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Tripple vs Double chainring.

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Tripple vs Double chainring.

Old 05-05-19, 09:49 AM
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xroadcharlie
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Tripple vs Double chainring.

I like a single chainring for it's simplicity and appearance and with the right cassette might be fine for many of us. But since the chainring derailleur is already there, Why don't more bikes use a triple chainring. Is it because of the room?

I like the triple because if we have the right combination of cassette and chainring we can leave the bike on the middle chainring most of the time like a single, and still have some very low and high gears for steep hills and fast rides down them. Also sometimes I want to drop 2 or 3 gears fast, and with one step up front I can do that.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:00 AM
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I find with my triple chain ring bike I can cycle through gears much faster, which is great for commuting with the stops and starts and hills (up and down)

But for my long distance relatively flat trail bike with duel chain rings I don't shift much. I start low and shift up until I get up to speed then keep it there. Maybe I'll drop to the small chain ring up front if I hit a small hill but other than than I typically just pick a gear and stick with it. The ease of operation without having a gear I don't need is nice

I nearly bought a SRAM single ring bike for that purpose because of super simple operation. Then I didn't....
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Old 05-05-19, 10:05 AM
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Because Shimano, who knows better then us mere mortals about what gearing we need, decided after 10sp. to stop making triples in the upper end - 105, Ultegra, DA. Deciding instead that SRAM had the right idea and put all 11 or 12 gears in the back.

They do make a triple for the next level down - Tiagra, which a pretty good group, so all is not lost.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:24 AM
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I have a bike with a triple on it and I have a road bike with a double. I like the triple a lot but, I love the double with 11 gears out back. Also, on my road bike I can shift 3 gears with one swipe of the shifter. And the shift is fast. Shimano 105 7000 series.

My bike with a triple on it is 21 speed. The double beats the triple by 1 gear, it's a 22 speed. I always think that's kinda cool.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:46 AM
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I have a vintage Windsor 2x5 that came with a 50-52 double. The cogs were far apart, so each rear shift was a large jump. The rings being so close, each front shift was asmall jump. So think about how that works: If you're on the big ring and want a small shift up, you shift the ring down and the cog up. If you're on the small ring and want to shift up, just shift the ring up. And so on.

1x and compact double are both sort of the opposite of that. Super simple shifting.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:57 AM
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xroadcharlie
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
I have a vintage Windsor 2x5 that came with a 50-52 double. The cogs were far apart, so each rear shift was a large jump. The rings being so close, each front shift was asmall jump. So think about how that works: If you're on the big ring and want a small shift up, you shift the ring down and the cog up. If you're on the small ring and want to shift up, just shift the ring up. And so on.

1x and compact double are both sort of the opposite of that. Super simple shifting.
Actually my first 10 speed from the mid 1970's was kind of like that. Switching the two chainrings pretty much staggered the gears on the cassette. Giving me 20 distinct gears. The next bike I bought was a 12 speed...Even better I thought. Ha, The bright engineer that designed the drivetrain pretty much copied each gear except one. Da...so 12 speeds is now 7.

On my new 21 speed bike their are still only 13 distinct gears. But it works out well for my riding anyway.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:59 AM
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I have a few triples and a few doubles. The triple DA 9 speed on my lightspeed is pretty nice. However my Fuji compact double has 10 speed 105 with an LX rear derailleur and a XT mtb cassette. I shift the Fuji less and have a lower 1st gear and slightly lower top end. I like that better. It also shifts better.
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Old 05-05-19, 11:18 AM
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Also the 7 speed triple RSX shifts very well too. But, after riding the 9 speed and the 10 speed cassettes, I notice that the gap between gears means I need to spin or mash a little more, or change the speed a little. Same for the 6 speed triple.
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Old 05-05-19, 01:03 PM
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There is no need for triples anymore , they are just a waste . And right now we have so many gearing options all it takes is very little effort to select a proper set up.
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Old 05-05-19, 01:49 PM
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79pmooney
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
There is no need for triples anymore , they are just a waste . And right now we have so many gearing options all it takes is very little effort to select a proper set up.
True, My 9-speed triple running a 12, 14-19, 21, 23 X 53, 42, 28 is a total waste. Having all the gears I could ever want for climbing with never a gap bigger that 2 teeth in back is so pointless.

(I'm one who loved being strong enough to ride most of New England's hills on a 42 X 13-19 5-speed n my racing days. I still love those gears. Even more when I can have those missing 16 and 18 cogs. Now adding a 21 and 23, yeah!! And to reflect that I am 40 years older, being able to have all those cogs uphill, another "yeah!!")

