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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am narrowing down my first road bike purchase and I am just a little unsure about the need for 3 chain rings. I understand that with more available gear combinations there will be less variation between gears. Does this have any specific disadvantage over a bike with more gears?

The bike I'm currently considering has a Shimano Sora set with a 170MM 50X34T crankset and a 7 speed cassette with the following gears 12-14-16-18-21-24-28. I ride casually and am simply looking for something that will be more comfortable/efficient for long distance rides than my MTB. There are some pretty steep hills where I ride if that makes a difference.

Will this setup be sufficient or should I spend an extra $100 for the 21spd version? Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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IMHO- If you're not in good cycling condition, your first road bike should always include a triple chain ring. This will most inevitably assist your in your hill climbing ability. Welcome and Good Luck! :)
 

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As long as your easiest gear is easy enough to get you up the toughest hills you'll face.....you'll be fine.

A triple doesn't offer that much more. There's a lot of overlap. More gears won't help on hills. The right gears help on hills. If you've got enough with 34x28 the additional easy gears on a triple would be a waste. And if 34x28 doesn't do the trick....you need a triple or a bigger cassette in the back.
 

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Wait, new 7 speed sora? That doesn't seem right.
It's possible if the shifters are new (in the sense of "unused") ST-3300 7-speed Sora.

To the OP: agree with Jay Strongbow. While a triple is the only arrangement that can give you a large gear range and a good amount of gear overlap and close-ratio gears, gear overlap and close-ratio gears is not something you would really need or even appreciate at this point in your cycling career. And most importantly: triples are really, really unfashionable right now. :)
 

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IMHO- If you're not in good cycling condition, your first road bike should always include a triple chain ring. This will most inevitably assist your in your hill climbing ability. Welcome and Good Luck! :)
If you live anywhere near San Francisco, or have to climb steep hills. Trust me when I tell you that a triple will assist you more so than a double. Some of us seriously have to rely upon that granny gear! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My mistake,the 24spd has the Sora. The 14spd has a tourney a050. Here is the bike I'm considering: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/road_bikes/mirage_s.htm


I know it's not anything brand name and fancy but it suites my budget and I'm here to find out if it
will suite my needs. Is there a big quality difference between this and a Sora?
 

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As long as your easiest gear is easy enough to get you up the toughest hills you'll face.....you'll be fine.

A triple doesn't offer that much more. There's a lot of overlap. More gears won't help on hills. The right gears help on hills. If you've got enough with 34x28 the additional easy gears on a triple would be a waste. And if 34x28 doesn't do the trick....you need a triple or a bigger cassette in the back.
This, although I wouldn't be closed to considering a triple. As you (and if you do) grow into the sport and develop a smooth pedal stroke/ higher cadence, gaps in gearing tend to undermine those efforts - at least IMO/E. But I'll add that I'm not a big fan of compacts, because of the 16T gap.

But that aside, for now, yes. If the easiest gear gets you up the toughest hill, you're gearing meets your needs.
 

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It sounds like you haven't made your bicycle purchase just yet. Therefore, do you even have any experience with climbing those hills with either a double or triple? I say, test ride them both. If the double allows you to climb without difficulty, then get the double. If the triple seems easier, then get that one. Ideally doubles are preferred by most experienced cyclists. Most touring cyclists prefer triple rings. Also, there are some experienced cyclists who will swear by triples 'til the day they die! :D
 

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My mistake,the 24spd has the Sora. The 14spd has a tourney a050.

I know it's not anything brand name and fancy but it suites my budget and I'm here to find out if it will suite my needs. Is there a big quality difference between this and a Sora?
Shimano's Tourney road group is new for this year, so there's probably not a lot of field experiences yet, although I recall reading an article (might have been in bikeradar).

That said, Shimano's lower end groups have always performed well and (for the most part) proved durable. As you go up the model lines, finishes, ergonomics, speeds and refinement improve. But even with high end groupsets, installation, setup and tuning are key to how well they'll perform.

As was already covered, gearing will be adequate, assuming the 34/ 28 gets you up your steepest grade.

One word of caution. This being your first road bike, be sure to take the steps necessary to get sizing right. If you get it wrong, the bike will never really fit that well, and you'll be faced with a decision - make due or return the bike at your cost.

So, to the bold statement I'd say... if it fits, this bike will likely meet your needs.
 

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It sounds like you haven't made your bicycle purchase just yet. Therefore, do you even have any experience with climbing those hills with either a double or triple? I say, test ride them both. If the double allows you to climb without difficulty, then get the double. If the triple seems easier, then get that one. Ideally doubles are preferred by most experienced cyclists. Most touring cyclists prefer triple rings. Also, there are some experienced cyclists who will swear by triples 'til the day they die! :D
Not disparaging triples in any way, but your argument assumes that the triple on this particular setup will provide a significantly lower low than the compact double, which ain't necessarily so. Many of those BD triples are spec'd with a 12-25 cassette and 30-tooth granny ring. That 30x25 low is barely 2% lower than the 34x28 that OP would have with the double he's considering. That won't make much difference on a steep climb.

