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Old 12-29-06, 09:42 AM   #1
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What would be a good touring cassette.

I have a Trek FX 7300 and it has a 11-30 cassette and the chain rings are 48/38/28. I want to change the cassette out to either 11-32 or a 11-34. Which one would give me a noticeable difference. Also I was told that the Shimano cassette was better than the Sram because the Shimano doesn't wear out as fast. Thanks for any replys,George
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Old 12-29-06, 10:02 AM   #2
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The difference would be as much as the % tooth difference. A 32T would give you a 6.6% lower gear and a 34T would give a 13% lower gear. I expect the 34T would be needed to give a noticable improvement.

One comment, an 11x48 is a very high top gear (118 gear-inches assuming 700c wheels). Do you really need that tall a top gear? As long as you are changing cassettes would a 12x34 do as well?

You will have to lengthen the chain by 2 half-links (i.e. 1") if you go from a 30T to a 34T unless the chain is currently too long, which I doubt. BTW, if you are changing to a new cassette, you should probably fit a new chain also unless the current cassette and chain are very new (say under 1000 miles).

Shimano cassettes are fine. I don't know if they are much more durable than SRAM but they are certainly as good. You will do well with either brand.
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Old 12-29-06, 10:06 AM   #3
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Personally I'd go for 12-34 but it may be that you would need a Shimano XT der. to handle that. Certainly I'd doubt if you would need the eleven tooth for a touring set-up.
An alternative would be to change the 28 ring for a 26 which should be possible.
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Old 12-29-06, 10:24 AM   #4
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Someone told me I wouldn't gain that much changing from a 28 to the 26. Can I get a 12-34 in an 8 speed and would I have to add links.I just put a new Sram chain on. I think it was a 48C.
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Old 12-29-06, 10:27 AM   #5
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I have an 11-34 SRAM cassette on my cannondale t800, and it has the long mountain rear derailleur. I don't think that there are road derailleurs that will handle the 34t cog.

My large chainring is a 52, and the 11t cog pretty much never gets used unless I'm just slowly turning the pedals downhill to keep my legs moving. I think you could happily go with a 12 tooth as the smallest cog on the rear, but YMMV.

I have a 9 speed drivetrain, so I don't know about the availability of 8 speed cassettes.
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Old 12-29-06, 11:14 AM   #6
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I believe the SRAM 11-34 would make the most difference, but you'll need a long cage der. to go with it and a few more links on the chain. Why dont you come down a few teeth on your granny? Then you can keep your 11-30 rear. I've used Sram and shimano and have not seen any difference in wear--Now I use Sram primarily because of cheaper price. My gearing is 26-36-46 and 13-32 cassette and have all the range I could ever use.
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Old 12-29-06, 11:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George McClusky
Someone told me I wouldn't gain that much changing from a 28 to the 26. Can I get a 12-34 in an 8 speed and would I have to add links.I just put a new Sram chain on. I think it was a 48C.
You might not gain much going from a 28 to a 26 tooth ring but you can probably put a 24 on the crank which is a large change. Personally, I'd do the 11-34 with a new 24 inner if you can find an 11-34. If you can only find an 11-32, that's all the more reason to go to a 24 inner. This will give you a good range from high to low with a slightly higher high then a lot of tourists use. However, since most of us don't ride a loaded touring bike all the time and do use the bike for other rides, you would have a nice high gear for riding with the big dogs
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Old 12-29-06, 12:23 PM   #8
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I just measured the BB and it looks like 73mm. Is that what I'll need for a new crank and to keep the chain line where it's suppose to be? Also if I put a new crank on it would you go with the Sram on Shimano? So would I be right by saying 24/34/48 and 11-34 would be what I need.Thanks again
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Old 12-29-06, 12:25 PM   #9
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I'll probably need a new Derailleur with a long arm for the rear as well?
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Old 12-29-06, 12:34 PM   #10
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I like the looks of Sheldon's CS925 cassette
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/k7.html#9
Your current rear der should work, but you might
want to throw on a new chain.
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Old 12-29-06, 12:56 PM   #11
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For me a 12 to 34 XT cassette would be the way to go. I switch my road bike to one of those for riding in the N Georgia mountains. The gearing at the higher-gearing end has better ratios the an 11X 34. I personnally would also use mountain bike rings (22/32/44 or 46) on any touring bike.

