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  1. #1
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    11-28 vs 11-32 cassette...how much of a difference will there be?

    I was wondering how much of a difference a compact 50/34 matched with an 11-28 or 11-32 cassette would be. More specifically on the lowest gear 34 --> 28 combo or 34 --> 32?
    Will the 4T between from 28 to 32 make that huge of a difference?

    Am I making sense....??

  2. #2
    Call me a Fred
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    About 14% difference.
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  3. #3
    DrD
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    4 teeth on the cassette makes a big difference - what are the spacings for the two? The bigger issue for me would probably be the large differences between cogs with the 32.

  4. #4
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    +1 it's 4/28ths, or 1/7th, or about 14%.

    To help put it in perspective, assuming your existing cassette was 11----25-28, it would be like adding one gear lower by just slightly more than the 25-28 step.
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  5. #5
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    The spacing would be:
    Regular spacing for the 11-28 (Shimano or Sram)
    11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-28

    Slightly larger jumps on the 11-32 (Sram Apex)
    11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28, 32

    My guestimate was 10-15%, so I was pretty close.
    I'm concidering upgrading/purchasing a new bike - possibly the Felt Z85. However, unsure if my leggs can handle the 11-28 gearing...or 14% difference. My presently have a triple and tend to use my lowest gear a lot due because of roads and events I tend to participate in.

    Thank you for your responces. Any suggestions though as to what other bikes are equiped with Sram Apex right now?

  6. #6
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    I recently went from a 12-27 to a 11-32 compact, and I love it. I was afraid it would be too low of a gear, I thought I wanted 11-30, but it is perfect for me. For me the wider spacing (11-12-14-16-18-20-23-25-28-32) works well. I also like that I can ride 50-28 without being severely cross chained. That being said, it's probably not the setup for everyone, but I'm old (turn 60 in May), and I ride lots of hills.

  7. #7
    fun2none
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    I tried the 11-32 pie plate



    I currently use the SRAM 11-28 (11,12,13,14,15,17,19,22,25,28) with a compact. I had an opportunity to try the 11-32 cassette. Yes - you do notice the difference between 28 and 32 low gear. I also noticed the missing 14T cog.

    It was only useful for climbs that were extremely steep and unrelenting. Other than those extreme hills, the pie-plate 32T cog was seldom used. The large jump between gears and shifting latency (longer chain & derailleur) did NOT go unnoticed. I went back to the 11-28. I'll save the 11-32 for another project.

  8. #8
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    I put an 11-32 on a few weeks ago (Im on a triple,30-39-50) and find I hardly use the 32 while on the 30 ring,
    As I live surrounded by hills I figured it'd really help me,
    But I can keep in the Middle ring (39) nearly all the ride if I do use the 32 very occasionally,

    I don't see why having a jump between the gears is a biggy for some (maybe its my riding style ?) Id rather prefer having a wider range of gears for the big hills ( Im really rubbish at climbing ),

    I still have the original 12-26 that I swapped,but found the 12 too slow for fast descents,

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  9. #9
    LC
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    Most don't need the 11T so swap it out for a 14, 15, or 16T and the 12T + lockring from your old road cassette.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LC
    Most don't need the 11T so swap it out for a 14, 15, or 16T and the 12T + lockring from your old road cassette.
    Not usually possible. the 1st position sprocket has a built-on spacer and is extra thick so it can overhang the freehub body and still be properly supported. A middle position sprocket is too thin and will be hanging by it's fingernails.
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  11. #11
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    Just keep in mind that for a 32 you will need a long cage derailleur. (maybe a medium)

    A 14% gearing change is very significant.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead
    Just keep in mind that for a 32 you will need a long cage derailleur. (maybe a medium)

    A 14% gearing change is very significant.
    A mid cage Rival or Apex will do the trick. I did it with my compact set up and have run my 11-32 on some of my big climb days.
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  13. #13
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    I agree 14% difference is quite significant.

    Zizcwg - with your set-up, when you switch from your regular cassette (assuming that its an 11-28) to the 11-32s, did you have to change your chain too?

  14. #14
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    Those four 'extra' teeth will make a big difference.

    You might not want it every day but it can make the difference between climbing some routes and not for some people, especially if they've got joint pain.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg
    A mid cage Rival or Apex will do the trick. I did it with my compact set up and have run my 11-32 on some of my big climb days.
    I was being safe with "long" cage. I am to understand that they will work with a medium cage, GS, Shimano derailleur as well. Several guys are buying them for a California trip coming up in April.

