To Compact or to Triple, that is the question

tonyw43
tonyw43 Posts: 249
edited June 2009 in Road buying advice
Ok, so one thing that came out of the Cyclone, was that I need a bit more to get up the hills. I am currently running 11-25 on the back with 53/39 on the front. So am thinking do I go compact or go triple. What do we think. Can you recommend one or the other from your experience. I am leaning more towards the compact at the minute.

Comments

  • wiffachip
    wiffachip Posts: 861
    well if you're going to get a triple make sure it's worth the bother eg something like you get on a spesh tricross 30/32

    lots of triples seem to be 30/25, which is virtually the same as my compact 34/28 (which was enough to get an old bloke with arthritic knees up the hills on the Cyclone, albeit in a very pedestrian 7:21)

    i think anything would be a massive help though, compared to 39/25
  • richa
    richa Posts: 1,632
    I would suggest a compact. I believe the transition is easier/cheaper too. You can always get a bigger cassette if after that you still needs something lower.
    Rich
  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    there are benefits/strengths to both

    I'd say compact myself. All the benefits of a double but with lower gears. Perfect. Currently running 33/48 on a 11-28 in readiness for the Marmotte. Low enough for pretty much anything. When I've done the big one I'll probably revert to a 12-27 and a 34 or 36 small ring.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • tonyw43
    tonyw43 Posts: 249
    That was my thinking maddog. Groupset at the minute is Tiagra, so was going to stick with that, just changing to the hollowtech, so changing the BB. Think that comes in at 50/34, so should go low enough for what I need.
  • 2 tricks
    2 tricks Posts: 7
    Got taken out by a van a few weeks back thankfully insurance gonna pay out,now problems starts :roll: got £1700 to spend at wheelies.co.uk or £1500 cash so i have been looking at a Ribble Nero Corsa on ksyrium equipe rims with ultegra kit v Cannondale six with 105 or a Scott CR1
    I was riding a Bianchi ML3 with Utegra kit before. Been a few years since i last purchased and some assistance would be gladly recieved.
  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    This thread is far too civilised for a compact/triple debate.

    Triples are for girlies
    There, that should stir it up a bit.
  • richara3
    richara3 Posts: 153
    I would go for the compact, and change the cassete if its still not enough. I t depends on how much you struggled!

    Although my tricross has a tripple and has a 30 front 34 rear bottom gear..."What hills ?" But then I am a biff.

    Andy
  • swissj
    swissj Posts: 59
    Triple or compact hmmmmmm......

    If you're going for your first road bike, have a triple. Its a bit like having stabilisers. Once you get used to the bike, you stop using it and keep it on the top two chainrings.

    Big downside tho, is that anyone who sees you riding a triple think you need to use the lower gears, bad for street cred!!

    Unless, of course, you spend a lot of time in the Alps, Pyrenees etc, then I suppose you can justify it.

    My first road bike I bought 4 years ago was a triple and I felt like an amateur. After that I have had compacts and never looked back.......except to see those I have left in my wake LOL!!!!!!!!

    Not the most serious reply you'll ever get and a bit superficial but a compact will help you develop as a rider more than a triple.
  • stumpyjon
    stumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Well I'm buying my first road bike coming from an MTB background and was going to go for a triple but now I've read all comments it looks like I need to go compact or forever get the p*ss taken (and I've done a quick calc and realised I'm actually losing very little ratio wise going for the compact).

    However I'm drawing the line there, still going for MTB SPDs and will wear my MTB helmet and use a Camelback :shock: . Some things are just too ingrained to give up :wink:
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • This is a subject that always provokes strong responses! There is nothing at all wrong with either system. I've two road bikes: an old one with a triple and a newer one with a compact.
    The differences I see that if you have a triple, you can have a closer ratio cassette and still have a really low gear to drop down to if needs be. With a compact you can have a close ratio cassette (with less of a low gear to rely on) or a wide ratio cassette with bigger gear 'gaps' between each sprocket.
    Some people complain that with the last option they never seem to find the right gear to settle in to.
    I have a ten speed system on my newish road bike, and finding a really wide ratio cassette to tackle the big mountains has been a bit of a struggle. SRAM and now Shimano make a 28 max sprocket cassette, but I had to buy an expensive one from IRD (max sprocket 32) to give me piece of mind. I have toured in the mountains, but only ever with a triple, and I didn't want to run out of gears on the road bike, so I'm probably being over cautious...
    I find with my compact, that I frequently have to change between chainrings, whereas with the triple I can generally leave it in the middle ring.
    If I was building my road bike up from scratch, I would probably use the new Campag Centaur 10 speed, compact at the front (50-34) and have the 13-29 cassette for hilly areas and a 12-25 for everything else. That would cover nearly everything.
    BUT, maybe in a couple of years, a triple, with a closer ratio cassette at the back and be done with it.
    As for caring whether somebody sneered at me because I had a triple - couldn't care less...
  • edhornby
    edhornby Posts: 1,780
    triples are wrong on a road bike, just looks wrong... I'm a tart...

