29er hardtail rear cassette question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    29er hardtail rear cassette question

    Which gearing do you use? I like to stay in the middle chainring up front (may go 1x9 at some point even) but right now have an 8 speed rear cassette (just bought the bike last weekend - Specialized rockhopper comp 29er-). I'm planning a quick upgrade to 9 speed but need some input on which gearing to get. Any opinions pro or con on 11-32 vs 11-34 in 9 speed variates? Is it really just a question of how many hills I plan on climbing in the 34 toothed version? I kind of think I might want the extra gear in the middle that I don't currently have with my 8 speed 11-32 but I really don't know because I'm so new to the 29er world. (came from riding an old Schwinn 7 speed chromolly behemoth)

  2. #2
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    34t seems reasonable and why not. i run a 32t but could just as easily be happy with 34t

  3. #3
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    (I believe) that as a general rule of thumb, the gearing for the 29'r is about 1.5 rear cogs different from a 26'r (to put it in simplistic terms).

    so...

    If you were riding your 29'r in the middle ring, say... (32t), and the largest cog (34t), a 26'r would need (about) a (32t) front x 32 (rear cog)... to be close.

    What I am saying is, get the 34t, it will feel like a 32t on a 26'r.
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  4. #4
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    I use 12-27. I figure that since my 29er hardtail pedals better, climbs better, and weighs almost 10lbs less than my "all-mountain" bike, I can step down the gearing a bit and not suffer. Even if my main ride wasn't heavier, I'd at least want the 11-32 cassette because 29ers keep their momentum better and every pedal stroke seems to add more, even when going uphill. I'm also a middle-ring pusher, but I still have granny if I need it.

    Going 1x9, I suppose 12-34 would make sense, but it just depends on how strong you are. SSers are often riding similer terrain with higher gearing.
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  5. #5
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    I just converted my 29er SS (32x18) to 1x9 and went 9-speed 11-34 thinking I'd want a big range. The 34 tooth cog in the back feels really easy so far, almost too easy. I'm a solid rider, but not that strong--and here in NC we do have more topo than lots of other places I've lived. I almost wish I had gone 11-32 or smaller, like along the lines of what Jayem's using. I guess unless you encounter lots of BIG loooong hills (or you just don't think you can handle it), you'd probably be good going with a smaller range in back, especially if you have 3 rings up front.

  6. #6
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    Depends on where you ride and how strong a rider you are, but in my mind the best thing about the 11-34 is that the #2 cog is a 30. I use that a lot. Probably more than any other cog in back when doing hard climbs.

  7. #7
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    1x9 here with a 11-32 and 34t up front. I dont care for the feel of the 11-34t ratios

  8. #8
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    I like 8spd. More reliable... so just keep it as is for a while and wear it out and see what kind of ratios you'd like. Then decide if you want to buy a new chain, cassette, and shifter to do 9spd.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_engineer
    Which gearing do you use? I like to stay in the middle chainring up front (may go 1x9 at some point even) but right now have an 8 speed rear cassette (just bought the bike last weekend - Specialized rockhopper comp 29er-). I'm planning a quick upgrade to 9 speed
    Why so quick? You just bought the bike. Ride it for awhile. Pay attention to what gears you find yourself using. After awhile, you'll know what gears you need. There's nothing inherently bad about an 8-speed drivetrain.

  10. #10
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    A 29er wheel is 11.5% larger than a 26ers wheel so gearing needs to be adjusted by that degree.

    To get the same ratios as a 11-34 cassette on a 26er you would roughly need a 12-38 cassette on a 29er. Shimano just released a 12-36 cassette for 29ers so that is as close as we can get. Its the same as a 11-32 cassette on a 26er.

    I wish some one would make a 20/29/40 crankset. That would let us run standard cogs and have the same ratios was the 26er's.

  11. #11
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    A 29er wheel is 11.5% larger than a 26ers wheel so gearing needs to be adjusted by that degree.

    To get the same ratios as a 11-34 cassette on a 26er you would roughly need a 12-38 cassette on a 29er. Shimano just released a 12-36 cassette for 29ers so that is as close as we can get. Its the same as a 11-32 cassette on a 26er.

    I wish some one would make a 20/29/40 crankset. That would let us run standard cogs and have the same ratios was the 26er's.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    Why so quick? You just bought the bike. Ride it for awhile. Pay attention to what gears you find yourself using. After awhile, you'll know what gears you need. There's nothing inherently bad about an 8-speed drivetrain.
    One of the guys I ride with hooked me up with a set of X-7 shifters for next to nothing. a grand total of 65 bucks as an upgrade to the extra gear ratio made it a deal I couldn't resist. Besides, the x.4 shifters are pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to parts (I already lost the plastic cover over the indicator this week) So $65 bones for 970 series cassette, 971 chain and the shifters seems like a pretty good upgrade for the money to me.

    By the way, I decided to go with the 11-34.

    My riding style has in the past been to try and power up the hills by standing on the pedals, if I can't find the gears I want with this setup then I'll tinker around with some others. Thanks all for the great replies. I am especially interested to watch for more info about these newer rear cassettes that formulaone33 has mentioned.


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