Are three chainrings a "cop out" on hills?



steve

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Staff member
Aug 12, 2001
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I have deleted several posts, please stay on topic and stop posting abuse.
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
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It all boils down to getting power to the ground. If you can hang with or pull the group you are riding with, who cares about the mechanism used? Someone who would complain that you climbed the hill faster than them because you have a triple to their double is just making excuses.

I do a fair bit of group riding and am currently training for a Tri. Both my road bikes have triples, one is a Sora 8 speed and the other a 105 9 speed. I have them dialed in very nicely and have little issues shifting.

The Sora, do everything, bike's gearing is 52,42,30 in the front and I have both 11-32 and 12-30 cassettes with a Deore rear derailler. So its an 8 speed entry level bike with MTB components. Rear luggage rack, aero bars, reflective tape everywhere and mini maglights attached to the handlebars using hose clamps. No one seems to care about my drivetrain (or the rest of the bike for that matter) when I am pulling.

I rarely use the small chainring on either bike, though its nice to have it there. I can pull wheelies on my sora setup when I am in a 1:1 ratio and it is also good for riding through grass or the really steep hills when your are just too pooped to stand and hammer.
 

davereo

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Jun 17, 2010
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I am riding the same bike with the same setup in New England. Not to sure about the exact % of grade of the roads around here but it is very hilly. Sometimes people tend to try and leg out hills and waste all thier power pumping the cranks. I have found that concentrating on cadence is the best way to tackle the hills. By keeping a steady cadence and timing your shifting you may become a very good hill climber without any upgrading of your bike. If you feel your technique is good and fits your riding style you may need to upgrade. Your shifter will definetly need to be replaced if you go with a triple crank. The extra position you are noticing is not a full position I believe it is only there to fine tune the position of your front derailier to help eliminate chain rub. The most economical upgrades available to you are to replace the cassette in the rear or the chain rings on your existing crank. Just keep in mind that a triple crank with a granny gear or any other upgrades suggested will not get you up a hill faster it will only make it easier to crank this will result in lost forward motion per crank revolution.
 

quenya

New Member
Jan 14, 2010
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During a training ride with two big climbs my group picked up two guys who were training for the same event. As we pull up to the biggest climb of the day, a 6.60 mile 7% with 15% in the last mile, everyone is talking about gear ratios and what set-up to use for the climb. One of my buddies points out I ride a standard crank with an 11-25 cassette and one of the guys is telling me how I can't do that and my cadance will be too low! I nod and say he's right but I'm really comfortable with pushing a big gear relatively slowly. He was going on and on until his buddy finally cut him off, the worst part was I had a chest cold and didn't have the legs to tear up the mountain and ended up 10 mins off my best pace cresting it about 2 minutes ahead of Mr. Knows Whats Best For Me.

IME hills suck, they hurt, and they slow you down. What gear you use might help mitigate these truths.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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davereo said:
The most economical upgrades available to you are to replace the cassette in the rear or the chain rings on your existing crank. Just keep in mind that a triple crank with a granny gear or any other upgrades suggested will not get you up a hill faster it will only make it easier to crank this will result in lost forward motion per crank revolution.

The right gear will get you up a hill faster, and that right gear just might have a smaller gear ratio. Just because a gear is lower--say, one on a granny ring--doesn't mean you'll go slower up a climb. Whether you lose "forward motion per crank" rev is irrelevant because that doesn't factor in cadence, power output, and endurance.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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quenya said:
IME hills suck, they hurt, and they slow you down. What gear you use might help mitigate these truths.

Hills are great! The taller, the better.
 

vspa

Active Member
Jan 11, 2009
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alienator said:
Wow. Riding with your local groups must suck if they're going to pass judgement on what kind of drivetrain you have. What part of adulthood is that?

cycling groups are ok here,
school and college friends not so much,
you know like this classic indiana university movie ???

so i decided to put some kind of respect on my cycling life, thats all
 

pat5319

New Member
Jan 9, 2002
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Triple chainrings have been used in the major tours by champion riders on very steep cimbs, (around 25%?), The only name that comes to mind is Laurant Fignon, but I know there have been many others. I have always and will always keep a triple equipped bike in my stable, even with the advent of "compact" gearing.