12-27 or 11-28 cassette?

crimpshrine Posts: 37
edited December 2008 in Workshop
Just about to buy a new cassette. Already have a 12-27. Would I notice much difference with a 11-28? I am thinking more in terms of hill climbing rather than top end. Will it make the steepest sections noticably easier that the 27 I am used to crawling up with?!

My options are Ultegra or SRAM.


  • I'm stuck with Campag and have just had to migrate to a 13 -29 from an 11-27 . I miss the 11 already I can tell you - feels like I'm holding up the traffic , but really love the 29 . Every little helps on the hills around here .

    Wish Campag allowed me the option of a big spread . I've been in Italy a time or two and they have hills there too !
    "Lick My Decals Off, Baby"
  • ColinJ
    ColinJ Posts: 2,218
    Over the years, I've changed the cassette on my 9-speed Campagnolo-equipped Basso twice. I use the bike for hilly audax type rides.

    The original cassette was 12-23. I hardly ever used the 12 since I could pedal the 13 up to about 35 mph and just freewheeled (downhill) when I was going faster than that. I found the 23 too much like hard work uphill except when I was really fit.

    The second cassette was 13-26. It made no difference at the low end, because I hadn't used the 12 anyway. Going from a low of 23 to a 26 made a significant difference of about 11.5%. The step between the bottom two gears was now 3 teeth rather than 2 and that was noticeable, but didn't bother me because I only used the 26 when I was desperate for a low gear!

    Having tackled Fleet Moss and Park Rash in the Yorkshire Dales which have sections of 25%+, I decided that I'd be prepared to sacrifice the 13 and replaced the cassette a second time, for a 14-28. The 14 is usually enough at the top end, although occasionally I find myself spinning out. I found the 28 an improvement over the 26, but less noticeable than the step from 23 to 26. It's only about 7%.

    You are proposing an 11-27 cassette rather than a 12-26. I'd say that you would be wasting the 11 (unless you are secretly Mark Cavendish or Tom Boonen :wink: !). The 27 will only be about 3.5% easier than the 26 and you will have bigger steps between gears. I don't think I'd bother.

    If you could fit smaller chainrings and keep the current cassette, that might be the best bet. What rings are you currently using?
  • micken
    micken Posts: 275
    Excellent and informative reponse CollinJ. I'm currently using a 12-27 cassette and find it good with a compact 50-36. Iride north of Leeds so hills are included and I find this combo good.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    Going from 27 to 28 will make very little difference. Going from 12/27 to 11/28 will leave gaps in the ratios that you may find inconvenient. You would get a better result fitting a 38 inner ring. It will give about the same lower gear without messing anything else up. If you do need lower gears then go compact.
  • Thanks guys, I will stick the same cassette on. I thought it would make little difference and I find it easier sometimes than on my Triple because my Cayo is so much lighter. I think the upgraded wheels I am about to buy will make the hills a bit easier anyway and I have never had to result in getting off. Yet!