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  1. #1
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    Learning the ropes... thinking of changing cassettes. Can I?

    So, I am just getting back into cycling after 12 years. Am not young, but not old, and things are coming together nicely. I have the great fortune to be able to cycle around Colorado Springs, CO, and the Garden of the Gods is 5 minutes away for instance. Fantastic area. Stage 5 of the Colorado racing comes through on Saturday. Cool.

    Bike is a Trek XO1 purchased in 2000. Love it. Very few miles on it and stayed that way until two months ago when I returned to the world and have been ultra happy with every aspect of it. One thing I noted when I first purchased it, and then recently now that I've restarted cycling is... I always felt like I wanted an extra gear or two for attaining higher speeds on flats and downhills. There are several stretches, like 1-2 miles where I really want an extra gear or two.

    Ok, so what really got me today was, I was passed by a girl. Ok ok. I am outta shape but getting there, older, and I know she had some additional gears and was likely a pro (Colorado Springs being home to the Olympic Training Center and a mecca for cycling), but still. I maxed out and could not peddle any faster though I had plenty left in my tank.

    I have determined that my cassette is a 13-26. 8 rings making for a 16 speed cyclocross. Shimano. And as mentioned a Trek. Rolf Vector wheels. I've been researching to learn where can I go from here. Would it make sense, is it possible, etc etc... to acquire an 11-28T or 11-30T cassette and have it work in my current setup? From everything I have read it appears it should fit right in. Acquiring a lower gear for hills wouldn't be a bad thing as so far everything I have gone after I've been able to muster. But am really craving that extra gear or two, for longer stretches. And I don't mind at all getting passed by a girl. It just presented to me that there is more to the Trek XO1 and believe it can be attained by a switchout of the cassette.

    Or do I need to look at the chain ring too? I am hoping this can be attained via a cassette change.

    Advice anyone? Does going from 13 to 11T provide that much? I am thinking yes, a few % which would be cool.

    Sure do love the Trek tho. Regret not attacking it from the day I acquired it but, better late then never....

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated...

    regards

  2. #2
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    cassettes in the 11/12 to 32/34 range are good. They are also easy to change out yourself with the right tools: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003RZMAVW/...hvptwo=&hvqmt=

    Then use a chain whip (or a pipe wrench - carefully):
    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Tech-Tu...tion-2011.html

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your reply. Yes, have been studying how to change out cassettes and it is easily done...

    In your opinion, will adding and 11 or 12 gain even a few % in a higher gear, aka going a little faster... or is looking at the chainring first a better option?

    Again, tx for your response. Am learning.

  4. #4
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    You got 'chicked'

    Yes adding an 11 will make an obvious difference. Adding a 12 will make a slightly less obvious difference but a difference none the less.

    Is that one of the gold color Treks? I raced one of those back in the day.
    If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Start with a bigger range cassette, 12-28 or something like that. It's a quick and easy change and you probably won't have to make any additional adjustments. If you change the chainring, you'll likely also have to move the FD.

    Or simplest and cheapest: work on your cadence.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhiii View Post
    Thank you for your reply. Yes, have been studying how to change out cassettes and it is easily done...

    In your opinion, will adding and 11 or 12 gain even a few % in a higher gear, aka going a little faster... or is looking at the chainring first a better option?

    Again, tx for your response. Am learning.

    Changing a cassette is easy enough, but there are a few things to consider.

    Check your rear derailleur is big enough to accommodate a large cassette. Some of them will have limits as to how large the largest sprocket can be.

    Adding an 11t cog to the cassette will give you about 20% higher gearing than a 13t cog, all else being equal. It's only useful if you're strong enough to turn it at any speed though.

    I use 9-speed 11-32 and 11-34 cassettes on my bikes and find they give me a really good range. The price you pay for the range is not being able to make small jumps midrange, so you may find one gear is too low and the next gear up is too high.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  7. #7
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    11t cog is a huge gear for a road bike, and way too high for a CX bike ridden offroad. I wouldnt suggest any higher gearing than a 12T and/or work on learning to efficiently pedal at faster cadence. Ive motorpaced at 60mph with nothing higher than a 53x12. You are best off keeping the jumps beteween your gears small so you can stay at an efficienc cadence throughout your speed range. Having a cassette with big jumps between the higest gears (like 11-13-15) is not a good idea for a road bike. Changing 4 teeth on the front chainring has approximately the same effect as changing 1T on the cassette, usually more effective to change your gearing at the rear.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Advice anyone? Does going from 13 to 11T provide that much? I am thinking yes, a few % which would be cool.
    it means a new drivetrain, since 8 speeds start at 12, at best .. but don't bother
    unless you can spin out a 53:13 to 100+rpm, on the flats, without a tailwind.
    11t you need a 9 cog cassette , and all the other matching parts.

    A compact double and a Megarange cassette for the 34:34 low, 13:50 is a modest high..
    for mortals.. MTB Rear Derailleur probably
    Mega range... #7 is a 24t, #8, a 34t
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-23-12 at 03:11 PM.

