Misaligned.

The popping from the cassette as the derailleur struggled to settle on a gear was annoying. With one wheelset it was perfect, with the next it required major adjustments to avoid having my 10-speed cassette be reduced to a 7-speed. The more I adjusted, the more I got frustrated. The derailleur alignment gauge came out, just in case it was bent. I checked to make sure the appropriate spacers were present. I couldn't figure it out. I was just annoyed.

I was firing a bunch of messages back and forth with Dave Henke (because we're both teenage girls at heart) when I asked about my inability to switch wheels without cranking the piss out of my high and low limit screws. What the hell was I doing wrong?

Mixing SRAM and Shimano.

I had always used SRAM cassettes, mainly because they were cheaper than the Shimano ones of the same level. However, I picked up a few Shimano cassettes for cheap, figuring they were interchangeable. They are, to a degree. However, it requires a bunch of adjustments that I don't want to deal with every time I feel like running a different wheelset. I have a bunch of different wheels littering the garage, and I'd rather not spend a few minutes every ride making sure my rear derailleur is aligned. It just sets the wrong tone.

Back to the interwebs to find more SRAM cassettes.

Then I started playing around with my micrometer, measuring the various hubs on my wheelsets, and noticed that they varied quite a bit- even among the same model hubs. There could be washers or other spacers added here or there, machining differences, or any number of issues that could explain this.

So, I experimented with different cassettes on different wheels. SRAM on this one, Shimano on that one, until I got a reasonable match. Not perfect, but reasonable. Enough to get me through the Spring Stage Race and maybe Fairbanks if I'm lazy. Then I'll tear everything apart and start trying to make them match more closely.

Part of the joys of having many, many sets of wheels, I guess.

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