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I have a new Trek 1600 and it came with a triple crank. I have only used the lowest crank 2x in the past 6 months. I force myself to work in the middle crank when assending hills in my area. However, I will need it for my White Mountains ride I am planning this summer.

I guess I have 3 questions-

What would it cost to switch to a compact double? Would it be worth the cost and efforts?

Do entry level bikes normally come with triples? I never see high end bikes with them..

Is it a good thing that I dont use my lowest crank? Yes I work harder up hills but I want my fitness to improve...

Thanks-
 

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Your Trek triple may have a 42t middle ring. If so, you may not really need a 34t compact but may consider a traditional 39t double. However, if you will need a 30t triple like you said, well... you need a 30t triple. ;)
 

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It is an expensive to change. You will need a different bottom bracket and a new left shifter. You can use the long cage derailleur and the triple front D. There is no reason to change out the equipment since there is not enough weight advantage on a 1600 to make it worth it. When you tire of the bike and are ready for a shiny new one, that is when you should make the change.
 

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#1 My $15,000 road bike came with a triple stock so I suspect that high end bikes do indeed come with them.

#2 No harm in changing to a compact but what is the rush? As you noted, you think you will need it this summer.

#3 Has the triple crank ever created any problems for you?
 

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If it were me, I'd leave the triple on and not use the granny ring. Push yourself to ride in the 42, and save your money for a new bike down the road. Besides, you may want that triple in the mountains later this summer. Better to have it and not need it than the other way around..

FWIW, you can use a triple shifter with a double crankset. Mine is set up this way and it works fine, at least with the Ultegra 9-spd shifters. I can't speak for other makes or models.
 

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- Why chance suffering needlessly in the White Mountains? If you're at the end of your rope on a 34, a 30 is a godsend. As said, decide after the trip.

- Triples aren't popular right now, but they will be again. When compacts were called "110 BCD touring cranks," everybody hated them. Once renamed "compacts", they became all the rage. :D
 

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Can you swap that 30 for a 26 or 24?

I have triples on all my bikes except the singlespeed, and I'm never going back to a double--I'm an old guy and I live in the Sierra Nevada, with 7000-foot passes all around.
I never have bothered to see if this will work with "modern" road drivetrains, but my Atlantis and Rambouillet (both with mountain bike rear derailleurs) are running 46-36-24 and 48-34-26 rings. There's not much difference between your 34-tooth middle ring and 30-tooth inner, and if you're going to have a triple, you might as well have a real granny gear when you need it. It's a cheap and easy swap, but I'm not sure it will work with your derailleurs.
I'm with everybody else on switching to a compact double. I might put a compact on a new bike, but it's not worth the time and expense to change over, and the only downside to a triple is a few ounces of weight.
 

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My $0.02 worth

If you don’t need the low gearing, and you want a double crank, switch to a 53/39. A triple is designed to be used for all ranges of cycling, and does a good job of it. A compact is a cheep option to get more mountain gears without spending all the money to change to a triple. I have just changed my 53/39 on my De Rosa to a compact 50/34 for a one week cycle through the Pyrenees. After one week of cycling in flat terrain with the compact, I much prefer the triple I have on my Litespeed touring bike. If it weren’t for the weight & size difference between my two bikes, I would have taken my Litespeed to the Pyrenees and not changed the crank on my De Rosa. Cycling at 30 to 34 kph I am for ever jumping between my 50 and 34 rings to avoid extreme cross chaining. Due to the compact frame of my De Rosa (short chain stay) I have three gears (12-14) that I can’t use with my 34 ring due to chain rub against the 50 ring.

That’s my 2 Cents worth on Compact. Maybe after my trip through the Pyrenees I’ll change my mind, but I’m planning on ordering a new set of chain rings for my 53/39 crank and putting it back onto my bike when I get back from the Pyrenees.

Ride on!
 

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.02 cent

My Trek 1600 '07 came with a Shimano 105 triple which is a 50/39/30, as for switching to a double you can use the same BB. The 105 triple uses the same BB as the 105 double. As for you shifters those will also work with a double.
 

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Muaythaibike said:
I have a new Trek 1600 and it came with a triple crank. I have only used the lowest crank 2x in the past 6 months. I force myself to work in the middle crank when assending hills in my area. However, I will need it for my White Mountains ride I am planning this summer.

I guess I have 3 questions-

What would it cost to switch to a compact double? Would it be worth the cost and efforts?

Do entry level bikes normally come with triples? I never see high end bikes with them..

Is it a good thing that I dont use my lowest crank? Yes I work harder up hills but I want my fitness to improve...

Thanks-
Check yer triple- if it's a 53-42-30, just swap out the 42 ring for a 39. you'll get the best of both worlds- slightly lower gearing (low enough to make a difference) and you still have the granny when you need it.

Triples aren't popular/cool with the racing crowd because they don't need them. For average non-racers like me, they're a decent insurance policy. There are plenty of high-end custom bikes with triples.

is it good that you don't use yer granny gear? Well, it's not bad... Unless yer straining yourself to the point of collapse, you are probably fine. In the years I've had my Rivendell, I have yet to use the granny gear, but I'm always glad it's there, just in case.
 

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If you want to switch to a double, you can use your current shifters. But I agree with the other posters, you should keep the triple for your trip. The triple is the best choice for one's first foray into big climbs or into a new area.

BTW, they are called "chainrings" not "cranks". The crank is the part that holds the chainrings, the pedals and attaches (or on modern external BB cups, turns in) the bottom bracket bearings. There is only one crank per bike, although it has two arms.

You should avoid the cross-chain gears, which on a triple are the small chainring and the outer two (or three) cogs, the large chainring and the largest two cogs, and the middle chainring and the large cog. When I had a triple I used that last combination anyhow, on my bike it didn't make too much noise.

If you are doing a big climbing ride or series of rides, you should practice climbing using a low gear. When you use a low gear you put less stress on your leg muscles, so they are fresher for the next climb or day. By "low" I mean just a little lower- a gear lower than the one that you can just make it up the climb on, or if you have the choice between slightly too high a gear and slightly too low, choose the lower one. Spinning just a little faster can make a noticeable reduction in fatigue. Alternate that with climbing as you are doing now (trying to stay in the middle ring).
 

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For my go anywhere road bike I cobbled a custom triple out of sugino xd600 cranks and FSA chainrings.
The gearing is 50/36/26. The 50t is FSA, 36T shimano mtb chainring and sugino 26T.
I have ultegra 9speed STI, ultegra triple FD, 12-27 ultegra cassete and shimano deore DX (yes! old 7spd stuff,mtb short cage). I was surprised that old mtb rear worked with the 9spd sti.
So far no problems at all with shifting the front and the rear.
Some may not like triple, but for heavy people with weak knees, it's a Godsend!
 
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