Mountain Gear

Tech FAQ: Triple-Shifter with a Double Crank?

Lennard Zinn says you can use your 3x shifters on a 2x drivetrain.

Dear Lennard,
Can I adjust a Shimano mountain bikeĀ front triple-trigger shifter and front derailleur to work on a double crank?

Dear Steve,
TechWidgetYes you can, as long as you use a mountain front derailleur. If you were to use a road double front derailleur, the throw would be different and it wouldn’t work.

I have set up a 2 X 9 system this way with Shimano MTB derailleurs. I recommend using the first and second clicks to make the chainring shifts, not the second and third clicks. In other words, shorten the cable so the derailleur moves immediately from the smaller chainring when you push the lever.

Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Lennard Zinn.

Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (, a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

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