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Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?(31 posts)

Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?Franchise
Sep 30, 2002 8:45 PM

I was wondering whether I should use a 13-26 or a 13-29 for a race that has one really long and steep climb. I am currently running a 12-25 or 11-23 on my racing wheels, but I think I need an extra gear or two to get up this climb. Any suggestions? The climb is approximately 2 miles long with an average grade of 9%. Any help would be much appreciated!

Also, would I need to get new rear der.?
re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?Ron-Kay
Oct 1, 2002 3:30 AM
During the Vuelta A Espana that just finished up last Sunday, there was a mountain stage (Gigon to the top of Alto de L'Angrilu) that had gradients of more than 26%. Many of the pros actually used triple chainrings. Those that used double chainrings used a 39 in front with a 28 in back. Why blow out your knees? Go with the 26 or even a 28. You may have to go with a different rear derailleur.
re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?Franchise
Oct 1, 2002 7:52 AM

Thanks for the info. I think I'll go for the 13-29. Thanks! Do you know what type of different rear der. I would need? I currently run the regular Campy Record rear der.
are you on 9 or 10 speedclimbo
Oct 1, 2002 8:45 AM
you'll need a medium cage der. I assume this is 10 speed? I'm not sure that 9 spd Campy comes in anything but a 13-28.
are you on 9 or 10 speedFranchise
Oct 1, 2002 9:43 AM
I am running 10 spd, so I guess I will have to get a new rear der.
you should get a med cage der.climbo
Oct 1, 2002 12:08 PM
to make sure it works with the 13-29.
are you on 9 or 10 speedbigdeal
Oct 1, 2002 9:43 AM
another thing to consider: will you ever go triple? if so, you'll need a long cage der, otherwise med should work.
re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?Lactate Junkie
Oct 1, 2002 8:35 AM
What category are you racing? Where are you racing? Are climbs like this common or uncommon around your area? Around here, that is a short and average steepness climb. In Cat 1-2 or even Cat 3 and masters, if you used anything less than a 23 you will be off the back. The danger in going to a wide range cluster is that you are going to sacrifice intermediate gears you may need at other points in the race for the sake of one low gear for the climb. Make sure you need the granny before you put it on.
re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?Franchise
Oct 1, 2002 9:45 AM
Lactate Junkie,

I am racing Cat 3, but around here there are no real climbs. My training rides are intervals, long, and flat.

I guess it's a good thing I don't live near you b/c it sounds like I wouldn't be able to keep up!

Thanks for the information about the wider gearing. I never really thought about that. I will ride up the climb on my next trainig ride and see if I really need it. Thanks again!
re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?DougSloan
Oct 1, 2002 12:17 PM
I have a Cat 2 friend who runs a 13-29 for some races, and he's a strong climber. I've used a 13-29, too. He uses it with the regular Campy 10 sp rear derailleur, and said it works fine. Just don't do the big/big combo. I use it with a medium cage.

My motto: "If in doubt, take low gears." I've never regretted having too low of gears, whereas I've often regretted not having them. Others may scoff at the pie plate at the start line, but will be converted as you spin past them up the steep parts.

re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?Franchise
Oct 1, 2002 1:14 PM

Thanks for the input. I'll keep that in mind. Are you sure it's okay to use the regular Record rear der. with a 13-29?

I could care less what other people think so long as I beat them to the line!
re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?DougSloan
Oct 1, 2002 1:24 PM
I hate to recommend something that is officially disapproved; all I can say is that this guy is doing it; in fact, I rode with him Saturday and he was using that setup. This is on a new Colnago CT1, if that matters.

You may have to be careful about the big/big combo, though; that caveat is very real. The reason is that the short cage derailleur will not have enough length to take up the slack in a chain long enough to circle a 29 rear and a 53 front, so you'll have to go with a too-short chain; if you can't remember to avoid that, you might want to go ahead with the medium or long cage derailleur. In any event, you could at least try it on a stand first and watch carefully and shift slowly. Then, if it hangs up, get the longer derailleur.

just did itDougSloan
Oct 1, 2002 7:45 PM
I just prepped my climbing bike for the 508 next week. It's a 2000 Bianchi EV2 with Record, but with no rear brake, front derailleur or shifter, or large chain ring. I put on the 13-29 cassette, and left on the short cage rear derailleur. It works fine, but I did have to adjust the Campy equivalent of the B adjustment screw to move the upper pulley away from the 29 cog a bit. I left the chain the same length as when I had it set up for 12-25 and 53/39.

