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  1. #1
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    12-25 vs. 11-28 cassette, opinions?

    I'm running an 11-28 cassette with a compact crankset on a Cannondale. I'm finding that I rarely hit the extreme ends of the spectrum on this cassette and mostly hang on the middle 5 cogs. I almost never use the 11 and hardly ever use the 28.

    I'm wondering with the 12-25, am I going to get a better spread of gears that may be more useful? It seems that, by the numbering of the 12-25 cassette, it's a smoother transition without some of the big jumps that the 11-28 has and which I'm not really using much of anyway. Or, would the switch from the 11-28 to the 12-25 not really be that different?

    Any thoughts much appreciated!

  2. #2
    wim
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    Go for it.

    From what you say, it's clear that you would benefit from changing to a 12-25 cassette. Here's the best gear calculator I've seen yet (posted by looigi a few days ago). It allows you see what's what with amazing clarity.

    http://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2
    Last edited by wim; 02-06-2011 at 02:33 AM.

  3. #3
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    IMHO the 12-25 is not a great gearset. The 25 is not good for really steap hills and does not have the 18T cog that a 12-23 has. Since you already have the 11-28 to use on hilly stuff, get a 12-23 for flat/rolling routes and you will be good to go.

    I have a 12-23, 12-25 and 12-27. The 12-25 lives in my tool box.

  4. #4
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead
    Since you already have the 11-28 to use on hilly stuff, get a 12-23 for flat/rolling routes and you will be good to go.
    But only if he's willing to change cassettes, or have an LBS change them for him. Some people just don't want to bother. One of the best riders I had the pleasure to ride with (and get dropped by) didn't know and didn't care to learn how to fix a flat. Unusual, but his choice.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info, much appreciated. Fortunately, I live in Marin County which is a haven for biking. It is a combination of flats, rolling hills, steep climbs and big descents, so the idea of changing the cassette depending on the ride doesn't really work so well here.

    My bike originally came with at 12-26 cassette. I upgraded the group to Ultegra 6700 and had the choice of a 12-25 or the 11-28. I went higher thinking that the options would be more useful. Also, the idea of going down one from 26 to 25 was slightly suspect to me.(fairly new to serious road biking here!) I'm going to check out the calculator that you suggested Wim, but am wondering what a more effective, all around ration might be?

  6. #6
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybee64
    am wondering what a more effective, all around ration might be?
    IMO, the 12-25 would suit you just fine. For most people on average terrain, that's the cassette that gives them a decent range while still affording relatively small jumps between each gear. Of course, no one is "most people" and there is no "average terrain" in reality. But unless you're willing to change out cassettes to match the terrain you're going to be on, the 12-25 is, in my view, the best compromise with your compact crank.

  7. #7
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    Assume 10 speed cassettes. The 12-25 Shimano/SRAM cassette is pretty close to the dumbest cassette ever manufactured. Users of this cassette are basically shouting out to the world they are clueless and know nothing about gearing.

    The 12-23 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23.
    The 12-25 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25.
    The 12-27 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27.

    Only the last two cogs are different between the 12-25 and 12-27. You get lower, more useful cogs with the 12-27 over the 12-25. What purpose does the 12-25 have? If you want closely spaced gears you get the 12-23. If you want sort of climbing gears you get the 12-27. No reason to own a 12-25 because gears 12 through 21 are identical between a 12-25 and 12-27. The gears you use all the time are identical. And then when you need climbing gears, you want the lower climbing gears of the 12-27. The 12-25 has no reason to exist.

    For the original question asker, get a 12-27 if you don't like your 11-28. An extra useful gear in the middle of the cassette but the same roughly low gear.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussellS
    Assume 10 speed cassettes. The 12-25 Shimano/SRAM cassette is pretty close to the dumbest cassette ever manufactured. Users of this cassette are basically shouting out to the world they are clueless and know nothing about gearing.

    The 12-23 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23.
    The 12-25 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25.
    The 12-27 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27.

    Only the last two cogs are different between the 12-25 and 12-27. You get lower, more useful cogs with the 12-27 over the 12-25. What purpose does the 12-25 have? If you want closely spaced gears you get the 12-23. If you want sort of climbing gears you get the 12-27. No reason to own a 12-25 because gears 12 through 21 are identical between a 12-25 and 12-27. The gears you use all the time are identical. And then when you need climbing gears, you want the lower climbing gears of the 12-27. The 12-25 has no reason to exist.

    For the original question asker, get a 12-27 if you don't like your 11-28. An extra useful gear in the middle of the cassette but the same roughly low gear.
    Thanks for posting this. I've been considering changing from my 11-28 as well and this explanation makes sense to me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussellS
    Assume 10 speed cassettes. The 12-25 Shimano/SRAM cassette is pretty close to the dumbest cassette ever manufactured. Users of this cassette are basically shouting out to the world they are clueless and know nothing about gearing.

