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2012 SRAM Red Powerdome X XG 1090 Cassette

2012-03-20 • SEND FEEDBACK
Related: gear, Road Bikes, Shimano
2012 SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28 cassette

In mid-March 2012, I received one of the first samples in the USA of the 2012 SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28 cassette, thanks to the sharp eyes of the crew at Palo Alto Bicycles for new cool stuff.

In the hand, I can attest that the XG 1090 cassette is a thing of beauty and sophisticated and elegant design. Very impressive.

Comments here necessarily are from limited experience, a long term update will take until later in 2012, with a few thousand miles on it.

Look for the SRAM Red XG 1090 @AMAZON at Amazon.

UPDATE late 2013: this cassette does not wear or last like DuraAce. The shifting went to crap after ~8000 miles of use (before and after changing chain, so it was not a chain issue).

I reverted to a well-used DuraAce cassette with many more miles and all the shifting problems went away.

Nothing shifts like DuraAce and nothing lasts like DuraAce. I’ll be sticking with DuraAce. Every SRAM component I’ve used has disappointed when used rigorously (shifting, brakes, cassette).


The SRAM description:

The new SRAM RED Powerdome X is the most advanced cassette ever made.

It‘s super light, deadly silent, and delivers an undeniable performance advantage

The eight cogs in the middle are machined from a single block of high grade tool steel, increasing stiffness while weighing even less than a titanium cassette.

Between each cog in the block is a StealthRing elastomer to reduce vibration and noise. Cutouts on the rear cog further reduce weight and add stiffness. It‘s the final piece in the drivetrain puzzle, paired with the new SRAM RED Rear Derailleur, delivers ultra-fast, ultra-quiet shifts that will always put you in the right gear.

  • Hollow steel dome makes for the stiffest gear cluster ever at the lightest weight.
  • Heat-treated, high-grade tool steel provide superlative durability and a beautiful finish.
  • StealthRing elastomers and advanced tooth profiles eliminate vibration and noise for a smooth, silent ride.
  • Aluminum cog: lighter, stiffer, stronger due to the choice of design, material and production process.


Weight is impressive. I weighed both the SRAM Red XG 1090 and the Shimano DuraAce 7950 cassettes:

SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28: 153.5 grams
Shimano DuraAce  11-28: 186.6 grams  +33 grams (!)

That’s an impressive savings of 33 grams, or 17% reduction from the DuraAce cassette! The only way to cut weight on a bike is to save it an ounce at a time. To save 33 grams on a cassette is a a big deal for just one part.

Apparently one can save 10 grams or so by removing the “StealthRing elastomers” inter-cog pieces, but that presumably would make it noisier.

On the bike

I was naturally skeptical of the XG 1090. My experience with 2011 SRAM Red made me want to avoid SRAM. Which makes the XG 1090 all the more impressive.

I tested with my Moots Vamoots RSL with Shimano DuraAce DI2 shifting on my my Lightweight Obermayer wheel and my preferred Shimano DuraAce Yumeya chain.

My initial impressions are highly favorable. So favorable that I am considering a 2nd cassette for my other wheelset. But I will give the XG 1090 at least 600 miles or so of riding to be sure before I invest in a second one (that’s about 3 weeks for me).

  • The XG 1090 shifted as well as I’m used to with my DuraAce cassette.
  • The XG 1090 seemed as quiet and perhaps even quieter than the Shimano DuraAce cassette, at least on the smaller cogs!
  • There is a subtle benefit to having the last three cogs be 22 + 25 + 28 instead of the Shimano 21 + 24 + 28; the 22 + 25 is 1/3 or so gear easier for moderate to steep climbs than the 21 + 24 gearing; this gives a tighter spacing in those last 3 cogs, something I very much like given how much climbing I do.


SRAM makes several gearing combinations: 11-23, 11-25, 11-26, 11-28.

I prefer the large-cog gearing; on climbs it feels better to have a 22 + 25 + 28 than a 21 + 24 + 28. Riding flatter terrain makes the 11-25 or 11-23 or 11-26 an option for tighter gear spacing. The 11-26 might be a good compromise, but I want the 11-28 for all the steep stuff I ride.

SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28
Shimano DuraAce  11-28: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 28
2012 SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28 cassette


Click for larger images.

2012 SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28 cassette
2012 SRAM Red XG 1090 11-28 cassette
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