Creating a 28-30-32 cassette 11 speed,can it be done


I ride an ultegra 11-32 cassette and am unhappy with the ratios on offer. As far as I can tell this is unsolvable with stock parts.

Top 2 sprockets are 28-32

I ride occasionally in the French Alps where mountains tend to be 4-12% on the sustained sections

Up to 7% ish I’m generally happy in 34/28 or higher but above that on longer climbs I’m often wishing for 34/30. 34/32 is overly easy so if I shift I feel like I’m excessively lowering my speed and have to increase cadence more than I would like. I still need the 32 on occasion so won’t change to an 11-30 cassette which is otherwise the obvious choice.

What I need is 28/30/32 on the top 3 sprockets which as far as I can tell is unavailable in this universe.

I’m not changing to 12 speed as I have already forked out for etap 11 speed wifli which I couldn’t be happier with. Also not changing cranks so limited to a 110bcd 5 bolt pattern.

I can live with losing a gear somewhere at the smaller end of the cassette as there’s more flexibility to change the big ring and compensate.

I don’t want to buy a 33t chainring as these tend to be budget 9 speed steel affairs, I would consider it if a decent ring were available but it still doesn’t get me all the way to my dream 3 ratios.

The best idea I’ve had is to buy an 11-30 cassette, ditch the 11 and also buy a wide range MTB cassette with a loose 32t sprocket somewhere in the middle. I can then stick the 32 behind the 30 on the road cassette giving me the ideal setup.

Before I go for this admittedly ridiculous and expensive option does anyone know of a better way please?

I would add that my current cassette is now worn, otherwise I would simply live with what is a fairly minor issue but as I’m paying out anyway I would like to have something I’m truly happy with.



Not sure if this helps your situation at all but if you get a BIGGER chainring, then you can change the gear ratios too and use a bigger cassette for the same ratios

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Showing my age here, but I miss the days when every gear was an individual cog and you could create your own cassette options.

Those days are long, long gone though….

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I thought about this but the 11-34 cassette has 30-34 on the last 2.

With a 36 chainring you replicate exactly the same ratios I already have which is unfortunate

I can’t find 30-32-34.

Also 34 is pushing it on the derailleur

GRX cranks?

Not a preferred option, I’ve already got expensive Dura ace cranks, I’ll live with the existing setup before changing those.

What about a sram 11 speed cassette? Aren’t they supposed to be compatible with shimano chains? May require an XD free hub. SRAM offers 11-32 and 11-36. The 11-32 does not give you the 30-tooth cog, though, but at least it is a complete cassette.

Maybe Miche? Miche | Cycling since 1919 | Miche We Race Together
I haven’t tried, but it looks like you can build your own cassette.



The “normal” SRAM cassettes are all still Shimano HG compatible (not XD/R). But they all suffer the same “problem” with the 28-32 gap at the low end.

I scanned through Sunrace and Microshift and they all follow suit. I have not seen anything with the desired combo listed (28-30-32).

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Yes, sadly the SRAM are the same, I have one on another bike. It doesn’t seem as though the miche option is possible either.

You can’t even buy a mountain cassette that has a loose 32 sprocket so I’ll have to buy a cheap one with no plastic carrier and Dremel out the relevant sprocket.

Surprisingly quite a difficult problem

Thankyou for helping

in terms of % change the 28-32 jump is about the same as the the 25-28 jump, and only 3-5rpm difference at climbing speed compared to the 30

I’m not saying it’s a huge problem by any means but it is 6.7% difference between the 30 and 32.

If I was putting in a proper effort at FTP on a steeper climb of 10-12% I just happen to sit between those gears at 90-95rpm and this just seems to occur for me more frequently than you would expect around the hills I like to climb.

The difference is either 20w at the same cadence or 6-7rpm at the same power. Whilst it isn’t major, if you applied that same margin on say a 1 hour threshold session it’s definitely noticeable.

For whatever reason, in my incredibly specific case I don’t notice the 25-28 jump as badly.

I get what OP is after but I’d say they’re overthinking it. When you would want the 30, either use the 28 with a slower cadence or the 32 with a faster cadence. You should be comfortable within a large enough range of cadences that this isn’t an issue. If it currently is, it will be good for your cycling to work on it.


Whilst you’re totally correct in principle. I find this an interesting position to adopt.

Bearing in mind I’m looking at this for occasions involving a solid effort, not just for fun riding where it wouldn’t be “important” I would consider the following

  1. Pros swap between 28,30&32 tooth cassettes in the Tour de France on the same hills I’m riding, clearly it doesn’t apply at the same point and they are chasing far smaller gains/ are massively better optimised than myself but ultimately that 30t option exists for the same purpose I want it for - they can’t pedal the 28 at some points but a 32 would be non ideal.

  2. I doubt the position would be the same if I moved to a smaller cassette for a flat time trial, yet mechanically this represents an identical situation.

I appreciate everybody’s help, we have at least confirmed it can’t be achieved which has been useful to me.

I’ve abandoned this altogether now and simply bought both an 11-30 and 11-32 cassette. I’ll live with the minor inconvenience and swap between them depending on the occasion

Case closed :slight_smile: