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large range cassettes with Ultegra 9spd ?(20 posts)

large range cassettes with Ultegra 9spd ?PeterRider
Apr 11, 2002 8:13 PM

It seems that the Ultegra cassette with the largest range is 12-27. Is there anything a bit larger than that, compatible with a 9spd/Ultegra/double setup ?

Thanks !

Shimano 9speed cassettesJekyll
Apr 11, 2002 8:25 PM
are interchangeable including road and MTB. You can run an MTB 11 to 32 (or even 34) if you feel you need it. You should go to an MTB rear derailleur to be safe with a cassette that size.
Other Considerationsjagiger
Apr 11, 2002 9:48 PM
Check out my recent post regarding larger cassettes & the proper rear derailleur. There is some good info that you should check out. If this link doesn't work check the Components discussion for D/A rear derailleur & 12-27 cassette.
re: 12-34 XT or XTRcyclopathic
Apr 12, 2002 2:41 AM
and you'd need MTB rear deraileur good luck
More Infogrzy
Apr 12, 2002 8:15 AM
Actually the XT comes with a few more choices (11-32T/12-34T/11-34T) while the XTR is only offered in 12-34 with the largest four cogs made of titainium thus making it quite pricey - check the Shimano website for more info:

You can also use an SRAM cogset but the word is that they aren't as durable and they have fewer ratio offerings. For big hills I think that the 11-32 would be your best bet - that 11 allows you to pedal well into the 50 mph range. ;-)

If you do use a MTB cogset you may need to use a 1.1 mm spacer between the cogset and the hub so that the lock ring on the other side of the cogset fully tightens down and keeps the MTB cogset from moving in and out.

If you do go with MTB cogs you'll need and MTB rear der. since even a triple road der. doesn't have enough range.
I run an 11-34 with a road derailleur all the time...butKurt H
Apr 12, 2002 9:28 AM
Ummm, not to seem testy, but I disagree with the last bit. I have an 11-34 XT cassette on my commuter/long slow distance/just for fun bike. I shift it with a 105 long cage (triple) road derailleur. The derailleur is a seven speed model (year??), so maybe the newer ones won't work, but this one work fine to shift all the way up and down the cassette. Also, I don't use an STI system. I friction shift it. Maybe STI would be a problem. I dunno!
As a note for Peter Rider, I find this to be a great setup in conjunction with a standard 39/53 double. Admittedly, I don't use the very largest gears often, but ran into some mountainous terrain last weekend while tired, dehydrated, and hungry. I was able to easily spin up some hills in the 34 that would otherwise have been very painful at that point.
Kurt H
yeah.. you can climb trees in 39/34 nmcyclopathic
Apr 12, 2002 11:26 AM
Apr 12, 2002 5:11 AM
re: Why?cyclopathic
Apr 12, 2002 7:25 AM
imagine riding 2mi with 14% avg grade, then imagine riding it after you get 200mi/18,000' in your legs, completely bonked.
I did itRideLots
Apr 12, 2002 8:54 AM
I had that setup on my climbing bike, a 38 in front and an XTR 12-34 in the back. I actually used the low gear in the 508. It's amazing how a hill that you might big ring in 50 miles becomes much more difficult fatigued, dehydrated, bonked, and delirious a few hundred miles later. Plus, if you got into a long ride and developed knee pain, it's nice to know you have something that allows you to spin up a steep hill and save your body. I would definitely suggest it for something like the Climb to Kaiser, too, if you don't want to use a triple.

With the XTR rear derailleur, it actually works very well with the STI shifter. You need the mtb derailleur to clear the large size of cogs, as well as to take up the chain slack on the smaller cogs. The only problem with the setup is that you have some pretty big gaps, especially in the smaller cogs. The advantage to the setup is that you can easily go back to "normal" gears for rides in which you don't need the super low gears, and it's slightly lighter (comparing XTR to Dura Ace) than a triple setup with the same gear range.
after considering different optionscyclopathic
Apr 12, 2002 11:21 AM
I've gone to 12-27 and triples. Big ring and middle on 12-27 gives me all gearing I'd need for most riding (42/27 = 39/25), granny is a lifesaver. I know that even if I'm hurt, bonked I can still sit and spin up 14-26% grade wall, the one I'd ride fresh in 42/27 standing. Gapping is very good both cass and esp cranks, I really hated 53 to 39 drop