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Old 12-29-06, 01:08 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=late]I like the looks of Sheldon's CS925 cassette
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/k7.html#9

I bought 2 cheap (sram and shimano) cassettes for $20 apiece (bargain bin). Drilled out the rivets, put together the cogs I wanted, put them on the freewheel (with spacers) and instant 13-34 or any other configuration I wanted. Took less than 1/2 hour. You can also buy individual cogs off the web cheaply enough to replace 2 or 3 cogs if you dont want to spring for a full cassette.
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Old 12-29-06, 03:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George McClusky
Someone told me I wouldn't gain that much changing from a 28 to the 26. Can I get a 12-34 in an 8 speed and would I have to add links.I just put a new Sram chain on. I think it was a 48C.
The change from a 28T to a 26T chainring gains 7.7% or slightly more than changing from a 30 to a 32 and a 24T chainring gains you a 16.7% better low gear or slightly more than changing the cassette to a 34T cog.

Why do you need to change the crank to change the chainrings? I assume your granny ring has the common 74 mm bolt circle diameter and 24 or 26T rings are readily available in this form from lots of sources. It a cheap and quick improvement and you won't have to alter your chain length.
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Old 12-29-06, 05:25 PM   #14
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I just changed the chain and I was told when you are ready to change your third chain you should change the cogs that you ride in the most. Then I was told that the cassette has some of the cogs together and they can't be taken apart. So that's what got me on this change to get better gearing for touring. It looks like the Shimano Nexave chain ring are together as well. I have never done this and I dont know to much about it, that's why I was wondering about the chainline as well. I think if I had it all apart I might as well put another BB on as well. Then there is the matter of getting the right tools. I checked online for the parts and I didn't see any 8 speed cassettes at Nash Bar or Performance. I would really like to do this myself and learn about it. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 12-29-06, 05:29 PM   #15
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you might need to check harriscyclery.com or loosescrews.com for 8 speed cogsets... you might be able to switch over to 9 speed, but I'm not sure how much extra stuff you would have to pick up to make it work.
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Old 12-29-06, 05:45 PM   #16
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check out Ebay. There is alot of SRAM 8 speed stuff at a good price in the road and moutain bike sections. I bought two 8 speed cassettes and drilled out the rivets to combine them. I now have a closer ratio 13x32 with 48/36/26 chainrings. Sweet. I found the jump between #1 and #2 gear was just to much (6 teeth I think) and I was spinning like a mad man in #1 or grinding in #2
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Old 12-29-06, 06:41 PM   #17
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With your current setup your low gear is 24 gear inches. top gear 115 inches.
With a 11/34 low gear would be 21 inches. top gear 115 inches.

Are you unable to spin the cranks with this low a gear? If heavy loads or steep hills are preventing you from spining the gears you currently have I would suggest you change out your chainrings to a mountain bike set. 44/32/22 and leave your 11/30 intact.

This would give you a low gear of 19 inches. with a top gear of 105 inches. A little lower and grouped closer together so there is not such a large step inbetween gears.

If you can't spin these gears I suggest that you get off and push the bike.
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Old 12-29-06, 07:24 PM   #18
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Hi carlton that's exactly what I'm looking for,but they say I'm suppose to change the cassette out every 3td chain and was wondering what to put in there. The same cassette or change it out to what? Also do I need another chain for when I change the chain ring out?
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Old 12-29-06, 07:39 PM   #19
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You'll need a mountain type rear derailleur to handle a cog bigger than a 30. I agree with the others that starting the cassette with a 12 or 13 would make more sense but don't know about availability in 8-speed. Sheldon Brown could probably help you with individual cogs so that you can create your own cassette. Converting to 9-speed could also be a good option but would require new 9-speed shifters, chain, as well as 9 cogs in the back. And there are 12-34 mtn. cassettes.

