether the added complexity and loss of self-esteem that come with a triple are worth it to you. As I've said b4, the answer looks different to me at 53 than it did at 35.
I've never regretted having low gearsDougSloan
May 13, 2002 7:30 AM
I put a triple on this spring. I blow by people suffering with their doubles, who are probably stronger climbers than I am (which isn't saying much).

I would never use a triple for road racing. If you aren't a racer, and you ride big hills, then I'd get a triple. They even come in Dura Ace and Record now.

Sure, you might have to compromise your image a little to get a triple, but that's made up for 10 fold as you blow by people on long, steep hills.

I've never regretted having low gearslaffeaux
May 13, 2002 9:13 AM
Maybe it's because I've ridden mountain bikes for so long, but having a triple on my road bike has always seemed "normal" and I've never questioned my biking abilities because of having one. I don't use the small ring often, but when I need it, it's really nice to know it's there.

As Doug said, I've passed many people on hills that were struggling with their double, while I was cruising in my triple. On one particularly unforgiving climb during an organized century, I looked at the people pushing their bikes up the hill. All of them were riding doubles. I easily made the hill in my triple. I'm not sure what's more macho, pushing a double or riding a triple. What do you think?
static vs. dynamic imageDougSloan
May 13, 2002 9:19 AM
Look at it this way. A double probably has a better static image. Yes, standing there at the start line, it looks better.

However, when everyone is dragging their sorry butts up a long hill, the dynamic image of the triple users happily spinning by the doubles has got to be a better image. At least 3 guys commented at the Central Coast Double that they wished they had lower gears as I passed them, one walking.

Double = macho, tough, insecure(?), flyweights, don't ride hills

Triple = sensible, spinners, self-confident, like to ride hills without suffering

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Be a man--get a triple. And ditch the 53, too.cory
May 13, 2002 7:29 AM
Only reason not to is because you worry about what people will think. I got past that five or six years ago, and I'll never go back.
You've already realized (admitted? Confessed?) that you need lower gears. The difference between a 26 and 28 isn't going to help you much on long climbs. I'll even go a step further and say you don't need a 53 or 52 big ring--how much time do you spend in a gear you couldn't reach with, say, a 46-36-26 triple? That's what Grant Petersen recommends for Rivendell, and I put one on when I built my Atlantis. With an 11-28 cassette, I have gears from about 27 to 113 inches. If I need anything higher than that, I'll be coasting.
BTW, if you're worried about degrading the shifting...nah. It just doesn't happen. How hard is it to move the lever halfway instead of all the way?
re: Do I get a 28 or a triple?MSA
May 13, 2002 7:52 AM
I have a new Colnago Master X-light with Campy Record gruppo(12-25 cassette), my dream bike, and the guys at wrench science convinced me to get the new record triple crank. My riding buddies really gave me a hard time for it, but in the Houston to Austin MS 150, it was a wonderful extra to have to haul my Clydesdale sized butt up some of the hills...don't let pride stand in the way of making your favorite pastime more enjoyable.
image - bah!Spinchick
May 13, 2002 8:02 AM
get whatever you need to keep you off the injured list. After all, injured=no riding or a serious cut back. Can't have that...
re: Do I get a 28 or a triple?mwood
May 13, 2002 8:06 AM
The Asso I had built recently is a triple, with a 30 X 25 granny gear. I have yet to need that low granny (really haven't felt the need to use anything lower than the third cog)and I ride lots of 8-10% stuff and wouldn't classify my climbing ability as "strong". Of course, I've only ridden the bike a few times and haven't done anything long enough to be really tired prior to a prolonged climb and even in the third cog/small ring it is easier than my old 39 X 26. So, while I haven't utilized the full range, I'm happy with the choice, particularly in terms of saving my knees.
Another option is the Campy 10spd w/ 39 X 29 low gear...
but I wouldn't want to give up the flexibility/spacing the triple gives.
tripleterry b
May 13, 2002 8:29 AM
to me, hills are about 2 things - ability and confidence. I don't like climbing and I don't think I'm good at it. So, given my obvious physical and psychological limitations, I decided in preparation for an upcoming mountainous century to just bite the bullet and change my bike out to a triple. I'll be going off knowing I can get up anything so both ability and confidence are dealt with. It's not permanent, you can go back so hating the idea of a triple is not a long term consequence. Make it easy on yourself and get the tools to get the job done and avoid injuring yourself over a style issue.
Nail on the head with the confidence thing! nmrideslikeagirl
May 13, 2002 8:36 AM
prob triplecyclopathic
May 13, 2002 8:40 AM
28 vs 26 is not gonna make much diff.
Get a Triple!goathead1
May 13, 2002 9:08 AM
I ride in the NC mountains several times a year. I remember struggling years ago on a 14 speed with a smallest
gear of 39/26. A few years ago I got smart and bought a bike with a triple crank. I now run a 30/42/52 with a 12-21 or a 12/23. I get a lower gear with much smaller jumps, which to me is as important as the smaller gears. I have other lighter bikes with double set ups, but I wouldn't dream of taking them to the mtns. Riding up Mt. Mitchell after 100 miles of riding is hard enough aerobically. No sense in making it physically excrutiating, too.
re: Do I get a 28 or a triple?CurtSD
May 13, 2002 9:17 AM
I also went with a triple. The main reason was the confidence when riding unfamiliar terrain - you never know when you'll hit that steep climb at the end of a long ride. The other reason is that on long climbs it's really nice to be able to change between standing and sitting to work a different set of muscles. I've found that on all but the steepest climbs (<8%) I'm actually faster in the saddle. I went with the Dura-Ace triple, and I'm not happy that it uses non-standard chainrings (the smallest chainring bolts to the middle chainring - not to the crank), but I like the fact that it's a 53/39/30 instead of 52/42/30 - with a 13-23 cassette, the 39 is good for most of the normal hills I come across and I only shift into the granny on long or very steep climbs.
Been there, done that.LC
May 13, 2002 9:20 AM
If you just need a little bit extra then the 28 may do it, but a 30 would make a big difference that will really make the difference to keep the suffering to a min. You will likely need to customize the cassette to keep the ratio closer, and I would suggest 13-30 as a nice climbing cassette since you can probally live without the 11 or 12 cog. You can probally shift a 28 cog with your current deraileur, but a 30 will likely need a MTB type so you may want to try the 28 first to see if that is enough.