I am now setting up another "waste" bike to ride serious gravel. It is an old steel bike that I am not willing to stretch to 130 dropout spacing so I am going to run a 50-38-24 X 13-28 7-speed. So far , so good. Of course thehuge drawback of my setup is that it is so cheap. 110 BCD rings for old Sugino cranks are a dime a dozen. (I had all on hand since I have been riding the 110-74 standard so long.) Picked up a new Sachs FW from a parts box for $12. Excellent shifting with (gasp!) SunTour Power Ratchet DT shifters.

Oh, this "waste" 3 X 7 has 17 different use-able gear combos. 1 X 17s cost how much? and will be available when?

Ben
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Old 05-05-19, 02:02 PM
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Another Triples are better than Doubles thread. Awesome!
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Old 05-05-19, 02:05 PM
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I feel the same way that removing the triple sucked.
- Bike companies wanted to change things to give the appearance of progress and the need to buy new stuff.
- Low end triples were poorly made and often didn't shift well giving the impression it was a problem with the triple.
- It probably saved some tiny amount of weight for the gram-sensitive racers.

It's always been awkward for me though. Like you said, with the triple you can just leave it in the center gear most of the time and it was decent. Single if nicer for shifting but a bit more limited for a wide range of gears with good spacing. Double is just...awkward. It works, obviously, but takes a lot more mental effort to track what front ring I'm in and if I need to shift.
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Old 05-05-19, 02:06 PM
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xroadcharlie
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Another thing I just thought of is with my 3 x 7 speeds even if all 21 speeds were distinct instead of the 13 that are l would need a chart to remember which combo to use next and might have to double shift both front and back.

A double chainring makes it much easier to remember. On my fist 1970's 10 speed, each increase was staggered with the 2 chainrings.
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Old 05-05-19, 02:11 PM
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NO...I DID NOT suggest a triple was better than a double. Please read the 1'rst post! Sorry if I misled anyone.

I would just like to know why since the derailer and shifter are already there.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 05-05-19 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 05-05-19, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by xroadcharlie View Post
I like a single chainring for it's simplicity and appearance and with the right cassette might be fine for many of us. But since the chainring derailleur is already there, Why don't more bikes use a triple chainring. Is it because of the room?

I like the triple because if we have the right combination of cassette and chainring we can leave the bike on the middle chainring most of the time like a single, and still have some very low and high gears for steep hills and fast rides down them. Also sometimes I want to drop 2 or 3 gears fast, and with one step up front I can do that.
My bike is now 7 years old, and has a 3 x 9 setup. 12 - 27 cassette, and 48 - 36 - 26 tooth chainrings. I have used this setup so long that for me, shifting is completely intuitive. On a lot of rides, I don't even use my small chainring. But I wouldn't get rid of it because when I need it, I am glad it is there. 12 - 27 9 speed cassette paired with the 36 tooth chainring gives me small jumps in the range where I can use them. If my chainrings wear out, I might consider going up to a 38 tooth middle ring, and/or possibly going down to a 46 tooth big ring.
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Old 05-05-19, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
I have a vintage Windsor 2x5 that came with a 50-52 double. The cogs were far apart, so each rear shift was a large jump. The rings being so close, each front shift was asmall jump. So think about how that works: If you're on the big ring and want a small shift up, you shift the ring down and the cog up. If you're on the small ring and want to shift up, just shift the ring up. And so on.

1x and compact double are both sort of the opposite of that. Super simple shifting.
Originally Posted by xroadcharlie View Post
Actually my first 10 speed from the mid 1970's was kind of like that. Switching the two chainrings pretty much staggered the gears on the cassette. Giving me 20 distinct gears. The next bike I bought was a 12 speed...Even better I thought. Ha, The bright engineer that designed the drivetrain pretty much copied each gear except one. Da...so 12 speeds is now 7.

On my new 21 speed bike their are still only 13 distinct gears. But it works out well for my riding anyway.
That's known as 'Half-Step' gearing. It was pretty common through the 70's and in to the 80's especially on touring bikes, as a way to get a wide range of distinct 'gears' when the tech of the time only supported 5 or 6 speeds at the back.

With any 2x or 3x system, you're going to get some 'overlap' of gear ranges, especially if you're running a 3x front, and -7 or higher in the rear. The reason for more and more 'speeds' on the rear (and fewer 3x cranks) is twofold. Shifting the rear is much easier under load, like climbing or sprinting, as well as being faster and (generally) more accurate, because the rear derailleur is on the 'return' or slack side of the drivetrain, the RD doesn't have to fight against pedal tension to move the chain across the gear cluster. In the front, you are shifting the tension side of the chain, so going up, or down, you have to 'back off' on the pedals for a half-a-rotation to get the chain to drop or climb smoothly.
Add in the wide range of sprockets you can run in a single -10 speed cassette, and a 3x crank gets you a lot of duplicated gears, in order to get one or two really extreme (low) ratios.
2x cranks also give you more clearance between the rings and frame, which helps with the trend towards wider tires on gravel and 'all-road' bikes.

