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Down side to a triple?(18 posts)

Down side to a triple?jdhour
Dec 21, 2002 1:36 PM
Besides a little extra weight and no snob appeal, (neither of which matter to me) what is the down side to a triple chain ring? I am looking at ultegra components. I currently ride a 52/42 double and I seem to like the 42 over 39s that I have ridden. Does the ultegra triple shift as well as the ultegra double, is chain rub more or less of a problem with a triple? Are there any other factors I should consider? It would seem to be a no brainer to get the triple on my next bike (sort of an all around, do everything bike) but I see more doubles than triples.
re: Down side to a triple?Roadrunner25
Dec 21, 2002 1:47 PM
Because of the chain angle, you lose some of the extreme gear ratios on the big ring, which you don't use anyways.

But the middle ring gets more "centered".

Plus some people won't ride with you if you have a triple.

Also, the incidence of chain ring tattoo increases slightly.

PS I use one, saves my knees on some climbs.
re: Down side to a triple?motta
Dec 21, 2002 1:55 PM
There was no downside for Roberto Heras using his Dura Ace triple on the Angliru this year.
re: Down side to a triple?The Human G-Nome
Dec 21, 2002 2:28 PM
1) costs more
2) some people will claim it doesn't shift as smoothly (and they're probably right in the long run) because more parts = more that can go wrong.
3) it's mostly redundant unless you have a very weak engine. even in San Francisco, most people around here have no need for a triple. why not just grab a 13-26 or even a 13-29. if you're the kind of person that would need a triple in the first place, i doubt you'd miss an 11 or 12 very much.

sure, if you're planning on climbing Angliru or you happen to live in the mountains, go buy yourself a triple.
There's a trimming issue, weight, but nice to haveInhighgear
Dec 21, 2002 2:32 PM
I have Dura Ace double on my Litespeed Vortex which is fine where I live for the weekly club rides on flat terrain.

But my travel bike has a triple. Get into some mountain passes where you've never ridden or don't have the legs for and you'll be wishing you had that granny gear many times over
re: Down side to a triple?DougSloan
Dec 21, 2002 2:45 PM
1. The top of the line groups are about 100 grams heavier than a double system with the same gear range.

2. They do no shift as well. With 2 rings, the shifts are pretty much slam to either extreme, with the limit screws determining the range. With a triple, every shift to the middle ring must be conrolled some way other than with a limit screw. This depends upon cable tension, where the limit screws are adjusted, and the location of the chain on the cassette (chain angle). It is much less dependable, requires more trimming, but it still can be made to be reasonable and predicable.

3. It's harder to set up initially.

4. Harder to clean.

Here's what mine looks like; judge the looks for yourself:

Your preference for 42 over 39 trumps my problem w/ triples...PdxMark
Dec 21, 2002 3:45 PM
I can ride the hills/mountains around here pretty well with a 53/39. An occaisional granny gear would be nice, but the triple set-ups I've had were 52/42/30. I found the 42 in a triple caused me more gearing grief during climbs than the 30 was worth.

Rather than using the 30 just as a granny escape gear, I felt that I needed to use the 30 (rather than the 42) on climbs that I could have done contentedly on a 39. As a result, the 42/30 combo made moderate-to-steep climbing an annoying search for the right gear. A 52/39/30 would have solved my problem, but that's apparently not an option in the Campy world where I live. It is in the Shimano world. Since you like a 42 already, you avoid my little problem.

