Is it worth upgrading to 11-27T casette?

Dec 29, 2009
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I've an 11-23 cassette on my bike right now & i'm thinking of changing the cassette to an 11 or 12-27T cassette.

The only reason i'm thinking of doing this is that i'm not a good/natural climber (i'm 15 stone..) and i'm looking to get more involved in organised rides this year, I'm thinking that the 27 teeth will make a big difference from the 23 that I have right now when I'm going up hills!

Does this make sense, or is this a ridiculous idea?
 
Jul 20, 2010
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Makes perfect sense, especially on 53-39. If you are riding a triple or compact i would doubt if you need such low gearing...
 
I think like paxman said, basically if it works for you then do it. If you are doing some really bodacious mountain climbs and need a little easier gear the 27 will help.

Something to consider though is one thing you give up going to the 27 is one of the middle gears. And THAT might be a little annoying when just rolling on easy terrain. Your group might be going a certain speed and you might find yourself wishing you had that middle gear... you know you spin too fast in the easy gear, and too slow in the bigger gear.

To get around that dilemma, you might consider a compact crankset (e.g. 34/50t typically) and keep your 11-23. That way you don't give up the middle gear. But there's tradeoffs here too (e.g. you'll probably spin out around 35 mph, 56 kph) because of the smaller gearing. So think about what kind of riding you'll be doing mostly. ALSO, the compact crankset will probably cost a bit more depending on your choice (anywhere from $100 for low end crankset to well over $300 for the FSAs). Typically the compact route will cost more cuz there's more hardware, often including a new BB, especially if you are going from a traditional style internal bearing BB to the newer externally mounted wider spaced bearings. And so, that brings up budget AND the bike you are putting it on... e.g. is the bike worth spending several hundreds on a new crankset when you can spend between $25 to $50 for the cassette.

hope that helps
 
Jun 22, 2010
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Check out the SRAM 11-28 cassette

It is completely compatible with Shimano and is great for climbing. With a compact cassette, you have the gearing you need for the flats and the climbs. Good luck!
 
Jun 18, 2009
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GarminFan said:
I've an 11-23 cassette on my bike right now & i'm thinking of changing the cassette to an 11 or 12-27T cassette.

The only reason i'm thinking of doing this is that i'm not a good/natural climber (i'm 15 stone..) and i'm looking to get more involved in organised rides this year, I'm thinking that the 27 teeth will make a big difference from the 23 that I have right now when I'm going up hills!

Does this make sense, or is this a ridiculous idea?
I rode one up until this year with a 53x39. It was nice when your legs were just fried and you had another hill to climb.

I had to replace my chainrings, chain and cassette after waiting too long to change my chain (doh) and I ended up putting a 50 in place of my 53 and going with a 12x25 instead. I found I rarely if ever needed a 53x12 and liked that I was riding more in the middle of my cassette when on the big chain ring.
 
Jun 30, 2010
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I would say yes.. most definitely. I've got an 11-27 on my race wheels, and an 11-28 on my trainers. With a 53-39 the 11-27 goes well enough anyway.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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If you cant get up the hill on 23 x 39 its too steep find a ride that you can do.

Realy though we only had 21x39 up to a few years ago and we got up the mountains OK . Bonk up it any way you can just do it..
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Why upgrade? Why not instead buy another cassette period. One for flatland rides and one for hilly rides? Or am I the only one who owns more than one cassette?

The main cassette(s) are 11-23, or 11-21 as the local rides are flat-ish or the hills are doable in a 23 or 21. Then when you know you're headed to the hills swap out the 11-23 for the 11-27 or 12-25 (or whatever you get). I also buy a cheaper level cassette for the hills as I don't do them that much so no sense in buying a high end cassette that won't get used as much, or so I think.

Its not so hard just unmount the rear wheel, and use the appropriate cassette tool (campy or shimano) with a chain whip and a big wrench and off it goes. Mounting is easier as all you need is the cassette tool and wrench. Also, gives you a good excuse to clean the cassette you swap out and get that grime off, don't tell me its clean! Unless its mine :D
 
Dec 28, 2010
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I suppose it depends were you live , as already mentioned I would keep an 11-23 for the flatland & an 11-27 for the 'special' events which don't sound very special if you are 15 stone...switching between clusters will be easy enough....if your really keen a deep section wheelset with 11-23 for the flatland & a set of handbuilt shallow section rims like Velocity a23 28/32 configuration for the climbs.

Personally as a heavier rider I would stay away from any factory built low spoke count wheels after seeing a buddy trying to ride home (not !) on a 23 spoke rear wheel the other day , gone are the days when you just flick open the brake's quick release , this wheel was rubbing on the carbon frame in two sections , also partly the problem of modern frames with hardly any clearances.
 
