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  1. #1
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    best 1x cassette

    I am considering a slightly larger range cassette. A 10x44 or 10x46. Do people prefer any one brand over any other? I am thinking XT grade against similar Sram. There are others out there too. E-Thirteen for example. They make a 9x44 and up to 9x50.

  2. #2
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    I feel strongly that the SRAM/Hope/E13 design is significantly superior to Shimano's cassettes/cassette-freehub interface due to a few reasons. 1, they don't have loose gears that dig into the splines. This is still an issue and although a few hub manufacturers have come up with radical ideas like steel inserts for the splines, advantage 2 negates having to do this anyways. Using steel or titanium freehub splines, as shimano intended, is no problem, but there are lighter hubs than XTR and far far more drive/engagement choices. The first 4 gears are totally loose and 3 and 4 are only the width of the teeth, which means these dig in super-easy. Almost no one uses the old loose-gear cassettes these days, especially on any high end hub, yet this is still an issue for me and I suspect many other people. 2, the SRAM/Hope/E13 system is far lighter for equivalent gears. I just got one of the Hope 10-40 cassettes for my fatbike and it's 268g (yes, I measured it). That's pretty much identical with the x01 10-42 on my Pivot XC bike as far as weight. I also have an XTR 11-40 to use on my heavier fatter fat wheelset, that's 327g, keep in mind, that's the highest-end of the high-end that shimano puts out. XT cassettes in the 11-40+ tooth range have ballooned to 400g or more these days. So the weight savings can be pretty signficant IMO and you'll save further weight with an alloy carrier hub, so all the more reason to. Hope's system is similar to, but not the same as Sram, but the cassette concept is largely the same as far as construction. You can mount them up to DT or Hope hubs, I'm going to use the 1up DT adapter.

    IMO, SRAM has beaten shimano at their own game here, a better interface that is significantly lighter. Sram doesn't do this in every area, shimano still has a better crankset interface IMO, but this one (cassette) is a winner IME.

    The E13 is interesting, they usually put out pretty quality stuff, but I don't need to go to 46-50 (and you need to be sure your derailleur can handle such extremes) and 9t is way overkill for winter fatbiking IMO, even in the summer spinning up these heavy wheels, I'm sure you could use it on a road in some situations, but I wouldn't hedge the cassette's worth on having a 9t. Might be nice on my XC or AM bike.

    Sram X01 is the same weight as XX1, within 5g. That was my "value leader" for my lightweight XC bike, although now you can get the Hope cassette AND the hope freehub from CRC for something like $280 (and the DT driver is even cheaper, so you can do it for closer to $260 if using DT hub), cheaper than the $300 the X01 level cassette usually goes for. Hope durability and future production is unknown of course.
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  3. #3
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    Do each of these other manufacturers require that you replace the freehub with their proprietary freehub in order to use their cassette? I know Shimano and Sram are not compatible.

  4. #4
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    Hope works with hope drivers, which hope (hope hubs) and 1up (DT Swiss hubs) make. These aren't very common right now, but they are available.

    Sram and e13 and I believe there's at least one more now, all work on the XD sram driver, available for most high end hubs. This was the first 11spd standard and has wide support.

    Shimano 11spd works on traditional splined carriers.

  5. #5
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    Interesting. If I have a Shimano chain and chain ring, can I still use a Sram cassette? I have seen notes where Sram suggests you use a Sram chain with their chain rings. Is it the same with cassettes? It would start getting expensive if I had to replace everything.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Interesting. If I have a Shimano chain and chain ring, can I still use a Sram cassette? I have seen notes where Sram suggests you use a Sram chain with their chain rings. Is it the same with cassettes? It would start getting expensive if I had to replace everything.
    Depends how much milage you have on the existing chain, whether you should use it on a new cassette.
    But in general no issue on Shimano or SRAM chain on any cassette.
    Personally I prefer the kmc chains, just picked up a 10sl from Amazon for$32 I think.
    Everytime I've tried SRAM chains they have broke. Never again.