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Old 12-30-06, 01:00 AM   #20
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George--If the cassette and chain are in good shape run them. If they show signs of excessive wear replace them. Look at the gears on the cassette that you use the most often. Then compare it to the gears you use the least often. Does the drive side of the teeth show a cup like or dished out wear pattern? Are the teeth pointed on the ends instead of blunt? If these conditions exist the gears are worn out and should be replaced. I usually measure the chain length for wear and then bend it a bit from side to side to check for side plate wear. If it looks good, clean it up, and lube it and run it some more. My LX front XT rear equipped bike has between 7 and 10 thousand miles on it and shows only minor wear on the original cassette and chainring. I recently installed the 3rd chain.

Pretty flat over there in Katy. Cant imagine you needing a lower gear unless you go visiting in the Hill Country. If you decide to go lower in the rear (11/34) you will probably have to replace the derailleur also. If your front derailleur is a clamp on it should work with mountain bike chainrings after being lowered to the proper height and then adjusted for proper side to side movement. You should be geared plenty low enough with mountain bike chainrings and your current cassette.

I have pretty much the same terrain and high headwind here in corpus christi as you do in katy and I almost never go lower than about 34 gear inches or higher than 100.

Look here for a calculater to help learn more about how gears work.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
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Old 12-30-06, 10:42 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlton
George--If the cassette and chain are in good shape run them. If they show signs of excessive wear replace them. Look at the gears on the cassette that you use the most often. Then compare it to the gears you use the least often. Does the drive side of the teeth show a cup like or dished out wear pattern? Are the teeth pointed on the ends instead of blunt? If these conditions exist the gears are worn out and should be replaced. I usually measure the chain length for wear and then bend it a bit from side to side to check for side plate wear. If it looks good, clean it up, and lube it and run it some more. My LX front XT rear equipped bike has between 7 and 10 thousand miles on it and shows only minor wear on the original cassette and chainring. I recently installed the 3rd chain.
If you have put a 3rd chain on a cassette and still have it work, you should consider yourself lucky. I've seldom been able to run even a second chain on a cassette without it popping like crazy. Most everything I've read...and my personal experience...says that chain and cassette should be changed at the same time. I do think you are changing your chain at too high a frequency however. Seven to 10 thousand miles and 3 chains seems excessive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlton
Pretty flat over there in Katy. Cant imagine you needing a lower gear unless you go visiting in the Hill Country. If you decide to go lower in the rear (11/34) you will probably have to replace the derailleur also. If your front derailleur is a clamp on it should work with mountain bike chainrings after being lowered to the proper height and then adjusted for proper side to side movement. You should be geared plenty low enough with mountain bike chainrings and your current cassette.
This is a Trek 7300 that is already running a long cage derailer. If it can shift a 30 tooth cog, it can handle a 32 or 34 just fine. No need to change the rear derailer. A Deore rear derailer should handle a wide range cassette without problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlton
I have pretty much the same terrain and high headwind here in corpus christi as you do in katy and I almost never go lower than about 34 gear inches or higher than 100.
Gearing is always a personal thing. What works for one person might not work for others. Maybe George is going to go ride in Colorado or do RAGBRAI or do the TransAmerica Trail. He know what his needs are. I seldom ride much less than a 53 gear inch combination on my commute to and from work in our hilly city but I occasionally run across something that requires much lower gears. I'd rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. On a touring bike, with a 60 lb load, a 16" gear is very welcome and, even at 3 mph, is far easier than pushing up a hill on foot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlton
Look here for a calculater to help learn more about how gears work.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
Absolutely. Use the gear calculator to try out new combinations before you go spending money. Use your current gears as a guide and work from there.

George,

Don't make this more complicated than it needs to be. Get the cassette you want, put it on the wheel and see if it works. Since you are only going up a few of teeth in the back, you might not even need a longer chain. If the derailer won't shift to the lowest cog (not that I think it will have problems ), look into another rear derailer. Do your calculations and see if a smaller front is what you want too.