mnt bike cass on doubles works very good too if you have SAG to replace rear wheel on the fly or have extra bike set up just for climbing. Unfortunately you can't do it on self-supported rides and extra 50-100g is a small price to pay for independence.
Apr 12, 2002 12:07 PM
I agree. I put a triple on my C40 for doubles and longer. I changed the EV2 to be my road racing bike.
after considering different optionslook271
Apr 12, 2002 1:35 PM
I do the 12-27 w/39 front. If I need anything lower, I don't think that I want to climb it! Yeah, the drop from 53 to 39 is a bit much, but I just have learned to shift up 1 cog on the rear when I go to the 39. Makes for a pretty smooth transition and it's easy to do with my Mektronics.
Apr 12, 2002 2:16 PM
sumultaneous upshift works on doubles (you can drop chain somethimes)

agree there're not many really paved steep/long climbs around here, and anything I've seen ridable in 42/27 on fresh legs. Put 10,000' in my legs and I'll change my mind ;)

There's a route I've done which includes climb with 1000' gain just over 1.7mi (that also includes .5mi flat section in the middle). Trick is you hit it on mile 101, and by that time you have ~12,000' in your legs 5 climbs over 1000' with avg grades 10% and hitting 18% at steepest. I hope I could do it on doubles one day.
Haven't done it yet.(Dropped chain)look271
Apr 12, 2002 3:02 PM
I may be crying for a triple after May 4th. We'll see how it goes (3 state 3 mtn challenge).I've toyed with the idea of changing to a triple, but being the cheap S.O.B. that I am, I haven't sprung for the conversion. Based on the fact that a guy that I ride with did it with a triple, I've thought about it. However, he REALLY SUCKS at climbing and I just suck a little =). I'll post after May 4th as to how it went!
re: Haven't done it yet.(Dropped chain)cyclopathic
Apr 12, 2002 4:39 PM
I've done it a couple times (not that it couldn't be helped with L FD adjustment)

what's the ride like? I mean I wouldn't pass on a nice ride myself
re: Haven't done it yet.(Dropped chain)look271
Apr 12, 2002 5:29 PM
Don't know. Haven't done it yet. It's a 12 hr drive for me and I'm doing it because a) I've wanted to for the past couple of years and b) it's my friend's farewell ride-he'll be moving and I won't get to ride with him unless we meet at some organized ride.(He's done it for the past 2 or 3 yrs-his mom-iin-law lives there.) It has 3 major climbs, 1st one long-7 miles I've been told, next one steeper but not as long and 3rd is reported to be the killer. web address is It's in TN. Over 7K ft of climbing so there is some serious altitude gain. I'm looking forward to it.
re: large range cassettes with Ultegra 9spd ?Chen2
Apr 12, 2002 6:16 AM
It's true that you can run a mtn bike cassette with a mtn bike derailleur with your 9-speed and it will shift just fine, of course you'll need to add some 9-speed chain, but I don't like this idea unless the bike is going to be used in mountains. The ratios on a mountain cassette are just too wide for most road use. I had a 12-34 XTR on my wife's bike, she is not the mechanical type at all but even she knew right away that the ratio jumps between gears are too big. It makes it hard to match speeds with other riders because your cadence will jump up and down with each shift. I think your best bet is to take a look at the cassettes at Or better still build your own. I put together a 14-28 for my wife using a 12-25 with a 14 with built in spacer, a 16 in the middle, and a 28. These individual cogs can be ordered from Sheldon. A standard Ultegra derailleur can easily shift a 28 and some people have gone to 29 or 30, Sheldon says you can, I can't confirm that. Most of us don't need an 11 or a 12 unless we are racing down a steep hill. A 53 x 13 combination gives you 33 mph at 100 rpm. How fast do you plan to go?
re: large range cassettes with Ultegra 9spd ?century2
Apr 12, 2002 6:21 AM
I would use an XT rear and then you can go up to 32 or 34T
Apr 12, 2002 7:26 AM
I can climb up walls with my 27 gear. If you need a wider range consider going to a triple.