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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting ready to order a new Seven titanium bike and am trying to get some input from those of you that have done some touring. I already have a mountain bike (Specialized Epic) for single track and a road bike (Felt Z series) for straight road riding, but I want something that will work great for long gravel races/rides and possibly some touring on varied terrain with big climbs, perhaps loaded down with a moderate amount of gear. I haven't done the touring thing yet, but would love to be able to. I'm struggling with the decision about compact double vs a triple for the most versatility. I already have a SRAM 11-32 rear cassette that I could use, but SRAM doesn't make a triple. I have the compact double on my mountain bike, and love it, but I'm afraid I won't have enough gears for long, sustained climbs on a loaded bike. I'd also like to have something that would be easy for a small bike shop in the middle of nowhere to fix. I'm trying to learn more about bike repair, but have a ways to go.
I'm a 53 yo female, love riding off the beaten path, and have it in my head that loading up my bike taking off for a few days (or more) would be fun to do one day soon.

Recommendations?
 

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given your touring aspirations, i think the triple is the way to go. my mechanic who does loooong touring rides (think, denver to minnepolis) geared his tourer with a triple that had a 48-36-26 ratio, iirc.
 

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Two wheels=freedom!
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For a jack of all trades set-up, I would go with a triple. You might want to think of something that has a low in the mid 20's, a mid in the 30's, and a high in the upper 40's/low 50's. I would think that your 11-32 is a good bit in the rear. You will need something akin to your MTB rear dear, you will need a long cage to cover that many gears. Ck out Grant and the crew at Rivbike.com have to say about gearing. I kinda avoid loading my tourer up and use a B.O.B. trailer for when I am looking to move a load. They are easy to take on and off and can handle a ton (well like 70 lbs) of stuff. When full loaded, I really appreciate the triple when going up long hills. YMMV
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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Yes I agree, get a triple.

My first real road bike was a tourer with triple chainrings and even though I rarely used the little ring it was great to have it there. I passed many people pushing their bike up the hill while I was spinnin' like crazy!
 

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Triple, just because you have it does mean you are obligated to use it. But when you need it, you will be glad to have it. I have not done any touring but my commuter bike is a triple and when I haul a load of groceries up the hill to my house (4.5% about 1/2 mile) after a long ride or week of training the granny ring is nice. May also permit a tighter cassette as well.
 

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I am getting ready to order a new Seven titanium bike and am trying to get some input from those of you that have done some touring. I already have a mountain bike (Specialized Epic) for single track and a road bike (Felt Z series) for straight road riding, but I want something that will work great for long gravel races/rides and possibly some touring on varied terrain with big climbs, perhaps loaded down with a moderate amount of gear. I haven't done the touring thing yet, but would love to be able to. I'm struggling with the decision about compact double vs a triple for the most versatility. I already have a SRAM 11-32 rear cassette that I could use, but SRAM doesn't make a triple. I have the compact double on my mountain bike, and love it, but I'm afraid I won't have enough gears for long, sustained climbs on a loaded bike. I'd also like to have something that would be easy for a small bike shop in the middle of nowhere to fix. I'm trying to learn more about bike repair, but have a ways to go.
I'm a 53 yo female, love riding off the beaten path, and have it in my head that loading up my bike taking off for a few days (or more) would be fun to do one day soon.

Recommendations?
You're right to be concerned about not having enough gears for loaded touring without a triple. It's a very different kind of riding, carrying any amount of gear with any sort of climbing, and you'll need the extra gearing (not just the range) that a triple gives you.
 

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beware as not all triples are equal. most road triples are 52/42/30. If you really intend to do self contained touring in the mountains, this is not what you want. Note what Dnice said about his friend. That is a rig made for the mountains. My Fargo which is dedicated to self contained touring has a similar gear combination. Check out adventure cycle organization.
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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To give you an idea of how low some bikes go, my tourer (700c) came with 46/36/26 rings and a 13-30 cassette. The crankset was Shimano Deore, actually designed for mountain bikes.
I changed to a 48t big ring and 12-28 and liked that better.