  7. #7
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    I had a X1 cassette start making a lot of noise at less than 1500 miles. it still shifted decent, but it was definitely worn. For $250 I find this unacceptable. I haven't had the same issue with XT. I'll take the longevity over weight. I also snapped the X1 splines trying to remove the cassette, they all broke at once, leaving the cassette stuck to the driver. Sram warrantied it, but I still needed a new driver, so going XT was an easy choice at that point

  8. #8
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    If you are starting from scratch, new hubs, new driver, and not reusing old parts, an XD driver is the best choice. The downside of the XD driver is the compatible wide range cassettes are $$$, three to four times the cost of a Sunrace cassettee which will fit s Shimano driver.

    I have lots of wheels with Shimano drivers and I ride wide range cassettes, I run the Sunrace 11spm, 11-46 cassettes. At $50 a pop, they're tough to beat.

  9. #9
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    I still think the best bang-for-the-buck is Shimano XT. Available in 11-40, 11-42, or 11-46, and can be had for $60 or so.

  10. #10
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    If you want to go really small chainring in front (like 26T) I think SRAM GX casette is a good deal for ~100 EUR and allows to keep good range (due to 10T).
    I also got a bulk of SRAM NX 11 speed chains for about 12 EUR (!) each which is a steal. Chain seems to hold just OK, no noises, good shifting, and mileage seems to be the same (I change 2-3 chains per year) as other much more expensive chains (from shimano or kmc).



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  11. #11
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    Was reading this and someone please explain why in the hell a standard freehub is being referred to as a "Shimano driver"???

    For the love of God, all that stuff is confusing enough for the avg person. There is no such thing as "Shimano driver". Its a standard freehub body that's been around long before 10 and 11 speed was even an idea on a napkin. Only difference, some newer ones are a tad longer (and have a spacer) but that's it's.

    It's a freehub body, stop confusing people calling it a Shimano driver. The only "driver" is the SRAM XD.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Was reading this and someone please explain why in the hell a standard freehub is being referred to as a "Shimano driver"???

    For the love of God, all that stuff is confusing enough for the avg person. There is no such thing as "Shimano driver". Its a standard freehub body that's been around long before 10 and 11 speed was even an idea on a napkin. Only difference, some newer ones are a tad longer (and have a spacer) but that's it's.

    It's a freehub body, stop confusing people calling it a Shimano driver. The only "driver" is the SRAM XD.

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  13. #13
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    Actually not, it's the truth. Calling it "Shimano driver" when some SRAM and other cassettes also fit makes a mess of things for new people.

    The whole driver thing didn't really exist until the XD drivers for SRAM 11s (which even they have gone to offering a non-xd version of their cassettes).

    It's a matter of posting knowledge that average people can understand. MTBR is for everyone, not just cycling snobs.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Was reading this and someone please explain why in the hell a standard freehub is being referred to as a "Shimano driver"???

    For the love of God, all that stuff is confusing enough for the avg person. There is no such thing as "Shimano driver". Its a standard freehub body that's been around long before 10 and 11 speed was even an idea on a napkin. Only difference, some newer ones are a tad longer (and have a spacer) but that's it's.

    It's a freehub body, stop confusing people calling it a Shimano driver. The only "driver" is the SRAM XD.

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    Pretty sure Shimano developed the original freehub which has not changed much, other than getting longer, over the years. Shimano, XD whatever, they are all freehubs, driver is just another perhaps confusing term for the same thing. Specifying Shimano or XD lets people know which format the freehub supports.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    I am considering a slightly larger range cassette. A 10x44 or 10x46. Do people prefer any one brand over any other? I am thinking XT grade against similar Sram. There are others out there too. E-Thirteen for example. They make a 9x44 and up to 9x50.
    What crank do you have? If you haven't already, have you considered going to 28T?

    I have the e*thirteen TRSr (9-46) on my 29er and really like it so far. Got it for $260 from Amain and chose to replace my chain when I installed it, but works great with everything else stock on my bike (XD driver, X1 r-der). I use it with a 30T up front and love the range, but I think the 9T cog is kind of a gimmick and I hardly ever use it.

    For comparison, I have a 28T with 10-42 on my fatbike that mostly does the job. I think 28T with the 9-46 would be perfect on my fatty, could climb pretty much anything and I think I might actually use the 9T with a 28T. I might eventually go that route but the 28T up front is working well enough for me for now that I can't justify the expense of going to a wide range on the back quite yet.

