SRAM XG-1099 XX Cassette $395.00
Many feel that the SRAM XX Cassette is the centerpiece of the XX group. It is an impressive feat of machining -- spin the cogset and the design is mesmerizing. Spin it on an acid trip and you'll be smiling in awe for hours.
SRAM once again borrowed an idea from their Red road group when they started designing this cassette. The Red PowerDome is a cassette machined out of a single piece of steel. Steel. And it's still lighter than just about every road cassette out there. The only problem with this design is that it can easily get jammed with dirt, a fact not lost on SRAM-equipped cyclocrossers, who run SRAM's less-expensive cassettes. So SRAM started with the basic idea, machined steel will be stronger, more durable, and lighter, and re-conceived the idea as X-Dome. X-Dome has eight of the ten cogs in a single body -- that's a lot of CNC-machining of a single block of steel. In fact, it takes nine hours of machining to get it to the skeletal minimum. The aluminum large cog in back is press-fit onto the block of eight and is replaceable. The tenth cog is the smallest one, and is made of steel as well.
The SRAM XX cassette comes with ten cogs. Nine are made of 4130 chromoly steel. The tenth (largest) is made from 7075-T6 aluminum and is individually replaceable. The lock ring is made from 7075-T6 aluminum as well. The shifting cutouts and ramps are X-glide. SRAM recommends using their 1090 or 1090R chain with this cassette, though any 10-speed chain is compatible. Claimed weight of the SRAM XX Cassette in the 11/32 ratio is 185g, in 11/36 ratio is 208g.
Choose between two gearing options:
The 11/32 includes: 11,12,14,16,18,20,22,25,28,32
The 11/36 includes: 11,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32,36
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What community has to say
Super light, smooth shifts, dies quickly
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The XG-1099 is an impressive feat of engineering. This thing is significantly lighter than the XTR M980 10-speed cassette, and I feel confident in stating that it is probably the sexiest cassette ever made. The cogs on most cassettes are bolted to an aluminum spider or carrier. Here, all but the largest and smallest cogs are machined from a single block of steel and are thus connected to each other rather than being affixed to a central piece of metal. I've found that it shifts slightly better with SRAM derailleurs than with Shimano derailleurs, but I would happily use it on all of my bikes if not for the mayfly-like life span of the large cog.
Unlike the interconnected billet steel middle cogs, the largest cog (32t or 36t) is made of aluminum. I don't doubt that SRAM chose the aluminum to save weight in this weight-weenie's-wet-dream of a cassette, but the aluminum is much more malleable and wears out in an unacceptably short period of time. Worn out cogs can cause the chain to skip, shift poorly, or fail completely. Despite SRAM's representations to the contrary, this large aluminum cog is not replaceable. To clarify, perhaps the cog is theoretically replaceable, but SRAM has never released or sold the replacement cogs. I've worked on class actions that have been filed over less. A simple Google search will produce several forums and threads filled with rants from riders about how quickly the aluminum cog died on their $400 cassette, one chap claims his XG-1099 was only a few weeks old when it gave up the ghost as he power-shifted on a steep climb.
To summarize: If you are a racer who counts every gram, then buy this and put it on your race bike. It's awesome, but don't put it on your training bike and expect it to survive. If you are a weekend warrior who has the means and motive to spend $400 on a cassette, expect to spend another $400 in 4-6 months. Or just never shift to your big cog.
Large alu cog is NOT replacable
This is an amazing piece of kit but the 32 or 36 should be used sparingly as they are not replaceable. SRAM advertised them as replaceable but never made the part available.
Top-o-the-line Race Cassette
For those racing MTB and running 10-speed SRAM, this is your cassette. It's nearly 60 grams lighter than the XG-1080, and its skeletal design minimizes debris clogging the cassette.
The downside is obviously the price, as its not inexpensive. If it wasn't being used for race purposes, I'd probably opt for the XG-1080. Four stars for that reason.