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Why have rear cassettes gone to 10 speeds?

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Why have rear cassettes gone to 10 speeds?

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Old 06-16-07, 06:18 PM
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Why have rear cassettes gone to 10 speeds?

As a newbie on a road bike, I purchased a bike with a ten speed cassette. Others I tested had nine speeds, some even had eight. The Diego had but seven speeds on the back and two rings in front. Just 14 speeds overall. Now I have 30!

Why is the trend toward more and more gears? Is it so much better, or is it designed obsolescence? Are they already working on eleven speed casettes? Twelve?

I didn't choose my bike because it had a ten speed cassette; I chose my bike and it had a ten speed cassette. I'm sure I would have chosen it if it came with a nine speed, but I probably don't realize or can't yet appreciate the difference.
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Old 06-16-07, 06:30 PM
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I think they needed something new to sell, and if Campy came out with 10-spd, then Shimano and SRAM couldn't be caught without having one also (don't know who had it first). I would guess their reasoning would be that road cyclists wanted/needed closer ratios between cogs. My road bike is 9-spd, seems close enough for me, but then, my mtn.bike is only 8-spd, so maybe I'm used to more of a spread between cogs.
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Old 06-16-07, 06:36 PM
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More is better (at least most people think so). Theoretically, if you set it up correctly, you would end up with more useful gears and/or closer steps between the gears for better cadence management. I don't know, but I suspect that compact cranks defeat some of the advantages of 10 speed gear clusters because of many double shifts required to get to the next gear. I am finding this to be the case with my 10-speed LeMond.
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Old 06-16-07, 07:29 PM
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My stable of bikes run 6, 7, 8, and 9 speeds. I just swapped out my low spoke count 9 speed on the commuter/road double to a 8 speed. I had to change the barcons to friction mode. That wheel has a dura-ace hub and cassette - barcons are dura-ace. She shifts so smooth and I really like the full cassette range which seems very usable on the 39 front ring.
The 10 versus 9 - it has to be marketting. I've seen the new "10 speed" brakes selling at outrageous prices!
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Old 06-16-07, 07:33 PM
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It's the "bigger is better" mentality. Sometimes it is, but often it isn't.
It's the same thing with horsepower in cars, lawn mowers etc.
I'm from the "how many USEFUL gears do you have" mentality, not "how many gears do you have".

I avoid hills, so on my 21 speed, I simply don't use the 2 smaller rings.
Right now, I'm using a 13-14-16-18-21-24-28. Going to an 8 or 9 cog set wouldn't do me any good unless I could get a 15 or a 12. Adding a 32 or 34 would just give me another gear I wouldn't use.
If I was "touring", with various degrees of hills, I could see the use of additional gears.
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Old 06-16-07, 07:43 PM
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Maybe it's for the same reason razors now have five blades?

I can tell a difference between an 8 speed and a 9 speed mountain bike. The 9th gear makes it a little smoother to descend into the lowest of the gears. I like that.

I can't say I've noticed any big difference with the 10 speed. I know the chains are supposed to be more fragile and wear out quicker.
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Old 06-16-07, 07:49 PM
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It’s a marketing double up for the manufactures, suppliers and shops. Compare the prices for replacement chains, derailleurs, cassettes etc 7to 8-9 to 10 speed.
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Old 06-16-07, 07:54 PM
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Marketing = $$$
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Old 06-16-07, 08:11 PM
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It's really "sell, sell, sell. OTOH, closer ratios are nice. Especially when you have grip shifters and can pop 2 or 3 at once if you happen to want a wider change. bk
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Old 06-16-07, 08:30 PM
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Because the sheep will buy them.
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Old 06-16-07, 08:35 PM
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You get closer ratios between cogs. The "standard" 12-25 10-speed cassette has only 1 tooth jumps between its 6 smallest cogs, and only 2 tooth jumps for the rest. With 9, 8, and 7-speed cassettes, you have to give up high end, low end, or accept bigger jumps between gears.
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Old 06-16-07, 08:38 PM
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The real, underlying reason is so they can make more $$$ on chains. [Conspiracy Theory #47]
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Old 06-16-07, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by NotAsFat
You get closer ratios between cogs. The "standard" 12-25 10-speed cassette has only 1 tooth jumps between its 6 smallest cogs, and only 2 tooth jumps for the rest. With 9, 8, and 7-speed cassettes, you have to give up high end, low end, or accept bigger jumps between gears.
A valid factor for performance bikes on double cranks, but with a triple you can have close ratios with 7 or 8 speeds. I tried a compact crank on my 7 speed bike and was not thrilled with the choice between big jumps or narrow range. 9 or 10 speeds makes compact cranks a more viable option.
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Old 06-16-07, 10:13 PM
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I have no doubt that it is likely to be marketing and profit motive primarily. On the other hand, I also think that the larger cassettes are better shifting. I've not done 10, but my new used bike has a 9 speed, where the old bike had 7. I definitely like the more subtle gear changes of the 9, and I think I'd like the 10 slightly better still. All that said, the 10 speed components are so expensive compared to 9, that I have no temptation to make hte change until it happens to occur on a future bike I buy.
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Old 06-16-07, 10:37 PM
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When 10sp sales flatline.... 11sp will appear
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Old 06-16-07, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link
Maybe it's for the same reason razors now have five blades?

I can tell a difference between an 8 speed and a 9 speed mountain bike. The 9th gear makes it a little smoother to descend into the lowest of the gears. I like that.