Dec 29, 2009
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Thanks for the feedback folks. I'll certainly be keeping the original cassette, but from my perspective it does seem to make sense to get a 11/12-27 for the hills!
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Yes, all the way, and a compact crankset if you don't have one.

I have a set of wheels with a 13-29 casette on them that I have really needed. I'm not much of a climber either and about 13 stone. I needed that 34-29 combo to ride the mountains around Honolulu when I lived there. For most rides a 12-25 with a compact is fine, but when the road is 10%, I need those extra teeth.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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You might want to consider your mid range gear choice depending on preference. 11-27 has no 16, 53-39 for my body type and terrain locally I like the 16 a lot so I opted for the 12-27

I like a dinner plate in the back cog
 
Jun 19, 2009
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mrmoore said:
It is completely compatible with Shimano and is great for climbing. With a compact cassette, you have the gearing you need for the flats and the climbs. Good luck!
I should because some new friends took me up Pine Flats road outside of Geyserville, Ca. I had a 53X39 and a 11-23 on the back; enough range to climb most anything. I secretly s******ed that all these guys rode compact setups and were spun out on the flats but, as they say; paybacks are a beyotch when we hit the 22 percent peak. I now have an 11-27 and hope not to beg for more...
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Do you actually use the 11 with a 53/39? an 11 is useless to most riders below 70 KPH and who do you know that goes that fast except downhill? For most cat 3 or lower a 12 is often too big a gear. Can you really spin it faster than 70 or 80 rpm? I know I can keep up in a sprint at 63 or 65 KPH on a 13 but I can't go that fast in the wind.
I use a 12- 29. the 12 is for downhill only and the 29 is the gear i need to allow a cadence above 75 on a climb that is steep. I live in a hilly area that has very few flat roads so it is always up or down. Most hills are short enough that you can just stand and drive a 21. With 3 easier cogs available I can often use the 21 with the 53 avoiding the small ring. With 11 available cogs I have found the best all terrain cassette for me. Now if I lived in Saskatchewan I would get a 12-23 straight block to 21 and 2 tooth for a bailout 23
 
Jul 16, 2009
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Have got a Dura ace 12-27 and am about to put on a 105 compact up front ...

Dont need the 11 going down hill anyway ..... i aint gonna be pedalling at 70kmph+ :eek:

Cant wait to start spinning up climbs instead of grinding ..

especially Checker hill on the MCCT ride at the TDU !!!
 
Jul 27, 2009
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Yep...

...and I'd seriously think about a compact crank if you're going to tackle any long steep grades.

The pros run gearing that allows them to keep a reasonable cadence up the steep parts of climbs. I see no reason not to do the same.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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You guys sure aren't sprinters are you:confused:
I am a lowly D grader and I usually hit 60 kph on our 1 hour crits but with a tail wind I have gone over 70 (that is 130 RPM!)

I use to run Compact with an 12-25, but I have a 53/39 at home that I keep thinking I should put on. Only thing is the hilly road races with my weight and power I need the 34x25. So I recently went to a 11-26 rear (the shame of a Sram cassette in my DA bike) you can still run out of gears, but at least I know I am better covered than most people for all circumstances from 7 to 70 kph (Of course the climbers use 39x25 and can still go up a wall)

I am a natural spinner though, really long legs (I am 195cm) so 175mm crank is like a 165 for most of you!
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Master50 said:
Do you actually use the 11 with a 53/39? an 11 is useless to most riders below 70 KPH and who do you know that goes that fast except downhill? For most cat 3 or lower a 12 is often too big a gear. Can you really spin it faster than 70 or 80 rpm? I know I can keep up in a sprint at 63 or 65 KPH on a 13 but I can't go that fast in the wind.
I use a 12- 29. the 12 is for downhill only and the 29 is the gear i need to allow a cadence above 75 on a climb that is steep. I live in a hilly area that has very few flat roads so it is always up or down. Most hills are short enough that you can just stand and drive a 21. With 3 easier cogs available I can often use the 21 with the 53 avoiding the small ring. With 11 available cogs I have found the best all terrain cassette for me. Now if I lived in Saskatchewan I would get a 12-23 straight block to 21 and 2 tooth for a bailout 23
As a lighter rider I use it on long gradual descent just to maintain contact.
 
Jun 10, 2009
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If you often find yourself in difficulty turning the cranks over on climbs I would seriously consider a compact (34/50) crankset and 11-25 cassette. Gives you a slightly higher top gear than 12-53, and slightly lower low gear than 27-39.
I ride a standard 39/53 crank and 12-27, and never miss having a higher gear, but do miss a lower gear on a particular local 1200m climb with sustained pitches over 10%. The compact setup on my wife's bike (as described above) is more versatile while having less gaps in the cassette, although of course there is a tradeoff of more shifts required to make up for the 16t difference in chainrings.
 

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