Review: Recon’s 120g Cassette is Light, But Maybe Not Right
This past spring, I installed the alloy Recon 11-28 cassette despite it’s warnings that weight savings come at the expense of durability. But at just 120g, it was worth a shot, so I tested it for a couple hundred miles split evenly between a Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 and SRAM Red 22 group. Check actual weights in the original post here.
It started on the Shimano group, and first impressions were good. Shift quality was close to Shimano, albeit a bit noisier with just a fraction of a second hesitation before shifting. The biggest caveat with the Recon “Race Day” cassettes was that shifting should be done gingerly to avoid snapping teeth off. So, my shift efforts were a bit softer, which could have explained the every so slightly slower chain movement. Honestly, its performance in getting the chain from one cog to the other is just fine.
Despite that, I still managed to break a tooth on the 14-tooth cog, followed shortly thereafter by the tooth right next to it…
That caused some skipping under moderate pedaling efforts and made that cog unusable under effort. But, it’s kinda hard to see, and I thought it might just need some fine tuning at the rear derailleur because the feeling was similar to when the chain is trying to jump to the next higher cog.
About that time, I moved it to the SRAM bike. Recon says best shifting performance is achieved with high end Shimano and KMC chains, and indeed, shifting with SRAM’s PC Red 22 chain was not as crisp. It got the job done, but not at the level I expect from top shelf components.
Somewhere along the line, another tooth broke, this time on the 15-tooth cog, and directly above where the other two had snapped off. Two consecutive broken teeth made the one cog unusable and the other cog not great. That, plus the diminished shift performance on a SRAM system was too much after another 100 or so miles. So, it’s found a new home:
The Wahoo trainer (reviewed here) lets you adjust resistance via their app without actually having to shift, so this gives me 11-speed compatibility on the trainer, which works out quite well since most of my bikes are now 11-speed. Actual tooth wear on the rest of the cassette is fine, it doesn’t look abnormally worn, so I don’t suspect it’ll wear my chain abnormally.
Can I recommend it? Not for regular riding, no. And not for SRAM equipped bikes, particularly since the RED 22 cassette is only 30g heavier. It’s also about $150 more expensive too, though. For weight weenies looking for something that actually works if it’s treated very kindly, sure, why not. It really just comes down to how important weight savings is to you and what you’re willing to give up. At least it won’t rust.
Retail through Fair Wheel Bikes (who provided the cassette for review) is $200 to $210 depending on tooth counts.