  16. #16
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    I have both SRAm xD and standard Shimano. They are both good. But in many cases i prefer the Shimano as i know i can find a cassette easily if something happens. I can appreciate the interface that the xD has, but the price can be a hurdle for my riders.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Actually not, it's the truth. Calling it "Shimano driver" when some SRAM and other cassettes also fit makes a mess of things for new people.

    The whole driver thing didn't really exist until the XD drivers for SRAM 11s (which even they have gone to offering a non-xd version of their cassettes).

    Nope. The freehub body issue has been around for FAR longer. Campagnolo has its own freehub body, too. Anyone with exposure to Campy has been aware of that for decades.

    According to Sheldon Brown and wikipedia, "freehub" is actually trademarked by Shimano. So you're the idiot.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freehub

    My cassette preference is for something that's reasonably good, but not stupid expensive. So far, the Sunrace 11-46 fits that bill for me.

  18. #18
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    OK so I'm an idiot for people here changing the name of a freehub to Shimano driver is a bad idea and insanely confusing???

    Wow guys, just wow.

    As for cassettes, I'm with Harold (though got a stick shoved in the wrong place tonight). Sunrace cassettes do a good job and a decent price. Have them on all but my road bike now.

    PS:. I know wth campy is. Total proprietary system. So what that freehub is trademarked by Shimano. Up until SRAM XD driver came into existence unless specifically discussing campy, freehub was a freehub, SRAM and Shimano fit it. SRAM except XD still fits it. Why make it more confusing??? And why be asshats to people for thinking that suddenly changing things (on here, show me where it's stated that way by all the manufacturers, where they say SHIMANO DRIVER) is only making things more confusing than they already are.

    Don't like being called bike snobs, don't act like it. Gives all cyclists a bad name. And it's a major reason why there is such hatred towards us. Attitudes say more than anything else about the culture and industry

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  19. #19
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    Take the silliness off line, it's not helpful.

    I'm assuming the OP has a Shimano standard free hub body and he's looking at getting a wide range cassette.

    11-46 would be my recommendation with a 26-28t chainring depending on your terrain.

    Something to keep in mind, trying to backpedal in the largest cog will often cause the chain to drop to the next smallest cog. Ex: 11-46, drops to 42t.

    I like having the 46t as a bailout, but I ride mostly in the 42t or smaller.

    Since moving to 11-46, I have two Sunrace 11-42 cassettes for Shimano, mint condition, pm for sale price.

  20. #20
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    Anyone have experience with the 1 UP 50 tooth mod?

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    26-28 on 11-46? I have 26 with 11-42 on my fat bike with 4.7 tires and it's almost too low, top end is max that I really want to try and push with the big tires. Going that big in the back would mean on any of my bikes I could go bigger up front so I have more top end and don't spin out quite so easily. Fat bike included.

    Where do you guys ride you make use of gearing that low but don't need more top end? I ask because that gets well below walking speed even up hill in what I've dealt with so far.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Where do you guys ride you make use of gearing that low but don't need more top end? I ask because that gets well below walking speed even up hill in what I've dealt with so far.
    Everywhere, all the time. I run 24 x 10-44 year round on all of my off-road bikes. Up and down mountains, with and without snow, with and without bikepacking loads.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Everywhere, all the time. I run 24 x 10-44 year round on all of my off-road bikes. Up and down mountains, with and without snow, with and without bikepacking loads.
    Interesting. I like knowing I have some low end when needed. A lot of our trails have 2-5 mile climbs. Some even more. Occasionally along a moderately steep single track climb, there will be a very aggressive section where it is nice to really gear down for a few hundred yards. I was thinking 26t-28t in the chainring and 44t-46t in the cassette for my low gear.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Interesting. I like knowing I have some low end when needed. A lot of our trails have 2-5 mile climbs. Some even more. Occasionally along a moderately steep single track climb, there will be a very aggressive section where it is nice to really gear down for a few hundred yards. I was thinking 26t-28t in the chainring and 44t-46t in the cassette for my low gear.

    If you run the gear inches 24 x 44 ends up a bit lower than 26 x 46. Either is pretty dang low, and you end up using them most often as "bailouts" to catch your breath after a steep stinger. But sometimes the grade is steep and long enough to want to go that low during the climb. Nice to have options.

    I have a ~mile of mellow pavement climbing to get to the local trails, which means a mile of mellow descending on the way home. I can spin the 24 x 10 at ~22mph pretty easily down the hill on that grade. In other words, in ~3 years of running this gearing I have yet to feel like I need more top end.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Where do you guys ride you make use of gearing that low but don't need more top end? I ask because that gets well below walking speed even up hill in what I've dealt with so far.
    On some climbs it's about being smooth and pedalng, rather than powering through, when you are riding snow/ice. The idea is to maintain a smooth pedal stroke with no pulses and kind of "feather" your power, you need a low gear for this. In reality, it's a very small percentage of riding and doesn't affect everyone. I already get up more than most people can, but if I had slightly lower there's a few more I could do. Worth it? Hard to say.
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  26. #26
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    My thoughts here:
    1. Cassette "bite" into freehub splines doesn't cause any problems. As mentioned above, just use a steel or steel-reinforced freehub body if you're worried about it. The weight penalty isn't worth worrying about to me.
    2. Shimano freehub mechanisms are very reliable in my experience. Also, I personally prefer Shimano's use of cup-and-cone bearings. Shimano engagement is a bit slow, though. YMMV.
    3. I've never used an XD driver but it looks like a great design and might be a little lighter than using a steel freehub bodied Shimano hub.

    You probably can't go wrong either way.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post

    Where do you guys ride you make use of gearing that low but don't need more top end? I ask because that gets well below walking speed even up hill in what I've dealt with so far.

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    You get up danged early.

    You are right, you can walk up something as fast as you can turn a 20 inch gear. However, there are times, at least where I ride, that getting off the bike to push is not a good option.

    In winter, you can climb things (especially with studded tires) that you can't even stand on.

    All year, if you get off to push on a 20% grade, you aren't going to get back on until the top. Make that 10% if you are carrying baggage.

    ...and walking always entails getting off and getting back on, regardless of grade or surface, which often cancels any gains made by walking.

    You can always shift to a larger gear; that last click says you can't shift down any more.

    A short addendum, I just ran the numbers and if I change from 28 to 24 teeth in front, I'm in the same range as a 50t shark. Without spending hundreds of dollars.

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  28. #28
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    I'm on an XT 11-42 cassette (great value) with 26T up front. Can't say I would need anything lower than that. On my next build, I am going 22 x 11-36 (which gives me about the same gearing as 22x42). I don't have any rides where I'm needing a taller gear than 22x11. I can't say I've ever been in the 11T, except to adjust the derailer and remove the wheel.

  29. #29
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    I guess what I've ridden so far is relatively flat. We get snow here but last couple years we haven't gotten a whole lot.

    Anything that I've had to walk in the past I've chalked up to just needing to improve (and has been the truth so far).

    I'd expect the deep snow out west/north to be a bad idea to try and walk (seen the pics of guys up to their knees or hips while fat bike keeps them on top of it).

    The smooth control for climbing I get that one, again thought it was purely my inability to spin smooth enough. Seems based on what you guys are saying there is a limit where lower gearing just becomes required.

    Going to have to give that a try next winter, I limit my trail riding on the fat bike in the snow because when I have that issue sometimes trying to walk usually means me on my ass at least once.

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    ...I'd expect the deep snow out west/north to be a bad idea to try and walk (seen the pics of guys up to their knees or hips while fat bike keeps them on top of it)...
    I'm out in the west. Snow deep and soft enough to swallow knees and hips...you're not riding that. Even on Snowshoes 2XL at close to 0psi, unless it's 5%+ downhill, is not ridable. In my experience.

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    OK so I'm an idiot for people here changing the name of a freehub to Shimano driver is a bad idea and insanely confusing???

    Wow guys, just wow.

    As for cassettes, I'm with Harold (though got a stick shoved in the wrong place tonight). Sunrace cassettes do a good job and a decent price. Have them on all but my road bike now.

