General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Cassette gearing question Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply
2013-06-26 10:06 AM


Subject: Cassette gearing question
OK here is where I sound like a total noob. I have a 2008 Kestrel Talon Road SL running Dura Ace 7701 cranks with mismatched Type B 53 tooth big ring and Type A 42 tooth small ring.

My road wheel for the back is an Easton EA90 and has a newer Ultegra 6700 11-23 10 speed cassette and the 10 speed chain was originally sized to match that cassette.

I recently took my old Mavic wheel out of storage and put a home trainer tire on it to use on the fluid trainer instead of chewing up my good road tires. Problem is it has a 12-28 10-speed cassette on it, Tiagra or 105 I think.

I didn't think the difference in cassette size would be that big of a deal but tried riding with the trainer wheel yesterday and was getting all kinds of chain noise and chain slipping and skipping gears. Sometimes I had to shift twice to get it to go down or go up on the cassette. So I guess the size difference is a big deal and I don't want to ruin my chain or damage my bike. Have to get a new cassette for one of my wheels so they match

So I'm looking for opinions on which is the better cassette gearing to go with 53/42 chainrings on mostly flat terrain high cadence type biking. I'm in Florida so hills are rarely an issue. Would 11-23 or 12-28 be better suited because I either have to keep my road wheel 11-23 cassette and get a cassette for my trainer wheel to match or else keep my 12-28 on my trainer wheel and get a new cassette and chain for my road wheel to match it. Not sure which way is better to go.

2013-06-26 11:48 AM
in reply to: jmscsa

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Tacoma, Washington
Subject: RE: Cassette gearing question

One of your cassettes is already worn, likely whichever one is older/has more miles on it. The skipping on the trainer wheel indicates this, unless you can dial it out with the barrel adjuster.

As for which gearing is better, with no hills I'd go with a close ratio cassette. But also, with no hills, unless you deal with some pretty stiff tailwinds, you'll never use that 53/11. Personally I'd go with a SRAM 12-25 10-speed cassette (PG-1050 to save a few bucks). Completely Shimano compatible. No need to have them absolutely matched, though.

Hope that helps.

2013-06-26 2:46 PM
in reply to: jmscsa

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Subject: RE: Cassette gearing question

I agree with the above.  a 12-23 or 12-25 would be your best choice.

And it's more likely that all that chain noise is due to wear, or if not that, a small misalignment difference between the cassettes - like if one was installed without a spacer (I've done that).  

I like this web site for planning out gearing:

2013-06-26 3:22 PM
in reply to: morey000


Subject: RE: Cassette gearing question
Cool. Thanks. The cassette and chain are less than a year old so I didn't think I'd have any wear problems but maybe its worn enough that they don't match up right. I'll have it all checked out and if its not worn guess I'll pull off the cassette that is skipping and re install to make sure I have all the spacing right. Thought it'd be easy to just turn my spare wheel into a training wheel and switch between the two wheels, that's what I get for trying to be clever.
2013-06-26 4:16 PM
in reply to: jmscsa

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Tacoma, Washington
Subject: RE: Cassette gearing question

Cassettes and chains tend to wear together. Meaning the chain "stretches" and the cogs that you use most will wear accordingly. If you then throw a new cassette into the mix, the "stretched" chain won't mesh with it, and you'll get skipping. Likewise, if you just replace a worn ("stretched") chain and not the cassette, often you'll get skipping in your most-used cogs.

If the wheel on the bike and the chain are a year old, then they've worn together. Whether the second wheel (cassette) is the worn one is the debate. Not knowing the mileage or the upkeep, hard for me to tell.

2013-06-26 8:12 PM
in reply to: 0

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Hudson Valley
Subject: RE: Cassette gearing question
Worn After 1 Year? I doubt the cassette is worn. I rode my cassette over 10K miles and 3 chains replacements and the shifting is still smooth. Cleaning the drivetrain every 1000 miles helped, and I don't have constant salt in the northeast.

12-23 is the optimal cassette for Florida. Between 19 and 22 mph, you would be in 53x19. There is no 18 or 20 tooth cog in the 12-25 or 12-27 cassette. Only the 12-23 has the 18T cog. None of them have a 20T cog. If you went to a 50-34 compact crank, you would at least have 3 consecutive cogs to use in the 12-23 cassette, the 17T, 18T and 19T. This will make it easier to stay in optimal cadence and heart rate combinations. The trade-off is chain efficiency is less using a 50T vs 53T chainring.

For an average speed below 20 mph, a 50/34 crank paired with a 12-23 cassette would be optimal.
For an average speed above 20 mph, a 53/39 crank paired with a 12-23 cassette would be optimal.

Edited by Six000MileYear 2013-06-26 8:12 PM

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