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jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
edited August 2008 in Road beginners
Been on these forums over last few months regarding triples, compacts, bikes etc getting ready to do the Raid Pyranees next year.

I let an LBS convince me that I didn't need a triple today and that a compact and 12-27 would be enough to get me over all 15 cols (including Tourmalet) on Modane 5.2 (08).

So I have bought it and pick it up later in the week.

I hope I don't run out of gears!


  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    If you are very fit you will be fine - good luck!
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    very fit! Thats interesting, his perspective was that I would need to be unfit not to cope on a compact with a 12-27!

    Now I am worried!
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Sorry to worry you Jellikins. It is really impossible to say, based on my own fitness I know I wouldn't cope (I have done some Pyrenean rides, I use a triple), but I am a slightly too heavy oldish geezer. You may be a svelte fit strong rider. Trouble with anyone giving advice on this is they base it on their own experience, including the bike shop guys - if they would find it easy they can't imagine anyone else not feeling the same. The best thing would be to get a test ride on a nearby steep hill, before buying. Thing to remember is that we don't have any comparable climbs, they can last an hour or more in the Pyrenees, but at least if you tried it on a short steep climb you would get an idea how it would be - if you can maintain a steady pace (doesn't matter how slow) staying relaxed / without too much of a fight then you have a good chance of being able to maintain it for a longer climb; if you struggle even on a short one then obviously it's gonna hurt on a big'un.

    I think there is some macho resistance to the idea of triples, and of course they cost more. Some also worry about the extra weight, but this is minimal.

    What sort of riding and on what sort of bikes have you done before?
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    To date, on a Dawes Giro 500.

    Been cycling 6 months (ride is next June) and am 5'11 and 12 stone 5 pound and 39.

    I am fit from lots of other sports and am doing about 100 miles a week at mo on short steep hills in local area.

    Physiologically, I am told that fitness won't be a prob for me. The issue was some had advised me that a triple would give me a "bail out" option if things got really tough.

    LBS said that to buy a triple for 1 ride when all other uses wouldn't need one was a waste. He said that I shouild have no trouble with a compact 12-27 as the granny gears on that would be almost like spinning and not moving compared to what I have on the Dawes now.
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    What do you have on the Dawes?
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Well, you should be pretty fit. Yes, the triple does gove a bail out, one I use often. I do a regular ride locally with a steep 900ft climb and I am in the granny all the way (Dawes Giro 700 Audax), I certainly don't find I'm spinning, and I do 5 to 6 mph all the way up. That said, you are younger than me by 10 years, similar height, about 1/2 stone lighter.

    The triple is a waste for 1 ride, agreed, but it is not such a waste - it will cost maybe £30 more and add maybe 100g. If you don't want it afterwards you can remove the inner ring and set the front mech limit screw. Slight downside is that it leaves you a conventional double, rather than compact, and the Q factor (pedal width) will be a few mm wider. Question is, will the triple / no triple thing make or break your 1 ride...difficult to say.

    I'm a wooss, and have been prone to achiles tendonitis, knee pain and back pain, so no way would I give up the triple, but you, as I've said, are likely to have much better fitness.
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    Don't even have a compact on the Dawes!

    The big question will be how easy is the granny gear on a compact 12-27 and will it be easy enough to get me up the 15 cols in the Pyranees. 5.2 Modance is light and I should be fitter than now in 9 months. As long as it doesn't ruin the enjoyment of the ride cos I find it harder work than the others on triples if they are using the extra gear or 2 it brings.
  • Hi, I am similar size and weight but about 9 years older. I managed several cols in the Alps a few weeks ago and certainly needed my triple with a 25 on the cassette. The majority of riders had triples though those on compacts seemed to be doing ok, but were noticably leaner and fitter. I found that steep sections 12% and higher that popped up after an hour or so into a long climb would have been almost impossible for me without the triple. Saying that, I hadn't put in any extra training for the excursion. If you put in some sensible training effort you will probably be OK. I was only doing one col a day, and probably could have done more but speed would have dropped even lower to almost a walking pace.
    Hills do make I sweat a lot
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    Mmmm, if most has triples I am a bit worried then!

    I suppose the ? is whether those on triples actually used the lowest gear they had?

    Picking bike up on Friday and hope I don't regret not insisting on a triple!
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    yeah but rob somersets triple with a 25 cassette (assume 30x25) is a similar gear to your compact 34 x 27.

    dont' worry about it - the cassette range you have bought is a good one so you have about the same range of gearing as a triple - but they are not as close-together.
    I switched from a triple to a compact this year and although injury has limited my road time I am confident that I did the right thing.

