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Why is it triples get no respect?(48 posts)

Why is it triples get no respect?7eap4a
Feb 2, 2004 12:39 PM
I don't get it. I live in a hilly area and my knees are beat from skiing. I fought getting a triple, but once I did was really glad. Now my double sits home on most rides, and I'm not stressed about the pain I've come to endure after a good day of climbs. Although now, I have to endure the sideways looks and attitude I get from the "real" riders - who follow me up. So what's the deal?
Shimano has a similar problem. nmdivve
Feb 2, 2004 12:44 PM
If they're following you up...treebound
Feb 2, 2004 12:46 PM
If they're following you, then nothing more needs to be said.

Enjoy the ride.
Look at it this way....Dave Hickey
Feb 2, 2004 12:46 PM
If they are following you up, they have no reason to have an attitude...
Because pros don't have them!Rich_Racer
Feb 2, 2004 12:59 PM
I have a triple and I like that I can spin up a climb at the end of a long ride. I often force myself not to change onto it for a lot of climbs so I can stress my legs more.

The basic reason for the wierd attitide is simply because pros don't use them but they forget two important facts:

1) they/we are not pro cyclists and never will be!
2) pros can have the rings on their double changed every night to suit the ride the next day. For mountain stages they would often use a ring intermediate between the medium and small ring on most triples.
between the medium and small ring...collinsc
Feb 2, 2004 1:08 PM
You mean, like a 39?
between the medium and small ring...al0
Feb 2, 2004 1:17 PM
Rather 30 or which is size of small ring on compact cranks (like Hamilton has used in TdF).
rather nocollinsc
Feb 2, 2004 4:23 PM
30 is the size of the small ring of a triple. 34 is the size of the small ring on the FSA compact cranks.

The smallest you can fit on a conventional double is 38. The original comment was "they would often use a ring intermediate between the medium and small ring on most triples."

My suggestion of the 39 tooth ring was purely a wise-crack on that silly statement.

Additionally, using extreme examples such as Hamilton's injury-inspired cranks, triples on the Angliru or 8 laps up Filmore street are not really relevant.
SF Grand Prixlaffeaux
Feb 2, 2004 1:23 PM
Many of the riders in last year's SF Grand Prix opted to go with a 38 ring up front and a 27/28 large in the rear. If a guy that gets paid to race needs that kind of gearing, many of us easily need a triple, but egos often don't allow it.

I currently do not own a road bike with a triple, but I have in the past. My only complaint (I had the Ultegra) was that the middle ring was a 42. I'd rather have had a double with a bailout ring - 32/39/52 (or similar).
use a TA 39 middleDougSloan
Feb 2, 2004 2:45 PM
I have a Campy Record triple and installed a TA 39 tooth middle. It's even a real middle position ring, with ramps and pins on the inside. You can get one from Peter White Cycles. You can also get one in 130 bolt circle diameter for Shimano.

Ditto; 53/39 rings & 13-29 cogs.The Don
Feb 2, 2004 3:38 PM
At age 40, I just don't see the need for a triple right now, and I live in hilly Marin Co.
strange butcyclopathic
Feb 2, 2004 4:02 PM
I find 42 is the best part of triples. It is much more usable then 39, and 42x25 (or 42x27) give the same gearing as 39x23 (or 39x25). Transition from 52 to 42 is much smoother then 53 to 39.

If I ever go back to doubles, I'll opt for 42. Of cause it is unlikely, as I don't have issues with shifting, and carring aroung 2 extra ounces beats walking any day.
Is [32 x 42 x 53] the norm ?ET_SoCal
Feb 2, 2004 1:14 PM
My 105 is, Ultegra the same?
Is [32 x 42 x 53] the norm ?al0
Feb 2, 2004 1:22 PM
AFAIK Ultegra has 52x42x30.

BTW, a lot of info is available from Shimano Europe site,
common but not the best...C-40
Feb 2, 2004 1:28 PM
The most common is a 53/42/30, but a 53/39/30 provides a much better gearing progression, requiring a uniform 2-cog shift after any chainring shift, and less use of the little ring.

