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New Road bike,Triple or other?

bagpuss90125bagpuss90125 Posts: 4
edited June 2015 in Road beginners
Hi all;
As a recent convert to road cycling from MTB, i've noticed on my leisure riding and more recently the London to Brighton, i'm having difficulty with the gearing on my current bike, 2014 Fuji Sportif 2.1, which is a double, Sora front, Tiagra rear, 50/34 sprocket, 18 speed. I found it didn't have enough on the flat downhill, and not really enough on the uphills.
My previous MTB was a triple, and was ok ish, but could have done with a bit more on flat/descent, but was good on uphills.
My knees are shot, so looking for a bit more range on the gearing, so should i be looking for a 27 speed triple bike, or would a 22 speed double bike be sufficient to give me that bit extra on downhills and uphills on climbs?
I'd be looking for a new bike, pref in the 700 - 1000 range, available where the retailer is in the cycle to work scheme, good for commuting and leisure riding, and events like the L2B etc, and getting more in group cycling, and with better gear range that i have already to help with the uphills and more oomph on the flat.
Any recommendations on bikes in that area would be gratefully received :D

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,207
    You don,t say what size your rear cassette is and this has a big impact on your speed if its say for example 12 to 27. What you could do is get a 11 to 30 cassette or possibly bigger 30 plus fitted by your bike shop, this would give you a bit more speed and easier on the hills. YOU MAY NEED TO REPLACE THE REAR MECH your bike shop can advise on this. I personally have a triple with 10 speed cassette on my current best bike which probably gives me 25 usable gears across the range because of the chain line, my winter bike is a double 7 speed cassette with a stronglight 48,34 ? front chainset which has a similar range to my triple. If you are happy with your bike then modify as probably cheaper than replacing the bike, if not happy suggest a compact 50/34 with a 11 to 30 or even 32 cassette. a fair few 2014 Giant Defy 1s going for 700 or so brand new if you look around. Triples are an acquired taste you either love them or loath them, my next bike won't be a triple. Even my MTB is a double. Also you will find that with practice you will pedal quicker so may not really need to go to a 11 tooth small sprocket.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    You don,t say what size your rear cassette is and this has a big impact on your speed if its say for example 12 to 27. What you could do is get a 11 to 30 cassette or possibly bigger 30 plus fitted by your bike shop, this would give you a bit more speed and easier on the hills. YOU MAY NEED TO REPLACE THE REAR MECH your bike shop can advise on this. I personally have a triple with 10 speed cassette on my current best bike which probably gives me 25 usable gears across the range because of the chain line, my winter bike is a double 7 speed cassette with a stronglight 48,34 ? front chainset which has a similar range to my triple. If you are happy with your bike then modify as probably cheaper than replacing the bike, if not happy suggest a compact 50/34 with a 11 to 30 or even 32 cassette. a fair few 2014 Giant Defy 1s going for 700 or so brand new if you look around. Triples are an acquired taste you either love them or loath them, my next bike won't be a triple. Even my MTB is a double. Also you will find that with practice you will pedal quicker so may not really need to go to a 11 tooth small sprocket.
    Agreed, depending on what cassette you currently have, a cassette change may sort the issue although you will of course have bigger increments between gears as a consequence if you do this with the existing 9 speed. But it's a cheap and easy remedy and may even be worth trying in the short term even if you plan to replace the bike anyway. I think my last 9 speed cassette from Chainreactioncycles cost under €15.

    When comparing the triple on your MTB with the double on your road bike, bear in mind that MTBs don't usually have the same size chainrings as road bikes. Road triples are typically 50, 52 or 53 on the big ring, 39 or 40 on the middle and 30 on the small. I think MTYB is typically more like 44/32/22 or something which, combined with a fairly broad range cassette will let you spin away to your hearts content on an uphill but limit you quite a bit at faster speeds.

