Can I swap my Double for a Triple affordablely?

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Anonymous's picture

I have a 2002 Double Lemond Buenos Aires that has an Ultegra triple .

What is involded in upgrading the front sprokets to a triple or do I need to replace the entire crankset?


Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
What do you mean by affordable?

One man's affordable is another man's fortune, to, um, coin a phrase.

Crankset, bottom bracket, front and rear derailers, and shifters (you'll only need the left but good luck trying to buy just that one without it's mate). All are triple-specific.

It would cost you a lot less to switch to a compact double, assuming lower gears are your goal - you'd only have to swap the crankset and BB and lower the front derailer.

Anonymous's picture
David Hallerman (not verified)
Ultegra STI Swings Both Ways

The Ultegra STI brifters (brake levers/shifters), model 6510, handle both double and triple cranksets.

So, it still may not be cheap to change-over, but that most expensive item may not need to be changed.

I agree about the compact double; it's great, especially when combined with a larger range (aka, mountain) cassette and appropriate rear derailleur.

David, who believes the earlier Ultegra brifters still model 6510 did either double or triple on the left mech but not both as they do now

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)


I would ask this with the question of what do I give away by using a double versus triple.

I do not expect to climb the Rockies, but I would like to do a Bear Mountain trek within reason.

Okay what does ""within reason"" mean for me?

I get to Piermont without any problem, shoot past many triple riders on the uphills. The thought to change was
mostly with the idea of going up state NY later in the summer."

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Double vs Triple

I think it is a little vague to discuss the benefits of a triple versus a double without discussing what gearing you will be using. Check out the gear inch chart on Sheldon Browns website.

Here is a great chart that might help you decide. It has charts for doubles, triples, and compacts.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
What you give up

That enormous top gear that you can't possibly use except downhill at 40mph; and if you switch to a 12-27 cassette you'd have slightly bigger jumps between adjacent gears than before. Some people find that unacceptable. IMO, triples are unacceptable. Your money, your choice.

Anonymous's picture
Park rider (not verified)
2 vs 3

With a standard double, your get 39 teeth up front. Standard triples come with a 30. 23% lower if you use the same rear cassette. 2-3 more gears depending on what kind of gaps you want.
A compact can be 34 up front. So, you get a lot of that advantage. But some shift points that might be bad for you with the gap to a 50 tooth large ring.

Check out or in the forums. The issue has been discussed a lot.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
39x23 is as low as i'll go...

...if i have to go lower, i'll get off and walk.


Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)
I switched

First, I had double ... then FSA Compact Crank .. now triple. You will save your legs with a triple if you intend to ride longer distances (187 +) ... you can get up any climb. You might venture out of the immediate area and realize there are longer and steeper climbs - especially in Hunterdon County, NJ.

For me, I've had no knee problems. I see riders typically hurting themselves by pushing on the double during our brevets - injuring themselves.

I went to Piermont Bicycle Connection in Tenafly armed with all the parts - except the one lever. They put everything on for me - small fee. You can shop around for the parts (crankset, bottom bracket, rear derailleur, etc..) and have a shop install.

I have a double on my Trek but use the Litespeed with triple all the time. I love it. I was told the big ring was a waste and I'd never use it. I was also told that the compact crank was better. Oh, I have 12/27 on the back - used it with both cranksets.

Good luck.
diane goodwin

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)
what the heck did I type

It is a DOUBLE that I want to change to a triple.

Anonymous's picture
JC (not verified)
Compact Crankset

At one point I was going to do the same thing. Went to Sid's to cost it out, too expensive. Went with the FSA Compact Crankset, and a slighty larger 9 speed cassette (12/27)
IMHO a better way to go.

Anonymous's picture
Russ Berman (not verified)

After much soul-searching and with heart in mouth, a month ago I went for an FSA compact double, 50-34, with Campy's 13-29 10 speed Chorus cassette. Don't know why I waited so long. It may just be my imagination, but it seems that I'm using virtually all the gears (although I got down to the 34-29 only on Joes Hill Road) without noticeable overlap. That never seems to be the case with my triple, and the difference at the bottom end is miniscule (maybe 1.5 gear inches between 30-27 and 34-29?). On the top end, I never went that fast anyway, and I now spend a lot more time in big ring, big cog combinations (up to the 27) without notable tension. (The LBO swore it would not be a problem, but I'll let you know when the chain snaps or something else wears out.) The downside, as advertised, is a decidedly rougher transition from big to small ring. Still, the transition from 42 to 30 on the triple isn't smooth either (though less used), and the adjustment is a constant problem--never greater than when I lose the chain on a panic downshift after underestimating the grade. The FSA compact double looks really nice, the cost is half of the Chorus compact, and it doesn't have the Campy square bottom bracket that all the techies detest.

Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)
Jump Stop

Hi Russ,

Try this little gizmo out.

Works like a charm for me.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)
Thanks for the usual GREAT and HONEST input

Wow, lots to absorb.

Part of my issue is that I zigged before I zagged and bought the bike with a double. I knew that there may be an issue with the purchase but I bought it recently and
figured if there would be a real issue I would use it locally.

I guess like everyone else I will work the kinks out. I am now on a Trek Hybrid 7100 that must weigh 30lbs plus.
Done a couple centuries and ususally ride in the B/16 when I go. Rarely in the granny gears even on the hills, but yes it is nice when I need it.

In any case I appreciated the help and in put and gotta stay focused and it will work itself out.

Anonymous's picture
banky (not verified)

If you switch to a triple, you might find that you spend more time on the small chainring than you would like. I have a triple. I found that the 42 tooth middle chainring was a hassle to climb with. It is just a little too big. It forced me to go to the small chainring when I did not want to use it. I replaced the 42 with a 39 tooth chainring. It is much easier to climb. I never use the small chainring now. Don’t switch to the triple unless you really think you will really need the small chainring.

Anonymous's picture
A21 Triple-Rider (not verified)

don't pay any attention to all the macho jerks who claim they would rather die than ride a triple. let them destroy their knees and stroke their egos. the granny ring adds few grams to your bike, but is a life-saver on a big climb at the end of a long ride.

also, I agree with changing the middle ring to a 39. the 42 is just plain useless.

cycling trips