I'm very happy that you (reohn2) get on with triples so well. My experience with Ultegra has been less rosy. It worked OK initially, but then I replaced the inner and middle chainrings to lower the gearing, and thereafter the shifting was much less clean, to the extent that I was adjusting the cable to choose whether I wanted reliable access to the inner two or outer two chainrings. And, despite what you might think, I'm reasonably competent at setting up bikes.
I dropped the inner from, I think, 30 to 26, the smallest compatible with the BCD. I then replaced the middle after an incedent with loose chainset bolts caused it to bend
I think it was after this that the shifting got more problematical, and I don't know if it was related to a differently ramped chainring, different tooth count (I don't remember the details) or because I mislaid the shim washers that were used on the original. Anyway, I came away with the impression that triples were much fiddlier to set up correctly than doubles.
I'm surprised that you can't accept that a double setup might not be as reliable as a triple - that's the opposite of my experience,
But that's not what I said.
You did say, of triples,
reohn2 wrote: I can't think of a more reliable drivetrain...
...which I took to include doubles. OK, technically
, you were just saying that triples were no less reliable than doubles.
and counter-intuitive given the reduced complexity
It isn't more complex,it's just one more chainring.
...plus a three-way STI shifter, with tighter tolerances due to the need to reliably select the middle chainring while shifting in both directions.
My comment about gear selection is very much a personal one. I find that on a double there is far less call to switch chainrings, and I like that. Simultaneous front/rear shifts are far less straightforward and predictable than rear-only shifts, and I found myself doing a lot more of them on a triple setup.
So what's to stop you having the same outer rings on the triple and a inner ring of choice for the real hilly stuff or when you've just bonked and around the next bend you're looking at a 20%
hill,which is just one of many scenarios where a triple will pull or rather push you out of the mire so to speak.
I think that's pretty much what I used to have. However, my perception (and I could be wrong here) is that the cage on a triple front dérailleur is narrower than on a double in order to hit that middle ring accurately, and that therefore the ability to cross-chain is reduced, forcing more front-shifts. I'm pretty sure my middle ring used to dislike the rear dérailleur being at either extreme, meaning that you can't strictly use it as a double with a bail-out clause. But I could be talking tosh
One other down-side of triples I forgot to mention earlier is the increased Q-factor, which I would assume is more relevant to some than others. Personally, I can't say I noticed a lot of difference!
I'm definitely not anti-triple; there's no arguing with the wider gear range without the wide inter-gear spacing. Hopefully, at some point, I'll get to ride an electronically-shifting triple that eliminates most of what I see as the downsides.