A couple of years ago I went fully XD with my MTB cassettes, having been really impressed with the weight, performance and especially durability of Sram’s GX-level 11-speed offering.
But whether it was middle-aged spread, a heavier bike or just losing fitness, I’d found myself hankering for an easier gear on an increasing number of occasions in the last year.
It might just have been as more friends moved onto Sram Eagle’s enormo-cassettes that I found myself pushing more often as others were still pedalling – but either way, a need had been created.
My first inclination was to drop a couple of teeth off my chainring, at which point I discovered that even the newest Shimano chainsets (my favoured brand) don’t take anything smaller than a 30t. And that’s in spite of them changing the bolt pattern to asymmetrical. WTF Shimano, get your shit together guys!
So anyway, I picked up a bargain set of wheels from Superstar which happened to only be available in Shimano freehub flavour, and decided to give the popular Sunrace MX8 cassette a go.
It was actually a bit cheaper than my normal Sram cassettes and when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the finish.
The weight on the kitchen scales was 479g, against the manufacturer’s spec of 465g – which is acceptable to me – and fitting was nice and straightforward.
It works fine with my Shimano XT 11-speed mech, as it should do considering Shimano make their own 11-46t block (with slightly less usable cog sizes).
My main concern prior to buying was whether shifting performance and durability would match-up to the big two – and while that concern was justified to an extent, it’s not that far off.
It just takes a moment or so longer for the chain to move from one cog to another, often with a bit more noise as it does so.
And I think there’s a slightly less solid feel when driving the bike forward, which could be a result of me coming to it from the one-piece steel Sram cassette, which will obviously have a bit less flex.
I’m more than happy to tolerate this in exchange for the extra climbing ability it’s granted me – helping me not only make it up some steeper grades but keeping my legs fresher on bigger rides.
Anyway, overall it’s a thumbs-up from me. Will buy again.
Update May 2020: The cassette itself has lasted very well but the lockring turned out to be made of tinfoil.
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