Triples and double digit gradients

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Triples and double digit gradients

Postby The_Eggman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:59 pm

Lo All

Next roadie may be coming from Europe, so a triple is a serious option on the new steed.

I'm also trying to do the three peaks ( www.backoffalls.blogspot.com.au/ ) next year and was striving to improve my climbing. I already have a compact crankset and a 12-28. Will a triple make a massive difference to my capacity to climb steep stuff? I do tend to blow up when it get above 11% for more than a very short burst, so Hotham and the Back of Falls scare me. Hopefully my climbing gets better over the year, and the weight goes south. Nonetheless, is a triple a good idea for really steep stuff?
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by BNA » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:07 pm

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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby warthog1 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:07 pm

A compact with 11-28 cassette for 3 peaks should be more than adequate. If not, finishing the 3 peaks ride within the time cut off is probably outside the realms of possibility.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby anttismo » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:36 pm

I have a triple on one bike and a compact on another so 30 vs 34 small rings. A bit more than 10% diff and it makes it nicer. And I've gone to using 12-30 cassettes. I don't quite see why not use as pleasant as gearing at possible :)

I have no doubt I can finish 3 peaks in about 10~11 hrs, and I can do it with 39/25... probably. But, if I had the choice, I'd take the 30/30 option, if not then 34/30 :)
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby Xplora » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:50 pm

Have to agree with ant... if you can't comfortably get up 15% with a compact paired with 12-30, the engine is the issue, not the gearing. Yes, you can always go lower... you could use MTB gears and haul 22/36 and pop wheelies the whole way, but you have to consider the time taken. You'd be better off training more.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby ausrandoman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:08 pm

In January, I completed the Audax Alpine Classic Extreme, paused for 10 minutes then rode up Mt. Buffalo and back for 318 km in 14hrs. In February, I completed the Audax Tour de Tasmanie 1200 km and 14000 metres vertical in four days.

For both rides, I used a triple crankset 44-34-20. That is not a typo. I used a chainwheel with twenty teeth.

If anyone tries to tell you what gears to use, without telling you their preferred cadence, weight and threshold power, ignore them. I'm 90 rpm, 64 kg and 210 Watts. If your figures are much different, my gear ratios are irrelevant to you.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:17 pm

I go the cheaper option when heading to the really big hills for a week or so... I put an xtr mtb derailleur on with an 11-32 ( or 34 for a 1 to 1 ratio ) cassette. Works really well and I don't notice the jumps in gears very much at all. I rarely use the biggest cog. Works well.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby biker jk » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:55 pm

If you don't want the hassle of a triple (harder to adjust gears correctly) then you could go Ultegra 6800 50-34 compact with a 11-32 cassette which provides a gear as low as 30-28 with a triple. Moreover, Shimano 105 has gone 11-speed and will offer the same option but at a lower price.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby Strawburger » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:08 pm

Agree with biker jk on setup of the triple. Work on the engine and go compact with the mtb rear as TLL suggested!
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:33 pm

toolonglegs wrote:I go the cheaper option when heading to the really big hills for a week or so... I put an xtr mtb derailleur on with an 11-32 ( or 34 for a 1 to 1 ratio ) cassette. Works really well and I don't notice the jumps in gears very much at all. I rarely use the biggest cog. Works well.


+1, just bunging on an MTB cassette is a great, easy option. I hate the limited top end of compacts so i run a 39-32, but a semi-compact (52-36) would be nice for really insane grades. I've ridden 25%+ without trouble with my current gearing, the only one that has defeated it was well over 30% and i had already bonked anyway.

To follow ausrandoman's lead, i'm a grinder (haven't got a meter but from my best estimation pretty much never more than 90rpm), 82kgs and mid B grade.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby Duck! » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:24 pm

biker jk wrote: Moreover, Shimano 105 has gone 11-speed and will offer the same option but at a lower price.

