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Cassette Selection to 11-28 or not to 11-28


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Hi All,

 

Ive been putting in a fair few kms in the hills over winter all on a 11-25. I have entered into a few races and Fondos that have decent climbs in them.

Im wondering weather having a few extra gears on the climb would allow me to climb faster or not have as fatigued legs due to being able to spin a higher cadence on the climbs.

Ive completed all 7 major peaks in VIC on my current set up so its not a matter of wether I can get to the top its how fast and wether my legs will be intact.

 

Look forward to hearing your opinions.

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It might depend on where what climbs distance and gradient your riding and how much extra you may need.

Assuming your running a 39/53 up front, I'd say an 11 isn't really necessary unless your pushing hard and going 55-60+km/h for a long time. If your doing technical descents you'll only be maintaining speed rather than driving it.

 

On the climbs if they are steep and your grinding with your 25 then going up to a 27 or 28 won't hurt and if your doing sportif's like Alpine or 3 Peaks, there are long climbs and you'll be tired. Having the extra gear or two at your disposal is very handy.

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+ 1 on that question

 

I'm doing Audax 200 for the first time in December.

My biking is average only (5.45-6.10ish IM split) and I'm not featherlight (80kg) so looking for advice.

Currently have 39-53 and 11-25.

 

 

Looking at buying a 27 or 28 rear - that should be enough?

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The 200 in the Alpine mainly has long climbs as opposed to steep ones. The biggest difficulty is fatigue, if you have a 27 or 28 cassette then at least you'll be prepared for a tough climb when your tired. You might not even use the 27 but at least you have it.

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I think it's sram that make an 11-28, should be shimano compatible. A mate of mine just stuck one on his bike. it's like watching a dinner plate go round and round.

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Hi All,

 

Ive been putting in a fair few kms in the hills over winter all on a 11-25. I have entered into a few races and Fondos that have decent climbs in them.

Im wondering weather having a few extra gears on the climb would allow me to climb faster or not have as fatigued legs due to being able to spin a higher cadence on the climbs.

Ive completed all 7 major peaks in VIC on my current set up so its not a matter of wether I can get to the top its how fast and wether my legs will be intact.

 

Look forward to hearing your opinions.

I would go the 27 the 28 has too many gaps in the ratios and you might have to lengthen the chain

As others have said. You may not use the 27 but it's there if you need it

You might find a little more spinning could make you fresher later on in the climb

Cheers

Ip

 

Edit to add SRAM make a 26 also

Edited by ironpo
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Yeah, I have one mate who is running an 11-26 sram with compact cranks, and he gave the other mate his old 11-28 (which he tried with the compacts himself). I'm keen to try a 12-27 myself.

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+ 1 on that question

 

I'm doing Audax 200 for the first time in December.

My biking is average only (5.45-6.10ish IM split) and I'm not featherlight (80kg) so looking for advice.

Currently have 39-53 and 11-25.

 

Looking at buying a 27 or 28 rear - that should be enough?

 

 

I did Alpine Classic in 2011 with a compact up front and a 28 at the rear and was fine with that. I was about 86kg at the time and probably a similar bike fitness.

 

Was in France riding Marmotte (175km, 5000m) in July, same weight, a good deal fitter and rode compact again with 11-32 this time. 32 was great riding up Alpe d'Huez with 160km and 4000m already in the legs.

 

However, as Trev pointed out, Alpine doesn't have the long steeps that Europe does, so could well be fine with 39/28.

 

Clydesdale, aren't you over 100kg? Unless you're an absolute monster on the bike, or particularly like grinding, you WILL use the 28... a lot.

Edited by Donncha
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Im wondering weather having a few extra gears on the climb would allow me to climb faster or not have as fatigued legs due to being able to spin a higher cadence on the climbs.

 

 

I just returned from a cycling tour in very mountainous terrain, climbs of 3km at 18-20% almost every day. My riders all had 12-28 or 12-29 and were among the best climbers in the race. Sitting down and spinning the little gear is the fastest way up a hill and also easier on the legs. Dont be afraid to use a 28 or 29. We switched cassettes every night depending on the next day's stage and the terrain.

