Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading about why people should get a double instead of a triple for a while. I have seen two reasons -
lighter - this is true, but not by enough to care about.
easier to maintain.

This morning I had to turn the barrel adjuster on my 2005 Ultegra triple to get crisper shifts. It has been about 1000 miles since I did it last. I have about 2500 miles on the clock in 10 months so far. This is about the same service level as my older ultegra racing bike. It isn't very hard, takes about 3 minutes if you own a stand.

What should I be looking for as far as higher maintenance on my triple going forward? I have seen lots of warnings, but no specifics.
 

· You're Not the Boss of Me
Joined
·
7,749 Posts
That's a lotta hooey, generally. Mostly some folks don't always have them well-adjusted or don't use the trim position (Shimano) very well. No special maintenance activities needed.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
Joined
·
6,493 Posts
Midwestern Biker Dude said:
I have been reading about why people should get a double instead of a triple for a while. I have seen two reasons -
lighter - this is true, but not by enough to care about.
easier to maintain.

This morning I had to turn the barrel adjuster on my 2005 Ultegra triple to get crisper shifts. It has been about 1000 miles since I did it last. I have about 2500 miles on the clock in 10 months so far. This is about the same service level as my older ultegra racing bike. It isn't very hard, takes about 3 minutes if you own a stand.

What should I be looking for as far as higher maintenance on my triple going forward? I have seen lots of warnings, but no specifics.
Your experience mimics mine. I run Tiagra and Ultegra triples and Ultegra and DA doubles. They are all wonderful.

The real reason against triples: Macho.

TF
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,248 Posts
jtolleson said:
That's a lotta hooey, generally. Mostly some folks don't always have them well-adjusted or don't use the trim position (Shimano) very well. No special maintenance activities needed.
I consider "well-adjusted" to be part of maintenance. Adjusting a triple is much more difficult/time-consuming than adjusting a double. If you don't adjust a triple perfectly, then there is a good chance you will drop the chain occassionally when you shift the front derailleur. Dropping the chain on a double almost never happens.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
Joined
·
6,493 Posts
johnny99 said:
I consider "well-adjusted" to be part of maintenance. Adjusting a triple is much more difficult/time-consuming than adjusting a double. If you don't adjust a triple perfectly, then there is a good chance you will drop the chain occassionally when you shift the front derailleur. Dropping the chain on a double almost never happens.
Totally disagree. Triple is no harder to adjust and I've dropped my chain at least as often (which may be once/year on average) on the doubles. - TF
 

· Windrider (Stubborn)
Joined
·
22,029 Posts
I agree 100%....

TurboTurtle said:
Your experience mimics mine. I run Tiagra and Ultegra triples and Ultegra and DA doubles. They are all wonderful.

The real reason against triples: Macho.

TF
any triple that needs extra maintenence or adjustment wasn't set up right to begin with.

Ride whatever is gonna make you enjoy the ride.

Len
 

· Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK, what are the differences?

johnny99 said:
I consider "well-adjusted" to be part of maintenance. Adjusting a triple is much more difficult/time-consuming than adjusting a double. If you don't adjust a triple perfectly, then there is a good chance you will drop the chain occassionally when you shift the front derailleur. Dropping the chain on a double almost never happens.
I don't think I understand. There are two little screws on the front derailleur on my bike that limit how far the chain can be moved. Once they are set correctly, you are done aren't you? I have never thrown a chain off the front derailleur once I had it setup correctly on any bike.

Can you explain how it is more difficult/time-consuming than adjusting a double? I hear it is more difficult, but no one says what the differences are, that is why I started this thread. It isn't more difficult when I do it. How about an example of something that is at least different than you might throw your chain? Could you assure us that you have done it with a reasonable quality piece of equipment and aren't just telling us common knowledge stuff (this is like a witness on Law and Order, are you an expert? :)).
 

· RoadBikeReview's Member
Joined
·
5,513 Posts
TurboTurtle said:
Your experience mimics mine. I run Tiagra and Ultegra triples and Ultegra and DA doubles. They are all wonderful.

The real reason against triples: Macho.

