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Are the triple crankset's days numbered? road.cc investigates and speaks to SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo

Triple ring chainsets have fallen out of fashion in recent years, but are they threatened with extinction?

Modern road bikes can come with any one of a number of different types of chainset fitted as standard - there's standard, compact and semi-compact chainsets for starters. But just because your bike came fitted with a certain type of chainset doesn't necessarily mean it's the right one for you. 

We asked SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo if they feel that the triple chainsets days are numbered. Here are their replies: 

Campagnolo

While most athletes are covered by the gearing offered by compact chansets and larger cassettes, there are still a faithful few who are quite keen to use the triple. Several requests from areas in France, Belgium and Canada strangely enough.

However, with the advantages of the compact crankset and a movement towards larger tooth count cassettes we believe that those wishing to run a triple ring crankset will diminish further as they will adopt increasingly more often the two chainring solution. At the moment we still offer the triple.

SRAM

Is the triple chainset dead?

Dead & buried.

Where do you see the future of modern road bike chainsets?

There’s a bright future for 1x. Simpler, quieter, more secure. Current cassette options allow gear range for most cycling disciplines. 1x even provides a more aerodynamic drivetrain for TT and triathlon. 2x remains dominant, of course, because it can provide the widest gear range and closer gear ratio steps.

Shimano

Within Shimano's current road line up triple chainsets are more common at Tiagra level and below. These groupsets attract a wider audience/riding style and therefore the demands on the components are different to those favoured by competitive and performance cyclists.

Triple chainsets have closer gear ratios, making the steps between the gears easier to move through, and therefore increasing the efficiency of personal performance. For many riders, a triple chainset provides options to allow you to continue cycling in many circumstances/conditions.

However, at the competitive end of cycling, trends for many years have been in favour of double chainsets. Wider cassette ratios are now able to cover the vast majority of gear ranges, in combination with lower crankset weight values that performance athletes demand.

Which chainset is right for you?

So if the triple is dead, what are your common choices? Let's go through the main road systems to help you find the right one for you.

53-39 - Ideal for: Pros, strong riders, or flat conditions (maybe a bit more than that but you get my drift)

50-34  -Ideal for: Most people, good all-rounder ideally suited to hilly conditions

 52-36 - Ideal for: Increasingly pros, but also the rest of us mortals too, strong all rounder, ideal for hilly conditions, paired with 11-32 cassette should get most people up even the biggest mountains.

48-32 - Ideal for: Touring and adventure bikes, it takes the existing idea of the compact chainset a step further, yielding gearing that’s ideal for bikes used across a range of surfaces and terrains

1x11 - Ideal for: Cyclocross, gravel and adventure riding. The single ring and wide-range (10-42t) cassette provides much of the range of a compact and shifting simplicity along with increased mud and ground clearance

- Read more: Which chainset is right for you?

The compact killed the triple

Gearing options have increased substantially over the years with the advent of the compact chainset the biggest reason for the demise of the triple. The arrival of the compact immediately sparked debate surrounding the death of the triple chainset, and they’re now much less noticeable in any of the big three groupset manufacturers - SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo - ranges than they used to be. 

retro chainset - 1 (1).jpg

Before the compact came along, your crankset choice was largely split between a double for racing and a triple for touring and Audax riding. At this time of limited choice, a triple was appealing for any non-racing applications, particularly touring or Audax bikes laden with luggage, the lower gears helping to spin up the climbs. 

The new wave of sportive bikes sparked the development for a chainset that offered most of the range of the triple but with better chainline, lower weight and, arguably, better looks on a sporty carbon bike. 

- Struggling on the hills? If you need lower gears to make climbing easier, here's how to get them

The compact was an instant success. First launched by FSA soon after the turn of the century, the company met these sportive bike requirements and when paired with the increased range of the 10-speed cassettes introduced at roughly the same time, provided most of the same low gearing as a typical triple setup.

A triple does offer a wide range of gears, but there is a lot of duplication. A 50/34 compact with a 12-29 11-speed cassette provided minimal difference to a 53/42/30 triple with a 13-29 cassette. The small compromise in reduced gear choices and range was compensated by reduced less gear duplication, lower groupset system weight and a narrow Q-factor.

