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Thread: Upgrade Casette

  1. #1
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Upgrade Casette

    I just checked and I'm about due to replace my chain (it just fails the 0.75% test if I push a little). And, while I'm at it, I was considering upgrading the cassette as well.

    The bike has 9 speed Deore shifters and SLX derailers -- but the cassette is a low end SRAM.

    So, I am thinking of upgrading the cassette to SLX (CS-HG80) as part of my long term goal to get the bike up to all Deore / SLX components.

    The whole bike only has a thousand miles on it and the shifting is pretty good (by my standards) and the only problem is that the rear cassette will jump to another gear every once in while (about once every 100 miles or so) for no discernible reason. But the way I ride that is more of an annoyance than a problem.

    So, am I just being silly and fussy to upgrade, or would I actually see an improvement (either lower weight or better shifting) with the SLX (or sometimes it's listed at XT) cassette?

    I figure there's a reason that Shimano charges more for these -- but I can't figure out what the difference is between the higher end and lower end cassettes -- they're all hyper-glide.
    --------------------------------------
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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Cassette is not your shifting problem.
    Adjust you dérailleur cables.
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    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I'll reinforce the member that always reminds us that a new chain can absolve a multitude of sins. A new cassette would be a great addition as long as the cost are within your budget. If you are shooting for an all Deore drive train they are certainly great components. I am assuming this is for the Trek and not the R500t, and I have been frequently known to use the "assume" to its full split potential.

    Which SRAM cassette do you have now, and what condition are its teeth and the pawls for the action still in good shape? If you want an all Deore/SLX drive train, go for it, the chains are some of the best as I understand it. I know of several members that have the Deore drive on touring bikes for the low big cog it can handle as well as the crank and its chain ring offerings. If you do this a ride report and pics are mandatory you know.

    Bill
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  4. #4
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    I'll reinforce the member that always reminds us that a new chain can absolve a multitude of sins. A new cassette would be a great addition as long as the cost are within your budget. If you are shooting for an all Deore drive train they are certainly great components. I am assuming this is for the Trek and not the R500t, and I have been frequently known to use the "assume" to its full split potential.

    Which SRAM cassette do you have now, and what condition are its teeth and the pawls for the action still in good shape? If you want an all Deore/SLX drive train, go for it, the chains are some of the best as I understand it. I know of several members that have the Deore drive on touring bikes for the low big cog it can handle as well as the crank and its chain ring offerings. If you do this a ride report and pics are mandatory you know.

    Bill
    Yes, this is for the Trek DS 8.5... It's pretty new -- I just got in September -- which is why it only has a thousand miles on it (well, maybe it's 1,100 now...). So, I think the original cassette (it's a SRAM PG-950) is still in pretty good shape. I don't see any wear or bent teeth... (So I can't justify buying it that way!)

    And, even the jumping gears occurs so seldom that I can't really consider it a problem. It happens so seldom I'm afraid I would make it worse by playing with the cable tension -- so I've been living with it.

    So, this would be strictly to get a little better performance. But my basis for the SLX / XT cassette being better is price. The OEM SRAM sells for about $25 and the Shimano SLX for about $75. So it suggests the Shimano is "better". But is it????

    As for budget: that's funny. I am very frugal in all things -- except for the bike. I tend to spurge on it because I figure it's cheaper than paying doctors and hospitals ... But, still I don't like to waste money either. But, with the bike, I lean in the direction of too much rather than too little...
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    You will not notice the difference in weight. I doubt you will notice the difference in shifting provided that your RD is adjusted correctly. If you have never let a chain stretch past its standard 0.75 % replacement point and the bike has <1000 miles on it, the odds are that the teeth of the OEM cassette are not overly worn.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Performance: go to 700 X 28 tires.
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    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I can only see changing your cassette if your looking to change your gearing at the same time. It's very unlikely that a higher end cassette will shift better although some feel that shimano cassettes shift better than SRAM, but as a previous poster indicated, the cassette is not your once per 100 mile shifting problem (actually, not a problem at all)
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  8. #8
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Performance: go to 700 X 28 tires.
    Actually that's what I have on my Cannondale R500 -- and WHAT a difference! (Plus the bike is nearly 15 pounds lighter). But you can tell the difference just by pushing each a couple feet. The Trek DS (with 700x38's) you have to PUSH. The Cannondale just rolls nearly effortlessly... There is one set of stairs with a bike ramp on one of the trails I ride and the difference is particularly noticeable. And, the Cannondale is a LOT faster than the Trek (which is weighed down with all kinds of stuff in addition to the wider tires)

