Road bike cassettes and how to use them is one of the most difficult processes for any novice rider. Professionals also have to be keen when it comes to using and replacing them which makes this one of the most delicate parts of the bike. The drive train is the engine of the bike it is also what you would call the gearbox. The fact that rear cassettes are a maze is one of the reasons why we took the time to figure out the best cassettes for you and your bike.
You, of course, know that the cassettes will depend on whether you are using a road bike or a mountain bike. Our choices are mixed up giving you enough options for you to work with. Mountain bikes will work with larger sprockets providing bigger gear shift leaps while the road bikes will have smaller sprockets with much smaller gear leaps for the purpose of speed. The larger cassettes allow for easier pedaling when it comes to hill climbing. Knowing how the gears work and what to go for will save you a lot of pain and wasted energy on the road.
Our Selected 3 Best Rear Cassettes for Road Bike
Shimano 6800 Ultegra 11-Speed Cassette
(Best Rear Cassette for Road Bike)
Our first best choice was the Shimano 6800 Ultegra 11 speed cassette. This is one cassette that played very well when it comes to a wide range of terrains. The mountain bike cassette is ideal for flat road riding and hill climbs. The cassette worked very well when it came to easier gears. The shifts are surprisingly well because the cogs are not as large. The durability for us was no issue may be the reason being the fact that it is made in Japan. You also get a lock ring for ease of installation. The gearing spread is also an impressive 50-34.
Shimano CS-6700 Ultegra Bicycle Cassette (10-Speed)
Just like many other Shimano products, the Shimano CS 6700 Ultegra cassette provides satisfactory performance, especially on hills. The cassette comes with a rigid aluminum carrier that holds the cog in place when making significant shifts. This avoids annoying grinding that eats up on the chain causing future damage. The cassette also provides great performance when it comes to the ease of shifting and quietness during coasting along flat tracks or downhill. It is also lightweight weighing only 208 grams.
SRAM PG850 8 Speed Cassette
The SRAM-PG850 is a mountain bike cassette worth a mention, and that’s why it took the fourth position. The best aspect of the cassette is the smooth transition of gears as well as a quiet coasting. Is also works with Shimano and SRAM chains while providing light and stiff features for efficiency and the much-needed accuracy. The cassette is also built using heat treated cogs that are not only sturdy but durable. You are certain that you will get very many miles on this one without having to break unnecessary sweat up and downhill. The middle gears are also very comfortable for riding on flat roads.
How I Picked the Best Rear Cassettes?
Picking the best cassettes for this list took months of research and testing out various options. We already had the experience when it comes to most of the options in the market as well as information from the riding community. Narrowing down to the best was not as difficult. The tricky thing about cassettes is that they will work as well as the professionalism of the user. A bad user will most likely not appreciate the value of a good cassette which is why it is important to learn the right way to shift and handle the gears. We also took the time to research on the design and build of the cassettes besides information from other authorities. The fact of the matter is that Shimano stood out when it came to accessories. We considered the pricing, ease of shifty, noise emanating from the cassette especially during coasting and downhill freewheeling, compatibility with various chains, durability and the ease of installation. The number of gears was left to preference. It is evident that we will never use all the gears on a bike no matter how good we are when riding. Some gear combinations are also not allowed since they damage the chain besides being completely useless.
Shimano 6800 Ultegra 11-Speed Cassette
(Best Rear Cassette for Road Bike)
|Price||This is one of the pricier options we have. The cassette, however, holds down very well providing the much-needed support for most extreme riders.|
|Ease of Shift||Mountain bike sprockets are usually wider apart. This does not affect this cassette as it also allows smooth transitions for hilly climbs and downhill riders. It is also ideal for flat tracks.|
|Noise||You get little to no noise with this, especially during coasting. It is one cassette that will give you a peace of mind allowing you to enjoy the trail.|
|Compatibility||The cassette works with most drivetrains. It is wise that you check before making a purchase, though. It will hover work with any SRAM or Shimano Bike.|
|Durability||Stainless steel is both noncorrosive and sturdy. This means that the cassette will give you quite some miles without also being too heavy.|
|Speeds||You get 11 speeds which are awesome for a mountain bike. This means that you can go as low as you want for some extra miles.|
|Installation||Installation is fast and easy. It took about 15 minutes to get this one on.|
|Coasting/Freewheeling||Freewheeling is possible for coasting.|
Shimano CS-6700 Ultegra Bicycle Cassette (10-Speed)
|Price||The cassette is pricier than the rest of the options which is why it lands me the last position. It, however, offers great service for mountain bikes.|
|Ease of Shift||Perfect shifting for a big cassette. The cogs are very close making it easy for the chain to move up and down without straining the gear cables.|
|Noise||The cassette is quiet allowing you the time to take in the surroundings without having to push away the annoying sounds.|
|Compatibility||Compatible with most drivetrains. You do not need to do much to adjust the drivetrain neither do you need to reinstall any parts of it.|
