11-28 Vs. 12-25 Cassette (In-Depth Comparison)

11-28 vs. 12-25 Cassette

Bike cassettes differ in their properties, influencing the vehicles’ speed and general performance on different terrains.

Therefore, to get the best out of your bike, you have to get your choice of this component right.

So, let’s go over the distinctions between the 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes and which is best for your bike.

The basic contrast between the 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes is the number of teeth on their smallest and largest sprockets. This difference, however, is enough to draw a significant disparity in their performance. Depending on your terrain and speed, you can use any of them on your bike.

Difference Between 11-28 and 12-25 Cassette

11-28 vs. 12-25 Cassette

The 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes differ in size. This difference accounts for their varying fluidity in gear change and riders’ performance on different terrains.

The number used to identify cassettes is the number of teeth on its last and biggest sprocket.

On the other hand, a 12-25 cassette has 12 and 25 teeth on its first and last sprocket, respectively.

The different gear ranges of the cassettes also make their purposes different. A 12-25 cassette has a narrower gear range, implying shorter jumps between the gears.

Shorter gear jumps translate to smoother pedaling, which will delight pro racers.

The 11-28 cassette has a wider gear range than the 12-25. Consequently, it has bigger jumps between its gears.

These gear jumps are suitable and adapted for different terrains, especially hilly ones.

The differences between these cassette ratios also translate into their advantages and disadvantages.

The following are the pros and cons of 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes:

#1. Pros of 11-28 Cassettes

  • Easier climbing – the wide sprocket range of 11-28 cassettes makes them suitable for climbing.
  • Lower gearing – coupled with appropriate chain rings, 11-28 cassettes are capable of low gearing.

#2. Cons of 11-28 Cassettes

  • Large jumps – the wide range between the smallest and largest cogs of 11-28 give rise to large jumps between gears.
  • Fluid cadence is difficult to maintain with a large transition between gears.

#3. Pros of 12-25 cassettes

  • Smoother cadence – the short transition between the gears of 12-25 cassettes translates to a more fluid cadence.
  • Speed – top speed is achievable when riding on flat lands and downhill with 12-25 cassettes. 

#4. Cons of 12-25 cassettes

  • Difficulty in climbing – 12-25 cassettes are not suited for climbing. Hence, using them on hilly terrains will prove disadvantageous.

11-28 vs. 12-25 Cassette; Which Is Better?

The decision of the better cassette between the 11-28 and the 12-25 depends on the rider’s purpose and terrain.

The two cassettes are suited for different uses, and one may not perform optimally while the other is doing fine.

Due to the shorter and smoother transition between its gears, the 12-25 cassette is better suited for flat terrains.

This environment is suitable for pro racing; therefore, a racer will prefer this cassette.

By implication, the 12-25 cassette is better than the 11-28 cassette for these riders’ sets.

Off-road riders will prefer the 11-28 cassette, however. It is better for rough and hilly terrains because of the big jumps in its gears.

Therefore, for people who ride more uphill, the 11-28 will be better than the 12-25.

Overall, 11-28 cassettes edge out 12-25 cassettes. So, if you choose between the two, you should go for an 11-28 cassette.

11-28 vs. 12-25 Cassette; Compare Price, Performance, and Durability 

The differences between the 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes do not end at the gear range and purpose alone.

They also extend to other areas like their prices, performance, and durability. Let’s compare these cassette sizes in these areas.

#1. Price

11-28 and 12-25 cassettes are different regarding prices, with the former being costlier. The prices of the cassettes, however, depend on their brands.

The table below gives the top two brands’ prices for the two cassette sizes:

Shimano Ultegra R800$99$71
SRAM PG1070$94$62

Some models like the SRAM XG-1299 XXL Eagle can cost as much as $500 for these cassettes.

Other cassette brands like LITEON and Botany offer these cassettes for as cheap as $20. Check here for more 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes and buy.

Aside from brands, other factors like color and the metal for making these cassettes also influence their prices.

A gold-colored 11-28 cassette will cost far more than a silver-colored 12-25. Similarly, a titanium cassette is considerably more expensive than an aluminum one.

#2. Performance

11-28 and 12-25 cassettes perform differently according to their gear range.

The small ratio jumps of the narrow range 12-25 cassette make it perform better on flatlands. This cassette size is also more relevant for speed. 

Since wider ranged cassettes are suitable for hilly areas and rougher terrains, the 11-28 will perform better here. This climbing ability, however, comes at the expense of speed.

#3. Durability

Usually, bike cassettes can last up to 1000 miles. However, cassettes’ durability depends on brands, metal types, prices, and sizes.

By implication, $99 Shimano titanium 11-28 will last longer than a $71 SRAM aluminum 12-25 cassette.

A strong factor determining bike cassettes’ durability is the rider’s style. The rate at which cassettes wear out depends on the terrain on which riders use their bikes.

Riding uphill and on rough grounds will wear out a cassette faster than riding on a flat and smoother path.

Therefore, an 11-28, better suited for hilly rides, will wear out faster than a 12-25. However, if you use both sizes for the same purpose, the 12-25 will wear out faster. 

Which Cassette Ratio Is Best for Climbing?

Bigger cassette ratios are better for climbing than narrow range cassettes. Therefore, you will find 11-28 cassettes better for climbing than 12-25 ones. 1

1-34 cassettes for road bikes will offer the best experience going uphill. You should note, however, that the ease of climbing is not dependent on the cassette ratio alone.

Cassette size is just one of the two factors that determine suitable gears for climbing.

Cassettes work together with chainrings to give the optimum gear ratio relevant to riding uphill with ease.

Lower gear ratios are the best for riding a bike uphill. You will require less energy by pedaling less when climbing with these gears.

An understanding of how gear ratios work is therefore necessary. Gear ratios define the relationship between cassettes and chainrings, and small ones are best for climbing.

The number of teeth on a bike’s chainring divided by the number of teeth on the active cog gives the ratio.

For instance, a chain ring with 32 teeth and a cog with 28 teeth will give a 1.2 gear ratio. 

The gear ratios available for your bike depend on its chainrings and cog set. If you know the number of teeth on these two, you can switch to suitable gears for climbing.

Just shift the front gear unto a smaller chain ring and the rear gear into a bigger sprocket to achieve this.


The basic difference between 11-28 and 12-25 cassettes is the range between their smallest and biggest sprockets.

They vary considerably in other aspects like performance, durability, and price.

Narrow range cassettes like 12-25 perform better on flat lands, while wide range cassettes like 11-28 offer more while climbing.

Josh Matthews

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