    stumpyjon - by all means use your mtb helmet and spd's but if you are going on longer road rides, the camelbak may not be the best option, as you are more stretched out on a roadbike so the weight of the fluid, tools etc sits on the small of your back and you can get sore/stiff - better to use a small toolbag under the saddle and a bidon (less sweaty also)
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • Henri Desgrange was a psychopath!

    When the Tour was open to all comers, the 'amateurs' were beating the 'pros' because they had gears!

    Read about the account of keeping the Tourmalet stage open even though the pass was blocked by snow.

    Or about the broken forks/blacksmith/bellows debacle.

    A lunatic! (But he did give us the Tour....)
  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    too much is made of 'close ratio' cassettes in my opinion. I can understand it if you're racing/TTing to get that perfect cadence, or if you do a lot of long climbs, for the same reason, but for my regular riding gaps of two teeth are fine.

    I've recently gone from 12-27 9spd to 10spd and the only benefit in real terms is slightly crisper/quicker shifting. I certainly don't notice the extra gear. Just my thoughts of course :wink:
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    I have a ten speed system on my newish road bike, and finding a really wide ratio cassette to tackle the big mountains has been a bit of a struggle. SRAM and now Shimano make a 28 max sprocket cassette, but I had to buy an expensive one from IRD (max sprocket 32) to give me piece of mind. I have toured in the mountains, but only ever with a triple, and I didn't want to run out of gears on the road bike, so I'm probably being over cautious....
    This is where 9 speed can be an advantage, I fitted a SRAM PG970 cassette to my g/f's road bike for touring, 11-34 (also available 11-32) for £22.95 from Merlin, and added a secondhand XT (mtb) rear mech (cost £10). She was very pleased with her "dinner plate" cassette in the Italian mountains! I had the option of going 10 speed (from 8 speed) as I was upgrading her wheels and shifters, but went for 9 speed for this reason.
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Triple if you want lower gears but at the cost of respect apparently! From wht you are saying, I'd go triple.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • I totally agree with you alfablue.
    At present 9 speed gives you a great deal more flexibility. Quite why Shimano doesn't produce a really wide ratio ten speed cassette is anyone's guess.
    Maybe the SRAM XX cassette will be the answer (but one wonders how expensive it will be....)
  • pottssteve
    pottssteve Posts: 4,069
    Tony,

    I have a triple on my first proper road bike. I bought it 6 months ago and have used the granny ring less and less as I've got fitter. I could probably manage on a compact now but am too poor/mean/lazy/mechanically inept to change it. It also means I can go and find steeper hills when I want to (there are lots here).

    Mind you, I've also got spd pedals so I can walk in the shoes (I mainly commute), and I've still got the spoke guard on, so up yours, style police. :wink:
    Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs
  • Gav2000
    Gav2000 Posts: 408
    If I was building my road bike up from scratch, I would probably use the new Campag Centaur 10 speed, compact at the front (50-34) and have the 13-29 cassette for hilly areas and a 12-25 for everything else. That would cover nearly everything.

    I built my latest bike just as you suggest. I'm rubbish on hills so 34:29 gets some use and I find a double easier to setup and maintain for quiet/smooth running than a triple.
    Gav2000

    Like a streak of lightnin' flashin' cross the sky,
    Like the swiftest arrow whizzin' from a bow,
    Like a mighty cannonball he seems to fly.
    You'll hear about him ever'where you go.
  • rb1
    rb1 Posts: 18
    i have a chorus 10sp triple . even if i've only used the inner ring a handful of times in the five years i've ridden it, it was certainly helpful when i did need it (mainly in italy - certainly not in cambridge). Possibly a compact would have been more sensible, but i mainly ride it like a double, and i like it well enough.
  • stumpyjon
    stumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Well I went for the compact in the end. Told the missus I'd need new shorts, helmet, bottles, shoes etc. for the road bike and I thought her head was going to come off. Might well take on board the point about the camelback though, I sometimes get lower back pain on my commuter bike and I think the position on a road bike might make it worse. Actually the idea of not having a camelback on is an appealing concept.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result