Another quick point that just popped into my head: with triple chainrings and wide cassettes chain wear can be a problem because you can get extreme chain angles.
Not a huge deal, but I try to limit myself to only using around 6 cogs with each ring.
 

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Seeking shades of grey
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A lot of people say get the triple, but I personally would go for the compact unless your touring is specifically taking you lengthwise along a mountain ridge. The smoother shifting of a double is worth the decreased range in gears in my book.
 

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Triple.

I'm of two minds about the gear combinations, and it somewhat depends on what your immediate plans are.

30/32 is a really low gear already. If you don't have immediate plans to load a bunch of stuff on your bike and tour, I think a stock triple (30-39-50 lately, I think) would serve you fine. Per Sheldon Brown, you can have as small as a 24t granny on one of these cranks. BCD is typically 130/74, which is a little weird, actually, and does give you a 38t smallest middle ring, for a pretty big shift from the granny to middle ring.

Velo Orange makes some attractive 110/74 cranks. That's nice because you can go to a 34t middle ring, like a compact. Think of it as being like adding an extra super-low climbing range to the compacts you're already accustomed to.

There are also a couple ways to do even lower. There are still some 94/58 cranks around. These will take a 20t ring.

Of course a mountain bike crank (104/64) is an option. That lets you go to a 22t small ring, and chainrings are very common.

For myself, I'd probably be leaning toward the V-O crank. I think that compact +granny would go low enough and I could gear the top two rings to match my other road bikes.

EDIT: FWIW, while I don't tour, I've used panniers to commute in my hilly city and used them to haul a bunch of stuff from San Francisco to Santa Cruz back in college. I really appreciate having low enough gears not to have to get out of the saddle on a bike with a bunch of extra crap strapped to it.
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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A lot of people say get the triple, but I personally would go for the compact unless your touring is specifically taking you lengthwise along a mountain ridge. The smoother shifting of a double is worth the decreased range in gears in my book.
It was 20 years ago so I don't remember the details but I experimented to improve the shifting with my triple setup.
I cut the chain shorter so that it wouldn't even fit on the big/big combination. I always watched what I was doing, only used about 5 cogs (or less) with each ring (as I mentioned before) and never had a problem.
I changed to a medium cage RD from the long cage. The medium worked great as I remembered to stay within its' range.

The shifting was better, crisper and faster, but not tremendously better. Noticeable, not night and day difference, I'd guess maybe 20% better.
And I ran it that way for a long time, worked fine.
I'm not suggesting a newbie try it, though.
 

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A wheelist
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A triple for sure Terrig. And be realistic in the ring sizes too. Who really needs a 52t ring for touring? Heck with a 50/14 I can do 30mph downhill. If it was me I'd be custom building something like a 46/34/24 with 13-32. In fact that's what I have on my mountain bike and I can average 18mph on smooth dirt roads. You won't be doing averages like that with any kind of touring load. That way you're not wasting precious gears.
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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And just to throw this out there.

When I wasn't touring (IOW 99% of the time) I put a 12-21 on the hub and had nice close spacing on all the gears. Seemed like I always had the perfect gear for the situation.
With the granny I didn't need a big cog on the back when she wasn't loaded down.

At my age, looking cool in the eyes of others means less than nothing. Triples Rule!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Herbie ...sounds like your Fargo is set up to what I'd like to have the ability to do. I will also be doing longish, unloaded gravel rides, but I have just gotten rid of my carbon cx bike to order this one for more versatility. Open to more suggestions! (Without getting TOO technical!) Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Randy--thinking that no matter what my gearing is I will look way cooler riding my bike up a hill vs pushing it anyway! (Plus, I do have a very nice road bike and mountain bike that are way cool already--wanting this one to be my utility "take me to far away places off the beaten path" bike!)
 
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