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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Changed my chain and cassette...what a difference!

    So this weekend my brother and I were doing some experimenting on my drivetrain due to it being really noisy and "clunky" shifting.

    We changed the chain from the stock KMC9 to a DuraAce chain and the stock cheapy cassette to a SRAM PG980. The SRAM cassette felt noticely lighter (I didn't weigh them).

    WOW is all I could say. We went from really noisy to utter silence. Pedaling also feels much smoother and it feels like I can go faster. I went for a 20 mi. ride yesterday and although my average speed is the same as it has been, there were sections on my normal ride that I was 2 - 3 mph faster. Perhaps it's all in my head and because there is less noise, I pedal harder, but whatever, I like it better.

    The shifting is also so much smoother now as well. But I'm not sure if we can attribute this to the cassette. We did some tuning on the rear derailleur at the same time. Mostly adjusting the b-tension.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Interesting. What do you think the difference was? How are the cassettes visually different? Do the teeth on the cassette have a better taper that allows for smoother chain connections? Does the chain seem to pivot easier? I ask because I wonder the actual differences are between stock and higher quality components.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by practical View Post
    Interesting. What do you think the difference was? How are the cassettes visually different? Do the teeth on the cassette have a better taper that allows for smoother chain connections? Does the chain seem to pivot easier? I ask because I wonder the actual differences are between stock and higher quality components.
    On the cassette: The SRAM is a "spider" cassette where as the stock Shimano HG30 isn't (I don't know the term for it). In my hands the SRAM feels lighter but then again, I didnt' weigh them to compare. The teeth on the SRAM are more aggressively ramped than the stock Shimano.

    On the chain: The DuraAce chain had noticeably less wobble. What I mean by this is that when holding onto the link, with the KMC it had more of side to side swaying motion and of course, the KMC felt heavier. I should have weighed everything. The links on the DuraAce chain also seem to "bend" easier, or rather, break or pivot easier. My KMC was well lubed and I keep it pretty clean.

    My old setup only had ~350 miles on it. My partner's Trek FX 7.4 has the same stock setup. KMC 9 chain with the HG30 cassette. And his is noticeably louder than mine. I took his for a spin and riding both bikes back to back and I can definitely tell that my bike rides smoother. It's like his has a "hitch" to it when you pedal. Keep in mind that I also clean and oil the chain on his bike quite regularly. I'd say, I do a good thorough cleaning after every 100 miles, more often if we have been riding in the wet and dirty.

    All of this could be in my head, but to me, it does feel better and if I feel like it's better, which in turn makes me want to ride more, it must be better right?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by practical View Post
    Interesting. What do you think the difference was? How are the cassettes visually different? Do the teeth on the cassette have a better taper that allows for smoother chain connections? Does the chain seem to pivot easier? I ask because I wonder the actual differences are between stock and higher quality components.
    The spiders not only reduce weight but increase stiffness, which allow less flex when shifting under load. Higher end cassettes also have better finishes (tougher, slicker) and lighter alloys. Lower end stuff also come in limited gear ratios

    Ive noticed a twang sometimes while shifting a non spider cassette, something Ive never noticed with high end spider units

  5. #5
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    Nice. I know I am in need for a new chain and cassette soon.
    sharon

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