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Old 01-27-09, 02:13 PM   #1
dbs
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SRAM cassette versus Shimano quality

I need to switch out my 7-speed cassette. My LBS has a 13x30 SRAM and a 12x32 Shimano cassettes in stock. I need to decide which one or have him order something else.

I'm familiar with the quality of Shimano but know nothing about SRAM cassettes. I do have an SRAM chain. Anyone have any issues with SRAM cassettes?

How about the difference between 12 or 13 teeth? I know it depends on the front ring but is there a significant difference independent of which ring you're on?
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Old 01-27-09, 03:11 PM   #2
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The SRAM should be fine for design and build quality; I haven't yet worn out either a Shimano or SRAM, so I can't vouch for lifetime. However, I haven't been impressed with the build quality of some house brand cassettes, such as Forte and Nashbar's.
Personally, I'd go with the wider gear range to get the 8.xx% higher max speed on flats and the slightly easier top gear for hills, but you'll have to decide the price/performance tradeoff for yourself.
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Old 01-27-09, 03:23 PM   #3
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I switched to SRAM for cassettes and chains in 2003 and have been very happy. They are completely compatible. My personal experience suggests that the SRAM lasts longer - the chains do certainly.
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Old 01-27-09, 03:25 PM   #4
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You haven't said what you have for a rear derailer and what your current gearing is. The 12x32 may be too much range for your current RD.
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Old 01-27-09, 03:30 PM   #5
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Sram vs Shimano cassette quality? That's right up there with platform vs clipless pedals!

I've heard some say, the "early" Sram gear changing wasn't as smooth as the "early" Shimanos... but with the new stuff I personally can't tell the difference (I have bikes set-up with both).

Quality on the other hand has more to do with "price-point" rather than the brand.

Yes, you can feel a significant speed difference between the 12 and 13 cog, but the difference between a 30 and a 32 is almost negligible.



.

Last edited by Pocko; 01-27-09 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 01-27-09, 03:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for the response. I have a Ultegra long cage RD. The LBS mechanic feels it should work fine. I am wondering about the chain length. I just bought a new chain.......... and it's cut to fit a 12-26.
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Old 01-27-09, 04:12 PM   #7
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I run the SRAM PG-970 cassette on my hybrid. Higher quality supposedly. I like it better than the Shimano that was on it. Shifts are smoother. But to each their own. Whatever you choose, I'm sure, will work fine.

Happy Trails!
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Old 01-27-09, 04:31 PM   #8
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Despite Shimano's spec that the Ultegra rear derailleurs are rated for a maximum rear cog of 27T, the ability to handle a 30 or 32 tooth cog will depend on your bikes hanger dimensions. In general, most users report the Ultegra rd will handle a 30T big cog with no problems and 32 is marginal, some do and some don't.
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Old 01-27-09, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbs View Post
I need to switch out my 7-speed cassette. My LBS has a 13x30 SRAM and a 12x32 Shimano cassettes in stock. I need to decide which one or have him order something else.

I'm familiar with the quality of Shimano but know nothing about SRAM cassettes. I do have an SRAM chain. Anyone have any issues with SRAM cassettes?


How about the difference between 12 or 13 teeth? I know it depends on the front ring but is there a significant difference independent of which ring you're on?
It depends on how fast you like going. If you have some hills or like to fly on the flats, you might spin out with a 13. You got to be going really fast to do that but I've come close to wishing I had an 11 on some downhills.
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Old 01-27-09, 04:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dbs View Post
Thanks for the response. I have a Ultegra long cage RD. The LBS mechanic feels it should work fine. I am wondering about the chain length. I just bought a new chain.......... and it's cut to fit a 12-26.
Checking correct chain length is easy. Shift your front derailleur to the largest chain ring, and shift your rear derailleur to your largest cassette sprocket. There should be only just enough chain to allow engagement, with the rear derailleur tensioner almost fully extended forward (but not binding). If the tensioner isn't nearly fully extended, you've got too much chain... if this engagement isn't possible, you haven't got enough chain.

Although this extreme gear combination should be avoided when riding, there should be enough chain to make it possible. Otherwise, in such cases where you absent-mindedly attempt it (or if someone else who borrowed your bike doesn't know any better) it can damage your your drive-train or even snap the chain in the process. Having more chain than necessary is just carrying surplus weight and can cause the chain to be overly sloppy on smaller gear combinations.

Be aware of your chain length, if you swap different purpose rear wheels with different cassette sizes... I got caught-out on this one!

