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Distinguishing cassette models (without the lockring)

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Distinguishing cassette models (without the lockring)

Old 08-11-23, 07:24 AM
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Distinguishing cassette models (without the lockring)

A discussion popped up in my local.bike.community when a fellow was.looking for a 10 speed 105 cassette.
I said that I had a box full of about 30 used cassettes some of them 10speed but all of them had been separated from their lockrings (which I just keep bundled together in a different tool box)

So how could one distinguish a Tiagra vs 105 vs Ultegra vs anything once they have left their box and are missing their original ring? (Not that an Ultegra lockring improves a Tiagra cassette)
Are there any differences?
​​​​​​Is weight a gauge? (Are "Higher" models lighter weight for the same tooth count?)

(It was suggested that Dura Ace cassettes have a distinctive titanium sprocket pair or pairs
​​​​​​ Is that even so?)

And Does it matte (except in our "more expensive must be better" fixated brains)? Is the lifespan or shifting quality of an Ultegra Cassette longer than... Say Sora .

just curious

peter

Last edited by pstock; 08-11-23 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 08-11-23, 08:05 AM
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The big needs a lock ring has to attain are: keeping the cogs tight, not interfering with the chain when on the smallest cog and not coming loose.

Being able to tighten the cogs together is pretty straight forward and generally not an issue if the cassette cog stack and the freehub body match each other (or the proper behind the cassette spacer is used as needed). Of course the person who is doing the work does need to know the feel of the lock ring tightening down against the cog as compared to how it feels when the lock ring bottoms out against the FH body before the cogs are tightened.

The diameter of the lock ring's outer lip/flange can be too big to let the chain fully fit into the cog's teeth. This is usually found with small cog chain skip, but no other shifting or wear issues present. This miss match is usually when replacing a cassette with a one that has a smaller hi gear cog but the old lock ring is reused. Place a chain on the small cog and then place the lockring inside the chain and against the cog and make sure the chain didn't get lifted up a bit by that lip/flange.

The third need is a bit less black and white. Different versions of cassettes have had slightly different interfaces between the lock ring and the matching smallest cog. Some have had a very thin steel "washer" on the lock ring, some don't. Some have significant teeth on the cog and lip/flange that engage each other and resist loosening. Some have little interfacing features. But all require being able to fully tighten the lock ring and this is where i see home mechanics sometimes not doing this enough. One way to find out if the being is tight enough to not come loose is to recheck it after a few rides. Sounds so simple but so often disregarded. Andy
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Old 08-11-23, 09:52 AM
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You can look up Shimano's archived specifications pdf's:
https://productinfo.shimano.com/down...CIFICATION.pdf
Dura Ace has a mix of steel and Titanium cogs, and 2 spider groups. Ultegra and 105 are fairly similar with all steel construction and 1 spider group. Tiagra has no spider group (although the larger cogs are bolted together)
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Old 08-11-23, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
You can look up Shimano's archived specifications pdf's:
https://productinfo.shimano.com/down...CIFICATION.pdf
Dura Ace has a mix of steel and Titanium cogs, and 2 spider groups. Ultegra and 105 are fairly similar with all steel construction and 1 spider group. Tiagra has no spider group (although the larger cogs are bolted together)
Nice resource. thank you.

what though is a "spider group" in a cassette? those blocks where several sprockets are together as a unit?
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Old 08-11-23, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pstock
Nice resource. thank you.

what though is a "spider group" in a cassette? those blocks where several sprockets are together as a unit?
Right. It's several cogs riveted to a common carrier:



As opposed to the lower end cassettes where several cogs could just be riveted together in a stack:
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Old 08-11-23, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pstock
Nice resource. thank you.

what though is a "spider group" in a cassette? those blocks where several sprockets are together as a unit?
For some of the older Shimano cassettes, Sheldon Brown has pages per speed that has a chart of the combos, interchange info and spider units.
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