Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby The utility cyclist » 7 Sep 2020, 3:33pm

NickJP wrote:Back in the days of 5-speed freewheels, three chainrings made sense as the only way to get a good gear range on a touring bike. Now, with 11- and 12-speed cassettes that have both smaller cogs at the high end and larger cogs at the low end, plus smaller gaps between adjacent gears on the cassette, two chainrings are more than adequate.

My gearing used to be this (46-42-26 chainrings and 14-34 freewheel):

Now it's this (38-26 chainrings and 11-40 cassette):

I have both a higher high and a lower low with the two chainring setup.

Although I didn't know it at the time, being a nipper and all that, during the 5 and 6 speed era you could get sprockets up to 36T, Suntour made the full range range for the 5 and 6 speed freewheel bodies. I've seen a few of the 'hi-lo' freewheels that had a distinct jump between the 3rd and 4th sprocket, certainly there was the range available but nt necessarily easily available or for everyone's pockets.

I've run a Stronglight 99 (86mm BCD) with 50/28 and latterly 48/28 (as I didn't need the 50 for the ambling on the particular bike), mated that to a 14-36 that I put together, it's better as a 6 speed but doable with a 5 speed, still, the jumps are bloody enormous, 14-32 is easier to deal with but it's a bike I don't use often but still like to be able to get up the steep stuff with. I think we've gone soft since the advent of 8 speed :lol:

Cyckelgalen
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby Cyckelgalen » 8 Sep 2020, 10:48am

Triple crankset continue to be standard on many mid-range touring bikes, like tne Trek 520 mentioned upthread, Kona Sutra etc.
Typically they come with the so-called trekking crankset, 26-36-48. The Sutra has moved to a 3x10 drivetrain as Deore was upgraded to 10 speed. I own the previous generation of the Trek 520 and it came with a 3x9 Deore drivetrain and bar end shifters, for the current model, Trek kept the 3x9 system but had to downgrade from Deore level to Sora (road shifters now) and the trekking 26-36-48 crankset is now at Alivio level. They may save on production costs but really there was no option if they wanted to keep the 9 speed drivetrain.

So triple setups are currently available, and will probably be for a while but only at the lowest shimano ranges. The question remains if these Alivio cranksets are adequate for touring, if the new Alivio 3x9 is as durable and reliable as the good old Deore 3x9, as the trickle down theory would suggest. Does it make sense to start stocking up on some 3x9 quality components? I say 3x9 because I am very happy with this drivetrain with its 26-36-48 cranks and bar end shifters on the trek 520, and 3x9 setups offer the additional advantage of compatibility between road and MTB components, if you can source them in the future, that is.

mcshroom
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby mcshroom » 8 Sep 2020, 11:36am

mikeymo wrote:Genuine question - is the touring market really so small that it's not worth making triple components? There may not be as many (potential) customers as for other setups, but aren't there enough for somebody, probably Shimano, to keep making perfectly serviceable triple parts? Especially as the average touring cyclist isn't fixated on weight, but just wants something reasonably robust.


I would guess the drop bar market is pretty small;. especially when you take out those who prefer bar end/down tube shifters, and those who like to stick to 8/9sp components for robustness. For now you can get anything up to Tiagra 4703 as a triple (3x10) so there's some range. Whether that will survive the next generation, however, I'm not so sure. 1x and a dinner plate cassette seems to be the new fashion.

Cyckelgalen
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby Cyckelgalen » 8 Sep 2020, 12:25pm

Yes, but Tiagra 4703 is a road groupset with a 30-39-50 triple crank, too high gearing for loaded touring.

As for the drop bar market, it may be on the rise with the increasing popularity of gravel bikes. I never understood why American touring bikes tend to have drop bars whereas most premium German, Dutch touring bikes come with flat bars. But that is another debate.
Last edited by Cyckelgalen on 8 Sep 2020, 8:29pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby Brucey » 8 Sep 2020, 12:47pm

Cyckelgalen wrote:
As for the drop bar market, it may be in the rise with the increasing popularity of gravel bikes. I never understood why American touring bikes tend to have drop bars whereas most premium German, Dutch touring bikes come with flat bars. But that is another debate.


