Compact,Double or Triple

garymw
garymw Posts: 36
edited March 2013 in Road general
Hi,Looking at a few bikes lately for a forthcoming upgrade.
The Canyon Ultimate cf 9.0 is constantly ending up the front runner at the moment,it choices on crank and chainrings are
Compact 50/34
Double 53/39
Triple 52/39/30
These are all Ultegra spec but unsure which one, the standard one it comes with is the compact I think,yes i suppose its where I'm riding and hills etc but just wanted to pick a few more experienced heads to help me on some buying tips.
Thanks if anyone can shed some light onto this or any more tech help on a spec upgrade bike as it will be helpful when choosing. :? :?
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Comments

  • nawty
    nawty Posts: 225
    If you have to ask then you probably want the compact.
    Cannondale CAAD 10 Ultegra
    Kinesis Racelight Tiagra
  • mbthegreat
    mbthegreat Posts: 179
    Go for the compact imo. Gives you all the gears you'll ever need, and if you do need something really low you can always go with a bigger cassette.
  • garymw
    garymw Posts: 36
    nawty wrote:
    If you have to ask then you probably want the compact.
    well I'm fairly new to this tech spec on a bike so guess you gotta ask,we all start somewhere,thanks anyway
  • Get the compact with an 11-28 cassette if possible. Unless you are climbing Alpe d'huez with a suitcase on your back then the compact fill will give you low enough gears for all but the most sadistic of climbs and you won't really miss the top end of the 53 ring on a double unless you are trying to out sprint Mark Cavendish or follow Fabian Cancellara on an Alpine descent.

    The compact with wide cassette is a great all-rounder, I race but still use a compact for sportives and training.

    There are reasons to have tighter spaced cassettes or bigger chainrings but when you need them you'll know.
    MTB HardTail: GT Aggressor XC2 '09
    Road Summer(s): Kuota Kharma '10
    Road Winter(w): Carrera Virtuoso '10
    Full Suspension: Trek Fuel Ex 8 '11

    http://app.strava.com/athletes/130161
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    compact particularly since you have an 11-28 on the back which is a fair range.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    Big big waiting list on all carbon Canyons at the moment. Something like 5 months+ for a CF SLX. Others not much better.
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    Why not quadruple?

    Trail%20Trike%202%20quad.JPG
  • garymw
    garymw Posts: 36
    Thanks for replies guys helps me
  • garymw
    garymw Posts: 36
    Big big waiting list on all carbon Canyons at the moment. Something like 5 months+ for a CF SLX. Others not much better.
    Yes its towards the end of August I am thinking of ,just getting as much research done while i wait thanks.
  • overlord2
    overlord2 Posts: 339
    I would go for a triple or a standard. I hate compacts they are a jack of all trades master of none.

    If you live where the gradient is higher than 10% - triple. If not a standard. Or if it's your only bike then a triple.

    I have used all 3 and the triple gives the best of both a standard and a compact. Only downside is they are percieved as 'not cool' and can be a bit a of a pain to fine tune the front deraileur. But Ultegra should be a cracking groupset.
  • NITR8s
    NITR8s Posts: 688
    I started with a Standard and wanted a Compact, got a compact and now I want a standard again. Plus its not exactly flat down here in Somerset.
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    If you're buying a bike like that you're not going to put a triple on it are you, it's not exactly a tourer is it.
  • thegreatdivide
    thegreatdivide Posts: 5,803
    nawty wrote:
    If you have to ask then you probably want the compact.

    Great reply that. Really informative.

    I'm with the sensible replies - go compact with a broad cassette range. It's all you'll need for UK riding.
  • junglist_matty
    junglist_matty Posts: 1,731
    I ride with a triple, it gives me a perfect gear at all times. Don't see the point in having anything else where I have to comprimise just to save a tiny bit of weight.... And since having the triple on my road bike, I have noticed a general improvement in my riding performance.

    I love having a really small gear for climbing longer steep hills at a nice leisurely pace
    I love having a really big gear for hamering the pedals on a descent

    The compact didn't give me quite the same low and top ends as the triple and certainly nowhere near as good a gear in-between.
  • Guanajuato
    Guanajuato Posts: 399
    TakeTurns wrote:
    Why not quadruple?