Compacts were even used in professional races too, Tyler Hamilton using a compact on a mountain stage of the 2003 Tour de France. The fate of the triple for the new breed of performance focused sportive bikes and cyclists was sealed forever. 

The chainset evolution

The evolution of the chainset and the reduction of the number of rings has been helped by the growing cassette range and increased gears of each subsequent groupset release. Back in the day, you’d be lucky with a 6-speed cassette and an 11-23t cassette, fine for racers, but the only way to get some low gears - for touring, Audax or leisure cycling - was to fit a triple chainset. 

With the advent of 9, 10 and 11-speed groupsets and an increased cassette range, with 11-28 and 11-32 now common options, there’s less need for a triple chainset. You can now get a wide spread of ratios with less duplication of gears.

Dura-Ace 9100 - crank 1.jpg

A triple chainset is essentially a double with a smaller chainring bolted on. Triple chainsets require special front derailleurs and shifters, along with a matching long cage rear derailleur to accommodate the long chain needed to cover the full range of sprocket options. Reducing the need for specific components was a boon to manufacturers as it tidied up product lines.

And so they fell out of favour with manufacturers. Shimano and Campagnolo wasted no time dropping triples from their top-end ranges, Dura-Ace and Record respectively, replacing them with new compacts. SRAM didn’t even make a triple chainset when it first got into the road bike groupset market, and has been a proponent of the single ring drivetrain for all applications outside of road racing. 

FSA K-Force Light 52/36 semi-compact chainset

Now there are an increasing array of options. The recently introduced semi-compact (52/36t) has been a hit, popular with racers and performance minded cyclists, and some reckon it even threatens the compact. 

More recent is the sub-compact (48/32 and 46/30), a new chainset being developed for adventure and touring cyclists where lower gears for tackling hillier terrain with heavier bikes is required. We expect these to become very popular with cyclists and bike brands.

SRAM Force CX1 Groupset - chainset.jpg

- First look: Does the Praxis Works Alba 48/32 herald the era of the sub-compact chainset?

Add to the mix too SRAM’s 1x11 approach, which pairs a single chainring with a super wide-range cassette, and there’s much talk of the demise of the triple chainset to the very fringes of cycling.

Do you think the triple is dead or is there still a place for it?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

116 comments

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pdw [66 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I've never understood the objection to the big gap between rings on a compact.  With STIs, it's so easy to shift the rear to compensate that switching chainrings just doesn't bother me.  The latest Di2 sychro shift stuff will even do it for you.

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VBanner [5 posts] 1 year ago
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jthef wrote:

I want a good Tripple. end of story.

Both my road bike have tripples so I have close  grears  for smoth riding. and then a granny gear for when the hills go stuppid.  you can't do that with a double or single. end of story.

I would love a elecronic tripple as it would manage the worst bit of the tripple by fine tweaks of the front derailer as you move at the back. Please some one make a good one (Shimano please).

That and a cassette more focused towards the larger gears, its uphill u are probably going to more under pressure for the smoothest and right gear.  

The 39 middle ring is briliant for rolling terrain and avoids the rifle shot u hear from the compact chainsets when they change down at the last minute, but ur bike, ur rules  1 

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WheelNut [2 posts] 1 year ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

I built my Tripster up with 40/28 chainring and swap the rear wheel with either 11-40 or 11-32 cassette. It has a low gearing of 18" high gearing of 96". I can ride up mountains and also do pacey club runs with my bike. Most people don't need a 48, 50,52,53 chainring.

 

You're totally right. Hopefully smaller doubles will start becoming more readily available soon. There are a few offerings out now, but not much! 105 and Tiagra (and their equivalent Sram/Campy groups) should have 46/30 options.  People always bang on about cassettes having big range, but 50-11 just isn't necessary if your not in a pace line. 95% of the cassettes out there have an 11 at the small end. 

 

I'm running a 50/39/30 up front and 12-28 10 speed on my newest build. 13-32 in the back would be ideal, but I'm still looking for that cassette. Might be able to do a 14-32 with a Miche cassette.

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sancho [1 post] 1 year ago
3 likes

Once again, the manufacturers do what is best for them, not for the users. I'm a rather heavy cyclist who takes fun climbing mountains. I'm not the youngest one. This last month, I climbed several cols in the Alps, including the Galibier. I ride with one of the last (if not the last) Trek Domane edition with Shimano 105 triple. On several places, I would have been stuck with a compact. I'm glad I had a 30x32 to carry on turning legs. Anyway, even far from mountains, in my local hills or on the flat, I'm 80% of the time on the 39. Only on the 50 in descents or with a strong wind behind me. A compact wouldn't fit me at all, and I'm scared for the day I'll have to change.

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LastBoyScout [542 posts] 1 year ago
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All my road bikes have had double chainsets - in the past, even I've rejected buying a road bike (Felt something or other, years ago) as it had a triple chainset (shop wouldn't swap it). I've done some very hilly rides on a 53/39 chainset by swapping the usual cassette for an 11-32 mountain bike cassette, which worked very well, but does mean you get bigger jumps between the gears.

For that reason alone, I'm not convinced by the 1x arguments for road bikes.

My newest road bike has a compact chainset, which I like, although it lacks that top speed on big, fast downhills.

My mountain bike has a triple and is currently being turned into a touring bike for some big hills, so that's staying.

Although I'm not quite buying into the whole 1x thing off road, either, it does seem to be becoming the standard on my local trails, where I rarely change out of the big ring at the front, as the hills are so short and can be attacked for a short burst.

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sam_smith [80 posts] 1 year ago
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CaraBao wrote:

I think one of the best advice I got was if you can't do it on a heavy gear, spin it. Installed a mountain triple on my road bike early '90's, paired it with a close ratio freewheel(then), now a cassette, tooth difference no more than 2, never looked back since then and still enjoying my triple.

Several of the old soaks I ride with on occasions offered the same advice to me when I was riding with a 42t crank and a 11-34 9-speed cassette which was fine for commuting but lacked the range for longer rides in the rolling hills that surround my home city of Bristol. I acquired a triple crankset (an old Ultegra 52/39/20) and front derailleur and haven't looked back since. The granny gear is brilliant and there are fewer climbs that beat me now though the next time the triple needs replacing I'll be getting a mtb triple instead.

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sbarner [1 post] 1 year ago
3 likes

If we think from the rider's perspective, and not the manufacturer's, the goal is to have a range of gearing that is suitable for the terrain encountered, with jumps between the gears that are evenly spaced and small enough to allow the rider to keep a fairly steady cadence.  The ideal would be an inifinitely variable, automatically shifting transmission with an override that allows the rider to alter its behavior, lightweight enough that there is no weight penalty over the current designs.  Oh, and it should be at least as reliable as current designs, and have no significant increased cost, as well.  Of course, these systems do not exist, yet.

When we had six and seven speed freewheels, with the smallest cogs fixed at 12, 13 or 14 teeth, the variable was the largest cog and the constraint was the amount of difference between adjacent cogs.  Too wide, and it didn't meet the "small change in gearing" goal.  The extra chainring of a triple helped here, as one could get a nice, low gear with, say, a 28 or 30-tooth inner ring and a 26 or 28-tooth cog.  Those loading up their touring bikes, climbing ultra-steep hills, or just with out-of-condition legs could push this much lower with minimal changes.  While some weenies (I was one) calculated the ratio of each combination and selected individual rings and cogs to make the jumps between gears as evenly as possible while getting the desired range (remember "half-step-plus-granny?), and some even taped miniature gear charts to their handlebars, this attention to gearing detail missed the big point of how people actually ride multiple chainring bikes.

One quickly learns that perfect gear combination is an elusive thing, at least in an undulating state like Vermont. Brifters, ramped cogs, and 8 to 11-spd cassettes have spoiled us by leading us into a riding style in which we're shifting every few seconds at times to grab a better gear for the changing terrain.  With a triple, you pick the ring by the current general state of things--if trending upward you'll likely be in the middle ring, shifting around in the back.  If the road levels out or trends downward, it's a shift to the big ring, accompanied by a single shift in the opposite direction in the rear, and you're back to working the right sfifter.  Dramatic changes in road pitch might complicate things a bit, but that's where experience kicks in.  The inner ring of a triple is just there for the steepest climbs, and only used with the largest three or four cogs.

