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  1. #1
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Do we need 11 speed rear clusters???

    I question the need for 11 speed rear clusters. Can anyone give logical reasons why we need them? Or is this just another example of newer is supposed to be better. Is this just a move on the part of bike manufacturers to make people think they have old obsolete equiptment. Twenty two or thirty three speeds just seems to be over kill. Higher cost of the cluster and the proper chain also enters into the mix.

    And guys, no need for this to get over heated. Just calm reasoned replys are needed.

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    I have Campy 11 speed. Do I need it? No, I was fine with 8-speed! But, aside from the gearing advantages (more gears, closer ratios, etc), the newer tech that comes with modern groups makes rationalizing the need for more gears easier!
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  3. #3
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The technology around the cassette and chain has not changed much in decades and I can only see 11 speed as something for people who are riding at highly competitive levels and even then, it is the rider who makes the most difference.

    The cost of 11 speed cassettes and chain is also much higher so you need deep pockets to afford this.

    I was fine when things hit 8 speeds and run a 9 speed on my mtb because it came that way... my touring bikes run 6 and 7 speed blocks and my vintage racing bike also runs a 7.

  4. #4
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    11 speeds aren't needed. Will people buy them? Sure. At some point they will be unable to build a chain/cog combo that will go any narrower without them having to be replaced every month.

    My old Trek 520 was friction-shifted 6-speed, and it worked just fine, never had issues with it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Yes, we need 11s to carry us over to the electronic shifting we need cause you know, shifting with cables is so hard on the hands and we need more batteries floating around because electricity is green tech...

    however you will ply my 10s from my cold dead hands along with my 6s regina freewheels.
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  6. #6
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    Need? Of course not, but then again do we need internet on our cell phones, or any of a hundred (conservative estimate) things we clutter our lives with?.

    In a perfect world, I'd build my next bike using 8 sprockets with 10s spacing, reducing the width of the freehub and the rear wheel dish. But life doesn't work that way.

    The economics of the bike industry are driven by OEM needs for features in order to sell new bikes, so we'll always see, more speeds, lighter stuff, gadgets, features, etc.

    And the bike biz isn't unique, I'm in the market for a new car. I just want a car, you know 4-wheels with an engine, brakes and steering. Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to get one without all kinds of unnecessary and sometimes counter productive crap like electric door locks, GPS, on board computer, back-up TV, and god knows what else.

    Ford even has a car that'll read my emails. Do I want a car reading my emails? it's bad enough the government does it? At this rate, the crime of the future will be hackers stealing cars by internet. But I digress....

    If you don't want 11s, do as I did, and buy enough spares to keep your existing stuff going for years. Or you can wait a while for 12s.

    BTW- this isn't a new question. When I bought my first real bike some 45 years ago, friends asked WTF do you need 10 speeds on a bike for, my car only has 3?
    Last edited by FBinNY; 04-08-11 at 11:44 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    I question the need for 11 speed rear clusters. Can anyone give logical reasons why we need them?
    Because people like tight gearing and wide range.

    I had that in 1996 with 50-40-30x13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 8 speed. Got me up everything in the Colorado Rockies west of Boulder and was still ideal for plains rides east.

    Unfortunately bike companies don't want to make and stock the added SKUs which go with triple cranks. Configuring a double with the same range having good overlap between rings and perfect double shift in both directions (one right shifter wiggle with Campagnolo) takes a minimum of

    46-36x12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25 11 speed

    Of course, some people like a smaller starting gear

    46-36x11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25 12 speed

    I most enjoyed the configuration when I was in great shape and weighed 145 pounds. At 180 pounds and the same power I'd want

    46-36x11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-26-29 13 speed

    Obviously the bike companies make more money when they sell us 11 speeds, 12 speeds, and then 13 speeds instead of letting us upgrade once and then be done with it.

    OTOH, although I'm definitely less powerful than I'd used to be - where I used to ride centuries with hills in 5:45 I'm taking 6 hours to cover 100 miles split over 4 days. Maybe 14 cogs would do it.

    Higher cost of the cluster and the proper chain also enters into the mix.
    Campagnolo chains seem to be 4000 mile parts. 11 speed chains (assuming you're smart enough to order on-line from the UK) are $8 more (Veloce vs Chorus). Campagnolo cassettes seem to make it through 4 chains. 11 speed cogs are $75 more (Veloce vs. Chorus). $107 over 16,000 miles is pretty much free.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 04-08-11 at 01:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TassR700's Avatar
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    So, you on a retro binge today? First no need for anything other than downtube shifters, now no one needs more than a few gears. Somebody save us from innovation. I get the distinct feeling that you are not the demographic that combination brake/shifters and 10 and 11 speed clusters are aimed at. For people at the high end of the performance spectrum, tighter gearing and easier shifting make for a nicer ride. And for us that would like to be there, it is fun to work with top end stuff. A lot of cycling has nothing to do with what you actually need.

  9. #9
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    For a while I thought about starting a thread like this, asking: what do you believe is the "perfect" number of speeds? Here are my thoughts.

