Login required to started new threads

Login required to post replies

Prev Next
What's your standard cassette size?
Quote | Reply
Been riding the standard setup that came with my bike (11-30/52-36) which I just assumed was optimal. I rarely use the 11 or the 30 cog and am wondering if there is a better setup I should consider. I was thinking about an 11-28 or 12-25 but have no experience with either. Wondering if there is an agreed upon sweet spot that I should look at.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I use 11-30 with my road bike because we have some steep hills in PDX, while I use 11-28 on my tri bike because very few hills, if any, in triathlon require anything more

808 > NYC > PDX
2020 Races?: Nope.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Triathlon
  • Stayin' alive with 11-25
  • flat and fast is 11-23
  • mountains is 11-28
  • Verve Infocranks 52-36 , 155mm length

Road Bike
  • Crank: Shimano 105 R7000, 50/34 (compact), 172.5mm length
  • Cassette: Shimano 105 R7000, 11-30, 11 speed


____________________________________________________________________________________________
2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, St. George, Utah, USA 17-18 Sept. 2021 |--| IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2021 |--| EAGLEMAN 70.3 2021
Last edited by: LifeTri: Dec 2, 20 17:45
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
It depends on

  • the type of terrain you live in,
  • how strong of a rider you are
  • whether you like to spin fast or not.
  • the size of your crank.
  • If you like prefer small gear jumps or don't mind large ones.
In other words, too many variables.

But if you're just taking a poll, I ride on mostly rolling terrain and am not particularly strong. I run 50-36 up front and 12-28 in back. I find 36x28 is enough for most climbs and 50x12 is big enough for most downhills. I occasionally spin out on long steep downs but it's worth it to have the 16-tooth cog that I'd be missing with 11-28
Last edited by: JoeO: Dec 2, 20 17:18
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
My Cervelo came with a 12-25 that I use for everything. It does get tough when it's a 20% incline (!!) but that'll kill you no matter what your gearing is. On anything less than 15%, it's no problem for me. I forgot what the front was though.

I use all the gears on this setup, regularly all the time as well, so no wasted gears.
Last edited by: lightheir: Dec 2, 20 17:21
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
dave_o wrote:
Been riding the standard setup that came with my bike (11-30/52-36) which I just assumed was optimal. I rarely use the 11 or the 30 cog and am wondering if there is a better setup I should consider. I was thinking about an 11-28 or 12-25 but have no experience with either. Wondering if there is an agreed upon sweet spot that I should look at.

12-25 / 53-39 up front. I could probably use a 12-28 (which was a mountain bike cassette when I started).

Swimming Workout of the Day:

Favourite Swim Sets:
Training Plan / Log
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Gearing totally depends on your: strength, preferred cadence, and terrain.

When I trained in Ohio (flats with short rollers), and 11-23 was fine (with a 52/42 front). Many of us even considered taking the inner ring off to save weight. Many guys ran an 11-19 "corncob."

Now living in California (rolling with lots of long, steep climbs) I run an 11-28 (with a 50/34 crank).

These days I'd say an 11-28 or 11-30 is standard issue for many road bikes, but it may not be enough for hilly areas/weaker riders, or not closely spaced enough for strong riders in places like FL. Gearing has gotten slacker over the years as the # of gears has increased (so you can have a wider range w/o big jumps) and higher cadence climbing has come into style (guys like Lemond climbed at 70-74rpm, not 90-100).

ECMGN Therapy Silicon Valley:
Depression, Neurocognitive problems, Dementias (Testing and Evaluation), Trauma and PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
lightheir wrote:
It does get tough when it's a 20% incline (!!) but that'll kill you no matter what your gearing is.
Why would 20% be problematic even when your gearing is adequate? On chunky gravel, sure, it can be a challenge to power through nasty spots. But I'm assuming we're talking about pavement here.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [Titanflexr] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Appreciate all the information. I think that I am going to at least try an 11-28 and maybe even go 50-36 up front. The bike is definitely my weakness but here in Iowa there are not a lot of long climbs so this might be something to try. I try and ride around 85-90rpm and I think that would still be in that gearing range for me. Trial and error I guess.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [HTupolev] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
HTupolev wrote:
lightheir wrote:
It does get tough when it's a 20% incline (!!) but that'll kill you no matter what your gearing is.

Why would 20% be problematic even when your gearing is adequate? On chunky gravel, sure, it can be a challenge to power through nasty spots. But I'm assuming we're talking about pavement here.


