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  1. #1
    valgal
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    Cassette gear ratios

    Could someone please explain the differences and advantages or disadvantages between the 11/32T cassette and 11/34T cassette. I currently have the XT 11/34T on my Santa Cruz Blur XC and am looking to possibly upgrade it to the XTR titanium cassette to save weight but am not sure about the gearing ratios. I do lots of steep climbing and technical riding on granite rocky trails, I'm also dabbling in a little racing this year. Any input or suggestions are appreciated!!

  2. #2
    bmg
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    toss up

    Quote Originally Posted by valgal
    Could someone please explain the differences and advantages or disadvantages between the 11/32T cassette and 11/34T cassette. I currently have the XT 11/34T on my Santa Cruz Blur XC and am looking to possibly upgrade it to the XTR titanium cassette to save weight but am not sure about the gearing ratios. I do lots of steep climbing and technical riding on granite rocky trails, I'm also dabbling in a little racing this year. Any input or suggestions are appreciated!!
    First, XTR is only ~25g lighter. That's 1/18th of a pound. Makes the $75 MSRP XT vs. the $190 MSRP XTR seem silly. Better deals can be found, but still alot for the weight IMHO.

    As for the ratios, a good site commonly referenced is: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears. Choose 9-Speed AQ/AR and AS for the cassette types to see the difference. If you decide on XTR, they make a 12-34 as well.

    I would say that if you currently use your 34t alot, you'll want to get the 34t again.

    Good Luck!

    -bmg

  3. #3
    valgal
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    gearing

    Ok, let me rephrase the question. does 11/34 offer easier gearing vs the 11/32 or 12/34. Easier to pedal or harder to pedal? In other words, if I'm in granny gear mode, which one of these cassettes would offer easier pedaling for climbs and which one would offer more efficiency for racing?

  4. #4
    bmg
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    gearing

    In the front, the bigger the chainring the harder it is to pedal.

    In the back, the opposite is true. So a 34t would be (marginally) easier to pedal than a 32t.

    I doubt you'd notice the difference racing either cassette.

  5. #5
    Blanco
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    If you're racing and you're in 22-34, it's faster to pick up and walk. Plus it's a tiny weight savings. Don't worry about it.

  6. #6
    trail rat
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    The 32T rear will give you 17.9 inches of forward motion for each pedal rotation.
    The 34T rear will give you 16.8 inches of forward motion for each pedal rotation.

    The difference is 1.1 inches less forward motion per pedal stroke with the 34T gearing.

    You say you are racing? Do you really want to go 1.1 inches less for each pedal revolution? Either way, stay with the 32T minimum, stand up and crank 'em!
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  7. #7
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    Doesn't the shift in gear teeth continue on down the line?

    The gears on an XT cassette go..

    11-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32

    or

    11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34

    Your getting that slight kick in gear development all the way through the cassette until the 11t cog, which, frankly, I've only used once or twice on a mountain bike. Maybe that's my problem? Plus, again, the 11-32 is a little lighter.

  8. #8
    valgal
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    Hi Slocaus,

    pardon my ignorance, but when you say 11/32t offers 1.1 inches more forward motion, is this when in the smallest chainring in the front? Also, my leisure riding, and racing is often on rocky technical terrain, and I need an easier pedal stroke in granny gear to maneuver over obstacles and not lose momentum on the uphill. I also have a full suspension xc bike (4 inches of travel), so hammering it out of the saddle isn't reality, especially on uphill, I need to stay planted in the saddle to keep traction. I live in the Sierras with lots of sharp granite rocks, and loose shale.

    Thanks for the info.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by valgal
    Could someone please explain the differences and advantages or disadvantages between the 11/32T cassette and 11/34T cassette. I currently have the XT 11/34T on my Santa Cruz Blur XC and am looking to possibly upgrade it to the XTR titanium cassette to save weight but am not sure about the gearing ratios. I do lots of steep climbing and technical riding on granite rocky trails, I'm also dabbling in a little racing this year. Any input or suggestions are appreciated!!
    Well, do you use the 34 much? If not, go to the 32. 22x32 is still a pretty low gear. I used to run a 24x32, and thought that was low enough.

    Stay away from the Ti. It will wear out faster, cost more, and the cogs have been known to bend.

  10. #10
    trail rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by valgal
    pardon my ignorance, but when you say 11/32t offers 1.1 inches more forward motion, is this when in the smallest chainring in the front?
    That 1.1 inch figure is assuming 22T small front ring with 32T vs 34T rear cogs using this gear chart.
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