Yes, there's overlap with a triple, but it doesn't matter because that's not the way you ride it. With a 3 x 9 setup, you are probably only using 20 or so of the 27 possible combinations, and some of those 20 are close enough to be duplicates, but this is invisible to the rider, in practice, and although the number of useless combinations is greater, the number you actually use are pretty close to what you'd get out of most 2 x 11 setups.  Weight penalty is not as much as one might think.  The BB spindle is a few mm longer, there's the extra ring and bolts, a few grams in making the crank beefier to mount that ring and a few extra grams in the derailleur cage, but these are partially offset by the ability to run a closer range cassette and slightly shorter chain.  You really need to go 1 x 11 to get any real weight savings while matching the range of a triple, because you lose a ring or two, the entire front derailleur, its cable, and the left brifter reverts to a simple brake lever. This more than offsets the jump in the size of the largest cogs on the cassette.

The problem with compact cranks is the huge jump between the chainrings, which complicates the shifting, as you need to shift at least two cogs in the rear when you shift the front.  I had a bike setup with a 12 - 23 cassette and 34 - 50 compact and found it a total pain, as I was constantly making the decidedly unsnappy chainring shift.  Moving to a 26 in the rear didn't help a lot.  These compact setups work best when the range on the cassette is large enough to reduce front shifts, such as with a 32-tooth cog, but this then requires a lot of cogs, or the jumps between gears become too great.

What's driving the abandonment of the triple is the move to 10 and 11-spd cassettes, and this is primarily driven by industry marketing. For most riders, a 10-spd cassette with 11 and 12-tooth cogs is effetively an 8-speed, even when paired with a 50-tooth chainring.  To gain these unneeded cogs, the rider gives up a bit of durability, reliability, and ease of maintenance, while incurring increased cost.  While most industry folks see 9-speed cassettes as being merely a brief transition between the 8 and 10-speed eras, I would argue that it might just be the ideal number of cogs for 130mm spacing, and thus for modern bike designs.  Remember, it's tough to do much with rear spacing and not impact chainline and thus Q-factor.

The savior for compact gearing will likely be electronic shifting, especially when it handles those transition shifts in its software algorithms.  For those of use sticking with mechanical systems, and who ride the big hills, the 3 x 9 triple might just be the ideal system long after the manufacturers scrap the equipment to make them.

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CXR94Di2 [2478 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes
CXR94Di2 wrote:

I built my Tripster up with 40/28 chainring and swap the rear wheel with either 11-40 or 11-32 cassette. It has a low gearing of 18" high gearing of 96". I can ride up mountains and also do pacey club runs with my bike. Most people don't need a 48, 50,52,53 chainring.

 

Update to my earlier posting

I originally had the 40/28 crankset, I found on some occasions that 40*11 wasnt sufficient, so upped the outer ring to 44t. This was much better and could now keep pace on flats and slight descents with hitting silly cadence. 

 

 I could of stayed with this setup, but I like to tinker and try options.

 

So I decided to go for a triple Di2 XTR front derailleur and a XT triple crankset 48/36/26.  According to Shimano the biggest gear this derailleur will tak is 40t.  Well it can take alot moresmiley.  I have now done this conversion and the results work perfectly, with improved chain line, greater range of gearing. I use syncro shift to select the ideal chainring for the speed I'm travelling at.  It also works in manual mode with a great deal of cross chaining, ,not ideal riding technique when syncro works much better.

 

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Dave F [1 post] 8 months ago
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I have a 10 year old Cannondale Synapse 5 with a 50/38/30 triple. Never had a problem with the gears, regarding maintenance. I use the 38 about 90 % of the time, the 30 gear about 10 % , the 50 almost never. We have hills in Southern California, nothing like the hills and mountains in Europe, but hills nonetheless. I need my triple. I'm not a skinny person.

Test rode  a 2018 Specialized Roubaix Sport in the dealer parking lot.  I wasn't able to test climb with the Roubaix, just ride in the parking lot under the watchful eye of the bike shop employee, but I can tell the smallest gear isn't easy enough for the hills I do. If the 2018 Roubaix had a triple, I probably would have bought it. I didn't try the Trek Domane, no dealer near me  has a Domane in stock to look at. 

I bike with a group most Saturdays or Sundays for 3 - 4 hours. Not at all hardcore, which is fine by me. 

 

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CXR94Di2 [2478 posts] 4 months ago
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Triples arent dead yet, with the versatility of Di2 they live on.  