Also wrt to the demise of triples; Integrated, indexed 3x shifters ie: STI's/Rapidfire/Doubletap are much more sensitive to setup than 2x front shifters (esp, the middle gear) They're not all that hard, but 2x are really simple.
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Old 05-05-19, 02:55 PM
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After riding a double for a few years, I am likely going back to a triple on my road/gravel bike for the very reason you mention: the middle ring.

On my triple I could just leave it in the middle ring for almost all flat and rolling terrain. With my double I am having to constantly shift the front rings and spend a lot of time in big/big which is not ideal, IMO.

There has been no discernible benefit for me using 2x on a road or gravel over the past few years.

MTB is different. I saw a lot of advantage going from 3x to 2x (even when it was just replacing a big ring with a bash guard).
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Old 05-05-19, 03:07 PM
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So it looks like there are both engineering and marketing reasons today for choosing a double chainring with some applications when they have gone through the trouble of installing a front derailleur and shifter. Thanks Guys? It makes sense to me. And in the past, Maybe they didn't think of it.

Yesterday just when I was convinced I could shift the front derailleur any time in any gear, I discovered why it is suggested we use the rear one instead under load. The chain got hung up somewhere, It took some careful backpedaling to keep from getting it jammed in the frame again. It works good most of the time. This is an inexpensive recent bike, So I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.
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Old 05-05-19, 03:23 PM
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You definitely need to time your shifts, don't attempt it while an 18 wheeler is passing you on a narrow road. My triple setups are usually garbage, which doesn't help, most of them are road FD's and RD's, which you can sometimes coax into working half-assed on a triple crankset. I did finally break down a bought a cheap Altus RD that can handle a triple setup pretty well, best $20 i ever spent. Has nice strong springs and an oversized lower pulley, looks OK on a road bike and can take a 34t.
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Old 05-05-19, 03:54 PM
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I like the triple with a 7 speed cassette since I like fairly close ratio gears.


I'm not sure it's really necessary on a 9 speed setup but I have it anyhow. I think I've only used the small ring once trying to get up a fairly steep washboarded gravel/sand hill.
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Old 05-05-19, 04:03 PM
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Sounds like my 8 speed setup, 11-23 in back, 46-36-28 in the front. It's the "Anti 1x".

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Old 05-05-19, 05:18 PM
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Setting up the triple requires a touch more skill than 2x cranks. I'd prefer a 2x if I never took on random hill climbs that I'm not familiar with. Once the 3x is dialed in with the cable pull, it's very nice knowing the option is there to drop into crawl mode.
I've yet to "walk" it up a hill, not planning to start anytime soon! 3x ftw!
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Old 05-05-19, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Sounds like my 8 speed setup, 11-23 in back, 46-36-28 in the front. It's the "Anti 1x".

I just set up a CrossCut with 9 speed and pretty close to your gearing I put a 12-26 cassette on it. Where I ride I don't have any big hills to worry about and I won't be going over 30 without a heck of tailwind.
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Old 05-05-19, 06:54 PM
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You still can get triples, even up to SLX level.
So no reason to panic.

Just make sure your frame and tire clearance works for it. But that is not Shomano's fault.

Ultimately bike manufacturers are the largest purchasers and make decisions. But some good touring bikes may still come with triples.

A 2x10 or 2x11 should give you all the range you need. A 3x10 or 11 just will have too many redundant gears.
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Old 05-05-19, 07:24 PM
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xroadcharlie
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Just got back from a short 20 km trek and figured I would test the Shimano Altus front derailleur for the 48/38/28 chainrings on my 2018 Giant Sedona comfort bike while we are on the subject. Much of my ride on a trail has many inclines and turns into a moderate wind. I wasn't expecting much from my past experience, But was pleasantly surprised at how well it behaved. Only malfunctioned once where I had to go back to 1st trying to upshift. It seems if I overshoot the upshift to 2'nd it works better. I'm still learning as I very seldom use the 28 ring. The shift from 38 - 48 works better.

I must say I do like having the option to climb a moderate incline and seconds later take the downside fast with just one or two steps. Sometimes going from the 28 to the 48 ring climbing and descending, That's like 5 - 7 gears on a cassette. When it works.

After giving some thought to the usefulness of a very wide gear jump, It just dawned on me that the 14 - 34 cassette on my bike, and many others 1'st to 2'nd gear is also a big jump from 24 - 34T. At first I couldn't understand why they weren't evenly spaced. But perhaps "they" are right. Even with the 42T single chainring on the Giant Cypress I also looked at I would still have that ability at the very speed we need it most. So be careful what you wish for.

With so many variables with derailleur type drivetrains it seems to come down to just learning what is most effective for each situation. Certainly having a single chainring not only makes it easier, But looks much cleaner and is easier to maintain. While the 2 and 3 chainring setups take a bit more thinking to get the best results, But may offer more options.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 05-06-19 at 07:07 AM.
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