    Trail%20Trike%202%20quad.JPG

    That's insane! A hill steep enough to need gearing that low wouldn't give you enough friction to stop it sliding backwards. :mrgreen:

    As for the OP, my (admitedly limited) experience is that triples are much harder to get set up 'just right' so you don't get chain rub at some point. My daughter's bike, my MTB and my old hybrid all have triples and whilst they do give a broader range of gears, I'm forever having to trim the front deraileur. Possibly, its down to cheaper components - the MTB is purely for riding with my daughter on the forest trails so is a cheap ex-hire bike.

    I live in the lakes and its only the long descents where a compact runs out of gears. Most of the descents are too twisty to get speed much past 25-30 mph before the next gravel & pothole-strewn hairpin.
  • Depends on your fitness and style.

    A triple by nature has a greater propensity to produce less-than-ideal chainlines, but that's just a matter of not crosschaining. I don't think I would ever put one on any road bike but a tourer, but there certainly isn't anything wrong with them.

    Compact on the other hand is the ever popular choice of the moment; it does make sense for spinning up hills. Small chainrings with tiny sprockets aren't as good as big chainrings with small sprockets, but you would need a colossal front ring in order to get the same gearing with a 14t cog as you do with an 11t.

    Personally I use a standard double. I used to have 52/42 Biopace, but my rings were well worn and I received a donation; I'm grateful. I therefore presently have 50/39. I find myself wanting a bit at the high end with the 50t, but then again running 5 speed I only go down to a 14t. My lowest gear is a 28, but I seldom use it. LBS only stock 14-28 and there aren't many options anyway.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    It is such a personal thing ... and highly dependant on the roads you're riding ..

    I have a double on my road bike (39/52)- didn't know anything about it when I got it - so that's what it came with. I've ridden up 10% hills on that (39/26) - but they're not very long and I do have to grind at low cadence. I've "ridden" up a 25% very short hill - but that really was a struggle. I don't ride there very often so I'm not going to change my gearing to suit somewhere I seldom ride.

    I have a triple on my CX (30/39/50) - mostly used for wet/icy commuting - and at first I rarely used the "granny cog" - mainly because I had a 32-11 cassette so I just didn't need the lowest gear. I did find the cassette gaps were too big though - so changed that for a 23-11 and now I have an occasional use for the granny cog. But I still have the option of getting a larger cassette and giving me extra range.

    Both bikes do the job that they're intended to do - I've not run out of gears on either of them. But that's me - in my neck of the woods ... it may not suit the OP.
  • racingcondor
    racingcondor Posts: 1,434
    +1 for Compact.

    If you run out of gears on a compact you need to work on technique, looking at a speed/cadence calculator you're doing 40mph at a cadence of 120 which with a little practice is sustainable for anyone (the candence, not 40mph :lol: ).

    I race 3rd Cat on a compact and a 12-23 cassette and I'm happy in shortish bursts of accelleration at around 45mph (overtaking on descents).
  • southdownswolf
    southdownswolf Posts: 1,525
    on my 1980's Raleigh I have 52/42 gearing up front (I thought it was 53/39 until I looked at it a couple of months ago :roll: ) and 11-25 on the back
    but on my new bike I have a Compact - 50/34 with 11-28 on the back.. The one thing that really annoys me about the bike is the huge jump between the gear ratios on the front, with the 42 I was hardly ever having to change the front, but with the compact I am forever changing to get the best chainline. Personally I would have a triple or a standard if I was chosing again. When the 34 chanring wears out I will probably swap for a 36 or 39. However, as I am doing a JOGLE in May, the 34 may well come in handy on the 8th consecutive day of over 100 miles :D
  • Horses for courses and determined by where you live, how fit you are and the sort of riding you do. I live in the Peak District and have 50/34t compact on my winter trainer, 52/36t on my road bike and 53/39t on my TT bike... I'll probably be changing the TT bike to 52/36t too so I can easily run and swap a power meter between the two... I'll tend to swap cassettes around a fair bit too depending on ride.
  • Ron Stuart
    Ron Stuart Posts: 1,242
    Triples are for Touring and Doubles are for racing.
  • garymw
    garymw Posts: 36
    Great Info thanks guys,got a triple already but its on an entry level bike and the shifters are basic shimano 2300 8sp,not the very best when changing upon a climb,but obviously the Ultegra or Campagnola Athena will be far better.Will read through again when I am ready for my order.Thanks for help much appreciated :):)
  • garymw
    garymw Posts: 36
    nawty wrote:
    If you have to ask then you probably want the compact.

    Great reply that. Really informative.

