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Is it worth swapping to a bigger cassette?

Old 01-20-11, 01:20 PM
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ttheroux
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Is it worth swapping to a bigger cassette?

I am running a 9 speed 11-25 cassette with a standard crank. I am a bigger guy and I sometimes struggle on longer hills and feel a little lower gear might help. Would it be worth swapping out to a 12-27 cassette for $50 or should I hold out and go for a compact crank? I have Truvativ Isloflow road cranks and I cannot seem to find them in compact style and really don't want to have to swap out the bottom bracket if I switch to another brand. Also, my freehub is virtually silent, is that normal? I have noticed the higher end freewheels make a very pronouced ratcheting sound.

Thanks for the feed back!
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Old 01-20-11, 01:23 PM
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What are the teeth count on your chain rings?
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Old 01-20-11, 01:28 PM
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an extra 2t in the back may not be a substantial change enough to notice.

it may be worth it to you to switch to a mountain cassette and mountain long-cage RD. the lows will be lower.
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Old 01-20-11, 01:40 PM
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That would give you an 8% lower gear. Like you, I'm a bigger rider and my bike came with an 11-25 cassette and 53/39 standard double. I recently swapped out the standard for a 50/34 compact which gave me about 14% lower gear and I'm very happy with it. The swap was from an Ultegra standard to a 105 compact so didn't need to replace the BB (they are both Hollowtch II external bearing type) and I managed to get the crankset in great condition off eBay for $30 with shipping. I can still go to an 11-27 cassette when this one wears out and gain another 8%.
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Old 01-20-11, 01:47 PM
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I agree you might be better off going with a smaller inner chainring. personally I am not a huge fan of compacts. I perfer a triple. I hjave my Bianchi Volpe set up with a 12/23 and a 28-42-52 chainrings. the 28 is a bit small but I almost never use it around a 30ish would be better.

tell us more about your cranks and your bike in general
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Old 01-20-11, 01:50 PM
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The 8% lower gear from the 27T will be useful but not a real game changer.

As noted, to get a much lower low gear you will have to:

1. Switch to at least a compact or even a triple crank
2. Switch to an MTB Xx32 or Xx34 cassette which will probably (almost certainly) require an MTB rear derailleur also.
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Old 01-20-11, 01:53 PM
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Getting the 12-27 is a cheap and relatively easy change. Those two extra teeth may be all you need. So, I'd recommend trying that and riding it for a while. If, after a week or two, you think you need an even lower gear then you can consider the compact, triple, or MTB cassette/RD options.
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Old 01-20-11, 02:18 PM
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+1 for the 12-27 change. I made the switch on my bikes and I'm a larger rider. I find that I don't need to switch to the small chainring as often. I also find that a 39-27 gear is low enough for me for all but the biggest/longest hills where i ride in MD. The only exception to this seems to be hilly centuries where I get very tired and really want a lower gear. You could also go to a SRAM 12-28 cassette to give you just a little lower gear. This works with a short cage Shimano RD (at least it did with mine). Having said that, I have friends with compacts that love them. With a 10 speed drivetrain, they go 11 tooth to get the tallest gear possible with a 50 chainring. Then you can have an 11-27 for some serious low-gear potential for hilly rides.
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Old 01-20-11, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Getting the 12-27 is a cheap and relatively easy change. Those two extra teeth may be all you need. So, I'd recommend trying that and riding it for a while. If, after a week or two, you think you need an even lower gear then you can consider the compact, triple, or MTB cassette/RD options.
+1 I'd give it a try.

edit: Another option could be a Sheldon Brown custom 13-30 or 12-30. A little more money and the 30 cog would probably require a longer "B" screw in the derailleur. https://sheldonbrown.com/harris/k7.html#9cassettes

Last edited by Al1943; 01-20-11 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 01-20-11, 02:59 PM
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How much easier hill climb gear do you think that you need?

39/25 = 42 gear inches
39/27 = 39 geat inches
34/25 = 37 gear inches

Honestly, if a compact crankset is what you think that you really want, I'd bite the bullet and buy it from the start. If you're anything like me you'll eventually wind up buying the compact anyway and just adding it onto the price of the cassette change.

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Old 01-20-11, 03:07 PM
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Thank you all for the information. I think that I will start with the 12-27. At least now I have some other ideas if this is not enough. I have never had to get off the bike for a hill, so I think that this might do the trick. Losing a few lbs. and building my endurance would help too!
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Old 01-20-11, 03:07 PM
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If you want a more substantual change, consider a 12-30t nine speed cassette from Harris Cyclery. This is built from Shimano parts and will work with your current road derailluar.

