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Triple or not?(19 posts)

Triple or not?imthehotone
May 29, 2002 8:59 AM
I just had bike built...headed for some serious climbs/miles and originally asked for a triple as I am shy on my training this spring. The guy who built the bike insists that I should be able to do all mountain climbs in Colorado (Red Mountain Pass) on the double and that I don't have any need to spin. I feel like sometimes my legs need the break a little on the climb.
Any comments? I mean am I adding that much weight? He also suggested its much more efficient without...
re: Triple or not?DougSloan
May 29, 2002 9:04 AM
If you need lower than a 39x27, then I'd go triple.

The real question is whether you "need" the lower gears. This depends upon your weight, strength, endurance, and where you'll be riding. If you have to stand to get up the hills in the 27, I'd go triple. If you can spin up the hills, no matter where they are on the ride, then probably don't need it.

If you are road racing, no triple.

Triples typically are about 100-150 grams heavier than similar double setups. But, you are getting more gears, too, and likely a broader range. The front shifting is not as precise or idiot proof. It requires a bit more trimming, particularly in the middle ring.

If I lived in Colorado and intended to ride mountains, I'd get the triple. I have one on one bike here in California that I use on hilly double centuries. It really saves the legs, and more importantly, it's FASTER!

May 29, 2002 9:17 AM
with campy you can get up to a 39 x 29 10 speed setup with the medium cage der. Shifting with the double will be crisper and the whole setup will be lighter, but if you need it get the triple. Most Colorado climbs are long rather than steep. I find that a 39x25 is all you really need for most situations. If you are doing Ride the Rockies or similar this summer then the double should work. Climbs are usually no more than 10% grade max--usually less.
re: Triple or not?muncher
May 29, 2002 9:11 AM
I have both double and triple, and live in a hilly area. On longer rides, or when I am having an easier ride, then the triple is very very nice to have. It aslo lets me have a nice straight block on the back, which is a bonus, over stretching a double to 27+ at the rear. I aslo know that whatever happens (bonk, injury etc) I can get back from enywhere on the triple.

If it's your only bike, I'd get the triple for sure. If not, then I'd consider the above carefully.

Point to note - I have no time for the whinging folk who think triples are "soft". If you aren't a pro, if you can't see the value of a triple, you aren't riding enough hills in my view. Some of the best riders in my club have triples on training bikes.
re: Triple or not?rideslikeagirl
May 29, 2002 9:15 AM
A double is certainly NOT more efficient if you have to spend a good deal of your time out of the saddle just to get the crank to barely turn over - which is what I face sometimes. It's no fun.

I asked the board the same question a couple weeks ago and got some great advice. Basically, triples rule.

(Maybe you could find the thread with a search.)

I'm very happy that my triple's been ordered and is on it's way.

And, actually, in my case, it will be about the same weight or even a bit less. It's an upgrade on quality, so it'll be lighter material.

Good luck-
Get the triple. . .js5280
May 29, 2002 9:25 AM
The weight penalty is minimal and the wear and tear on your knees and ethusiasm too large. Colorado warrants a triple for the typical rider that knocks off an occasional mt. road/pass and even on some straight-line tornado windy days. Sounds like this guy didn't want to bother ordering the parts you specifically asked for, which is concerning. BTW I live in Denver. Have fun w/ the new bike!
Saw your post below. . .js5280
May 29, 2002 9:36 AM
Sounds like you're on the south side (assuming Cherry Creek and Chatfield reserviors) I'm up north (120th and I25) but drop me an email if you want to go riding some time. BTW, 31, single, fit but not full of myself.
We have triples on all our bikes but the fixtes.MB1
May 29, 2002 9:31 AM
Sure you can grunt up a hill in a gear too big. Why would you let your bike limit your riding?

Get the triple.
re: Triple or not?Me Dot Org
May 29, 2002 9:33 AM
I have a Campy Racing Triple (I know, an oxymoron). I would agree with most of what has been said.

Two things I would point out: Triples not only give you an ultimate lower range, they give you more choices in between. You can find a gear that matches up perfectly to the challenge at hand.

The other information is anecdotal. I'm 51, and not a racer. When I ride centuries, the young fast lions go past me early. Most of them I never see again.

But sometimes I will catch a few of them towards the end, especially if there are some good climbs past mile 75. Triples really help you save your legs on distance rides.

Yes, triples are more finicky about adjustment. Yes, they definitely weigh more. If you're serious about racing, they are probably not the way to go.