    But, I ride on limestone rails-to-trails -- and the wider 700x38's give a much more stability and safety -- especially this time of year when it is often wet and soft and covered in leaves and dead sticks and branches...

    The Cannondale on it's 700x28's would be all over the place or the tires would sinking and slicing into the muck... Now that I have the Trek I only use the Cannondale on nice dry days on trails that are in good condition.

    But, I am thinking of taking the Trek (which is my utility bike) down to 700x35's when the OEM tires show signs of wear...
    --------------------------------------
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Is there a reason you believe the shimano would be an upgrade? The PG-950 is a pretty good cassette and SRAM even makes some better cassettres if you must upgrade. Or would you just rather have a cassette that matches your shifters? I been there when I got my Klein. Everythong is Dura Ace. Hubsm Cranks, bottom Bracket, brakes, shifters, seat tube Head set and rear Cassette. The problem was the rear Cassette was a 12x23 and the chainring in a 52x39. I simply can't climb worth beans with 39x23 so I had to think about another cassette. Ended getting a SRAM because a new Dura Ace was way too expensive. Not Campy expensive but a lot more than SRAM.

    Normally people go through at least three chaines before they go thtough a rear cassette. Unless you go way past the stretch limits of the chain or ride hard as a MTBer.
    Last edited by Mobile 155; 12-01-12 at 09:44 PM.
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    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    The problem was the rear Cassette was a 12x23 and the chainring in a 52x39. I simply can't climb worth beans with 39x23 so I had to think about another cassette.
    My new bike came with 53/39 and 11/25, which is a lot more ambitious than my existing bike with its 50/34 and 12X27. I switched out that 11/25 for a 12/27, which helps a little. I still haven't tackled any very demanding hills with it, so we'll see if I'm strong enough to climb with the standard crankset. I'm a little apprehensive.

    Last year I was riding with a guy who left me in the dust on Fitz's Hill (about 1000 feet up at an average of 10.5%) whilst riding on a 53/39 and 11/23. I was in awe.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    Is there a reason you believe the shimano would be an upgrade? The PG-950 is a pretty good cassette and SRAM even makes some better cassettres if you must upgrade. Or would you just rather have a cassette that matches your shifters? I been there when I got my Klein. Everythong is Dura Ace. Hubsm Cranks, bottom Bracket, brakes, shifters, seat tube Head set and rear Cassette. The problem was the rear Cassette was a 12x23 and the chainring in a 52x39. I simply can't climb worth beans with 39x23 so I had to think about another cassette. Ended getting a SRAM because a new Dura Ace was way too expensive. Not Campy expensive but a lot more than SRAM.

    Normally people go through at least three chaines before they go thtough a rear cassette. Unless you go way past the stretch limits of the chain or ride hard as a MTBer.
    The OEM is 11x32 and that along with a triple does everything I want it do. So I would be keeping the same gearing.

    I guess I am thinking more about getting everything Deore or SLX... At least that's my long term goal...

    So I guess I'm just looking for a way to justify it (without waiting for the cassette to wear out) and not let my congenital frugality punish me with a guilty conscience!
    --------------------------------------
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    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    The OEM is 11x32 and that along with a triple does everything I want it do. So I would be keeping the same gearing.

    I guess I am thinking more about getting everything Deore or SLX... At least that's my long term goal...

    So I guess I'm just looking for a way to justify it (without waiting for the cassette to wear out) and not let my congenital frugality punish me with a guilty conscience!
    Cassettes are easy to change so get a Shimano if you want and keep the SRAM as a backup. Sometimes I have been known to pick up an extra Cassette at a vendors booth during a century simply because it was a good deal and I would have it if I ever needed one.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    My new bike came with 53/39 and 11/25, which is a lot more ambitious than my existing bike with its 50/34 and 12X27. I switched out that 11/25 for a 12/27, which helps a little. I still haven't tackled any very demanding hills with it, so we'll see if I'm strong enough to climb with the standard crankset. I'm a little apprehensive.