See https://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=2369

Harris Cyclery Century Special:

12 - 13 - 15 - 17 - 19 - 21 - 24 - 27 - 30 Teeth
This is a Harris Cyclery exclusive, designed by Sheldon Brown, using Shimano sprockets.

This is intended to provide nice low gears and still preserve reasonably close spacing in the cruising range.

This is intended to provide nice low gears and still preserve reasonably close spacing in the cruising range, without wasting gears by devoting space to ludicrously high gears. This is intended to be a good match for bikes with traditional "full sized" chainrings.

It is generally good practice to replace the chain when you replace the cassette.

We recommend the SRAM PC-951 chain for use with this cassette.

This cassette will index with any Shimano-type 9-speed shifter and any rear derailer.

This cassette will fit any Shimano 8- or 9-speed hub.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 01-20-11 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 01-20-11, 03:29 PM
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I'm cheap so don't think it's worth $50. I'd probably go for a $35 PC950 11-28. If they had 12-28 that would be even better (for me).
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Old 01-20-11, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ttheroux View Post
I am running a 9 speed 11-25 cassette with a standard crank. I am a bigger guy and I sometimes struggle on longer hills and feel a little lower gear might help. Would it be worth swapping out to a 12-27 cassette for $50 or should I hold out and go for a compact crank?
A 34 small ring on a compact crank in front with a 11-25 in back will get you a low gear like 39x29 which is 13% easier.

A 39 small ring with a 11-27 will get you a low gear 8% easier.

With both mountains and plains I'd run a triple, bigger starting cog, and a smaller ending cog for lower gears and tighter spacing. Like 50-39-28 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23 with a low gear like 39x32.
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Old 01-20-11, 03:36 PM
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I was rounding up with shipping. I am pretty frugal as well. I found this Miche at ebike.com

https://www.ebikestop.com/miche_shima...tte-FW1584.php
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Old 01-20-11, 03:37 PM
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53/39
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Old 01-20-11, 03:47 PM
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It is your basic Motobecane (Kinesis) bikesdirect.com bike. Given the price, I am pretty happy with it. At some point I want to start upgrading to all 105/Ultegra components, but not until something breaks. To answer your first cranks question, they are 53/39.
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...rage_pro_x.htm



Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I agree you might be better off going with a smaller inner chainring. personally I am not a huge fan of compacts. I perfer a triple. I hjave my Bianchi Volpe set up with a 12/23 and a 28-42-52 chainrings. the 28 is a bit small but I almost never use it around a 30ish would be better.

tell us more about your cranks and your bike in general
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Old 01-20-11, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I hjave my Bianchi Volpe set up with a 12/23 and a 28-42-52 chainrings. the 28 is a bit small but I almost never use it around a 30ish would be better.
Want a 30T granny ring for free? I've got a take-off that I've replaced with 26T granny rings and the 30 is just gathering dust. PM me if you want it.
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Old 01-20-11, 07:31 PM
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I found this on the JensonUSA site with free shipping for $31.00 and ordered it. Thanks for the heads up. It is a much better deal than the Miche and lighter as well. I only have about 400-500 miles on the bike, do I need to replace the chain? If not, should I add links?
Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I'm cheap so don't think it's worth $50. I'd probably go for a $35 PC950 11-28. If they had 12-28 that would be even better (for me).
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Old 01-20-11, 07:37 PM
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I've done both (12/27 from a 12/25 and 52/42 to compact 50/34) on different bikes and both methods work pretty much the same in the end. Still ride both bikes, still love 'em.
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Old 01-20-11, 07:59 PM
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Ive got 3 30t. 74 <C> alloy rings and 1 steel shimano one to shed.
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Old 01-20-11, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I'm cheap so don't think it's worth $50. I'd probably go for a $35 PC950 11-28. If they had 12-28 that would be even better (for me).
I put together a 9-speed 13-28 by adding a 28 to a 12-25 and replacing the 12 and 13 with a first position 13. Worked great with no changes to the derailleur.
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Old 01-20-11, 09:09 PM
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a 39? I don't think you can get one small enough to make a huge difference, I believe thay only go to 38T. (I am assuming it is a 130BCD and yes I know OK)

with only 400mi you probally won't need a new chain, however you may have to find a shaop willing to add a link or two. with the extra 2 or 3 teeth in the back you may not be able to shift to the 28/53 combo. you should not ride in it but you want to be sure you can shift into so you don't damage anything.

nice looking Motobecane.

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