The oversized cassette hacks brigade just keeps on rolling, this time with a unique entry from Absolute Black.
Rather than replace just the single top cog, AB’s offering adds a 40t large cog onto a single piece of machined aluminum containing your 28, 32 and 36 cogs, too. Founder Marcin says the benefits are three-fold. First, it’s a stiffer unit as a cluster, so shifting should be very precise. Second, there’s more surface contact area on the freehub body, so less likely to dig into it and get stuck.
Third, it’ll weigh a lot less. How much so? Shift down and see…
The cluster has a solid platform sitting on the freehub body, making a wide 15mm connection rather than a typical ~4mm patch. The rest of it looks blocky and solid from the front…
…but the back tells a different story. Marcin says it’s been in the works for a year and has been much more difficult to produce than originally thought.
Like the others, it requires the removal of one cog. Normally, that’s either the 15t or 17t. Or, you can get their 13t lock ring and remove the 11t to shift the entire range to an easier spectrum without creating any huge jumps between gears.
Compared to a single cog upgrade, which they say adds about 50g to a cassette, Absolute Black’s cluster can reduce the total weight by as much as 52g, making the total apples-to-apples weight savings in the ballpark of 100g. Chart above provided by AB.
Weight savings are good. Money savings are equally enticing, and this unit retails for just $122…pretty competitive for the segment considering the extra work that goes into it. And that it’ll save wear and tear on some of the more heavily used parts of your cassette.
It’s compatible with SLX and XT 11-34 and 11-36 cassettes. In most cases, he says it should only require a few turns of the rear derailleur’s B-screw to make it all work.
These photos are of a late stage pre-production piece. Final parts will be all black, and they’ll start shipping April 26th. Preorders are open on their website here, and the first 100 orders get the 13t lock ring included free. That part should be available separately soon, too.
In other news, they’ve updated their direct-mount SRAM single chainrings to a narrow-wide tooth profile. They’ve been using it on their Shimano-XX1 and CX rings, so moving forward all will have that new tooth design.
Unfortunately, all his success with the chainrings (and, likely, this item) has put the other killer goods like those prototype pedals and beautiful disc brake rotors on hold. But, we’re excited to see a small brand grow!