With a triple, the middle ring and largest cog is not very useaable, like it would be with a double. Using a 42 middle cog makes the lowest available gear ratio in the middle ring higher still. Makes no sense to me.

I use 53/39/30 on both of my bikes.
What make, and grope, is your 53/39/30GeoCyclist
Feb 2, 2004 2:13 PM
I tried to find a 39 for my Ultegra triple last summer and was told that Shimano doesn't make a 39 for Ultegra. My tandem came with a 53/42/30, and I'd really like to change that 42 for a 39.

Appreciate any info you have!
Feb 2, 2004 3:22 PM
I have an FSA Team Issue Carbon crank and an FSA Energy triple, both with FSA Platinum Pro Ti bottom brackets. These are use with Campy 10-speed drivetrains.

You can get a 39T Shimano chainring that will fit, but it won't be ramped and pinned to shift properly.

An FSA middle ring should work, but be sure to specify the middle ring for a triple.

Try If they can't figure out the right part number, contact FSA directly at 1-877 RIDE FSA.
What make, and grope, is your 53/39/30Drone 5200
Feb 2, 2004 4:08 PM
I'm told that the TA Alize for middle (130 mm bolt patern) on this site can be used to replace the 42 on an Ultegra triple. I've been meaning to try it, but haven't go around to do it yet. Try it and post a report!
For good info on a triple middle ring for ShimanoLone Gunman
Feb 2, 2004 4:08 PM
Go to His explanation of the Ultegra vs DA triple groups gives you the reason there is not a 39t middle ring for Ultegra made by Shimano. By the way, if you want that 39t middle ring, get the TA from White, it works very well. Have mine connected to a Ultegra crank with a DA FD.
If you need it then fine, BUTColnagoFE
Feb 2, 2004 2:13 PM
If you can get up the hills OK without that range of gears then a double shifts better and quicker than the triple. Lighter as well.
Everyone here is so polite, but you are kidding yourseves...myette10
Feb 2, 2004 3:04 PM
So I'll play the other side. I'd dish out some attitude to you and your triple if you spin past me on some hill as I struggle in my double. If you need it for your knees that is fine, but know your place: don't challenge me at the town line later on if I'm fried because I couldn't rest on my granny gear earlier on.

It is like a guy wearing a half shield or full mask in hockey and then roughing it up. Well, not quite like that, as there are physical consequences for such actions. Tie Domi tried it this weekend and quickly realized there he was wearing a bullseye.
Learn how to spell you dope nmthegarzacomplex
Feb 3, 2004 12:28 PM
Are you a girly man????TWD
Feb 2, 2004 3:51 PM
The simple answer is that guys like to act macho, and having a tougher gear implies that you are a tougher rider.

Of course, I find it rather funny that the macho idiots that brag about how fast their cadence is on the flats, and preach to everyone else about how fast their cadence should be, tend to be the same guys that also tell you that you need to run a double and a 12-21 cassette. Then, you see them on the next climb pushing their 21 at a cadence of about 30.

I say run what makes sense and works best for you. If you can't maintain your most efficient cadence, then you need an easier gear.

For the record, I run a triple on my cross bike which I also use off-road and pulling my kids in a trailer on some really steep climbs. On my road bike I run a double, since there aren't that many climbs that I do on a regular basis where I would need to use a triple.

And yes guys don't like it when you blow past them at a much higher cadence and an easier gear.

Having a big gear is only macho if you're strong enough to push that gear at a decent cadence.
Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto...lyleseven
Feb 2, 2004 4:27 PM
I make no excuses for having a triple because I ride where there are lots of hills. Cadence is king...not macho attitude with a double. When i go by some guy on a hill with my triple and he is sweating bricks on a double with a much lower cadence I have to laugh. On the flats, my triple doesn't hold me back from keeping up with any double, either.
Oh, please!Uncle Tim
Feb 2, 2004 8:03 PM
If you drop into the granny on the big climbs, you are dropped!!!

If riders spin past you on the big hill in their little granny ring, then you need a triple, too.

Sorry... do the mathlyleseven
Feb 2, 2004 8:39 PM
You miss the point that having to crank hard and slow up a hill with a double is not as energy efficient as using a triple. Cadence is everything (just about!). I don't need the triple to get up the hill, but it sure saves energy and produces efficiency in climbing with higher cadence. Exact reason Lance uses higher cadence to climb than Ulrich and otherseven with a double. Ask any good trainer and they will confirm this.
re: Oh, please!cyclopathic
Feb 3, 2004 4:49 AM
it depends on the climb. Agree, on shorter climb standing up and pushing higher gear is less efficient but allows to produce higher output and go faster then dropping to granny. If you have to do 15% avg for 1-3mi, there aren't many people who can endure it on doubles or will they be any faster then on triples.
Modern Doubles are for whimpsbimini
Feb 3, 2004 6:41 AM
In the early seventies we had 52/42 fronts and corncob rears with 12-17s.

Of course I was a lot younger and lighter then and could power up any hill with my tennis shoes strapped into my rat trap pedals.

Today, I'm glad I got the 53/39 and a 12/23 or 13/25 in the rolling hills of the midwest. Now my cadence is about 20 rev/minute better than it was way back then and my speeds are about equal. (not bad for an old fart)

As far as triple. I don't need them in the Midwest. We have steep hills but they don't last for long.

I used a triple to climb Haleakala a month ago. I would have never made it on a double. Triples have a place but I don't need one here and now, maybe when I'm living in an old folks home I'll break down and buy one. Maybe I can get a Trek 5900 with a triple, an IV bag holder. It will need to be white and I can ride it in the left hand lane doing 10 MPH holding up traffic like the old folks in their white Towncars in Florida
re: Why is it triples get no respect?Wiaruz
Feb 2, 2004 3:54 PM
I personally don't like the look of the long arm rear mech that you have to use with a triple. I have the FSA carbon cranks with a 48/34 double and a 13-26 cassette. 48x13 is a big enough gear for me. I honestly do not believe that non pros need gears like 52/53x 11 and 12. It is just ridiculous. This also maybe why you have knee trouble too.
re: Why is it triples get no respect?The Human G-Nome
Feb 2, 2004 5:09 PM
I honestly do not believe that non pros need gears like 52/53x 11 and 12. It is just ridiculous. >>>>>

You must not be racing hilly courses with long, fast descents.
re: Why is it triples get no respect?asgelle
Feb 2, 2004 5:12 PM
Wiaruz wrote, "I honestly do not believe that non pros need gears like 52/53x 11 and 12,"

Really, well what do you use to chase back on to the pack down the Sapillo after getting gapped on the climb out of Pino Altos, or claw your way back to the pack after Gates Pass for that matter. I mean there are days we average 35mph coming back through the Canyon on the Reaper, could you close gaps or chase the break in you 48x13? Who are you to tell me my gear choice is ridiculous.
re: Why is it triples get no respect?Wiaruz
Feb 3, 2004 4:45 AM
Well, actually I wasn't telling you to do anything. Just giving my opinion. In response to your queries regarding racing through the area you quote, I confess they are unknown to me, but I do know the Alpine roads well and a 100 inch gear suits me fine. Turning that at 100 revs will easliy get you to 35 mph. Also, I would quote a recently retired British pro Chris Boardman who stated (and I paraphrase)that he very rarely needed to use an 11 cog and only used a 12 in end of stage dashes with Cipo's team leading the dash. I would also refer you to the great riders of the past like Anquetil, Coppi and Merckx who seemed to go pretty fast. I think in their days a 13 cog was about the smallest available.
re: Why is it triples get no respect?asgelle
Feb 3, 2004 7:36 AM
Wiaruz wrote,
> I confess they are unknown to me, but I do know the
> Alpine roads well and a 100 inch gear suits me fine."

Well that's great. I'm happy for you and if you left it there you never would have heard from me. But you didn't leave well enough alone, but said,
> I honestly do not believe that non pros need gears like
> 52/53x 11 and 12.It is just ridiculous."

I pointed out just a few examples where one must pedal at speeds in excess of 40 mph just to not get dropped in Cat 4 races. You admit you're not familiar with these, but apparently your lack of knowledge doesn't stop you from pontificating about what is ridiculous for the rest of us.

People ride differently to suit their interests, let each choose what is appropriate for their needs. Don't generalize from your limited experience to the needs of others.

