Cassette for climbing

I have no idea about the hills you have mentioned. I have recently swapped to a 50/34 with an 11/34 cassette.

Love the combo and would never want anything less.



very cool!

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holy cow…i thought i was at least of average intelligence…until i tried to understand this calculator


Yeah, and I’d even consider SRAM’s 11-36 cassette. I did some climbing today and even if you can turn a 33:30, a lower gear will allow you to spin more quickly.


A few thoughts:

  1. Yes, get a bigger cassette. Lots of options, especially if you add a wolftooth roadlink, longer cage and longer chain.
  1. Triple bypass is on Colorado mountain roads. These are not as steep as mountain roads in the Alps. Whatever you need for triple bypass, you’ll Need more for the Alps.

  2. Add some low cadence sweet spot/tempo intervals to your training. I find this helps a lot for climbing.


I’m with @Power13 on this one! Make sure you’ve got that 1:1 gear!

34 small chainring, 34 largest back cog.

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And you can use this website to calculate power output at that speed on a grade.

Eg at 5.5mph on a 10% grade (not uncommon in the Alps), a 70kg rider will be putting out 214W.

So it you plan on long rides in the Alps, it might be worth a 36 or 40 tooth big cog.


I rode in the Alps in 2017 on a 34:30 with a lower ftp than yours and power was not a problem, even on Alpe d’Huez but I really felt I would have liked to be able to raise my cadence, so I would go for a 34:34, even if you need a new rear mech. I’ve just gone 1:1 on my 1x winter bike and on the local 15% pitches it’s brilliant.

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This is one of the mysteries of the cycling (gear) world to me. My FTP and W/kg are average in the TR pack (see the bell curve discussion). On the steep climbs in my area the KOMs are done with roughly twice the average speed of my best time. The rest is mathematics, as an example:
Pro: 39 chainring x 30, at 85 rpm => 14 km/h
Me: 34 chainring x 32, at 60 rpm => 8 km/h
So with this setup my cadence would likely drop below 60 rpm (the gear calculator does not go below 60 rpm).

The mystery to me is why bike manufacturers don’t offer gear combinations that would allow the amateur riders to have the same climbing experience (cadence) as the pros but at lower speed? Today that means going creative with gear and installing something like a roadlink. The 1:1 gear ratio mentioned above will still lead to cadences way below optimal on steep climbs. The average TR rider should not be thinking about converting from 30 to 34, but from 30 to 40 for long and steep climbs. In the pride vs mathematics match-up, pride seems to be dominant today.


Make sure whatever derailleur you’re have can accommodate whatever cassette you want to use.

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I’m currently running 50-34 and 11-40 with an Ultegra R8000 long cage mech. No need for a wolf tooth. Current crankset (quarq dfour) is not compatible but I also have 46-30 absolute black chainrings as an option.


I use Sram CX 11-36 with Ultegra Di2 R8000. Works perfectly fine. This is my cassette for “special occasions”, I can totally recommend it :slight_smile:

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What was it now that Amber recalled in a recent podcast? … “I never met a gear I didn’t like.”


Did you have to change your derailleur ??

No, it is stock sgs without any changes. I tried also 11-42 from my MTB but it was too much :slight_smile:

11-40 is the practical maximum you can run on a roadie Shimano drivetrain (using a long cage derailleur) without resorting to something like the Wolftooth Roadlink.

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But you might also have to use longer (ergo new) chain when you make extreme changes, though.

Has anyone had any success using the WolfTooth Roadlink and a short-cage cassette?

If so, how many extra links did you need to put on your chain? Is there any skipping or difficulty shifting around?

I’m looking to turn my RD-7900 (older 10spd DuraAce rear derailleur) that currently has an 11-28, which is the max range, to run an 11-32. The WolfTooth seems like the best bet without buying a new RD.

The site says it’s compatible, but I would be interested to hear if anyone has done it before to get a wider climbing range.

Edit: Now I’m seeing this: Double chainrings are only supported with medium cage rear derailleurs . Maybe it’s not possible :cry:

Interesting, I didn’t know this was even possible. I do have a 10speed XTR derailleur, so that’s good to know I would need the 9 speed