Should i go for a triple chainring

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by jo evans, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. jo evans

    jo evans New Member

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    Hi all, I am about to purchase my first road bike and I am in a dilemma whether to go for a triple or not. I am 44 years old and just starting out road cycling, am currently a little overweight and not the fittest. I am training for a 45 mile cycle ride with some pretty big hills and a friend of mine advised me to go for a triple, on reading reviews there is a very mixed opinion some of which are based around the fact that its not cool to ride a triple. I believe that the triple would help me out on the big hills, and to be honest looking cool is not top of my agenda but getting up those hills is. Can anyone tell me if there is a big difference or not. Many Thanks
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a bike, now?

    If so, does it have a Triple crankset?

    If so, how do you like its shifters?

    If so, what type of bike do you have?​

    While there is a benefit to a "Road" bike which has DROP handlebars, they aren't for everyone.


     
  3. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    The actual, real-life "punishment" from dragging around a triple if you end up not using the smallest ring is very, very minor.
    The possible result of not having low enough gears to manage your climbs can be anything from getting off and walking to a ride-ending overexertion.
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Prior to the adoption of the compact chainring setup (34-50 teeth) and the wide range cassette cluster (32 teeth or more for a low gear) used with a medium or long cage rear derailleur the triple was THE means to get over long, steep, hard, whatever climbs.

    Today...not so much.

    We don't know your terrain or your ability to get yourself into shape. Your friend and his advice probably outweigh ours if he is an experienced cyclist.

    I suggest you see a couple local bike shops and discuss your needs, in person. Triples are considered more of a tourist's gear now and used for loaded touring bikes and tandems over difficult terrain. They also find their way into gran fondo use and general road cycling.

    They may not be considered cool and complicate shifting a bit...sometimes, but if they are needed there is no disgrace in using them. My advice would be to actually try out some test rides on a double chainring bike with compact gearing. 'If' you can live with the ratios for a quick 10-20 mile test ride up some steep and/or long climbs you can probably train yourself into decent enough condition to tackle a 45-mile ride on them.
     
  5. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    Mechanically, it just seems easier to run a double. I had a triple and have had several doubles since and can honestly say I'll never have another triple. Just my two cents.
     
  6. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Member

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    Listen to Campybob - get a compact.
     
  7. hillbasher

    hillbasher New Member

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    Yes, do listen to CampyBob. He says
    "Your friend and his advice probably outweigh ours if he is an experienced cyclist." If your friend knows what they are talking about, go with their advice. They know you better than anyone here, your rides, the shape you are in and likely to stay in, how much climbing you do. Things of that nature. That being said, where you do the majority of your riding will make a huge difference. If it is mostly flat or mainly level with not much climbing, Compacts are a good choice. If you live where there are hills, Triples can save ones knees and make life more enjoyable in the saddle. I have 3 road bikes, 2 triples and a compact I made myself. Talk with your friend and then some local bike shops, but don't let them make a quick sale on you. Do your homework before you buy anything.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW ...

    Precise shifting across a Triple crankset can be(come) a problem with Shimano shifters ...

    More so AFTER a few thousand miles and if-or-when the bike shop's mechanic installs the wrong non-Shimano chain ...

    While there are many very good chains which you will encounter (and, the kids in the bike shops seem to love SRAM chains) Shimano chains are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for Shimano STI shifters.
    FYI. The CYCLING GODS have provided a gift-of-compatibility whereby Shimano Road shifters can almost always be replaced with little or no effort with a pair of Campagnolo shifters ...

    While Shimano shifters are great for Flatlanders, Campagnolo shifters only have a problem shifting in arduous conditions if they are not set up properly ...


     
  9. maanderx

    maanderx Member

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    Get a triple, it'll help. It'a not as if your mates and other riders are going to inspect your bike before,
    after and during rides.
     
  10. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    THIS!

    However it can be costly to convert, you need a new crankset which are expensive, new briftor might be in order and those are expensive, a new front derailleur which aren't real expensive, and chain which are cheap, plus labor unless you do it.

    There might be a more workable, read that as affordable option that should work, and that is putting a new and the smallest inside chainring that will work with the current front derailleur. Then change the rear sprocket to get the largest (max teeth) that the current rear derailleur will handle. Then all you're paying for is chainring gear which aren't expensive, new gear cluster also not expensive, and maybe a chain which is cheap. A visit to a LBS is in order to see how doing that stuff will help and cost.
     
  11. wood_dweller

    wood_dweller New Member

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    Two chainrings is enough when paired with 10 speed cassette. The problem is that in my opinion chainrings in road most cranks are too big. When I am riding on my bike with triple crankset 52/42/28 I am using mostly middle chainring and sometimes smallest. 52t is nearly useless for me.

    If you will find crankset which will provide proper gear ratio than you will be fine with double, triple is just a safe way.
     
  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Not disagreeing with you or anyone else recommending a triple, what I am saying is that if the OP has a limited budget a triple crankset and a triple front derailleur with the appropriate briftor is not cheap, and by replacing the rear cluster with one that has different gear ratio with a larger number one gear, and replace the inside chain ring with a smaller one the OP could save a lot of money and find themselves happy with the results.

    The OP can post the year make and model of the rear and front derailleur, and how many gears are in the rear cluster and we can tell him what gear ranges those will handle, or they can just take the bike into their LBS and they can figure it out fast and easy.

    If the OP has a road bike he should be able to get a 50/33 (the 33 is a bit difficult to find but an LBS should have a lead on them, 34's are easier to find, depending on the rear derailleur cage length a short one will shift a 34 but not a 33, medium cage would be fine) chainring gear setup with a 11-28 cassette.

    Also for a lot less money than a new crankset and all the other stuff is to simply go with a mountain gearing cassette and a new mountain derailleur for the rear and leave the front chainring as it is now.
     
  13. wood_dweller

    wood_dweller New Member

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    Cheap option is to convert from 50/34 to 46/34, this paired with 11-32 cassette should be fine. I also think that the best way is to use cadence calculator and compare possibilities. My opinion can be distorted as I get used to ride with very high cadence.
     
  14. CyclingJunkies

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    Cool won't help you much if you're struggling to get up a hill, so if you're really unfit and overweight, and don't have time to put in much training before the ride - go with the triple; the extra gear length will help you.

    If you've got time to do some training beforehand, get a compact and then go an ride up as many hills as you can before the ride.

    Ultimately, there's no shame in getting off and walking if it gets too much for you ... you're unlikely to be the only one. ;)
     
  15. ambal

    ambal Active Member

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    You'd be mad to get a triple on a road bike. I tell most people they need to get fitter, lose weight or get faster instead of resorting to a damn triple.
     
  16. maander`

    maander` New Member

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    Nothing wrong with using a triple. I have triples on my bikes (with different front chainring combinations). It's not a fashion show; it's about being about to ride the routes/gradients of your choosing.
     
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  17. dhk2

    dhk2 Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree. I've got a triple on my older bike, a compact on the new one. The compact low gear of 34/32 is actually a bit lower ratio than the triple gearing 30/27. I need to climb a 14% gradient to get home everyday, so yes, I'll take a low gear please. After all, there is no real penalty for carrying a low gear we rarely need.

    Plus, it's lots of fun to pass younger, faster riders struggling or walking on steep climbs.
     
  18. maander`

    maander` New Member

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    Yes indeed. And the 'weight' penalty that many people mention as a downside..... well. To be honest, I doubt if those
    individuals can really tell the difference? More likely they're swallowing everything they've been told by the fashion
    conscious cyclist (whose opinions in many instances can be safely ignored).
     
  19. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    this is not entirely correct though there is some correctness to it. If a person has knee issues or some other issue a triple may be beneficial. If you have a lot mountain roads to climb and you're a bit less physical than other people and or have physical issues than a triple is beneficial.
     
  20. CyclingJunkies

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    Also, some people are naturally spinners and others are naturally grinders; spinners' faster cadence often benefits from a wider gear length. ;)
     
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