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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I see how much people are willing to spend to upgrade their rigs to the latest 10spd technology. I wonder at what point do you just go to a triple chainring.

Here is my thinking, and please poke holes in this, you won't hurt my feelings.

1.) On a double, when you add one ring in the back, get two additional gear choices. Add one ring in the front and you get 9 (or 8 or 7) more gear choices.

2.) If the goal is to have closer gears to have the correct cadence for every speed, why aren't triples more popular?

3.) Say you want 18 gear choices you could go with a 2 x 9, which is 11 rings or a 3 x 6 which is only 9 rings. Wouldn't the 3 x 6 weigh less, and have less "ghost shifts and/or adjusting" due to gears not being as tightly clustered?

Recently, I have been riding a 1990 Specialized Sirrus with a double chainring (52 and 42) and a 7 speed cassette. I have found that I rarely need to shift out of the 42...and when I do it is often due to front derailleur chain rub. I was riding a bike with a 2 x 9 and I really haven't missed the extra gears. It seems that 14 gear choices are more than adaquate for my needs right now, I guess if at sometime I make a giant leap to competitive cycling it may be different.

Anyone else not see a whole lot of benefit from an extra gear in the cassette?
 

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gearing choices

Shift patterns are the main reason but I doubt that most new riders and lots of long-time riders really understand them. Does anyone still remember and know how to shift a half-step + granny?A triple would add lots of complexity to shifting patterns. A triple doesn't necessarily add 7-8 more gears, more likely 3-4 useable ones.

I've been adding more cogs to each end as I get older and I use them. In TX it's mostly flat with an occassional short steep climb. I started racing with a 52-42 and a 14-18, 6-speed added a 53 and 13, 7-speed added a 12. 8-speeds and no more racing went to 53-39 and 13-21, 9-speed added a 23. I just upgraded to 10 speed DA (cranks, cassette and levers only) and now have a 12-23.

My current set-up is easy to remember - big ring and 1-8, little ring and 3-10 cogs. the 39-14 and 53-19 is the same and used depending on the upcoming terrain.

Changes don't mean a complete new component group. A current set of wheels started life as a 7-speed cassette, now it's a 10. The hubs are 17 years old and still work just fine. When things start to wear out, replace and upgrade. Talk to guys who have been around awhile to do it as economically as possible. I but 3-4 new components a year so every 3-4
years I get completely updated. Then it's time to start over again.
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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As far as "not a whole lot of benefit from an extra gear in a cassette," you may be right; I don't really notice the difference between my 9- and 10-speed systems, except that my 12-25 has less multi-tooth changes.

The question has to be "what do you want your shifting system to do?" For most road racers, it's not "Have the widest range of gears possible," or "have the most gear choices possible," but "shift accurately, quickly, and reliably, even under load. Have closely-spaced gear choices, if possible."

"Half-stepping" does indeed give you the most possible gear choices, but it ain't quick to deal with. Shifting both derailleurs every time you'd like to change gears is just a pain.

I'm not mechanically inclined enough to describe -why- effectively, but shifting the front derailleur -- especially downshifting it -- is a big production. Rowing through the cogs is not. Think of it more like the "coarse" and "fine" adjustments on a telescope or microscope.

Another thing to point out is the more gears in the front, the bigger the Q factor, and a lot of riders don't like that.
 

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handsomerob said:
1.) On a double, when you add one ring in the back, get two additional gear choices. Add one ring in the front and you get 9 (or 8 or 7) more gear choices.
You cannot simply multiply the number of chainrings by the number of cogs to determine how many gear choices there are due to duplications that occur as well as unavailable combinations because of cross gearing. At best adding a triple granny gear may gain you 3 or 4 additional gears and a bit more low end range.

handsomerob said:
2.) If the goal is to have closer gears to have the correct cadence for every speed, why aren't triples more popular?
If not properly adjusted triples do not shift as well doubles. Many people simply never ride terrain where they would need a triple. Watch riders at a charity event and even with a triple they end up walking steep hills because they do not understand how their gears work or lack the skill to ride a steep hill even with the proper gearing. Most importantly triples do not look cool.

handsomerob said:
3.) Say you want 18 gear choices you could go with a 2 x 9, which is 11 rings or a 3 x 6 which is only 9 rings. Wouldn't the 3 x 6 weigh less, and have less "ghost shifts and/or adjusting" due to gears not being as tightly clustered?
Well with a 15 year old bike weight should not be too much of a concern. The cogs on a 10 speed cassette are thinner than the cogs on a 6 speed freewheel. A 10 speed chain is thinner than one you would use on a 6 speed drivetrain. You will have plenty of adjusting to do with a 6 speed cog as you struggle to find the proper gear.

handsomerob said:
I have found that I rarely need to shift out of the 42...and when I do it is often due to front derailleur chain rub. I was riding a bike with a 2 x 9 and I really haven't missed the extra gears. It seems that 14 gear choices are more than adaquate for my needs right now
If what you have is more than adequate then you are all set, go ride your bike. If you choose to buy new and currently find yourself never getting out of your small ring then get something with at least a 39t small ring which is stock on most new bikes. Then buy a cassette that starts with a 13t or 14t cog rather than the stock 12t or 11t first position cog. Dont get marketed into buying a compact crank with an 11-23 cassette. I like a closely spaced cassette so I can maintain my chosen cadence for 90% of my ride so a 9 speed or 10 speed cassette is valuable for me.
 

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A general thought.

Much of the latest technology bought by recreational riders was developed for racing use. This is a great thing as far as reliability, weight and looks is concerned. But it's easy to forget that racers, especially on the pro-level, tailor their gear combinations to the immediate task at hand. They look at the race- or stage profile and then pick a set of rings and cogs they think will give them an advantage that day. In a stage race, this could mean that rings and cogs are changed out daily.

Recreational riders rarely do that. They tend pick a gear combination which they think will work all year under all riding conditions. It's a question of expense, of trying to avoid the hassle of constantly changing out components, or both. Out of this sometimes comes the puzzle of "what gears would be better" without the qualifier "for what?" - and the answer to that is always a compromise.
 

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Rob,

Back away from the keyboard. You are getting dangerously close to falling into the evil abyss known as the RetroGrouch.

It starts when you can't find any logical reason people are paying big bucks for the latest improved technology that only provides minimal improvement and shortened lifespan. :D
 

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yeah next you will be complaining about having gears, or a freewheel... be a fixie junkie, wearing no helmet dreads, and your pants rolled up to knicker legnth...

no offence to you guys who meet those descriptions, i am sure you could all kick my butt..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
bigrider said:
Rob,

Back away from the keyboard. You are getting dangerously close to falling into the evil abyss known as the RetroGrouch.

It starts when you can't find any logical reason people are paying big bucks for the latest improved technology that only provides minimal improvement and shortened lifespan. :D
Wow, I didn't realize that my condition could develop into RetroGrouch... :eek:

I have a passion for cycling, and most everything I know now came from someone smarter and/or more experienced than me. I am the guy at the meeting that isn't afraid to ask a potentially "dumb" question if I really don't understand something. This may have been one of those dumb questions, but I have to say I've learned something today.
 
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