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On e.g. a Giant Stance, can the lowest gear on the cassette be upgraded to a higher tooth count just by only changing that cog?

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    It's only worth trying if you have another cassette of similar construction you can salvage the cog from, plus some modest metal-working skills. – Daniel R Hicks Feb 20 at 12:48
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It seems the Giant Stance is equipped with Shimano Alivio. That's a fairly low-end groupset and I'm fairly sure you can't replace the cogs one-by-one. In any case, a whole new cassette is only about $20–25.

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You might be able to separate the individual cogs. This can be done by grinding off the small rivets that hold a subset (typicaly three of the larger cogs) of the cassette together. The rivets don't do anything except make it difficult for you to maintain your cassette by replacing individual cogs, something Shimano probably doesn't want because they make less money. But it's better for you. I have CS-6500 9 speed cassette with custom 13-15-17-19-21-24-27-30-34 gears. You can't buy it like this but you can make it yourself and it's a great way to go. I replace only the worn individual cogs when needed. When the cassette is taken off for cleaning, which I always do when replacing a chain, the cogs and spacers fall off one by one. I return them one-by-one onto the spindle and replace a worn cog if there is one. This is the best way of doing it. Shimano don't want you to do this because it's good for you and bad for them.

  • Where do you get single new cogs from? – David Richerby Feb 20 at 12:52
  • Yes this is a problem. I get them from other cassettes. I go for cheap Shimano HG cassettes because the cogs are all the same material anyway. It allows me to have the gearing my way instead of "off-the-shelf" combinations that I don't really like. – user41329 Feb 20 at 13:06
  • OK. So this is probably only worth doing if the asker also doesn't like the "pre-made" cassettes, since they'll have to buy the new cassette anyway. – David Richerby Feb 20 at 13:10
  • Yes. Or both. They may not like the need to replace the entire cassette if only one or two cogs are worn and, they may like the benefit of alternative gearing. Once the "scrap" cassette has been bought it will provide cogs repeatedly. But usually we wear the same cogs over and over. But still, you get to build up a supply of parts and you get better at it the more you do it. It's more hands-on approach so I noticed that I could take better care overall. – user41329 Feb 20 at 13:47
  • Another point to consider: Make sure that the rear derailleur has the required tooth capacity and takes the largest cog. – Carel Feb 21 at 9:21

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