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maviczap [309 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Too many riders are to vain to ride with a triple, they've not a man unless they're on a double.

Not my observation, I read in another thread. There's some truth to it.

This yearye rode with 33 chainring and 34 top sprocket in the Pyrenees on a compact, but I'm getting older, so I may go back to the triple I started with, when I first went to the Pyrenees in 2009. I certainly wasn't spinning up the climbs like I was in 2009.

I'm no athlete, but I'm not vain enough to worry about riding a triple, I certainly passed other macho riders on their doubles  1 I live in the flat lands, and no matter how much training I put in, the mountains will always be hard.

I've got a 48/32 Praxis chainring to use next time, and if I struggle on that, I've got a triple Ultegra shifter in the parts locker.

After that it's going to be an ebike, I don't want to stop cycling in the mountains, as I started doing this  too late in life

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BehindTheBikesheds [2842 posts] 4 months ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

Triples arent dead yet, with the versatility of Di2 they live on.  

I saw a package that had both XT Di2 and the older 6870 drop bar shifters plus XT derailleurs, screen, battery etc. all new and a very good price but it's only a 2x. I did look at the XTR triple but had not seen anyone do what you've done with the bigger ring which would be a must for me, there's no way I could be limited to 40x11.

The thing I don't get is why one unit cannot do any chainring setup and you need specific shifters, also not being able to use a road front and an MTB rear, particularly when it's simply software that tells the units how much to shift.

I'd love to get an XTR Di2 front/XT rear with drops or flats but I really can't cost justify it, not when I can simply use a 5700/6700 left with an 11 speed right. Running a 50/52-36-24 with a 12-30/32 and the std 6800 GS makes it the sensible/cheaper option whilst still being a very good/easy shifting system.

If only SRAM had triple capability, I think I would prefer the battery in with the derailleurs and the top of the bar mounted 'blips' seem to be better than shimano too.

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NickJP [8 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
dave atkinson wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

What's the smallest cog you can have on a cassette? 9? What's the limitation there?

I'd love to ride a do-it-all 1x, electronic, wireless groupo on the road bike some day. 

current limitation is the design of the freehub and cassette. 11T is the smallest you can go on a standard shimano/sram/campag freehub

sram XD freehub allows a minimum 10T sprocket; there the limitation is the size of the axle (12mm)

you could do a 9T with a quick release 9mm axle and a different freehub design, but not with anything that's currently available

No, cassettes are available for XD freehub with 9t small cog. I have a Leonardi 11s 9-36 CX cassette (https://leonardistore.com/products/general-lee-11v-9-36-cx), and E*THIRTEEN make both 11s and 12s XD cassettes with 9t small cog.

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patto583 [59 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

"Within Shimano's current road line up triple chainsets are more common at Tiagra level and below."

Maybe that's because you only offer a triple in Tiagra and below, so that point becomes irrelevant as proof that people don't want it. If you said that there wasn't the call for it when you did still offer it on 105 then fair enough, but you are using your own product availability to justify future availability, which is a ludicrous position to take.

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landsurfer74 [17 posts] 4 months ago
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Having recently completed my first LEJOG on an 11 - 32 cassette with a 26 single front chainring setup i dont get what double chainsets are for never mind triples ...

However;

If you want a quality triple set up go to SPA Cycles of Harrogate. 

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vonhelmet [1350 posts] 4 months ago
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landsurfer74 wrote:

Having recently completed my first LEJOG on an 11 - 32 cassette with a 26 single front chainring setup i dont get what double chainsets are for never mind triples ...

However;

If you want a quality triple set up go to SPA Cycles of Harrogate. 

You did LEJOG with a top gear of 26x11?

I’ll tell you what doubles are for - going faster than 18mph without spinning your legs off.

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Mungecrundle [1301 posts] 4 months ago
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Last time I had a triple on a road bike was about 35 years ago. I think it was a red Rayleigh. Back then it probably had 5, possibly 6 speed.

I think the point raised in previous posts about modern 9 speed+ and the wider range with reasonable increments being the reason for a triple being effectively obsolete for more riders in more applications is the nub of the matter.

Round my way, N Herts, even the small ring is pretty much vestigial as there are few hills or sustained climbs.

