Triple or Compact Crank? What should I get?

Well, at the shop we hear these questions a lot. 1. ”Should I get a triple or does a compact give me the same lower gearing?” 2. “How many gears will I lose if I go to a compact from the current bike that I am riding?” 3. “I’m a woman, do I need a different gear for me compared to my male friends?” and the all too important: “Will my friends make fun of me if I ride a triple?” I can’t really answer the last question but I can certainly take a stab at the first three! :)

1. With most bikes now coming with either compacts or triples, you have a choice of low gearing with either option. A compact crank comes with a front crank with a 50 tooth large ring and a 34 tooth small ring and a cassette with a range anywhere from an 11 tooth small ring to a 28 tooth large ring (You can also get a cassette with higher gears in the back, like a 12-25 but I’m going to stick with the low gear options for comparrison). A traditional triple will come with a 52 tooth large ring, a 39 tooth middle ring, and a 30 tooth small ring on the front and the same gearing options on the back as a compact. The lower the number of teeth on the front the lower the gearing and the higher the number of teeth on the rear, the lower the gearing (I know this is counter intuitive but it just works out that way.  So, if you got a compact, your lowest gear would be a 34/28 (Small gear in the front divided by the big gear in the back) which comes out to  1.21 gear inches (the lower this nunber, the lower the gear and the easier to pedal) and if you got a triple, your lowest gear would be 30/28 which comes out to 1.07 gear inches. So yes, you do get a slightly lower gear on the triple than you do on the compact. Think of it as one gear lower on the triple than on the compact.

2. Well, whether you will lose gears or not going to a compact depends on what you are riding now. I have a lot of customers who have an older bike with a triple who think that they still need a triple because they use it now. Sometimes this is true. If they have an older bike with a wide range cassette on the rear (with a 27 or 28 tooth large ring) then yes, in general, they should stay with a triple. But what if someone is riding a triple with 12-25 in the back (this gearing was very common on bikes prior to 2008)? The lowest gear this bike would have would be a 30/25, or 1.2 gear inches, with a compact, the lowest gear would be a 34/28 which is 1.21 gear inches which is virtually identical. So they could go with a compact and have virtually the same gearing as they had before. However, the gearing that a person goes with is a very personal matter. It depends on a lot of things: climbing style, overall fitness, knee issues, and muscle differences between men and women.

3. Which brings me to my 3rd point. We sell a lot of triples to women. It’s not that there is an issue with compacts and women but in our 32 years of buisness, we have found that most women like the absolute lowest gearing possible. Yes, there are super women who power up the hills in high gears but in general women prefer to sit in the saddle and spin a high cadence while climbing. This is not just because we like to look around us while we climb and keep up a conversation (but those 2 things are nice!) but also because we develope muscle differently than our male counterparts. Women tend to have more issues climbing in higher gears because we do not generate the leg muscles as fast as men do. I have sold a lot of women a lot of triples at the shop and I have had only one come back to me and say that she wishes she got a compact. I have had many more come back to me and thank me for selling them a triple because they could actually do the death ride this year, they could make it up that nasty hill and even one time, that she finished the climb, and her friend on a compact had to get off and walk.

Overall, it all depends on what you want to do and where you want to climb. We all have differing opinions at the shop, but we all have one thing in common: making sure that you get the best ride out of your bike possible! :)

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Ok ok ok, I know I haven’t been around…

Yes, I know that I haven’t posted to my blog in a REALLY long time. Sorry about that. I’ve been so incredibly busy with school and family stuff lately that, to be completely honest, I kind of forgot about my blog. Well, let me catch you up on what I have been up to.

1. I’m going back to Santa Cruz! I attended UCSC in 2006-2008 and then decided to come home for a while (When I say that, what I really mean is that I got terribly homesick and ended up coming home every weekend so it wasn’t a far cry from being at home full time anyway).  After being at Canada college for the last 3 years, I have finally realized what I want to major in (This is a BIG step for me, I went from being pre-med, to environmental studies, to literature, to nursing and finally to my actual major). I plan on getting an anthropology degree, which is very exciting. I took a lot of classes with the anthropology professor at Canada and I found that I truly loved the subject. It’s like combining the best things about history and science all into one discipline! I have no clue what I’m going to do with an anthro degree, but I am very excited about my future! As for going back to UCSC, I am really excited. I will be going back in the winter as a full time student and I fully intend on staying there this time! 2013 graduation here I come!

