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Crankset options...

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Crankset options...

Old 03-03-19, 05:08 PM
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67tony
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Crankset options...

If a guy was experimenting with Flight Deck brifters, and putting a Shimano 105 5500 9-speed group set together, for a yet to be determined early 90's steel frame set...would he choose a triple, or a 53/39 double?

If choosing the double, what would be a good cassette range?
How about if choosing the triple?

This guy is 65 years old, rides some hills but no major hills, and would never be loaded.
Well...never loaded with gear, anyway.

Any pros and cons opinions are appreciated!

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Old 03-03-19, 06:37 PM
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I'm 65, in excellent shape, ride hills and think that riding a 53-39 is dumb for this application. That chainring setup was designed for one thing...racing, by young people. (although it can be useful for flatlanders too). I've converted my vintage cranksets to triples. Unless you switch to a "mountain" RD, you'll be stuck with a max rear cog of about 30T = 36" low gear. That is not a good hillclimbing gear for someone whose racing years are far behind them. I would advise a 30" gear or lower. Experiment with a gear calculator like this one: Bicycle Gear Calculator. I stuck with 52-42 through my late 50s, which was a mistake waiting so long.
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Old 03-03-19, 06:58 PM
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5503 triple, obviously.
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Old 03-03-19, 07:04 PM
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If you search previous posts you should be able to find numerous suggestions, opinions, and ideas re: this question. Bottom line - to each his own depending upon individual strength, style, cadence, local topography, etc.

But - personally I don't have much use for anything bigger than a 39T chain ring - and I prefer a sub 1:1 lowest gear ratio. I like MTB doubles on road bikes with a decent-range cassette (11 or 12 to 32 or 34). This allows me to pedal at a realistic cadence up to around 22mph and it provides lots of low gears for hill climbing. A MTB double with a 39 or 40T large ring will usually have a 26 or 28T small ring. I prefer double cranks to triples because the shifting seems a little bit cleaner to me.

However, I just installed a new Deore 42/32/22 triple on a (fairly heavy) gravel/adventure bike - and I did this because I got the crank and BB brand new for $60 and the existing brifters/front der. can handle it. So I'll give it a try.

53/39 sounds kind of tall. And if you really don't know what you want, then get an affordable set-up to experiment with - lots of decent used equipment on ebay and Craigslist. Once you figure out your preference maybe then you spring for a shiny new set-up.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell you what will/won't work with Flight Deck brifters.
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Old 03-03-19, 08:19 PM
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I see quite a few 5500 doubles in the 53/39 configuration, that's why I referenced it.
I like the idea of a double being cleaner, but I also have to agree that 53/39 is too big for my riding style. The rear derailleur will be long cage, so it should be compatible with a triple setup.

Last edited by 67tony; 03-03-19 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 03-03-19, 08:26 PM
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I'm 64. I ride an '84 Peugeot I bought new. Some where around 25 years ago I put a 52-42-32 triple on the front. Rear is 13-28. I was having trouble on climbs. The front triple is now 50-42-26, same rear gearing. With the 26-28 combo, climbing is no longer an issue.I spin like Hell to go 7 mph but it works for ME.
Just my $.02 worth.
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Old 03-03-19, 10:37 PM
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The OP basically answered his own question in his post. The main advantage the triple has is that you get to keep the high gearing of the standard double. All you are doing is adding a 3rd ring for climbing gears. Or options. You like that 53/39 except for hills? Then keep it and put a 30 on the bottom. There you go. Or go to a classic 52/42/30 road triple. Geared on the high side, but still got the granny for bailouts. You can keep the same gears in the back, or even get a tighter cluster. Best of both worlds.
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Old 03-03-19, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
The OP basically answered his own question in his post. The main advantage the triple has is that you get to keep the high gearing of the standard double. All you are doing is adding a 3rd ring for climbing gears. Or options. You like that 53/39 except for hills? Then keep it and put a 30 on the bottom. There you go. Or go to a classic 52/42/30 road triple. Geared on the high side, but still got the granny for bailouts. You can keep the same gears in the back, or even get a tighter cluster. Best of both worlds.
And with a 130/74 triple, there's always the option of 48/38/28 or something like that, too. I think it's a really under-appreciated set of BCDs.
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Old 03-04-19, 06:01 AM
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I always liked the 50, 39 & 30 Shimano 105 and Tiagra triples. I would replace the 30 for a 26 and add a dog tooth chain guide to eliminate the risk of a dropped chain. The 39 could be used on most flat roads and the 50 was useful while going downhill. The 26 when used with a 12-27 cassette could climb any hill.

Campagnolo fans could use a 53, 42 & 30 crankset with a 13-29 ten speed cassette and achieve similar results.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 03-04-19 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 03-04-19, 08:25 AM
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I setup my Zunow with 5500 9 speed and use a 48x45 chainset and a 12-36 rear.
This gives 34 to 109 Gear inches. I am using a 5500GS RD and Dura-Ace DT shifters. OBy the way, I am 62yo.
If I needed lower GIs, I could swap out the 48 with the 45 and put on a 42.
I also have the following that matches the 5500 group; brifters for 3x9, Barcons for 3x9 or 2x9, a triple crankset(with 53x42x30 chainrings), bottom bracket for a triple, and the triple FD.
I settled on the half step with the 48x45 for ease of use.


