Double vs Triple Crankset



Kocsis

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Nov 6, 2005
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Just ordered bike and had second thoughts on Campy crankset. I ordered the double group and now wonder whether triple crankset is more practical. I do most of my riding on relatively flat terrain, but of course occassionally go up hills (no mountains or very steep hills). I got the 39/53 crankset and 13-26 cassette, which I thought was just fine, but some of my cycling friends suggest the triple group because it gives me more flexibility. On my mtb I do use (actually use) the triple crankset (though the smallest gear quite rarely) and my rationaly for the double set was that the road bike is much lighter and more efficient and hence easier to pedal. What's your feedback? Thanks.
 

artmichalek

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Sep 15, 2004
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If you aren't going up any particularly steep or long climbs, then the double should be alright. If after a few months you're still missing a bit of low end, you can switch to a 13-29 cassette.
 

af2nr

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Aug 5, 2004
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I was actually in your position a few months back when I got my second bike. I felt as though I didn't use my triple enough to need it on this bike. To this point I have been fine on my double but am looking at doing some climbing centuries this year and don't have the areas to really train in. Now I am afraid I may have been better off going with the triple, just in case. Now I am looking at getting a compact double to fill any gaps there may be.
 

achtervolger

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Dec 31, 2005
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The thing I personally like less about triples is not the weight at all, but the simple amount of futzing around with shifting that I did. The sweet spot always seems to be between the chainrings for me, and that resulted in a lot of double-shifting (front and back at the same time). The small one tended to be too small and the middle one tended to be a bit big. When I had a triple, I almost never used the smallest gears which are now unavailable to me on my double with a 27 on the back. I do a lot less double-shifting now, not that it's a big deal. For me a double is just a lot cleaner and smoother riding experience and I just like it better.

However, at the end of the day, either is fine, and I'm just talking pure personal preference. I rode a triple for years and it was fine. If you're not doing a lot of steep hills, I would say avoid the triple, but only you know what gears you need, and if a triple makes more sense, you should use one.
 

moto

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Aug 12, 2005
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I have a related question. I personally ride a double with 39x26, but I am setting up a triple for my Mom. Do I need different shifter/derailluer for the triple or did they do something brilliant like allow you to just set the limit screws and leave three indices in the shifter? The shifter and derailluer are 04 Dura Ace.

Thanks!
 

badkarma

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Aug 22, 2005
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My old bike was a triple, and then I was torn as to whether or not I wanted a double for my new bike. I was a little unsure b/c there are some pretty steep climbs around here, so I ended up opting for a compact double and it's been just fine for me. If the majority of the terrain around you is not very hilly, then a regular double should be just fine.

Now that I've ridden a double, I much prefer it over a triple b/c I find it easier just having to deal with 2 chainrings rather than 3.
 

John M

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Jun 21, 2005
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moto said:
I have a related question. I personally ride a double with 39x26, but I am setting up a triple for my Mom. Do I need different shifter/derailluer for the triple or did they do something brilliant like allow you to just set the limit screws and leave three indices in the shifter? The shifter and derailluer are 04 Dura Ace.

Thanks!

Unlike Campagnolo, Shimano did not make a single front shifter that could work for double and triple. Unless you already have it, you will need a triple compatible left shifter, long cage rear derailleur, and triple compatible front derailleur (has a longer cage). You can get by with the short cage rear derailleur if you shorten the chain and don't plan on using the big chainring with the larger cassette cogs. The main purpose of the long cage RD is to handle the longer chain that is required to wrap the large chainring and large cassette, but that would be come too slack when on the small chainring and smaller cogs if the RD cage is too short.

The triple shifter will work with double chainring set-up though.
 

Kocsis

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Nov 6, 2005
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Achtervolger, I agree that the biggest problem with a triple is its greater fussiness. I have a triple on my mtnbike, and while it's not a huge deal I always found it more problematic than the double on my old road bike. Sometimes the chain rubs because I use the wrong combo (largest gear on crank, smallest or next smallest on the cassette or the other way around), and I often have to make minor adjustments to the derailleur to make it work smoothly.
 

achtervolger

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Dec 31, 2005
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Kocsis said:
Achtervolger, I agree that the biggest problem with a triple is its greater fussiness. I have a triple on my mtnbike, and while it's not a huge deal I always found it more problematic than the double on my old road bike. Sometimes the chain rubs because I use the wrong combo (largest gear on crank, smallest or next smallest on the cassette or the other way around), and I often have to make minor adjustments to the derailleur to make it work smoothly.
Exactly--agreed. Even with top components, the large vs. small gear chain stretch effect you indicate is often in play.
 

whrslshr

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Dec 29, 2005
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Kocsis said:
Just ordered bike and had second thoughts on Campy crankset. I ordered the double group and now wonder whether triple crankset is more practical. I do most of my riding on relatively flat terrain, but of course occassionally go up hills (no mountains or very steep hills). I got the 39/53 crankset and 13-26 cassette, which I thought was just fine, but some of my cycling friends suggest the triple group because it gives me more flexibility. On my mtb I do use (actually use) the triple crankset (though the smallest gear quite rarely) and my rationaly for the double set was that the road bike is much lighter and more efficient and hence easier to pedal. What's your feedback? Thanks.
I have a triple even though I live in Houston. I do use the small chainring with every stop. As I leave my neighborhood there are many stop signs and reasons to stop. So I drop down to the small chain ring and my 25tooth rear cog...this gives me increased controll over my bike as I start from a complete stop (which really helps in traffic) and spares my legs a little. I am doing the MS150 in April which only comes once a year but I really really love my triple that one time a year! As far as triples being more touble than they are worth...if your bike is setup properly then it functions perfectly without worry.

Enjoy

John
 

Aramis7

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Oct 11, 2005
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Kocsis said:
Just ordered bike and had second thoughts on Campy crankset. I ordered the double group and now wonder whether triple crankset is more practical. I do most of my riding on relatively flat terrain, but of course occassionally go up hills (no mountains or very steep hills). I got the 39/53 crankset and 13-26 cassette, which I thought was just fine, but some of my cycling friends suggest the triple group because it gives me more flexibility. On my mtb I do use (actually use) the triple crankset (though the smallest gear quite rarely) and my rationaly for the double set was that the road bike is much lighter and more efficient and hence easier to pedal. What's your feedback? Thanks.
A compact setup with 50/34 and 12-25 casette will give you a wider range and a closer ratio. With that setup, it's unlikely that you'll need a triple.

cheers
 

artmichalek

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Sep 15, 2004
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achtervolger said:
The thing I personally like less about triples is not the weight at all, but the simple amount of futzing around with shifting that I did. The sweet spot always seems to be between the chainrings for me, and that resulted in a lot of double-shifting (front and back at the same time).
This is a very good point, and it goes both ways. I use a tripple with a 12-23 because 42x16 is a good ratio for me on the flats. It gives a straight chain line and sits in the middle of of the cassette, so I don't have to shift rings unless things get particularly steep. The downside is that I end up all over the place in a fast paceline because the cassette is too tight to provide much of a range from the big ring (which sits farther out on a tripple than on a double).
 

wiredued

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Aug 17, 2004
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I have a triple because of the hills where I live but if I did get a double it would be a compact 50/34.