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18 or 27 speed(7 posts)

18 or 27 speeddsweiss
Sep 6, 2002 7:50 AM
I am building up a Giant TCR Team Frame. Should I go 18 or 27 speed. I live in Birmingham Al where it is rolling hills, definitely not flat. I am mainly a mountain bike rider but enjoy road riding as well.
re: 18 or 27 speedLC
Sep 6, 2002 8:16 AM
Unless your just starting out biking, 18 should be enough for that area.
Racers say double; real people might need a triplecory
Sep 6, 2002 8:18 AM
The conventional wisdom among racers and hardcore riders is that you don't need a triple chainring. Works for Lance, and it's sort of a macho thing for some people--if you can't go up any hill in a 39-23, you're just not riding enough.
I switched both my road bikes to triples several years ago (actually switched one and traded the other for a bike that already had a triple), and I'll never go back. I live at about 5000 feet in the Sierra, with climbs to 8000+ in every direction. If I go to the end of my driveway and turn left, I can climb for almost three hours with just one quarter-mile flat spot. That small chainring makes it so much easier that I enjoy riding more, ride longer and get in better shape, plus my knees don't hurt.
I haven't been through Birmingham in years, so I don't remember the terrain. When you say "rolling hills," do you mean 50-foot rollers or 500-foot rollers, like we have around here? That would make a difference.
Another possibility (besides a triple or a standard 53-39 double) would be something like Grant Petersen recommends on Rivendells. He sells a Ritchey double with 44-32 rings (I think it is; close to that, anyway) that makes a lot of sense with an 11-28 or 11-32 cassette. It gives a 108-inch high gear, plenty for most people, with a low in the 20s.
Finally, if you DO go with a triple, might as well have a a real granny gear: Toss the useless 30-tooth small ring and put on a 26 or 24.
re: 18 or 27 speedMe Dot Org
Sep 6, 2002 8:33 AM
You don't say your age of relative fitness, but you could be a candidate for a triple:


triple are slighty more finiky for adjustments
more weight


you always have the right gear when going up a hill
you have a fallback granny gear if you bonk or tire

I have a Campy Racing Triple, I live in San Francisco, yet I rarely go onto the little ring. Most guys who are reasonably fit can go up most hills without a triple. On 95% of my rides I don't need the little ring (I live in a relatively flat part of the city).

Where I appreciate the triple is on long steady grades and mountain riding, where having the gear that fits you exactly can make a big difference. This is especially important on centuries, where I need to conserve energy.

The other time I love a triple is when I bonk or I've overextended myself. That granny gear is a wonderful insurance policy.

Yes, triples are slightly more finicky than doubles, but not that much.

Bottom line: if you're reasonably fit, you can probably survive most of the time without a triple, but it's nice to have in some situations.
campy 10 sp could be an option. you can get a 12-29.(nm)aet
Sep 6, 2002 10:32 AM
campy 10 sp could be an option. you can get a 12-29.(nm)The Human G-Nome
Sep 6, 2002 11:58 AM
i thought they only came in 13-29 and 12-26?
campy 10 sp could be an option.....13-29Spunout
Sep 6, 2002 4:53 PM
I use the 13-29 with 53-39, the range is great. The jewel is in the 13-26 10 speed, because you have 13-19 straight across the block 13-19,21,23,26