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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    11

    Any girls here that have experience with a compact double?

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    I love the cyclocross bikes, especially the Giant TCX but it has a compact double. Am used to a triple crankset, and since I live on a mountain am not so sure if a compact double will do?
    Anyone can tell me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    What gearing do you have on your current triple in the front and back?

    basically, if you spend a lot of time using your little chain ring up front to get up mountains - you may have a hard time with a compact double unless it's got a mountain bike cassette in the back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catriona View Post
    What gearing do you have on your current triple in the front and back?

    basically, if you spend a lot of time using your little chain ring up front to get up mountains - you may have a hard time with a compact double unless it's got a mountain bike cassette in the back.
    I don't necessarily agree with this, athough I do agree that a comparison between a compact and a triple depends on the specifics of each. I have a 50-34 compact with a 13-27 cassette (which is not "mountain gearing"). Previously I rode a bike with a 30-tooth "granny gear" and a 12-25 cassette. With the compact, I lost only my smallest of small gears. So, from that standpoint, there really isn't a marked difference between the two setups.

    Take a look at Sheldon Brown's gear calculator. This is the best way to compare a triple and compact setup. You can mitigate the difference between the two by choosing the right cassette. Where I notice the difference between my triple and my compact is on the flats. It's slightly harder to find that "sweet spot" because there are just fewer gears. When I set up my compact, I made sure to use a cassette that offered the gear ratio that I use the most on the flats, since I live in a relatively flat area. I also have to shift a bit more in the front. I used to use my middle ring for all but the hardest of climbs and the fastest sprints and descents. But it was an easy adjustment for the most part.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,389
    Remember also that it will depend on the size of the front rings too. The "compact double" on a cross bike is not necessarily the same that you might find on a road bike. Typical for a road bike is a 50 x 34, cross bikes often have a 36 x 46. (triples on cross bikes are usually smaller too 28x38x48)

    Like Indy said - plug the stats into a gear inch calculator to get a much better picture.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    11
    Does this information help?
    What I have now:
    Freewheel: SRAM PG-950, 9 speed, 11-34
    Crankset: Shimano FC-M442, Octalink BB, 44/32/22

    Giant TCX
    cassette SRAM PG 950, 11-26T, 9SPD
    cranks FSA Tempo, compact 34/50T

    I read so many different opinions about having a double instead or triple. Some say it is much harder for hills, others say its just a matter of training.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
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    5,226
    Quote Originally Posted by melissa View Post

    I read so many different opinions about having a double instead or triple. Some say it is much harder for hills, others say its just a matter of training.
    I've found that it's different. I have one bike with a compact double and one with a triple. I do find that when I'm in mountainous areas with my CD, I often wish for another easy gear or two. I could get them by changing my freewheel but I'm too lazy and cheap to do that right now, so I deal with it. I've never had to walk, so I figure I'm okay.

    When I ride my triple, I'm never displeased with it. My future bikes will have triples, but that's just me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    2,845
    Quote Originally Posted by melissa View Post
    Does this information help?
    What I have now:
    Freewheel: SRAM PG-950, 9 speed, 11-34
    Crankset: Shimano FC-M442, Octalink BB, 44/32/22

    Giant TCX
    cassette SRAM PG 950, 11-26T, 9SPD
    cranks FSA Tempo, compact 34/50T

    I read so many different opinions about having a double instead or triple. Some say it is much harder for hills, others say its just a matter of training.
    Are you currently riding a mountain bike or a road bike? You currently have pretty low gearing - Your front chain rings are 44, 32, 22, a normal road bike has 53 or 50, 39, 30. The smaller the # of teeth on the chain ring up front, the easier it is to get up hills. So the compact 34 & 50 tooth double on the giant is pretty close to road gearing, but you already have much smaller gearing than that up front. If you're on a mountain bike with fat tires, you may find that you get such an advantage from a thinner tire cyclocross bike that the bigger chain rings up front might be okay.

    In the back, you have mountain bike gearing - 11-34. In the back, the more the number of teeth you have, the easier it is to get up a hill. So 34 is a fairly easy gear. The giant has 11-26 teeth, so the easiest gear is 26 tooth compared to the 34 you already have....


