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  1. #1
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    Cassette/RD question

    I have an Ultegra 6600 short cage RD. I also currently have an 12-25 cassette.

    I have a climbing heavy fondo coming up. 120ish miles with 12k feet of climbing. Is it worth it to go to a 12-27 cassette (I have 52/36)?

    Looking at the Internets, I see that 6600 RD can only handle a 27-tooth cog and also only handle 29-tooth capacity ((big ring-small ring)+(big sprocket-small sprocket)). So,

    1) Can my RD even handle the 12-27 since this would make the capacity 31 teeth?
    2) would my RD be able to handle an 11-28 given that I keep reading it only handle a 27?
    3) Is that change even worth it? Will a 12-27 or 11-28 even make that big of a difference?

  2. #2
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    3. Who knows. Either you'll want more than 25 or not. I definitely notice a helpful difference between 25 and 27 or 8 but that has as more to do with steepness than total feet of climbing.
    12000 is alot but doesn't necessarily mean you'll want more than 25. Always better safe than sorry though.

    What you're talking about should be no problem mechanically. You may need a longer chain.

  3. #3
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiegoat View Post
    I have an Ultegra 6600 short cage RD. I also currently have an 12-25 cassette.

    I have a climbing heavy fondo coming up. 120ish miles with 12k feet of climbing. Is it worth it to go to a 12-27 cassette (I have 52/36)?
    Depends on what kind of grades there are. If all the climbing is long 5% grades, maybe not.
    Also depends on what kind of climber you are.

    1) Can my RD even handle the 12-27 since this would make the capacity 31 teeth?
    Most likely yes.

    2) would my RD be able to handle an 11-28 given that I keep reading it only handle a 27?
    Probably. But the only way to tell is to try it.
    The specs on RD capacity are not carved in stone. The difference in frame geometry from bike to bike makes a difference to what the RD can handle. So no one can answer absolutely.

    3) Is that change even worth it? Will a 12-27 or 11-28 even make that big of a difference?
    12-27 maybe not. But the 11-28 would probably be noticeable.

    Keep in mind that any increase in cassette size will probably mean a new chain. Unless your current chain was sized with the small-small method. If your chain was sized with the big-big method and you put on a larger cassette, you'll rip your RD off if you shift to big-big.
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  4. #4
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    I am pretty sure a 12-28T or even a 12-30T cassette will work in this case. I had a bike come stock with a 5700 short cage derailleur with a 12-30T and a 50/34 crankset and it worked with no problems. The most important thing is to make sure the chain does not bind in the large/large combo. Make ABSOLUTELY sure this does not happen BEFORE you ride as it could ruin your day (as in rip your derailleur off your bike and possibly throw itself into the rear spokes and toss you on the ground with it).

    You may get a chattering "motor boating" noise when you go in the largest cog, but adjusting the B-screw in will make that go away.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  5. #5
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    climbing question?

    billiegoat?

    That just shows to go you.
    Too old to ride plastic

  6. #6
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    I suck at climbing, but I do enjoy eating cans...

    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    climbing question?

    billiegoat?

    That just shows to go you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiegoat View Post
    I suck at climbing, but I do enjoy eating cans...
    As long as you don't try to head-butt me, it's all good.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  8. #8
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    I have just ordered a new chain anyway, so the chain isn't the issue. This will be my first century/fondo and i am a bigger guy, so the climbing is making me nervous. I am trying not to waste money, so I don't want to buy a $50 part to just try it and see.

    There aren't many 12-27s around any more brand new, so I have been scoping the Bay and there are a few, but have hundreds of miles already.

  9. #9
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiegoat View Post
    This will be my first century/fondo and i am a bigger guy, so the climbing is making me nervous.
    What's the biggest ride you done before? 120 miles with 12k feet of climbing is quite a big ride.

    Being a big buy... and "sucking" at climbing, you're gonna want all the gears you can get!


    I am trying not to waste money, so I don't want to buy a $50 part to just try it and see.
    Do you have any buddies that have a 27, 28, or 30 cassette you could test before you buy?
    Or take it to a bike shop. Ask them to fit the biggest cassette that'll fit.
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  10. #10
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    how much do you weigh?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiegoat View Post
    I suck at climbing, but I do enjoy eating cans...
    That "can do" attitude can only help on a big ride you have some concerns about.
    Too old to ride plastic

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiegoat View Post
    I have just ordered a new chain anyway, so the chain isn't the issue. This will be my first century/fondo and i am a bigger guy, so the climbing is making me nervous. I am trying not to waste money, so I don't want to buy a $50 part to just try it and see.

