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Its all so confusing.....

Champy79Champy79 Posts: 46
edited October 2009 in Road beginners
Hi

New to this place so first and foremost hello.
A mate and I are planning on doing the La Marmotte next year and I have been looking into getting a new bike. I have looked at the gear guide within this forum and as im new to cycling im utterly confused.

Here is my question. Do I go for a Triple or Compact bike?

The bloke in Evans gave me two options:

1) Compact - get a carbon bike, it will be easier to ride, lighter and will more than make up for not having a triple whatdoyoucallit. After 6 months of hard training you wont need the "granny gear"

2) Triple - slightly heavier and for a newbie to cycling a good bet especially if you are riding up some big mountains.

Can anyone with experience in riding in the Alps add onto this. Im not sure what to go for.

Thanks

Posts

  • garnettgarnett Posts: 194
    I'd buy a cheap secondhand hack with whatever it comes with.

    Use and abuse it over the winter when a decent bike would suffer.

    If you're still cycling-crazy in March splash out on something swanky and bask in the comparative ease with which you now zip along.

    I'm not expert in cycling but I am an expert in diving into something and then not following through. Your mileage will hopefully vary a great deal.
  • Mister WMister W Posts: 853
    +1 You're heading into the season of wet roads, salt and grit so not the time to be putting miles on a shiny new bike. Pick up a second hand hack and put as many miles as you can on it. Then you'll be in a much better position to decide what sort of bike you want in the spring.
  • whilst I can see the sense in the reply above it is also worth considering that there are probably some good bargins on 2009 bikes right now. At the start of 2009 there were some pretty big prices rises as well (20-30%) so let's hope that does not happen again after xmas.

    Carbon is not for everybody so if you can try to ride some different types of bikes (even round the shop carpark) that might help. When i bought my trek (alu frame with carbon forks, rear and seat tube) I spent over half an hour riding roundf n a full carbon spec at £200 quid before deciding it was not worth it (Evans, Milkon Keynes were really good). I've not regretted that decision.

    On the other hand if you buy that old hack (2nd hand) and spend some time learning about bikes ove rthe next six months or so you might get something closer to your perfect machine.
  • Thanks for the replies so far. I have an old Specialized Allez from four years ago that I am currently using to commute but like the poster has said above there are some pretty good deals going at the moment.

    The bike I currently use is a triple and I rarely use the lowest gears but im not sure when im going up Alpe D'Huez whether I will need all the help I can get.
  • drudru Posts: 1,341
    Champy79 wrote:

    The bike I currently use is a triple and I rarely use the lowest gears but im not sure when im going up Alpe D'Huez whether I will need all the help I can get.

    What sort of gradient are you on when you have to use the granny ring?

    Best thing to do is to find out the alp d'huez gradients and then find a local hill thats similar (gradient not distance ot evelation) and see which gearing you need :)
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Ditto. Find a local hill with the same gradient as you'll be riding come the Marmotte and ride up it 15 times without stopping. See which gear you're in when you get to the top on the 15th attempt.
  • Good idea let me check that out. I know when im going around Richmond park the steep but short climb always has me in one of the low gears.

    Thanks!
  • Steve_b77Steve_b77 Posts: 1,680
    Surely all the descending back down would give you a bit of a restbite before the next attempt.

    How's about riding something steeper regularly until it's easy?
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    I have used a compact 33-27 in the Colorado Rockies for 5 or 6 years now and while it works OK there is something to be said for having a triple on a few of the really steep ones. People may say "well, a triple is heavier" and that may be, but you'll not notice it, and may even give thanks for the extra low gearing it can give you. Better to have more than you need than not enough. IMHO
  • stfc1stfc1 Posts: 505
    keef66 wrote:
    Ditto. Find a local hill with the same gradient as you'll be riding come the Marmotte and ride up it 15 times without stopping. See which gear you're in when you get to the top on the 15th attempt.

    Don't forget to do 100 miles with 4,500m of climbing beforehand...
  • huuregeilhuuregeil Posts: 780
    Champy79,

    First off, the statement that "a carbon bike with a compact will more than offset a triple" is complete BS!!! A standard triple will give you way lower gears than a standard compact setup, if you need it, and the difference in gearing will more than offset a couple of hundred grams saving from getting bike A vs bike B.

    Then, the bottom line is that gearing is entirely personal and dependent on fitness. Only you can decide, and you'll only be in the position to do this closer to the time because you're fitness will increase loads between now and then (assuming you're training right!). I'm completely with everyone here saying use a beater bike for the winter, get *lots* of miles in and then spend your cash come spring from a position of knowledge.

