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The Big 3 Underserve The Market

mr_evilmr_evil Posts: 234
edited November 2016 in Road general
Something about the way Shimano and SRAM choose cassette sizes has always bothered me. Today I decided to collect the data required to visualize it:

11s-casssette-chart.png

The chart shows one dot for every size of 11-speed cassette currently advertised on the manufacturers' websites. "Range" is the ratio of largest to smallest sprocket. I included both road and mountain cassettes, since they are interchangeable, and I threw in Campagnolo for completeness.

When viewing them like this, it's quite obvious that the problem is that the entire upper-right quadrant is empty; if you want a wide-ratio cassette, you have to have an 11-tooth sprocket (or an even smaller 10 for that one from SRAM). Why have they decided that anyone that doesn't need an 11t wants a narrow range? It's actually become worse after the move from 10-speed to 11-speed, as Shimano made a 10-speed 12-30 cassette (which is perfect for me, and what I use currently), but now the widest they do is 12-28.

And if you want anything bigger than 12t then you're out of luck. Aside from the one really close-ratio junior cassette from Shimano, there is nothing at all.

Do they think it makes more sense to tune your top gear by changing your big chainring instead of your cassette? Does the majority of the market even need an 11t? For me, having a 12t just means that I can only pedal up to about 35mph instead of 38mph; I'm pretty sure that most normal people won't need to pedal faster than that, or care if they can't.
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  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Mr Evil wrote:
    Does the majority of the market even need an 11t? For me, having a 12t just means that I can only pedal up to about 35mph instead of 38mph; I'm pretty sure that most normal people won't need to pedal faster than that, or care if they can't.
    One of the greatest things about cycling [imho] is hitting stupid speeds, either downhill or tucked in behind a bus / lorry / horsebox / concrete mixer that's slowly accelerating on a safe stretch of road and where the high 40s mph is the limit before the gaps starts to grow and suddenly the speed falls away. I'd hate to be limited to a lot less than that, just to accommodate people who find 30-something mph fast enough.

    I'm a bit overweight, well into middle age now and never lit up the sky with my abilities. But 48mph is fun. So is 52, but that's an occasional one-off. :)
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 12,674
    Mr Evil wrote:
    I'm pretty sure that most normal people won't need to pedal faster than that, or care if they can't.
    Nailed it right there.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    They don't "need" to pedal quicker, but I find it comfortable when cruising on a negative elevation to be in the 11t and just chill out in a big slow gear

    Then there is the single speeds where the 10t is a necessity for some if you run anything in the 40s on the front

    So there is a need for 10 and 11 in my world .... considering the amount of commuters though I am surprised there are no bigger cassettes where anything below a 14t must never get used
  • FatTedFatTed Posts: 1,214
    I would have thought if you are looking for a cassette with a 30t you would not really want an 11t more like a 12 or 13.
    Campag do a 12-29, (well at least they used to) but if you want 32 you have to go 11-32, not sure it makes any sense.
    now its 11-25, 11-27, 11-29, 11-32, 12-27
  • FatTed wrote:
    you have to go 11-32, not sure it makes any sense.

    I think it makes perfect sense - if you need a short gear to go up then it's great to have a long gear going down (i.e. The gain/loss in potential energy is what matters). If you're in North Holland a 13-23 probably makes sense.

    I love 11-tooth sprockets - nothing better than giving it full beans downhill
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    edited November 2016
    Mr Evil wrote:
    as Shimano made a 10-speed 12-30 cassette (which is perfect for me, and what I use currently), but now the widest they do is 12-28.
    Hadn't realised this. I and my OH both have 12-30 cassettes on at the moment - but as you say, they don't seem to be available any more. Bummer!

    I did a quick search on all the usuals, and no one has any in stock any more. So I did a quick search on eBay and snapped up the last two Ultegra 12-30 from someone that still had some.

    Thanks for the heads-up! Have to think again after the next change, but ok for another year or two.

    Edit - actually now I've had a closer look, I've found a few other ebay sellers with a few left. Also discovered I paid a few quid per cassette over the odds - but I reckon they'll be gone soon.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    oh and any form of sprinting .. nothing sucks more than having to try and change gear at full pelt but your legs refuse to spin any faster ..... I guess I should really practice my spinning
  • fat daddy wrote:

    Then there is the single speeds where the 10t is a necessity for some if you run anything in the 40s on the front

    Ridiculous statement. 42 x 16 here... 48 x 16 is considered a pretty hard gear to push around...
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,093 Lives Here
    fat daddy wrote:

    Then there is the single speeds where the 10t is a necessity for some if you run anything in the 40s on the front

    Ridiculous statement. 42 x 16 here... 48 x 16 is considered a pretty hard gear to push around...

    48x16's alright, even for my short legs :twisted:
  • fat daddy wrote:

    Then there is the single speeds where the 10t is a necessity for some if you run anything in the 40s on the front

    Ridiculous statement. 42 x 16 here... 48 x 16 is considered a pretty hard gear to push around...
    Think he meant single front ring (1 x drivetrain) rather than actual single speed gearing...
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    Ridiculous statement...

    yes, I typed that wrong I meant single front ring .... 11 rear ... my bad :oops:
  • fat daddy wrote:

    Then there is the single speeds where the 10t is a necessity for some if you run anything in the 40s on the front

    Ridiculous statement. 42 x 16 here... 48 x 16 is considered a pretty hard gear to push around...

    48x16's alright, even for my short legs :twisted:

    In your part of the world, Sawyer's hill is considered a climb... 'nuff said
  • mr_evilmr_evil Posts: 234
    CiB wrote:
    One of the greatest things about cycling [imho] is hitting stupid speeds, either downhill or tucked in behind a bus / lorry / horsebox / concrete mixer that's slowly accelerating on a safe stretch of road and where the high 40s mph is the limit before the gaps starts to grow and suddenly the speed falls away. I'd hate to be limited to a lot less than that, just to accommodate people who find 30-something mph fast enough.

    I'm a bit overweight, well into middle age now and never lit up the sky with my abilities. But 48mph is fun. So is 52, but that's an occasional one-off. :)
    Just because I stop pedalling at around 35mph doesn't mean I can't go faster! Also, Shimano sells to all types of cyclist, including the sort of people who you never see overtaking cars down steep hills. Even the low end 9-speed cassettes marketed to them start at 11.

    I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the availability of the 11t, but with the lack of cassettes without one.
  • FatTedFatTed Posts: 1,214
    I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the availability of the 11t, but with the lack of cassettes without one.

    +1
  • MoonbikerMoonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Miche do junior gearing cassetes

    http://www.miche.it/en/products/compone ... -11sh.html

    Theres an 18-32 if you want
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    I do agree that it's a shame that the ten speed 12-30 cassette was killed off, but 11 gears at the back is plenty of range even if you do have to have an 11 tooth cog that you don't think you'll ever use.

    Personally I'm happy to ride with an 11-x cassette not because I think the 11t is necessary, more because it moves the 13 and 12t cogs into a better chainline, and those I actually do use.

    There is a simple solution anyway if it really bothers you, buy a smaller chainring. If you use a 46 tooth big ring (very common for cyclocross) then 46x11 is a pretty near identical gear to 50x12.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    timothyw wrote:
    I do agree that it's a shame that the ten speed 12-30 cassette was killed off, but 11 gears at the back is plenty of range even if you do have to have an 11 tooth cog that you don't think you'll ever use.

    Personally I'm happy to ride with an 11-x cassette not because I think the 11t is necessary, more because it moves the 13 and 12t cogs into a better chainline, and those I actually do use.

    There is a simple solution anyway if it really bothers you, buy a smaller chainring. If you use a 46 tooth big ring (very common for cyclocross) then 46x11 is a pretty near identical gear to 50x12.

    Seems like a simple solution. 46/34 chainset, and an 11-whatever cassette.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    You might make a Franken-cassette using a junior range (13-something) and a 11-32 cassette. This is possible with 9s stuff (e.g. an 13-25 + an XT 11-32 can mix to give you a 13-32 cassette). It depends on how the sprockets are distributed riveted onto the spiders and how many are singles.
  • andcpandcp Posts: 652
    If its 10 speed you're after you can always build your own - not cheap mind http://www.etailsport.com/custom_cassette_10speed.htm
    "It must be true, it's on the internet" - Winston Churchill
  • Moonbiker wrote:
    Miche do junior gearing cassetes

    http://www.miche.it/en/products/compone ... -11sh.html

    Theres an 18-32 if you want

    As Miche can provide individual sprockets, you can build any ratio cassette you want, 10spd, 11spd, Campag and Shimano all covered. And if you use a Miche chain, the gear change is very good too.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,643
    There are a couple of manufacturers who offer cassettes in more ranges than these, there was a thread not too long ago about it, and i should have made a note of the brands :-(

    Ah here we go:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40042&t=13071143&hilit=miche

    BBB and Miche.

    *See PTestteam has mentioned Miche above :oops:
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • mr_evilmr_evil Posts: 234
    Thanks to everyone sharing where to get unusual size cassettes from, but this is more about the gaps that the major manufacturers leave, rather than asking how to get one.
    timothyw wrote:
    ...There is a simple solution anyway if it really bothers you, buy a smaller chainring. If you use a 46 tooth big ring (very common for cyclocross) then 46x11 is a pretty near identical gear to 50x12.
    Judicious choice of chainrings could get me any range I want, but there are other reasons to prefer a 12t to an 11t: Smaller sprockets are noisier, wear out quicker, wear out the chain quicker, and are more likely to have problems with chordal action.

    It's something I would consider if I was building a 1x bike, to avoid having a heavy dinnerplate attached to the rear wheel, but for a 2x drivetrain I don't have a reason to want an 11t.
  • Makes perfect sense. Cassettes determine your range. You either buy a wide range or a short range depending on how varied your terrain (speed) is.

    Why would you extend a wide range cassette up to to 30 but not down to 11?

    You then match your range to an appropriate front ring for your average speed.