2. I’ve been working a LOT! Even though this weather has been less than desirable for biking lately (it’s raining right now), we have been selling a lot of great bikes to some really nice people. Just recently I sold 2 Madone 5.2 WSDs to 2 women who I’m sure are going to ride them a ton and have lots o’ fun! Also, I’ve seen that a fair amount of women (and even guys in some cases) come into the shop feeling like it’s not possible to look and feel good in cycling clothes. Yes, I know all of the guys at the shop feel more comfortable in spandex than cotton but cycling clothes can really be unattractive sometimes! I love it when I can pick out clothes for people to ride in that they come out of the fitting room smiling because they do look awesome! I spend a lot of time picking out the apparel that we sell and it makes me really glad to see people happy with the way they look in it. :)

3. In my digital imaging class our final project has been to create a webpage or redesign an already existing one. Can you guess which one I chose to redesign? Here is the almost finished product. My dad probably won’t be going over to my new design, but I’d love to here what you think! :)

The new CR website?

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This is why I have been neglecting my blog

Yes, I admit it, I haven’t been posting as much as I should. I started school at the end of January and things have been pretty crazy. I’m only taking 2 classes, Digital imaging and History of Western Civilization 2, but they are taking up a lot of my time. I have discovered that I really really like working in photoshop, it just clicks for me. I see something that I want to take a picture of but there is something undesirable in it and I think, I can fix that in photoshop! It’s great! Whenever I sit down to my computer, I find myself fiddling with my photos and I lose track of time. Even my dad, who has been working with photoshop a lot longer than me, is impressed with what I can already do. It’s so cool.  We have been working on retouching old photos and I chose this picture of my dad’s old dog, Happy. I’m really proud of how it came out!

Happy before on the right and after on the left. The tear in the upper corner is gone along with the dustpots and yellow on her chest

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He’s Coming!

No, I’m not talking about some professional cyclist or anything like that. I’m talking about the newest addition to our family (don’t worry, no one is pregnant). We have a brand new baby chameleon coming from Virginia tomorrow! My family has been known sometimes as the “Jacoubowsky Zoo”, much to my dad’s chagrin. At one point, we had 5 chickens, 7 rabbits, and 2 dogs. They all lived long and happy lives and our last chicken passed in December (she was 10 years old!) and our house began to feel just a bit empty with just one crazy dog. My dad has always had a fascination with lizards and I can remember going to pet stores as a kid and drooling over iguanas. But we always walked out empty handed because of the cost, care, space and time that an iguana required.


Then, for my 23rd birthday I knew what I wanted. We have a huge 55 gallon tank in our living room that would be perfect for any reptile. All we needed was the stuff to go inside. So we went down to the pet store and got all the things we needed for a healthy happy home for a chameleon. I ordered him online from a reputable breeder and after waiting for the weather to calm down on the east coast, he is finally on his way! He should be here tomorrow morning, and we are anxiously waiting his arrival. I’ll post pictures of him when I have them!

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Get your dream bike… For LESS!

Yep, you can get the bike you’ve always wanted for less money! Right now, we have ALL of our 6 Series Madones for $300 off, even the sale bikes! You can also get $300 off any Project One that’s ordered between now and January 17th. You can get the bike you wanted for the holidays but never got till now. If you are looking for a nice carbon road bike, check out Trek’s Project One site where you can customize everything on your dream bike, also check out my blog post, where I show you how to go through ordering the bike of your dreams. We have all the no charge Project One colors in stock here so you can see what paint job matches you. Come on down and we will set you up on your most amazing bike yet!
It's time to get your dream bike!

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If you can dream it, I can make it happen!

Nahoko's bike

"Pink Lady" personalization

It’s really true! Check out this incredible custom Project One bike that just arrived.  This is Nahoko’s (The “pink lady”) bike, and it is amazing! More than just a “Custom Flames” paint job, this is intricately woven colors and shadows that truly pop out of the frame. When I saw the picture of the bike she wanted I knew this was going to be something special. I was even more thrilled when she saw her bike in real life and said ”I can’t believe it’s so perfect.”

Want to create your own personal Project One bike? It’s simple!  Just go to and create your dream bike. The site is very easy to navigate and has lots of options to choose from, whether you want a bike with “look at me” green flames or classy solid white. You can also choose all of your components so that you get exactly the bike you want and nothing you don’t. On many you can even personalize it with your name or slogan on the top tube.

Trek's Project One Site can help you create the bike of your dreams

After you have everything set up the way that you want it, click “Ready to Roll” and you can either save the bike to check it out later, print up the details, email it to yourself or a friend, or send it to us so we can help you finish things up and get your new bike on its way.

Choose to save, print, email or order your bike

In the store we

When you send it to us it will show up on our custom Project One spec & order site. We’ll send you an email to set up your Project One Fitting and confirm all of your options; then we’ll then order the bike and keep you informed on its progress. When your bike comes in, we will build it up to your specifications and you will be ready to ride your awesome custom bike. It’s that easy!

And of course, we’d love for you to stop by our Redwood City or Los Altos store, where we can show you various options we have on display, and allow you to test-ride bikes for fit and figuring out if you want, say, a compact double or a triple crankset. 

