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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-08-10, 09:41 AM   #1
Barrettscv 
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Sram Apex 11-32 10 speed cassette + Shimano shifters & rear derailleur = fear no hill

Sram introduced its Apex drivetrain group this summer. It’s meant to compete with Shimano 105 in terms of price and performance. The group provides 20 speeds, a triple is not an option from Sram. To provide a wide range, an 11-32 10 speed cassette is available. Sram and Shimano cassettes use the same hub design. I knew the cassette would fit on my Shimano 105 hubs.

I was less certain that the 11-32 cassette would fit the rear derailleur or would shift well. I have an Ultegra 6600 “GS” rear derailleur, this has a longer cage than the usual Ultegra. Chain wrap would not be a problem, the GS can handle a triple crankset. The rated capacity on the rear cog is 28, so fitting a 32 might not be possible. The derailleur upper idler wheel must be able to float below the cog when on the largest cog or the rear hanger and/or the derailleur will be damaged. Much to my surprise, the derailleur has the capacity for 32 when installed on my Lynskey road bike. A shorter hanger could reduce the capacity, so this may not be true for all bikes.

Sifting quality was my next concern. Was the cassette going to provide the smooth shifts I had with a 12-27 shimano cassette? The cog spacing on the Sram Apex is greater than the Shimano, with a 11-12-13-15-17-19-21-24-18-32 cog set. Would the indexed spacing provided by the Shimano shifters provide the right increment for the Sram cassette? The Sram cassette provided the same fast & smooth shifts as the Shimano cassette, another pleasing result.

On the road the spacing of the cogs is noticed. If I’m at 20 mph, I can use a 34 chainwheel in combination with 12 cog, and have an 11 or 13 cog to use as the terrain changes. The spacing on the 50 chainwheel is 15-17-19 at the speed range, and the change in cadence in noticeable on the larger chainring.

But the total range in huge, greater than a 50, 39 & 30t triple crankset with a 12-27 cassette. Climbing steep hills at very low speeds is smoother and easier on the legs with the 34 & 32 gearing option. High speed descents at 35 mph can be cranked using the 50 & 11 combination.

This might be the best set-up for hilly routes.
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Old 08-08-10, 10:05 AM   #2
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I have a SRAM drivetrain - I've been using an ITM 11-30 cassette but it's about worn out and I'll be switching to the Apex cassette. Good to hear it shifts well (although i had no complaints about the ITM). My SRAM RD is also rated at 28 cogs in the back, so I might have to swap that for an Apex RD to make it all work. A couple of extra teeth won't be a huge deal, but I'm doing the White Mountain Double in a month and think I'll need every gear I can get to climb that first hill.

JB
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Old 08-08-10, 07:16 PM   #3
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Get a Deore or higher level MTB rear dérailleur and enjoy.
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Old 08-08-10, 07:26 PM   #4
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Won't work with a SRAM drivetrain. The only MTB derailleur that works with SRAM is SRAM's XX - and that costs more than a Red RD. THe new Apex (and Rival) medium cage RD are rated up to 32 teeth, and will probably work with more than that.

JB
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Old 08-09-10, 12:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jonathanb715 View Post
My SRAM RD is also rated at 28 cogs in the back, so I might have to swap that for an Apex RD to make it all work. A couple of extra teeth won't be a huge deal, but I'm doing the White Mountain Double in a month and think I'll need every gear I can get to climb that first hill.
An old mechanic's trick is to swap the "B-tension" screw for one that's slightly longer if the fit is close-but-not-quite. If it's way off, then a different RD is in order. I've never tried this trick myself, but have a buddy who swears by it...
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Old 08-09-10, 07:12 AM   #6
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I just went from 8 speed 11-28 to 9 speed 11-32 and I concur, 30-32 I'd a hill destroyer. My vintage had a 7 speed megarange that jumps from 24 to 34. The 30/34 was awesome for huge hills but I really missed having the 28 tooth. I AK running it on a shimano 2200 rd rated for 27tooth cog but also no issues with it. I'm going to upgrade to an ultegra gs in the near future.
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Old 08-09-10, 12:53 PM   #7
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Barrettscv, thanks for the information, been thinking about doing almost exactly what you just described. One of the guys at the LBS suggested the idea a few months ago, hopefully it works out for me as well as it has for you.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:11 PM   #8
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I have ridden with an XTR cassette and deraileur on my road bike since 2002 (the rest is Ultegra). I love the 11-34 ratio. I do alot of touring and that bike has gotten me up alot of steep nastiness.

I am currently having a new bike built and instead of using XTR (which is crazy money!) I am adding to the Ultegra drivetrain, a Sram XX cassette (OK also crazy money) and XT derailleur. I lose two teeth but that's OK, what don't kill me will make me stronger!!!
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Old 08-09-10, 04:28 PM   #9
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Sifting quality was my next concern. Was the cassette going to provide the smooth shifts I had with a 12-27 shimano cassette?
I'm not sure you're asking the same question that I'm hearing, and that's probably why I didn't see the answer. That, or my general cluelessness.