Edited by Derny Driver
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Plus don't use the reasoning I've heard before :-

"I'll save the 28 for later in the day/climb when I need it."

 

Ride the comfortable gear/cadence from the outset and the whole climb will be much better.

If your doing climbs in the VIC Alps etc that are 20km long your on the climb for a long time, riding it as efficiently as you can makes for a better ride.

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Clydesdale, the extra gear is unlikely to make you faster up any particular climb, but if you're doing multiple days in a row it could certainly help reduce recovery time.

In Europe a couple of years ago I swapped my front 39 for a 38, which was the smallest I could go without switching to a compact crank. Going one gear smaller at the front is equivalent to 2+ at the back from what I recall (look up Sheldon Brown to get the ratios) I Was running SRAM with an FSA crank, and it worked fine.

two things to beware: your rear derailleur may not allow for a 28 (might not have room for the chain to go that high), and you will probably have to replace your chain. (sorry if that's obvious)

Personally, I don't know why more bikes don't come standard with compacts. Watching the pros ride the Zoncolan a few years ago, a few of them swapped bikes at the bottom, and some had triples! (seriously!). plus all the Italians just got pushed up by the spectators.

I go for my granny gear early and often :-)

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two things to beware: your rear derailleur may not allow for a 28 (might not have room for the chain to go that high), and you will probably have to replace your chain. (sorry if that's obvious)

 

 

If your chain will work on a 53-25 (standard) then it will work on a 39-28 or even larger. Standard derailleurs can handle large variations in length.

Edited by Derny Driver
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I wouldnt mind getting a smaller front chain ring. Anyone running Ultegra with something smaller than a 39? Is it possible with out going to compact?

 

 

If 130bcd - 38t is as small as you can go Rocket Salad...

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i bet your slow as hell up hills trek?

 

12-28 is a no brainer for a fondo style race for anone especially average athletes

 

12-25 for a average athelte on flater rides

 

only go 11's if your road racing or crits and need the high speed stuff

11-21 11-23 were my common casettes for the fast stuff

 

id roll 11-25 for a undulating road race

 

12-28 for anything with climbing in it

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Do you blokes sit down to piss. 11-23 is all that is needed for any ride i have ever done. 39x23 why would you need smaller than that on the road ?

 

This bloke is obviously a know nuffink sit pisser:

 

Robbie McEwen@mcewenrobbie

drove around the @gcfoc course again yday with our logistics team. I recommend using at least a 27 cog. The views are just incredible too

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Do you blokes sit down to piss. 11-23 is all that is needed for any ride i have ever done. 39x23 why would you need smaller than that on the road ?

 

 

How fast would you ride up a 10% gradient, and what cadence would you be doing in your 39/23?

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How fast would you ride up a 10% gradient, and what cadence would you be doing in your 39/23?

 

Plenty of riders can ride up a 10% gradient for 2 or 3km in a 39/23. Was it Bobridge who rode up Arthur's Seat in the big ring (this climb is 2.8km@8.7% with several sections above 10%).

 

It is when you start to fatigue that you need the lower gears, or if you are pacing yourself for a long day of hills.

 

I tried using a 28 tooth for while, but found I started to going to it too often and my climbing suffered - eg. 1 min slower up Arthur's Seat. I've now gone back to a 25 tooth and my climbing has improved. However I use the 28 tooth if I decided to do the Alpine Classic 200km or something similar.

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Plenty of riders can ride up a 10% gradient for 2 or 3km in a 39/23. Was it Bobridge who rode up Arthur's Seat in the big ring (this climb is 2.8km@8.7% with several sections above 10%).

 

It is when you start to fatigue that you need the lower gears, or if you are pacing yourself for a long day of hills.

 

The thing is though we are talking your average rider who won't have anywhere near that sort of power/weight output to begin with.

The rider in this case maybe doing 10km/h on a 20km long (6%) climb. So it would be wise to be prepared for that, be it a 23, 25 or 27 that does the job the best for the particular person.

