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Old 04-11-09, 07:28 PM   #1
lifeguardsteve
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Clueless cassette question

Just got my sweet Surly LHT yesterday and I'm loving life :-). I know that the stock cassette will be perfect for long distance touring- but for now I am doing about 25 miles round trip daily commuting in the flat lands of South Florida. I would really like to swap out the touring cassette for something with 1 tooth increments throughout the range (or as close to that as I can get- perhaps 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21).

Will a 9 speed road cassette work on a 26" LHT rear hub? If not, could someone point me in the direction of something that will work for me.

Thanks!
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Old 04-11-09, 07:48 PM   #2
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Yes. If you have a 9-speed cassette now, you can put on a smaller range 9-speed cassette by the same manufacturer (or compatible, i.e. sram works fine on shimano and vice versa) and it'll work just fine.

The only problem is going the other way. If one had a small-range cassettes and a short cage derailleur and wanted to go with a cassette with bigger cogs, he'd probably have to switch rear derailleurs to one that can handle it. But your bike already has a touring/mtb long cage derailleur I assume since it's a LHT so you can go smaller cassette no problem. (i have a shimano long cage rear derailleur and alternate back and forth from 11-34 and 12-26 cassettes).
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Old 04-11-09, 07:52 PM   #3
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I'm not an expert on LHT but I imagine your cassette is a Shimano compatible one and any other Shimano compatible 9-spd cassette should fit. Campy cassettes are different and won't fit but any Shimano, SRAM, etc 9-speed cassette should work.
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Old 04-11-09, 07:58 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info :-). I just was not sure if the splines (I think that is what they are called) were different for some reason on hub for a 26" wheel than on a 700. Thinking about it there would be no reason for that- but I just wanted to be sure before getting a new cassette. And yes, it has the long cage derailleur and is Shimano, which is what the new cassette will be as well.

Thanks again
:-)

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Old 04-11-09, 08:20 PM   #5
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Previous posts have answered your question, but I have one for you. Why do you feel the need to switch to
a close ratio cassette? You're commuting on a LHT not racing or time trialling. I one worried about gearing and after many years of riding I've come to the conclusion that gearing is the most over analyzed bit of cycling. Also manufacturers love to part us from our money with new crank sets and cassettes. You don't need close ratios, stick with the stock cassette and save some money. Or better still try doing your commute in just one gear, I predict you'll enjoy it.
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Old 04-11-09, 08:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lifeguardsteve View Post
...different for some reason on hub for a 26" wheel than on a 700. Thinking about it there would be no reason for that...And yes, it has the long cage derailleur and is Shimano, which is what the new cassette will be as well.

Thanks again
:-)
The hubs for 26" and 700 are the same given the same rear dropout spacing. The 9- will fit on both 130mm and 135mm spaced hubs (your LHT is 135mm). It's the rims and spokes which have different dimensions but that doesn't effect the fit of the cassette.
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Old 04-12-09, 05:58 PM   #7
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Previous posts have answered your question, but I have one for you. Why do you feel the need to switch to
a close ratio cassette? You're commuting on a LHT not racing or time trialling. I one worried about gearing and after many years of riding I've come to the conclusion that gearing is the most over analyzed bit of cycling. Also manufacturers love to part us from our money with new crank sets and cassettes. You don't need close ratios, stick with the stock cassette and save some money. Or better still try doing your commute in just one gear, I predict you'll enjoy it.
Well, actually- I am racing- sort of. I come from a triathlon background (Ironman) and the road I take to work and back every day (A1A) is loaded with 5K+ carbon race bikes trying to "one up" everyone else on the road. I take intense pleasure in blowing past these clowns in my loaded touring bike and sandals :-). It's not the bike- it's "the engine"- and I show them that daily. NOW- on a flat surface a close ratio cassette will do more for me than switching to Lance Armstrong's bike- and with that close ratio cassette I will be more able to put myself "to the test" more fully with the stronger riders on the road. It's about making myself a stronger rider- by being able to keep up with the other stronger riders I encounter.

Edit- As far as saving money- Sram has a close ratio cassette that works on my bike for under $25 dollars- well worth the extra training I will achieve by "hanging with the big boys" :-)

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Old 04-12-09, 08:00 PM   #8
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If youre indeed hanging with those boys on the carbon road bikes, and i feel so very bad for them if you are, then you're spending almost all of your time in your top gear(s), which would be the 48t big ring and the 11t or 13t smallest 2 cogs. If you buy the SRAM close-ratio cassette, you will likely be actually *dropping* your top gear to a 48x12. I've done the whole commuting while pretending to race thing, and it's not like a real race, unless you meet a coworker at his house in the AM and race to work. You don't share the same starting point or end point, and you don't have to face the same hills, flats, etc for very long. Mostly, you're hoping to be at a higher terminal velocity when you encounter these guys on the road. Having smaller "steps" between the cogs in the cassette won't help for that so much. In this case, it'll actually hurt you.

If you really want to race the guys on the carbon bikes, I'd suggest getting a full size (52/39/30) triple and the hottest slicks you can, like kojaks or something. Then, after you realize that, mathematically, the guys on the lighter, aerodynamic bikes with the smaller tyres and bigger gears are at a huge advantage, maybe you'll even get a roadbike. I'm not trying to heckle you; it is very possible that you could humble some roadies on your trucker. But, if you can, it's not going to come down to anything so trivial as a smaller-block cassette. It's going to come down to you encountering slow roadies.