    There aren't many 12-27s around any more brand new, so I have been scoping the Bay and there are a few, but have hundreds of miles already.
    Come to think of it, 105 rear derailleurs aren't very expensive. If you get a mid-cage derailleur, you can use a 11-32T cassette. Your knees will thank you! See below:

    Shimano 105 RD-5701 10SP Rear Derailleur | Jenson USA

    Shimano HG-500 10 Speed Cassette | Jenson USA

    Total cost: $76 and FREE shipping.

    Be sure to select medium-cage and 11-32T in the drop downs. Keep in mind that Shimano 5700/6700 systems have the same shift ratios as 5600/6600, so they are cross compatible. However, be careful not to inadvertently buy a 5800 or 6800 derailleur as they will not work with your shifters.

    Also let me say not to be put off just because it's 105 and not Ultegra. You won't notice any difference in shift quality.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiegoat View Post
    I have an Ultegra 6600 short cage RD. I also currently have an 12-25 cassette.

    I have a climbing heavy fondo coming up. 120ish miles with 12k feet of climbing. Is it worth it to go to a 12-27 cassette (I have 52/36)?

    Looking at the Internets, I see that 6600 RD can only handle a 27-tooth cog and also only handle 29-tooth capacity ((big ring-small ring)+(big sprocket-small sprocket)). So,

    1) Can my RD even handle the 12-27 since this would make the capacity 31 teeth?
    2) would my RD be able to handle an 11-28 given that I keep reading it only handle a 27?
    3) Is that change even worth it? Will a 12-27 or 11-28 even make that big of a difference?
    Post questions about components in the obviously correct forum section 'components/wrenching', not 'general'.
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  14. #14
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    My input - YOU need different gearing for that Fondo - You're looking at 100ft of ascent / mile on average which is quite a bit of climbing. Combine that with this being your longest ride and you will want all the gearing you can get. I'm a pretty good climber and have done many century+ rides, a few doubles and I would want a compact crank and 11/28 (or 11/27 or 12/27) on that ride for sure.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    My input - YOU need different gearing for that Fondo - You're looking at 100ft of ascent / mile on average which is quite a bit of climbing. Combine that with this being your longest ride and you will want all the gearing you can get. I'm a pretty good climber and have done many century+ rides, a few doubles and I would want a compact crank and 11/28 (or 11/27 or 12/27) on that ride for sure.
    A compact crack 50/34 would give him easier hill climbing gearing for sure, but would be more expensive than the cassette and derailleur swap I suggested. Not to mention that he already has a subcompact 52/36, so it wouldn't be a tremendous improvement.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    A compact crack 50/34 would give him easier hill climbing gearing for sure, but would be more expensive than the cassette and derailleur swap I suggested. Not to mention that he already has a subcompact 52/36, so it wouldn't be a tremendous improvement.
    True on the cost, I was just saying that's what I would be using, i have an assortment to choose from. He might be able to get a used one, borrow one, or rings etc though and every little bit helps
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  17. #17
    pmf
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    The cheapest and pretty much most effective thing is to get a 12-27 cassette. You probably won't need a longer chain. In terms of gear inches,

    36/25 = 37.87
    36/27 = 34.98

    Going to a true compact set up

    34/25 = 35.77

    So you'd be better off (and save a lot more money) getting the bigger cassette. I'd see if you can't put a 12x29 on. Ask your LBS. If you had the newer Ultegra you definitely could.

    Years ago, I did Ride the Rockies. I had a 12x27 cassette, but was looking for any help I could get, so I swapped my 39 tooth ring for a 38 tooth ring. Hardly made any difference.

    I do this really hilly ride every year (Rappahonack Rough Ride). About a mile from the finish there's this nasty steep hill. When my lowest gearing was 39x27, I'm out of the saddle most of the climb. A couple years ago, I got a bike with a compact crank, still with a 34x27, I was out of the saddle for a good part of it. Last year, I ordered a 12x29 cassette by mistake. For the hell of it, I put it on before the ride, and it really smoothed out that last hill. Those last two teeth made a big difference.

  18. #18
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    Is there sometimes never a low enough gear?

    amirite?

  19. #19
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    I ride an 11-32 with my Ultegra 6700 short cage for rides like this. Just can't ride big/big without adding chain length.

  20. #20
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by factory feel View Post
    Is there sometimes never a low enough gear?

    amirite?
    I draw the line at electric motors

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