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Are Triples Cool Now? (USPS in Vuelta)(23 posts)

Are Triples Cool Now? (USPS in Vuelta)jeph
Sep 23, 2002 6:28 AM
Triples aren't just for tourists and rec riders anymore! Anyone watch the Angrilu (sp?) stage? Unbelievable! Anyway, if you run a triple on your rig and some poser gives you grief over it just refer to Heras and the Vuelta.
Yay! I feel vindicated! Me llama es Roberto Heras... (nm)OffTheBack
Sep 23, 2002 6:31 AM
yes, on a 18-24% grade.. nmDave Hickey
Sep 23, 2002 6:32 AM
and what if...ZvierBoy
Sep 23, 2002 7:22 AM
you are doing 2 or 3 climbs (8-10%) and you want be able to drive the car for 3hrs home afterwards?
I live in Dallas.............Dave Hickey
Sep 23, 2002 7:41 AM
The closest I get to hills is a 25mph headwind. I wouldn't know a 10% grade if it jumped up and bit me in the a$$.
Get another driverSpoiler
Sep 23, 2002 9:28 AM
Stupid questions deserve stupid answers.
That's rightLeroy
Sep 23, 2002 6:34 AM
My Gios w/ a Racing T set up is now fashionable I guess. Good to see Heras using some common sense. It was funny to see the shots of the pro not able to handle shifting his triple. I would have needed a quadruple and a motor - preferably a ducati - to negotiate that course.

Dave Loving
a guy in a LBS argued with mepukka
Sep 23, 2002 6:35 AM
out at bike hampton(ny) they had the vuelta streamed in the store, i start chatting to the guy about the climb and how the riders are using triples and he snaps back "no one uses triples dude " very sharply it pissed me off that he was so arrogant and yet so wrong
Sep 23, 2002 7:05 AM
If you are at all concerned about posers being critical of your rig, it isn't cool.

No one comments on the coolness of stuff that really is cool. Cool just is.
Danilo DiLuca's commentsfracisco
Sep 23, 2002 7:13 AM

"The bunch was content to ride easy until the penultimate climb, where attacks started for real. On the Angliru I had a 38 on the front and a 30 tooth sprocket on the back, but I was mistaken - I needed the triple chainring!!!

For some crazy reason I wanted to have a go on this stage - if only I have mounted the triple chainring!"
Sep 23, 2002 7:22 AM
only if you're climbing a 25% grade. I doubt most fit folks on "racing" bikes who aren't climbing steep mountains need them.

but if you have one, who cares? It just makes it easier to spin.
triple's & fat chicksSpirito
Sep 23, 2002 7:45 AM
both fun to ride

BUT dont expect alpha males, armchair purists or posers to give you the thumbs up or concede any cred though.


(p.s. spirito walks without shame once the gradient is too steep for his 42 x 30 and if funds are dry for a visit to New York Dolls then its a case of mouse in one hand ........ )
When I ride up the start line and see and see a triple....No_sprint
Sep 23, 2002 7:55 AM
You can bet I'll change my start location. That person will surely be a dangerous squirrel and luckily for all of us, will certainly finish back of the pack, if at all.

There is no hill I cannot do in a 39/23 or 25. I don't know of any 25 grades longer than 100 yards. Fargo Street is only about 100 yards.
Same old tune....Eager Beagle
Sep 23, 2002 9:01 AM
Folk banging on about not needing a triple and being able to bypass people using crampons and ropes using a 58/11 combo...

If you can't see the benefit of a triple, then just go and ride bigger hills for longer untill it all becomes clear. Alternatively, just fast forward till you are 45 years old and have a look at your knees.

Alternatively again, if you really can climb "any hill" in a 39/23, then stop waisting time on this board, and go and do some more product endorsement photo shoots for your sponsors.
23% grade is pretty steepSoultrain
Sep 23, 2002 9:47 AM
I may not be in decent race fitness right now, but I just went for a ride that goes up Deer creek road off of the US 1 outside of ventura CA. I don't know how steep it is, but I had to weave from side to side of the road to keep the bike upright. I had a 39/25 and I am sure that the gradient excedes 15% on many ocassions over the 2 mile climb.
I think that this climb is about as vicious as they get around here and if I can get up this one with a double(albiet slower than walking) then I must not need a triple
at least this way I can salvage the pride...........

pretty steep?DougSloan
Sep 23, 2002 10:09 AM
These guys have about twice the power to weight ratio as many of us. That means they likely are going twice as fast up these hills. Even at twice the speed, if they find it advantageous to use a triple, you can darn well be we would benefit, too.

23% is really, really steep. Throw that hill in at the end of a 100 mile stage, 15 stages into a tour, and you can easily see why they would use the low gears. Not only is it faster at the time, but it saves the legs for the next day, versus slogging it out in a big gear at 40 rpms. I imagine very few people have every ridden on any 23% grades, especially in a long race. At 23%, your front tire starts lifting if you are not careful. There is a hill in the mountains close to here that hits 20% and 15% for longer sections, and it's pure hell on the legs without low gears. Sure, some guys muscle their way up it in the 23 cog, in fact I did it once in a 21, but they pay afterwards, and likely would be faster in a lower gear.

Despite all these benefits, it seemed that lots of the Vuelta racers were having problems shifting, unless the commentary unfairly depicted what was going on. There is a trade-off for everything.

And then there's Grandfather MountainMcAndrus
Sep 23, 2002 10:27 AM
Near Boone, NC there's a climb called Grandfather Mountain, which is used at the end of a century called Bridge-to-Bridge. It's a two-mile climb with the first 1.5 miles at (my guess) 15-17 percent. Then it gets steep. The last few hundred yards are up this dang wall at a measured 19 percent.

Years ago I rode a triple routinely until a friend counseled me that it was hurting my performance because I wasn't developing the climbing strength. So I changed to a double and, sure enough, I got stronger and now ride almost anything (albeit slowly) with my 53x39.

On Grandfather Mountain, though, I would pay someone to mount a triple for me at the bottom for just that one climb.

By the way, I heard Liggett comment the other night about a club ride he was doing somewhere in England on a particularly steep climb. He said his front wheel kept lifting off the road until eventually he flipped over and fell off. I've seen that happen also.

I have nothing but respect for the Vuelta guys and their triples.
VERY steepRay Sachs
Sep 23, 2002 11:23 AM
We have a number of 15% climbs around where I live (nothing more than a quarter to half a mile at that pitch) and a couple that hit 17-18%, but nothing steeper that I'm aware of. I rode a few 20% hills in Wales last summer and one that was signed as being 25%. That stuff is crazy steep. Sort of like mountain biking on a loose steep hill where you're trying to find that optimum balance point where you can keep the front wheel on the ground and still get traction with the back wheel. I was well into the negative gearing on a touring bike, fighting like crazy to make it up (seated) in about a 24x28 and even 24x32 in places. I tried going higher and stand, but the balance was so tricky that I blew up really fast it just wasn't worth it.

I can't imagine riding something that steep in any positive gearing (above a 1 to 1 ratio), whether triple or double.

pretty steep?-Thanksfunknuggets
Sep 23, 2002 11:37 AM
Thanks, Doug, for clearing this up. I asked a fellow rider the exact same thing this morning. There are no climbs like this in the KC area to compare anything like that to. However I travelled this past weekend and rode in a river town that had lots of steep climbs in the surrounding bluffs. It just so happened that the route I took had the two steepest streets in the town and my wife's friend's husband (did you follow that?) is a civil engineer for the city and said they were 16% and 20% grades. I thank God that the longest one was just under 1/2 of a mile and it was quite invigorating to say the least. Nothing like a pegging a 192 HR on what was supposed to be an "easy" ride... so I did the loop 3 more times and believe me, I was all over my 23...

I just looked it up and it appears that the steepest part of the Alpe de Huez is 23%.
Sonora Pass and Pacific Gradefracisco
Sep 23, 2002 11:47 AM
I have never even driven on the Sonora Pass road, but from reading this ride report, I can pretty much say with certainty, that you won't find me on a bicycle on that road.

Or this ride report with Pacific Grade:
Tried Fillmore St after SF Grandprix 24% hellgradeMongoGood
Sep 23, 2002 4:11 PM
I was considering stopping but traffic was all around me and there was just enough respites at the cross streets to fool you in going for one more block. I have a 27 cog. I could not fathom doing it with a 25 or 23. Pure anaerobic hell.
Deer Creek is one bad assed climb!!!JohnG
Sep 23, 2002 3:49 PM
IMHO, it's the mother of all climbs in the Santa Monica mountains. I KNOW there are extended sections of 15-19%.

The only other climb that might be worse is Tuna canyon but it's technically closed to traffic coming off of 101. One of these days I'm going to poach that road though. ;) calling mickey-mac..... ???? hahaha.

No, they aren't. Heras is a father of all freds from now on.[nm]tz
Sep 23, 2002 11:06 AM