If you have any questions or want help on designing your own Project One bike, I’d love to hear from you! :)  Please leave comments here and I’ll get back to you very quickly. While I’m in the Redwood City store, I’ll be happy to assist you with any questions and forward your information to Steve or Amy in Los Altos if that’s closer to you. Thanks-  –Becky

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We still have kid’s bikes!

Yep, we still have bikes for Christmas! If you (or Santa) are stuck on what to get your kid for tomorrow morning, we’ve got what you need! We have all kid’s bike sizes in stock right now ready to go. As a sales person, I love selling kid’s bikes at Christmas time and imagining the joy on their faces when they walk out on Christmas morning to see a shiny new bike with a big red bow (We still have those too!). Whether you have a boy or a girl, we have the bike for them! We are open from 10am till 2pm today, so come in and get that bike for tomorrow morning!

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It’s the time to get your (or your loved one’s) winter gear!

We’ve got a crazy sale right now! If you buy gloves, shorts and a jersey, you get 35% off all apparel in the store! That’s right, 35% off! I just sold a guy about $500 of clothing for his wife for just $350! We’ve got everything you could need for winter right here. And, if you don’t need gloves, shorts and a jersey, then all apparel is still 20% off!
It’s raining, so come on in and get set up for winter! We also have 2 trainers set up so you can test ride bikes too! We have all of our 2010 bikes on super sale right now, up to $500 off already sale prices! So it’s time for you to come in to Chain Reaction and get that new bike that you’ve been looking for, and get all the gear you need at a great price too!

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You want winter clothes, we’ve got them!

We now have pretty much all of our winter clothing in stock! Whether you are looking for a rain jacket that won’t leave you sweating like a sauna, or a thermal jersey to keep you nice and cozy in the cold, we’ve got it! I have a large selection of Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau, and Craft apparel in lots of colors and in stock now.

Select Barrier WxB Jacket

This jacket is an amazing waterproof winter jacket. Charlie in our Redwood City store has one and rode with it in the rain and he loves it. It is fully waterproof with taped seams and Pearl Izumi’s WxB 2.5 layer barrier fabric keeps all water out, and is stretchy. No crinkly fabric here! The zipper is also completely waterproof. This jacket isn’t just built for keeping water out, the fit is phenomenal as well. It comes with a detachable hood to cover your helmet and drop down tail to keep your back side dry when bending over on the bike.

Men's Enerblock Cycling Jacket

This was our top selling jacket last year. It’s kind of a jersey and a jacket all rolled up into one awesome package. The outside has light wind resistance while the inside is a combination of warm fleece and wicking fabric. It keeps you warm and dry. One of the best parts of this jacket is the amount of pockets on it. Not only do you have 3 zippered rear pockets but you also have 2 zippered front hand pockets and a zippered sleeve pocket. And with 360* reflectivity, it’s not only stylish, but safe as well.

Craft Pro Warm Baselayer

Do you get really cold when you ride? Do you think that nothing can keep you warm during the cold winter months? Have you been looking for the ultimate warm baselayer? Look no further because we have the Craft Pro Warm baselayers in stock. These are the warmest baselayers on the market. This has it all. There are different densities in the knit that conform to different areas of your body to keep your core warm. The knit used creates air pockets to keep the cold out and keep the warmth in. My mom gets cold all the time and she has a real problem finding things that keep her warm on the bike, but this does the job.
Winter is here (at least weather wise) and we want to keep you outfitted so that you can ride year round, so come in to one of our stores and we would be happy to set you up with winter riding essentials!

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Sorry I haven’t been around

No, I’m not typing an email in the wrong place, I have gotten a lot of people asking why I haven’t updated my blog in a while. I’m sorry about this. I’ve been very distracted with the health problems of my brother, Kevin (The same one my dad has been writing about on his blog). This whole ordeal has not been fun for neither Kevin, nor our family. I want him to get better so badly and there is nothing I can do for him, and that really sucks for me. I like taking care of people and I take care of Kevin a lot. Seeing him still in pain kills me. Now and then, when the pain subsides a little, I see glimmers of the “old” Kevin, the one who tells jokes about everything and makes everyone around him smile. I am hoping and praying with all my heart that all this stuff will pass quickly and I can have my brother back.

A little intro to me and Kevin. We are weirdly close. When other brothers and sisters are fighting and screaming at each other, we are hugging and making each other laugh. People always say that we are weird for being that way, but that’s the way that we like it. That’s not to say that we don’t get on each others nerves sometimes, I don’t think it is biologically possible for a brother and sister to NOT get on each others nerves. We do little things to push the others buttons but in general we get along great. We do a lot together, but one thing we really like to do is travel together. I think I have been on more trips with Kevin than anyone else and we always have a lot of fun. We go to Disneyland at least once a year (we love Disneyland, perhaps me a little more than Kevin) and we love to go to Europe, Kevin and I have been there twice. We think very similarly and I think that’s one reason why we get along so well. I miss my brother and I want him to come back from this stronger than ever.

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