I'm trying to decide which cassette I should go with for a climbing granfondo I will be riding this september, the Alpine Loop Granfondo. It will feature 11,500ft of climbing over 104 miles with two climbs being gravel with quite steep switch-backs. I rode the ride last year with a 11-28t last year and although I finished it got quite tough, especially with steep gravel climbs where I had to sit so I don't spin out. I'm more of a seated climber as is anyway. In the front I will be running a plan on keeping a 53/39 Rotor Q-Ring set up. I've been very happy with them and shifting is perfect so no compacts. I'm also aware that I will have to get a WiFli RD for either option.
It seems like 11-32t will give me slightly more range at the cost of bigger gaps between cogs. There is also the 12-32t. The 12-30t will have closer ratios but top out at 30t as the largest cog. Will the difference from 28t to 30t be that noticeable?
12-30t = Gears: 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30
12-32t = Gears: 12-13-14-15-17-19-22-25-28-32
11-32t = Gears: 11-12-13-15-17-19-22-25-28-32
Thoughts, tips, opinions?
I've ridden that Grand Fondo. Get a compact. Stupid to not. Shifting will be fine. I use a 52-36 year round and have zero issues of any sort.
I ran my normal 11-25, but am strong enough to where it wasn't a big deal. I think there was one road that was super steep where a 27 would've been nice, but the other climbs aren't that hard if you're decently strong. The lowest anyone I knew ran was a 34 with an 11-28, but the 28 was only used for the one gravel climb. You aren't going to be on this climbing worrying about steps in gears since you will be at your lowest gear. And, as I said, the rest aren't too hard if you're strong.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate