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changing cassettes

Old 04-11-05, 12:52 PM
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jslopez
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changing cassettes

So I've been road riding for the last 7 months. Stock set up with an 53-39 11-23 cassette. Usually about 150 + plus miles a week (60 on the commute and the rest on the weekends). Weekend rides vary but it usually involves a climb of sorts (this sunday was 60 miles with about 5000 ft of climbing)

What I've realized is that while I've finished all climbs that I've had to do at an above average (for a recereational rider that is) pace, there are some rides/climbs where I feel like I'm just punishing myself for not having anything easier than a 23.

Is my set up wrong for the type of riding I do and/or my current skill level ?
If I stay with my current set up will I get better or will I just plateua?
Will going 12-25 a more practical set up?
Do (non-pro) people actually use a 11-23 set up for climbing ?
Am I just being a wimp?
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Old 04-11-05, 12:55 PM
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I have 13-26, I don't really see how it can hurt you to have the bigger gears, when you have 9 cogs to choose from surely you can find one you like, so what if they are spaced out a little more.
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Old 04-11-05, 01:00 PM
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I have a 13-29 and these days I use the 29 as a bailout gear, when I run into trouble.. I wish I had an 11 tho.. going down hill I spin out at 35 mph..
I am considering getting a custom cassette made (Campy) with 11-26, or 11-29 if possible..
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Old 04-11-05, 06:44 PM
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I'm just wondering for who/ the 11-23 set up is for.

Is it for the pro/seasoned rider regardless of how hard the hill he/she's climbing or is it usually for flats/lesser grades.

Reworded, for a guy who wants to be a strong all around rider, enjoys punishing himself with nice long climbs but doesn't want to hold himself down with an impractical cassette ratio, should I stick to the 11-23 or should I go 12-25?
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Old 04-11-05, 07:09 PM
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My favorite setup for anything except long and nasty hills is a 53-39-28 triple and an 11-21. If it gets worse than that, I switch to the 11-27 rear end, worse than that, and I put on the 50-36-24 rings.

Spin the whole way up.
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Old 04-11-05, 07:32 PM
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Is my set up wrong for the type of riding I do and/or my current skill level ?

Maybe. If your cadence is below about 55 on the climbs, you're needlessly fatiguing your legs.

If I stay with my current set up will I get better or will I just plateua?

If you continue to train at a high intensity, you should continue to improve. But if you're wearing your legs out, you won't be able to get the same volume of training.

Will going 12-25 a more practical set up?

Probably. You're only giving up the 11, which most people only use on descents. 53/12 is a pretty high ratio.

Do (non-pro) people actually use a 11-23 set up for climbing ?

I sure don't. I use a 12-27 with 50-34 chainrings for just about everything (I did use an 11-23 for a recent flat time trial). And I'm a pretty above average climber. It feels really good to spin up 14% grades in my low gears instead of being forced to stand and mash the pedals.

Am I just being a wimp?

It's hard to know, we don't know you well enough.

But don't feel like a wimp for having lower gears! I climb just as fast with the same heartrate, whether I'm mashing the pedals at 50 cadence or spinning madly at 80 cadence. The difference is that my legs are much happier with me when I let them spin.
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Old 04-11-05, 08:30 PM
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A computer with a cadence meter can really help with gear selection. We're all different and we all ride different hills.
I don't even know anyone who really needs an 11 cog, but I do see a lot of people who could benefit by spinning at a higher cadence. I ride 53/39 in front and usually a 13-26 in the rear, 12-25 for time trials. An 11 can make sense if you are racing down a steep hill. Generally having an 11 means you've got to give up a better cog somewhere in your cassette.

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Old 04-11-05, 08:38 PM
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I am in the same place but I am going the opposite direction, from a 12-27 to actually a 12-23. I find that for the really steep stuff the 27 is nice, abit slow if you really need it, I have never had to actually use the 27 (or the 25) when I had it so switching is no bid deal.

As we talked about in my thread on 12-23 vs 11-23, the 11 is only a real important gear for downhills and for fast sprints, rarly. The question to ask is do you really ever use the 11 gear on the top in the big ring? If the answer is no then you will notice no difference in the new cassette. Lots of people run 12-23, 12-25 and 12-27 with no problems.

For someone building strength the 12-27 is a good choice, or even the 13-26 on a standard setup...
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Old 04-12-05, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by my58vw
I am in the same place but I am going the opposite direction, from a 12-27 to actually a 12-23. I find that for the really steep stuff the 27 is nice, abit slow if you really need it, I have never had to actually use the 27 (or the 25) when I had it so switching is no bid deal.

As we talked about in my thread on 12-23 vs 11-23, the 11 is only a real important gear for downhills and for fast sprints, rarly. The question to ask is do you really ever use the 11 gear on the top in the big ring? If the answer is no then you will notice no difference in the new cassette. Lots of people run 12-23, 12-25 and 12-27 with no problems.

For someone building strength the 12-27 is a good choice, or even the 13-26 on a standard setup...

Being new it's really ahrd to gauge stuff. Like I've mentioned, I have so far managed to finish all the climbs I've faced and will no doubt feet a lot better having the ability to spin a bit more on the hard stuff, I can/will stick it out if it means becoming a better rider fo the future but it's just herting me then I amy as well switch now, but as far as how much as should give myself.... 25 seems reasonable, 27 maybe a tadd too easy (I'm guesstimating here). Is the goal here to achieve the right balance, to be at one notch harder than your current skill level so you improve or to give yourself leeway? Also what are the pros and cons of getting a custo cassette (11-26 or something)?

Thanks for the replies guys.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:27 AM
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I am a recreational rider doing about 100-125 miles per week. There are lots of mountains in my area so climbing is a requirement. I use a standard 53/39 crankset up front and a 12-25 in the rear. Even with that, there are some long extended climbs where I would like to raise the cadence a bit. But I find the 25 works well for me and is enough to keep a decent cadence on some steep climbs.

It is also the least expensive option. If you don't like the taller gearing, then swap the original 11-23 back in with little investment lost.

-If you find this is not enough then you could look into a compact crankset.

-The other option would be to go to a triple crankset which would require front and rear derailleur with longer cages to complete the set.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:46 AM
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There's no such thing as too easy with a double, if you're always on the small chainring, swap it out for like a 13-28 or something.

I hardely ever, I mean ever use a big chainring unless going downhill.
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Old 04-12-05, 10:43 AM
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I just got a new bike, going from and 8 to a 10, which is nice. I now have both the 16 and the 25 that I was missing before (12-23/8 switched to 12-25/10). I plan on replacing the 25 with a 27 when the current setup wears out, as I am in my mid-50s and steadily losing climbing power over the years. Even now, I have to work some to spin the 25 sitting down on the steeper pitches, but usually the really steep pitches do not last very long even in the "driftless zone" which was not smoothed by the last glaciation up here.
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Old 04-12-05, 11:05 AM
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swap it out for like a 13-28 or something.
I think 27 is the limit for standard road derailuers. 28 or more needs a long cage which opens up a few larger gears for you.
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Old 04-12-05, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jslopez
I'm just wondering for who/ the 11-23 set up is for.

Is it for the pro/seasoned rider regardless of how hard the hill he/she's climbing or is it usually for flats/lesser grades.

Reworded, for a guy who wants to be a strong all around rider, enjoys punishing himself with nice long climbs but doesn't want to hold himself down with an impractical cassette ratio, should I stick to the 11-23 or should I go 12-25?
11-23 is for racers in the mountains. I was using a 12-27 for a while and went to a 11-23. I really really like the 11 but I have not tested the 23 on the big climbs yet. I most certainlly will have to do a lot of out of the saddle climbing. The reason you need tight ratios like that if you are raceing is because that is what everyone else is using. And in the mountains you need to push a hard gear to go as fast as your compitition who are pushing those same gears. If you are spinning a 27 up the mountain then the guys who push the 21 or 23 will pass you, yes they will be beatten up by that but they will pass you.

Your weight has a lot to do with it too. If you are 210 lbs you need more gears.The thing about the stock shimano for example cassettes is that they did all the math to figure out the ratios that will give you the most unique combinations with out repeats. It sounds to me like you will like the 12-27 a lot. I use the 23 for racing but have the 27 around for mountain centuries and rec rides.
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Old 04-12-05, 11:28 AM
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I've been running 53/39 13-23 8-sp and it hurts on grades of 10% or more. With the new bike (10-speed) I added the 12 and 25 just to get a bit more range and have the option of spinning on the steeper climbs.
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