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Sram Apex 11-32 10 speed cassette + Shimano shifters & rear derailleur = fear no hill

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

 

Sram Apex 11-32 10 speed cassette + Shimano shifters & rear derailleur = fear no hill

Sram introduced its Apex drivetrain group this summer. It’s meant to compete with Shimano 105 in terms of price and performance. The group provides 20 speeds, a triple is not an option from Sram. To provide a wide range, an 11-32 10 speed cassette is available. Sram and Shimano cassettes use the same hub design. I knew the cassette would fit on my Shimano 105 hubs.

I was less certain that the 11-32 cassette would fit the rear derailleur or would shift well. I have an Ultegra 6600 “GS” rear derailleur, this has a longer cage than the usual Ultegra. Chain wrap would not be a problem, the GS can handle a triple crankset. The rated capacity on the rear cog is 28, so fitting a 32 might not be possible. The derailleur upper idler wheel must be able to float below the cog when on the largest cog or the rear hanger and/or the derailleur will be damaged. Much to my surprise, the derailleur has the capacity for 32 when installed on my Lynskey road bike. A shorter hanger could reduce the capacity, so this may not be true for all bikes.

Sifting quality was my next concern. Was the cassette going to provide the smooth shifts I had with a 12-27 shimano cassette? The cog spacing on the Sram Apex is greater than the Shimano, with a 11-12-13-15-17-19-21-24-18-32 cog set. Would the indexed spacing provided by the Shimano shifters provide the right increment for the Sram cassette? The Sram cassette provided the same fast & smooth shifts as the Shimano cassette, another pleasing result.

On the road the spacing of the cogs is noticed. If I’m at 20 mph, I can use a 34 chainwheel in combination with 12 cog, and have an 11 or 13 cog to use as the terrain changes. The spacing on the 50 chainwheel is 15-17-19 at the speed range, and the change in cadence in noticeable on the larger chainring.

But the total range in huge, greater than a 50, 39 & 30t triple crankset with a 12-27 cassette. Climbing steep hills at very low speeds is smoother and easier on the legs with the 34 & 32 gearing option. High speed descents at 35 mph can be cranked using the 50 & 11 combination.

This might be the best set-up for hilly century courses.

post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post

 

Sram Apex 11-32 10 speed cassette + Shimano shifters & rear derailleur = fear no hill

Sram introduced its Apex drivetrain group this summer. It’s meant to compete with Shimano 105 in terms of price and performance. The group provides 20 speeds, a triple is not an option from Sram. To provide a wide range, an 11-32 10 speed cassette is available. Sram and Shimano cassettes use the same hub design. I knew the cassette would fit on my Shimano 105 hubs.

I was less certain that the 11-32 cassette would fit the rear derailleur or would shift well. I have an Ultegra 6600 “GS” rear derailleur, this has a longer cage than the usual Ultegra. Chain wrap would not be a problem, the GS can handle a triple crankset. The rated capacity on the rear cog is 28, so fitting a 32 might not be possible. The derailleur upper idler wheel must be able to float below the cog when on the largest cog or the rear hanger and/or the derailleur will be damaged. Much to my surprise, the derailleur has the capacity for 32 when installed on my Lynskey road bike. A shorter hanger could reduce the capacity, so this may not be true for all bikes.

Sifting quality was my next concern. Was the cassette going to provide the smooth shifts I had with a 12-27 shimano cassette? The cog spacing on the Sram Apex is greater than the Shimano, with a 11-12-13-15-17-19-21-24-18-32 cog set. Would the indexed spacing provided by the Shimano shifters provide the right increment for the Sram cassette? The Sram cassette provided the same fast & smooth shifts as the Shimano cassette, another pleasing result.

On the road the spacing of the cogs is noticed. If I’m at 20 mph, I can use a 34 chainwheel in combination with 12 cog, and have an 11 or 13 cog to use as the terrain changes. The spacing on the 50 chainwheel is 15-17-19 at the speed range, and the change in cadence in noticeable on the larger chainring.

But the total range in huge, greater than a 50, 39 & 30t triple crankset with a 12-27 cassette. Climbing steep hills at very low speeds is smoother and easier on the legs with the 34 & 32 gearing option. High speed descents at 35 mph can be cranked using the 50 & 11 combination.

This might be the best set-up for hilly century courses.

 

I love how you ask a question about spacing. SRAM and shimano road is the same. Even SRAM shifter will work with shimano derailers. 

 

I thought that was pretty common knowledge.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Just have to check the entire system. putting a 32 t cog on an RD rated for 28 was the real issue.

post #4 of 22

You can always put an XT derailleur on there if capacity is a problem (which in your case it wasn't). The other 10-spd option that has been around for a few years now. Is a 10-spd 11-34 cassette that Shimano makes for Santana tandems.

post #5 of 22

Michael

 

I have a XX 11/32 cassette (10 speed) that I used on the BTC.  I'm back to riding a 11/28 at the moment.  The 11/32 is great for climbing.  I do find a couple of jumps are a bit too big (even with 10 speed) and they always seem to be where I'm riding.  It's in the middle of the cassette.  If the jump was a little bit less, I'd ride the 11/32 all the time.