If they were to be averaging 10km/h average on a climb like that I'd recommend at least a 27 or 28.

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Do you blokes sit down to piss. 11-23 is all that is needed for any ride i have ever done. 39x23 why would you need smaller than that on the road ?

 

 

The sad reality (for the bigger folk) is it depends on your weight and your strength, but mostly your weight. There is a speed that you will be able to sustain and that is inversely proportional to your size. If you are a 95 kg'r and you try and keep up with your skinny 75-80 kg mates - even if they are unfit and untrained - you will end up blowing to bits.

Given that you will have to ride slower then you will also need a smaller cog for a given cadence.

 

A powertap is good in this situation - when you find you have to pull 350 watts just to keep up with the skinny guys it's time to let them go and drop back 100 watts or so to something a bit more sustainable for the long climbs. :)

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Are you guys talking about a mtb or a road bike ?

 

I can sort of see the arguement for a 25 but a 28 ?? Seriously if someone needs a 28 to get up a climb in Aust then you need to train more.

 

Yes i climb like shit. however I have ridden a lot of races with big climbs including Grafton to Inverell and managed to go front group with a 23.

 

Shiiit back in the day with 6 and 7 speed cassettes it was unusual to have a 21 cog.

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Are you guys talking about a mtb or a road bike ?

 

I can sort of see the arguement for a 25 but a 28 ?? Seriously if someone needs a 28 to get up a climb in Aust then you need to train more.

 

Yes i climb like shit. however I have ridden a lot of races with big climbs including Grafton to Inverell and managed to go front group with a 23.

 

Shiiit back in the day with 6 and 7 speed cassettes it was unusual to have a 21 cog.

 

 

How much do you weigh?

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The thing is though we are talking your average rider who won't have anywhere near that sort of power/weight output to begin with.

The rider in this case maybe doing 10km/h on a 20km long (6%) climb. So it would be wise to be prepared for that, be it a 23, 25 or 27 that does the job the best for the particular person.

If they were to be averaging 10km/h average on a climb like that I'd recommend at least a 27 or 28.

 

Yes I agree. I was responding more in relation to Trek52's ability.

 

Personally I think the 'average' rider should have a Compact Crank.

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Yes i climb like shit. however I have ridden a lot of races with big climbs including Grafton to Inverell and managed to go front group with a 23.

 

Your well above average though (especially being front group at Grafton in open A grade). The original poster & the other follow up one is a guy who is a 6hr IM rider so wouldn't be anywhere near your level.

 

I used a 25 at Grafton and was off the back in Open C.

That climb took me just on the hour, whereas the A grade guys where probably 15mins or more faster. So would have easily turned over a bigger gear.

 

For those that don't know Grafton it's 18km at 6%, very similar to Buffalo.

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As I was hauling my 89kg up the climb home (only a 3.5k climb at 6.5% or so) in the dark at the end of a 3hr ride I was very glad that I have a 28. In fact I was at times dreaming of a 32!

 

Note to self: when feeling great in the first few hours of a long ride, remember that you live at the top of an effing mountain** and hold back a little.

 

 

**Ok, not a mountain. Probably not even really a hill. Felt like a ride through the Pyrenees.

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I was 72kg now 87kg

 

Trev you having a 28 cog at Grafton wouldnt have made any difference would it ?

 

If you want to relax on a climb and just get over it then compact or a 28 might be useful but really I would stick to flat roads if you need a gear that small...

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Surely your preferred cadence can make a big difference too. Neither me nor my mate are what I consider great cyclists, but we are about the same ability. About 1hr20 at mooloolaba last year. He rides compacts with a 26, I ride standard with a 25 (though I want a 27). I seem to like to turn at about 80 to 85, he's 95 to 100. He just likes his legs to be going round faster. He would never be comfortable with my setup, but I wouldn't be on his.

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Are you guys talking about a mtb or a road bike ?

 

I can sort of see the arguement for a 25 but a 28 ?? Seriously if someone needs a 28 to get up a climb in Aust then you need to train more.

 

Yes i climb like shit. however I have ridden a lot of races with big climbs including Grafton to Inverell and managed to go front group with a 23.

 

Shiiit back in the day with 6 and 7 speed cassettes it was unusual to have a 21 cog.

 

I was 72kg now 87kg

 

Trev you having a 28 cog at Grafton wouldnt have made any difference would it ?

 

If you want to relax on a climb and just get over it then compact or a 28 might be useful but really I would stick to flat roads if you need a gear that small...

 

 

Clearly never been up Mt Baw Baw have you :)

 

I'd run a 28 no problem with Compacts. I used 50/34 with a 11/28 in Europe which was comfortable enough to get up Alp d'Huez, Galliber, Telegraph, Col d'Izoard and Ventoux. I'd actually drop that back to running a APEX rear derailuer and a 32 tooth for whenever I'm back there again, it was useful up Baw Baw.

 

I don't see the point in using standard chain rings for climbing if you are going to struggle, no one here puts out the output of the pro's why do you think you'd ride the same gearing as them up something steep?

 

Gearing has nothing to do with how fast you ascend, that's determined by torque x rpm.

Edited by 1q2w3e4r
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If you want to relax on a climb and just get over it then compact or a 28 might be useful but really I would stick to flat roads if you need a gear that small...

 

 

Where's the fun in that. Why not just buy the appropriate gearing and enjoy whatever climbs you want?

 

For reference: 85kg, FTP 310W, rode a 34x32 in France and loved it. Didn't need it on all the climbs, but it came in very handy on the 10% pitches of the 4th climb of the day :P

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I used to think like you trek52. Always rode 11-23 including the Alpine Classic...

 

Got talked around to swapping out the rear derailleur for a midcage so I could run a 13-29 in France last year and so glad I did! Riding 21 days over 27 days all just climbing had me in the 29 more times than I care to remember. And that is France where the engineers were somewhat sensible.

 

Very scared at the moment only having the 39*29 for Italy in three weeks! Mortirolo is over 12km at 10.5% average. The Gavia which Donncha rode recently has segments of 14 and 16%!

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When my wife and I were in France for 2010 TDF, we were staying with a large group of cyclists in the Pyrenees - half way up the Col du Tourmalet. They were all members of cycling clubs probably ranging from A to C grade.

 

There are half a dozen HC climbs in riding distance of the Tourmalet and the cyclists would head off to climb a different mountain each day. They also did the eTape which involved 3 HC climbs.

 

I was amazed how good all these cyclist were. I checked their bikes - every one had a compact crank and a 27 or 28 tooth on the back.

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I'm not even sure what I have on my bikes :shy:

 

Think the Soloist might have a compact front ring (is that 34 teeth?) and maybe 11-23 or 25 on the back.

 

Been riding my P3 lately, and noticed the small chain ring looks bigger than the Soloist (39 maybe), the rear cluster looks about the same though.

 

Think I might sit down & count the teeth on em both tonight :shy: . Would a 39/11-25 get me up the hills at Wanaka?

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Trev you having a 28 cog at Grafton wouldnt have made any difference would it ?

 

Nope not at all because I still needed to turn over the speed I was doing to keep working with the small group I was with on that climb (race survival depended on it). The 25 I could still get over and turn a descent cadence to maintain speed. My HR average was 166 and maxed at 173 on that climb.

A 27 or 28 would have been a waste as I'd be spinning to much for my liking.

 

I've only gone to a 27 for the 3 Peaks, mainly for the nasty climb up the back of Falls which is 10km that rarely sees less than double digits on the gradient. What makes that climb tougher is having 200km (with Hotham and Tawonga) in the legs when you get to the base of it. The 27 was a real grind still and the year before I used a 25 cassette which wasn't to friendly :P

 

 

Actually funnily enough each time at Alpine as I've gotten quicker over the course the more I wanted a lighter gearing.