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Old 03-04-19, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 67tony View Post
This guy is 65 years old, rides some hills but no major hills, and would never be loaded.
You haven't said how fit he is, and different people might have different understanding of "major" in major hills.

I have a bike with 43+27 chainwheels and 11-to-32 cassette. It gets me up slopes of 18% --and, far more importantly, long slopes of 10% -- and I can go about as fast as I want when going some distance in a straight line slightly downhill. Occasionally I wish that my top gear were higher, but only occasionally. (More often I'm happy to freewheel.) This double is a bit less finicky than the triple I have on another bike.

But of course I am not your acquaintance.
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Old 03-04-19, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
I know this has been asked and answered before... can someone tell me where this gear development calculator can be found on the innerwebs please? i found it once, but never again. i like it better than the sheldon brown calculator
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Old 03-04-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 67tony View Post
I see quite a few 5500 doubles in the 53/39 configuration, that's why I referenced it.
I like the idea of a double being cleaner, but I also have to agree that 53/39 is too big for my riding style. The rear derailleur will be long cage, so it should be compatible with a triple setup.
I'm 60, fat, dumb as soap, and slow as molasses or @seypat, whichever comes first. I did Thunder Ridge on a 53/38 and 11-32, so you can easily ride that if you're not going to climb mountains.

You say you have a long cage RD? Then, IMLTHO, I'd go double, swap the 130 BCD rings up front for a 50/38, and pick up a nice wide cassette like an 11-32 or 11-34. I just find wide-range doubles easier. I don't know gear inches from saltpeter.

Good climbing, no loss of top end, and chicks dig it.

Or put S-10 wheels on it and call it a day.
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Old 03-04-19, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 67tony View Post
...Shimano 105 5500 9-speed group set ...

If choosing the double, what would be a good cassette range?
How about if choosing the triple?

This guy is 65 years old, rides some hills but no major hills, and would never be loaded...
We should really be talking with your friend about this. Is your friend a "spinner" or a "masher"? Is he technical enough to master half-step gearing, or does he think in terms of two chainrings with only slightly overlapping ranges? Are you familiar with Gear Calculator web sites that allow you to vary the chainring/cog design to see the effects on gear inches?

I'm 60 years old this summer and am a fairly strong rider for my age. Hills don't phase me in the least. I'm a spinner. I'd probably never design any bike for myself with greater than 105 gear inches, which translates to ~27 mph at 90 rpms. Anything over that, I'm coasting.

My recommendation would be a compact double with a smaller outer ring. Something like a 46-34T double and a 12-27T cogset. That should do him fine, unless he's a complete monster.
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Old 03-04-19, 11:30 AM
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53t / 39t chainring doubles, IMO, are a holdover from the days when the highest gear on your freewheel cluster was 14t, which would have been a 3.9:1 gear ratio. Now that we have 11t high (and even some 10t) gears on cassette clusters, and fatter tires, 40t is roughly equivalent. So get approx a 22-32-42 triple up front, and you'll be covered for everything you as a mortal can do.
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Old 03-04-19, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I'm 65, in excellent shape, ride hills and think that riding a 53-39 is dumb for this application. That chainring setup was designed for one thing...racing, by young people. (although it can be useful for flatlanders too).
...
I stuck with 52-42 through my late 50s, which was a mistake waiting so long.
I can't say. I'm still in the early 50's, and ride a variety of configurations. I can still stand and pull up hills.

Over the last 5 years, I think I've been evolving to a higher cadence and lower gears.

But, changes in cassettes have also made a big impact.

Say the old bike was:

54/42 X 13/23

Newer cassettes give more sprockets on both ends.

11/30? 11/32?

The higher gearing in the cassettes makes the 53/39 or 54/42 less relevant.

The lower gearing? Heck if I know, I haven't gone down that path yet, except with cargo.

Still, I'd look at a 50/34, or even 48/30 crankset.

Actually, I've gone to a custom wide crankset (53/34) on my road bike, and like the gearing options.
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Old 03-04-19, 11:41 AM
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still have the 'flight deck' working computer?
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Old 03-04-19, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mgopack42 View Post
I know this has been asked and answered before... can someone tell me where this gear development calculator can be found on the innerwebs please? i found it once, but never again. i like it better than the sheldon brown calculator
+1 on the request for the location of that gear calculator - sure beats fishing through a spreadsheet.

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-19, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jlaw View Post
+1 on the request for the location of that gear calculator - sure beats fishing through a spreadsheet.

Thanks!
I posted a link to a really good calculator above (post #2 ). Here it is again: Bicycle Gear Calculator
Note that sometimes it takes a minute or so to pop up, apparently because it's running in java on you browser.
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Old 03-04-19, 04:18 PM
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Golly, everybody, you sure have given me a lot to think about. I will continue to peruse bike shop parts bins, and the auction site, and see what configuration presents itself.

Thanks again for all the input!
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Old 03-04-19, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I posted a link to a really good calculator above (post #2 ). Here it is again: Bicycle Gear Calculator
Note that sometimes it takes a minute or so to pop up, apparently because it's running in java on you browser.
that is the one. thanks @davester
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