TF
Wow Uh. Tiagra Triples wonderful?
I had to tune my Tiagra every 50 miles. I had 4 different shops try to tune it. They'd tune it, and it'd run like a dream. For the first 15 miles. I live in Illinois. Central Illinois. Our hills are called "overpasses." In other words, you don't leave the third chainring. It confused the hell out of me: I stayed in 3rd chainring, didn't touch either derailleur for long stretches of time. Like one shift on the RD per 5 miles. FD, never.
Yet it'd RUB!
At around the 20 mile mark, on the downstroke of the crank, I'd hear that wonderful grind.
And it wouldn't stop. No matter what gear, no matter the trimming. First chainring, Second, Third. And it ground loud - one of my riding buddies heard me sneak up behind him from 20 feet back.
I learned to live with it. Then, one day, I went into the second chainring, cuz there were 40mph headwinds. God knows why I was on the bike, but I was (and it wasn't fun.). Except that I didn't go into the second. It dropped.
Now, I might mention something weird that it had been doing. I'd be in 3rd chainring, and say I wanted to run a different gear just for the hell of it. (Same ratio, 'cept smaller cassette ring (?) and smaller chainring.)
Well, here's how I shifted. Third Ring, hit a downshift. It drops to first ring. Clear over the second. Now if I hit the derailleur again, the damned thing drops off. Okay, so that's weird.
The way I found to work it out was this - REALLY fast double downshift, then a double upshift, then a single downshift. How I figured this out? I have no clue. Probably just trying to bounce the chain back and forth to stop it from derailling. But I got really good at it :p. I could do it in less than a second. As to what good this is with a real (i guess?) derailleur, I don't know. Madd Finger Skillz? Sure.
Now at this point, this no longer worked. I tried every combination that I could do. Basically, any combination up to 6 shifts long, I tried. Beyond 6 shifts in a row, the chain was already gone, either I or the shifter couldnt go that fast.
Going back to the ride with the 40mph headwind; I drop into second. Off goes the chain. On... what the hell... a HILL. A real hill, no less. In Illinois? Ironic, there's no other hills for probably a century in any direction. Anyways, It drops, I figure "oh well, whatever." Put it back on, go to shift again.
NOT HAPPENING!
The next 5 rides I went on, I came back with the entirety of my forearms covered in grease.

Upgraded to a 105 Triple. If I go on a really torquey ride, I can still knock the derailleur and make it grind. (I'm a torquey rider, I guess. No othe way to say it. When I still used toe clips, I would break the straps. Every ride. And back then I laughed at people in spandex. I was going on 16 mile rides. Well, actually, 8 mile commutes, usually 4 a day (8 mi one way, so 32 mi a day) Mashing along in 27th. On a 9-speed.)

In some gears, no matter whether I've been being my dumb self or not, it will grind. Shimano's users manual says something along the lines of "It will grind. If you don't like the grind, go to a different gear."
'Nuff said.

The 105, now that I've learned to be a bit smoother, less torquey, has been pretty satisfactory for a while.
However, riding doubles I've found their shifts to be smoother and more solid. I can't talk about 'reliability' or lack of maintenance on a double.
I can say that if you live in Illinois, don't get a triple. I regret it, and a lot of the guys on my racing team have said stuff to the extent of "A double is in fact faster and nicer. If you don't need the triple, don't go with it." No weightwise. 100g or whatever that you save with a Double over a Triple is a joke. Take a dump pre-ride and you save that, it's not an issue.

Basically, my experience is that Tiagra sucks. Go above Tiagra and you're fine. If possible go with a double.
-estone2
 

