So originally I just wanted to know if anyone likes to have an everyday cassette and save a mountain cassette for especially brutal hill and mountain riding, and was trying to figure out if it's worth keeping the 11-25 or just use the 11-28 as the single setup.
All the talk about not needing more than X amount of gears (less than any of the major road bike manufacturers offer now, other than single speeders) for riding, whether it's for recreational riding or racing, is a little like arguing over whether it's really necessary to run more gears than a 4MT on a sports car, since it worked so well back in 1987 on your Porsche 911 SC before the '89 G50 5-speed came to market. Bicycle technology has advanced to incredible levels over the past 30 years. Whenever those advances come, it makes riding easier, faster, more efficient. And that translates into whatever you choose, whether it's just cruising, climbing rolling hills at an easy pace, going on moderate social rides, training hard and getting faster, or racing at recreational, club or pro levels. Is it more enjoyable to row a 4-speed gearbox in your SC than a 5-speed in an '89 930, or than a 6-speed in a '97 993? That's subjective. As long you're enjoying yourself, whatever the setup, it's all good, as long as you like it.
My observations: Whenever there have been advances in automotive technology, and/or bicycle technology, I've had more fun, and I've been able to reach higher levels of performance. I'm still the same guy, still putting out the same effort, just getting more output for the input. I just changed the tools and technology I was using to enjoy myself, or to accomplish a particular objective (both really). In my case currently, I'm getting back into cycling, loving it, and trying to get back into great shape too...and hopefully I'll get some racing level speed and stamina back, to the point where I just might enter my first crit. Do I have to win, or am I going to turn into a serious racer-head? No, I don't have the time to devote to be an elite racer. But I'll enjoy riding just as much as I always did when I was younger, and the new bike technology is just a ton of fun to play with. My recent frame build (which I'm still improving) has led to miles of smiles already. I'm enjoying riding more than ever, and so glad and grateful to be healthy enough to be rejuvenating my riding life.
Could I have fun driving an '87 SC 4-speed 911? Or my 1985 English Raleigh road bike with Reynolds steel frame and Campy Super Record 10-speed drivetrain? Sure. Would it be as high performing as the newer gear? It just can't keep up. Currently, I'm riding with faster guys all the time, and I'm trying to bring my performance up. I have to use comparable tools, otherwise, I'm not realistically going to reach my objective.
Edited by Super D - 4/15/14 at 5:49pm