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2 rings instead of 3(23 posts)

2 rings instead of 3Rev Bubba
Aug 26, 2002 6:49 AM
Okay, I'm new to road bikes. Heck, don't even own one. Anyway, I'm doing some research and I'm trying to find out why higher end bikes have only two rings instead of three. What is the advantage besided saving some weight?

If I had a choice of two or three in a Shimano 105 setup, which is the best way to go if racing is not a consideration but riding a century is?

higher-end bikes have two rings because mostbill
Aug 26, 2002 7:02 AM
higher-end riders either are strong enough to need only two rings or, in the hillier regions, know how to use different cogsets to get lower gear ratios than what comes on the standard bike.
I had three rings. After about a year of never using the little one, I went to a double and have never regretted it. I also live in a relatively flat area -- what hills we have, even if steep, are relatively short.
Sometimes a vanity issueSilverback
Aug 26, 2002 7:31 AM
Bill's right about stronger riders not needed triple chainrings, and 53/39 is what the pros use--but most people aren't "stronger" riders. If you look at the gears most people are actually riding in, at least where I live, they'll be on the small ring and toward the big end of the cassette--39/24, 39/20. There's a lot of wasted gearing they never use.
If you ARE strong, or live where there are few hills, you probably can get along with "standard" double gearing--52/39 or so in front and 11/26 in back.
Up here in the mountains, though, a triple is a welcome option. I converted both my road bikes several years ago (one is off-the-shelf Shimano 52-39-30, the other 46-36-24), and it's made them more useful without making them any slower. I just don't see any disadvantages to a triple except a couple of ounces of weight.
Aug 26, 2002 7:32 AM
In all honesty a lot of it has to do with the snob factor of having a double. All the pro's have doubles so everyone else has to. Just like the 2x9 drivetrains caught on for a while on mountain bikes but suprise suprise... some pros were using them!

When deciding to use either a double or a triple you really have to look at where you'll be riding. In all honestly if your doing centuries I'd recommend getting a triple if you live anywhere with any significant hills or will be riding anywhere that does. After 100 miles on the bike climbing hills will be a lot harder. So on a hilly course you'll be happy to have a triple. Also with a triple you don't lose any lower end gears. A double with a higher cassette such as a 12-27 or higher cassette the gears on the lower end become farther spaced apart so you lose gearing options in the gears you'll most frequently be using.

re: centuriescyclopathic
Aug 26, 2002 7:33 AM
you'd be better off with triples for centuries. First, you'd be carrying more stuff, second you won't maintain the same pace on century as on 2hr ride. If you don't need it you won't use it.

with respect to your question as bill said most stronger riders wouldn't need them. If you take into pro riders they produce more power and have lower weight, so for 140lbs/450watt stud 39x23 would be equivalent of you riding 30x25, really.


PS. for century I'd recommend either steel or Ti frame, not Al. Cyclocross bikes very popular too, they give clearance to install wider tires and fenders.
Thanks to all for the quick repliesRev Bubba
Aug 26, 2002 7:47 AM
Triple sounds like the more logical way to go because I do live in a hilly area (north Jersey). When using my mountain bike on the road I almost never use the small ring but I guess the key is "almost."

For the record, I'm 53 and weight 187 lbs and would be considered in pretty good shape as I bike up to 5 days per week (3 on dirt, 2 on road).

I want to get a road bike as it makes more sense for training and really long treks.

Guess I'm not a cycling snob yet since I'm pretty much sold on the Giant line of road bikes and realize that won't win me any style points. I was originally drawn to the TCR group as it appeared more race orientated but now think the OCR with a triple 105 setup might be better.

re: OCRcyclopathic
Aug 26, 2002 11:03 AM
had TCR and sold it as I couldn't use it for centuries, not young anymore to get beat up. The friend of mine had OCR and it is even harsher then TCR, he was complaining after 40-50mi and he is 25yo mnt biker who rides hardtail on some bumpy rocky trails.

Steel is real, there're plenty entry/midlevel steel bikes check the net or LBS good luck
OCR vs. TCRfbg111
Aug 26, 2002 11:07 AM
I'm a noob roadie and just spent the past 2 months figuring out which of those two bikes to get. I've posted what I learned in several threads; here's one in case you're interested: fbg111 "Recommendations for a good starter road bike?" 8/22/02 12:42pm

Before settling on the OCR, you might want to see if the TCR can take a triple ring. If that's the only thing swaying your decision, then it would be worth checking into considering how good the TCR is.
Thanks, I printed it out to read on the way homeRev Bubba
Aug 26, 2002 11:17 AM
I own an IF Steel Deluxe hardtail so I really understand the beauty of a custom steel frame but I also have economic realities to confront (tow kids in college) and $1000 to $1300 seems plenty to spend on a road bike at this point.
Thanks, I printed it out to read on the way homefbg111
Aug 26, 2002 11:36 AM
$$ was my issue too. I got the TCR for $1300, which was already $300 over my limit. I figured it was a better long-term investment, and worth the stretch. Also, it seems that the ride quality is the only criticism I've seen so far. Since this is my first road bike, I don't have anything (steel, composite, ti) to compare it to, other than what I test road for two minutes at the lbs. I just try to take the harshness out of the ride with a good seat. Selle Italia Flite Titanium Kevlar is working very well so far. The carbon front forks and seatpost don't hurt either. Anyway, good luck with your decision. Buying a new bike is fun, regardless which one you chose!
if $$ is the issuecyclopathic
Aug 26, 2002 5:05 PM
you can get entry level steel bike for ~400-600$
here's an example KHS at Bikes Wholesale

KHS is Taiwanese company /so is Giant/ but at least you get 25year warranty on their steel frames vs 5 years on Al Giants. Unfortunately there seems to be a gap not many 105 level steel bikes, so you either have to step up or down.