· Banned
Joined
·
6,492 Posts
Adjusted mine new in 2002, may do it again someday

Got to be at least 10,000 miles (I keep track of total mileage, but not by bike, and I have four). I set it up when I put it on and haven't touched it since. it's friction shifted, which might make a difference, but indexing a front derailleur seems like overkill to me anyway.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
Joined
·
6,493 Posts
estone2 said:
Wow Uh. Tiagra Triples wonderful?
I had to tune my Tiagra every 50 miles. I had 4 different shops try to tune it. They'd tune it, and it'd run like a dream. For the first 15 miles. I live in Illinois. Central Illinois. Our hills are called "overpasses." In other words, you don't leave the third chainring. It confused the hell out of me: I stayed in 3rd chainring, didn't touch either derailleur for long stretches of time. Like one shift on the RD per 5 miles. FD, never.
Yet it'd RUB!
At around the 20 mile mark, on the downstroke of the crank, I'd hear that wonderful grind.
And it wouldn't stop. No matter what gear, no matter the trimming. First chainring, Second, Third. And it ground loud - one of my riding buddies heard me sneak up behind him from 20 feet back.
I learned to live with it. Then, one day, I went into the second chainring, cuz there were 40mph headwinds. God knows why I was on the bike, but I was (and it wasn't fun.). Except that I didn't go into the second. It dropped.
Now, I might mention something weird that it had been doing. I'd be in 3rd chainring, and say I wanted to run a different gear just for the hell of it. (Same ratio, 'cept smaller cassette ring (?) and smaller chainring.)
Well, here's how I shifted. Third Ring, hit a downshift. It drops to first ring. Clear over the second. Now if I hit the derailleur again, the damned thing drops off. Okay, so that's weird.
The way I found to work it out was this - REALLY fast double downshift, then a double upshift, then a single downshift. How I figured this out? I have no clue. Probably just trying to bounce the chain back and forth to stop it from derailling. But I got really good at it :p. I could do it in less than a second. As to what good this is with a real (i guess?) derailleur, I don't know. Madd Finger Skillz? Sure.
Now at this point, this no longer worked. I tried every combination that I could do. Basically, any combination up to 6 shifts long, I tried. Beyond 6 shifts in a row, the chain was already gone, either I or the shifter couldnt go that fast.
Going back to the ride with the 40mph headwind; I drop into second. Off goes the chain. On... what the hell... a HILL. A real hill, no less. In Illinois? Ironic, there's no other hills for probably a century in any direction. Anyways, It drops, I figure "oh well, whatever." Put it back on, go to shift again.
NOT HAPPENING!
The next 5 rides I went on, I came back with the entirety of my forearms covered in grease.

Upgraded to a 105 Triple. If I go on a really torquey ride, I can still knock the derailleur and make it grind. (I'm a torquey rider, I guess. No othe way to say it. When I still used toe clips, I would break the straps. Every ride. And back then I laughed at people in spandex. I was going on 16 mile rides. Well, actually, 8 mile commutes, usually 4 a day (8 mi one way, so 32 mi a day) Mashing along in 27th. On a 9-speed.)

In some gears, no matter whether I've been being my dumb self or not, it will grind. Shimano's users manual says something along the lines of "It will grind. If you don't like the grind, go to a different gear."
'Nuff said.

The 105, now that I've learned to be a bit smoother, less torquey, has been pretty satisfactory for a while.
However, riding doubles I've found their shifts to be smoother and more solid. I can't talk about 'reliability' or lack of maintenance on a double.
I can say that if you live in Illinois, don't get a triple. I regret it, and a lot of the guys on my racing team have said stuff to the extent of "A double is in fact faster and nicer. If you don't need the triple, don't go with it." No weightwise. 100g or whatever that you save with a Double over a Triple is a joke. Take a dump pre-ride and you save that, it's not an issue.

Basically, my experience is that Tiagra sucks. Go above Tiagra and you're fine. If possible go with a double.
-estone2
I live in the Illinois flatlands and ride triples.

How can you think it is set up correctly if it rubs in the big ring (rubs what??) and jumps the center ring when shifting? This post shows why triples get a bad rep.

TF
 

· Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
I've been riding a 105 triple since 2002, and I can't say that I'm disappointed. I think there is some extra fine-tuning for the triple, just since you've got 3 gears instead of 2, but that's really a non-issue.

I appreciate my triple on the hills around where I live (there are some rather significant ones), but the only drawback versus a double that I really notice is this: If you're trying to build strength, use a double. No 30t ring option, so you have to suffer (and grow) with the 39t. If you have the smaller ring, you're eventually going to use it, and it'll probably be when you should be using the 39t.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
That's like saying DA 10 is harder to maintain than DA 9?! It's simply another chainring you have to account for while adjusting the front der. No more maintenance.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
Compact!!

I can't believe a discussion of a compact crank hasn't come up.
I switched 2 months ago and it has to be one of the most phenomenal additions/changes I ever done on a bike. What has been the biggest shock is the 50-23 gear. Its like this magical combination, that although it surely has a duplicate ratio in some form using a 53-39 double crank, it allows almost any hill 1/2 mile and under to be climbed with ease and speed. If the grade is low, then it flys up any length climb. When things get really steep, the 34 ring handles them all. A triple is now almost obsolete except for touring and those who do very long rides in very steep terrain.
 

· Steaming piles of opinion
Joined
·
10,520 Posts
Not a big deal, but the adjustment is a little bit trickier because of the wider chainline variances - at least on some bikes.

Basically, you get the cable tension close, go granny/big and set the low, big/little and set the high, then twiddle with the cable tension until the index and trim points are in convenient places. Simple enough.

Most probably don't have this problem. My wife's bike is the devil, maybe because it's a 650 wheel and short chainstays. Whatever the reason, the middle ring in the middle cog (ultegra 9) rubs no matter which trim is used. Change the tension to move it, and the shift to the opposite ring is compromised. Of course, that's her favorite gear, and never mind telling her that there are two additional ways to get the same ratio.

There are other reasons "against" triples, taken for what they are worth. Because they have a greater total chain wrap difference than a double, they have the long cage rear. That makes for a wider variance in chain tension, and some argue (and I agree) slightly less crisp shifting. For the same reason, they make more noise going over bumps. And because of the wider chainline difference, the front cage needs to be wider than on a double. That makes the front shifting a tiny bit slower, too. Do these things matter? Probably not, as we can get used to almost anything, and it all works fine. But someone first trying a triple after years of riding a double won't like these factors, even if they matter not-at-all.
 

· Windrider (Stubborn)
Joined
·
22,029 Posts
Absolutly not true........

stevecaz said:
I can't believe a discussion of a compact crank hasn't come up.
I switched 2 months ago and it has to be one of the most phenomenal additions/changes I ever done on a bike. What has been the biggest shock is the 50-23 gear. Its like this magical combination, that although it surely has a duplicate ratio in some form using a 53-39 double crank, it allows almost any hill 1/2 mile and under to be climbed with ease and speed. If the grade is low, then it flys up any length climb. When things get really steep, the 34 ring handles them all. A triple is now almost obsolete except for touring and those who do very long rides in very steep terrain.
IMO.

first thing is you don't need a compact to get a 50 tooth chain ring. I have them on both my doubles and my triples. For us non-racers, it gives amuch better gearing combination than a 52 or a 53 (although some would argue that the 53 is necessary to not spin out on long fast descents....me I coast above 37 MPH).

Secondly, and more importantly, a compact works really well with some cadences and is awful with others....dpending on the speeds you ride. I am a spinner 105+ normally.....a compact, at the speeds I normally ride at, causes me to be constantly crosschained and moving back and forth between the chainrings. It is a PIA. Run a gear chart comparing different cadences in MPH and you will see what I mean.

A triple may be obsolete for you at the cadence and speed you ride at, but it is hardly obsolete for all riders except toureres and long steep climb riders.(as you seem to imply).

Len
 

· Registered
Joined
·
611 Posts
johnny99 said:
I consider "well-adjusted" to be part of maintenance. Adjusting a triple is much more difficult/time-consuming than adjusting a double. If you don't adjust a triple perfectly, then there is a good chance you will drop the chain occassionally when you shift the front derailleur. Dropping the chain on a double almost never happens.
Errr, what? That may be your experience - it sure isn't mine. I have Ultegra10 triple, with about 1200 miles on it, and have never had to adjust it. Crisp, dead-on shifts every single time, up or down.

I did occasionally drop a chain off the big ring due to overshifting, but adjusting the limit screw fixed that - and it had nothing to do with it being a triple.

If you like riding a triple, by all means, do it. With the rolling hills here in SoCal, my knees are happy to have that little ring.:thumbsup:

Jim
 

· Downhill Juggernaut
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
I have two bikes, well three actually but the ghetto ride really doesn't count, one is a double and the other a triple. When I got the triple, I watched my LBS shop put it together. I noticed he took a little extra time to get the triple running smoothly. We talked about it while he was working and I learned more about chainlines and gearing than I ever thought possible. After that initial set up, the triple has run smoothly with little to no adjustment needed. Sure I threw the chain a couple of times in the beginning, but after I learned a little shifting discipline (like not slamming into the smallest ring while I was halfway through a climb) I haven't had any problems.

Now that I've jinxed myself, I think I'll go ride my bike.
 

· No Crybabies
Joined
·
11,692 Posts
Triple guide.

I've used lots of triples, road, mtb, tandem. They can be a pain in the butt, or work perfectly -- or anything in between. Here are my thoughts.

1. Sounds stupid, but make sure you have the right parts to begin with. The right bottom bracket (length), crank, rings, derailleur, cable, chain, and shifter. These parts are made to work with specific other parts.