Over the years Americans have bought an awful lot of British-made lightweights/touring bikes, but they have usually favoured slightly skinnier tyres and steeper angles in the frame than many UK touring bikes. From a UK perspective many cyclists find it slightly baffling that German and Dutch tourists so often have flat bars.

I anticipate that the main problem with triples in the future will be the FD and the shifter that goes with it, if you are mad enough to want indexed front shifting in particular.

Also I note that 1x RDs may be 1x specific (by virtue of geometry, eg some use a square-on parallelogram and an offset guide pulley to track the cassette profile, so you can't use them with multiple chainrings of widely varying sizes; others use a single pivot and a slant parallelogram that only works with the widest range cassettes ) and they usually lack 'surplus total capacity' so if you use multiple chainrings, you can't also use the widest range cassette ( I think GRX is like this).

So tourists will have to 'make do' as usual, and dropped bar tourists more than most....

At present it is easy enough to make a 3x10 tiagra 4700 based system work for touring, by using a chainset with smaller chainrings rather than the shimano offering.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

mikeymo
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby mikeymo » 8 Sep 2020, 1:56pm

I just bought:

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/gear-shifters/shimano-duraace-sl7700-9-spd-brazeon-down-tube-shifters/

to "future proof" my current 9x3 setup.

Also I fancy playing with it.

And they seemed to be getting a bit extinct. Lots of retailers had "not currently available" (including Spa, surely a sign). So I thought I'd better snap them up while I could.

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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby mikeymo » 8 Sep 2020, 2:13pm

Cyckelgalen wrote:Yes, but Tiagra 4703 is a road groupset with a 30-39-50 triple crank, too high gearing for loaded touring.


Won't a different chainset work? My smallest chainring is 28, which with my cassette gets me down to 22 gear inches. Does the Tiagra FD have a small limit of 30?

My STIs, FD and RD are Sora, but the crankset is Spa-whatever. Works fine.

I must say, I've always found the "groupset" thing a bit misleading. A lot of the components are mixable, aren't they? There's no canti brake in the Tiagra "groupset", for instance, is there?

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby The utility cyclist » 8 Sep 2020, 2:16pm

Cyckelgalen wrote:Yes, but Tiagra 4703 is a road groupset with a 30-39-50 triple crank, too high gearing for loaded touring.

As for the drop bar market, it may be in the rise with the increasing popularity of gravel bikes. I never understood why American touring bikes tend to have drop bars whereas most premium German, Dutch touring bikes come with flat bars. But that is another debate.

The only problem is that the inner ring can't be swapped out for something smaller, something that Shimano have been guilty of for a while going back quite a few years, the first time they did it was their idiotic inner ring on the Dura Ace 7703, I loved the look of it but it wasn't really useful when wanting to run a 12-25 and get up the steep stuff. They'd already done the touring 110/74bCD with the RSX crank and instead of adopting this as the standard they continued with the 'racing' 130 BCD right up until the early 00s and still didn't do anything regards the road triple :twisted:

For me and others the 50T isn't actually big enough for touring, I don't mind the 39 in all honesty, my current touring cranks have 50/39/23 and I run out of gears on 50-11 all too frequently, I like pedalling downhill and I can also do a seated 30+mph on the flat when I'm minded to.

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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby thelawnet » 8 Sep 2020, 3:14pm

Cyckelgalen wrote:Triple crankset continue to be standard on many mid-range touring bikes, like tne Trek 520 mentioned upthread, Kona Sutra etc.
Typically they come with the so-called trekking crankset, 26-36-48. The Sutra has moved to a 3x10 drivetrain as Deore was upgraded to 10 speed. I own the previous generation of the Trek 520 and it came with a 3x9 Deore drivetrain and bar end shifters, for the current model, Trek kept the 3x9 system but had to downgrade from Deore level to Sora (road shifters now) and the trekking 26-36-48 crankset is now at Alivio level. They may save on production costs but really there was no option if they wanted to keep the 9 speed drivetrain.

