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Which cassette to buy?

Old 06-16-22, 03:19 PM
  #1  
raybo
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Which cassette to buy?

My local bike mechanic recently retired and now his shop is an optometrist. There aren't any other bike shops particularly close and I am willing to do some repair work myself.

I recently (yesterday) replaced the chain without mishap. I didn't have a replacement cassette and I hoped that I could avoid replacing it for a while yet. But, no such luck. After my ride today, it was clear that my favorite gear is no longer functioning. I can still use other gears without problem, so the bike rides OK, but it is clearly a matter of time before I have to replace it and, besides, I like riding in my favorite gear.

I know that the cassette is a 9-speed with 11-32 cogs. It is a free wheel and the derailleur is a Shimano Diore.

On-line, I see all kinds of 11-32 9-speed cassettes. Several are made my Shimano. SRAM and other (unknown) brands make them as well. There are some major price differences.

Does it matter which brand of 9-speed 11-32 cassette I buy? If not, how do I decide which one to buy?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice you have.
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Old 06-16-22, 03:37 PM
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My go-to shop for my touring bike recently put on a 9 speed SRAM cassette and chain on a Deore hub. Think itís an 11-34. Certain about the 34 part. Word great. Donít know the part number, but I could probably find out. The shop also had an 11-32, but Iím too old for that.
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Old 06-16-22, 04:17 PM
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I've had good luck with both Shimano and SRAM cassettes. I'm not too picky, I'll put either a 32 or a 34 on the bike with the 24 small crank, but only a 34 on the one with the 26.

I tried a couple Performance house brand cassettes a while back, don't remember how they did. I have read horror stories about soft aluminum cheese cogs on no-name brands, so I tend to avoid those. In general, if one of the big name mail order places carries it (thinking Universal Cycles, Excel, Bike Tires Direct, etc.), it'll probably be OK. If you have to scrounge in the dark corners of the internet (fleabay, aliexpress) looking for low prices, well, remember you'll be lucky to get what you pay for.
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Old 06-16-22, 06:04 PM
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You said freewheel and you said cassette. I assume cassette is what you need, not a freewheel.

I use eight speed, not nine speed. I have always used SRAM 11/32 cassettes, they have had a couple different grades and they were only a few bucks different in price. The last one I bought was at REI because it was not more than Amazon. And the time before, I bought from Amazon.

You were silent on tools. Do you have the cassette lockring tool? And a chain whip? And an adjustable wrench, half inch drive ratchet or bench vice to put on the cassette tool? If you need that stuff, there probably is a good video on youtube from Park Tools on how to swap out a cassette. Park Tools and Arts cycle are the two places that I think highly of their youtube how-to videos.

It does not matter which brand nine speed cassette you buy. When I say that, there are Campy cassettes that will not work, but I do not think they made an 11/32, so that should not be anything to worry about. If you know that 11/32 is what you have used, stick with it.
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Old 06-16-22, 06:17 PM
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I have a hypercracker that has worked in the past. If I can’t make that work, I am willing to get the proper tools or have a shop install the new cogs.

i don’t have a work bench, so don’t have a vice.
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Old 06-16-22, 06:32 PM
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I am from the bike industry, I can help. In the old days there were different hardnesses of metal in cogs. (Rockwell hardness test) an old Regina had teeth that were soft, Rockwell hardness test of 20. A Suntour would have hardness of 40, very hard, like a file. All of the Shimano cogs are a hardness of 30 except Dura Ace which had a few Titanum cogs, but otherwise 30 hard. The less expensive cogs are typically no finish (black) bump up the price and you get galvanized cogs. bump it up a little more and you have something they used to call Cromica (or something like that) next up is low grade chrome,. Next grade up and it's buffed chrome. So all the higher cost is largely about the aesthetics. As you pay more, the holes get a little bit bigger and on the chrome cogs, some have an aluminum center, for lightness.
I have had really good luck/ super nice shifting from Sunshine cassettes, Not as nice shifting (sometimes) with the low end SRAM casettes. You can't go wrong with the Shimano cassettes.
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Old 06-16-22, 06:49 PM
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11 speed Sram cassettes have different tooth counts on the middle cogs, with Sram biased toward faster riders -- closer shifts at the smaller cogs end. Shimano has closer shifts at the slower speeds, in the larger cogs.
But it looks like the 9 speed from Sram or Shimano have the same cogs.