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    I live up here north of SF bay area, am a spindly climber type, just not that fit anymore...and run a 28 all winter get my strength and cadence up, then run a 32 for wicked hilly long rides- great to have that "emergency gear"

    depending on where in CA you are going a 32 could be very useful- both for gradient and for altitude. Napa/Sonoma area hills tend to have some heinous grades, but low elevation. Sierra foothills longer hills, less daunting grades (some notable exceptions), Sierra east side-- reasonable grades, f'ing insanely long climbs, high alt (9K+)

    drop me a PM on where you are going and i can try to offer a bit more if you want

  17. #17
    Triathlons Rule
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead View Post
    Just keep in mind that for a 32 you will need a long cage derailleur. (maybe a medium)

    A 14% gearing change is very significant.
    The Sram "climbers kit" comes with a medium cage derailleur and an 11/32 cassette.

  18. #18
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    The 32 is usable on the DA9070 RD (short cage) actually.. but I just leave the 32 on the Kickr trainer. I find the 32t is a bit much for me and not needed, my main bike has a 12-29 (campy) and I find myself not using the 29 much, so I swapped back to 12-27 this week. So my last 3 are 23-25-27. The shimano bike currently has 11-28 , but I might pickup a Sram red cassette 11-30 and call it done.

  19. #19
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    I'm running a Sram Red Short Cage... I've already tried the 32...it rubs.

  20. #20
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    HUGE difference.
    My new bike came stock with a 11-28. Swapped to 11-32 and the hills became much easier.
    Didn't have to do anything to chain or derailleur with the swap. Have the Sora RD and was tempted to get the 11-34 but looked at shimano website and lists max of 32.

    now to just build up strength in my legs and lungs....

  21. #21
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    This thread looks like it is about 3 years old.
    So the 2014 answer for buying a new bike is to get an 11-spd rear end, and not worry about loosing the gears in the middle.

    Each rider needs to find what they are comfortable with. I still like the smaller, tighter gearing on the cluster/cassette. I just tried an 11-28, 7 spd cluster on my bike (11,13,15,18,21,24,28), and find all of the gaps extremely annoying. For my riding style, I rarely throw it up into the 28, and would not have a use for a 32, unless I was carrying or pulling an extremely heavy load. However, each rider is different.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
    This thread looks like it is about 3 years old.
    So the 2014 answer for buying a new bike is to get an 11-spd rear end, and not worry about loosing the gears in the middle.

    Each rider needs to find what they are comfortable with. I still like the smaller, tighter gearing on the cluster/cassette. I just tried an 11-28, 7 spd cluster on my bike (11,13,15,18,21,24,28), and find all of the gaps extremely annoying. For my riding style, I rarely throw it up into the 28, and would not have a use for a 32, unless I was carrying or pulling an extremely heavy load. However, each rider is different.
    And each riders terrain is different. If you live in Fla or Utah, you need different gearing.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
    The 32 is usable on the DA9070 RD (short cage) actually.. but I just leave the 32 on the Kickr trainer. I find the 32t is a bit much for me and not needed, my main bike has a 12-29 (campy) and I find myself not using the 29 much, so I swapped back to 12-27 this week. So my last 3 are 23-25-27. The shimano bike currently has 11-28 , but I might pickup a Sram red cassette 11-30 and call it done.
    This is pretty poor advice considering Shimano specs say the derailleur is compatible w/ a max 28t cog. You should be very careful giving out advice like this. Sometimes going 2 teeth over will work. Rarely will going 4 teeth over work.
    You should post exactly what frame you have the derialleur on and what crank you're using. It's not unlikely that someone will interpret your experience as 'the 9070 will work w/ a 32 on any bike' and rip his $600.00 derailleur off his bike.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    This is pretty poor advice considering Shimano specs say the derailleur is compatible w/ a max 28t cog. You should be very careful giving out advice like this. Sometimes going 2 teeth over will work. Rarely will going 4 teeth over work.
    You should post exactly what frame you have the derialleur on and what crank you're using. It's not unlikely that someone will interpret your experience as 'the 9070 will work w/ a 32 on any bike' and rip his $600.00 derailleur off his bike.
    it's all 9070... 9000 crank 165mm compact 50/34 ... I am not the only one that has used the 32t on the short cage 9070 by the way. Ofcourse I avoid big/big .. that combo was on my wife's bike for a brief time.. Trek Madone 6 WSD H2 size 47cm. She is not in need of the 32t either for now and has been using the 28t. I know what Shimano specs and anyone buying a 9070 kit should know too.. it's always ymmv . It's not really advice , just saying I didn't have an issue. Do at your own risk...

  25. #25
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    Have 11/28 on one bike, and 11/32 on another which is a few lbs heavier. With the 11/32 I can spin up pretty much any hill around, no need to stand with the exception of one that's perhaps 15% grade for quite a ways. The difference between 28 and 32 is really big, 32 puts me at a walking pace I think. The 32 rarely gets used, mostly on recovery days or riding with my kids. If you have some hills that you really struggle with standing, you'll love the 32 until your fitness improves.

    When you no longer need the 32 or rarely use it you are probably going to discover the desire to have closer spacing on the gears out weighs the desire for lower gears, which is where I am at right now - just ordered an 11/23 to get the gear spacing I need to avoid big jumps and improve my times on some of the longer climbs around here.
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