    Anyway - it's not cast in stone - if you don't get on with the compact then change the chainset to give you a triple! - a 105 spec chainset can be had for £70-£80 - a tiagra one much less and I think most shimano shifters are suitable for double or triple these days (i think..) so it isn't a big effort if yu decide you need the smallest chainring. I have to say though that 30 x 27 would be less than walking pace - i mean a really small gear and my experience of alpine climbs is that, unlike the short - sharp climbs you get in the UK - it isn't the gradient that gets you abroad but the length of the climb and the duration you spend at a very high heart rate.

    I think you will be fine..
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    thanks for that view, reasssuring.

    I am really excited about picking the bike up! Compared to the Gire 500, the carbon 5.2 Modane was like paper to lift!
  • beakyboybeakyboy Posts: 38
    I too am about the 40 mark (ahem!) I use my triple a lot (there is no shame in it) as we have serious hills round here. My advice would be get a triple if you don't use it, then fine, at least you know its there in case of or you're having an off day.
    May the wind always be at your rear!
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    If I were doing the Tourmalet amongst others I would use a triple. I am fairly fit and not overweight, but on a col like that you never know and i would rather have it in case.

    But that's just me, you might be ok with a compact. Good luck with that. And enjoy!!
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    oh bl**dyh*ll!

    Now I am worried again!

    Would the easier gers not be same guys? Surely it is only the middle ones that there are less of? The granny gear would not be much easier would it on a triple than a 12-27 compact?
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    Using Sheldon's gear calculator:
    34/27 = 33.1"
    30/25 = 31.5"

    30/25 is 4.8% easier to spin.
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    thats not too bad or prohibitive then!

    When you consider the extra weigh of the triple, less than 5% easier to spin shouldn't make the difference between the ride being enjoyable and not being able to complete should it?
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    exactly - it isn't uch difference at all.

    sheldon brown (rip) says..

    a 30x25 (triple with 12-25 cassette) gives a lowest gear of 31.5 inches

    a 34x27 (compact - you have this) gives a gear of 33.1 inches

    This is lower than the triple users second lowest gear (30x23 = 34.3 inches) - barely any difference at all.!

    stop worrying - start riding.
  • beakyboybeakyboy Posts: 38
    My missus said two inches could make all the difference!! :lol:
    May the wind always be at your rear!
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    thats not what she said to me, she reckoned it would need 5 to make a difference
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    jellikins wrote:
    When you consider the extra weigh of the triple, less than 5% easier to spin shouldn't make the difference between the ride being enjoyable and not being able to complete should it?
    The extra weight of the triple will be, say, 100gms. Bike + rider are, say, 85-100kg. Extra weight => 0.10-0.12% !!! The extra weight isn't making any difference.

    I reckon you will be fine, it will just mean that your cadence is 5% higher.
    i.e. Cad 57 with the 34/27 instead of Cad 60 with the 30/25 (@ 9kph).
  • unclemalcunclemalc Posts: 563
    I have had a Dawes 400 for years and it has a 52/39 -12/25 setup.
    I would want a minimum 50/34 with a 12-25 or even 27 to even think about serious climbing like you are going to do.
    To be honest, as has been suggested, its the 'endurance' bit that needs addressing. You'll need to keep going for far longer at a given rate, even in a 'granny gear', and spinning like mad for kilometre after kilometer is pretty tiring (and demoralising) in itself.

    Go for a triple for safety so you don't regret not having the extra gear(s), its worth it not to spoil the trip with worry.
    This whole plan is also a good incentive to get fitter. Go for it :D
    Singlespeeds in town rule.
  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    Hi Jellikins. I have just seen this post. (I am Tiff from the RCUK site). When I did the Raid in 2006 I was nearly 64 and nearly 12 stone. I am 5' 10" and fit enough to do a 28 min 10TT.
    Just get some miles in before you go and do not treat it like a race. Cafe stops are to be encouraged as is stopping to take photos. I was able to ride both the Aubisque and the Tourmalet on the same day and only got out of the saddle to ease my backside. I did use the 34/27 a lot but I don't think a 30/27 which the average triple gives would have been any better. I would have gone slower for longer while pushing only a little bit easier or I would have had to try to spin more which I would have found harder. Some would prefer this but not for me.
  • jellikinsjellikins Posts: 153
    some really sound advice guys, thanks for your support and comments.
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