Compact or Triple?

mr_goo
mr_goo Posts: 3,770
edited January 2014 in Road beginners
I am currently ploughing through the overwhelming choice of selecting my first road bike. I have realised that lashing out 700 - 1k on a good ally frame may be false economy for me as I know that road biking is for me and would like to join club. So reckon on Carbon framed bike at £1.6k - £1.8k (saving the pennies now) Most of my aniticipated riding is going to be New Forest Wilts and Dorset so there is likely to be plenty of hills (especially Dorset). But cannot work out whether I will need a compact or triple? Advice please.
Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
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Comments

  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Get triple if you are unsure.

    There's been a few threads on this recently, so have a search using the key words "triple" and "compact"
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  • Hi I have just bought a new Focus Cayo sram expert from wiggle it is down from £2250 to £1799 it has a compact chainset 50 - 34 and a 12 - 26 cassette.
    I am just an average cyclist and have cycled up Beelach na Ba with this gearing.
    I can thoroughly reccommend the Focus I got the sram red group but you can also get 11 speed campag chorus for £100 less.
  • bice
    bice Posts: 772
    My take on this is that it's personal choice. I have a triple, a double and a compact and I like the last the least. This is because there is such a big jump between the big and the little chainring, so I find it difficult to make seamless gear changes. In other words, you are struggling a bit up a smallish hill on the bigger chainring, opt for the smaller and immediately lose momentum as you have gone too far down the gear range. I far prefer an ordinary double.

    The triple is also better, in my view, as you can go smoothly up or down a greater range without any sudden loss of momentum. Knowing Dorset, I would opt for a triple, but a double is fine for the New Forest - and once you get fitter you will probably be fine with a double anyway.

    It is also possible that I just haven't got the hang of a compact.
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    It'as personal taste and what you're used to.

    I was used to a MTB before I bought a roadie, so I went for a Triple, because that's what I'm used to

    As said before, it's personal choice
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • will3
    will3 Posts: 2,173
    Get a single and a Rohloff if you can't decide
  • bice wrote:
    My take on this is that it's personal choice. I have a triple, a double and a compact and I like the last the least. This is because there is such a big jump between the big and the little chainring, so I find it difficult to make seamless gear changes. In other words, you are struggling a bit up a smallish hill on the bigger chainring, opt for the smaller and immediately lose momentum as you have gone too far down the gear range. I far prefer an ordinary double.

    The triple is also better, in my view, as you can go smoothly up or down a greater range without any sudden loss of momentum. Knowing Dorset, I would opt for a triple, but a double is fine for the New Forest - and once you get fitter you will probably be fine with a double anyway.

    It is also possible that I just haven't got the hang of a compact.

    Don't let this post put u off if you use a normal double 53 39 theres a difference of 14 teeth on most compacts 50 34 there's a jump of 16 hardly a massive difference.
  • kingrollo
    kingrollo Posts: 3,198
    I went down this route - but putting a 27 cassette on my existing double - enables me to get up most hills.
  • Rich Hcp wrote:
    It'as personal taste and what you're used to.

    I was used to a MTB before I bought a roadie, so I went for a Triple, because that's what I'm used to

    As said before, it's personal choice

    +1

    It's not about the gearing (as you can get close enought with compact/triple) but how it's done.

    and frankly people worry about it far too much.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,428
    I'm going through the same debate myself at the moment but I'm erring towards the compact on the basis that I used to (when 4 stone lighter and 15 years younger) be able to climb the Tumble comfortably in a gear of 42/21 which is 54 inches. Most compact groups I've been looking at give a lowest gear of 34/27 which is 34 inches so way lower whilst a 30/27 on a triple would give 30.0 inches so not a huge drop. The comment regarding dropping between the chainrings is valid though - dropping from 52/19 to 42/19 (double) would give you a change of 13 inches and the triple will spread this more evenly.

    I assume the bike is to be used solely for training runs / racing? If touring or carrying loads the triple would certainly win for me.
  • geoff93
    geoff93 Posts: 190
    I'd go for the triple, if you're not worried about the extra few grams it will put on. I use a triple and find the small chainring useful on very steep hils (12% plus. Otherwise I don't use it, but it is very helpful and means I can run a 11-23 cassette without worrying about not having a small enough gear.
    Trek Madone 3.5 (RS80s, Arione)
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  • As many have said already, it's down to personal choice. I've ridden both and prefer a compact. I find the double easier to set up and don't have a problem with the large jump between the chainrings or using most of the cassette with each chainring.

    If you are confident about setting up the front mech on a triple and want really low gears then the triple will probably suit you better. My experience was that I ended up swapping between the chainrings more often but that might not be a problem for you.

    TBH the only way you're going to find out which you prefer is to ride them both.
  • and frankly people worry about it far too much.

    Amen to that. I don't think it's as important a choice as you might think given the heated debate it generates - it's not as if with one you'll love your cycling and with the other hate it, particularly if you're new to the whole thing. FWIW I went with the triple on my first (and current) road bike because I live in a very hilly area and it's worked fine (with none of the fiddly setting up issues that I've heard mentioned), but I have no doubt that a compact would have served me just as well.
  • mr_goo
    mr_goo Posts: 3,770
    Thanks for all your help and advice. Currently I ride MTB with triple so will probably stick with the 3 for road bike. I find this forum/community great for info, so once again thank you all.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    If in any doubt, get a triple. No ifs or buts, it gives you more options and if you don't need the granny ring, don't use it. But a steep hill on the 100 mile mark is a lot harder than the same one after 10. OK you may not be doing the 100 milers yet but if the bug bites, you will soon and then, believe me you'l sell your mother for a lower gear. :lol:
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    John C makes sense ^.
  • Ah, the age old question.

    I'd say get a 53 39 but, I got a tripple for my first bike and i'd say I wish I'd had the compact option. I always say buy what you'll grow into. don't wory about the "save weight" arguement. it'll be neglegable.
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    Ah, the age old question.
    I'd say get a 53 39 but, I got a tripple for my first bike and i'd say I wish I'd had the compact option. I always say buy what you'll grow into. don't wory about the "save weight" arguement. it'll be neglegable.
    10TT 24:50, 25TT: 1:00:06, 50TT: 2:12:02, 100TT: 5:06:28 12hr TT I'll nail it next year.
    These times suggest you may be a somewhat stronger rider than Mr Goo who is asking about a first road bike. John C is right. If you have to ask the question then go for a triple. I say this as a rider who now has 2 bikes on compacts and one on 52/38. I have not used a triple for about 9 years. I did however get my only road race with the triple on the bike. It will not slow you down.
  • Fuoco
    Fuoco Posts: 17
    I open the same 3d some time ago.

    There are 2 way of thinking and both are right...
    at the end I choose a compact 50/34 with a cassette 11/28 (shimano)
    exercise.png
  • de_sisti
    de_sisti Posts: 1,283
    Why not get a compact triple from Spa Cycles. A Stronglight Impact triple with 50/34/26
    chainrings is what I use without any problems. :D

    (Ok, so you pay an extra £10 for choice of chainrings, but that's really not a lot)
  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    Garz wrote:
    John C makes sense ^.
    I make sence and I now have it in writing :lol:
    I have also raced with a triple, at Croft, I didn't use the granny ring much, in fact I didn't use the middle either, but I was able to use the same bike on The Fred Whitton and erm ? I think I remember using the granny ring once or twice. :lol:
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • John, I remember when I first started only 4 years ago now. I can only name 2 instances of using the 30 ring at the front
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    Or if you lived in norfolk, definitely no triple needed there!
  • Have those guys herd of hills? I've almost forgotten what a flat road looks like being here in Wales.

    I got back from Bedfordshire the other day and downloaded the data from my Garmin. I had a 25 mile ride which was a leisurely spin at 136bpm/ave and was shocked to have averaged 18mph. the same gentle ride here averages about 13-14 mph. now that shows the lack of hills
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    Yep I grew up in bedford, thats pretty flat too. Being near the pennines now theres not many gentle rides but at least we have the choice! :D
  • eh
    eh Posts: 4,854
    Why not get a compact triple from Spa Cycles. A Stronglight Impact triple with 50/34/26

    Thats almost the same set of gears my first mountain bike came with. Unless you intend touring in a hilly area a 26 granny ring on a road bike is a waste of time.

    How come as bikes get lighter, people are using lower gears, surely it should be the other way? Or maybe thats says something about the demographic of present roadies.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    Bikes are not only getting lighter but gears are getting better and will take far wider ratios spread over more gears than before. We are just having to make less compromises. My first road bike had a 14/24 5sp block and 49/46 chainrings. The gears of the day would not take more.
  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    eh wrote:
    Why not get a compact triple from Spa Cycles. A Stronglight Impact triple with 50/34/26

    Thats almost the same set of gears my first mountain bike came with. Unless you intend touring in a hilly area a 26 granny ring on a road bike is a waste of time.

    How come as bikes get lighter, people are using lower gears, surely it should be the other way? Or maybe thats says something about the demographic of present roadies.

    When you hit a 25% hill on a road bike with 20kg og camping gear on you will be glad of a 26 granny. horses for courses
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • I am facing a similar dilemma in the imminent purchase of a new road bike, on which I plan to mainly ride sportives and also use for triathlons. I live and ride in the North East Hampshire/ South Downs National Park area.

    My main issue is that I am currently 15 stone (hoping to get lighter through the next few months worth of triathlon training), but wondered whether to get a compact now and just work at getting fitter and lighter to make getting up hills easier, or go for a triple now to my life a whole not easier?

    I am falling on the get a compact and work harder side at the moment.
    Trek Domane 4.3 2014
    Whyte 529 2013
  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    IceDog77 wrote:
    My main issue is that I am currently 15 stone (hoping to get lighter through the next few months worth of triathlon training), but wondered whether to get a compact now and just work at getting fitter and lighter to make getting up hills easier, or go for a triple now to my life a whole not easier?

    I am falling on the get a compact and work harder side at the moment.
    A standard triple isn't some magic answer for getting up hills but I like it, and I find the 39 middle ring is fine for 90% of riding.

    With a compact, the 16t jump usually means swapping chainrings more often, and more rear shifts too. This happened to someone I rode with recently. It was undulating/gently rolling and he had to swap front rings frequently on his compact, and was often cross-chaining. But many people are happy with a compact. I'm not saying they're inferior, just different, you still have to do the pedalling!

    Here's a graph comparing a 52/42/32 triple and 50/34 with a 12-25 cassette (source data: Sheldon's gear calculator):

    2570786321_ed5f4cf285_o.gif
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • Thanks, that's interesting.

    I am currently looking at the Trek Domane 4.3 2014, which is available compact or triple. Have test rode the compact but did'nt go uphill.

    I guess taking my planned riding use, increasing fitness and my current and future weight into account, I just want to be as sure as I can be before parting with the cash.
    Trek Domane 4.3 2014
    Whyte 529 2013