    PS:. I know wth campy is. Total proprietary system. So what that freehub is trademarked by Shimano. Up until SRAM XD driver came into existence unless specifically discussing campy, freehub was a freehub, SRAM and Shimano fit it. SRAM except XD still fits it. Why make it more confusing??? And why be asshats to people for thinking that suddenly changing things (on here, show me where it's stated that way by all the manufacturers, where they say SHIMANO DRIVER) is only making things more confusing than they already are.

    Don't like being called bike snobs, don't act like it. Gives all cyclists a bad name. And it's a major reason why there is such hatred towards us. Attitudes say more than anything else about the culture and industry

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    This isn't that difficult...

    SRAM XD Freehub...

    best 1x cassette-xdfh.jpg

    Shimano Freehub...

    best 1x cassette-sfh.jpg

  32. #32
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    You kind of missed the discussion there lol.

    It had nothing to do with the differences, just the confusion of now calling the Shimano freehub a Shimano driver.

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    Nah that was what started the discussion. SRAM drivers for their 11s set up.

    I just think it's confusing to sudden change the name of what everyone knows as freehubs (Shimano but until SRAM 11s it mean SRAM cassettes too) to Shimano drivers. Someone that isn't experienced in all the different standards now would be totally confused between "freehub" and "Shimano driver" when there is not difference between the 2 and it's only when 11s is brought up does "driver" come into play. For around here anyway.

    SRAM just did a good job of adding another standard to sort out, then even better they start making 11s cassettes that will fit standard freehubs like their 10s and below.

    No need to make things more confusing than they already are.

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  35. #35
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    So Jenson calling the XD driver a freehub doesn't bother you, but people calling a Shimano freehub a driver does?

  36. #36
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    I can't imagine that too many people find this confusing.
    Now, Bottom Bracket Standards, that's confusing!
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    That's no kidding. I just found one I didn't know existed. BB30A. Came on my new Cannondale. Was a "WTF where is my bearing cups" when I first saw it.

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  38. #38
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    Or headset standards. Or wheel "systems".

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    That's no kidding. I just found one I didn't know existed. BB30A. Came on my new Cannondale. Was a "WTF where is my bearing cups" when I first saw it.

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    Well, cannondale has kind of been the king of proprietary headset and BB sizes over the years, so that's kind of par for the course.
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    I saw the headset coming (upper model uses a lefty). I didn't know Cannondale was that bad though.

    But coming with a sunrace 11-40 10s was really nice. Though I may get an 11-42 (or wait till I can go 11s) and get 11-44 or 46.

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    Life on a bike doesn't begin till the sun goes down.

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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    You kind of missed the discussion there lol.

    It had nothing to do with the differences, just the confusion of now calling the Shimano freehub a Shimano driver.

    Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk
    The terms are interchangeable and the majority of us understand it.

    If you do a Google search, Shimano Driver and Shimano free hub come back with the same results.

    Not sure why you got your undies in a bundle about it.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    That's no kidding. I just found one I didn't know existed. BB30A. Came on my new Cannondale. Was a "WTF where is my bearing cups" when I first saw it.

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    Bearing cups is for PF30.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  43. #43
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    Bearing cups are not only pf30, they are used for many of the bottom bracket standards.

    And if you google Shimano driver it actually returns "Shimano freehubs"

    Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    And if you google Shimano driver it actually returns "Shimano freehubs"

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    Yup. That's why I said it's an interchangeable term. No matter which word you decide to type in google, the result is the same part.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    26-28 on 11-46? I have 26 with 11-42 on my fat bike with 4.7 tires and it's almost too low, top end is max that I really want to try and push with the big tires. Going that big in the back would mean on any of my bikes I could go bigger up front so I have more top end and don't spin out quite so easily. Fat bike included.

    Where do you guys ride you make use of gearing that low but don't need more top end? I ask because that gets well below walking speed even up hill in what I've dealt with so far.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
    Northern Cascades.

    It's not so much steep, as steep and sustained, 46t is bailout, most of the time I'm climbing in 36 or 42.

    Gearing is not something you can compare across regions, what you need is what you ride, that or you walk.

  46. #46
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    Thnx, I as just trying to understand the reasoning behind such low gearing. As I said earlier I thought more of it was physical but even then there is a limit.

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