I can't say I've noticed any big difference with the 10 speed. I know the chains are supposed to be more fragile and wear out quicker.
Well, I know my legs are smoother with the five blades...
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Old 06-16-07, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
A valid factor for performance bikes on double cranks, but with a triple you can have close ratios with 7 or 8 speeds. I tried a compact crank on my 7 speed bike and was not thrilled with the choice between big jumps or narrow range. 9 or 10 speeds makes compact cranks a more viable option.
With a triple, you pay a penalty in both weight and shifting performance.

I currently run a triple. I need the low gears, on occasion, 'cause I'm still too fat to climb hills easily. But if I lose the other 40 or so pounds I want to drop, I would certainly consider a compact, or even a conventional double. Doubles just shift better. Front derailleur setup is simpler, too.
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Old 06-17-07, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by NotAsFat
With a triple, you pay a penalty in both weight and shifting performance.

I currently run a triple. I need the low gears, on occasion, 'cause I'm still too fat to climb hills easily. But if I lose the other 40 or so pounds I want to drop, I would certainly consider a compact, or even a conventional double. Doubles just shift better. Front derailleur setup is simpler, too.
Small penalties, imho. If I ever build a lightweight bike optimized for fast riding and climbing, I will probably go with a compact double and reluctantly, a 9 speed. But my main bike is setup for 50-100 mile rides in a variety of terrain at 16-18 mph avg. The triple works smoothly and effectively for my purposes.

Front derailleur setup on a triple is simple with friction shifting in front.
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Old 06-17-07, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by NotAsFat
With a triple, you pay a penalty in both weight and shifting performance.

I currently run a triple. I need the low gears, on occasion, 'cause I'm still too fat to climb hills easily. But if I lose the other 40 or so pounds I want to drop, I would certainly consider a compact, or even a conventional double. Doubles just shift better. Front derailleur setup is simpler, too.
That doubles shift "better" may be marginally true....but that isn't to say triples shift poorly. I shift Campy (J-tek) Centaur on both a double and triple. The double chainring is a bit quicker, but the triple is no less accurate to my experience. The benefit of a triple, beyond the lower range you may or may not use, is that when you find the right middle ring, you may well spend a lot of time there (and therefore front shift less) in a nice range of cruising and light climbing gears. Triples aren't necessarily kool, but I don't think compacts are about to polish them off just yet.

The addiltional weight is not so much....and, again, is off-set by some triple virtues.
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Old 06-17-07, 01:54 AM
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The 20 speed compact double setup currently looks to be the bread and butter machine for this generation of road bicycle design. It provides improved performance with less "difficulty" in setup. It has all the racer boy bling of carbon fiber cranksets and external bearing cranksets "mega/giga/whatever" that are so stiff that they take 500 watts of imput withou flinching. Nice bikes..........but.........where did the $350 starter road bike go. What's that.........don't leave it out in the rain.......the chain does what? Mr. mechanic.....Mr. mechanic.......I've only had my bike for 500 miles and it doesn't shift so good.

10 speed gearing may take a while to catch on here in the 50+ forum. There is a little more of the comfortable gray shoe here and a little less of the (insert drooling tasmanian devel here) "I want that, I want it NOW". The technology is going to trickle down though, its inevetable. I've already noticed that starter bikes come with 105 9 speed equipment and that new SORA 8 speed stuff is becoming rare on Ebay.

Excuse me. I have to go off now to buy my new 1/8" thick cell phone with 24 hour news and a 104 key pad for texting.........
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Old 06-17-07, 09:19 AM
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I think that it's because 10 is more than 9.

The real question is: "Is it better?" I think that depends on what additional cog the 10-speed happens to give you.

Mountain bike cassettes haven't come out in 10-speed yet so it's not going to give you an easier hill climb gear. That leaves closer spacing as the only possible benefit.

At the high gear end of the cassette, 12, 13, etc. the spaces between gears are really too wide to suit me but, unfortunately, you can't make a 12 1/2 tooth cog.

At the hill climb end of the cassette, spacing that's too close can become counter productive. If the gears are spaced too closely together you'll lose all of your momentum making eensie-teensie incremental gear changes. If you have a 23 cog and a 25 cog you probably don't really want a 24.

That leaves you with the flat road cruising gears. Once you find the "sweet spot" gearing wise, it's wonderful to have an incremental "trim gear" or two in each direction so that you can adjust for minor changes in wind speed. If you're cruising "in the zone" with your 16 tooth cog and you'd like to gear down just a touch, having or not having a 17 might make a 10-speed cassette worth while to you.
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Old 06-17-07, 09:23 AM
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- one speed rules, OK?

- especially on 700x45 tires...

:-)

p.s. aside from my two ss/fixies, i've standardized on 9spd for all bikes; makes parts management easier for me...
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Old 06-17-07, 10:17 AM
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There are good bargans all over on unwanted 9 speed equipment. I bought new Dura-Ace bar end shifters a couple of weeks ago for $45. So far, this has been the best feature of the new 10 speed. Unfortunately, some of the new technology I like is going to come in 10 speed only.
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Old 06-17-07, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx
Unfortunately, some of the new technology I like is going to come in 10 speed only.
Like what?
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Old 06-17-07, 05:10 PM
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SRAM 12/28 or 11/28 cassettes with enough derailleur cage to accomodate them without having to go to MTB equipment.

Next generation bar end shifters from all three manufacturers.

I'm kind of interested in SRAM ratio road shifter/derailleurs but that wont be available in 9 speed.

Within a year it will be more difficult to obtain what you want on EBAY in 9 speed stuff as it sells out. For example of that, over the last few years it has become very difficult to get XTR 8 speed equipment as everything changed out to 9 speed. 2 years ago you could buy SORA 8 speed brifters for $45. Today there are only about 4 or so on all of EBAY on any given day. The sale price has about doubled.

Eventually the manufacturers will be all 10 speed on the road groups and that will be the beginning of the end for NOS 9 speed.
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