I wonder if someone can help me please. I am looking to buy a new casette, but i do not understand the difference between 11-32, 11-34 and 12-34. I have tried searching the forum but I could not find the answer.
I a big fan of the 11-34. I had an 11-32 on my mountain bike and I switched it to an 11-34. I would rather have the option to have the 34 tooth cog and I have hit some hills that I wished I had more teeth. . .
the be all and end all of the cassette. The intermediate cogs between the high and low gear will be different for each as well.
11-32 range 11-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32
11-34 range 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34
12-34 range 12-14-16-18-20-23-26-30-34
As you can see above the intermediate cogs differ by at least one tooth between the 11-32 and 11-34T cassettes. This gives the 11-34 a very different feel than an 11-32 on a given bike. The higher the tooth count the "easier" it is to turn. Over all an 11-32 will be a faster cassette in any given gear but the 11 t cog. The 12 -34 differs from the 11-34 only in the 4 highest cogs, the 12-34 would be a slower cassette in those cogs due to the higher tooth count.
So which to choose? It depends on your bike, the terrain you ride, your riding style etc. General rule of thumb is, if you ride a heavier bike, think a full suspension 4 to 6 inch travel trail or all mountain ride at 28lbs +, ride in hilly terrain with frequent steep climbs or long grinders that wear you out, or would just like a lower gear range, then an 11-34 or 12-34 would be the way to go. If you ride a lighter weight hardtail or XC full suspension, ride where climbs are moderate, or just don't need the lower gearing the 11-32 would be the ticket. Check to see what's on your bike now. If you have an 11-32 on it and it works for you there's really no reason to change it. Like I said, the cassettes all ride quite differently when it comes to pedaling. Unless there is a pressing reason to change it's better to stick with what you are used to.
Oh, and an additional word of advise. If you are replacing the cassette, replace the chain too if you haven't already. A chain will wear into a given cassette in as little as 50 miles of riding. It the cassette is worn out and the chain has worn into it, it won't mate up right with the nice new cogs and could set you up for drive train problems, chain skipping in the rear etc.
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