> Chris Boardman who stated (and I paraphrase)that he very
> rarely needed to use an 11 cog and only used a 12 in end
> of stage dashes with Cipo's team leading the dash."

And Frankie Andreu said that he spent a lot of time in his 11 on flat tour stages.

> I would also refer you to the great riders of the past
> like Anquetil, Coppi and Merckx who seemed to go pretty
> fast. I think in their days a 13 cog was about the
> smallest available."

Great insight, maybe you should let Petacchi know he should only use a 13. What this really says to me, is that a pro rider will use the smallest cog available at the time.
re: Why is it triples get no respect?Wiaruz
Feb 3, 2004 4:56 PM
I guess I shouldn't have used he word "ridiculous" That seems to have gotten your knickers in a twist. My apologies. What may seem ridiculous to me may seem perfectly sane to you. But please indulge me..
Most experienced coaches would advise you to use the smallest gear you can get away with as "twiddling" conserves energy and promotes suppleness. Of course, long descents and flat racing (as you point out with Andreu... and he was a pro)dictate bigger gears. My point is merely that a 100 inch gear can be twiddled at 35 mph with much less use of energy and less pressure on knees. Try it.Using big gears, especially by younger riders, can lead to tendonitus and other knee problems. Your comment about what Pettachi uses confirms my point. He's a pro.My original comment was that (IMO) amateur/pleasure riders really don't need to. My Chris Boardman quote was in the vain of "even he never used them much".I really don't know if Merckx et al would have used an 11 were it available. Maybe so,he was a powerful rider. But whenever asked which of the newer devices he wished had been available in his day, he always points to improvements to pedals (clip-in) and gear changing, never smaller cogs. I'll ask him next time I see him :-)Take it easy.
re: Why is it triples get no respect?asgelle
Feb 3, 2004 8:51 PM
"I guess I shouldn't have used he word "ridiculous" That seems to have gotten your knickers in a twist. My apologies. What may seem ridiculous to me may seem perfectly sane to you."

That is my only point. Let everyone choose what works best for him. Know the minimum cadence you want to pedal and the minimum speed you're likely to see and you have your low gear. Know the maximum speed you'll need to pedal and your maximum cadence and there's your high gear. Now for that range, decide how close you want your gear spacing and you can decide if you need a double or a triple. It's not that hard.

I've never said what gearing I use. There's no reason why what works for me should work for anyone else. My telling someone what gears to use is like telling them they should ride a certain size frame because that's the size that fits me.
why triples get no respectmohair_chair
Feb 2, 2004 5:19 PM
The reason triples don't get respect is because many people who have them mouth off about how great they are, and how they can't understand why everyone doesn't have one. Some have the gall to boast about what great climbers they are and all the nasty climbs they do.

The people with doubles usually just roll their eyes.

If you need a triple, great. If you want a triple, great. Just shut up about it. It's not supposed to be about the bike.
why triples get no respectfraser
Feb 2, 2004 6:44 PM
nail on the head. thanks. Guys with a bit of "three ring circus" action are always looking for approval ....let your riding do the talking. guys with doubles are happy to accuse you of "cheating" after being flogged on a hill by a hummingbird. vive la differance.
Orthopedic surgeons love doubles!!!lyleseven
Feb 2, 2004 9:53 PM
I have a good knee doctor that just loves all you doubles out there- they put his kids through college! Keep burning them up on the hills...It's all about cadence, not testosterone!
Who needs a triple with a 39x27/28 or 29? nmDutchy
Feb 2, 2004 10:16 PM
flatlander? nmcyclopathic
Feb 3, 2004 4:51 AM
Feb 3, 2004 5:38 AM
I went from a Sora equipped triple (30x42x52, 12-26 rear) to a Dura-Ace equipped double (39x52, 12-27 rear (scared of not having the triple, despite not using it for months prior to the upgrade)). If we assume a 700 mm (27.56 inch) wheel, we get:


The 30x21 was the third lowest on the Sora for me. Since, for the most part, I didn't use lower than that, the move to the 39x27 was, physically, awash. For the first few rides, physiologically, a bit disconcerting ("how will I make it up the hill???"). However, at that point, I had enough miles in my legs (and the bike was 4-5 pounds lighter), that I got over it.