|Durability||Stainless steel that is not only corrosive free but lightweight enough for better speeds while on the road.|
|Speeds||The cassette is ten speeds giving a wider range of climbing hills. This means that climbing gets easier with this installation.|
|Installation||Installation is fast and easy with the right tools.|
|Coasting/Freewheeling||Allows for freewheeling.|
SRAM PG850 8 Speed Cassette
|Price||This is also a reasonably priced cassette that is ideal for mountain bikes.|
|Ease of Shift||The sprockets are close enough to allow fast and easy shifting without putting a strain the gear cables. The cogs are perfect when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the chain over time.|
|Noise||Very quiet especially during freewheeling downhill or along a flat path.|
|Compatibility||Works very well will a large number of drivetrains without having to change components. They are especially good for Shimano chains rings which fit perfectly well without any need for adjustments.|
|Durability||Made of stainless steel which is noncorrosive and sturdy enough to withstand pressure and long term of use.|
|Speeds||An 8-speed bike that allows for hill climbs and fast descents, you also get comfy coasting and freewheeling on flat tracks.|
|Installation||Installation is fast and easy enough for any novice ride to do.|
Features of a Good Rear Cassette (Buying Guide)
This is one of the most sought-after features for the obvious reasons. The pricing of a cassette is dependent on the brand besides the number of sprockets and cogs. Most of our options are cheap, but we also have some extremes. Making a decision at the store will be largely dependent on what you are going for. The best in the market being Shimano is one of the most reasonably priced for most cassettes. Going for cheap ones may prove costly in the long run when it comes to damage and wears. Expensive ones will also not necessarily offer you what you want on the other hand. A good balance when it comes to pricing is hit by the right information about the cassette. Buying an expensive one knowing very well that it has outstanding performance is okay as opposed to making a lucky strike. It is possible to find good cassettes that are as cheap as $12 and some that are as expensive as $200. Mountain bike cassettes are more often than not pricier because they are made of sturdier material besides being much bigger. The road bike ones are much smaller despite having more cogs in some cases.
Ease of Shift
One of the many reasons why people will change their rear cassettes is due to difficulty when it comes to shifting. The first thing you need to know is that you should never shift your gears when stationary. You should also never change your gears when riding uphill all over sudden. This not only strains them but causes extreme damage. That being said, it is wise that you look for a cog that works with your derailleur without much adjustment. Those that fit directly without a lot of work going into them are best. The shift from lower to higher gears and vice versa should be graceful whether they are designed for mountain bikes or road bikes. The ease of shift also makes it easy to ride for long hours without getting tired. The difficulty in shifting should be a good indication that it is time to get a new cassette in and in some extremes the whole unit. It is, however, important that you check your gear levers and cables to ensure that everything is working finer before blaming it on other parts. A process of elimination will easily point out to a faulty cassette system.
One of the many signs that a tired cassette will give you is noise. Noise will emanate from many points on the drive chain if the damage is already setting in. There is nothing as annoying as having to put up with noise from the cassette while coasting or freewheeling downhill. This cannot only be distracting but a sign of damaged drivetrain parts. One of the main areas is the cassette. A cassette will not have to be worn out to make noise. Some people will not mind the ratchet-like noises that they make while others will prefer a completely silent cruise. The truth is that noisy ones will most likely have lubrication or setting problems. The quieter the cassette, the better it is the rider. The best will numb this noise to a silent hum whether you are freewheeling or cycling. The shift of gears will also be quiet transitions as opposed to a lot of cranking and clicking. Noise could also mean a problem with the gears you have shifted to. Our options have passed the test of serenity allowing you to concentrate on nature while riding.
It is likely that you will get SRAM and Shimano cassettes on the market. Installing these has to be well thought of since compatibility could be an issue. The best will be compatible with the chains and the chainrings. The best thing about SRAM is that it works very well with Shimano parts. Shimano accessories will work with most of the other products. It is wise during purchase that you take into consideration the kind of drivetrain you have right from the chainrings to the chain. The fact that you may not be able to return the cog may not work very well for you. Compatibility enables the various parts of the bike to work in sync despite the fact that they come from different manufacturers. All our options are very much capable of working on any drivetrain as long as it lies within the SRAM and Shimano specifications. It is wise that one takes into consideration the compatibility since the chances are that you may need to replace some parts just to get the whole unit to work together. This may prove to be more expensive than necessary. Incompatibility may also be from damage that has been experienced by the rest of the parts. It is always wise to buy parts that are similar, but this should not limit you from taking a different route by working with different parts that agree. Buying from a store owner that understands these parts will save you the pain of using parts that do not agree.