What gearing would you find optimal for 20%? I'm sure it exists, but is realistic to use outside superspecialized situations?
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
11-28 with 52-36 crank. Same on all my road and TT bikes.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
lightheir wrote:
What gearing would you find optimal for 20%? I'm sure it exists, but is realistic to use outside superspecialized situations?
Depends on the rider and the intended intensity.

But I'd note that 20% only requires a ~3/4 reduction in gearing compared with 15%. You wrote that you were "fine" on a 12-25 on 15%. So for example, per your own numbers, you should be "fine" on a 20% gradient if you swapped your 12-25 cassette out for one that had a 33T or 34T big cog, even without changing your rings. And 11-34 cassettes are hardly "superspecialized" in 2020, they're common and explicitly supported by current Shimano mid-cage road derailleurs.

For many riders, sustained 20% gradients will require lower gears than are officially supported on most "road" groupsets. But this can be bypassed by changing to subcompact cranksets, and/or by just using a bigger cassette than the rear derailleur can supposedly take. These sorts of solutions are commonly employed by people who do mountainous gravel riding, for instance.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [HTupolev] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
This is a pointless debate, but I'll venture to say that climbing a sustained 20% even with 11-34 will still be quite challenging for the typical AGer.

At 20-22%, it takes me 300 watts just to stay moving at a crawl. Going any slower is barely possible, and it'll definitely suck.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
lightheir wrote:
At 20-22%, it takes me 300 watts just to stay moving at a crawl.
This. At 20%, I can’t get below 300W and still be moving. Gearing is pretty much irrelevant above 20%. My easiest cassette is 11-28 that I only use when I have a ride with sustained climbs above 10%.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I just checked my log for the numbers. There's a climb in Vermont I ride once or twice a year that averages 20% for over a mile. going as hard as I can I've averaged around 270 watts going up it. But if I were to hold back and go easier I think it would be less. I usually bring 34x30 as my easy gear for that ride and my average cadence usually comes out to around 50 rpm for it.

A 34 certainly buys you higher cadence if you want it, but I think most people can manage at 50 RPM
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
lightheir wrote:
At 20-22%, it takes me 300 watts just to stay moving at a crawl. Going any slower is barely possible, and it'll definitely suck.
exxxviii wrote:
At 20%, I can’t get below 300W and still be moving.
I really don't understand what you two mean by this. There's no such thing as a gradient requiring a certain amount of power in order to keep moving forward. No matter how steep the gradient, any power at all implies forward motion.

It's possible for your gearing to demand a high effort in order to keep the cranks turning fast enough to keep the torque-vs-cadence balance of your pedaling in a reasonable range. But that's explicitly a gearing issue, not an issue irrespective of gearing.

I've sometimes heard people claim that balance becomes an issue climbing at very low speeds. But in my experience, this issue rarely seems to actually manifest itself. Riding at walking speeds on flat ground can be tricky because you're not able to use the reciprocating roll of pedaling form against drivetrain resistance as a balance mechanism. But when you're riding uphill and pedaling normally, on a firm non-technical surface, even speeds considerably less than 3mph aren't especially difficult for most people.

JoeO wrote:
A 34 certainly buys you higher cadence if you want it, but I think most people can manage at 50 RPM
It maybe depends on your expectations and what "manage" means. 50rpm is far below most people's self-selected cadence even on steep climbs, and when it's the average over a lengthy stretch, it's likely imposing a significant cost in power output and fatigue. But doable? Sure.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
50/34 with 12-25 when flat and 12-29 when hilly.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Road Bike disc 11 speed 11-25 SRAM Red
Road bike aero rim brake 10 speed Red 11-23
Cyclocross/gravel bike 10 speed Red 11-25
Fat bike 12 speed 10-50.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [HTupolev] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
HTupolev wrote:
lightheir wrote:
At 20-22%, it takes me 300 watts just to stay moving at a crawl. Going any slower is barely possible, and it'll definitely suck.
exxxviii wrote:
At 20%, I can’t get below 300W and still be moving.
I really don't understand what you two mean by this. There's no such thing as a gradient requiring a certain amount of power in order to keep moving forward. No matter how steep the gradient, any power at all implies forward motion.

It's possible for your gearing to demand a high effort in order to keep the cranks turning fast enough to keep the torque-vs-cadence balance of your pedaling in a reasonable range. But that's explicitly a gearing issue, not an issue irrespective of gearing.