  9. #9
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    First of all, thank you everyone for dialing in and providing a 'back to school' series of lessons. It is very much appreciated. I read and weigh everything. Everything. So what folks proffer forward is taken in.

    I have to admit I am really getting zoned into this however. Years ago was so, but finding this community has been cool. Will answer posts individually. Just posting a general thankx to all...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    You got 'chicked'

    Yes adding an 11 will make an obvious difference. Adding a 12 will make a slightly less obvious difference but a difference none the less.

    Is that one of the gold color Treks? I raced one of those back in the day.

    'Chicked'. New term. That's what happened. Definitely expected given years away from cycling and age.

    '12' is sounding more realistic given all the responses and research.

    Yessir... 'tis the gold one. Trek XO1. It is long in the tooth by today's standards but I like it. Do about 30% improved trails and 70% road. This is a terrific area for this kind of cyclo stuff. Stage 5 of the Colorado Tour is passing by a block away tmrw afternoon. Having the Olympic Training Center also doesn't hurt. Almost as many cycling shops as bars on the west side of Colorado Springs.

    Had a Bridgestone XO2 in the 90s then lost to a house fire. Crazy thing was, was down in Plano, TX and the first thing we called back to Colorado Springs cycle shop and close friend, where would he go in Plano area to a bike shop. Ended up at The Richardson Bike Shop of Plano. Walked up to some authoritative looking bloke and said I really wanted to replaced a cyclocross. He steered me to the now Trek XO1, said he would sell it to me for 1/2 price due to it being end of inventory season plus my crummy story of going through a total house fire 5 days after entering into a new home. Nice gesture it was. Tooled around on it for a few and knew I wanted it because it closely resembled the prior ride. After the deal was sealed he said he'd just come back from the Tour de France. Said he as the owner of the shop sponsored Armstrong after the cancer diagnosis and before US Postal. Crazy set of coinky dinks.

  11. #11
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    Forgot to ask.. since you had a Trek XO1, in your opinion would a 12-28T work, fit, if you can recall?? It has a 13-26T now. Appears the 28T would work but figured to ask.



    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    You got 'chicked'

    Yes adding an 11 will make an obvious difference. Adding a 12 will make a slightly less obvious difference but a difference none the less.

    Is that one of the gold color Treks? I raced one of those back in the day.

  12. #12
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    Yessir... work on cadence. I have been doing this yes. Is why on about 20% of the routes I take, I get into stretches where I really want to click down one more. I reach a speed and cannot cycle any faster so I can only coast and wait to slow down so I can pedal again. I thought about just living with it and working on rhythm but 20% of these routes is a lot to just coast on when I feel like I want to contribute a bit more speed.

    I am leaning towards your advice... a 12-28T, yes. And 11 might be too ambitious.


    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Start with a bigger range cassette, 12-28 or something like that. It's a quick and easy change and you probably won't have to make any additional adjustments. If you change the chainring, you'll likely also have to move the FD.

    Or simplest and cheapest: work on your cadence.

  13. #13
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    Yes, am reviewing whether the cassette can accommodate upwards of a 28. As you advised, yes. I have been able to do every hill so far with the 13-26T so I don't think I need to advance much beyond a 28. But am leaning towards the 12 after all the advice and continued research. I believe an 11T would be too ambitious and as someone else advised, may not work anyway on my setup with major changes.


    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Changing a cassette is easy enough, but there are a few things to consider.

    Check your rear derailleur is big enough to accommodate a large cassette. Some of them will have limits as to how large the largest sprocket can be.

    Adding an 11t cog to the cassette will give you about 20% higher gearing than a 13t cog, all else being equal. It's only useful if you're strong enough to turn it at any speed though.

    I use 9-speed 11-32 and 11-34 cassettes on my bikes and find they give me a really good range. The price you pay for the range is not being able to make small jumps midrange, so you may find one gear is too low and the next gear up is too high.

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    GrayJay, I hear you loud and clear. Am coming to the conclusion that yes, an 11T would be too much. I believe what everyone has been saying incl your post is to stay at 12. I have a 53 too. I am not looking to set any land speed records and couldn't anyway... I but I do want that one more click because on the 20% or so of the routes I have set up, I just want that one additional gear. Every day I end up coasting for long stretches when I could be pressing that much more. And trust me, I am really throwing out the RPMs and know I could go one more. You advice is heeded...




    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    11t cog is a huge gear for a road bike, and way too high for a CX bike ridden offroad. I wouldnt suggest any higher gearing than a 12T and/or work on learning to efficiently pedal at faster cadence. Ive motorpaced at 60mph with nothing higher than a 53x12. You are best off keeping the jumps beteween your gears small so you can stay at an efficienc cadence throughout your speed range. Having a cassette with big jumps between the higest gears (like 11-13-15) is not a good idea for a road bike. Changing 4 teeth on the front chainring has approximately the same effect as changing 1T on the cassette, usually more effective to change your gearing at the rear.