I've used a 23 cassette on 3 occasions and 25 on the 4th trip. Although I had a bad year last year and rode terrible which meant the 25 was a god send on that occasion. But of the other 3 times as I got quicker over the whole course the more I'd find a use for the 25 and giving me the chance to take the load of the legs a little by spinning a slightly higher cadence particularly towards the end when your getting quite fatigued.

 

For someone who would be a slower climber than myself the easier gear could make all the difference.

Horses for course though and it's what suits the individual the best to get up the climbs efficiently.

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Actually we are probably getting off the mark with what climbs are being intended by the 2 who made the initial questions.

 

 

Ive been putting in a fair few kms in the hills over winter all on a 11-25. I have entered into a few races and Fondos that have decent climbs in them.

 

I'm doing Audax 200 for the first time in December.

My biking is average only (5.45-6.10ish IM split) and I'm not featherlight (80kg) so looking for advice.

Currently have 39-53 and 11-25.

 

Questions for both :-

What climbs do you normally do (degree of difficulty, gradient and distance) and how do they compare to the climbs in the Fondos your going to ride? (ie:which Fondos/Sportiv's are you guys riding, Alpine Classic, 3 Peaks, Fitz's challenge, Grafton Inverill etc.)

How do you find the gearing you currently run on the climbs you normally do?

Do you grind way up wishing for another gear or happily spinning your way up with plenty in reserve?

Do you get to the top of your regular climbs spent, ride on slowly needing a breather or recover quickly and can push on if you chose?

Are you more comfortable at a lower cadence or a higher cadence?

What distance are you normally riding when doing your climbs and how do you think you'd fair once you have over 140km in your legs with multiple climbs done to that point with more to come?

 

Odds are once you answer those questions you'll know whether you need to go for an extra gear or two on your cluster or not.

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On that note though I still think compact cranks and a SRAM 11-28 is more than enough gearing to do everything from the flats to the Alps (read long steep climbs). You could go to an 11-26 if you wanted a closer set ratio for the local stuff in Australia, however a 50/11 will give you more gear inches than a 53/12 and have much more on the other end for climbing the steep stuff.

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Good timing for this discussion - last week I read some of the older cassette threads to help me decide whether to change from a Shimano 10-speed 11-25 cassette that I'm currently training on, to something like a 12-23 or 11-23 (with 53/39 front) for race wheels.

 

Apart from our club races and the new Elite Energy Orange OD, I'm competing in the Shep half-IM this year (no brainer for the gearing) and Port full-IM next year, and it's Port where I am struggling to decide on the cassette choice, and whether having that missing 16 or 18t gear is worth the expense of a good climbing one...

 

Some valuable input so far, which I appreciate!

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Actually we are probably getting off the mark with what climbs are being intended by the 2 who made the initial questions.

 

 

 

 

Questions for both :-

What climbs do you normally do (degree of difficulty, gradient and distance) and how do they compare to the climbs in the Fondos your going to ride? (ie:which Fondos/Sportiv's are you guys riding, Alpine Classic, 3 Peaks, Fitz's challenge, Grafton Inverill etc.)

How do you find the gearing you currently run on the climbs you normally do?

Do you grind way up wishing for another gear or happily spinning your way up with plenty in reserve?

Do you get to the top of your regular climbs spent, ride on slowly needing a breather or recover quickly and can push on if you chose?

Are you more comfortable at a lower cadence or a higher cadence?

What distance are you normally riding when doing your climbs and how do you think you'd fair once you have over 140km in your legs with multiple climbs done to that point with more to come?

 

Odds are once you answer those questions you'll know whether you need to go for an extra gear or two on your cluster or not.

 

 

Ridden up Falls a few times with 39-26 - struggled in the last 5-6 km (steeper there) but ok for the rest of the climb

Ridden up all the Dandenongs climbs - cadence quite low but can get up without too many issues. But not 'happily spinning away'

 

Haven't done Audax/3 peaks before

 

Think I'll choose the 28 over the 27 after going through all that.

SRAM make the 11-28. (But no 12-28). Unless anyone has other suggestions? Which SRAM model should I get? Have just brought ultegra chain - will that be ok with SRAM cassette?

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