If you go triple, let us know how you like it.
Your preference for 42 over 39 trumps my problem w/ triples...pessot
Dec 22, 2002 6:33 PM
My bike ( bought used ) also came with a 52/42/30 and I also didn't like the 42 for the same
reason. As has been mentioned before, Campy doesn't have a 52/39/30. But,
you can replace the 42 with a 40 ( see Branfordbike.com ). It got me closer to
what I wanted and have been happy.
Is a 52/39/30 practical....TREKY
Dec 21, 2002 6:31 PM
...with 105.I'm currently thinking of having a triple put on for this bike.It will be used for centuries and long rides.
Nobody ever listens, but once more: 46-36-26 w/11-28retro
Dec 21, 2002 7:48 PM
If you can turn a 53-11 or 52-12, then by all means use it. When I look at the gears people actually ride in, though, an awful lot of us, me included, just never get up there. I built my all-purpose, do-everything bike with the gearing in the topic heading, and it's a big improvement. I spend more time in the big ring (doesn't really matter, but I feel like I'm going faster), never run out of gears, and I have a good, usable range.
Same thing applies to a 30-tooth granny. If it's all you need, fine. For me, though, if I'm going to spend the money on a triple, I want a wall-climbing gear.
Nobody ever listens, but once more: 46-36-26 w/11-28bsdc
Dec 22, 2002 9:34 AM
I'm no stud but I can use a 53-11 about as much as I can use a 26-28. The 26-28 can get you up a long steep hill. I can certainly turn a 53-11 going down that same hill.
not muchDaveG
Dec 21, 2002 6:58 PM
I run bikes with both a double and triple (Campy though). Main downsides are weight (~100grams); sneering from elitists, and slightly slower front shifting. None of these should be a big deal to a recreational rider. I personally like the 42t middle ring on the triple. It suits a lot of my riding and avoids many shifts back and forth from the big ring (compared to the 53/39 double). I don't use the granny ring very often, but when I do, I really need it. If you think you will use the lower gearing then by all means go for it.
All our bikes (except the SS's) have triples.MB1
Dec 22, 2002 2:15 PM
I also run a 12-34 cluster on my main ride. I want to know that I can climb anything on any ride no matter how long or steep (or how tired I may be). Come on one of our usual weekend rides and you will see nothing but triples-although you will also see a big variety of cassette sizes.

If you live in a place that has tough climbs a triple makes complete sense unless you are a young racer or just plan to avoid the hills.

In addition to what the other posters have said chainstay length effects how your triple will shift and how many gears you will be able to use in your largest and smallest chainring without rubbing.

True road racing bikes will have very short chainstays and limit your gearing slection. Cross bikes, sport tourers and touring bikes will have longer chainstays and will work a little better with a triple (they will have a bit less chain deflection).

As Roberto Heras showed us though-there is no reason you can't put a triple on a racing bike and use it well.
re: Down side to a triple?dickruthlynn
Dec 22, 2002 5:32 PM
Probably will have to go with a longer RD instead of a normal RD, which makes shifting a little less smooth. FDs are difficult to adjust with a triple also.
re: Down side to a triple?StevieP
Dec 23, 2002 4:11 AM
I have a double on my Colnago & a triple on my Le Mond winter trainer.

I was of the snobby attitude that triples were for wimps. Since using my triple my attitude towards gearing has completely changed. I love using the triple on my Le Mond because I now prefer to spin at a higher cadence rather than mash higher gears.

The Le Mond is only 8 speed but I have a 11-28 cassette which gives me all the gears I need really.

When considering a new grouppo for my Colnago (Chorus) I thought about a triple. However, personally I prefer the look of the double chainset over the triple on top end bikes. It is a personal thing. For that reason I will stick with a double (39/53) but go for a mountain cassette (29T) to give me the low gear I want.

Why not consider a 39T ring with a 29T cassette (this is for Campag only - limited to 27T if you run Shimano)?
I have a double on my Colnago & a triple on my Le Mond winter trainer. I was of the snobby attitude that triples were for wimps. Since using my triple my attitude towards gearing has completely changed. I love using the triple on my Le Mond because I now prefer to spin at a higher cadence rather than mash higher gears. The Le Mond is only 8 speed but I have a 11-28 cassette which gives me all the gears I need really. When considering a new grouppo for my Colnago (Chorus) I thought about a triple. However, personally I prefer the look of the double chainset over the triple on top end bikes. It is a personal thing. For that reason I will stick with a double (39/53) but go for a mountain cassette (29T) to give me the low gear I want. Why not consider a 39T ring with a 29T cassette (this is for Campag only - limited to 27T if you run Shimano)?StevieP
Dec 23, 2002 4:11 AM
approved
Not sure what happened above as I posted correctly. Glitch?(nm)StevieP
Dec 23, 2002 4:14 AM
initial set upcyclopathic
Dec 23, 2002 7:13 AM
it takes more time to set up FD properly w/o chainrub or potential chain drop on middle -> granny shift in largest cog, but once it's done it works as good as doubles. Since you're not fitting triples on existing bike you shouldn't worry about BB, derailleur, chain length.