 

Without the 11/32, I can't ride the last mile up to Ward.  It has to do with my endurance, the drop in power at elevation (the last mile is between 8600 and 9200 feet after 15 mile of climbing).  With the 11/32, I'm just able to spin the increase in grade out.  Now, if I lost another 20 pounds and gained another 20 watts, I'd be smoking.

 

Mike

post #6 of 22


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Michael

 

I have a XX 11/32 cassette (10 speed) that I used on the BTC.  I'm back to riding a 11/28 at the moment.  The 11/32 is great for climbing.  I do find a couple of jumps are a bit too big (even with 10 speed) and they always seem to be where I'm riding.  It's in the middle of the cassette.  If the jump was a little bit less, I'd ride the 11/32 all the time.

 

Without the 11/32, I can't ride the last mile up to Ward.  It has to do with my endurance, the drop in power at elevation (the last mile is between 8600 and 9200 feet after 15 mile of climbing).  With the 11/32, I'm just able to spin the increase in grade out.  Now, if I lost another 20 pounds and gained another 20 watts, I'd be smoking.

 

Mike

 

ride SS MTB and you wont notice any jumps in your cassette. :P
 

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi Mike,

 

I'm using both a 105 road triple (50, 39 & 26t) with a 12-27 ten speed cassette on my Cyclocross/touring bike and the 50 & 34t compact with the 11-32 Apex ten speed cassette on my road bike. I agree the 11-28 will provide a much tighter range than the 11-32. I also find the 39t chain-ring very good to use on flat terrain.

 

All of my hill climbing comes in short 15 to 22% bursts, the longest such climb is less than two miles. I'll attend a 200k next week with 13,500 ft of climbing, but the steepest climbs are less than a mile long each. The longest decent will be 3 miles. For this event, I will be above 25 mph for 1/3 of the ride, below 10 mph for a 1/3 of the ride and the rest will be in the 10-25 mph range. The compact gearset with the 11-32 cassette has benefits in this rolling terrain. While rolling down hill, I shift to the big chain-ring and can stay on cadence at any speed above 15 mph. While heading uphill, I shift to the smaller chain-ring and stay on cadence from 6.5 to 22 mph. While my cadence will range from 85 to 100 rpm, I find this acceptable.

 

I will continue to prefer the triple on the CX/touring bike when most of the route is not very steep. On flatter routes, that include a few sharp climbs, the smallest chain-ring is used as a "bail-out" option. Here, the 39t chain-ring & 12-27 cassette is king, and can be used most of the time. It allows a narrow 90 to 100 cadence from 10 to 25 mph. The 50 chain-ring is only used on longer downhill descents.

 

My preference is to shift less often while remaining on cadence and having the range of gears needed. Sometimes the wide range double is the solution, other times the triple is better. If I had to use only one, it would be a triple.

 

Michael 


Edited by WILDCAT - 8/9/10 at 6:49am
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

I thought I would do a follow-up report on the Sram Apex 11-32 ten speed cassette in combination with a compact crankset.

It performs on rolling terrain perfectly. I'm able to use 34t chainring and the nine of the rear cogs (12-32) for any uphill situation at speeds less than 20 mph. Steep hills are easy, with a smooth 60 rpm cadence @ 5 mph. That's a real knee saver and makes a long, hilly day much easier. I'm also able to use the 50t chainring and nine of the rear cogs (11-28) for any downhill situation at speeds over 15 mph. As long as the terrain is rolling, up or down, the gearing is golden.

The problem is on flat terrain. Even small changes in speed create the need for shifting of the front chainrings and double or triple shifts at the rear. It's too easy to cross chain on the small chainring or to be on the 17 or 19t cog while on the big chainring.

Next weekend I have a flat 200k in Illinois. I've already put a 11-23 cassette on the wheel. I've also put a standard crankset with a 50 & 39t chainring set on the bike. I'll be able to stay on the 39t chainring up to 25 mph. This will reduce the need to shift to the big chainring to a few times an hour. I'll have four hills that I'll have to grind out on the 39 & 23 combo, but these are less than 10% and less than 1/2 mile in length.

