"There are more and more of us “mature” cyclists who take our recreational riding seriously and look for high-quality components. We are no longer as strong as the younger crowd. Riders like me want close-ratio gearing but now need lower and lower gears. The obvious solution is a triple crank. But they have all but disappeared.
"I ride a Specialized S-Works Tarmac and couldn’t even adapt a mountain triple. So I have compact cranks in front and an 11-32 cassette in back. There has got to be a market for riders like me who want a light racing bike with close gears that reach low enough to compensate for our diminishing power. Of course, the industry is moving in the opposite direction with the 1 X 11 setup. Bring back the triple!"
It's a thought that's been bouncing around in my own head lately, as I contemplate a tour on the Blue Ridge Parkway next summer – a gorgeous slice of roadway known for either being up or down, with little in between. While that 11-28 cassette mated with a 50-34 compact is good enough for nearly everything I've attempted to this point in my riding life, I'm feeling like it's time to add some more gearing.
It's hard to predict the evolution of components, but don't think we'll see a return to triples. What we'll see, I believe, is a continuation of the trend toward rear derailleur/cassette configurations that can handle a wider range of gears.
And the fact is, many don't know the technical limits of the equipment we have (or how far past those stated limits we can really go). Or even how to approach the process.
Free PDF - Our Holiday Gift to You!
Which is where Coach Rick Schultz comes in. Rick is a coach, bike fit expert, prolific product reviewer and engineer by trade. It's the analytical, technical, engineer's nature that makes Rick great at diving head-first into issues like this and addressing the myriad aspects of an issue.
That's exactly what he's done in an article that is a combination product review (of the WolfTooth Road Link, which itself facilitates added gearing) and thorough look at the technical limits and possible combinations of derailleurs, chain inches and equipment to maximize the gearing of road bikes.
His article contains an absolute wealth of information, including numerous charts and tech specs, along with photos and detailed descriptions – in short, it would have been incredibly difficult and time-consuming to format as a standard web article. So with Rick's permission, we're offering it to you as a bit of a holiday gift: a downloadable PDF. Just like one of our eBooks or eArticles, you can print it or save it for future reference – with our compliments! Just click the link to download: