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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    241

    11 speed question

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    On the new 11 speed cassettes, is the "extra" gear low (easy) or high (hard)? I currently ride a compact double (sorry, i don't know the sizes, but it's a basic entry level alum bike, so whatever is standard).
    There are times when I could use one more low/easy gear on some of the hills around me. Just wondering if the 11 speed cassette would help here...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,406
    Easy!
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    241
    yay !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
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    1,264
    It could be easier or not depending on the cog sizes on the 11 speed cassette. you may also have some compatibility problems going from a 9/10 to an 11 cassette. Bigger cassette cogs (more teeth) correspond to easier pedaling while smaller diameter chainrings (fewer teeth) correspond to easier pedaling. You need to know what you have now to get something that makes pedaling easier.....well, besides just getting stronger by riding more

    eta...sheldon brown left this world a wealth of bike info when he passed on.... such as this gear calculator that you can use to plot the gearing you have now and the gearing you'd get from different cassettes
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 07-06-2015 at 08:07 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dallas metro
    Posts
    173
    You may be able to swap out your current cassette for one with a larger cog count in the back... I changed mine from a 11-26 to a 12-32 for instance, that was the max I could put on it with the current derailleur. And yes, it helped quite a bit!

    Depending on your drivetrain, you may not be able to put on an 11sp cassette if you don't already have an 11sp cassette, if that makes sense. How many cogs do you currently have? I don't know much about mixing different speeds on the same drivetrain, other than 8 and 10 definitely don't mix (had to replace some parts on a bike I picked up that had a mix match, and it wasn't shifting good...)
    Specialized Oura or Romin Evo Saddles

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Cornwall, UK
    Posts
    40
    I must admit to being a bit unsure of this too. My present ride is a Trek 7.2 hybrid with a shimano 11-32 8 speed cassette. I'm looking at getting a Trek Lexa road bike with Shimano 105 11-32 11 speed cassette. As I live in a hilly area, is the new bike gearing about the same, better or worse for hills?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    So, the two cassettes have the same range (11-32), just more cogs gives you narrower steps. That's helpful if you often find yourself either mashing the gears or spinning faster than you're comfortable with. Some people are comfortable in a very wide RPM range. Others need the narrower steps that more gears can give you.

    But, I think both your current bike and the Lexa you're looking at have multiple chainrings in the front as well, right? So the gear range could still be different if the largest and smallest chainrings are different.

    Think of the gearing on a motor vehicle - it really isn't any different. Sports cars have more speeds so the driver can keep the engine in its most efficient RPM range. Less to do with going fast and more to do with the way the engine is tuned. Big trucks that haul heavy loads have more speeds for the same reason, mostly so they can get started from a stop and accelerate from low speeds. Vehicles that are less finicky about RPMs usually have three to five speed transmissions. So with heavy loaded touring, you'll want more gears, but also if your personal muscle composition favors a narrow range of RPMs. But besides that, if you have multiple front chainrings, you've got the ability to shift the primary gearing, like you do in a tractor, including the lawn tractors you've probably driven. So your chainrings give you two or three ranges within which you fine-tune your gearing with the cassette.

    Last thing though, your riding position may be very different on a hybrid vs a road bike, which affects the leverage, which affects how much effort you'll be spending to push the same RPM in the same gear ratio - AND the road bike is probably much lighter, which makes a particular difference on hills. Test riding will show you all of this much better than I can explain it!
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,406
    It will feel different, but you will have plenty of low gears. The spacing between the gears is different, but it's just different combinations. I have an 11-32 11sp cassette on my Silque (Ultegra), and it's fine for the hilly area I live in. While it's true that you can add higher or lower gears to a cassette, you are talking about the standard 11-32, 11 speed that Trek uses with its new road bikes. They haven't gone to an 11-32 to make the gearing harder... that's not what average riders want. In order to get rid of triples and provide low enough gearing for recreational cyclists, this is what the industry has evolved into. When I built my custom Guru in 2011, I didn't have this choice. I wanted a bike with very low gearing, because I often ride with a loaded pannier to commute. I had a mountain bike rear derailleur/cassette with an 11-34 put on the bike. It is awesome, but it's a weird combo of components.
    Don't get upset if it takes a bit to get used to the new gearing. When I got my Guru, my other road bike was a triple. Even though the Guru had lower gearing with a compact, it took me a while to get used to the different feeling of the spacing between the gears.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    241
    So, i currently have on my road bike:
    Shimano R600, 50/34 (compact) , Shimano 105 11-28, 10 speed.

    So will the new 11 speeds give me a lower (aka easier for hills) gear? Or is it just going to give me more fine tuning than what i currently have?

    I don't think i can put an 11 speed cassette on my current bike. But, just asking in general if the 11speed will give me that extra easy gear I'm always praying for mid climb :-)
    Last edited by Penny4; 07-07-2015 at 10:00 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,264
    Here....is info on cog sizes of 10 and 11 speed cassettes. you can also see that you get easier gearing with both 10 (12-30 ultegra) and 11 (11-32 ultegra ) cassettes over an 11-28 ....compatibility issues may come up with some of them.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Cornwall, UK
    Posts
    40
    Thanks for the insights, it all helps me get my head around gearing. I'll be interested to see how I get on with the test ride, different gears and levers, different handlebars, thank goodness I won't be using clipless for the first time, that'll no doubt be a thread in itself! LOL

    I'll let you know how it goes.... me... riding a drop handlebar road bike.... Dad would have been proud ;-)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,615
    bit late but is your shifting indexed. It most likely is an indexed shifting. In which case, going from 9 or 10 speed clusters to 11 speed cluster will cause problem with the indexing. So you will need new indexed shifter. If you are not using a brifter (brake-shifter combo) then the price isn't too bad. Otherwise, figure on the added cost to get a new brifter.

    The other issue is with 11 speed cluster, your chain has to be narrower than 9 or 10 speed (I think there is a difference. I know there was a difference for 7/8 speed clusters). Narrower chains will wear out faster and need replacing more often.

    As for ease of riding, it depends on the gears in your cluster. On flat road, I had what is known as a corn cob there was only one teeth difference between gears. 11-12-13-14-15-16 kind of thing. On events with lots of climb, I would swap out with something like 12-13-14-16-19-21 kind of cluster.

    Or you can get something bit more reasonable with gearing from 12-13-14-16-18-21-24-27 kind of thing. I'm just pulling numbers here so not sure what is available these days. So don't quote me on the gearing in the cluster. But I hope this will give you some idea.

 

 

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