Correction: It's going 11-sp. Won't be seen on the road for a few more months yet.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby biker jk » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:25 pm

Duck! wrote:
biker jk wrote: Moreover, Shimano 105 has gone 11-speed and will offer the same option but at a lower price.

Correction: It's going 11-sp. Won't be seen on the road for a few more months yet.


Well technically they have gone 11-speed since the groupset is in production. True that it won't be on bikes for several months. In any case, the OP will have the 11-speed 105 option unless he plans to have his new bike built up before then.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby Stefan_A » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:51 pm

Egg man, I'd kill two birds with one stone. Bird one - risk of hurting heart. Bird two - not getting up steep hills. The best solution for both is sub 15% body fat.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby sankari » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:32 am

I don't quite understand those who say to avoid triples because of the extra maintenance, but then say to swap to a larger cassette for a compact double when riding long steep hills.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby warthog1 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:53 am

Triples might make sense on a tourer or when otherwise carting weight. They introduce a more extreme chain line and chain rub on the derailleur in some combinations.
If you can't climb on a 34/30 or whatever is available then you are never going to be a climber. That is some pretty low gearing.


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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby cyclotaur » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:58 am

You don't have to be a 'climber' (where do you draw that line anyway ...?) to want/need to include a few big ascents in some rides.

And if you are not a natural 'climber' then use as many gears as you need, I say. There are plenty of tour companies in Europe that offer hire bikes with triples so their clients can complete and enjoy even the toughest of the iconic climbs.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby Duck! » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:17 pm

There are pros & cons on both sides of the fence. Yes, triples can be a little more sensitive to setup. The plus is that you can get the wider overall gear range while keeping smaller increments in the rear shifting, which improves the transition between gears - you don't go from spinning your legs off in one gear to grinding the next one, it's a lot smoother.

Double/big cassette setups may be smoother, but the trade off is much bigger jumps between each gear, making it harder to stay in your sweet zone as the gradients change.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby barefoot » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:02 pm

biker jk wrote:If you don't want the hassle of a triple (harder to adjust gears correctly)...


Or, if you don't want the hassle of swapping cassettes, chain and derailer every time you want to go for a steep ride...

I'm not sure what this "harder to adjust gears correctly" thing is. Never been a problem on any MTB I've owned, and hasn't been a problem on my road triple in the ~9 months I've had it.

I had a compact. Really didn't like it much. The gears you actually want, most of the time, are the bottom of the big ring and the top of the little ring. So you're always swapping rings. The 34 is just too small to leave it in on flats and gentle descents... the 50 is just too tall if the horizon goes up a bit.

Now I've got my 30-39-50 rings. I rarely use the 30 - most of the time, I treat it like a standard double. The 39 is tall enough to be a good general-purpose ring, and I can stay in it for hours. Then I've got the 50 for when the pace picks up [1].

But then, when things get nasty, I still have the 30 up my sleeve. For emergencies. Without having to pre-emptively remove my standard drivetrain and swap in a climbing drivetrain. My 30:25 is lower than your 34:28.

And yet... I can still swap in a climbing drivetrain if I know things are going to get super nasty [2]. But a 30:32 gear is getting outside the realm of what normal people want to do with road bikes ;-)

But anyway, that's my take on it. With a triple, you can have a bike that's nicer to ride most of the time, and still have the low gears for the some of the time. Compact cranks give you the some-of-the-time low gears, but make the bike less pleasant to ride most of the time.

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[1] I honestly don't know what people do with a 53... I can out-sprint most of my friends with gears to spare, and I've "only" got a 50:12 top gear. 50:11 would be superfluous. 53:11 is crazy.
[2] My "road" bike is designed to be a go-anywhere bike. I've taken it places that I had to walk when I couldn't get started again in a 34:32 gear, when I still had the compact on it. I probably still would have walked that day if I had a 30:32 gear (there were sections that Strava calls sustained >40%... on dirt... and no gear is going to maintain traction there :mrgreen:), but I would have been more comfortable up until that point. Some would say this is MTB territory; I would say that I didn't want to ride the flat 20km to and from the hilly 40km on a tractor :mrgreen:
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby warthog1 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:58 pm

A fast bunch and a downhill section or a good tailwind and the 53-11 does get used. I have a 30-12 cassette on my climbing wheels. On our Tues or Sat bunches I am often looking for the 11 in a couple of sections. There are some strong riders who push the speeds up.


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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:12 pm

I use the 52-11 on every single ride, it doesn't take much of a downhill for that to be a good gear to just slowly turn the pedals over in. Or you can spin it if you get a good motorised draft :twisted: .

You know what I don't get? The hysteria about "jumps between gears", i'm only on 9 speed with my 11-32 and have no problems, you want to talk about jumps try using a 14-28 5 speed, or even better a 3 speed hub :) .
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Triples and double digit gradients

Postby warthog1 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:40 pm

ldrcycles wrote:
You know what I don't get? The hysteria about "jumps between gears", i'm only on 9 speed with my 11-32 and have no problems, you want to talk about jumps try using a 14-28 5 speed, or even better a 3 speed hub :) .


I don't find gaps a problem either with my 28-11 or 30-12 :?


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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby WyvernRH » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:50 pm

ldrcycles wrote:I use the 52-11 on every single ride, it doesn't take much of a downhill for that to be a good gear to just slowly turn the pedals over in. Or you can spin it if you get a good motorised draft :twisted: .

You know what I don't get? The hysteria about "jumps between gears", i'm only on 9 speed with my 11-32 and have no problems, you want to talk about jumps try using a 14-28 5 speed, or even better a 3 speed hub :) .


Well, I can sort of agree with that being brought up in the days when 5 speed 14-34 touring was considered normal but wait til' you get a bit older and your knees start to give out.... :twisted:

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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:28 pm

Big jumps in gears doesn't bother me on hills, actually it's quite nice to have an almighty jump between ratios on a steep slope. Does bug me on the flats though... A lot!.
Yesterday I found a climb to rival La Redoute ... I won't be going back there in a hurry on standard cranks!.
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby barefoot » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:04 pm

ldrcycles wrote:I use the 52-11 on every single ride, it doesn't take much of a downhill for that to be a good gear to just slowly turn the pedals over in. Or you can spin it if you get a good motorised draft :twisted: .


:-/

Any hill that's too fast to pedal in 50:12 is fast enough that I'm happy not to pedal.

One of my regular bunch routes has a flat "informal sprint" at the bottom of a downhill. If I'm having a crack at the sprint points, I'm still doing 60km/h, 500m after the downhill bit ends. If I'm not doing 60, it's not for lack of gears.

Anyway, I could have a 53:11 on my triple if I wanted, and I still wouldn't give away my climbing gears. I'd just open up a couple of little gaps between gears ;-)

You know what I don't get? The hysteria about "jumps between gears", i'm only on 9 speed with my 11-32 and have no problems, you want to talk about jumps try using a 14-28 5 speed, or even better a 3 speed hub :) .


I'm used to MTB cassettes, and I commute on a singlespeed. I know about jumps and being stuck in a not-perfect gear :-D

But now I've got used to a 12-25 10-speed road cassette, I really do appreciate the fine steps between gears. On the flats. In a bunch.

Try it. You might like it.

tim
who would probably go for a 30-42-50 triple in a perfect world, and would spend most time in the 42
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby warthog1 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:12 pm

53/39 and 28-11 or 30-12 10sp cassette. The gaps are seriously no problem. I have had 23-11 and 25-11 and would never go back.
The large gaps are only up the top of the cassette where the speeds are lower so pretty easy to ride around. Down on the harder gears where the speeds and effort are higher the gaps between gears are small which is the only place they need to be.
The larger range cassette minimises front changes and allows you to stay in the big ring longer where you are more efficient. Win win. :)
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Re: Triples and double digit gradients

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:52 pm

What's your idea of "too fast to pedal" though barefoot? Because for me it's maybe 110-120 or something like that, I like to have something to push against.
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