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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Newbie Question

Old 10-03-11, 07:24 PM
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Newbie Question

To start I jusy want to say hello to everyone on the forumn. I am also a Clydesdale at 6'3" and 260. I am pretty new to cycling and have ALOT of questions. I have been riding for about 4 months now and have learned quite a bit along the way (not always the easy way or cheap way). One question I have is that I see people talking about the cranks and ratios like "11-28 rear cassette", what does that mean? I am ttrying to learn all I can before I buy my new bike next year so I don't make the mistakes I did buying the VERY cheap one I did this year. I have had nothing but issues with it. Thank You.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jlp1976
"11-28 rear cassette", what does that mean?
Welcome to the forums

In lay terms , it is referring to a a rear cassette with 10 sprockets, with the smallest having 11 cogs and the largest having 28 cogs.

Here are some Shimano examples of more, showing each cog that makes up that particular cassette.

11-21: 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21
11-23: 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23
11-25: 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25
11-27: 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27
11-28: 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-28
12-23: 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23
12-25: 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25
12-27: 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27

The largest number will be the easiest gear and the smallest the hardest, in terms of power required from the cyclist.

Another way to look at it is that at the same revolutions per minute, a 11 cog will produce more speed than a 28 cog and thus, require more power to do so.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:31 PM
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Awesome thank you.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:41 PM
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Now ask about the crank and the ring sizes on the 3 different set ups.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:09 PM
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To go with that... Sheldon on gears. I'm linking you straight to the gear calculator. To me, the best way to use the gear calculator is to take a bike you ride a lot, and see what the gear calculator tells you about it. Gear inches or the actual cogs tend to get used a lot around here. But there are a ton of ways to look at gearing, and the gear calculator can calculate most of them.

After you get a feel for what is possible with your current bike on paper... look at what you do in practice. Chances are they don't match up too well.

Most of the effort people spend on gearing is to get something that matches up well with how they like to ride, and with their physical abilities. After all, if your favorite thing is to climb steep hills, you're going to favor a rather different setup from someone who lives in a flat town and rides in stop and go traffic.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:13 PM
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I started off with a $100 mountain bike. The two times I actually took it off the pavement, I had to replace the rear wheel. The gears forever gave me trouble, and the brakes went from okay to "scary". Right after I ordered another bike, that one was stolen, and I pity the thief. I did learn with that bike that you get what you pay for.

Anyway, the 11-28 is the range of teeth on that rear sprocket. You can swap those rear cassettes out to a point, but if you go too big, you need a longer rear derailleur to cover the range. You can also get smaller sprockets on the front that lower the overall gearing.

If you ask other people what they use, you will get answers from 140# riders with legs of steel, so be aware that what you need is not necessarily what other riders need.
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