    I'm with the sensible replies - go compact with a broad cassette range. It's all you'll need for UK riding.
    Yes i did reply back to that guess he doesn't like beginners... :shock: :|
  • nawty
    nawty Posts: 225
    garymw wrote:
    nawty wrote:
    If you have to ask then you probably want the compact.

    Great reply that. Really informative.

    I'm with the sensible replies - go compact with a broad cassette range. It's all you'll need for UK riding.
    Yes i did reply back to that guess he doesn't like beginners... :shock: :|

    I'm a beginner myself actually :wink: but yes, I guess not the most useful post although obviously a few people share the same opinion.

    I stand by what I said, in most situations a compact will be enough for anyone but a seasoned rider - there's a reason they're so popular.

    I have two bikes, both with compacts, one has 12-25 at the back and the other 12-28. On the whole I prefer the 12-25 as I can get up the local (short) 25% hill on that and the gap between last few gears is a little big on the 12-28. That said, the 12-28 is good for feeling macho by busting up hills in The Big Ring :mrgreen:

    The only reason I can see for a triple is touring where you're carrying loads of extra weight, for any other purpose they just complicate things for me.
    Cannondale CAAD 10 Ultegra
    Kinesis Racelight Tiagra
  • nonped
    nonped Posts: 9
    I've both a compact and a triple.

    Triple has all the advantages of "double" but with the extra weight, say 100g, of an extra chainring, and the obvious extra advantage of the extra low gears.

    On my triple the cassette is 14-25 which means all the gear ratios are very close together. 99% of all the miles I do on it are in the middle 40 chainring. 40/14 will see over 25mph and 40/25 will get me up 6% climbs as long as they're not too long.
    Using the 30 chainring gets me up most hills and again there's the helpful close ratios

    The compact is less satisfactory 34 chainring spins out to easily and the 50 is too hard at the first sign of hills and in the 50 the ratios seem miles apart uphill making it more difficult to find a sweet spot.

    The compact is harder work even though the bottom gear is effectively the same as the triples and it's 2kg lighter.
    As I get stronger and use the big ring more it's less of an issue but a 40 or 39 chainring probably suits more riders
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    "The compact is harder work even though the bottom gear is effectively the same as the triples and it's 2kg lighter"

    You're not suggesting that the 2 kg weight difference is all down to the groupset though are you.
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    Clearly the main advantage of a triple is that you don't have to change at the front nearly as often.
  • nonped
    nonped Posts: 9
    keef66 wrote:
    "The compact is harder work even though the bottom gear is effectively the same as the triples and it's 2kg lighter"

    You're not suggesting that the 2 kg weight difference is all down to the groupset though are you.

    Not at all.

    The compact groupset is lighter because SRAM Force is lighter than 105 but a triple 105 is no more than 100g heavier than compact 105.
  • Ron Stuart
    Ron Stuart Posts: 1,242
    ooermissus wrote:
    Clearly the main advantage of a triple is that you don't have to change at the front nearly as often.

    No! The 'extra gears' quoted on this thread are only available as such by tactful use of the three different size chain rings and in fact quite the opposite would be the case if the full potential from a triple was to be exploited. There is more chance with a triple of duplication of gear ratios. With a race triple on the front and a 9 speed cassette you won't find 27 different gear ratios necessarily and what is more there is far more deflection on plan of the chain when running on the big ring and the bigger cassette rings or visa - versa with the small front ring and small cassette rings, this will have more of a wearing effect on the chain and if not replaced in time can result in more frequent failures than a double ring arrangement.
    Some folk like to run a 50-36 front compact to reduce the large gear difference when changing up or down the chainset, this coupled with say the current Ultegra 10 speed system with say an 11-28 (11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-28) this works with a standard race short cage. I use this but with a 34 front and double change up and down the front chainset. (Shropshire and Welsh Hills)
    If triples were the dogs then the pro peloton would use them :!: As someone has already said they have their place in loaded-up riding and/or for folk who have issues with producing power output and from what I have seen they have something much bigger than a 25 on the back :wink:
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    ooermissus wrote:
    Clearly the main advantage of a triple is that you don't have to change at the front nearly as often.

    Well that's certainly my experience. On a flat or gently undulating ride I can just leave it in the middle chainring and use the whole of the 12-25 cassette. Sometimes stay there for the whole ride.
    Nasty headwind or a steep climb and I drop into the granny ring and again have 10 rear cogs to choose from. Massive tailwind or a long / steep downhill and ditto but in the big ring.

    I concede there are many duplicate gear ratios in there, but I don't often do too many front shifts.