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

Hi

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.

Thanks

Andrew

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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Thankyou

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.

-Tim

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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.

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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:

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