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What cassette (tooth count) should I be using?(10 posts)

What cassette (tooth count) should I be using?Larry Klassen
May 23, 2003 9:34 AM
I am a relative rookie to road riding (love it, though) - my area is mostly flat (prairies) with lots of wind, sometimes quite strong. I am not an overpowering rider by any stretch, I am currently running 11-21 which I got from a friend, and find it difficult to stay in the big ring on flats when there is a huge headwind. Pushing these gears is pretty tough. Should I go to 12-23 or 12-25? Will 12-23 be a big enough change for me? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

you say mostly flat......bicycle268
May 23, 2003 9:47 AM
Assuming you run shimano 9 speed I would go with a cassette that I ran the last part of last year on one of my wheelsets.. it was an ultegra 9 14-25. That gave me a great range of "usable" gears. It runs 14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25. Nice tight run of gears for spinning, headwinds and the occasional hill.

Then again, maybe a 12-23 will do just fine. But if you wanna stay in the 53 up front, a 23 won't help much especially if it's your last gear (bad chain angle)
always IMHO,
you say mostly flat......Larry Klassen
May 23, 2003 10:09 AM
I am running Ultegra 9spd, and the access I have is to either 12-23 or 12-25. That makes good sense, the angle is pretty harsh when in 53 and big cog in the rear. Any other thoughts on this, anyone?
Two different solutionsMR_GRUMPY
May 23, 2003 10:17 AM
#1 Buy a 13-25 105 Cassette
#2 Use that thingy by your left hand to shift into the little ring.
I second the little ring nmPdxMark
May 23, 2003 11:01 AM
what's wrong with the small ring?DougSloan
May 23, 2003 11:04 AM
Unless you are running out of gear with the small ring, you are probably better off keeping what you have. I frequently use the small (or middle, with the triple) ring on the flats -- usually small into the wind (unless drafting), large with the wind.

Try a 42 small ringcdhbrad
May 23, 2003 12:22 PM
I live in FL, which is pretty flat itself and windy along the Gulf coast where I live. I use a 42/53 front on all my road bikes and either a 12/21 or 12/23 9sp rear. If a 39 small chainring doesn't give you the gears you want, try a 42.
what's wrong with the small ring?Larry Klassen
May 23, 2003 12:52 PM
I guess what I am thinking is I could run out of gears at the bottom end if the wind gets too bad and I have to go up any hill at all. On a strong wind, I can still spin at 95 rpm, but if there was any incline, I would really go down in rpm's and be fighting it. Would a 12-23 be a big enough change to help with this? Or should I just man up and build some legs for a change to push this tight cluster?!
use whatever you needDougSloan
May 23, 2003 1:08 PM
Use whatever gears you need to spin under any conditions. That's my theory. However, I understood your point to be that you just wanted to stay in the big ring. The answer to that, to me, is obviously to use the small ring, too.

In a 39x21, you can go as low as 13 mph and still spin 90 rpms. Do you ever drop much below that? If not, you don't need lower gears. Dropping down to 70 rpms, still ok for short times, that gets you as low as 10 mph.

Regardless, a 12-23 for flatter areas is not a bad idea. Doubt you would use that 11 much anyway.

You can run the numbers on an online spreadsheet I did:

Best 9-speed? 13-25Chen2
May 27, 2003 7:19 PM
If you plan to do all of your riding with just one cassette, 13-25 gets my vote. How many of us really need an 11 or even a 12? I'd rather have that 16 in the middle any day. A 53/13 combination will take you to 35 mph.