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I am running a 50/36 compact crank with an 11/21 cassette. This makes climbing where I live in Colorado very difficult. What would you guys recommend I do? I want to swap the cassette but don't know what would be most beneficial. Thanks
 

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Saltlydog4 said:
I am running a 50/36 compact crank with an 11/21 cassette. This makes climbing where I live in Colorado very difficult. What would you guys recommend I do? I want to swap the cassette but don't know what would be most beneficial. Thanks
What make/model crankset are you running? If it's FSA, you should consider buying a 34 ring also, it's not that expensive.

As to cassettes, if you have the 34t and have a 12-25, you'll have much lower gearing options. What rear derailleur do you have? Your choice of cassette may be limited by this.
 

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It all depends on what you need. Personally, I'm planning on going with the new Rival mid-cage derailleur so I can run an 11-32 cassette with a 50/34 crankset. That's just for when I go up in the mountains and do Deer Creek, Lookout, or eventually some more difficult passes. For general riding I'll plan on an 11-28. But I'm not the strongest rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was thinking of going with a 12-28 cassette but am wondering if its overkill. Right now the 11-21 just makes some of the climbs here miserable. How much would a 34t upfront help instead of the 36? I want to try and avoid overlap as much as possible so I need help there as well.
 

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Saltlydog4 said:
I was thinking of going with a 12-28 cassette but am wondering if its overkill. Right now the 11-21 just makes some of the climbs here miserable. How much would a 34t upfront help instead of the 36? I want to try and avoid overlap as much as possible so I need help there as well.
I was going to say "you mean 11-28 cassette, not 12-28"... but turns out, whoa, SRAM is offering 12-28 now. And the ratios look pretty good actually- you get the 28t, but without losing the 16t. Nice! :yesnod:

Far as your situation goes, it's difficult to prescribe exact gearing for someone else, considering that so much of it is up to a rider's individual fitness level, preferences, riding terrain, etc. etc.

It's like, just how badly are you getting jacked up by your current climbs? If it's just somewhat, then maybe 12-25 might be ok. Lots of ppl like that cassette because you have the 16t cog and no large jumps. But if you're getting absolutely totalled by your climbs, then 12-28 starts to look real good, and you shouldn't worry about getting it, assuming it will work with your drivetrain.

On chainrings... Julius is right when he says 34t inner chainrings aren't that expensive (it's the big chainring that is seemingly made of gold, considering what the parts makers charge for it :rolleyes:), so that could be another good change. By itself though, it isn't getting you that much lower of a low gear... for you, it'd be about the same level of change as if you'd gone to a 22t large cog in the back, i.e. not much better. :(

If you're terribly budget-squeezed, then perhaps do the cassette change by itself first, and then assess from there.

Btw, how old is your ultegra rear derailleur? The older ones didn't have quite as much chain wrap capacity (though often you can get away with exceeding the spec slightly), while the newer ones were designed to work fine with big chainring differences (50-34) plus wide-range cassettes (even 11-28).

So, if it's an older rear derailleur and you wanted to go 50-34 up front, it might be that the 12-28 isn't an option, at least not without exceeding the spec a little bit. Some ppl are fine with trying things that are a bit outside of spec, but others get nervous and worry that something's going to break, even though that's pretty unlikely.

If it were me, I'd just put on a 12-28 cassette (the one that goes 21-24-28 on the last three cogs, not the weird one that goes 21-23-28), and then assess if that's enough (as a bonus, with 50-36 up front, you shouldn't be exceeding spec). If it's not enough, then I'd spend the xtra $$ on getting a 34t small chainring.

/ and I wouldn't sweat it if the 12-28 ends up being 'overkill', low gear-wise... there's always going to be days when you're not at your best, or you've been dealing with headwinds all day, or you do an extra-long ride and are just totally beat but still have big hills to climb to make it back home.

Times like those, having that one extra 'overkill' bailout gear that you don't normally need can be a godsend. :cool:
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what cassette

I live in Frisco in the summer and ride Vail pass, Ute pass, Montezuma, etc
I am running Ultegra with 11-28. Just changed----replaced the 11 cog with a 30 cog. Works fine---no shifting problems.
 

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mad max said:
Thanks SystemShock. You're reply was helpful to me too.
No prob. :cool:

FWIW, I think my new low gear is going to be 34/28... gonna order me one of 'em 12-28 SRAM cassettes. Always better to have too low of a low than too high, "just in case."
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Does Shimano make a 12-28 cassette for Ultegra/Dura Ace? I would love that for my weak climbing azz :blush2: . I saw an 11-28 but figure I would only rarely use the 28 and the 11 isn't needed since I just cruise downhill....thus I would be, in effect, losing some important gears, no?