    The 12-23 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23.
    The 12-25 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25.
    The 12-27 is 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27.

    Only the last two cogs are different between the 12-25 and 12-27. You get lower, more useful cogs with the 12-27 over the 12-25. What purpose does the 12-25 have? If you want closely spaced gears you get the 12-23. If you want sort of climbing gears you get the 12-27. No reason to own a 12-25 because gears 12 through 21 are identical between a 12-25 and 12-27. The gears you use all the time are identical. And then when you need climbing gears, you want the lower climbing gears of the 12-27. The 12-25 has no reason to exist.

    For the original question asker, get a 12-27 if you don't like your 11-28. An extra useful gear in the middle of the cassette but the same roughly low gear.
    Why is it so difficult for you to understand that some people would rather have a 23 and 25over a 24 and 27? Or that where certain people live combined with their abilities make a 27 useless but they still want something bigger than a 23?
    These gear threads are always absurd but your post really stands out as opinionated and close minded.

  10. #10
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    To the OP, I was going to suggest an SRAM 12-26, but since that was your original set up, then the 12-25 seems to make sense if the 25t will give you what you need on hills.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the opinions! There are some pretty huge hills out here but mostly, it's rolling.

    The 12-27 SRAM is a compelling idea and may be a good balance between the 11-28 and 12-25. On the other hand, your perspective Wim is very clear.

    My bike originally had a Tiagra group with the SRAM 12-26. Is it correct to assume that a SRAM cassette is going to be compatible with an Ultegra group?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybee64
    My bike originally had a Tiagra group with the SRAM 12-26. Is it correct to assume that a SRAM cassette is going to be compatible with an Ultegra group?
    I don't think so. It it was on the back of Tiagra it would have been a 9 speed cassette, right? I'm assuming your Ultegra is 10?

  13. #13
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    Thanks Hank. To answer my own question, I was just researching and the SRAM PG-1070
    cassettes are 10 speed and compatible with Ultegra.

  14. #14
    LC
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    SRAM 9 speed 970 or 950 as well as any Shimano 9 speed would work for you.

  15. #15
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    Compromise and get an 11-26. You say you don't use the 11 but you may benefit from it on the long descents over 30mph and you get the extra on the low end gearing.

    I will be using this set up for Blood Sweat and Gears in June with my compact.
    Last edited by mimason; 02-06-2011 at 01:22 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybee64
    I'm running an 11-28 cassette with a compact crankset on a Cannondale. I'm finding that I rarely hit the extreme ends of the spectrum on this cassette and mostly hang on the middle 5 cogs. I almost never use the 11 and hardly ever use the 28.

    I'm wondering with the 12-25, am I going to get a better spread of gears that may be more useful? It seems that, by the numbering of the 12-25 cassette, it's a smoother transition without some of the big jumps that the 11-28 has and which I'm not really using much of anyway. Or, would the switch from the 11-28 to the 12-25 not really be that different?

    Any thoughts much appreciated!
    A random data point that's probably not useful at all: I'm a flatlander from Ohio, that happens to come out your way to ride about once a year. I don't consider myself a particularly strong rider, seldom get more than 3k miles/year, "average" something less than 17 mph in normal circumstances. 6'1", 180(ish) lbs. So, pretty ordinary Joe.

    A compact with a 12/25 has taken me up Mt. Tam, over Coleman Valley / Joy Road, across Trinity Rd / Oakville Grade, up Howell Mountain / Ink Grade, Mt Veeder Rd, up Conzelman and the McCullough loop, and other similar routes you may be familiar with. (I know some of those are a distance from you, but others are in your back yard.)

    I've never needed more, and seldom wanted it, though I'll happily admit I've paperboy'd a few pitches. Usually could get by with less, but it'd make some long slogs a good deal less fun, and probably leave me walking now and then. I've occasionally spun out the 12, but usually by then I'm tucking in and enjoying the ride anyway.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  17. #17
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    danl1 - great perspective, thanks. If getting up Mt. Tam on a 12/25 is no problem, that pretty much says it all. We fall into similar categories of riders. The difference being that I can see Mt. Tam from my house and it's 73 degrees here right now!

    I guess one could argue the differences of gear ratios for ever. Seems like it depends on the rider and their style/location. Out of laziness, that 12/27 is looking good to me here.

  18. #18
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    I run a 8 speed 12-25 on a with a single 46 on the front. Its a really good for general riding little hills with a little top end. I love it.

  19. #19
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    I am a beginner and 12-25 is ridable to me, 34/25 and keep churning.

    The only problem I have experienced is approx 10-15% grade and 20-30 mph dead on headwind can get really challenging, for me anyway.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybee64
    ...Or, would the switch from the 11-28 to the 12-25 not really be that different?!
    Hardly any difference at all. I'd stick with the 11-28. That 28 can come in very handy every now and then.

    Almost all of the gears on those two cassettes are identical. IIRC, the middle five cogs will be identical.

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