    So the cyclocross bike doesn't have a lot of the gears that you currently have - your middle chain ring up front is already a smaller gear than the cyclocross bike. So... It kinda depends on how strong a rider you are on hills - if you don't need all the gears you have to get up a steep hill, then you might be okay on a compact double. YOu can change the rear cassette on the compact double to mountain bike gearing 11-34 (possibly going to require a new derailleur, and whether or not the cyclocross bike is 10 speed could complicate this).... But you would still have bigger chain rings in the front than on your current bike and you wouldn't have anything that approximated the 22 chain ring you currently have up front. You could look for a cyclocross bike with smaller front chain rings than the giant you quoted.

    Indysteel and Eden are right - you are going to have to run the gear ratios through a calculator, which is why I originally only said you MAY have problems before knowing what gearing you're actually used to riding - but you're currently riding gears much smaller than that of a cyclocross bike.

    I live in a hilly area - our mountains aren't quite tall, and I'm fine with a compact double. I also have a triple, but I prefer the simplicity of the compact double. I have an easier time getting into the right gear. But my compact double with a bigger cassette in the back, pretty much approximates the gears that I have on my triple.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    6,132
    Quote Originally Posted by melissa View Post
    Does this information help?
    What I have now:
    Freewheel: SRAM PG-950, 9 speed, 11-34
    Crankset: Shimano FC-M442, Octalink BB, 44/32/22

    Giant TCX
    cassette SRAM PG 950, 11-26T, 9SPD
    cranks FSA Tempo, compact 34/50T

    I read so many different opinions about having a double instead or triple. Some say it is much harder for hills, others say its just a matter of training.

    Those two setups are REALLY different. Your current gearing yields some tiny gears. Again, I would suggest running the actual numbers on Sheldon Brown's gear calculator. From there, ask yourself what gears you actually use on your current setup to see whether the Giant would work for you as a cross bike.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Catriona View Post
    Are you currently riding a mountain bike or a road bike? You currently have pretty low gearing - Your front chain rings are 44, 32, 22, a normal road bike has 53 or 50, 39, 30. The smaller the # of teeth on the chain ring up front, the easier it is to get up hills. So the compact 34 & 50 tooth double on the giant is pretty close to road gearing, but you already have much smaller gearing than that up front. If you're on a mountain bike with fat tires, you may find that you get such an advantage from a thinner tire cyclocross bike that the bigger chain rings up front might be okay.

    In the back, you have mountain bike gearing - 11-34. In the back, the more the number of teeth you have, the easier it is to get up a hill. So 34 is a fairly easy gear. The giant has 11-26 teeth, so the easiest gear is 26 tooth compared to the 34 you already have....

    So the cyclocross bike doesn't have a lot of the gears that you currently have - your middle chain ring up front is already a smaller gear than the cyclocross bike. So... It kinda depends on how strong a rider you are on hills - if you don't need all the gears you have to get up a steep hill, then you might be okay on a compact double. YOu can change the rear cassette on the compact double to mountain bike gearing 11-34 (possibly going to require a new derailleur, and whether or not the cyclocross bike is 10 speed could complicate this).... But you would still have bigger chain rings in the front than on your current bike and you wouldn't have anything that approximated the 22 chain ring you currently have up front. You could look for a cyclocross bike with smaller front chain rings than the giant you quoted.

    Indysteel and Eden are right - you are going to have to run the gear ratios through a calculator, which is why I originally only said you MAY have problems before knowing what gearing you're actually used to riding - but you're currently riding gears much smaller than that of a cyclocross bike.

    I live in a hilly area - our mountains aren't quite tall, and I'm fine with a compact double. I also have a triple, but I prefer the simplicity of the compact double. I have an easier time getting into the right gear. But my compact double with a bigger cassette in the back, pretty much approximates the gears that I have on my triple.
    Thanks for your info, I don't know much about gears but I appreciate your explanation about it. Yes I am riding a mountain bike with fat tires, do need all gears to get to my house.
    I just consider a road bike or a cyclocross bike, am somehow attracted to a cyclocross bike but then found out about the difference in cranks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    Depending on what your mountain bike is and how good of one it is - it could be that if you switch to a road or cyclocross bike, you won't need as small of gears to get up the hills - the road or cyclocross bike won't be nearly as heavy, it'll have a lot more efficient tires on it, and it won't have a front suspension, which does make mountain bikes a bit less efficient as climbers if you can't lock out the suspension. It does take some work to move those knobbly mountain bike tires on road.