When step down Quality wise Sora components /with exception of derailleurs/ are of decent quality and derailleurs aren't that hard to replace.
I do not like Sora ShiftersRev Bubba
Aug 27, 2002 4:18 AM
They would keep me away from the OCR-3 if nothing else did. I was very unimpressed with the location of the levers on top as opposed to the integrated way the Tiagra and above systems work. My initial feelings after riding with Sora was Tiagra or above or Campy for me. (not snobbish enough yet to have to have Campy stuff)
re: Sora Shifterscyclopathic
Aug 27, 2002 6:24 AM
Sora shifter pedals located similar to Campy, so if you don't like Sora, why would you wanna Campy?

yeah, Sora shifting does feel weird for first 1/2hr, then you get used to. They do work marginally better with triples and more reliable then Ultegra.

On side note upper levers are more convenient when riding hoods or climbing out of saddle. Also Sora is the only Shimano shifters with reach adjustment a plus for women and men with small hands.

Still if Tiagra/105 is a must you can get quality steel frame with Tiagra LeMond Tourmalet, Fuji Touring/Roubaix, etc. Check or good luck
I found the "feel" of the Campy's to be much betterRev Bubba
Aug 27, 2002 7:59 AM
I am not all that familiar with Road bike equipment but my initail impressions were not favorable for the Sora. Maybe it is just the size/shape of my hands, I don't know for sure. On the other hand, the Campy's felt "right" and I had little trouble learning to use them.

Very unscientific I admit.
Thanks to all for the quick repliesTimA
Aug 26, 2002 2:41 PM
I just made the same transition ended up getting a triple. It was a good choice for me with the climbs in Santa Barbara. You mention you don't use the small ring with your mtb on road, but the small ring on my road crank is a 30t compared with a 22 on my mtb and the road cassette is geared higher then the mtb. Just something you might want to consider.

BTW: I really do like the road bike for quick morning rides.

Thanks to all for the quick repliesSpunout
Aug 26, 2002 3:41 PM
I almost went Ultegra Triple, but ended up with Chorus Double(ahhhh, Campagnolo). I can get a 39-29 on a 10-speed cassette, which should work okay if you are not loaded down. On time trial days, it takes two minutes to turn it into a 13-26 without gaps over 13-19 .

Want a good triple group? Chorus with Record cranks, like bike porn.

BTW, Steel is Real for sure. Most Lemonds in the 105/Ultegra range can be had in triple, sweet 853. I have a 2001 Zurich build up with Campy Chorus(okay, I'm a Campy snob too!).
re: 2 rings instead of 3Chen2
Aug 26, 2002 7:51 AM
The real reason is that a double gives you quick, positive shifting with no trimming needed if properly set up. This can be a big advantage for riders in competition who need to shift often. Triples have the advantage in mountains or for carrying heavier loads. Which is better for you depends on how and where you plan to use the bike. Of course having multiple bikes set up both ways is best.
advantages of 2ColnagoFE
Aug 26, 2002 8:23 AM
it shifts quicker and easier in general and you can jam it from big to small and back without mis-shifting. an advantage for racing. if you're just riding centuries a triple might be a better option since you'll have more usuable gears. still a 10 speed cassette with a double crank provides quite a range already.
Love my tripleOffTheBack
Aug 26, 2002 8:35 AM
Besides the obvious advantages of having a granny gear for climbing and being able to run a more closely-spaced cassette, I find that with a 39-53 double, I'm often riding in either the 39x13 or the 53x19, so I have to shift bith derailleurs all the time and shift all the way across the cassette. With a 30-42-52 triple, I can leave it on the 42 most of the time and stay near the middle of the cassette.
re: 2 rings instead of 3King Henry
Aug 26, 2002 10:27 AM
You should also consider cost issues. On a new bike, a triple usually runs about $30 more than a double. If you go with the double and later decide to convert to a triple, my understanding is that the conversion cost will be quite high. By contrast, going from a triple to a double should be much less.
Size MattersPack Meat
Aug 26, 2002 11:18 AM
I haven't really looked to hard but it looks like you can't get a triple in a 172.5,or at least it's not common. If you're not racing this probably doesn't matter a whole lot. But if you race or put in a lot of miles you defintely want the crank arm to be sized for you. Also the chain lines on doubles are not as extreme.

And finally this isn't a real reason but since I am a bike snob I will add that the only people that need a triple are the same people that use aerobars on the bike path while riding at 17 mph.

Hugs and kisses.
Size MattersCurtSD
Aug 26, 2002 12:44 PM
Ultegra and DuraAce are available in 172.5
You ride that crap?Pack Meat
Aug 26, 2002 1:27 PM
I thought I made it clear that I was a bike snob,

give me Campy or give me death