The shifting works perfectly. So, I can attest first hand that the short cage will work, but still with the caution that you will not be able to use the large/large combo.


(BTW, the bike weighs in at 12.5 pounds, with Zipp 303 rear, Velomax Ascent Pro front tubulars, USE Alien carbon post, SLR saddle, Easton Carbon bars, ITM Millenium stem, Cane Creek SL brake caliper, and even with the chunky Look PP206 pedals.)
Cool bike set up-What is the "508" why no stuff on the 12lb bikeOld_school_nik
Oct 2, 2002 5:54 AM
Oct 2, 2002 6:31 AM
Furnace Creek 508 is a 508 mile continuous (all night) race in the southern California deserts. I did it last year solo, but this year I'm doing it as a 4 man leapfrog relay, as my saddle time is drastically less this year.

Here are some links:

The race requires the racers to have a personal sag. With the sag, you can carry extra bikes, and switch out when you want. Since some of the climbs are pretty long, over 3,000 feet, and with 35,000 feet climbing total, it makes sense to have a superlight bike just for the big hills. This makes even more sense for the relay, as we'll switch out maybe every 10 minutes on the big climbs, going as hard as possible for that time to keep the speeds really high. While I averaged about 14 mph over all last year (total time, including all stopping and 30 minutes of sleep), the relay team will average well over 20 mph. So, I'll have a time trial bike, an all around bike, and the climber.

"508" - harcore man - and I though a double century was good.Old_school_nik
Oct 2, 2002 7:22 AM
To sum it upKerry
Oct 1, 2002 4:46 PM
You're the only one who can tell if you need the lower gears. Your thought to go ride it is excellent. Be warmed up and go hard, and see what that feels like. Remember that you will be in a pack going up, so you'll be faster by a bit in the race. As long as you avoid the big cogs with the big chainring, you will have no problems with the 26 and probably no problem with the 29. If you do decide to do it, get it on the bike at least a week before the race and make sure everything works - climb with it if possible. By going with the bigger cog, you will be giving up intermediate gear choices. You'll have to look at the whole course profile to decide if that will be a problem for you.
What goes up, must come down.LC
Oct 1, 2002 6:12 PM
Only problem is that if you need the big gear to go up, then you need the 12 coming down. I am a fan of spinning up a hill, but 9% is not really a killer grade so I would use the 26 max for a race unless there are some sections that are really more than 18%. If you need the 29, then you will be behind the sweep car anyway. I would also trade the 13 for 12 (steal it from your other cassette) so you don't spin out.
short der will work with 29desmo
Oct 1, 2002 7:38 PM
I did it this weekend for a hillclimb. I usually run a Campy Record 10 speed with a 12-25 cassette. Once a year I throw on a 13-29 for an end of the season hillclimb. The short cage Record der works fine, absolutely no problems shifting or otherwise. There may be some wear issues if you ran the large gear fulltime, but if it's just for the ocasional race you should be fine. You may have to lengthen your chain though, or buy a seperate chain for this combo.
10 sp 12-27...philippec
Oct 3, 2002 12:34 AM
Although I train around Paris where it is relatively flat, I do go down to the Alpes and Pyrénées for some races. I tried once using a 13x29 on a few races but found that the 23-26-29 progression on that cassette was way too wide (by the way, if you do run a 13x29 and want a med-cage derailleur don't get a whole new derailleur, just buy a med. cage and put it on your switch it out on your short cage der -- much cheaper option!). Based on that, I decided not to use the 13-26 either (same 21-23-26 jump as the 13x29). After speaking w/ some other racers, I now run a custom 12x27 cassette for the real mountain stages. The 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-27 progression is the perfect compromise over downhill speed and good close climbing gears. This said, however, 3.2 kms @ 9% doesn't strike me as being so much of a hill as to require mountain gearing -- why not scout it out w/ a 12x25?

à plus

question re the 27 cogJohnG
Oct 3, 2002 6:28 AM
How did you build your cassette?

I'm familiar with the Campy cogs and I don't believe I've ever seen a 25-27 pair spaced for 10s.

FWIW: I've built respaced C10 casettes before......... but I'd love to have a 27 cog. The closest thing I've got to that is a 12-26 C10 cassette. I've also got a 13-29 but I don't like giving up the 12 for race aps. I also feel comfy with three tooth jumps at the upper end of the cassette.

My ideal climbing cassette would be as follows:
12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27

question re the 27 cogphilippec
Oct 3, 2002 7:23 AM
I got mine at here in France but they ship all over. Here is the link to the cassette:

Also, given the price -- I only use this cassette for races. For training I use a campagnolo 11x23 for Paris and a 12x25 for the foothills of the Alpes. I have a friend who builds his custom 10 speed cassettes using Miche steel cogs (sim. to the Centaur/Daytona loose cogset. Miche also makes 10sp. alloy cogs (26,28 but no 27!) There is another Italian company that also makes alloy cogs for 10 sp. but I am not quite sure of the name (Marchismo sp?). The alloy cogs from Tiso are not as elaborately ramped as the Campagnolo ones but the shifting is fine.


phillipe you are a rock star!lonefrontranger
Oct 3, 2002 7:34 AM
Thanks for the info; a friend of mine was asking me just this sort of question re: Campag cogsets the other day. As you can well imagine our Campag flexibility is sometimes limited in the U.S. where Shimano is king :)

I use Shimano splined wheels with a Wheels conversion cassette, and run either 12x25 or 11x27 depending on how long and steep the canyon climbs are likely to be that day :)

I prefer having the 11 in the mix since in races out here you often end up plummeting down what you grovel up, and as JG pointed out the 3 tooth jumps don't bother me so much, rather have the range.
wheels conversion questionphilippec
Oct 3, 2002 7:46 AM
So tell me, does this cassette let you run campagnolo 10 sp. on a Shimano freehub? I am asking because my criterium special is decked out in Shimano (don't kid yourself -- Shimano is King here as well!) but I would like to migrate it to campy (so I can interchange parts if I need to) w/out having to build a new set of wheels.


Oct 3, 2002 8:40 AM
Yes, all my stuff is Campag 10 running on Shimano splined freehubs. I have Wheels cassettes for all, and you can also get them for Campag 9-speed (tho why you'd bother when Shimano 9 cassettes work just as well...). Warning: do NOT be tricked into thinking a Mavic M-10 cassette will work on your Campag drivetrain; I was never able to get mine to work smoothly (spacing is about 1mm off for the length of the cassette).

Basically all Wheels does is tear apart a Shimano Ultegra or D/A cassette and add Campag spacers. They then put the Shimano cogs back on in various combos. Excel sells them in both D/A (ti/steel) and Ultegra (steel) levels.

The drawback of the Wheels is that they have limited their selection somewhat in the past couple of seasons, so (for instance) I doubt the 12/25 I have is still an available choice. American Classic does conversion cassettes for C-10 as well.

Sheldon Brown ( also has a great instruction manual on his site for skipping the Wheels / AMClassic angle and doing this yourself. It doesn't look terribly difficult, as all you'd need is a riveting punch.
merci! (nm)philippec
Oct 3, 2002 1:30 PM
not for VelomaxDougSloan
Oct 3, 2002 3:10 PM
The WM cassettes won't work on Velomax (Ascent Pro) hubs; apparently, the freehub body is too short. I tried everything I could think of, with WM telling me it "should" work, but no way, not even close; you just can't squeeze 10 cogs on there.

that might depend on the actual wheellonefrontranger
Oct 4, 2002 6:19 AM
We actually found the same thing with one set of Mavic Cosmos we had. It wouldn't take the cassette no matter what we did. We exchanged that wheel for another that worked just fine, as do all our other Cosmos, although some need more shims and some are a bit "tight".

Tolerances in the bike industry can be pretty lame.
veeeeeery interestingJohnG
Oct 3, 2002 3:06 PM
What's the "service life" like on those aluminium cogs???

Thanks for the info! :-)

service lifephilippec
Oct 3, 2002 11:45 PM
I will venture to guess that it is not "very" long. I have used this cassette for ~ 15 races (approx. 2000 kms). It still shifts fine but the hard annodising has come off in places. I have this cassette paired up to a wippermann 10 sp. chain.


re: Cassette Question - 13-26 or 13-29?REPO42
Oct 6, 2002 9:34 PM
If you want to sleep at night without worrying if your gearing is correct, then follow this golden rule that I read the pros use.... Always have a bailout gear....