    I disagree that triples are love or hate. Some people definitely seem to have an irrational hatred of them. But plenty people have happily used both. I've had years of enjoyable, trouble free use from a 9 speed Tiagra triple. I'm now using Ultegra 6800 and while it's better for shifting and braking that's nothing to do with it being a double. Triples have advantages, so do doubles. The biggest advantage of doubles is availability on the higher tier groupsets. If I was getting a Sora or Tiagra bike I certainly wouldn't rule out another triple.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I have a 105 triple (50/39/30) on my summer bike coupled with a 12-25 cassette. The main advantage of the triple is I can spend nearly all the time in the 39 ring and just whizz up and down the cassette, which suits my lazy streak. I save the granny 30t for when I'm going uphill into a headwind at the end of a long day, and the 50t for those rare long downhills / equally rare tailwinds.

    You can get exactly the same range of gears with a compact double eg 50/34, and a wide range cassette eg 11-28. The downside being you'll have bigger gaps between some of the gears and you'll be doing more changing at the front.

    Upside being there's a much wider choice of bikes with compact double chainsets, including the dearer / lighter / blingier groupsets which don't come as triples.
  • Thanks for the replies; so it seems that my 9 speed 50/34 front and 11/32 cassette are quite normal, and really i just need to work a bit more on the hill climbs? It's just weird that on the flat or descent, sometimes i'm pedalling like a hamster on a treadmill when using the 50t :)
    Perhaps i'll give it a bit more practice before seeing about a new one, although i was liking the Planet X Apex with SRAM 11/32t cassette and SRAM Apex 10 speed and looked a really good price for a carbon although i've not really seen any owner reviews about them
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    50 x 11 at 100rpm, which isn't hamster wheel fast, equates to about 36mph. Just how fast are you wanting to go??
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    I've pedalled to 85km/h+ with 50/11. Admittedly that DID require extremely high cadence!
    However, I can happily ride at 50km/h on a shallow descent and/or tailwind.

    Let's assume a wheel circumference of 2.2m which I think is about right for a 700c wheel with 25mm tyres. For me 90rpm is a very normal cadence so let's go with that. (I typically average 85 but I'm comfortable anywhere from 80 to 105 when cruising. I think that's pretty typical?)
    Cadence 90
    50/11 gearing
    Wheel RPM = 409
    Speed = 54km/h

    Is 54km/h often too low for you on descents or with tailwinds? Do you like really low cadence?
    Spinning like a hamster, for me, would be well in excess of 100rpm. Opinions may vary....

    I assumed from your original post that your cassette must be something like a 13-25 but if you're using 11-32 already then a triple won't do a huge amount for you in terms of gear range. Certainly not at the big end, since 11 is as small as a normal sprocket gets.
  • I'm just basing the downhill part on my usual commute to work where i go up over a flyover which is not that high but theres a nice drop and long stretch before a roundabout, and going by my computer i've never had more than 23/24 mph, and seem to be still pedalling quite fast and think i could do with another gear or two;
    Maybe it's more being a beginner and not being so clued up on cadence and correct gear selection prior to tackling ascents/descents is the problem i'm finding with the top end on descents, and bottom end on hill climbing.
    Anyway, the suns with us for a bit, so i'll go for a ride tomorrow and have a play around with the gears on descents and hills and see if i can work something out that will help; i'm thinking more user problem than equipment now lol
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    I'm just basing the downhill part on my usual commute to work where i go up over a flyover which is not that high but theres a nice drop and long stretch before a roundabout, and going by my computer i've never had more than 23/24 mph, and seem to be still pedalling quite fast and think i could do with another gear or two;
    Maybe it's more being a beginner and not being so clued up on cadence and correct gear selection prior to tackling ascents/descents is the problem i'm finding with the top end on descents, and bottom end on hill climbing.
    Anyway, the suns with us for a bit, so i'll go for a ride tomorrow and have a play around with the gears on descents and hills and see if i can work something out that will help; i'm thinking more user problem than equipment now lol
    If your max speed is 24mph then there's no way you should be feeling short of top end on 50/11.
    That would equate to a cadence in the low to mid 60s which is extremely low. The other extreme from spinning like a hamster. I'd say give it some time before making any decisions!
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    The gear 50/15 at 90 rpm would give you a speed of around 23.5 mph, so if you're not going any faster than that, you definitely have enough top gears.
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