    Last year I was riding with a guy who left me in the dust on Fitz's Hill (about 1000 feet up at an average of 10.5%) whilst riding on a 53/39 and 11/23. I was in awe.
    I am thinking about converting the Klein to SRAM with a WIFI rear derailleur. That way I can use the same wheels I do with my compact Tarmac. Not sure I will change the Crank and Chain ring because the Dura Ace is so darn smooth.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    1,000 miles-unless you have been offroad a lot- is not much mileage for a chain---unless it was very low spec. in the first place which is a very good possibility on this bike. You caught it well within tolerance so as not to cause any other problems with wear to the cassette or chainrings so no major problems there.

    So why change the cassette? You would not notice any difference on performance and it would not improve the Gear selection and there is plenty of life left in that "Low" level SRAM cassette to see you through next season. By then you may decide that you want different ratios on the cassette and that will be the time to change it.
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    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    1,000 miles-unless you have been offroad a lot- is not much mileage for a chain---unless it was very low spec. in the first place which is a very good possibility on this bike. You caught it well within tolerance so as not to cause any other problems with wear to the cassette or chainrings so no major problems there.

    So why change the cassette? You would not notice any difference on performance and it would not improve the Gear selection and there is plenty of life left in that "Low" level SRAM cassette to see you through next season. By then you may decide that you want different ratios on the cassette and that will be the time to change it.
    Yes, I thought 1,000 miles was surprisingly short as well... Especially as I have taken pretty good care of the chain. The only 'abuse' it took was me experimenting with different oils and perhaps some of the wax lubes were not working very well to lubricate the chain. Most of the miles were put on using one wax lube and I was experiencing a lot of chain noise -- but the bike was new to me, so I thought it was just way the bike worked. But, when I switched to a wetter lube the noise died down. Now I'm using T-9 and it seems to be working well: not much chain noise and it doesn't pick up a lot of dirt.

    And, most people would not consider the chain worn out because the 0.75% only slips through on certain sections of the chain and then, only with a little pressure. But, it's clearly very close -- and time to at least start thinking about it. Actually, I checked it while I was cleaning and lubing it -- so I figure I will change it the next time this one needs service (about 75 or 100 miles if it doesn't get wet first).

    But thanks: You and others have said that going from the $25 SRAM PG-950 cassette to a $75 Shimano CS-HG80 won't buy me much. So, perhaps I should buy you all a beer (or a piece of pie!) for saving me $75 from a very limited budget...

    But, I'm still puzzled what the difference is between them that would warrant such a drastic price difference.

    I hate to price shop using a "More Expensive = Better" because I know it isn't always true. I know computers pretty well and I know it isn't true there -- but with them I can get enough specs to make an informed decision. But with bicycles and bicycle parts it is hard to get enough detailed specifications to make a really informed decision. So I very much value the opinions of you who are far wiser and more experienced than I...
    --------------------------------------
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    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Isnt there something else you want to buy to improve your bike? The cassette won't really change much. But if you can't think of any other cool stuff you want then by all means get the cassette.

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  17. #17
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Major advantage of more-expensive cassettes is lighter weight. Is that a major advantage?
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    Senior Member TomD77's Avatar
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    Take this from the perspective of a 3-year biker, i.e., not exactly the most experienced around here. I would think that given a finite budget, you would get less bang for the buck with a cassette upgrade than with a number of other changes.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    Isnt there something else you want to buy to improve your bike? The cassette won't really change much. But if you can't think of any other cool stuff you want then by all means get the cassette.
    No, it's a new bike and I already bought just about every gadget available:

    tire liners (because the OEM's were the cheapest Bontrager available)
    water bottle mounts & bottles,
    tire pump, spare tube & tire irons, utility tool
    Under-seat bag
    Headlight
    Tail light
    Cycle computer
    Fenders
    Rear rack
    Trunk with fold-out paniers
    Kick stand

    And, all of that is NOT because I'm a gadget freak -- but to make it a utility bike that I could ride anyplace, anytime, anywhere without the fear of it getting dark or cold or wet -- which might keep me from riding. (and besides, I have a little fast and fun Cannondale R500 that I can use to go fast)

    But, I still want all of that to work well and shift well -- it's why I would like to get it all up to the SLX groupset level.

