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Cassette for a triple?(15 posts)

Cassette for a triple?zray61
Jun 10, 2002 3:38 PM
I am going to buy a bike with a Ultegra triple chainring(30/42/52T).
I have the following options in cassettes:


I currently ride a 39/53 chainring with a 12-25 cassette,
but I'm in my mid fifties and I live in San Francisco and ride in and around the bay area. Hills are plentiful. My longest rides are centuries.

What would your suggestion be? And Why?

And let me thank everyone for all the wonderful help that has been given to me from my previous postings and from reading the answers to the postings of others.
re: Cassette for a triple?laffeaux
Jun 10, 2002 4:09 PM
It depends on what gear you are capable of turning, and what type of hills you ride. I live in the Bay Area too, and I went with the 12-27 for two reasons: Redwood Gulch Road, and Montebelllo Road. Maybe I'll get strong enough to eventually drop to a 12-25.
Can't tell youKerry
Jun 10, 2002 4:13 PM
Since we have no idea how strong you are, we can't tell you if you need lower or higher gears. However, it seems unlikely that you need the 52/11. After that, it depends totally on what gear you need to climb the hills, and only you can tell us what that is. What you are trading off is closer spacing of the gears with the 12-23, vs. lower gears with the 12-25 or 12-27. Personally, I'm a fan of closer gear spacing, but that comes from riding on the flats where you often find that just one tooth in the back makes the difference between comfortable and not.
real close, go 13-23collinsc
Jun 10, 2002 5:25 PM
I just put one on and love it, lots of options and no need for the 12. the ultegra 13-23 goes 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23. On the triple I doubt you'll need much lower (30-23 on the triple would be like a 39-30 on the double, plently low I think, even for SF)

Maybe you'll want the 12 because of the down side of hills, but I find that most everything steep enough to use the 12 on is also steep enough to just get in the drops and tuck down.

good luck choosing and have fun riding.
Jun 10, 2002 4:18 PM
Ray, this one will offer nice close ratios and a range
of 117 down to 35 gear inches. Even in SF I can't imagine needing a lower gear.
re: Cassette for a triple?rockbender
Jun 10, 2002 4:18 PM
Well, here's my thought:

I wouldn't go for anything with an 11T small cog. You really wouldn't need it for your type of riding. I am currently riding 12-23 in the PNW with an Ultegra triple, and find that to be adequate for everything I have done so far, but if I was riding a big long grinder of a hill, especially at the end of a century, I wouldn't mind having one more gear to spin in.

In a nutshell, if you are ok with the 12-25 you have now, I would stick with that. the 12-27 is probably overkill, and if you are a casual/distance rider then you would probably rather have the extra bailout cog than the closer ratios of a 12-23. Keep in mind that the triple give you some extra bonus gear ratios too!

Good luck, and enjoy that triple... I love mine!
re: Cassette for a triple?Me Dot Org
Jun 10, 2002 6:47 PM
I live in San Francisco, and do most of my riding in Marin. I have a Campy Racing Triple with a 12-23. Seems to be more than enough.
Change the Chain Rings!!!jose_Tex_mex
Jun 10, 2002 8:49 PM
I would try to keep the casette the same ratio as what you have now and change the 42teeth CR to a 39. This way to stay constant as much as possible yet have the option of the triple.
If you are going to keep the 42 CR I would probably go for 12-27. Those extra 3 can make a big difference in to the hills.
re: Cassette for a triple?cycleguy
Jun 10, 2002 9:07 PM
I have triples on both of my bikes. One I have a 12-25. I have found that it offers me a nice range when in the 42 chainring. I have the option of using the 25-23 cassette with the 42 chainring when I want to mash up some hills. But still allows me the chance to spin with the 30 chainring when I hit some big climbs or am just relaxing or working on cadence. I'm also over 50 yrs old and like the option of the triple to save my knees. I tried the 12-23 cassette but found I missed the 25 cog more then I thought. I forced me into the 30 chainring when I really did not want to. If I were 20 or even 10 years younger, perhaps I could get by with a 39 cr.-25 cog. Shifting is not as crisp with a triple but my main concerns are my knees and what will get me home.
re: Cassette for a triple?pa rider
Jun 11, 2002 3:48 AM
I ride a ultegra triple for two years now. The 12/25 works great for me. There are not too many big hills in this area, but a few have steep grades. I found the stock 12/25 works great for hills.