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StraelGuy [1637 posts] 4 months ago
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landsurfer74 wrote:

Having recently completed my first LEJOG on an 11 - 32 cassette with a 26 single front chainring setup i dont get what double chainsets are for never mind triples ...

However;

If you want a quality triple set up go to SPA Cycles of Harrogate. 

 

I have very mixed feelings about one by. I keep thinking it's a silly idea but then I remeber that the first few thousand miles I did when I got back into cycling 6 years ago was my old Dave Yates MTB which I set up one by. With my road bikes (with 11-28 cassettes), I never, EVER use the big ring so effectively, they're all one by as well.

 

Maybe it is a good idea... .

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BehindTheBikesheds [2842 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

Last time I had a triple on a road bike was about 35 years ago. I think it was a red Rayleigh. Back then it probably had 5, possibly 6 speed. I think the point raised in previous posts about modern 9 speed+ and the wider range with reasonable increments being the reason for a triple being effectively obsolete for more riders in more applications is the nub of the matter. Round my way, N Herts, even the small ring is pretty much vestigial as there are few hills or sustained climbs.

I also live in N.Herts, there are hills/inclines I will use my 24 ring on, going up to Western from Baldock is 14% in places, from off the Gravely road to Western it's not exactly flat either, riding up to Preston village is also fairly steep. We are not all the same so what for some may seem easy/doable with x, that isn't going to be suitable or even going to work at all for another person.

Removing the option of the higher end triple by Shimano and no 11 speed plus Campag stopping production of triples since 2012/13 is forcing cyclists to choose a lower quality, poorer system than they want and using more costly replacement systems with dustbin lid cassettes and far bigger jumps in the ratios. As I said on another thread, even a 3x8 has closer ratios in the middle gears even using a 24/39 inner/middle ring with a 11-28 than an 11 speed compact with a 11-40

9 speed never made triples obselete, that was only ever in the minds of those that are ignorant to other bicyclists needs.

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Mungecrundle [1301 posts] 4 months ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

Last time I had a triple on a road bike was about 35 years ago. I think it was a red Rayleigh. Back then it probably had 5, possibly 6 speed. I think the point raised in previous posts about modern 9 speed+ and the wider range with reasonable increments being the reason for a triple being effectively obsolete for more riders in more applications is the nub of the matter. Round my way, N Herts, even the small ring is pretty much vestigial as there are few hills or sustained climbs.

I also live in N.Herts, there are hills/inclines I will use my 24 ring on, going up to Western from Baldock is 14% in places

Weston Hills is one of my favourite routes. Out to Baldock via Ashwell, then back to Royston via Hatch Lane up to Weston then back through Sandon and Therfield. Some nice short hill climbs and usually light on traffic.

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mattsccm [391 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

 Dead? Dormant at best but the reason is the manufacturers not making them.

Very first post.  "a compact chain-set is lighter, more efficient, easier to set up and maintain and should get you up most things with an appropriate cassette"

Either wrong or irrelevant.

Weight. Not an issue. For a start most riders could drop a few pounds. Much more effective than woorying about a few grams.  Fat gits who worry about their bike weights are daft or posers.

Efficient.Ho, ho ho. Think about the crappy chain lines and the horrible gappy gears.

Easy to set up? Its a front mech FFS! As easy as a knife and fork. (although modern youth can't do that either)

A front mech needs no maintainece to speak of. A cable is used on a triple so just where is the added difficulty?

Appropriate cassette? Oh a nice big rear sprocket. Well there is much of yoour lost weight back to start with and you still get the whopping great gaps.

Of course a triple is not for everyone but it's the only thing that works well in the right circumstance.  However as always the market is governed by the manufacturer (Fair enough, thats up to them), and the current trend for every newbie and fat knacker to think they are off to ride the Tour.

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Ad Hynkel [186 posts] 4 months ago
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Anyone who hauls any loads and wants to be able to push along at a reasonable speed unloaded will want a triple. That's a whole bunch of utility/touring bikes there. I wouldn't put a triple on my cyclocross/road/adv**ture (can't quite say it) bike but wouldn't have it any other way on my tourer/utility/commuter/everything-else-except-MTB bike. Sugino rule! 48-38-28 up front 11-30 out back works nicely for me. As age progresses will very likely drop some teeth on the inner ring for the bigger hills loaded up, but will try to avoid adding any at the back.

