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Climbing Cassette Q - Sierra (ToC) type climbs

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Climbing Cassette Q - Sierra (ToC) type climbs

Old 02-21-08, 04:38 PM
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Climbing Cassette Q - Sierra (ToC) type climbs

I need a new cassette and that lead me to seek out the collective wisdom here.

I am currently running a compact double (50/34) with a 12-25 rear. It has worked well but now I am wondering whether a 12-27 might be better for climbs like Sierra Road from yesterday's ToC stage. I plan on doing some hill climbs, including Sierra, later this year plus the death ride and other "climby" events. Sierra is something like 9.8% for 4 miles. I climbed it fine, especially with full bottles, energy bars, camera, etc. And no warmup - I won't make that mistake again!

I am definitely not a masher, with my flat road cadence usually around 105. I have no problem climbing in my 25, but on climbs like Sierra yesterday I averaged around a 61 cadence. Again it was fine and my time actually would have placed me in the top third or so of the last event there.

I don't need a 27 to make the climb, just thinking that getting closer to my most comfortable cadence may make me faster. Trade-off is the 3-tooth jump from 24 to 27.

Lay some BF wisdom on me! And yeah, I know that I should just put one on and try it!
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Old 02-21-08, 04:39 PM
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I just use a SRAM 11-26... works for pretty much anything
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Old 02-21-08, 04:42 PM
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If you're doing a ride like the death ride, I'd like to have the 27 there just in case.
But yeah, I'm with umd, the 11-26 is a good option as well.
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Old 02-21-08, 05:12 PM
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I rode up it yesterday with 50/34 12-29. The last two are 26 and 29. It didn't make much difference between using the 26 or the 29 as the heart rate and mph were the same. The current bike started at 11-25 but I dropped the 11 to get some slighter lower gears for the steep roads in the Bay Area. My previous bike had a 12-27 cassette and I realize I prefer the 21 23 26 ratio better than 21 24 27.
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Old 02-21-08, 05:13 PM
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I did Sierra road using 34-27. And I suck at climbing. I got a 11-28 cassett for my next build, just incase.
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Old 02-21-08, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bostic
I rode up it yesterday with 50/34 12-29. The last two are 26 and 29. It didn't make much difference between using the 26 or the 29 as the heart rate and mph were the same. The current bike started at 11-25 but I dropped the 11 to get some slighter lower gears for the steep roads in the Bay Area. My previous bike had a 12-27 cassette and I realize I prefer the 21 23 26 ratio better than 21 24 27.
I had a 12-25 (9-speed) but switched to an 11-26 (9-speed) when I started racing because I needed to go faster on the descents (I had a 50/36 at the time). I still used an 11-26 when I switched to 10-speed, and now with the 53/39 as well. I still find it to be a great all-around cassette and don't think I'd have the legs to push a 39x23 on some of the steep stuff (16-20%) I see fairly regularly. I don't mind the spacing on the low end.
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Old 02-21-08, 05:19 PM
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thanks for the input guys. In my 34/25 yesterday I did the climb in 31:50. Though there were a few times I was wondering if it was going to be okay for my 48 year old knees! I think I'll try the 11-26 and see how that goes...
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Old 02-21-08, 05:27 PM
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11-28 is a great cassette to have on the shelf.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:54 PM
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It never hurts to have a couple extra teeth on the cassette. It is much less shameful than a triple crank, IMHO. The value is when you are feeling totally blown, and it gives a chance to change up your cadence.

My advice is worthless, however, since I ride everything in a 53/39 and an 11-23 cassette. This includes such notable climbs such as Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Umunhum (~3500 ft, 6 miles). I managed the front side climb of Mt. Hamilton in 1:31 on this combo. I don't think a different ratio would have helped decrease time.

My brother really likes his 11-28 cassette, though. They are nice and cheap. He is not a skinny dude like me, and helps his climbing alot.

Cheers~
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Old 02-21-08, 07:56 PM
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Oh, from an objective prospective, you are always faster up a climb when you can do it entirely sitting down.

This seems strange, but your power output vs. cardio load is much more favorable when sitting! Some people generate different levels of power when sitting as well.

Cheers~
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Old 02-21-08, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mic2377
Oh, from an objective prospective, you are always faster up a climb when you can do it entirely sitting down.

This seems strange, but your power output vs. cardio load is much more favorable when sitting! Some people generate different levels of power when sitting as well.

Cheers~
Good point, thanks. From my OP above, my 34/25 works just fine on everything from Sierra, to Monitor to Ebbets to Hicks/Mt. Umunhum. My question was more along the lines of would a little lower gear/higher cadence be faster up a steep climb. If it would allow me to stay seated a little longer than that would be more efficient.
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Old 02-21-08, 09:46 PM
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I like my SRAM 11-26 cassette - seems to offer the best range in a stock road cassette, combined with my 50/36 chainrings.
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Old 02-22-08, 01:14 AM
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I figured that a custom 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-25(or 26) cassette with a 50/34 compact would be nice for that.
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