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Old 01-27-09, 05:20 PM   #11
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I didn't know Shimano made a 12-32 in 7 speed? 14-32, yes.
I know they do in 8 speed.

I wouldn't go over a 30T because of possible RDER issues.

What bike is this on? Chain ring sizes?
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Old 01-27-09, 05:21 PM   #12
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Both Shimano and SRAM's 7 speed cassettes are kind of low end stuff. I wouldn't worry about any quality dilfferences because it won't be significant. Take the one that has the ratios you want. bk
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Old 01-27-09, 05:42 PM   #13
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Another way to check the chain-length is to shift the bike to the smallest cog on the cassette, and the largest chainring up front. The RD should have it's to wheels at 6:00 and 12:00 to the ground. Straight up & down.
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Old 01-27-09, 07:27 PM   #14
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I can't speak to 7 spd because I only have 9 spd, but I prefer SRAM for an odd reason. I have always found Shimano cassettes more difficult to get on and off. For reasons I've never understood, I have tended to have trouble getting lockring tool to seat properly in shimano lockrings but have never had any problem with SRAM. That said, the difficulty was just a minor annoyance (but enough that I usually go with SRAM), and I have not noticed a difference in durability or performance between the two cassettes.

Regarding the choice between 12x32 and 13x30, there is no reason to choose cassette just based on what LBS happens to have in stock. Its easy enough to find cassettes with gearing to meet your needs, so whether you go with Shimnano or SRAM, if neither the SRAM or shimano that the LBS has meets your needs, shop around for the set up you want (probably available any number of places online).

-- After a quick search, I may be wrong about availbility of gearing options. I am not seeing 7 Speed SRAM in anything other than 13x30 but more options with Shimano so perhaps thats a reason to lean toward Shimano.

Last edited by DOS; 01-27-09 at 07:43 PM. Reason: New info
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Old 01-27-09, 07:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
I run the SRAM PG-970 cassette on my hybrid. Higher quality supposedly. I like it better than the Shimano that was on it. Shifts are smoother. But to each their own. Whatever you choose, I'm sure, will work fine.

Happy Trails!
Same experience , +1 0n the smoothness
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Old 01-27-09, 07:59 PM   #16
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Stopped using shimano cassettes long ago because I always bent the cogs long before wearing out the teeth. Quality may have changed since then.
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Old 01-27-09, 09:12 PM   #17
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Stopped using shimano cassettes long ago because I always bent the cogs long before wearing out the teeth. Quality may have changed since then.
I have run into more bent cogs on Sram cassettes than on Shimano.Hard riding off roaders should avoid the low end Sram cassettes in my experience. The higher end ones that are mounted on a spider stand up much better.
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Old 01-27-09, 09:24 PM   #18
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We have four MTBs here that we race each season. We have had no issues with drive train failures either chain or Cassettes since switching to SRAM. We used to see regular chain failures and have had cassettes disintegrate. We ride the same venues in the same crappy conditions and have switched only the product. We run mid price range and up on the bikes and now only replace as a precautionary practice rather than because we have had a mid race failure as we did with the Shimano products. Don't get me wrong. I like Shimano road shifters and derailleurs. But for Chains, Cassettes and off road shifters and derailleurs, I only buy SRAM. We have done enough durability testing to see it as the best choice.
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Old 01-28-09, 10:54 AM   #19
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for chains I've found
the SRAM stuff will last 12 months of hard riding
while the Shimano stuff will last just 1 year.
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Old 01-28-09, 01:37 PM   #20
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for chains I've found
the SRAM stuff will last 12 months of hard riding
while the Shimano stuff will last just 1 year.
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Old 01-30-09, 10:30 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I didn't know Shimano made a 12-32 in 7 speed? 14-32, yes.
I know they do in 8 speed.
Bill, you know your stuff. I flipped things around. The 12-32 was an SRAM not Shimano. I went with the SRAM. My long cage Ultegra is barely adequate but it shfts fine. Following the large front ring with the large back my chain length appears to be perfect but my what an ugly alignment. Clearly won't use.

The shifting, thus far, has been very smooth and quiet. I like quiet.


Quote:
Both Shimano and SRAM's 7 speed cassettes are kind of low end stuff. I wouldn't worry about any quality dilfferences because it won't be significant. Take the one that has the ratios you want.
bkaapcke, any recommendations for a better quality 7-speed? Or is this about all I'm going to find?
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