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Here's the scoop: I'm looking for a 9-speed cassette, and I've no idea what's good for me in terms of what teeth number I need or want, much less know what the numbers mean! Here's a snippet from PricePoint's tech help section on buying a cassette.

"The numbers you see when ordering a cassette relate to the number of teeth on the smallest and largest cogs. A smaller first number will give you more top end speed while a larger second number will give you an easier gear for climbing."

Can someone also tell me what's the difference between the SRAM 900-series cassettes?
 

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djork said:
Can someone also tell me what's the difference between the SRAM 900-series cassettes?
It's all explained on their site. But to cut a long story short, the main differences are in weight (the higher end ones mount the cogs on an alloy "spider" to save weight, and use an alloy lockring) and the finish on the cogs. The higher end 980 and 990 are nice and shiny, use the alloy spider and an alloy lockring. In the case of the 990 the spider and lockring are a blingy red anodised colour. The 970 is a basic all steel cassette with alloy lockring, and less shiny plating.
 

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Like Sideknob said....

it's pretty much explained on the site. But here's the basic scoop. The numbers 11-34T indicate the number of teeth on the smallest and the largest cog of the casset. Typical 9 speed mountain cassettes run 11-32T and 11-34T. The higher the number of teeth the easier it is to pedal and the slower you go, like low gear in a car, The lower the the number of teeth the harder it is to pedal, but the faster you go, like high gear. What will work for you depends on the terrain you ride, how heavy your bike is, and your preference and your fitness level. In hilly terrain with lots of steep climbs or with a heavier all mountian FS bike the 11-34 is a good bet. Gives you that lower bail out gear that can really help. For light weight bikes, rolling hills, or more flat terrain the 11-32 will work fine.

As for the 900 number designations of SRAM cassettes, Sideknob hit it all. It's simply a designation of the quality level of the component. Just like Shimano uses Deore, LX, XT, and XTR to designate the level of thier components. With SRAM the first number designates the number of cogs, i.e a 950 is 9 speed, an 850 would be an 8 speed cassette. The second two numbers are the level. So a 950 cassette is not as nice and doesn't have the high end features of a 990. Of course the 990 costs considerably more too.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Good Dirt
 

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Armed with all the great info above, you should now be able to tell us what you currently have on your bike.

What do you have now? Use it as a starting point for your decision.

What terrain do you ride? Use it as part of the final decision.

How much money can you spend? Use that to cap it all off and make your decision.
 
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