I don't see what advantage you would get with the 30/27 combo unless your bearly getting up a steep hill. I stand when it gets that hard. The few steep hills we have I ride 2nd gear to get up them (23).

If you get the 12/27 you probably would only use the 24th gear alot for steep climbs. I found 25 seemed to be spinning alot.

When I first got a micro drive on my MTB in 1995 I went with 20 chainring thinking it would climb better. I found that I was spinning too much and didn't get enough torque with the higher gears, so the 22 chainring worked better.

My point is sometime gear ratio may be too high (low for this example) that your spinning, but not moving fast (trying to ride 4-6 mph uphill) with that low of gear. If your touring I could see using a 27 because of the weight. Alot of tour bikes use 12/25 for cassette, but they have 26 chainring.

Most hills I ride don't require me to drop to 25 gear for along period. If I was riding hills, for example would be same as touring, I would probably get a touring bike drive train setup.

How long does it take you to do your century? If your under 7 hours I don't see why you would need 12/27 cassette, unless your having knee problems. Some times moving your seat back alittle (less than 2mm) could help.

My friend got fitted because his knees hurt, so the shop said he was too far forward and moved him back. You use you butt muscle more with it back farther, so you larger muscles are used to climb hills. I have some knee problems from MTB for over 10 years, but found moving the seat back does help to use my large legs to my advantage.

Sorry for rambling on. Just giving some options why I think 12/25 is ok to use. Hope this helps.

keep the 12-25DougSloan
Jun 11, 2002 6:26 AM
I'd try the 12-25 and see if that works. No good reason to get anything else, unless you find that's not low enough. I can't imagine it won't be low enough, with a 30 chainring.

I have a triple and a 12-25 on one bike. I rode 90 miles Saturday, with long 20% climbs. I could sit and spin all the way up. The hills in the Bay area are as steep in places, but not quite as long (this was on the Climb to Kaiser route). I don't know how we compare, but judging from this I'd say just about anyone could climb anything in those gears.

Try it. It's not hard to change later.

keep the 12-25Joe Nordic
Jun 11, 2002 6:59 AM
Just curious - how slow can you turn the pedals and
still call it spinning? I was climbing a long grade
in my 30x28 gear at about 5.5mph, which is a little
less than 60rpm - is that spinning?
cadence or force?DougSloan
Jun 11, 2002 7:04 AM
When climbing a hill, I'd say "spinning" is anything not standing nor mashing hard on the pedals. To me, it has more to do with pedal pressure than RPM's. I suppose you could be "mashing" at 90 RPM's.

In other words, pedaling easily.

re: Cassette for a tripleChen2
Jun 11, 2002 10:26 AM
The 12-25 should be just fine. Another interesting option would be the Ultegra 13-25 which, unlike the 12-25, includes a 16. Also with the 13-25 the 25 cog is a single and could be replaced with a single 26 or 27 without creating too big of a jump from the 23. You can get single cogs from
re: Cassette for a triple?Romani
Jun 11, 2002 2:15 PM
I just turned 52 and live in the south bay area. I recommend that you go at least with the 12-25 or maybe even the 12-27. Some of the hills around here can get pretty steep and quite long.

When I first moved out to CA from Wash.,DC I had a 42/52 with a 26-tooth rear cog. Even though I could do most of the major climbs (Montebello, Kings Mtn, Alpine, Page Mill, etc.) I decided to go with the Campy Racing-T. It gives me the option of sitting or standing on a long grade. I think that it's easier on the knees and I haven't found that I got any slower. If anything, I can go faster seated than standing. All depends on your riding style.