I also have a preference for the shifting of double over triple. It is less likely to drop a chain, the STI shifters work better and the shorter Q factor of the double makes the difference to me, plus the money difference to change to triple is what really will keep you in that double. Back in 8 speed times they had double or triple specific STI shifters. With a 8 speed group it costs too much to upgrade STI shifters + crank + front and rear deraileurs.
I'm just realizing the cost diff-rideslikeagirl
May 13, 2002 10:47 AM
I was all set to go for the triple, until I started wracking up the costs involved! Sheesh -

Looks like I'll be going with the 28 and saving about $150.

If the 28's still not enough, then I'll bite the bullet and spend the money.

Thanks everyone! LOTS of great input - and if money wasn't an object, then I'd certainly be going with the triple.
You can save a chunkterry b
May 13, 2002 11:26 AM
by not upgrading the levers. I'm using a downtube shifter for the front only - a set only costs $25. It works fine and is a nice cheap solution if this is a temporary set up. You'd only need a RD, FD, BB and crank to do it this way. Might save you the $150 you mentioned.
What about a 38?Mootsie
May 13, 2002 9:54 AM
Keep the cassette and switch out the the 39 for a 38 - Excel Sports sell em. Its cheaper, easier to install and achieves basically the same thing. Most people don't know a 38 is even available.
What about a 38?rideslikeagirl
May 13, 2002 10:48 AM
I'll run it by my mechanic, er, husband. :)

Makes sense to me.

Looks like this is all going to boil down to cost effeciency, unfortunately.

The other option, highlighted in above thread:Leisure
May 13, 2002 7:17 PM
If you're on Shimano you can get a Shimano 11-34 mountain cassette and a mountain derailleur. If you're running 39 up front, that'll do *almost* as much for you as a 26 granny mated to a 25 rear cog. They're STI compatible, and if you do it in LX it'll probably only run 60 or 70 bills.
Even though I typically encourage trying to stick to doubles for training purposes (just did so in yet another thread above), there's no reason you should do so if it risks aggravating injury or the hills you ride often are that steep. I was just riding a ten mile hill today that seriously looks like a 25 or 30 grade. Perhaps my legs are fooling my eyes about the grade, but it's ugly nonetheless. Piddling around up that thing at maybe 6 mph on a double doesn't feel so good.
May 14, 2002 6:11 AM
A 25% grade for 10 miles would rise 13,200 feet. At even 10%, it's a 5,280 feet gain.

I sort of agree with the training on a double, though, assuming you aren't really on 25% grades that go on for 10 miles. :-)

Oh no, you're right. ;-)Leisure
May 14, 2002 2:41 PM
I should have specified the exact ride. I thought about it after and realized how much it could confuse people. It's actually coming up one side, descending, then turning around and coming back, so it's five miles climbing each way. And admittedly it's not quite that steep the entire way, but when all your time goes into the climb, it sure feels like it.