I've sometimes heard people claim that balance becomes an issue climbing at very low speeds. But in my experience, this issue rarely seems to actually manifest itself. Riding at walking speeds on flat ground can be tricky because you're not able to use the reciprocating roll of pedaling form against drivetrain resistance as a balance mechanism. But when you're riding uphill and pedaling normally, on a firm non-technical surface, even speeds considerably less than 3mph aren't especially difficult for most people.

JoeO wrote:
A 34 certainly buys you higher cadence if you want it, but I think most people can manage at 50 RPM
It maybe depends on your expectations and what "manage" means. 50rpm is far below most people's self-selected cadence even on steep climbs, and when it's the average over a lengthy stretch, it's likely imposing a significant cost in power output and fatigue. But doable? Sure.

They are saying it would take 300 watts to ride at a rate where the bike can still stand up. I don't think many people can ride up a hill at .2 mph and not put a foot down.

What's the slowest you are capable of riding and still stay up? 2 mph?

The last time I went up Brasstown Bald in the Georgia Mountains I tried to go straight up "the wall" with a 34 chainring/36 cog on the cassette, on 650c wheels and wasn't strong enough to do it, and that's a lot of gear. At 300 watts I couldn't keep the bike moving forward at a rate I could handle so I weaved across the road.

https://pjammcycling.com/...600.Brasstown%20Bald middle of the page is the profile and the steepest grade is 15 to 18%

https://pjammcycling.com/...600.Brasstown%20Bald
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
dave_o wrote:
Been riding the standard setup that came with my bike (11-30/52-36) which I just assumed was optimal. I rarely use the 11 or the 30 cog and am wondering if there is a better setup I should consider. I was thinking about an 11-28 or 12-25 but have no experience with either. Wondering if there is an agreed upon sweet spot that I should look at.
There is no correct answer for everyone.
It's a matter of individual circumstances and preferences.
If you don't know what you want, then in the absence of better info the combo you've got is more or less what I would have suggested. It's perfectly good combo to allow most riders to maintain a reasonable cadence on a variety of terrains at a variety of intensities.
No one can give you more guidance than that without knowing your circumstances and preferences.
What terrain do you ride on?
How strong a rider are you?
Do you like to maintain high cadence or happy to grind away at low cadences on climbs?
Is it an 11 speed groupset or something else?
These are the fundamental questions, there are others!

I ride both flat and mountainous routes on both my road and tri bike. But it's mostly the road bike in the mountains.
I don't tend to use a very high cadence compared to most. I want the ability to do half hour long climbs at 6%+ without having to ride at threshold, especially on the road bike.
My setups are both 11 speed and as follows:

Tri bike
Chainrings: 36/52
Cassette: Default is 11-28, I'll change to 12-25 for flat races or time trials.

Road bike
Chainrings: 34/50
Cassette: Anything from 11-28 to 11-32.

I used to use 11-28 as default on the road bike but I've had 11-32 on there for a long time now having found no real to change it after putting it on for a long day of alpine climbing. I've an 11-30 ready to go on with a new chain shortly. The chain is due a change and the cassette has ~15,000km on it. I'd be fine with 11-28 or 11-32, but I've gotten used to having that really nice steep climbing gear available, while also being a little irritated with the 4th sprocket gap on the 11-32 (14T to 16T). the 11-30 seems a good compromise as it doesn't change to 2T gaps until 15T-17T so it's identical to 11-28 except for the largest 3 sprockets.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
jaretj wrote:
HTupolev wrote:
lightheir wrote:
At 20-22%, it takes me 300 watts just to stay moving at a crawl. Going any slower is barely possible, and it'll definitely suck.
exxxviii wrote:
At 20%, I can’t get below 300W and still be moving.
I really don't understand what you two mean by this. There's no such thing as a gradient requiring a certain amount of power in order to keep moving forward. No matter how steep the gradient, any power at all implies forward motion.

It's possible for your gearing to demand a high effort in order to keep the cranks turning fast enough to keep the torque-vs-cadence balance of your pedaling in a reasonable range. But that's explicitly a gearing issue, not an issue irrespective of gearing.

I've sometimes heard people claim that balance becomes an issue climbing at very low speeds. But in my experience, this issue rarely seems to actually manifest itself. Riding at walking speeds on flat ground can be tricky because you're not able to use the reciprocating roll of pedaling form against drivetrain resistance as a balance mechanism. But when you're riding uphill and pedaling normally, on a firm non-technical surface, even speeds considerably less than 3mph aren't especially difficult for most people.

