To conquer the steepest hills, you can never have too much gearing. (Photo: e*thirteen)
- For those riders who refuse to get off and push, this
e*thirteen cassette could be the answer.
- It offers a wider spread of gears, than the dominant
cassettes from SRAM or Shimano.
- And you can replace worn bits, without having to bin the
entire cassette, reducing running costs.
How many gears, are too many gears? This is a question that
no committed mountain biker, has ever asked.
The gradients involved in proper mountain biking necessitate
as many gears as possible. Riders who want to clear the steepest climbs without
walking, need some big gears spinning that rear wheel.
Mountain biking has undergone a significant drivetrain
revolution, since SRAM introduced its XX1 system in 2012, triggering the
standardization of 1x drivetrain systems, with only a single front chainring.
In this new 1×12 drivetrain world, you can spin up the
steepest climbs, but for those mountain bikers who need even more climbing
leverage, there is a new option. Look beyond mountain biking’s two dominant
drivetrain companies (Shimano and SRAM), and there are niche suppliers who can
fulfil some unusual requirements.
One of these, is the American mountain bike brand,
e*thirteen. It produces a new rear cassette that offers more generous gearing
than anything else, including Shimano and SRAM’s own 1×12 drivetrain
Huge range for the steepest climbs
If you need a granny gear to climb to the moon, the
e*thirteen Helix R is a 12-speed cassette with massive gears. The smallest gear
has nine teeth and the largest, totals 50.
To set that in
perspective, the Helix R cassette’s 9-50t configuration delivers a 556% range
of gearing, compared to the largest SRAM (520%) and Shimano (510%) options.
The fundamental gearing and wheel theory at play with
e*thirteen’s Helix R cassette spinning at the rear of your drivetrain, is that
if you can’t climb an off-road gradient in its largest gear, even the
indigenous mountain goats would probably have struggled.
For South African mountain bikers who are keen to clear some
of the country’s more iconic climbs, such as the Tokai mast, Hans se Kop in
Grabow or Swartbergpass, having the additional range of e*thirteen’s Helix R
could prove very beneficial.
How many gears, are too many gears? (Photo: e*thirteen)
Replace only what you need
Drivetrain components are expensive and local dust is
amongst the world’s most abrasive. Most mountain bike drivetrains have a
one-piece cassette, which means that once those big gears are worn, you have to
replace the whole unit.
Product panners at e*thirteen have created a more
budget-friendly assembly for the Helix R cassette. The two largest gears (40-
and 50t), which work hardest when climbing and take the most strain, are made
from aluminium and can be replaced separately from the other ten ratios, which
are a single steel assembly.
If you choose to pair your SRAM or Shimano 1×12 drivetrain
with e*thirteen’s Helix R cassette, and it has worn a touch, you can purchase
the two largest gears as a replacement set. A simple 3mm hex key is all that
one requires to disassemble the Helix R cassette and add your new replacement gears.