New Life for old XX1 or XO1 Cassettes

Words Perry Schebel
Date Nov 17, 2016

I’m a frugal bastard. Though I expect a high level of performance from my bike bits, I often have a hard time justifying the prices that come with premium hardware. I’m all about bang for the buck. Sometimes this means buying components a step or two down from top tier. Sometimes I’ll even buy used. The products I buy new will get ridden into the ground before they get replaced. Extracting as much value as possible from every purchase helps lessen my consumer guilt.

Wolftooth GCX Cog Review

What to do when the largest ring of your expensive cassette gets worn out while the rest has life left?

So – I’ve got an XO1 cassette on my primary ride. The one-piece steel X-Dome cogset was in good shape, but the aluminum 42T big cog was worn out and skipping. Replacement price on the cassette is a hard to swallow msrp of $369USD. Throwing out the gorgeous steel monoblock because of one easily replaceable cog seems such a waste. What were you thinking SRAM? (I know, Capitalism).

Wolftooth GCX Cog Review

The GXC Cog is available in black, red, green, orange and blue and in either 42 or 44t.

Enterprising small business to the rescue. Wolftooth is no stranger to big cassette cogs; they’ve been making range-extending cogs for a couple of years. Now they’ve also got a replacement big cog for your 11 speed XO1 or XX1 cassette.

Wolftooth GCX Cog Review

That used to be all black so clearly Perry has gotten lots of use out of his cassette. Wolftooth tells us installation only takes 5 minutes. Instructions are here.

Thankfully, the SRAM big cog isn’t permanently affixed, and can be easily pried off. Wolftooth has a tutorial here on how to perform the transplant surgery, but it’s a simple procedure: pry off the old cog with a flat screwdriver, then tap the new one on with your trusty BFH (and perhaps a block of wood if you’re feeling kind). A few minutes of wrenching and I was back in business. The larger diameter cog required a shade more B tension screw, but apart from that it’s plug and play with your stock SRAM derailleur.

Wolftooth GCX Cog Review

Installation was as described and shifting is as good as new.

How’s it work? Shifting up and down the cog is smooth, albeit slightly slower dropping off. The 36-44t jump is fairly big, but I appreciate the bailout gear. I’ve been on the cog for a couple months of wetcoast riding with nary a glitch. Chain retention whilst backpedalling is excellent on my setup. A bit of the anodizing has come off (as expected) but the wear appears to be largely cosmetic at this point. I don’t know how long the the steel cogs will ultimately last, but they’re still in decent shape, and I feel that the effective lifespan of the cassette could be at least doubled with the addition of this cog – at least for someone who spends a reasonable amount of time grinding out climbs in the granny. As such, this piece is a good bit of value, and the option to drop the basement gear a little is a nice bonus.

The cog is available in both the stock 42T count, and a larger 44T version which I have here. I run a 32T front ring, and I liked the idea of a bit of added range for tech climbing. Price is $89.95USD for both sizes.


Don’t throw away that cassette!

Comments

0
mevp  - Nov. 19, 2016, 8:58 a.m.

I've been running the 42 tooth version of this for 6 months, riding 3x a week. It replaced a creaking and almost skipping stock 42. Works perfectly so far, and the steel cluster looks like it's still almost perfect - going on 2 years. I do replace chains regularly and have been though 4 front rings. The steel in the SRAM cassettes seems to be impressively durable.

Reply

dutchct
0
dutchct  - Nov. 18, 2016, 12:34 p.m.

I last winter I bought the 42t version. Unfortunately shift quality was very poor especially when applying a lot of power compared to stock. Infact if I pushed hard and shifted into the ring, the chain often bounced all the way to the bottom of the cassette. I had to be really gentle with it. Eventually broke a tooth or 2 on it.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 18, 2016, 6:40 a.m.

I looked at these, but I don't wear out just the big cog on my XX1 cassette - more like the biggest 4 cogs. I'm going to try an E.13 TRS+ cassette since you can buy the biggest cogs separately. I should be able to replace them 2 or 3 times before I wear out the smaller cogs. By that point we'll be using ionic hover jets on mountain bikes. 😉

Reply

liquidspin
0
LiquidSpin  - Nov. 18, 2016, 5:43 a.m.

what I don't understand is how companies like Oneup and Wolftooth are still charging $90 for one single granny cog when you can buy a Shimano XT 11-46t full cassette for $70-$80 bucks.

I currently have have 2 cassettes the XT 11-40t and the XT 11-46…I'd like to upgrade the 11-40 to a 11-44 or 11-45 but when I went to go find a cog they were charging more for one cog than a full cassette.

Looks like I'm going to get the Shimano XT 11-42 for $70 that's being frugal too.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 18, 2016, 6:37 a.m.

It's called economies of scale. How many of those cassettes do you think Shimano makes and sells in 1 year vs. how many of those big cogs? It's the same reason MTB tires cost so much relative to a car tire despite using so much less material.

Reply

brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - Nov. 18, 2016, 8:47 a.m.

Same goes with full derailleurs instead of buying the cages. RADr cage = $67 CAD which is about the same price as a XT 11 speed derailleur. Sort of the same thing as buying a whole new printer since buying the ink cartridges cost more than the printer itself.
Totally an economies of scale thing.

Reply

liquidspin
0
LiquidSpin  - Nov. 21, 2016, 1:13 p.m.

Thanks @bradsedola:disqus and @vikbanerjee:disqus for explaining Economies of scale~ I actually was unaware of that and now understand. Who knew I'd learn more about business through mountain biking? hehe

Reply

zigak
0
ZigaK  - Nov. 18, 2016, 3:31 a.m.

I'd go with the black ano, as I read somewhere that it is the most resilient one. Something to do with wavelengths?
P.s. how about a steel one? I've seen some guy on ebay selling them but it looks awfully amateurish.

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - Nov. 18, 2016, 8:53 a.m.

Surprised WTC doesn't offer a steel cog to go along with their steel chainrings.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.

Trending on NSMB