    The second advantage to this is that, given you're relatively new to riding, you can completely nail your positioning, which is *far* more critical than any gearing decisions, and far harder to change as it might involve a new frame. Gearing is easy to change, takes a hour max given the right bits. If you find your position is not quite right on your specialized (right being able to describe it as comfortable after, say, a 100mile ride) , then you simply make sure you get it sorted next time round. And get the right saddle, handlebars, etc. Remember, something like the marmotte will likely involve 10+ hours in the saddle...

    As regards training, the issue with the alps is not so much the steepness, but rather the length and the continuous effort. 25mile TTs are a good approximation for the kind of effort involved. So, picking your gear based on the gear you require to get up the local steepest hill (which is far more about raw power/weight) is not to be recommended!

    Keep hold of your cash for the minute - despite the tempting bargains, it's a false economy if you don't end up with the right bike, cos you'll only end up spending more to put things right later on.
  • EscargotEscargot Posts: 361
    I'd suggest going to a local bike shop, as opposed to Evans, as you will more likely get a bike that fits and could potentially save yourself more money when you decide to buy.

    I can't believe the chap at Evans attempted to make a distinction between weights of a triple vs a compact :roll: The difference will be approx 600g which is negligible so best forget about that and base your decision on what suits you best.

    Sounds like a great challenge though so all the best with the training etc :D
  • Steve_b77 wrote:
    Surely all the descending back down would give you a bit of a restbite before the next attempt.

    How's about riding something steeper regularly until it's easy?

    OT, I know, but that's a brilliant way of spelling ''respite'' :lol:
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    huuregeil wrote:
    Champy79,

    The second advantage to this is that, given you're relatively new to riding, you can completely nail your positioning, which is *far* more critical than any gearing decisions, and far harder to change as it might involve a new frame. Gearing is easy to change, takes a hour max given the right bits. If you find your position is not quite right on your specialized (right being able to describe it as comfortable after, say, a 100mile ride) , then you simply make sure you get it sorted next time round. And get the right saddle, handlebars, etc. Remember, something like the marmotte will likely involve 10+ hours in the saddle...

    As regards training, the issue with the alps is not so much the steepness, but rather the length and the continuous effort. 25mile TTs are a good approximation for the kind of effort involved. So, picking your gear based on the gear you require to get up the local steepest hill (which is far more about raw power/weight) is not to be recommended!

    Keep hold of your cash for the minute - despite the tempting bargains, it's a false economy if you don't end up with the right bike, cos you'll only end up spending more to put things right later on.


    Wot he said re bike fit.

    What I'd add is this: no riding that you do over here prepares you for the relentless duration of the Marmotte route's climbs when combined together into a continuous ride: one that has you climbing for hours and hours with little respite in potentially blistering heat.

    If you're someone who remotely likes to keep a reasonably high cadence, you'll be sorely wishing you had a triple by the time you hit the ramp at the foot of the Alpe, and probably on every climb prior to that too...

    I'm not suggesting you'd not get around without a triple, but I bet you'd enjoy it more (suffer less) with one.
    ----
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Richmond Park has a hill?
  • Richmond Park has a hill?

    I think what you mean is "If you think Richmond park has a hill...."

    Chris
  • stfc1 wrote:
    keef66 wrote:
    Ditto. Find a local hill with the same gradient as you'll be riding come the Marmotte and ride up it 15 times without stopping. See which gear you're in when you get to the top on the 15th attempt.

    Don't forget to do 100 miles with 4,500m of climbing beforehand...

    Aye. Before I went and had a go at Mont Ventoux I was doing loads of reps of a local hill that's a fairly steady 10-12% over roughly 1.5k. Eventually I got to the stage where I could do it in 39-21 all day long at a pretty good pace, so I thought that's the sort of gear I would use for Ventoux. Err, no. On the day I was in 30-23 before too long, and I still overtook loads of people, and didn't get passed myself. If you've been used to a triple I'd probably just stick with that; better to have gears you don't need than not have ones you do (though a 'normal' compact's bottom gear of 34-27 is halfway between the bottom two gears on a 'normal' triple, so it's not like there's that much difference).

    And I second rdt's comment about the heat; you can train your ar5e of to get fit enough for the Marmotte, but not alot you can do to prepare for the heat, which I found almost unbearable tbh.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,462
    First off, the statement that "a carbon bike with a compact will more than offset a triple" is complete BS!!! A standard triple will give you way lower gears than a standard compact setup, if you need it, and the difference in gearing will more than offset a couple of hundred grams saving from getting bike A vs bike B.

    I agree that it's better to have a triple and be sure that you've got extra gears and that easier gears will compensate for a bit of extra weight but the bit in bold may be over stating the case. Depending on the sprocket set up at the rear and assuming the same sprockets at the rear on each set up then you are gaining around 4 inches on the lowest gear. It is definately going to help but to say you will have "way lower gears" is pushing it a bit!
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