Triple vs Compact

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Triple vs Compact

Postby djlief » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:56 pm

In anticipation of my third CO, I purchased a new bicycle. It's a Cannondale 2010 Carbon Synapse Feminine. For the past 8 years I've ridden an aluminum Lemond that is a triple. The Cannondale is a compact double. I'm very nervous about not having enough gears on the big hill days. I'm trying to compensate for gears with strength training and weight loss but could use some suggestions from other CO riders. Training on hills is tough in my home town of Dallas, but I'm trying to seek out and ride as many hills as I can. Any other ideas?
Thanks,
Deb
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby kabloom » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:30 pm

Hey Deb,
I also live in Dallas and just switched from a triple to a compact. Not many places around here to test whether I will need more gears for CO. I'm not sure if I am going to muscle up the hills or switch to lower gears before I leave.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby mytrot » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:24 pm

I'm on my second Cannondale with a triple. Although I strive to stay off the little gears really steep or late in a long ride it is nice to have. I think you are on track. A quick check and it looks like you could have lost 10% or so at the bottom. Practice on hills but be careful on your knees. Cranking too hard can be hard on them.

Hope to see you on the hills!

ELT
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby bicbiker » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:47 pm

Living in Iowa is a little more hilly than Texas - but no match for Oregon (as if you needed to hear that). :lol: Our solution was to stay with the Compact Crank, and use the 11-28 casette. Simplicity, plenty of gears, and the compact 34 to 28 compares well to the triple 30 to 25 for climbing hills. If your granny gear is not "low enough", all the other gears don't matter. :D
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby wayneh » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:00 pm

I've ridden past years on triples, compact and also standard double (which was a pretty flat year, though). With the compact, I would agree that an 11X28, or 13X29 if you are riding Campagnolo instead of Shimano, pretty much gives you a full range for steady climbing. Check to make sure, you may need to switch out your rear derailleur for a long cage model to handle the rear cassette if you choose the compact set up. I'm still not sure which way I'm going to go this year, it all depends on what kind of training I can get on the hills.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby slv0700 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:45 pm

C.O. SUGGESTS A TRIPLE FOR THEIR RIDES.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby ken f » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:55 pm

I don't think C.O. "suggests" anything. What gearing you use is a personnel choice and will vary widely by rider. Just make sure that what you use is adequate for your ability and the conditions of the ride. And train train train!
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby Jackson » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:04 pm

Ability will dictate gearing. I've seen single fixed gear as well as unicycles. Ride whichever works best for you.

John
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby johnncarol » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:35 pm

Having lived in Dallas twice in my life I can understand. Not only the lack of hills but the heat. We are preparing for our fourth CO, all on a tandem but I have done other 7 day rides on a single bike. In the past I have trained by the old maxim, ride more miles. Recently I have changed and am now traing with a more rationale goal and it has really helped. Put simeply, it is ride long at low ( 65 to70% of max) heart rates for endurance and ride short or do intervals at high (85% of max) heart rates for strength. Both are important for the long climbs and this year we have plenty of long climbs. fortunately, none of them are really steep. On CO 2008 we had a 15% climb and this year we don't have much of anything over 6%. As to the triple vs compact. I have ridden a triple for many years but am getting a new bike this year and will go with the compact. I live in CA and we can't ride without climbing. The compact gives you in essence a 1/2 step less than a triple. If you are really very concerned, SRAM has introduced a cassette with an 11 x 32. That would give you something even lower than a triple. My advice, go with the compact, train the best you can and remember, you have all day to complete the route. Forget the hammerheads going by screaming "on your left". Do your own thing and have a great time. By the way, we have a triple on the tandem and need every bit of it. Climbing at 4 to 5 mph is pretty standard for us. We just keep reminding each other that the beer and wine tent is only a few miles away.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby Chuck B. » Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:26 am

Another option for rear gearing is IRD's wide-range touring cassette. You can get up to a 34 tooth big ring on the rear. I'm using a triple with the IRD this year...
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby slv0700 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:27 pm

When I went in 2004 CO suggested in their information triples and size 25 tires.....one can choose whatever one likes, but for the steep hills they suggested it for lower gears and the 25 tires for speed going down. I have a triple but 23 tires that I use on my Cannondale. Any lower gearing equivlalent would work also.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby johnncarol » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:54 pm

We were on Co 2004, the anniversary ride from Idaho to the Oregon coast. It had two substantial climbs as I recall, one in the Strwberry mountains and the second going out of Sisters over McKenzie pass. Neither of these climbs was very steep. We did it on the tandem with no trouble. In 2006 and 2008 we had some very steep climbs, enough so that we found ourselves off the bike on two occasions. This year the climbs are not so steep but very very long. I am giving serious consideration to putting a bigger cassette on the tandem just so we don't wear out on the long climbs. Maybe something even as big as a 32. Hey, old people need all the help they can get. I hate to change the derallieur but we do what we need to do.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby djlief » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:42 pm

Great suggestions everyone, I appreciate the input - keep it coming and I'll keep training.
Deb
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby Rosk » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:27 am

This is a very individual consideration.
Age, fitness level, injury history, typically the knees are the big thing to keep in mind.
When cyclists talk about Triple vs Compact they're really considering the lowest gear ratio the bike is capable of and more specifically .....how high can my lowest gear be and I still climb steep hills without killing myself ?
This year I put together a new bike, Colnago Master X Light. I have been riding a Trek Madone 5.2 for 7 years with a Triple. I wanted all Italian parts to go with the classic Italian frame and my purist LBS guy referred me to Campagnolo (Campy). The Groupset I choose, Super Record 11 speed, does not come in a triple so I went with the compact. Coincidentally in late 2009 Campy came out with a 12-29 rear cassette and a one size fits all rear derailleur that gets me really close to the same gear ratio as the Trek which has a 27 tooth low gear on the rear cassette. I measured the distance the 2 bikes travel in one crank revolution in the lowest gear, 93 inches for the Trek and 96.5 inches for the Colnago, not to shabby.
I do miss the little extra the triple gave me on the steepest climbs here in Southern Cal but fortunately the 8% plus climbs are typically pretty short in duration. I also went on a diet and lost 20 pounds which helped even things up. I am 61 this year and figure I'll eventually be back on the Trek for the big climbing days.
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Re: Triple vs Compact

Postby mytrot » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:56 pm

Low end is part of the equation. I have always liked triples because I could minimze shifting the front end. With a 42 middle you can hit a pretty good range of speeds/hills without shifting. Admittedly this was more critical in the days of the down tube shifters but I still like that 42 for range and less cross chain.

Of course the new triples from Shimano have a smaller middle so not sure it applies anymore.
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