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Lunchtime drop-in to LBS for new bike build carbon paste. Overheard usual racer banter, and someone said "I was a SRAM fanboy until trying the new Shimano cassette....the gearing is muuuuch better than my Eagle."

He wasn't talking about the supposed-better hyperglide+ shifting under force or the multi-click paddles. His opinion was based on the 39 to 45 to 51 gearing.

SS racers input aside, ha, anyone here agree? That the 39-45-51 teeth, especially the 45 to 51, makes high tempo and end of race climbing that much easier than SRAM's 36,42,50.
 

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Lunchtime drop-in to LBS for new bike build carbon paste. Overheard usual racer banter, and someone said "I was a SRAM fanboy until trying the new Shimano cassette....the gearing is muuuuch better than my Eagle."

He wasn't talking about the supposed-better hyperglide+ shifting under force or the multi-click paddles. His opinion was based on the 39 to 45 to 51 gearing.

SS racers input aside, ha, anyone here agree? That the 39-45-51 teeth, especially the 45 to 51, makes high tempo and end of race climbing that much easier than SRAM's 36,42,50.
With the 39-45-51 I find I (almost) never use the 51 except on the very rare really long really steep climb.

SRAM 36-42-50 I find the 42 just a hair too tall and I would switch to 50 which is a hair too low.

Guess I never thought about it but I guess I prefer the Shimano spacing.
 

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Came from a 26er 3X9 (22/32/44 X 11-34). Used all cassette gears but only the middle chain ring (32). I find I rarely use the two largest gears on my 29er 10-51 SLX cassette. Will most likely go with a 10-45 for a replacement (when the OEM wears out).
 

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I have found I really like the ratio of a 28 front and 42 rear. It was a good all around gear for me. With eagle and 30 I don’t have that sweet spot and hunt between the 42-50 a lot. As soon as mine wears out I plan to go shimano 10-51 because the 30-45 gearing is identical to the 28-42. I like the closer gearing at slower speeds.


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Really depends what your comfortable cadence range it. I never really struggled with the 42->50 jump on a SRAM cassette, but at the same time I appreciated the smaller jump of the 45->51. But someone who has a narrow cadence range might struggle with a SRAM cassette.
 

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You are asking about the suitability for racing. I think it's worth considering in the context of what type of profiles you are likely to be racing on. If my courses were XCM, 100s or anything like that, and had significant stretches of open fire roads and doubletrack with flat to low grades, then I'd probably find it useful to have more closely spaced smaller cogs. Contrast that to typical XCO courses with many quick grade changes in which those closely spaced cogs actually drive me a bit nuts. When I want a gearing change I want a real gearing change dammit :) without having to click 2 cogs every time. Or, if my courses had pronounced long and steep climbs then I'd also prefer to have closer spacing on the larger cogs.
 

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I guess it all depends on how steep and how long, I’ve used SRAM (50) and Shimano (51). I found Shimano better for long, sustained climbs. The Shimano has a better second gear, and the 51 is always welcome on the ugly pitches (and available with all product lines). Basically SRAM’s gear steps are not optimal when compared to Shimano.

This may be off topic, but I also found that Shimano shifts smoother. When I shifted the SRAM, I always felt like it was a big production (loud and rough).

However, the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room is the near inability to find Shimano 12 speed drivetrain parts.
 

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Lunchtime drop-in to LBS for new bike build carbon paste. Overheard usual racer banter, and someone said "I was a SRAM fanboy until trying the new Shimano cassette....the gearing is muuuuch better than my Eagle."

He wasn't talking about the supposed-better hyperglide+ shifting under force or the multi-click paddles. His opinion was based on the 39 to 45 to 51 gearing.

SS racers input aside, ha, anyone here agree? That the 39-45-51 teeth, especially the 45 to 51, makes high tempo and end of race climbing that much easier than SRAM's 36,42,50.
No. This would depend more on the very rare situation that their gear combos more closely match your local racing track. I know pro-racers on both setups and neither seems to hold them back. I'm also top-10 and 42 as my biggest gear doesn't hold me back. There are far more things that contribute to racing than this. Fact: you are probably in way easier gears than most pros and elite experts, even up steep stuff. So we aren't even comparing the same thing. To go as fast as those racers go, you gotta be in much harder gears, even uphill. What does this mean for average joe rider? Nothing. This is just ridiculous banter that doesn't mean anything.
 
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I used to race a lot and was never a masher, always picking the lowest gear for a high cadence setup, similar to Neff. Tempier couldn't care less about the 50+ cog.

I find the shimano spacing much better for overall riding, training, and racing, not pivotal (although helpfull) for XCO but very important for XCM).

SRAM is big on weight and they keep the cogs smaller to reduce it while having the top one as large as possible so they have bragging rights on range.

Really depends how sensitive a rider is on cadence specificity. I know I am.
 

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On SRAM the biggest cog seems like a bail-out. The jump is too big.

On a Shimano 10-51 there's no big jump, so it's more usable on steep climbs.

In any case, spacing in 1x systems is bad, whatever system you choose. I've been riding a Shimano 1x bike for more than a year and I still hate the 10-12 jump with passion, and I still think there's a lack of ufseful range compared to even a 3x9.
 

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Lunchtime drop-in to LBS for new bike build carbon paste. Overheard usual racer banter, and someone said "I was a SRAM fanboy until trying the new Shimano cassette....the gearing is muuuuch better than my Eagle."

He wasn't talking about the supposed-better hyperglide+ shifting under force or the multi-click paddles. His opinion was based on the 39 to 45 to 51 gearing.

SS racers input aside, ha, anyone here agree? That the 39-45-51 teeth, especially the 45 to 51, makes high tempo and end of race climbing that much easier than SRAM's 36,42,50.
Sounds like a fanboy. Gear ratios seldom have that much influence to a trained rider.
 

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I race Expert XCO, XCM and MTB 100s on Sram AXS 10-52. For XCO, the 10-52 allows me to use a 34 front chainring while still having a bailout gear, though I’m not sure I ever use the 52 during an actual race. Though it’s good for my training and it’s my setup for 99% of my riding/racing. I needed the 34 because I was spinning out on my 32 x 10.

For XCM (under 4 hours) I also use a 34 front chainring and the 52 helps me keep the power down on the punchy steep climbs where I’m trying to pace myself rather than go all out like XCO.

For MTB 100s I switch to a 32 front chainring and this allows me to spin (4-5mph) up long climbs in my 32 x 52. It’s ridiculously slow but it allows me to save the legs for later in the race after 8+ hours. I don’t need the 52 very often, but when I do, I need it really bad! Late in the race on a particularly punchy climb I’ve been known to try and shift down only to realize I’m already in my 52. That’s when you know you’re in a really dark place. There is a hole between that 42 and 52 though, a 46 or 48 would be nice, but it’s extremely rare where I feel like it’s missing.

I’ve never used Shimano 10-51 but I’d assume this would allow you to adjust the front chainring to the particular trail/race as Sram’s 10-52.
 

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We have lots of climbing around here. I've never been the strongest legged guy of the group, but usually have the best lungs. The 45-51 gears have made it so much easier for me to keep a high cadence and a good rhythm on the super long technical climbs.
 
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