    Are there any bike shops close to a mountain or a big hill that you could take a road or cyclocross bike on a test ride to try out? Or a bike shop that rents bikes or a friend with a road or cyclocross bike? It's hard to directly compare how much effort it takes to take a mountain bike up a hilll vs. a road or cyclocross bike. So you would get a much better idea of it if you just went and test rode some road or cyclocross bikes up a mountain. Maybe you have a friend who'll let you test ride theirs?

    You may want to consider a touring road bike - you can put cyclocross style tires on them. Look at the surly long haul trucker or maybe the surly cross check. I think they're both triples with smaller gearing options in the crankset & rear cassette... But I could be wrong about that on the crosscheck. Definitely the long haul trucker is.

    Catrin had recently started a ton of threads while she's looking for her touring bike - so they discuss touring bikes in great detail and probably give options about other touring bikes there are (jamis aurora or jamis aurora elite has come up a lot in threads too). I think one is called testing my surly love, another surly love, and then she's got various threads that she's started on gearing to understand. I don't remember if they're posted in the new rider section - but look for threads started by Catrin in the last 2 weeks or so - because she's got a lot of the same concerns that you do.

    You can change a bike to have easier gearing - but you may as well buy something with stock gearing that is closer to what you need right now because it can get expensive to do some of the changes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Catriona View Post

    Are there any bike shops close to a mountain or a big hill that you could take a road or cyclocross bike on a test ride to try out?

    You may want to consider a touring road bike - you can put cyclocross style tires on them.
    Too bad, just that area are not so many hills as where I live. Maybe I will ask the shop owner for some advice. I don't think the touring bike is something for me, I just love this cyclocross bike. It felt great. Somehow, everytime I test road bikes I don't get so enthusiastic as with the cyclocross bikes. I don't know what it is. Don't know if I ever want to participate in a cyclocross race, but I prefer muddy terrains better than road.
    The hill thing, I am going to ask him what he thinks. Thanks for all your info. Guess you have a cyclocross bike?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    Muddy terrain does tend to tear up the trails, so I tend to avoid riding on them.

    I don't have a cyclocross bike - I've got 2 road bikes, a mountain bike, and a surly that I put fat tires on for when I want something rigid to use on trails.

    Maybe see if you can find a cyclocross bike with better gearing for you then. Good luck!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    11

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Catriona View Post
    Muddy terrain does tend to tear up the trails, so I tend to avoid riding on them.

    I don't have a cyclocross bike - I've got 2 road bikes, a mountain bike, and a surly that I put fat tires on for when I want something rigid to use on trails.

    Maybe see if you can find a cyclocross bike with better gearing for you then. Good luck!
    Not necessarily mud, but just taking trails that are not pavement. Just dont want to be limited to just the road. But thanks for your info. Tomorrow I will discuss it in the bike store, they are really great, and then go from there. See what they say. For sure I bring home a Giant Avail 2 or a Giant TCX....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    199
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    Those two setups are REALLY different. Your current gearing yields some tiny gears. Again, I would suggest running the actual numbers on Sheldon Brown's gear calculator. From there, ask yourself what gears you actually use on your current setup to see whether the Giant would work for you as a cross bike.
    So, I just went through this in the fall. Went from a Specialized TriCross with Road Triple up front and 11-34 in back.
    I've found that I miss my triple, a lot. I live in a very hilly area, and I miss it all the time. I was faster on my triple because I could just spin up hills without spiking my heart rate too much or aggravating my bad hips from mashing too hard too long.

    ETA - The compact double i went to is a Madone 5.2. MUCH lighter bike. I put a 28 on the back recently, and I miss the gearing on the 'cross. I'm still slower on it than the 'cross.
    Last edited by lo123; 03-11-2010 at 01:00 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
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    5,958
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    Those two setups are REALLY different. Your current gearing yields some tiny gears. Again, I would suggest running the actual numbers on Sheldon Brown's gear calculator. From there, ask yourself what gears you actually use on your current setup to see whether the Giant would work for you as a cross bike.
    Yeah - WOW. Those are hugely different gear set ups.
    Sarah

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