How about the weight? Taking Shimano 105 (stats I got from Nashbar (easy hit)), the double is 628 grams; the double, 738 grams. That's about a quarter pound (1% of an 18 pound bike). Also, there is a $10 price difference. Likewise, the derailers are larger and heavier (a few grams, but its there (enough to make different freewheel sizes awash)).

What's my point? Unless you need something particularly low, you can achieve the same gearing on a double as on a triple, and also achieve a modest weight savings. I'm not going to argue that 100 grams is that huge a difference (I'll let the individuals decide), but it is something too consider.
Now that I know that a 53/39/30 is possible....BrianU
Feb 3, 2004 9:36 AM
why would I want to run a 39/27? If I ran a 39/27, I would basically turn my bike into 7 speed, just so I could have something for the really steep stuff. With the 53/39/30 setup I could run a 12/23, I might even try a 12/21, and have 9 gears that I would use all the time. When I did need something for some serious climbing, there would be that 30. I am not skinny enough to be concerned about the additional weight of that small ring. As far as shifting concerns, my favorate singletrack has me constantly jumping between my middle and large ring on my mtb and does not give me any problems. Unlike the 39/53, I do not see myself constantly transitioning between the 30 and the other two gears so I not overly concerned about that. Yeah, I think the next bike will be a triple. As far as the looks from other riders, it will be like when I first showed up with a camelback and I got used to that.

Does a double really shift better?BrianU
Feb 2, 2004 11:49 PM
I have never ridden a roadbike with a triple, but my favorate singletrack has me jumping back and forth between my middle and large ring on my mtb without a hitch. Also, just how much more weight does that extra ring add to the bike? I suppose that maybe the BB might weigh just a tad more as well.
I think where the triple gets its bad name is that, unlike you, the majority of the people riding a triple are not the ones leading everyone up the hills.
I did the RAGBRAI in 2001, lots of hills and a nice constant headwind for 6 of the 7 days. A young lady in our group did not train as much as she should have and was going pretty slow. I stayed behind to keep her company and encourage her not to sag. You know, with 10,000 or so people, I never realized how often certain groups/types/capable riders tended to see each other on a regular basis throughout the week. Well anyway, when your still 40 miles out from the last town of the day and it is 2 or 3 o'clock, you saw alot of people on bents and triples that were not in a hurry. Most people that I had never seen all week, except maybe walking around later in the evenings at the festivities. Something I will never forget is the sound of hundreds of bikes throwing that chain onto small chainring at the bottom of every hill. CLICK, CLANG, CLICK CLANG, CLICK CLANG.....And I did not think so many people could go so slow up a hill without falling over.

If you need a triple for Ragbrai you are in bad shape (nm)ColnagoFE
Feb 3, 2004 7:48 AM
Who cares? Jeez!Elefantino
Feb 3, 2004 3:59 AM
Same deal if you wear a "team kit."

Or if you ride a "Lance bike."

If it works for you, ride it/wear it/own it.

We are not a sport about "respect." We are a sport about making circles.

"Real" riders wouldn't give you sideways looks and attitudes, anyway. They'd ask you about your triple and conclude with "nice bike."

Boy, am I grumpy after a night of sleeplessness. I'm going to hop on the trainer and work this out on my De Bernardi, which I currently built with a Campy triple.

If you are short triples can be a painandy02
Feb 3, 2004 5:35 AM
My wife had a triple on her 43 cm 2200 and it was a pain to get to shift well. I guess the 650 tires and short chain stays don't allow much chain play. After time I got the shifting to work but then she went every where in her big ring! So now on her P1 she has duraace double.

Short + 650C = nonfunctional triple that isn't needed
I second thatColnagoFE
Feb 3, 2004 10:51 AM
after trying to get wife's tiagra FD adjusted (cannondale r500 43cm 650 wheels) to eliminate the nasty chain rub she was getting. it's a compromise at best.
So if you lead it's cool, if not...7eap4a
Feb 3, 2004 6:44 AM
you're a skirt? What's a better scene: middle of the pack on a double, or in front with a triple? All said & done, riding trumps walking eh?