11-32t, 12-32t or 12-30t cassette for climbing set-up

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

Climbing cassette 11-32t or 12-30t

11-32t
4
13%
12-32t
10
33%
12-30t
16
53%
 
Total votes: 30

plpete
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by plpete

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? :beerchug:

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TrekUk
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by TrekUk

I voted 12-30, I think that should be adequate for most and give a nice range to play with.
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by Weenie


eric
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by eric

Don't be so sure you need a Wifli derailleur.

I have used 12-30 and 11-30 cassettes with a regular 2012 Red derailleur (and a 50/34 compact- I do some really tough climbing races). I didn't even need to adjust the B screw. I can get it to shift on to a 32t cog and not make too much noise by turning the B screw in quite a ways. It'll depend on your frame's hanger length.

As for the cogs, it all depends. The 13-15 jump can be annoying if you are on terrain where you'd want the 14t. If you don't really need the 11t then skip it. 30t is lower than 28 but not a huge amount. Only you know if it will be enough. I tend to go conservative on the gearing, sometimes going as much as a gear lower than I think I would need. On a long event you can bonk or get dehydrated or just run out of energy. And you want to use a lower gear on the climbs to save your legs for later.

plpete
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by plpete

Thanks for the input, Eric. I ride a BMC SLR01 and I'm not sure what the RD hanger length is like in comparison to others. Right now I have a 11-28t cassette on there and the B-screw is all the way in. Shifting is perfect. Here are two photos I snapped hoping to show the clearance between the top cog and upper RD pulley:

Image

Image

What do you think?

In the end I may end up purchasing the cassette first and seeing how things work out. If it fits, that's awesome, but I don't want to push the clearance and risk ripping off the RD while shifting during the ride.

I think technically I'd be up for ditching the 11t cog for the 14t cog. It should get more use and I prefer to spin to get speed and then tuck low and aero when descending. One thing I was happy with from last year's ride was that I did not bonk and rode smart. Ate and drank enough although I will not lie that many times I hoped that I had an extra "bail out" great which is why I'm looking into the larger cassette options :)

addictR1
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by addictR1

I've been looking at getting a 12-30 as well for my climbing setup. I see sram offers a 12-32' but I prefer not to mess with the B screw. So looks like ultegra is my only choice?

plpete
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by plpete

Looks like it. I don't believe SRAM offers a 30t cassette. I am running an Ultegra 11-28t right now and it shifts perfectly fine so I have no problem using Shimano cassettes. B-screw is there for adjustment purposes so you shouldn't be afraid to adjust it, especially if it will make your shifting better :thumbup:

eric
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by eric

plpete wrote:T I don't want to push the clearance and risk ripping off the RD while shifting during the ride.


I recommend setting it up so you can shift into the big ring/big cog combo without destroying anything. It's on the long climbing events where my brain checks out and I sometimes use that combo by mistake. Test it out carefully, first on the stand and then on the road before the event. Sometimes what works on the stand under no load does not work under load.

I find that Shimano cassettes shift better and run quieter on my Sram system than Sram cassettes.
I use Ultegra or Force cassettes for training.

plpete
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by plpete

Thanks for the tip! I will definitely do a test drive before I ride outside. I like to think that the technology behind current groups allows for all gears to be used in all combinations. I know extreme cross chaining is not recommended as it puts more wear and tear but like you said, when you're climbing the last thing you want on your mind is "oh my am I cross chaining ;) Both my bikes can run in all gear combos with no chain rub. I use all of them too but not without a purpose.

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djconnel
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by djconnel

With a 53 front no way you miss the 11 in a Gran Fondo. It's a long event: if you're going the 70 kph it takes to spin out a 53/12, tuck and recover. I vote the 12-32.

The 30 might be fine, but I don't know how strongly you climb, and it's always good to have a low gear to spin if you get really tired.

addictR1
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by addictR1

if your current RD can support the 12-32, I'd say go for that. i'm pretty new to SRAM stuff.. and this is the first time I've heard of WiFli RD. is that heavier than the current 2012 Red RD?

eric
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by eric

The rear derailleur is 20 or 21g heavier. I have one on order, I can weigh the two when I change it.
BTW the Wifli 2012 red deraileur seems to be on sale these days.

plpete
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by plpete

Officially any SRAM short cage derailleur will handle a 28t cassette as maximum option. Unofficially, some people have been able to run the Ultegra 30t cassette on it but I think it all may come down to the RD hanger length, as mentioned above by Eric. So 30t would be pushing the RD quite a bit so a 32t would not work. WiFli RD would be required for that and probably "recommended" for most for anything over 28t.

I think I'm not overly concerned with a slight weight penalty if it will help me keep my cadence up :thumbup: I'm not trying to spend big $ on the RD as this will be a once in a while set up that will be used strictly for hard climbing rides. If I could find a Red WiFli RD at a low price, great, but if not I'll be happy with Force or Rival.

Beancouter
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by Beancouter

I ran an 11-32 for a ride across Britain and it was great - used with a rival wifli. The jump between the big cogs is pretty big (particularly if you are in a line) but got used to it.

If you check the sram website the weight saving on wifli from rival to force is almost nothing, so stuck with rival - zero issues so far. Have just bought a xg cassette on offer but will save 135g over the 1050 cassette it replaces.

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kbbpll
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by kbbpll

Looking at the gear ratios might inform your decision.

39-28 = 1.39 = 120.6 inches/pedal stroke = 6.9 mph @ 60 rpm
39-30 = 1.30 = 112.6 inches/pedal stroke = 6.4 mph @ 60 rpm
39-32 = 1.22 = 105.5 inches/pedal stroke = 6.0 mph @ 60 rpm

The 30 cog is 6.7% "easier" than your previous 28, and the 32 is 12.5% "easier". I suppose you'd have to quantify for yourself what you mean by "it got quite tough" last year. You asked for a vote so I'll go 12-30. You get smaller gaps in the gears I'm guessing you'll use more anyway. ~7% easier seems like enough, and you're in better shape this year, right? :beerchug:

by Weenie


plpete
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by plpete

Thanks for the info, Beancounter! It makes sense to go with Rival as the few grams won't really matter and the set up will be only used for hard climbing rides.

kbbpll - that's some good info there. Thank you! It pretty much comes down to closer gear ratios vs gear range. I definitely am stronger this year overall and I feel like my climbing has improved as well!

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