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Saltlydog4 said:
I am running a 50/36 compact crank with an 11/21 cassette. This makes climbing where I live in Colorado very difficult. What would you guys recommend I do? I want to swap the cassette but don't know what would be most beneficial. Thanks
Run a 13-26 (with 10 cogs you'll have one tooth jumps up to the 19). If you're not strong enough to climb with a 36x21 you're not fast enough to need anything smaller than a 13.
 

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I would go with a 34 small chainring with an 11-25 cassette. I've got a 12-26 with a standard crank now and hate the 3 tooth jump between the 23 +26. If you are used to having a straight block with a 2 tooth jump at the end, chances are you will hate having 3 + 4 tooth jumps on your cassette. Your smallest gear is 45.1 inches right now, while a 34-25 is 35.7 inches per crank revolution. If you feel like you need a bigger cassette, you can always sell the 11-25 for about what you paid for it, cause it's the most popular cassette out there.
 

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twinkles said:
I would go with a 34 small chainring with an 11-25 cassette. I've got a 12-26 with a standard crank now and hate the 3 tooth jump between the 23 +26. If you are used to having a straight block with a 2 tooth jump at the end, chances are you will hate having 3 + 4 tooth jumps on your cassette. Your smallest gear is 45.1 inches right now, while a 34-25 is 35.7 inches per crank revolution. If you feel like you need a bigger cassette, you can always sell the 11-25 for about what you paid for it, cause it's the most popular cassette out there.
Of course the 11-25 comes with a two tooth jump between the 15 and 17.
 

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twinkles said:
If you feel like you need a bigger cassette, you can always sell the 11-25 for about what you paid for it, cause it's the most popular cassette out there.
Drew Eckhardt said:
Of course the 11-25 comes with a two tooth jump between the 15 and 17.
Yup, and that's a pretty bad place for a 2-tooth jump to be. :(

Also, I'm pretty sure 12-25 is the most popular cassette still (probably for the above reason)... though really, popularity is overrated- what matters most is if the cassette is suited to your particular needs.
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SystemShock said:
Yup, and that's a pretty bad place for a 2-tooth jump to be. :(

Also, I'm pretty sure 12-25 is the most popular cassette still (probably for the above reason)... though really, popularity is overrated- what matters most is if the cassette is suited to your particular needs.
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Questions of popularity aside, I like 12/25x50/34 a lot. I've never considered myself a strong rider, and that'll get me up about any steep I need.

Someone who wants extra help can go to a 27 on about any equipment. 28 is stretching the limits of a few RD's.

I'm considering Apex for my wife's bike: She wants and needs the bottom end of a triple, but fights with the trim on the front. The 34x32 has some run on it, and she's not such the spinner that the gaps would seriously affect her pedaling style.

No snobbery, but 11/28's make little practical sense. As said before, if you need one, you can't really make effective use of the other.
 

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Erion929 said:
Does Shimano make a 12-28 cassette for Ultegra/Dura Ace?
I don't believe they do, sry... I think it's only SRAM so far, as far as the major component makers go.

Maybe IRD or Miche or one of the other niche players might as well.

I saw an 11-28 but figure I would only rarely use the 28 and the 11 isn't needed since I just cruise downhill....thus I would be, in effect, losing some important gears, no?
Not quite sure exactly what you're trying to say here... a lot of ppl don't worry about losing the 11t for descents, because if the descent is at all steep and straight, you can often go faster by aero-tucking and NOT pedaling than you can by spinning the 11t like a hummingbird on crack. :D

To me, the true bad thing about 11-28 is that there's no 16t cog... 15 to 17 is kind of big jump for your flatland gears, where you're fighting wind resistance (the effort of which it takes to overcome goes up geometrically with speed). For the flats, 1-tooth jumps are king if you're riding at all fast.

For your climbing gears though, 2-tooth jumps are no big deal. In fact, they feel about right (1-tooth jumps are too small to do much on a steep climb... it's like, "Huh, did I just shift at all?").

3- and 4-tooth jumps in climbing gears can be a mixed bag though, as twinkles was saying... they give you a nice wide range, but some ppl find them irritating, i.e. too big.

Still, if you need a true 'bailout' gear, they can be invaluable. I'd rather be irritated than walking the bike up the hill or turning around.
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SystemShock said:
Yup, and that's a pretty bad place for a 2-tooth jump to be. :(

Also, I'm pretty sure 12-25 is the most popular cassette still (probably for the above reason)... though really, popularity is overrated- what matters most is if the cassette is suited to your particular needs.
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No cassette is perfect, but riding in the mountains means you aren't in one gear for a long time unless you are making long climbs, in which case most folks I know prefer 2 tooth jumps in the bigger cogs over 1 tooth jumpl around the 15 to 16. A 3 or 4 tooth jump in the big cogs means you have to choose between a gear that's too hard or one that's too easy. Riding long flats might be a different matter, luckily that's something I don't do.

Maybe the 12-25 is more popular.
 
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