    So if your not using the 11t, but are still wanting more range above 28t, then the answer is to get smaller chainrings... Simple.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 12,674
    Makes perfect sense. Cassettes determine your range. You either buy a wide range or a short range depending on how varied your terrain (speed) is.

    Why would you extend a wide range cassette up to to 30 but not down to 11?

    You then match your range to an appropriate front ring for your average speed.

    So if your not using the 11t, but are still wanting more range above 28t, then the answer is to get smaller chainrings... Simple.
    But that would mean going compact.
    Some can't be seen to be using compact. :lol:
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Mr Evil wrote:
    It's something I would consider if I was building a 1x bike, to avoid having a heavy dinnerplate attached to the rear wheel, but for a 2x drivetrain I don't have a reason to want an 11t.

    If you're worried about chain and sprocket wear from 11T, going 1x would be a very odd thing to do. Pretty much everything about 1x ends up being a compromise from a chain and sprocket wear point of view.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • mr_evilmr_evil Posts: 234
    Makes perfect sense. Cassettes determine your range. You either buy a wide range or a short range depending on how varied your terrain (speed) is.

    Why would you extend a wide range cassette up to to 30 but not down to 11?

    You then match your range to an appropriate front ring for your average speed.

    So if your not using the 11t, but are still wanting more range above 28t, then the answer is to get smaller chainrings... Simple.
    Why not extend it down to 10, or 9? For the reasons I mentioned above about small sprockets. 9t sprockets have been tried a few times over the years, but never catch on because they feel awful. 11t sprockets aren't that bad, but 12 is still nicer.

    If changing chainrings was supposed to be the solution, then Shimano would sell chainsets with smaller ones, but they don't make road chainsets smaller than 50/34. If you want smaller big ring then you have to get a CX chainset, which are 46/36, which reduces the range even more! Even if you consider aftermarket chainrings, you'll struggle to reduce the smallest chainring below 34t on a compact chainset.
    If you're worried about chain and sprocket wear from 11T, going 1x would be a very odd thing to do. Pretty much everything about 1x ends up being a compromise from a chain and sprocket wear point of view.
    Do you have any non-anecdotal evidence for that? Yes, with a 1x you will have worse chainline at the ends compared to a double using big/small or small/big, but on the other hand there can be no crosschaining, and the wear will be spread around the sprockets differently. It's not obvious to me what the overall effect would be.
  • Mr Evil wrote:
    If you're worried about chain and sprocket wear from 11T, going 1x would be a very odd thing to do. Pretty much everything about 1x ends up being a compromise from a chain and sprocket wear point of view.
    Do you have any non-anecdotal evidence for that? Yes, with a 1x you will have worse chainline at the ends compared to a double using big/small or small/big, but on the other hand there can be no crosschaining, and the wear will be spread around the sprockets differently. It's not obvious to me what the overall effect would be.

    Yup - the chainline is worse. You will need a wide-range cassette in order to match (or probably not match) the range of ratios a double will give - you would need an 11T (or sacrifice the low end of the gearing). The steps in the wide-range cassette will necessarily need to be greater giving a worse change and more wear on change. There are a few other effects on chain wear I'd expect too... especially because the chain needs to be designed to flex more.

    And, even those of us that like 11T would probably accept that it's hardly a gear that's used a lot nor is it typically a gear that sees a lot of load.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,027
    Mr Evil wrote:
    When viewing them like this, it's quite obvious that the problem is that the entire upper-right quadrant is empty

    Isn't that just because the way you've defined range would mean a 14 tooth small sprocket would need a huge big sprocket in the upper right hand of your chart - probably too big a gap to work with most mechs ? Range would be better defined as the actual range wouldn't it - big sprocket minus small.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 12,674
    I wonder Mr. Evil, what exact ratios would be perfect that are not available?
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Mr Evil wrote:
    Why not extend it down to 10, or 9? For the reasons I mentioned above about small sprockets. 9t sprockets have been tried a few times over the years, but never catch on because they feel awful. 11t sprockets aren't that bad, but 12 is still nicer.

    If changing chainrings was supposed to be the solution, then Shimano would sell chainsets with smaller ones, but they don't make road chainsets smaller than 50/34. If you want smaller big ring then you have to get a CX chainset, which are 46/36, which reduces the range even more! Even if you consider aftermarket chainrings, you'll struggle to reduce the smallest chainring below 34t on a compact chainset.
    I get what you mean, I don't particularly like the 11t, and on the race bike where I spend more time down that end of the block I have 12-25 and a standard chainset. But on the commuter / touring bike I'd rather have the range and a smaller chainset.

    I guess why not 10 and 9, well maybe because 11 or 12 is where most people find the cut off is? And if you're geared appropriately you won't be spending much time at the extremes of the range.

    The other thing is weight. With a 13 or 14 lowest sprocket you'd eithe be running a very large chainset to get the speed or a very large high end of the cassette to get the range.

    I guess shimano don't make smaller chainsets because either most people fall into that range or because they won't buy proper gearing for whatever reason.
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