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thoughts on the 12-27 cassette(11 posts)

thoughts on the 12-27 cassetteDuane Gran
Jul 27, 2001 3:55 AM
After a good while of feeling like a wimp for running a 12-25 and still beating myself up on steep hills I decided to go for a 12-27 cassette. Am I ever glad I did this! I'll confess out right that I'm not a masher and I only touch my big ring on the flats (and downhills obviously) and shorter "jammer" hills.

I bought the cassette for a particularly evil race this weekend that features a longish and steep hill. I think I'll only pull out this cassette for special occassions, but I'm amazed how much quicker I can climb the nasty stuff without going into the red zone.

I just thought I would share the info for any other closet spinners out there. Don't sweat the peer pressure to push gears that God and nature didn't intend for you. Of course, I still think triples are whimpy, but that is another matter. ;)
Jul 27, 2001 6:22 AM
Coming to Kaiser? If so, you'll be happy with the 27.

Incidentally, for the somewhat epic mountain adventures, I use a Campy 11-29. That's right, I've picked the right cogs from an 11-23, 12-25, and 13-29 and made an 11-29. That pretty much covers anything.

Lance uses an 12-23 or 12-25 for the big hills -- and HE MAKES TWICE THE POWER WE DO! Makes sense for us mortals to use even lower gears, right? Sure, we could muscle up in a 23, but, as you have found out, it's actually faster in the higher cadence gear. Imagine that, doing something because it's faster, but not more macho.

"right cogs"kenyee
Jul 27, 2001 6:53 AM
Out of curiosity, what do you think the "right" cogs are for an 11-29?
Also, would it have mattered if Campy already made available the racing triple that rumor has it they may introduce next year?
Jul 27, 2001 7:24 AM
I don't want the triple, as I don't need the low gears all the time, and it's much easier to change cassettes or wheels. Triples are fine if you need them, but the 29 is low enough 99.9% of the time, and a double is lighter and shifts so much better in my experience. If any event justified a triple, the Climb to Kaiser I'm doing this weekend would. You have long 20% climbs at high altitude, plus very long not so steep downhills where a 11 cog comes in handy.

I'm using cogs: 11, 12, 13, 14, (16, 17), (21, 23), (26, 29); it's a little goofy there in the middle, but the other ring fills in fine.

Smaller gears?Mark Gold
Jul 27, 2001 9:08 PM
Doug (or anyone),

I also use a campy with a 29 on the back for climing. I find it works fine for me for grinding up the steep 1/2-mile - 3/4-mile hills. However, when I tried to train on some longer hills (3.8 miles @ 12% ave. with long stretches of 19%), it wasn't even close to small enough a gear for me.

I was thinking of trying to get pieces of a bike for a 'cheap climbing training bike' using a triple. My current 29 on the back with a 38 on the front provides an ~35-inch gear. However, the lowest common triples I've seen out there are 30 on the front and 27 on the rear -- or a 30-inch gear. That's only a lousy 5 inch difference. While I could probably grind my way up the above-mentioned climb and some more difficult climbs with a 30-inch gear, I was hoping to have a 25-inch gear to spin a bit more on the 19% grades.

Do you know if there is a way to get triple cranks that go below 30 teeth and/or casettes for triples that go above 27 teeth? I've seen some triple cranksets online (e.g., ) with lower number of teeth, but I have no idea if these types of cranksets would work with Shimano or Campy derailleurs. I am definately not a bike mechanic. Any ideas?

- Mark
Smaller gears?Cliff Oates
Jul 27, 2001 10:24 PM
You could replace your current double with a triple. There are people running 3 x 10 speed out there. You could also replace the standard 30 tooth ring with 26 or 28 tooth ring. Shifting would be a little funky and you would probably want to install a jump stop to make sure you can't drop the chain, but it would work. Obviously you would need to be mindful about not shifting into the small-small combinations as your derailleur is not going to be able to pick up that much slack.

Check Branford Bike for parts ideas -- the site is basically an on-line distributors catalog and your LBS can get almost everything that is shown there. In terms of Campy mods, you would need triple cranks, a new 26/28t chainring, a bottom bracket (AC-H), a new triple front derailleur, and a jumpstop. Your current chain is probably OK.

According to Campy, this won't work. According to some shop owners over in the newsgroup, they have customers riding bikes set up like this. For your own peace of mind and to make sure you get your information first hand, you probably ought to ask about it over there. will let you post a question there from the web.

From the Shimano side, when people need really small gears, they lose the road derailleurs and cassettes and replace them with mountain bike gear. A 32 or 34 tooth cog can usually get you up anything.
No, Giro di Coppi raceDuane Gran
Jul 29, 2001 8:10 AM
The race was Giro di Coppi, which is in the Catoctin mountains in northern Maryland. It was absolutely evil and painful. Decidely it was the hardest race I have ever done, and I was glad that I had my "bail out" gearing when the going got really tough.

That is an interesting setup you have. Very custom and clever.
So Truegrzy mnky
Jul 27, 2001 9:03 AM
Been running one of these for quite sometime - I'm a spinner so it really helps. Got a buddy who is pretty macho and continues to run a 23 up the steeps - when he's in peak shape he does fine, but if he's off a bit he ends up being slower and getting totally punished. It all starts to make sense if you use a HR monitor and try and stay out of the red zone.

Even the 27 isn't too low for the Big Creek climb tommorrow! C U there. ;-)
after seeing what Lance did in the TDF ...bianchi boy
Jul 27, 2001 9:05 AM
I don't need any excuses for running a 12-27. I was using a 12-25 and that worked fine 99% of the time, but that 27 sure is nice when you're riding in the mountains. I don't like to climb out of the saddle and spin at a fairly high cadence, so I like having those low gears.
Largest cog for a shimano?Andy
Jul 27, 2001 11:47 AM
What's the largest cog you can put on an Ultegra cassette?
re: thoughts on the 12-27 cassettepmf
Jul 30, 2001 5:45 AM
Hey Duane ... You're going the right thing ... saving the knees. And I agree with the triple comment. Plus the Shimano one has a 42 tooth middle ring which is too big for climbing. You can't buy a 39 tooth ring for it. This leaves you either grinding (in the middle) or crazily spinning (in the small ring) up moderate hills.

I did Ride the Rockies a month ago and tried a 38 tooth ring I got from Excel (made by Siguno?). It helped too.