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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll admit I haven't been around as long as some, but I've never seen a triple function perfectly smooth. Many will shift OK to all gears, but with at least some roughness/noise at the extremes (e.g. big ring with largest 1-2 gears, small ring with smallest 1-2 gears). Most wrenches, shop books (inc. Shimano tech docs), and almost all serious cyclists I know seem to think this is normal. For those who are convinced a triple is the way to go (e.g. my better half), does the Holy Grail of a "perfect" triple really exist?
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Oldteen said:
I'll admit I haven't been around as long as some, but I've never seen a triple function perfectly smooth. Many will shift OK to all gears, but with at least some roughness/noise at the extremes (e.g. big ring with largest 1-2 gears, small ring with smallest 1-2 gears). Most wrenches, shop books (inc. Shimano tech docs), and almost all serious cyclists I know seem to think this is normal. For those who are convinced a triple is the way to go (e.g. my better half), does the Holy Grail of a "perfect" triple really exist?
I probably avoid the big/big and little/little (though not intentionally) simply because the are seldom necessary, but I certainly run the center ring across all nine. - TF
 

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Sure there are, but first you need to obey some basic rules...

you should NOT do this....
....(e.g. big ring with largest 1-2 gears, small ring with smallest 1-2 gears)....

there are other combinations that give you similar/same gearing without "crossgearing". It is a classic no-no. Now you know. Know.

It is worth the time to systematically figure out which shifting patterns and gear combos give you a gradual, step wise gear range. Write it down. Memorize it. You can always deviate a cog or two if you are feeling lazy/whatever, but don't do what you have been doing. It ain't the triple, its your shifting. Now you know.



Oldteen said:
I'll admit I haven't been around as long as some, but I've never seen a triple function perfectly smooth. Many will shift OK to all gears, but with at least some roughness/noise at the extremes (e.g. big ring with largest 1-2 gears, small ring with smallest 1-2 gears). Most wrenches, shop books (inc. Shimano tech docs), and almost all serious cyclists I know seem to think this is normal. For those who are convinced a triple is the way to go (e.g. my better half), does the Holy Grail of a "perfect" triple really exist?
 

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campy works best...

Campy's system provides better control of the FD with 7 clicks (of 12 available) that are all identical to execute shifting and trimming. The is no slam from the bigger rings to smaller ones and no "soft" or "partial" clicking to trim. A click is a click. It takes a full sweep of the lever to (5 clicks) to shift from the little ring to the middle ring and 2 more to reach the big ring.

I've found the Campt FD to be very easy to setup. No need for an expert mechanic with the magic touch to keep one working properly. If the little middle ring shift doesn't execute properly with one sweep of the lever, it usually means 1/4 turn of additional tension is needed on the cable adjuster.

If you analyze the chainline you should not use the the little ring with the smallest two cogs, the middle ring with the largest (but the smallest is OK) and the big ring should not be used with largest two cogs. If you go beyond these boundaries, expect some noise and accelerated wear.

The other mistake that Shimano has corrected and Campy hasn't is using a nonuniform 52/42/30 instead of a uniform 53/39/30. Personally, I like an even lower 53/39/28 for the equivalent of an extra cog on the low end. That's why I use FSA cranks.
 

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Can you define "perfect triple" for me?

What are you trying to accomplish? There's no point in being able to access all of the possible gear combinations without some roughness or chain rubbing. The range of gear combinations from easiest to hardest pedaling is available without using the cross over gear ranges.

If your objective is to ride your bike, then I'd say that a "perfect triple" does exist. If your objective is to find fault with triples, then I'd say that's true also.
 

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utegra 10 speed

...seems to work really well. I moved from a compact double to the new triple 10 speed and am very happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
elvisVerde said:
you should NOT do this....
....(e.g. big ring with largest 1-2 gears, small ring with smallest 1-2 gears)....

there are other combinations that give you similar/same gearing without "crossgearing". It is a classic no-no. Now you know. Know.

It is worth the time to systematically figure out which shifting patterns and gear combos give you a gradual, step wise gear range. Write it down. Memorize it. You can always deviate a cog or two if you are feeling lazy/whatever, but don't do what you have been doing. It ain't the triple, its your shifting. Now you know.
Did you read my post? I did not ask about choice of gear combos. I did not advocate extreme gearing combos. I did not ask if cross-gearing is advisable- we all know it's generally not. Ride alot, esp. MTB XC racing, and you realize that it can happen. (Ned Overend's well-known book even advises doing it in limited situations).
My question still stands. Does the Perfect Triple exist?
I can only assume that you do not believe that it does not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Attended a large (50+ people and multiple instructors) regional bike repair class earlier this week and the question of setting-up triples was raised. Quickly became clear that most wrenches dislike triples because:
1. Slightly harder to set-up
2. Chain noise with cross-gearing happens on almost all triples
3. Triples tend to be purchased by inexperienced cyclists who seem reluctant to accept that cross-gearing is wrong (i.e. as expressed by one newbie- I paid for a 27 (or 30) speed bike & I expect to use all the gears I paid for !?!).