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    I took your stats today and hit those stretches and yes, was easily hitting high RPMs with the 53/13 and had to coast and slow down so I could pedal again. From everything I have absorbed, the 53/12 might be just enough extra that I am looking for.

    And tx for the heads up on what it would mean to go to a 12. The mechanics changes and all. I don't need to go down that way yet. So am leaning towards a 12/26 or 12/28.


    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    it means a new drivetrain, since 8 speeds start at 12, at best .. but don't bother
    unless you can spin out a 53:13 to 100+rpm, on the flats, without a tailwind.
    11t you need a 9 cog cassette , and all the other matching parts.

    A compact double and a Megarange cassette for the 34:34 low, 13:50 is a modest high..
    for mortals.. MTB Rear Derailleur probably
    Mega range... #7 is a 24t, #8, a 34t

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    Soooo, Shimano or SRAM? Make a diff to anyone?

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    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    You got 'chicked'
    Being 185#, I'm accustomed to being chicked on climbs, but they dialed up the humiliation last weekend; I was climbing a 12% section of Flagstaff about 5bpm short of my redline, when two chicks passed me...while chattering away in conversation with each other.

  18. #18
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    Being 185#, I'm accustomed to being chicked on climbs, but they dialed up the humiliation last weekend; I was climbing a 12% section of Flagstaff about 5bpm short of my redline, when two chicks passed me...while chattering away in conversation with each other.
    I recently did a very hilly group ride, which was a lesson in humility. Most of the time when I encounter another rider on the road I'm faster than they are, but on a ride like this it attracts the more serious riders and most of them are faster than I am. On a descent I freewheeled past one of the ladies on the ride at speed, after that there was a short gentle incline by which time she was gaining on me but up the incline I dropped her effortlessly. The trouble was the next hill ran for three miles and went up to 20% incline so the brute force that rammed me up the hill leaving her in my dust wasn't much use, and her vastly smaller frame went up the hill easily leaving me for dead.

    Some things you just have to suck up as a heavier rider...
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I recently did a very hilly group ride, which was a lesson in humility. Most of the time when I encounter another rider on the road I'm faster than they are, but on a ride like this it attracts the more serious riders and most of them are faster than I am. On a descent I freewheeled past one of the ladies on the ride at speed, after that there was a short gentle incline by which time she was gaining on me but up the incline I dropped her effortlessly. The trouble was the next hill ran for three miles and went up to 20% incline so the brute force that rammed me up the hill leaving her in my dust wasn't much use, and her vastly smaller frame went up the hill easily leaving me for dead.

    Some things you just have to suck up as a heavier rider...
    Observe Rule #38!!
    http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/#38

  20. #20
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    I was going to advise to use rule #5.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  21. #21
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    Being 185#, I'm accustomed to being chicked on climbs, but they dialed up the humiliation last weekend; I was climbing a 12% section of Flagstaff about 5bpm short of my redline, when two chicks passed me...while chattering away in conversation with each other.


    I just started a thread on the commuter forum about how a woman ran past me on an 8% hill last night as I was riding home from work.

  22. #22
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    I didn't leapfrog her, largely due to being too fat to climb the hill even remotely as fast as she did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynikal View Post
    I was going to advise to use rule #5.
    Change "harden" to "lighten" and you'd be pretty close.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  23. #23
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    The rules. 5 and 38. Got it.

    When I got 'chicked' no way did it bother me. Age + weight - experience = reality. And besides, I was delighted because I really appreciate the female form so that trumped whatever ego sparked up by getting passed. It only took a few micro second to acknowledge the reality I spout all the time anyway: Darwin.

    Further benefit was when I learned the term chicked I knew I could use it in a sentence with my wife knowing since we like to joke around a lot I framed it in such a way I was asking for, after I said

    "I got chicked a few days ago"

    she "what does that mean"

    me "blah blah blah"

    she theoretically saying "what did she look like"

    I was disappointed because my wife didn't bite for the humor and didn't ask that but instead reinforced: Darwin.

    sigh

    Besides, Stage 5 of the Colorado tour is passing by a block from my house in an hour so I'll go outside and watch it for 4 seconds, come back and get on the bike and do it all over again thinking about would could have been. I hear the helicopters overhead now. I guess I could go a few blocks over to the store run by a bloke who has been deeply tied to the doping scandals in cycling over the last 20 years in cycling (name omitted, sued, settled out of court, etc) and get allegedly juiced up.

    Naw, I don't think any of that. I just dig the ride and being outside and shedding weight. The best.

    she "honey, it takes time and besides, you're older now and...."

    It is the best.

  24. #24
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    So, Shimano or SRAM for cassette quality, preference?

    As in a SRAM PC-830 8 Speed cassette?

    tx all
    Last edited by drhiii; 08-25-12 at 12:54 AM.

  25. #25
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    Yes it would. Going from 13 to 11 is almost 20%. I run an 11-28 on mine and I love having the adding gearing for both flats (11) and the 28 to get up big hills. Stay away from anything higher than a 28 because most road derailleurs will not be able to accommodate it.

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