2. Got to set it up right, or you'll always be chasing adjustments.

3. First, get the bottom bracket and crank/rings on right, and tight. I've seen problems because something wasn't tight, and the first indication was bad shifting.

4. Make sure the rings are indexed right. Most now have pins and ramps and work best in a particular position.

5. Get the front derailleur in the right position, before you even put the chain or cable on. I find it's usually best to position the outer cage plate so that it's parallel with the ring, and so that the outer cage plate barely, like 1 mm, clears the large ring. Move the FD back and forth by hand to see how it clears.

6. Put the chain on.

7. If you have barrel adjusters, start with them all the way in, so that all the adjustment makes the cable tighter.

8. Position the chain on the small ring and largest cog. Set the inner stop screw on the FD so that the chain barely touches the chain when you turn the crank. Just barely.

9. Make sure the shifter is fully in the low gear position. For an Ultrgra shifter, for example, keep clicking the small lever until it won't click any more.

10. Install the cable, and pull it tight before clamping it in the FD. It should be just tight enough that there is no slack. Clip the end of the cable, but leave enough cable so that you can reposition, if necessary, about 3" at this point.

11. Start pedaling the bike on stand. Shift the RD to the smallest cog, then the FD to the largest ring. Now adjust the FD outer stop screw so that the chain barely touches the chain when in the large ring/small cog position. Just barely.

12. If it won't readily shift to the large ring, check to make sure the outer stop screw isn't too far in, and if that's not it, then try taking up any slack there may be in the cable with the barrel adjuster. Move these things in very small amounts before trying again.

13. Try all sorts of gear combinations now, while pedaling on the stand. If it won't shift to the small ring, try loosening the inner stop screw just a bit, just enough so that it will shift. If you do, you may need to take up a tiny bit of slack in the cable, too.

14. It may not ever shift well in to the smallest ring if the RD is in the smaller 2 cog positions, or to the big ring if the RD is in the largest 2 cog positions. If it otherwise shifts well, leave it alone.

15. If it overshifts, throwing the chain to the inside or outside, the first thing to do is tighten the stop screws just a bit. If that screws up shifting then, you may need to look at adjusting the angle of the FD, possibly rotating it around the seat tube or braze on, so that the plates meet the rings at a slightly different angle. Different FDs are more or less sensitive to this. If you do this, you almost always need to loosen the cable and sort of start over, though, as tension on the cable will yank it down as soon as you loosen the FD clamp screw. This is one of those things that is the last resort, but may be necessary to experiment with to get thing working well for good. One indication I've seen for requiring an angle adjustment is if the FD shifts fantastic one direction, but crappy the other. That's because it's getting "help" from the bad angle going one way, but hurting the ability to shift going the other way. You kind of just need to try things and watch carefully what's happening, where the FD cage plates are contacting the chain.

16. I almost always run just a slight bit of chain contact in the big/small or small/big combinations, because this buys just a little bit of insurance from throwing the chain. I fugure that I don't spend a whole lot of time in either of those combinations, anyway.

17. A really worn out chain or dirty chain might screw things up, too. That's a cheap fix, unless you have to also replace a cassette, and the box says "Campagnolo" on it.

As to the triple being more difficult than double controversy, I'll weigh in on the definitely so, vote. It certainly is more difficult to set up a triple. However, that does not mean that it's not worthwhile to have one over a double, or that it can't be easily done with some experience.

About the only thing it should be necessary to do to maintain is keep the cable taut, especially as it stretches in the first few weeks. Don't over do it, though. Then, periodically check to make sure that everything is tight and aligned, and that the cage plate is the right distance over the large ring.

I found bad shifting caused from worn out, frayed, cables, too. I've had them fray inside the shifter housing, causing lots of aggravation before I figured it out. I had horrible shifting one time that I could not diagnose, until I had the bike upside down and could see that the shifter cable had sawed completely through the bottom bracket plastic cable guide, so that the cable was running right on the frame. Not good.

Also, learn to shift, and realize that even these expensive, modern integrated shifters are not fool proof. If you overly rush it or slam things around, expect to have more problems. Lighten up on the pedaling while shifting, and then firmly and thoughtfully move the lever, paying attention to what's going on. If you routinely wait to the last second, when you're standing and about the fall over, then slam the chain into the small ring, expect to have some problems once in a while.

I probably missed something, but I think that's about everything I know on the subject, and it works well for me. All that said, I still prefer riding my Fixie -- never a thought of shifting, just stand or sit.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top