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I'm looking at buying a Giant Defy Advanced 3 and am presented with two option: Compact or Triple. What are the merits of one over the other? I know that the triple would give you lower gears for climbing, but how much of a difference over the compact?
 

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There is a huge difference if you are doing any sort of serious climbing of 5 miles or more then the triple is the answer. Be careful with the compact... I found that the compact crank took too much of my speed away from my top end, since I don't have a very high cadence. This can be felt particularly on descents and with tailwinds where high speed is a must.
 

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Are you a girl? If not get the compact. That said I've ridden a triple on a borrowed bike in the moutains. It worked well for me but I woulf always go compact. Lighter, better shifting and basically same high side/low side gearing.
 

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mimason said:
Are you a girl? If not get the compact.
Do you drag your knuckles when walking upright? If so, predicate your comments with a sex qualifier :rolleyes:

OP; Retro Grouch cites one of many CD v T thread discussions found via a search that provide a wide range of opinions. Net of all those discussions always seems to be your riding preference, Sheldon’s gear inch calculator and the benefit of improving leg strength clearly identifying that the best option is
 

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DonDenver said:
Do you drag your knuckles when walking upright? If so, predicate your comments with a sex qualifier :rolleyes:

OP; Retro Grouch cites one of many CD v T thread discussions found via a search that provide a wide range of opinions. Net of all those discussions always seems to be your riding preference, Sheldon’s gear inch calculator and the benefit of improving leg strength clearly identifying that the best option is

Don't get your panties in a wad.

How's that for a sex qualifier?
 

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sexism aside, this thread is akin to one discussing which shade of pink is more feminin...
 

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As others suggested, search this forum for this much discussed thread.

As for the gearing range, find a gear ratio calculator and campare what you can get with a triple vs compact. If you're mostly concerned with low gears for climbing (as many are) You'll find that a 34t in front and 28t or 30t in back, with the proper rear derailier, can get you nearly triple chain-ring range.
 

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You can get nearly (but not quite) the same range of gears with a compact as a triple. The main advantage of a triple is that you get finer resolution (more gear choices) within the range. A well adjusted triple shifts as well, if not better than a compact. The main disadvantage of a triple is the weight. However, the REAL disadvantage is that triples aren't cool.
 

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tantra said:
However, the REAL disadvantage is that triples aren't cool.
How true. Then again, I've had a triple for the 15 months I've been riding again and never (not even once) had anyone comment on it. I've done several hard climbing rides (3 Mountain Madness, Hurt Pain & Agony, etc.) and have enjoyed a SLIGHT advantage over a typical compact setup (50/34 and 12/28 cassette). I've got a 52/39/30 crank and 12/25 cassette, which gives me about 1/2 of a gear advantage (based on gear inches and at least 3% between gears). It is more difficult to set up a triple, but once set up, it is no more trouble than a compact to shift. In fact, you'll probably change front rings more often with a compact setup. I almost never use my "granny" ring.

I have a triple because that's what came on the used bike I bought. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. As for the argument that the weight is an issue, your second water bottle weights a lot more than the extra weight of a triple. Q factor may be an issue for some, but I doubt that it's really an issue.
 

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gnatman said:
As others suggested, search this forum for this much discussed thread.

As for the gearing range, find a gear ratio calculator and campare what you can get with a triple vs compact. If you're mostly concerned with low gears for climbing (as many are) You'll find that a 34t in front and 28t or 30t in back, with the proper rear derailier, can get you nearly triple chain-ring range.
Where you really need the triple there isn't a substitute.

Where the compact double is enough you loose a couple of the pleasant flat cruising gears in the middle.

For the same over-all range you could be comparing

50-34 x 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-22-25-28

with no 16 or 18 cog which are real nice to have with the 50 ring to

53-39-28 x 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23

Where you have more moderate requirements on low and/or high gear like 39x26 which is about 34x23 or 30x20 you can choose between

50-34 x 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23

with no 18 cog, a six-cog shift from 34x12 to 50x19 when you run out of smaller cogs on the 34 ring (assuming you avoid being cross-chained), and more frequent front shifting and

53-39-30 x 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21

with the pleasant 50x18 cruising gear and 39x12 to 50 x 15 shift which is just 3 cogs bigger (and can be done in a single motion on Campagnolo right brifters).
 

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av8torjim said:
I have a triple because that's what came on the used bike I bought. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. As for the argument that the weight is an issue, your second water bottle weights a lot more than the extra weight of a triple. Q factor may be an issue for some, but I doubt that it's really an issue.
Your second water bottle (20 oz) weighs 600 grams.

With the same quality (ex: SLK lite compact vs triple) there's about 100 grams or a quarter pound of difference.

Not even the same thing.

Triples are bad because they don't look as sexy. Including them at every component level requires bike companies to make and stock 50% more crank varieties, 100% more front derailleur configurations, and (for some vendors) up to 100% more left shift levers. Some people won't buy a stock bike with one.

None of that matters when you're riding a bike instead of looking at it or trying to run a bike business.
 

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Salsa_Lover said:
sexism aside, this thread is akin to one discussing which shade of pink is more feminin...

Eh, we all know of your proficiency with the standard crankset.....although shot down on many threads. You should just answer the question or move on :p


**
 

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Salsa_Lover said:
sexism aside, this thread is akin to one discussing which shade of pink is more feminin...
A fixie rider would say much the same about your standard double. So HTFU and deal with it, Sals. :lol:
.
 

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Hooben said:
There is a huge difference if you are doing any sort of serious climbing of 5 miles or more then the triple is the answer. Be careful with the compact... I found that the compact crank took too much of my speed away from my top end, since I don't have a very high cadence. This can be felt particularly on descents and with tailwinds where high speed is a must.
There's not a "huge" difference in top end. At a cadence of 80 rpm, the speed difference between a 53x11 and a 50x11 is 1.7 mph (30.1 vs. 28.4). At which point, if you were going downhill with a tailwind, you'd more than likely be better off tucking and coasting. I think I would get a triple if I did a ton of climbing in a really hilly area, but otherwise the aesthetic issue of it just really bothers me.
 

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I've used both and much preferred the triple. You shift less (because the middle ring, which should be a 42, does almost everything, whereas on a compact you are often on the fringe between the two rings and keep switching back and forth), the shifting is better because there isn't a huge jump between each ring, and you have more gears. The downsides are initial cost, weight, and being judged by stupid people.

I prefer a standard double to both of these options, however. An advantage of the compact is that you will be more able to switch to a standard crank without changing other things about your drivetrain (like your front STI shifter).
 

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(
because the middle ring, which should be a 42, does almost everything, whereas on a compact you are often on the fringe between the two rings and keep switching back and forth),
+1. In all these triple v. compact debates the point you make is a great one. The overlooked advantage of a triple imo, is the middle ring and the rideability it gives for most folks.
 

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Greg Smalter said:
You shift less [...] whereas on a compact you are often on the fringe between the two rings...
Agree with that. And no matter how you twist and turn this, the "compact" crank was pretty much a marketing move to give people lower gears while preserving the racy look of the bike. As such, it has worked out surprisingly well for many people. So well in fact, that word has gotten out and the triple is rejected out of hand (unfortunately, IMO) by many first-time road bike buyers.
 

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A 34x28 combo at 40 rpm is walking speed. If you can't turn that combo over, use the two-legged gear. A triple is for loaded touring.
 
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