After testing the 120g alloy Recon race day cassette, we sent the link to Fair Wheel Bikes, not quite sure how they’d take it. After all, I snapped more than one tooth off that one and relegated it to use on the trainer. Fortunately, they appreciated the honesty and said it sounded about right, then offered up the more durable titanium version for review.
And here we are. Also made by Recon, the 6AL/4V titanium model uses two 3-cog clusters on the big end of the cassette -the largest of which sits on an alloy carrier- followed by individual cogs and spacer rings for the remainder. The 11-tooth cog is made from steel. It’s available in silver and gold, and the price is a whopping $320.
Here’s how that compares to SRAM, Shimano and Campy…
The 11-27 size comes in at 161g on our scale, which is exactly what FWB lists on their site (Fair Wheel Bikes is the U.S. importer and a reseller and provided the unit for review).
Our Shimano 11-28 DA9000 cassette came in at 192g, and it uses titanium for the five largest cogs. A SRAM Red 11-speed 11-26 cassette comes in at just 150g, though. Competitive Cyclist lists the weight for the Campagnolo Super Record 11-25 at 185g. MSRP for each of those cassettes sits around $350, $360 and $500 respectively, so only two are close on price, and only SRAM beats the weight.
Durability is the big question, which will come only after we’ve logged a lot of miles on it. For now, we offer install notes and detail photos:
Here’s what you get in the box, plus a thin spacer for the backside of the cassette. The two smallest cogs have ridges built into them to push them far enough off the adjacent cogs, the others rely on the four spacer rings to sit between them.
Alloy spiders and large pins keep the two clusters together. Full range is 11/12/13/14/15/16/17/19/21/24/27.
The teeth are ramped and shaped much like what you’d find on other brands’ offerings.
Weight’s carved out wherever it can be.
When it came time to install it, I had planned on using the Easton EA90 SLX wheels I’d reviewed previously. They rode well, they were black and they would look good on the new Ritte Ace we just received. Unfortunately, the massive hub shell and spoke flange used to make space for the pawl system interferes with the rivets on the cassette. So, actually, it’s unfortunate that the cassette uses such ungainly pins and rivets instead of a more flush design like Dura-Ace. At any rate, the cassette would not slide far enough onto this wheelset to fit the 11t cog, so I pulled out the ol’ Dura-Ace wheels:
Also road tubeless out of the box, the Dura-Ace wheels have proved plenty durable, so the Recon cassette joined a SRAM Red 22 group with Shimano wheels in unholy matrimony. I had to use an additional thin spacer identical to the one that came with the cassette (two total on this install) to get the cassette tight enough on the freehub body. With one or no spacers, it was way too loose. So, if you don’t have those laying around, ask for one when ordering the cassette just to be safe.
Once installed, the blingy gold cassette really pops off a matte black bike.
My first rides on the Recon ti cassette are promising. Shifting is smoother than it was on the alloy model, and it’s exceptionally quiet. Granted it’s on a brand new bike with brand new drivetrain, but even the shifting in the workstand during setup was remarkably quick, smooth and hushed. Pretty impressive. Now we just gotta see how she holds up!