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Morat [330 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Having failed to get up Hardnott Pass with 11-32 and a 50/34 compact I wish I had a triple. You don't look "pro" when you're pushing! indecision

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Fish_n_Chips [587 posts] 4 months ago
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If I was touring or injured or a weaker hill climber then I’ll happily get a triple chain set as long as the front mech was smooth. 

 

Enjoyed 1x but too many large steps but great for CX and adventure gravel bikes.

The double compact on my road bike is great but  so was my 53-39 with 12-28.  

Struggled with 53/39 with 11-23!

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slitemere [1 post] 4 months ago
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For most of us fat middle aged riders a triple is still a good choice, the extra few hundred grams makes no reall difference in the real world compared to 2x.
My current favourite bike, and commuter is my 1972 Falcon with 3 x 9 speed set up. chainset is  50-40-30 stronglight and front mech is controlled by Deore friction shifter - I love it!

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ktache [1135 posts] 4 months ago
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A couple of years ago I gave up on the macho nonsense, because I had realised that when I actually needed the granny it would not shift as I had started to grind, and to get on the granny you need to be spinning, so now I try to shift much earlier, before I really need it.  Is the triple dead, not on my bikes.  Rohloffing the new one, or trying to, but I will be keeping the triples going.

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D-Squared [15 posts] 4 months ago
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Shimano seem particularly mixed up here. They only offer triple on the low-end chainsets favoured by recreational riders, then they tout the benefits of steady cadence - I doubt the typical Tiagra rider cruising around level urban bike paths has any interest in efficient cadence.

Personally I still have a triple on my aging MTB but there’s so much overlap I mostly ride it as a double, riding the outer on the commute to the trails, then going straight from the outer to the inner when I hit the big climbs.

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exilegareth [156 posts] 4 months ago
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Every year this story gets recycled, and every year the same arguments are trotted out, and no-one looks at it from the perspective of the manufacturer.

Manufacturers hate triples because they have more components than doubles, and doubles have more components than 1x. Telling you the thing with less components that is cheaper to make is high tech and the great new thing is manufacturer nirvana. Getting cyclists to agree with you and argue about why the expensive to make stuff is bad is just the most amazing marketing ever.

I have two triples - my tourer and a Ridley i got cheap in the sales because it was a Sora triple and they're just not cool any more. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all, because that was a bargain of the best kind...

I also have a road bike I use for TTs with a 53/39, and another road bike with a 50/34 that I use for the turbo and larking about. As my bikes get upgraded I suspect I'll be the guy lurking round the LBS looking to see what kit is unfashionable, and therefore cheap, but still perfectly serviceable....

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Mungecrundle [1301 posts] 4 months ago
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exilegareth wrote:

Every year this story gets recycled, and every year the same arguments are trotted out, and no-one looks at it from the perspective of the manufacturer.

Manufacturers hate triples because they have more components than doubles, and doubles have more components than 1x. Telling you the thing with less components that is cheaper to make is high tech and the great new thing is manufacturer nirvana. Getting cyclists to agree with you and argue about why the expensive to make stuff is bad is just the most amazing marketing ever.

I have two triples - my tourer and a Ridley i got cheap in the sales because it was a Sora triple and they're just not cool any more. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all, because that was a bargain of the best kind...

I also have a road bike I use for TTs with a 53/39, and another road bike with a 50/34 that I use for the turbo and larking about. As my bikes get upgraded I suspect I'll be the guy lurking round the LBS looking to see what kit is unfashionable, and therefore cheap, but still perfectly serviceable....

 

Surely from the point of view of the manufacturer, Shimano for example, they have presumably done some market research that tells them the market for people willing to spend several £100s on Ultegra or Dura Ace triple chainrings for their cargo bike / commuter / winter nail / middle aged crisis - return to biking and frankly a little unfit bike is not big enough to justify the investment in those products.

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whobiggs [161 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

[/quote]

Anyway, the key bit for Triple fans is to buy the things and prove there's still a market. If shops can't shift the stock they'll stop ordering it, and if it isn't ordered the manufacurers will stop making it in their current ranges and won't design it in their future ranges.

[/quote]

 

That's the equivalent of banks telling us there is no call for them on the high street as people aren't using them (they aren't there anymore) 

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