But they give you not only a lower ultimate gear, but more choices in between. On a long ride, those choices may ultimately make you faster.
re: My triple is my friend!dzrider
May 29, 2002 9:38 AM
I rode a most of 200k with a guy who had a road double with an XTR rear derailleur and a 32 tooth large cog. His 39x32 gave him an easier gear than my 30x23. I climbed a little better which, I suspect, was mostly due to being younger. What I noticed was that I was able to spin much more evenly because the triple gives so much more variety in the middle range. I spend a lot of riding time on the 42 shifting between 14,15,16 and 17.

Early in the ride we laughed about being on opposite ends of the gearing spectrum. Near the end of the ride my companion said "I've had a triple at home for a long time. I'm going to put it on."
re: Triple or not?tarwheel
May 29, 2002 9:45 AM
If you need or want a triple, get one and and don't worry about it. I opted for a Campy 10 with the 13-29 cassette because I've heard triples can be more finicky getting the derailleurs adjusted. I also have Ultegra w/ 12-27 on my other bike. Lots of cyclists really mash up the hills, which can't be good for your knees. I'm a spinner, so I like having the climbing gears. I have no trouble keeping up with my masher friends, but I spin away while their grunting and grinding.
Thanks for sharing. I'm learnin from you guys...imthehotone
May 29, 2002 9:52 AM
and for the ride offer js5280!
re: Or run a double CX Crankset???jrm
May 29, 2002 12:38 PM
Then youll have a 36T and the ability to go smaller.
the perfect gearing for everyone...?DougSloan
May 29, 2002 1:56 PM
Why not just eliminate the middle ring of the triple and use a 30 ring and a 53? Combine this with a 12-25 cassette, and you have this gearing (deleting the 53x25, 30-12 and 30-13 combos):

1> 30x25 32.40
2> 30x23 35.22
3> 30x21 38.57
4> 30x19 42.63
5> 30x17 47.65
6> 30x16 50.62
7> 30x15 54.00
8> 30x14 57.86
9> 53x23 62.22
10> 53x21 68.14
11> 53x19 75.32
12> 53x17 84.18
13> 53x16 89.44
14> 53x15 95.40
15> 53x14 102.21
16> 53x13 110.08
17> 53x12 119.25

You go up all through the small ring, then shift to the big. No overlap. What do you think?

the perfect gearing for everyone...?laffeaux
May 29, 2002 2:41 PM
If there were an easy way to go from the 30x14 to the 53x23 combo (and vice versa) you'd be on to something.
it's simpler...I thinkkcd
May 30, 2002 2:17 AM
Just evaluating your 53/30, 12-25, set-up and comparing it against 53/42/30, 12-21. It looks like that for your double setup, the shifting (both front and rear derailers) is between 30x14 and 53x24, for the triple it's 30x15 to 42x19 to 53x15, or visa versa depending on whether shifting up or down. It may be that the triple would not be better because it's more complicated to use properly--that is, how many triple(53/42/30, 12-21)users do you think are shifting at the correct points, 30x15 to 42x19 to 53x15? Remembering to shift between 30x14 and 53x24 for your double setup is much easier.
another option...dawg
May 29, 2002 2:58 PM
Would be to consider getting a 110mm double crank with a 48/34T or 46/34T chainring set-up. With a 12/27 casette, my 34T-27 is similar to a 30T-23. I rarely (if ever) find situations where the 48T-12 isn't enough to keep up with the pack. Again, if you are racing, probably not the way to go. But a nice compromise.
I'll second this oneRay Sachs
May 30, 2002 5:29 AM
MOST people don't need anything higher than a 48x12 and a 34x27 is as low as a lot of triples. If you like really tight spacing, this isn't the way to go, but if you don't mind varying your cadence a little bit, it's a great setup. I have one bike with the same gearing as dawg and another with the same crank, a mtb derailure, and a 12-34 on the back. This is really nice for week long tours in the steep hills of the northeast.

Toss one more vote on the pro triple pileAhimsa
May 29, 2002 3:36 PM
I have bikes with one, two, and three chainrings, and I'll say that the triple is a very nice versatile set up.

Yes, racing requires that one go double most likely, but is this a race bike? I run an Ultegra triple with 12-21 9 speed cogs on my daily, and it is such a smooth rig. Not much you can't do with that gearing.

Don't get me wrong, I like my DA duece, but if you ask me, I'd rather run the triple and close spaced cogset any day.

Of course one must bear in mind that I take a unique interest in bicycles that are either overly excessive in their "Swiss army knife-like" equipment splendor, or stripped down to bare essentials track style.

The middle ground bores me.