-rob
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Old 04-12-09, 08:02 PM   #9
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PS- i agree with you that $25 is a small price to pay to make the bike into something more suitable to your desires. If you do, take the proper number of links out-- and save the big-block cassette for when you need it again (along with the links)

-rob
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Old 04-12-09, 08:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by lifeguardsteve View Post
It's not the bike- it's "the engine"- and I show them that daily. NOW- on a flat surface a close ratio cassette will do more for me than switching to Lance Armstrong's bike
I agree that it's all about the engine and you say you already blow the carbon racers away, so why the need for a new cassette? just put the LHT in 100" or above and crank away doing 25mph. The guys on the road bikes you are beating are probably just not that fast and any satisfaction gained from such encounters is pretty pointless, I'm not sure who's worse the carbon poseurs or the LHT poseur. If you really want a challenge and to become a stronger and better rider do what you're doing now on a single speed or fixie, or better still do some real racing

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Old 04-12-09, 11:30 PM   #11
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If youre indeed hanging with those boys on the carbon road bikes, and i feel so very bad for them if you are, then you're spending almost all of your time in your top gear(s), which would be the 48t big ring and the 11t or 13t smallest 2 cogs. If you buy the SRAM close-ratio cassette, you will likely be actually *dropping* your top gear to a 48x12. I've done the whole commuting while pretending to race thing, and it's not like a real race, unless you meet a coworker at his house in the AM and race to work. You don't share the same starting point or end point, and you don't have to face the same hills, flats, etc for very long. Mostly, you're hoping to be at a higher terminal velocity when you encounter these guys on the road. Having smaller "steps" between the cogs in the cassette won't help for that so much. In this case, it'll actually hurt you.

If you really want to race the guys on the carbon bikes, I'd suggest getting a full size (52/39/30) triple and the hottest slicks you can, like kojaks or something. Then, after you realize that, mathematically, the guys on the lighter, aerodynamic bikes with the smaller tyres and bigger gears are at a huge advantage, maybe you'll even get a roadbike. I'm not trying to heckle you; it is very possible that you could humble some roadies on your trucker. But, if you can, it's not going to come down to anything so trivial as a smaller-block cassette. It's going to come down to you encountering slow roadies.

-rob
Thanks for the reply. The reason for the close ratio cassette is to make changing speed quicker when trying to latch on a wheel or to break away. I know it's not real racing- I come from a triathlon background and own one of those 5k+ bikes myself- it's just not practical to use it to commute to my job (ocean rescue lifeguard) where I carry 30 or more pounds of food, drink, and gear each day on the bike.

LoL- I feel bad for some of those boys too ;-), but it's always fun to see how one matches up with the ones out there that want to "give it a go". And one only has to pedal at a 71 cadence in LHT's top gear to hold 24mph- so on a smooth flat road (which is what my commute is) we are definitely going quicker than that when we hammer.

So perhaps you can understand that in my desire for a "brisk work out" it would be much easier to latch on to someone going by with a one tooth change in gearing up- especially on a loaded bike, than to have to crank out a two tooth change (which is what the jump is on the touring cassette).

I'm just looking to get the most out of my sweet new Surly

Cheers!
S

My Old Tri Bike


My New Tri Bike


New Surly

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Old 04-12-09, 11:32 PM   #12
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I'm not sure who's worse the carbon poseurs or the LHT poseur.
LoL- come on Nun- this is the "Touring" forum. We all know that LHT poseurs are MUCH BETTER than carbon poseurs ;-)
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Old 04-13-09, 09:16 AM   #13
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My LHT is the 54cm so it has 26 wheels and knobby-looking tires (but actually with a smooth contact surface) so it kind of looks like a mountain bike. I think it's amusing to come up behind a carbon roadie and then drop him. I have had real surprised looks and interested comments at times. For me it doesn't work so well on steep uphills, though. Got to keep working on the engine.

Actually, I use my LHT for training in the local hills, hoping that maybe some day I'll be able to keep up with the big boys in my club on my roadie.
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Old 04-13-09, 12:08 PM   #14
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different ppl ride different bikes for different reasons. when i was attending Rutgers Camden during my undergrad era, i rode a fixie to class. I'd have to thru this park that was notorious for having ppl ride laps around this river, the loop went around 2 twisty roads for semi-long stretches and over a bridge on either end. It was mostly middle-aged guys on expensive road bikes. At first, i marveled at the fact that i'm blowing by these clowns, on a steel track bike with 42x15 gearing and 40 lbs of lit books strapped to my back, in the middle of my 10mile commute. It made me feel like superman, until i realized that these guys aren't racing, and they're hardly really riding. They're just playing show-n-tell with they're new OCLV stuff for all the other d-bags. And, that's fine, but i must admit, i'm not superman. Being fat, hungover, late for class, and pushing a tiresome gear on a fix isn't exactly the recipe for speed (late for class helped a little), as any serious rider would be able to show me on virtually any bike. Every non-roadie forum is over-run with posts about how "i crushed some poser on a look/felt/moots/madone/whatever on my folder/bigwheel/office chair", but let's come back to reality here: if you're dropping ppl on expensive roadbikes on your portly tour bike, there's probably an explanation more likely than the fact that you're a cycling god.

And, if you ARE a cycling god, trade in your LHT for something with actual speed credentials. The sport needs you.

-rob
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Old 04-13-09, 09:27 PM   #15
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Why don't you have the best of both worlds and cobble up your own cassette ?

Dismantle your 12-34 cassette (see Sheldon Brown's page); buy a low-end (i.e. cheaper and dismountable) 11-23 cassette and build something like :
11-12-13-14-16-18-21-24-30

That way, you will have the close range ratios you like for fast commutes and the like, but you will still have a couple of very low gears for rides in the sand, hills (i.e. viaducts), etc.
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