Friday, July 22, 2016

The Quest for the Elusive Cassette

Had QUITE the journey to convert my wife's bike to a 1x10 with one of e13's extended range cogs and a Race Face wide/narrow chainring. I've done this on a few bikes already and the process only takes about an hour total...

I had done my research and ordered a 40t cog compatible with the Shimano cassette which was already on the bike. Upon the cog's arrival, I found that a special tool was required to remove the crank arms. D'oh! I have two huge Craftsman rolling tool chests full of bike tools, but I love needing one more special tool that only does one thing on one bike. Argh.

I headed up to Riverside Cycles, a local Cannondale dealer about 45 min away. They had the tool and had me on my way in only a couple of minutes, but that still took almost 2hrs. I did ask them to order one of the tools for me also. There's always room for more in my workshop. Read more...

Anyway, it was when I got home and stripped off the dual chain rings, and the front derailleur, and after I installed the wide/narrow that I found a problem.

I had made a rookie mistake!

The cassette which was on the bike WAS the required Shimano 11-34, but it was NOT XT level, and as such, I could not remove one of the cogs that needed to go to make room for the 40t (either the 15t or the 17t).

Okay, no problem, I still had 3 days before we were heading up to Maine to go mountain biking, so I figured it would be easy to order the right cassette.

I figured wrong.

I went to my go-to resource, Amazon, and was surprised to find that there wasn't a single XT 11-34 available via Prime. Not a one. In fact, there wasn't a single XT 11-34 on Amazon that I could order without having a nebulous arrival window of several days.

So, my next best option was scouring the various online retailers and Jenson USA had what I needed. Perfect, I was even able to have it shipped out UPS overnight to get it on Thursday, the day before we were leaving for Maine.

All was well until I got the email stating that there was a delay at UPS and that the package wouldn't arrive until Friday, but no time was guaranteed--just "before end of day." We wanted to leave on Friday morning, so obviously I needed to find an alternative solution.

I did what I should have done the first time, I called my local bike shop. And then I called another bike shop. And another. And another. And another. Nope, nope, nope, nope, and no. No one had what I needed. I called ten shops and struck out ten times.

Jean's bike was apart and I was out of options for her to have a bike with a good set of climbing gears. She likes to have a granny gear or equivalent, and it's my job to make sure he bike is set up appropriately.

So, I called around again and found a cassette with a little bit more low-end range, a Shimano XT 11-36.

Where? Back up at Riverside Cycles. Friday morning, I was there when they opened and zipped home to install the cassette. It wasn't going to be a granny equivalent, but after eliminating her 22t front ring, it would be better.

I got the bike all set up, it was shifting well, and we were ready to hit the road.

What was waiting for me on my front stairs when I walked out of the house to put the bikes on the rack?

It's times like this that remind my of why I love my single speed!

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