Good luck
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Old 12-30-06, 11:39 AM   #22
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I just came back from a ride and I was paying close attention to the gearing and I was wondering the same thing. I wonder if I could get away with a different cassette and try that for awhile.Where I live it's pretty flat,a lot of wind,but I'm trying to set the bike up for the Texas hill country.I think I can change the cassette with no problem,but I don't know about the chain rings. It looks like mine are all one piece. I put the new chain on because it looked about 1/8" to long and when I did change it, with a little adjustment it shifted a lot better. If I put a new cassette on, I was going to go with the 34 Sram so I would be the same as the chain, but another post above said I would have to add links. If I have to add links I just as soon go with the 32. Is it that hard to change the chain rings out? I don't know about the chain line and what BB I'm suppose to use and what tools I'm going to need. I want to get the tools anyhow so I can pull it apart and lube it. I did measure the BB and it looks like it's 73mm so if I bought a new crank set I was going to order the same BB (73mm). Anyhow when I do, do this I'll feel like I've accomplished something and feel good that I've done it. Thanks George
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Old 12-30-06, 06:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George McClusky
I just came back from a ride and I was paying close attention to the gearing and I was wondering the same thing. I wonder if I could get away with a different cassette and try that for awhile.Where I live it's pretty flat,a lot of wind,but I'm trying to set the bike up for the Texas hill country.I think I can change the cassette with no problem,but I don't know about the chain rings. It looks like mine are all one piece. I put the new chain on because it looked about 1/8" to long and when I did change it, with a little adjustment it shifted a lot better. If I put a new cassette on, I was going to go with the 34 Sram so I would be the same as the chain, but another post above said I would have to add links. If I have to add links I just as soon go with the 32. Is it that hard to change the chain rings out? I don't know about the chain line and what BB I'm suppose to use and what tools I'm going to need. I want to get the tools anyhow so I can pull it apart and lube it. I did measure the BB and it looks like it's 73mm so if I bought a new crank set I was going to order the same BB (73mm). Anyhow when I do, do this I'll feel like I've accomplished something and feel good that I've done it. Thanks George
A 30 to a 34 tooth cog isn't that big a jump. As long as you avoid - religiously - a big ring/big cog combination, you probably don't need a longer chain...at this point. You really don't need to ride in the big/big combination since the gear is duplicated elsewhere anyway, so this should be a problem. I'd install the cassette, try it on a stand and, if the derailer looks tight in lower gears on the big ring, replace the chain. Otherwise, just ride.

Changing the cogs can be an issue if the chainrings are swaged together. Basically, don't bother. However, changing a crank is not that involved and, if you use the same spindle as the old crank, you probably won't need to change that either. Check the Park Tool website to see how it's done.
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Old 12-30-06, 07:30 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George McClusky
Someone told me I wouldn't gain that much changing from a 28 to the 26. Can I get a 12-34 in an 8 speed and would I have to add links.I just put a new Sram chain on. I think it was a 48C.
11/34 is available in stock 8-cog cassettes. There is also a 12/32, but only in an XTR level cassette. I assume it would be possible to cobble something together, but I've never spent the time to figure out the various cog combinations to make it work.

If you are jumping up from a 26 to a 34 tooth big cog, you will certainly have to resize your chain and probably add several links. If it was my bike, I'd just replace the entire chain. Unless you already have a mountain bike rear derailleur, you'll need to replace that too in order to handle the 34t biggest cog.
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Old 12-30-06, 08:57 PM   #25
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If you have put a 3rd chain on a cassette and still have it work, you should consider yourself lucky. I've seldom been able to run even a second chain on a cassette without it popping like crazy.
Well, no wonder. If you think changing chains every 3000 miles is excessive.

If you actually change chains before they stretch all to hell, you'll have a cassette that'll serve you for a long, long time. (Chains are a lot cheaper and easier to replace than cassettes. )
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