I changed from a 12-26 (?) a while ago to an 11-28. And, like you, I fear no hill now. But, occasionally, on the flats, I feel like the gap or spacing between two gears is just a little too much. I'll be spinning the pedals and decide it's time to shift, then my cadence might drop to 65 and I start using more leg muscle and less CV. Then I'll switch back, and my legs are flying around in circles so quickly I'll need to catch my breath. Is this something you're noticing.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:55 PM   #10
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I have a SRAM 11-28, a Shimano 12-27 (worn out now), an IRD 11-30 - the gaps on all of these cassettes are fine for me. However, I've spent the time learning how to use a wider range of cadences and made a point on training rides of using different cadences for extended periods. A wide range cassette will have gaps - some find them too large and others can adapt.

BTW, if you get serious about training with different cadences a fixie or single speed will force you to learn in a big hurry!

JB

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Old 08-09-10, 06:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I'm not sure you're asking the same question that I'm hearing, and that's probably why I didn't see the answer. That, or my general cluelessness.

I changed from a 12-26 (?) a while ago to an 11-28. And, like you, I fear no hill now. But, occasionally, on the flats, I feel like the gap or spacing between two gears is just a little too much. I'll be spinning the pedals and decide it's time to shift, then my cadence might drop to 65 and I start using more leg muscle and less CV. Then I'll switch back, and my legs are flying around in circles so quickly I'll need to catch my breath. Is this something you're noticing.
Yes, I was concerned about the mechanical smoothness of the shifts. The change in cadence is another issue. I'm adding the wide range cassette for a hilly riding event. I own two bikes, one has a triple the other has Compact crankset with the wide range cassette.

I'm using both a 105 road triple (50, 39 & 26t) with a 12-27 ten speed cassette on my Cyclocross/touring bike and the 50 & 34t compact with the 11-32 Apex ten speed cassette on my road bike. I agree the 12-26 (sic) will provide a much tighter range than the 11-32. I also find the 39t chain-ring very good to use on flat terrain.

All of my hill climbing comes in short 15 to 22% bursts, the longest such climb is less than two miles. I'll attend a 200k next week with 13,500 ft of climbing, but the steepest climbs are less than a mile long each. The longest decent will be 3 miles. For this event, I will be above 25 mph for 1/3 of the ride, below 10 mph for a 1/3 of the ride and the rest will be in the 10-25 mph range. The compact gearset with the 11-32 cassette has benefits in this rolling terrain. While rolling down hill, I shift to the big chain-ring and can stay on cadence at any speed above 15 mph. While heading uphill, I shift to the smaller chain-ring and stay on cadence from 6.5 to 22 mph. While my cadence will range from 85 to 100 rpm, I find this acceptable.

I will continue to prefer the triple on the CX/touring bike when most of the route is not very steep. On flatter routes, that include a few sharp climbs, the smallest chain-ring is used as a "bail-out" option. Here, the 39t chain-ring & 12-27 cassette is king, and can be used most of the time. It allows a narrow 90 to 100 cadence from 10 to 25 mph. The 50 chain-ring is only used on longer downhill descents.

My preference is to shift less often while remaining on cadence and having the range of gears needed. Sometimes the wide range double is the solution, other times the triple is better. If I had to use only one, it would be a triple.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-09-10 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 08-09-10, 08:14 PM   #12
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If you are using Shimano shifters, you can use an Apex 11-32 with a Shimano MTB rear dérailleur. Deore level or better . The cassette isn't dependant on the rest of the groupset, as Shimano and SRAM use the same cog width and spacing. The shifting should as smooth as your current Ultegra.
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Old 08-14-10, 11:53 AM   #13
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What about all the rear cassettes offered by Harris?
Seems like they always had these parts and explained them very well.
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/k7.html
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Old 08-14-10, 04:28 PM   #14
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There's nothing wrong with them - or with the other options to get bigger cassettes on there (I have an IRD 11-30 around here somewhere...). The big difference is that a major manufacturer has now started making cassettes in these sizes, (hopefully) reducing the cost to consumers and increasing availability. Now when cassettes go on sale, maybe we'll be able to find one of these cheap.

JB
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Old 08-14-10, 04:59 PM   #15
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Hi, I was hoping someone would have patience enough to answer this question. I have a Marin Kentfield that has a 7 speed cassette on the rear and a triple crank in the front. What would it take to change to this cassette for easier hill climbing? It is indexed shifting.
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Old 08-14-10, 08:38 PM   #16
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CS738 7 speed Shimano cassette. 13-34 gearing. Cassettes don't get much bigger than that.

You could also swap out the rings on the crankset (if they're replaceable).

Look at the link to Harris posted above, you'll see it for sale.
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