    But, as several people have pointed out: changing the cassette will not improve it much.

    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Major advantage of more-expensive cassettes is lighter weight. Is that a major advantage?
    Thanks: that is the kind of information I need. Obviously (from the above) weight is not much of a factor on this bike. Certainly a few grams would not make a difference...
    Last edited by GeorgeBMac; 12-02-12 at 11:23 AM.
    --------------------------------------
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    No, it's a new bike and I already bought just about every gadget available:

    tire liners (because the OEM's were the cheapest Bontrager available)
    water bottle mounts & bottles,
    tire pump, spare tube & tire irons, utility tool
    Under-seat bag
    Headlight
    Tail light
    Cycle computer
    Fenders
    Rear rack
    Trunk with fold-out paniers
    Kick stand

    And, all of that is NOT because I'm a gadget freak -- but to make it a utility bike that I could ride anyplace, anytime, anywhere without the fear of it getting dark or cold or wet -- which might keep me from riding. (and besides, I have a little fast and fun Cannondale R500 that I can use to go fast)

    But, I still want all of that to work well and shift well -- it's why I would like to get it all up to the SLX groupset level.

    But, as several people have pointed out: changing the cassette will not improve it much.



    Thanks: that is the kind of information I need. Obviously (from the above) weight is not much of a factor on this bike. Certainly a few grams would not make a difference...
    Just realize that SRAM and Shimano are both about the same in quality. They will both last about the same amount of time. If you want to spend closer to 75 bucks you can always buy a PG 990. But sooner or later you will have to replace the cassette and you can replace it for 75 dollars or 30 dollars but there is very little evidence that the Shimano is 50 dollars better than the SRAM. But wait till you get to weight weenies and road bike casettes. A Red, Dura Ace or Chorus will cost more than $225 easy. How they work as far as shifting is all about personal preferences. I find my Dura Ace to be smooth and my SRAM Red to be precise. But it is very hard to notice the difference between one of my wheel sets with a 12X27 Shimano cassette and a 11x28 Sram. The Shifters are about 80 percent of the shifting and the derailleurs are about 18 percent leaving the cassette with maybe 2 percent, ( All figures made up on the fly in my head as pure speculation.) But in a blindfold test I couldn't tell a Dura Ace cassette from a Sram Red cassette to save my life. In fact I am not sure I can tell the difference between a 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace or a Red, Force or Apex once it is on the wheel.
    Last edited by Mobile 155; 12-02-12 at 02:58 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    Just realize that SRAM and Shimano are both about the same in quality. They will both last about the same amount of time. If you want to spend closer to 75 bucks you can always buy a PG 990. But sooner or later you will have to replace the cassette and you can replace it for 75 dollars or 30 dollars but there is very little evidence that the Shimano is 50 dollars better than the SRAM. But wait till you get to weight weenies and road bike casettes. A Red, Dura Ace or Chorus will cost more than $225 easy. How they work as far as shifting is all about personal preferences. I find my Dura Ace to be smooth and my SRAM Red to be precise. But it is very hard to notice the difference between one of my wheel sets with a 12X27 Shimano cassette and a 11x28 Sram. The Shifters are about 80 percent of the shifting and the derailleurs are about 18 percent leaving the cassette with maybe 2 percent, ( All figures made up on the fly in my head as pure speculation.) But in a blindfold test I couldn't tell a Dura Ace cassette from a Sram Red cassette to save my life. In fact I am not sure I can tell the difference between a 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace or a Red, Force or Apex once it is on the wheel.
    Thanks! You just saved me enough to afford one new tire for me car!:thumb
    ... I guess I'll have to save up for the other one....
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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