It's worth getting a real cassette tool and a cheap chain whip. I used the Park Tool cassette tool that's hollow, and it really needs a quick release attached to it and the hub to keep it held in place correctly.
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Old 06-17-22, 12:34 PM
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your favorite gear doesn't work no more, cause that's the gear you spend most of your time in.
wears down faster than the others as the chain stretches. you replaced the chain which meshes
with the other cogs, but your favorite is too worn. ooops.

the sun race cassettes work with shimano systems.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/393407373836

buy yourself a cassette tool at the same time, something like this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/403638707857

chain whip? you don't need no stinkin' chain whip!
you got a chain you just removed.......use that.
with the wheel removed, wrap once around one cog, wrap the other end around something.......i use the porch railing.
that'll hold the cassette while you remove the lockring with the tool and a big ol' crescent wrench.


for repairs on the road, i found (after much searching) a 6" crescent that would open enough to fit the casette tool.
and when i install a new cassette, i tighten with the tool by hand, then 6 clicks with the crescent wrench.
with that tightness, don't need a chain whip to remove on tour. i can hold the cassette.....with good padding....
in my hand to pop the lockring.

Last edited by saddlesores; 06-17-22 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 06-17-22, 02:20 PM
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I documented here what I use as a substitute for a chain whip while touring, but this assumes that the cassette lockring is not torqued down really tight. It might not work after a mechanic tightened the lock ring really tight.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/8...l#post13982584

Wow, I wrote that post a decade ago, time flies when you are having fun.

But if your lock ring is not overly tight, sounds like you already have a tool that you can use.

I also recently bought one of these, tried it once to make sure I knew how it works.
https://www.tradeinn.com/bikeinn/en/...ze/137598216/p
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Old 06-18-22, 06:53 AM
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I'd caution against moving to a 34-tooth cog. Your chain length and rear derailleur may, and probably will, handle it, but some cannot.
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Old 06-18-22, 08:02 PM
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There exist 11-32 9s cassettes with different cog progression. I like Shimano HG201 or HG200 (11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32 ) because they do not have big gaps in the middle. Microshift H92 has the same sequence. Shimano HG400 is 11-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32, it has the 18-21 jump.
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Old 06-18-22, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I have a hypercracker that has worked in the past. If I canít make that work, I am willing to get the proper tools or have a shop install the new cogs.

i donít have a work bench, so donít have a vice.
Vices are for shops, we almost never removed the cassette tool, just drop wheels on and go, but its never been necessary for cassette removal or install. Don't cobble the job, get the park tool chain whip. You'll obviously need a cassette tool. If you have a 1" wrench it'll go a long way toward preventing the tool from slipping out of the lock ring, but an adjustable will work fine, the part people miss is to get the wrench as close to the lock ring as possible even if it isn't fully on the lock ring tool, it prevents the lock ring tool from twisting out. Cassette wise, get the best shimano or sram you can find, they don't make really high quality any more so they're not that expensive but the better ones do shift better and weight less.
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Old 06-19-22, 03:25 AM
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I prefer the 9 speed 12-36 as it has the best separation ratios.
12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36.
It works the best with a half step setup. I like 48x45
If you have 48, 45, 42, 39 chain rings it is an uncomplicated way to change for flat to hilly terrain
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Old 06-19-22, 04:22 PM
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I ordered the Shimano HG400 9-speed cassette. I used the hypercracker tool to remove the lock ring, installed the cassette, and then tightened the lock ring. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes. First time I've done it in my own garage by myself. A quick test showed it worked. So far, so good.

Excited to have done this by myself!

Thanks for all your help.
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Old 06-19-22, 06:21 PM
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Do we issue certificates to mechanics that passed the test with flying colors?
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Old 06-21-22, 02:25 AM
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1. No
2. Whichever is cheapest
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