What you do get with the triple is closer spacing in the middle while having similar highs and lows. From hiis description of his planned use that does not sound like it would be worth much to him.

OP, what does "pretty steep" mean, exactly? Can you mention some specific roads?
 

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Not disparaging triples in any way, but your argument assumes that the triple on this particular setup will provide a significantly lower low than the compact double, which ain't necessarily so. Many of those BD triples are spec'd with a 12-25 cassette and 30-tooth granny ring. That 30x25 low is barely 2% lower than the 34x28 that OP would have with the double he's considering. That won't make much difference on a steep climb.

What you do get with the triple is closer spacing in the middle while having similar highs and lows. From hiis description of his planned use that does not sound like it would be worth much to him.

OP, what does "pretty steep" mean, exactly? Can you mention some specific roads?
All I'm saying is that the 30x25 low is better than that 34x28, and any assistance at all in terms of mechanical advantage, is better than none at all. Sometimes, just a slight increase of MA is just enough to reach the summit.
 

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All I'm saying is that the 30x25 low is better than that 34x28, and any assistance at all in terms of mechanical advantage, is better than none at all. Sometimes, just a slight increase of MA is enough to reach the summit.
Fair enough, and all I'm saying is that switching to a triple is a relatively complicated and expensive way to get that tiny* advantage, IF you don't need the additional advantage of closer spacing. Changing the cassette to a 13-30 would get you the same low with the 34 ring.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for the OP to tell us how steep those hills are ;-)

(*How tiny? At 6 mph in 34x28, you'd be turning 62.6rpm. 30x25 would get you spinning all the way up to 63.4 rpm. Not enough difference for most riders to notice.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I cant find any real info on the hills. I live in Brooklyn, Ny and the bike paths here go across some bridges that I consider steep and there are some hills on the streets that are worse, but I cant find any real info online.

I have been riding these paths for a few weeks, but I am using a small mountain bike that doesn't fit me well. I was going to replace it and decided a road bike would be more fitting.

If it helps the bike I ride now is a 21 speed with a Shimano Tourney TY-40, 24/34/42 teeth x 7-speed, 11 - 30 teeth. I ride a 22 mile trail in just under 2 hours and I feel pretty beat up. I know this has a lot to do with my level of fitness but, the size of the bike takes a toll on my knees and back. I also feel like the suspension is too soft, feel it dip when I pedal hard and it seems like Im wasting energy.
 

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All I'm saying is that the 30x25 low is better than that 34x28, and any assistance at all in terms of mechanical advantage, is better than none at all. Sometimes, just a slight increase of MA is enough to reach the summit.
huh? What gear is 'better' depends on the rider and the grade. If 30x25 was 'better' and provided a 'mechanical advantage' over any other gear had any validity as an absolute statement like you just made we'd all be on single speeds with 30x25. It might be better for certain riders on certain hills....but for others it's completely useless.
 

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I cant find any real info on the hills. I live in Brooklyn, Ny and the bike paths here go across some bridges that I consider steep and there are some hills on the streets that are worse, but I cant find any real info online.
Ah. I would be very surprised if the compact double was not adequate. Especially if you get a bike fitted properly and learn some technique, including sometimes standing for the short steep bits. There aren't any real mountains in NYC, and once you get some improved fitness I would think 34x28 would be plenty low for anything you will encounter.

Unless you're very heavy, or have some other issue.
 

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huh? What gear is 'better' depends on the rider and the grade. If 30x25 was 'better' and provided a 'mechanical advantage' over any other gear had any validity as an absolute statement like you just made we'd all be on single speeds with 30x25. It might be better for certain riders on certain hills....but for others it's completely useless.
Although I have been disagreeing a bit with Zeet here, I must rise in his defense. You are misunderstanding the term. "Mechanical advantage" is an engineering term with a specific meaning in reference to how pulleys and levers work, and the fact is that a 30x25 gear has (a tiny bit) greater mechanical advantage than a 34x28. That's a simple mathematical fact, not a judgment about what's suitable in a given circumstance. You don't always want more mechanical advantage. LESS mechanical advantage is sometimes an "advantage" in the colloquial sense. But if you're climbing a steep hill and find it too hard, a lower gear is usually desirable -- that's why we have them. It's just that in this case, it ain't much lower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ah. I would be very surprised if the compact double was not adequate. Especially if you get a bike fitted properly and learn some technique, including sometimes standing for the short steep bits. There aren't any real mountains in NYC, and once you get some improved fitness I would think 34x28 would be plenty low for anything you will encounter.

Unless you're very heavy, or have some other issue.

I think Im going to purchase the bike I linked here as soon as I can figure out the size. Im 6'0", 175lbs and I don't have any real health issues besides laziness and getting VIP treatment at the Biergarten. Thanks to all of you for all the help, Ill definitely be on this forum for any future concerns.
 
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