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Hi gang,

FINALLY getting back in the saddle after a lazy few years hiatus. Love my current roadbike (Lemond Zurich) but am not in quite the shape I once was when initially riding it. It is slightly older and has a double crankset which I would like to move up to a triple crankset so I have some granny gears to enjoy up those hills!

I'm a recreational rider who likes to push it - more than your average weekend warrior, but not interested in racing - somewhere in between ...

Local bikeshop wants to only change the cassette ratio or put on cheapest triple (and other components) money can buy. The bike is set up with Shimano Ultegra groupo and I'd kind of like to keep it at that quality.

My thought is that even though it's a bit pricey (approx $500 I've been quoted), it's still far less than a new bike of similar caliber. And my lazy legs would actually get on the bike and use it more ...

Suggestions? Should I be listening to the local shop? Or am I on the right track and stick to my plan? How do I go about finding a bikeshop that'll work with me?
 

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The answer really depends on what gearing changes you wish to make.. i.e. how much lower a low gear you want to have, and what gearing you have now. If for example you have a 53/39 chainset and a 12-23 rear cluster then swapping to a 12-27 cluster will give you reasonably lower gears at a minimal cost since all you would need would be a new cluster and possibly a new chain.

The next option is to switch to a 'compact' crank, which allows smaller chainrings and lower gearing. There are disadvantages to a compact, mainly that the larger difference between the chainrings means you need to make an extra shift on the rear derailleur when you shift chainrings.

The biggest problem with moving to a triple is that you probably have to replace the shifters as well as the cranks and both derailleurs. (I think some Ultergra 9sp double shifters will shift a triple, ask your LBS). Triples weigh more (about 1/4 lb) and may not shift as well as a double. But they do give the widest range of gearing.

You can use a gearing calculator like the one on Sheldon Brown's web site to examine different combinations.
 

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Scary Teddy Bear
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Yep

ericm979 said:
The answer really depends on what gearing changes you wish to make.. i.e. how much lower a low gear you want to have, and what gearing you have now. If for example you have a 53/39 chainset and a 12-23 rear cluster then swapping to a 12-27 cluster will give you reasonably lower gears at a minimal cost since all you would need would be a new cluster and possibly a new chain.

The next option is to switch to a 'compact' crank, which allows smaller chainrings and lower gearing. There are disadvantages to a compact, mainly that the larger difference between the chainrings means you need to make an extra shift on the rear derailleur when you shift chainrings.

The biggest problem with moving to a triple is that you probably have to replace the shifters as well as the cranks and both derailleurs. (I think some Ultergra 9sp double shifters will shift a triple, ask your LBS). Triples weigh more (about 1/4 lb) and may not shift as well as a double. But they do give the widest range of gearing.

You can use a gearing calculator like the one on Sheldon Brown's web site to examine different combinations.

I second the compact crank option, I have one on my cross bike and I am probably going to move it to my road bike......that would be a much cheaper option for you. Get a 50/34 crank, that should cover just about any hill or climb.
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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physasst said:
I second the compact crank option, I have one on my cross bike and I am probably going to move it to my road bike......that would be a much cheaper option for you. Get a 50/34 crank, that should cover just about any hill or climb.
Agree with the first reply with the options layed out. BTW, all Ultegra-9 shifters will shift either 2x or 3x.

Disagree with this post. Only you can know whether, "that should cover just about any hill or climb." Probably 50% of the US population couldn't get over an expressway overpass even with a triple.

For the triple you would need a crankset, bottom bracket, front derailleur, rear derailleur and chain to do it right. $500 sounds like a lot.

TF
 

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upgrade to 10 speed

Might be a good opportunity to upgrade to an Ultegra 10 speed triple. I'm enjoying mine thoroughly and changed after riding a compact crank for 2 seasons. The new generation of triples shifts really well and the 10 speed upgrade gives you better ergonomics on the shifters and better shifting action overall, plus the extra gear. Not a cheap option but you could always transfer the components over if you ever upgrade the frame.
 

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I've been doing some research on compact cranks for my girlfriends bike. It'll widen the range, and it might be a cheaper option than going the triple route. I haven't compared the prices.
 

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Scope Ebay

There are brand new triples on Ebay all the time. The newer models are available with external bottom brackets like Ultegra but for the same price you can get carbon if you so desire. Don't forget the front der. needs to be switched out as well. Your Ultegra WILL work with a triple too. If set up properly it should shift just as well as a double. I will argue that point with anyone! And yes, I run triple too. I seldom use the granny here in IL but I visit my retired folks in TN where I find immense need for the granny. They're not "cool" and racy but they are very comfortable to use and nowhere near an extra 1/4 pound. You can flame me all you want everyone. I'm used to it.
 
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