11-25 To 11-28 Cassette Chain Length

11-25 to 11-28 Cassette Chain Length

Most modern bikes, including mountain, road, and gravel bikes, come with cassettes that niche sprockets or gear wheels.

The range of the varying numbers of teeth offered and the number of sprockets determines the derailer cage length or the cassette chain length.

Due to their sizeable differences, you can swap the 11-25t cogs for the 11-28t. However, choosing the former over the latter is unreal since the 11-28 is larger and has more fringe benefits. Therefore you can also swap their chain lengths to fit in respectively.

11-25 To 11-28, Do I Need A Longer Chain?

11-25 to 11-28 Cassette Chain Length

Swapping from 11- 25 to 11-28 will require a longer chain. And to further bolster this: let’s delve into swapping cassettes even though it’s not in its place yet. 

Interestingly, the chain might work on the interchanged Cassette; this explains why some people do not bother replacing the chain alongside it.

They fail to understand that the 11-25 chain might lack a few links to fit accurately on an 11-28t cassette.

Furthermore, swapping cassettes entails replacing one system with another because a single cassette comprises small and large cogs. 

Rather than just that, it has sprockets designed to work for a common goal.

Specific sprockets in a cassette are precise to ensure chain-shift performance is not compromised.

Each tooth on the sprockets has a shape different from the other, and the sprockets usually have ramps built into their sides.

The teeth on the sprockets have forms that differ from one another, and there are traditionally ramps built into the sides of the sprockets. 

Swapping Cassette From 12-25 To 11-28

The 12-25 is not too bad for fast cycling even though it’s small-sized.

While this may be true, many riders pride themselves on their ability to climb hills, involved in racing and gear without changing the chainring with their 11-28 cassette bikes, but the 12-25 cannot showcase likewise.

There are several reasons why one swaps cassettes, and the reasons depend on the choice of the bike cyclist or owner, as the case may be.

While some cyclists replace their cassettes with other ones that they think have better attributes, others follow the trend: they don’t want to be obsolete, and that’s all.

The 12-25t is majorly distinguished from the 11-25t by the smallest cogs: one has 11 while another has 12.

And Its significant advantage over 11-25 is the extra mid-gear it carries. For example, the 12-25 cassette has the following mid-cogs:14-15-16-17, while the 11-25 has  4-15-17-19

On the other hand, it varies significantly from the 11-28 by the most significant and smallest cogs.

The difference here, no doubt, explains while the 11-28 is better a choice than it. 12-25 cassette shifts are relatively closer, hence more fluid.

In addition, since the most used shift of the Cassette is the mid-range, it’s appealing to most cyclists who do not need hubs or shifting in the frequently used gears.

Despite all these, the 11-28 stands out, not only because it’s new but because it is also perfect.

Its only flaw is the large jumps in the progression of the cogs, especially the typical 11-speed cassette.

In addition, the three teeth between the last two cogs of the progression make it more difficult for fluid shifting; the largest cog is for when climbing hills.

Do you need to change chain length while swapping cassettes? Yes! You will need a chain that a cassette can accommodate.

Without proper chain adjustment, a smaller cog chain won’t fit a larger cassette chain and might be unable to move the wheels so well due to its lack of overdue links to fit in.

It might seem unnecessary until the chain goes off the cranks.

Do I Need to Lengthen My Chain For a Bigger Cassette?

Yes, of course, you will need to increase the links of your chain (lengthen chain) or replace it.

If you must replace your Cassette with another, then you will likely need a new chain, and that you’re substituting a cassette for a bigger one makes it necessary.

You don’t expect a bigger cassette to fit the chain you used for a smaller cassette. 

You might let it slide if the difference is not significant: if you’re moving from 28T to 30T here, the difference doesn’t seem much unless it further wears.

Most guides for chain wear are not all that accurate. The bearing surface housed in the chains needs only wear .020 to .030 to be said to have worn. 

Contrarily, that is not on the chain wear gauges because of the maximum number of 5-6 links they take.

It wouldn’t have any problems if the largest cog were as same as the smallest cogs.

However, because the smallest cog in every Cassette is the same, the difference appears in the largest cog, and the gear range is usually subordinate to the old one. 

It means the old chain will not give you problems if you were moving from a bigger cassette to a smaller one. But since it’s the other way, you will need to change the chain length.

Theoretically, you can shorten your chain to fit the smaller Cassette.

Notwithstanding, I advise you don’t think of installing a new cassette, except you have thought of installing it alongside a new chain.

Wearing cassettes and chains is worth considering, but that’s another topic. 

Is your chain slipping over the new Cassette you installed? Or are you planning on installing a new cassette to run with an old chain? Either way that is not acceptable. 

The old chain might have even gone awry, having served beyond its proper duration of service, unbeknown to you, and in this case, your Cassette will be susceptible to damage, be it new or old.   

Of all the challenges accustomed to chains or cassettes malfunctioning, the solution lies in adequately using the two.

Just like you have it during chain slippage, you might need to change chain length the same way when going for a bigger cassette, but this time by lengthening it.

Apart from those mentioned above, other reasons ranging from stiff chain links to scratched cassettes are peripherals regarding swapping cassettes.

11-25 Vs. 11-28 Cassette Chain Length

The 11-25, though cyclists prefer it for racing, doesn’t stand a chance to win against the more significant 11-28 cassette in the long run.

When it comes to climbing, your 11-25 cassette Shimano Ultegra might as well try but not as easy and efficient as the 11-28 will make it seem.

A fair comparison of both cassettes in the table below with the title: 11-25 vs. 11-28 will help you understand better.

#1. Table 11-25 Vs. 11-28

11-25 11-28
Uneasy climbingEasier Climbing
Higher gearingLower gearing without change of chainring
Small jumps in gearingLarge jumps


Inarguably, cassettes, be it mountain bike cassettes, road bike cassettes, or gravel bike cassettes, factor in the speed, ability to climb, and the whole gear system.

They are, therefore, of various kinds for diverse use.

However, the newer 11-28 cassettes stand out among many other cassettes, thereby making most cyclists forgo their cassettes for the 11-28 cassette.

Josh Matthews

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