    Racing
    : 10+ in high levels of competition, every advantage matters no matter how small. Durability is not a concern. Race car drivers may have their engine rebuilt after every race, whereas a normal car can reasonably go 200,000+ miles before needing similar service. I will probably never reach this level, so I categorize myself as:

    General Riding: 8 speed. Occasional races, nothing too serious. Commuting, riding for fun, etc. Since 8 speed is the last number without the even-narrower chains, I believe it is the best combination of ratios and durability. Also, parts are much cheaper. The only advantage 7s has over it is less dish in the rear wheel, which brings me to:

    Touring: I don't own a touring bike, but if I ever had one, I'd like it to have a 7s Shimano Freehub with 135mm spacing. Less dish, stronger wheel, plentiful spare parts available.

    In my opinion it is unfortunate how some features trickle down. I don't need or want 9/10/11s and I bet a lot of others don't either, but now it is standard on even lower end bikes. I really like FB's analogy with car features.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    Are you serious? They have 11 speed rear clusters now? I guess I'm behind the times. My mountain bike has a 10 speed cluster and I thought that was stupid (don't get me wrong, I love the bike overall).

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    Just wait! shimano has a patent for a 14 cog cassette. The chains inner plates are arched to clear the teeth of the cogs.
    My road bike has a triple with 8 in the back. My tourer has a triple with half-step seven speed in the back. With that setup I have 18 seperate usable gears with 10% spacing.

  12. #12
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    I can just imagine a similar question was asked in a forum 150 years ago: "Do we need more than one gear?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
    I can just imagine a similar question was asked in a forum 150 years ago: "Do we need more than one gear?"
    Not really, unless we need to keep up with people that have more than one gear.

  14. #14
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRaleigh View Post
    Not really, unless we need to keep up with people that have more than one gear.
    Or keeping up with the Joneses...

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    Cycling is also a heard mentality. If EVERYONE is riding 11 speed, riding 10 speed is passe! If EVERYONE decided to go back to 8 speed, riding anything higher would be out of the loop. Etc.

    If nobody bought 11 speed, it would die off, and 10 speed would still be the standard. Since people ARE buying 11 speed, better hoard 10 speed stuff!
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    rydabent, I'm going to look at the question in a different light. When I cycled many more miles than I do now during the week and worked my way to a B+ level club rider I ran 8S and would switch cassettes depending on the route. The 10S+ cassettes can perhaps do that without swapping. I could be wrong, of course.

    Brad

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Define the population sample in the "WE"

    I adopted the nice German internal gear 14 speed hub instead.

    Not much trade show sizzle on those , they designed it well the 1st time,
    so no new latest upgrade, and they don't sponsor any Pro Tour teams
    to show off their engineers latest gizmo set.

    it's as much about component companies in competition, with each other,
    as it is the 20~30 year olds racing them ..
    marketing and product development..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-11-11 at 12:57 PM.

  18. #18
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    What's that quote from the Single Speed/Fixed Gear forum, 'it's better to triumph by the force of ones own legs than through the artifice of a derailer' or something like that?

  19. #19
    Senior Member BentLink's Avatar
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    images.jpg "Put it up to eleven"
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    Just wait! shimano has a patent for a 14 cog cassette. The chains inner plates are arched to clear the teeth of the cogs.
    Those patents date from the early '90's and were never commercialized so, apparently, there is indeed a limit. Is 11 cogs it? We'll find out.

    As to needing 11 cogs, as several posters have pointed out, you certainly don't NEED them and, in fact you don't have to buy them. Five speed freewheels, friction downtube shifters and steel cottered cranks are still available with a little looking. You can be as modern or as retro as your taste and budget permit.

    Question for the OP: Based on the two threads you've started recently it would be interesting to know just what bikes you do own and ride. Where in the spectrum of ancient to untramodern are you?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    At some point adding an additional cog is a waste. Only you can decide whether or not you're already there.

    At the small end of the cassette the cogs are one tooth apart. As you add more teeth, the gear inch spaceing between cogs decreases. If you had an 11/20 10-speed cassette, the ratio change between the 19 and the 20is a lot less than the ratio change between the 11 and the 12. In fact, the ratios are so close that you might be tempted to double shift past the 19 so that you could feel a bit more change. If that's the case, you'd be better off with a 11/20 9-speed that eliminates the unused 19 cog. You might be happier with a cog that fits between the 11 and the 12 but you can't have an 11 1/2 tooth cog. You could always add cogs at the hill climb end of the cassette, but if a 20 is the biggest cog that you actually use, what have you gained?


    While the example is an extreme case, a rider's gearing needs are determined by how hard a high gear he can turn, how easy a low gear he needs for the hills and the spaceing he is willing to tolerate between gears.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    What's that quote from the Single Speed/Fixed Gear forum, 'it's better to triumph by the force of ones own legs than through the artifice of a derailer' or something like that?
    The guy who said it got wasted by one of the early developers of the derailleur.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    What's that quote from the Single Speed/Fixed Gear forum, 'it's better to triumph by the force of ones own legs than through the artifice of a derailer' or something like that?
    Some people have to depend totally on muscle power, some also have brain power that they can tap. Whatever works for you.

  24. #24
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Some people have to depend totally on muscle power, some also have brain power that they can tap. Whatever works for you.
    Some of us have a little tiny bit of each and do the best we can. Are we having fun yet?
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  25. #25
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    And guys, no need for this to get over heated. Just calm reasoned replys are needed.


    Yeah, right.


    I don't anyone NEEDS more than about 6 or 7. More than that is just ludicrous.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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