Old and Rusty 18/08/2015
Robust, Reliable and Cheap
I installed a Deore Triple with 26, 36, 48 chain rings onto my touring bike three years ago and recommend it highly. It is robust, reliable, cheap and easy to maintain.
The ratios are just perfect for touring and commuting. Not too low like a traditional mountain crank set with 22, 32, 44, and yet, not too far apart or tall like a compact double road cranks. On very steep rides when carrying heavy panniers it is possible to exchange the 26 tooth chain ring for a 22. This provides a very wide range of gears to choose from. Just what I needed, considering I cover a very wide range of environment when touring on my bike. (Crawling up mountainous passes through to roaring along expansive planes with wonderful tail wind)
The only criticism I have is relates to the bottom bracket, If the bottom bracket is completely immersed in water and ridden wet the bearing can be damaged/corroded. This is unlikely, unless of course you bike falls off the front of the boat when crossing the Volga! Fortunately, replacement bottom brackets are cheap and very easy to replace. Normal riding conditions and outside storage of the bike has not caused any issues.