Has anyone run the Shimano 105 12 speed w/11-36? Pondering an upgrade 🤔

Currently running Ultegra R8000 11 speed Di2, typically with an 11-32 cassette. As I’m getting fitter I’m seeking out more climbs on my local routes, but I need all the help I can get since I still have weight to lose.

My bike came with an 11-34 cassette and I never really liked the spacing…the 11-32 was better but there were times I wished for another gear. I know some folks have had varying degrees of success with a SRAM 11-36 or even XT 11-40 cassette but I’m not sure I want to chance it since they’re out of spec for the 11 speed derailleur.

It’s time to replace chainrings…then I saw some places have a new 11 speed crankset for not much more than the rings (and mine is all scratched)…and then I saw a bunch of places have deals on 12 speed components. I can do the work myself and sell current parts…so I could probably do a Shimano 12 speed group (Ultegra shifters/crank and 105 derailleurs) for net $800ish. This would allow me to run a 11-36 cassette which is basically my current 11-32 + an extra climbing gear :star_struck::star_struck:

I get this sounds like I’m lookng for justification to buy upgrades so I can ride up grades :rofl::rofl::rofl:

I’m wondering if anyone has used the Shimano 12 speed 105 11-36 cassette…does it shift smoothly or is it clunky to deal with the bigger cogs? I think it must have a longer cage since it’s rater for 34 or 36, not 30 or 34 like the Ultegra (from what I’ve seen).

12 speed Di2 is advertised as having faster/smoother shifting…have you found that to be the case or is it comparable to the last gen?

I’m running the SRAM 11-speed 11-36 cassette now with my Shimano Ultegra R8000 derailleur on my gravel bike, and it works perfectly fine. I’m running this with 50-34 chainring combo


Definitely the more cost effective route!

I wasn’t sure if the Sram spacing was the same as Shimano…sounds like that’s not an issue. Thanks!

Yeah, Shimano is typically pretty conservative with their gearing limits. So you can usually go at least one bigger than they say you can without too much issue. The main issue that you may run into is to get the chain long enough you then have slack in the small-small combo so you just have to avoid that gear.

A few decades ago, I used to magically ride up hills in a 39-25 because that was the lowest gear I could get without fitting a long cage touring derailleur or having a triple crankset.

Greg Lemond probably won the Tour de France on an 11-23 and a 42 small chainring.


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I’m slightly slower than Greg Lemond :upside_down_face:

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I joke!

I actually downgraded my cassette from 11-29 to 11-32 and was able to set a new PR on our local 30 minute climb with a little more spin in my legs.

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Yes - back in my racing days I went up Alpe d’Huez in a 39-23. Same day Andy Hampsten won that Tour de France stage. Needless to say his pace and mine were vastly different

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