Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Want It Wednesday - Shimano 11 - 28 Cassette


Can you calculate in real, honest-to-goodness, hard numbered data a Want It Wednesday?  Not just in the cost to your pocket, but in the advantage you gain on the bike?  I’m not talking some vague “happiness” measure, but something actually numeric?  Let’s find out…

By the way, you should totally join in the Want It Wednesday fun – check out Jez’s site for the details on signing up!

Let me begin with a cross race I do every year called Green Acres, and yes, it is the place to be.  What makes Green Acres unique in cross races is that it starts straight up a hill that is used in the winter months as a snow-tubing hill – as you can imagine, it is quite steep.  If you don’t appreciate the beauty of this scramble up the gravel service road while attempting to gain the hole shot, don’t worry, you get to climb this hill on every.  Single.  Lap.

Before I rode Green Acres I had no idea what gear ratios were.  Now, I still only have the foggiest notion of what they are, but I can essentially sum up my knowledge with this: add more teeth in the rear cassette and you get an easier gear. 

The Shimano 11 - 28 Cassette
When I rode Green Acres the Spouse made an offhand comment that has since taken root in my mind and flourished.  While watching me struggle up the hill for about the sixth time, he says to the guy he’s standing next to, “I should really get her a 28-tooth cassette.”  

The cassette on my cross bike ends in a 27-tooth ring.  I’ve done the math.  I’ve looked at calculators and waded through boring articles on the interwebs.  One additional tooth on the largest ring on my rear cassette doesn’t get me much.  It’s quantifiable. 

…and yet…every time I have to ride up the hill at Green Acres I think about that 28th tooth and the relief it would give me.  However small it may be, however miniscule the shift in effort, I am convinced in that moment that it would be worth the investment (currently going for $79.96 at Competitive Cyclist).