Choosing The Best Cassette For Road Bike

One important part of your bike’s drivetrain is the cassette. The cassette is found in the rear hub and consists of several discs ranging from small to large. In this article, I will share with you how to choose the best cassette for road bikes. However, because bike cassettes look similar, determining the best model may be difficult. This may result in you buying a low-quality model if you are not careful. To make your life easier, I will provide you with a list of the best road bike cassettes available on the market.

Table of Contents:

  1. Shimano Tiagra CS-HG500-10 Road Bike Cassette
  2. Shimano Ultegra R8000 Cassette
  3. SRAM PG-1050 Cassette
  4. Campagnolo Veloce 10 Speed Cassette
  5. SHIMANO 6800 Ultegra 11-Speed Cassette

What Is a Bike Cassette

As I mentioned a while ago a bicycle cassette is a group of sprockets found on your bike’s rear hub. It is slotted into a freehub body and is kept in place by a cassette lockring. Usually, a cassette can have anywhere from five to thirteen sprockets. However, current bicycle drivetrains utilize nine, ten, or eleven sprockets. On the other hand, high-end groupsets like SRAM AXS, SRAM Eagle, Campagnolo’s latest Record, and Super Record drivetrains, have recently featured cassettes with 12 sprockets more commonly.

Sprockets size varies depending on how many teeth they have. As a result, a cassette could be 11-32t in size. The first number is the smallest sprocket while the second number refers to the largest sprocket. The smallest sprocket is used for fast pedaling and speed while the largest sprocket is used for climbing hills.

Your bike’s gear ratio depends on the number of gears on your cassette plus the size and number of the front chain ring. Mountain bikes are usually used in a wide variety of terrain which means they require a wide variety of gears. While a narrower range of gears is needed for time trial bikes.

Road Bike Cassette Explained

The main difference between a Road Bike Cassette and a Mountain bike is the size of the sprocket. Most road bikes use a 12-25t cassette which allows smaller jumps between gears for a smoother gear change. This feature allows the rider to ride faster. However, this setup is not suited for hill climbs and tough terrain. If you are having trouble climbing with this setup you can change to a low gear set up like 12-32t.

When replacing a cassette you must take note of your old road bike cassette size. Replacing your old cassette with the wrong size will require a different chain width or a change of rear derailleur. If you want to add a bigger sprocket you need to check if your derailleur can support it. For a larger sprocket, you need to have a longer cage rear derailleur to support a longer chain. Using a small derailleur with a large sprocket will over-stretch the derailleur and eventually break it. You will know it is time to replace the cassette when there is a frequent chain slippage or shifting gears becomes hard.

Note: SRAM and Shimano Cassettes are interchangeable with each other. This means you can use a SRAM cassette with your Shimano Drivetrains and vice versa. However, other brands like Campagnolo are not compatible with other brands.

Best Road Bike Cassette

Since we already have an idea of what a road bike cassette is, I will share with you some of the best road bike cassettes worth your money.

Shimano Tiagra CS-HG500-10 Road Bike Cassette

The Shimano Tiagra CS-HG500 is one of the lightweight nickel-plated 10-speed cassettes on the market. Not only it is durable, but the nickel shot-peened finish also makes it resistant to corrosion. Also, its claim to fame is its smooth-shifting as it can even shift while under load. Using this cassette allows you to ride hills without a problem.

Shimano Ultegra R8000 Cassette

The Shimano Ultegra R8000 11-Speed Cassette features 11-30T, 11-32T, and 14-28T Wide gearing options. It also uses a Trickle-down technology from Shimano’s Dura-Ace line which makes the Ultegra R8000 durable, smooth shifting, and offers optimum performance at a lesser price. Aside from the quiet smooth shifting of the Ultegra R8000 you also get a range of gear options which is very useful especially if you’re climbing hills.

SRAM PG-1050 Cassette

The SRAM PG-1050 uses a PowerGlide technology for this cassette making the shifting smoother. The cogs are made of nickel-plated steel and they feature an aluminum spider that is attached to the largest cogs reducing more weight. The PG-1050 cassette weight comes in at a reasonable 250g (11-23T) and 299g (11-32T). It also fits any 9/10 Speed Shimano freehub because of its spline configuration. This cassette is also compatible with any 10-speed chain made by other brands such as Shimano and Wippermann’s S-series. The SRAM PG-1050 has many great features and what great about this cassette is that it is also affordable.

Campagnolo Veloce 10 Speed Cassette

The Campagnolo Veloce 10 Speed is a lightweight cassette that only weighs 250 gm. Since this is from Campagnolo I am sure that this 11-25T  cassette is durable, reliable, and can provide fast and precise performance. The main feature of the Veloce 10 is that it is designed with Ultra Drive geometry. In simple terms, it makes the shifting easy, silent, fast, and precise.

SHIMANO 6800 Ultegra 11-Speed Cassette

The Shimano 6800 Ultegra 11-Speed Cassette features a rider-tuned wider gearing option. It weighs around 212g for the 11-23T and 292g for the 11-322T. It also features a Hyperglide tooth which allows reliable shifting. The cogs are made of stainless steel which makes them durable.