JoeO wrote:
A 34 certainly buys you higher cadence if you want it, but I think most people can manage at 50 RPM
It maybe depends on your expectations and what "manage" means. 50rpm is far below most people's self-selected cadence even on steep climbs, and when it's the average over a lengthy stretch, it's likely imposing a significant cost in power output and fatigue. But doable? Sure.

They are saying it would take 300 watts to ride at a rate where the bike can still stand up. I don't think many people can ride up a hill at .2 mph and not put a foot down.

What's the slowest you are capable of riding and still stay up? 2 mph?

The last time I went up Brasstown Bald in the Georgia Mountains I tried to go straight up "the wall" with a 34 chainring/36 cog on the cassette, on 650c wheels and wasn't strong enough to do it, and that's a lot of gear. At 300 watts I couldn't keep the bike moving forward at a rate I could handle so I weaved across the road.

https://pjammcycling.com/...600.Brasstown%20Bald middle of the page is the profile and the steepest grade is 15 to 18%

https://pjammcycling.com/...600.Brasstown%20Bald

How common are 20% grades? I have never ridden up anything that steep in my life.

Oh, and gear ratio's have nothing to do with the power requirements to ride at a given speed. They affect the force at the pedals, not the power.

Swimming Workout of the Day:

Favourite Swim Sets:
Training Plan / Log
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
"How common are 20% grades? I have never ridden up anything that steep in my life."

"Oh, and gear ratio's have nothing to do with the power requirements to ride at a given speed. They affect the force at the pedals, not the power."


Not very common so when I know I'm going to be doing something close I bring the gear for the job.

Yes, sure but I cannot produce 300 watts at 20 rpm for more than a few seconds.

Going uphill at Xterra Champs in Maui I was pedaling 50 rpm with a 32/46 because it was so steep, because of that I didn't make it up the climbs without putting a foot down. Had I been running a 30/50 like a lot of others had, I would have been spinning 10 rpm faster and possible making it uphill without stopping.
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
jaretj wrote:
"How common are 20% grades? I have never ridden up anything that steep in my life."

"Oh, and gear ratio's have nothing to do with the power requirements to ride at a given speed. They affect the force at the pedals, not the power."


Not very common so when I know I'm going to be doing something close I bring the gear for the job.

Yes, sure but I cannot produce 300 watts at 20 rpm for more than a few seconds.

Going uphill at Xterra Champs in Maui I was pedaling 50 rpm with a 32/46 because it was so steep, because of that I didn't make it up the climbs without putting a foot down. Had I been running a 30/50 like a lot of others had, I would have been spinning 10 rpm faster and possible making it uphill without stopping.

The big issue that I find is that in a mountain bike scenario, it's typically fine in the harder gear at 50 rpm (other than the quads screaming at you to stop, of course), but it's way easier for terrain features to stop you because you can't pedal through the low power zones of the pedal stroke as easily. I never have an issue when the cranks are level, its at TDC. That really applies to any slow speed sections, whether flat or climbing.

Swimming Workout of the Day:

Favourite Swim Sets:
Training Plan / Log
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [dave_o] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
11-28
Quote Reply
Re: What's your standard cassette size? [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
LifeTri wrote:
Triathlon
  • Stayin' alive with 11-25
  • flat and fast is 11-23
  • mountains is 11-28
  • Verve Infocranks 52-36 , 155mm length

Road Bike
  • Crank: Shimano 105 R7000, 50/34 (compact), 172.5mm length
  • Cassette: Shimano 105 R7000, 11-30, 11 speed

My setup is virtually identical to this for triathlon and road.

Triathlon, my only difference is I'll go 11-30, 11-32, or 14-32 (cassette mash-up) for mountains. I'm 94kg and train recreationally ;)

For road, I have 53-39 up front because it's what came on my bike at purchase. Same 172.5 cranks. I've made up for the loss of climbing range with an 11-32 (11sp) cassette.

Dr. Alex Harrison, USAT-1, USATF-3, CSCS ----- PhD in Sport Physiology, Author, Product Designer, Coach, Consultant
https://linktr.ee/DrAlexHarrison ----> Endurance Fueling Book, Macro Calculator, Customizable Lifting, & My Recent Article(s)
Quote Reply

Prev Next