The durability of the cassette is all about the material used to build it. Most sets are made of reinforced steel that is also light. The chainrings are, however, made of aluminum for the purpose of decreasing the overall weight of the bike. Steel is both sturdy and corrosive free allowing you to wash the bike without exposing the whole unit to rust. This does not mean that lubrication is unnecessary. The durability of the cassette also comes with the type of build. The cogs are usually joined and will easily get damaged with impact or the wrong kind of use. The best will last both in providing great performance and maintaining integrating.
The speed that the cassette will allow is also one of the main considerations when it comes to making purchases. Most of the current options are 11 with some rare 12-speed options. The number of cogs on a cassette will determine the speed of the bike. This will, of course, work hand in hand with the chainrings. Some chainrings will have a single cog while others will have two or three. The one with three allows for ease of riding especially in extreme hill climbing. The bigger chainring, when combined with the smaller cogs on the rear cassette, allows faster speeds downhill. It is wise that you check the number of cogs you are getting and how far they are from each other. Cogs that are far apart will most likely present issues when it comes to shifting. The weight of the cassette will also affect the speed of the bike especially if it is a road bike. Road bikes thrive on speed and so the lighter the cassette, the better it is for them. There should however not be a compromise when it comes to the durability of the cassette.
Cassettes that are easy to install are best especially if you are a novice rider. You also have the option of visiting a store for a complete installation. This will cost you some extra money. Some hubs will need to be removed for installations to be made while others will allow you to install the whole unit using a spline. This may not be a major determinant but will be an issue for those that play a number of cassettes for racing purposes. The easier it is to install one, the easier it is to maintain it. Cassettes will get tighter with time and so one that allows easy removal with your set of tools is advised upon. The right tools for the job should be used so as to make sure that you do not damage the parts of the unit during installation. Taking time to work with cassettes that are easy to install and will save you a lot of time.
Coasting and freewheeling is all about gliding with momentum. Cassettes that allow you to do this without causing any strain on the bikes are best. Some will even allow backpedaling while others will not. Most of the cassettes in the market will be freewheeling which allows for the option of a coating. Freewheeling is ideal especially when you want your feet to rest after a great deal of cycling. It is impossible for you to cycle all through without taking a rest.
Why Trust Me and This Review
It is impossible to ride for years and not spend a lot of time working with rear bike cassettes be it installation or repair. Nothing is as tiring as having to work with slipping cassettes or even worse, damaged chains. Most of these issues will point to a faulty cassette or simply the incompetence of using one. A novice rider needs to take time and learn on how to sift and manage the gears so as to avoid damaging the drive train system. I have made very many wise choices as well as wrong ones over my riding career, and one thing that has stood out is that riding is all about your ability to get the gears right. A pro will know how to maintain the 80 to 100 rpm without a struggle no matter the kind of bike you use. There are of course extremes when it comes to steep hills whether you are going downhill or uphill. My friends and I thought it wise to put together a list of cassettes that will not only improve riding but make it easier for the rider. The choice of cassettes we made ensure smooth transitions when shifting and a quiet ride. The idea was also to ensure that you know what is best for your bike. Buying a cassette is quite an investment depending on what you are going for, and so it is wise that you make a wise decision right from the start.
Who is This Guide for?
This is for all novice and professional riders that feel the need to improve their user experience. Cassettes can be annoying especially when the chain starts to not only slip but also malfunction. Some people get so frustrated that they change the whole unit right from the rear wheel to the wheel ring. Your troubles will possibly lie with the cassette. The right cassette will eliminate most of the other issues including slipping of gears, a malfunctioning derailleur, cross chaining, damaged chains and slow shifts. Picking the right one for the purpose of replacement requires the right information. The fact that there are thousands of options in the market does not exactly make it easy. You will also not get a chance to test the unit before making a purchase at the store. Learning how to install the unit is an added advantage as a beginner. You will need to have full intimate knowledge about the type of cassette you want. This includes knowing the kind of performance you want to derive from your bike in the end. Novice rider may not know what to go for, but will never go wrong with these five options and a little gear shifting education.
The right choice comes with the right information. Taking the time to consider all the factors that need to be considered before buying a cassette will give you as a buyer confidence about what to get. We recommend any of the above cassettes because they have been tried and tested and given the right results. This sin not to say that there aren’t any other options in the market. These will work across some options without hitting an unnecessary compromise. Some people will compromise quite for smooth transitions while others will compromise the number of gear options for the price. The right compromise is also about value for money. The best will not only give you service but last for a long time while doing so.
Last update on 2017-12-16 at 09:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API