So triple setups are currently available, and will probably be for a while but only at the lowest shimano ranges. The question remains if these Alivio cranksets are adequate for touring, if the new Alivio 3x9 is as durable and reliable as the good old Deore 3x9, as the trickle down theory would suggest. Does it make sense to start stocking up on some 3x9 quality components? I say 3x9 because I am very happy with this drivetrain with its 26-36-48 cranks and bar end shifters on the trek 520, and 3x9 setups offer the additional advantage of compatibility between road and MTB components, if you can source them in the future, that is.


I doubt there was ever much reliability / durability between Alivio and Deore, and I don't think there's any new Alivio 3 x 9 Deore at all.

The current Alivio T chainset, T4060 is HT2 and was introduced MY 2014-15.

The Alivio derailleur is T4000, which uses the very old double servo design. This was also introduced MT 14/15.

This doesn't seem to serve any purpose in the Shimano line-up as the 10-speed T models went Shadow (low-profile).

The Alivio M4000 (14/15 MY) derailleur IS Shadow , as is the slightly lower grade Acera (15/16 MY) M3000, and Altus M2000 (MY 17/18).

The only thing that is nominally new is the 'Alivio' M3100, which is nothing more than the Acera M3000 renamed.

So not so much 'tricke down', as 'downgrade'.

However there was nothing wrong with the Acera RD to start with, so.....

The shifters:

M2000 Altus
Image

M3000 Acera

Image

M4000 Alivio

Image


The new M3100 Alivio shifters

Image

appears to be the same as the M2010 Altus (slightly updated from M2000):

SL-M2010-9R_C219_1_750_750[1].jpeg



They even got the downgrade from the old Alivio stainless steel cables to normal rusty steel....

Anyway, I doubt there's much difference between Deore/SLX and Altus shifter internals, though the former at least have different casings.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby The utility cyclist » 8 Sep 2020, 5:25pm

Could you make the photos just a little bit bigger ... :roll:

mikeymo
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby mikeymo » 8 Sep 2020, 5:48pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
Cyckelgalen wrote:For me and others the 50T isn't actually big enough for touring, I don't mind the 39 in all honesty, my current touring cranks have 50/39/23 and I run out of gears on 50-11 all too frequently, I like pedalling downhill and I can also do a seated 30+mph on the flat when I'm minded to.


What FD do you use?

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby The utility cyclist » 8 Sep 2020, 6:01pm

mikeymo wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:
Cyckelgalen wrote:For me and others the 50T isn't actually big enough for touring, I don't mind the 39 in all honesty, my current touring cranks have 50/39/23 and I run out of gears on 50-11 all too frequently, I like pedalling downhill and I can also do a seated 30+mph on the flat when I'm minded to.


What FD do you use?

105/5703

thelawnet
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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby thelawnet » 8 Sep 2020, 6:02pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Could you make the photos just a little bit bigger ... :roll:


this forum uses antiquated software without image resizing, thumbnail or other basic functions.

not my images.

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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby simonhill » 8 Sep 2020, 6:06pm

I'm not a techy and haven't studied all the different iterations of Shimano's vast range, but my experience of 'down shifting' is:

I had used full Deore 3x9 groupset very happily since the new 2012 build on my LHT. In 2017 after about 40,000kms I needed a new rear derailleur. LBS unable to get a Deore, so I went with an Alivio, despite some comments on here that they were a bit fragile.

Now 3 years on, approaching a further 15,000kms mainly long haul touring and 5,000+ day and utility riding it is still going strong.

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Re: Gears: are 3x setups extinct?

Postby mikeymo » 8 Sep 2020, 8:56pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
mikeymo wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:


What FD do you use?

105/5703


Thanks. And presumably that copes with the 27 teeth range? It seems to be quite a long way outside Shimano's specifications.