Anyway, the 4 most senior wrenches (over 60 yrs total exp- and none from my LBS, BTW) agreed that in the best tune possible some chatter with the bigring & the 2-largest cogs is very common in majority of triples (inc. Ult & DA equipped bikes). Some lesser bikes even chatter on the 3rd cog despite best efforts at adjustment.
These grey-beards ALL ride doubles, inc. the oldest wrench who (FWIW) believes that using a higher-toothed cassette (inc. MTB cassette) is better than going to a compact double. He would not admit this to the shop owner who sells alt of compacts.
So, at least for this bunch, the "perfect" triple does not exist.

BTW- I currently ride a triple, but my next road bike will be a double (likely a compact). My wife is committed to a triple.

And to answer the obvious question- My 105-equipped Cannondale triple chatters a bit in the big-ring with 2 largest cogs, and in the small-ring with the smallest cog. Middle ring (using STI-trim) is fully functional with ALL cogs (i.e. chain noise at all, and visible clearance between the chain and FD in all cogs). I fully agree with prev posts that cross-gearing on a roadie is neither advisable or necessary. From some of the cyclists' comments during this repair class cross-gearing remains a common practice (with many drivetrains suffering a premature demise as a result).
 

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Like the aged politician said "Depends" :rolleyes:

When I started taking this seriously again - well, sort of seriously - I started with a triple. Yeah - 'old' Ultegra 9 sp.

It's most annoying habit was when trying to trim out on the middle ring as I moved to larger rear cogs, it would decide to put me on the smallest ring. Not a lot of fun.

Whatever, after a year, I bought a double set-up and the levers, which had never impressed me for their control of my triple, seemed to buck up immensely and have operated flawlessly for the last 6,000 or thereabouts.

OTOH, my ride buddy, who buys swag off Thiefbay and whose bike is only 'maintained' when it gets taken to his LBS, gets great results from his 3 x 9 Campag, with Centaur shifters - so it gets hard to argue.

My wife rides an Ultegra triple bike which is really a 30/42 double with a fancy added extra - I can't recall when she's last gotten onto her 52 on the road. But she loves it all dearly and if it gets her out riding, I ain't about to mess with it.

Cross chaining - again, Depends :cool: My Campag riding buddy often goes 52 x biggest cog (26, I think) and it doesn't seem to mind. I'd not have done it on my old Ultegra, but on the double Ultegra, on a frame with long-ish chainstays, I can actually use all 18 gears without chainring scraping on small/small or feeling like I shouldn't on large/large. That's with 38/50 x 13-26 BTW.

As to all Campag's trimming positions, I have my old bike set up so I don't have to trim the front der for any of the 9 rear cog positions on either ring.

But, I have a unique and cheap mechanical set-up arrangement - I do it myself ;)

I'd sum up by reckonning that if you need a triple because of where you live and/ride, go ahead, fit one and learn the nuances of setting it up. If you don't need one - kind of extravegant in central Florida, for example - why not just ride a double? Simplicity has its own reward, doesn't it?

D
 

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C-40 said:
The other mistake that Shimano has corrected and Campy hasn't is using a nonuniform 52/42/30 instead of a uniform 53/39/30. Personally, I like an even lower 53/39/28 for the equivalent of an extra cog on the low end. That's why I use FSA cranks.
Actually I believe that the 10-speed D-A and Ultegra have 52-39-30 rings and the 105 has 50-39-30 rings. I'm thinking that Campagnolo cranksets come in either 53-42-30 or 50-40-30. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Al
 

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Al1943 said:
Actually I believe that the 10-speed D-A and Ultegra have 52-39-30 rings and the 105 has 50-39-30 rings. I'm thinking that Campagnolo cranksets come in either 53-42-30 or 50-40-30. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Al
I'm using the Campy 50-40-30 paired to a Phil Wood BB. Damn near perfect. OBTW, I replaced the 30 for a 26, too many killer climbs around here. :D
 

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merckxman
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Ultegra for sure...

...is 52-39-30. Great system.
Al1943 said:
Actually I believe that the 10-speed D-A and Ultegra have 52-39-30 rings and the 105 has 50-39-30 rings. I'm thinking that Campagnolo cranksets come in either 53-42-30 or 50-40-30. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Al
 

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I have both Campy(10 speed) and Ultegra (9 speed) and find that for a triple, Campy is much easier to live with. As C-40 said, there are more options for trimming, and that just works better for me. The Shimano sometimes jumps down to the small chainring when I try to trim. I work on my own bikes, and I just can't seem to get the Shimano to trim like I would prefer.
My crank is an FSA 30/39/53 and I ride the bike like a double, and only use the triple as a bailout for the really tough climbs. For me, the Campy w/ 30/39/53 is as close to a perfect triple as possible.
 

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If your shimano triple FD doesn't trim properly, you may have too much tension on the cable. The cable should be just a bit slack when it is in the small ring. It's possible to set it up with tension in the cable and it'll shift ok most of the time, but it will shift harder than a properly set up double and it won't trim right. Undo the cable and start over.
 

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You may be right on that as I have some tension on it. It is more of a balancing act as the tension also determines where the chain is at the index stops on the other rings, and depending on that, you can encounter chain rub in certain combinations. This is easier to handle with Campy, in my opinion. I am not saying Campy is better, I just like the smaller trim jumps in the index shifting.
 

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The perfect triple does exist, my commuter has it. Absolutely no grinding in the extreme cross chaining combos, at least on the workstand. Barcon shifters (front lever is friction) and 46cm chainstays. 11-32 cassette and 26-36-46 crankset. This is likely of no help for you.
 
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