There is no one-size-fits-all in gearing.

post #9 of 22

The Apex 11-32/Shimano set-up works just fine with a 105GS (mid cage) as well.  I don't know why Shimano limits itself to a 28 tooth spec on the 105 GS as it works flawlessly with the bigger cogset.  A few added links in the chain, and you are good to go.  This set-up has changed my cycling life.  All the gears I use on the flats are now closer to the middle of the cassette and I have the comfort of knowing I have the mother of all climbing rigs ready when the hills begin and I can still scream down the hills with the 50/11 combo.  What's not to like?   I actually look forward to the climbs now!!  This is without a doubt the best money I ever spent on an upgrade.  

post #10 of 22

 Hi. Just read your review of SRAM Apex, which I found really useful. I have just bought a new road bike with this gear set up. I have only been on very short ride so far, being a fair weather bloke,,,lol. However, my first impression is of it being fiddly to move from the 34t ring onto the 50t front ring. I'm not used to the SRAM shifters, as my prev bike was Shimano.

 

Do you have any suggestions how to operate the left shifter effectively please?

 

Many Thanks

 

Fitz

post #11 of 22

My new Roubaix has Sram Apex, I look forward to getting out in it this spring. I will report back. 

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

My new Roubaix has Sram Apex, I look forward to getting out in it this spring. I will report back. 


I thought it already is spring in Tahoe?

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

My new Roubaix has Sram Apex, I look forward to getting out in it this spring. I will report back. 


I thought it already is spring in Tahoe?


I see where you are going with that. 

post #14 of 22

It's deep winter here in UK, (almost a spring day today!!!), so my Apex trial has to wait a while yet.

post #15 of 22

Apex is the best bang for the buck

post #16 of 22

WAY better than Tiagra or 105

post #17 of 22

But is it better than Ultrega or Dura-Ace?  Just put an new 11-28 Ultrega cassette, Ultrega 50-34T crankset and Dura-Ace chain on the pub bike (Trek 1.9) and it is smooth as and gets me up a few steeper hills, without falling over, than I used to.  Still got about 20,000 km out of the last lot (Ultrega cranks, cassette and chain) before they got too sloppy to use without irritation.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post

But is it better than Ultrega or Dura-Ace?  Just put an new 11-28 Ultrega cassette, Ultrega 50-34T crankset and Dura-Ace chain on the pub bike (Trek 1.9) and it is smooth as and gets me up a few steeper hills, without falling over, than I used to.  Still got about 20,000 km out of the last lot (Ultrega cranks, cassette and chain) before they got too sloppy to use without irritation.


It's different than the upper-end Shimano groups, that's for sure.  Apex is aimed at the 105-level market in terms of price, all things being equal, but the trickle-down within SRAM's groups has far more functional and "feel" parity than do Shimano and Campagnolo.  So while Apex is not at the same fit-and-finish level as Ultegra, performance is very close to Rival and Force, which do compete with Ultegra.  So.... different apples, same sauce?

 

That said, folks I know who run SRAM's stuff (mostly Force and Red, with some Rival) get excellent use out of most of the components.  Their chainrings on the lower-end groups tend to wear faster, though the cassettes are strong performers across the board.  SRAM's chains are also a great bargain.  The shifting is a bit louder than Shimano's by design, and that won't change anytime soon.

 

The Apex stuff has seen some use in the pro ranks, with SRAM-sponsored teams running Apex rear derailleurs and cassettes (on otherwise Red-equipped setups) for very steep hills.  Apex's first testing units were famously used in the 2009 Giro d'Italia by members of the Astana squad during the uphill time trial (won by Alberto Contador, who was running SRAM's then-new 11-28 10-speed cassette with an Apex rear derailleur).

post #19 of 22

..hi guys!! about a year & half now (got d' road bike bug) & just got a quick question here, on a 105 5700 groupos (10speed / 53-39) right now & on the cassette side (11-28) does my rear d. (short cage) still gonna work on a sram 11-32?? also i have a long cage 105 5700 frm a 9speed triple before, will that work for a 10speed double + the sram 11-32??

..just getting really bored 2 the bone here on my (3rd week) & i hope u guys understand after my 1st serious bike crash recently & 6weeks left hand in cast..
 

..thnx  in advance on ur reply..

post #20 of 22

..hi!! - about a year & half now (got d' road bike bug) & just got a quick question here, on a 105 5700 groupos (10speed / 53-39) right now & on the cassette side (11-28) does my rear d. (short cage) still gonna work on a sram 11-32?? also i have a long cage 105 5700 frm a 9speed triple before, will that work for a 10speed double + the sram 11-32??

..just getting really bored 2 the bone here on my (3rd week) & i hope u guys understand after my 1st serious bike crash recently & 6weeks left hand in cast..
 

..thnx  in advance on ur reply..

post #21 of 22
Maybe.

Both your existing theoretically max out at 28 as the biggest cog and the combo you are looking at exceeds the capacity of the short cage derailleur. Since you already have it in hand, give the long cage a try and see if you have sufficient clearance and if the shifting is acceptable.

You'll want a new chain sized right for the new combo.

If what you have doesn't work, this derailleur may be an option to look at:
Shimano Deore SGS RD-M592 Rear Derailleur
post #22 of 22

..greatly appreciate ur time & reply but most especially for all the tips!!....have a great day..

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