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August 2016 Product Picks: BDop, Clément, Didit, Phew, Silca, Wheel Fanatyk

by Matt Wikstrom

August 16, 2016

Photography by Matt Wikstrom

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In this month’s edition of Product Picks, Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom takes a look at an aluminium cassette from BDop, race tyres from Clément, winter gloves from Phew, Silca’s new range of tubeless vales and rim tape, a spoke tension meter from Wheel Fanatyk, and trophy decals from Didits.


Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:


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BDop aluminium cassette

by Matt Wikstrom

BDop is a Taiwanese company started by Bob Dopolina, a passionate racer who has been working in the bike industry since 1985. The company works as a middleman for local manufacturers as well as directly marketing a variety of products such as headsets, bottom brackets, chainrings, brakepads, and wheels.

BDop recently added aluminium cassettes to its catalogue; cassettes that are machined from 7075 alloy. The result is a lightweight one-piece cassette with a separate 11/12T cog and lockring. And according to BDOP, the cassette is designed to prevent damage to the splines of alloy freehub bodies by offering an increase in the surface area of contact.

The final weight of the cassette ranges form 91-120g, depending on the number of cogs and the size of the cogs. There are options for 10- and 11-speed cassettes to suit Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo freehubs with a rider weight limit of 90kg. BDOP sells directly to international customers while Australian buyers can visit Ascent Cycling Enterprises.

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Our take:

The 11-speed 11-25 Shimano/SRAM cassette supplied for review weighed 110g, easily besting equivalent products from Shimano (173g) or SRAM (151g). At the same time, BDop’s cassette essentially matches the weight of the alloy cassettes made by Recon at a much better price.

On the bike, BDop’s alloy cassette offered smooth and crisp shifting, such that I couldn’t notice a difference when comparing it with a Shimano cassette. I tested the cassette with both Shimano and Campagnolo 11-speed groupsets, and while the latter is not strictly recommended, it was a reliable performer in either setting.

Needless to say, alloy is not as durable as steel or even titanium, so BDop’s cassette is not going to withstand daily use. Not only will it wear at a faster rate, but the teeth are prone to breaking when shifting under load. I was able to use this cassette for close to 1,000km without any issues until one cog suddenly developed skipping that was due to a couple of broken teeth.

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With this in mind, I can’t recommend this cassette for most riders. While some may be tempted to use it on their race-day wheelsets, I’d consider the risk of broken teeth far too great. For weight-weenies that don’t weigh a lot, then this may be a good choice for occasional use but any weight saved with this cassette won’t do much to help the performance of the bike should any of the teeth break.

Price: 10 speed, AUD$190/US$120; 11-speed, AUD$210/US$140.

www.ascentcyclingenterprises.com
www.bdopcycling.com


  • Nik Martin

    On the didits, ignoring whether it’s necessary to advertise having ridden up a mountain, isn’t sticking “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional” on your bike just a bit corny?

    • david__g

      Hubbards need accessories too…

  • George Darroch

    Saving 40g (less than 0.6% of the total rider and bike package) for that much risk seems like a poor choice to me. Perhaps if they’d come up with a better alloy? Or incorporated carbon fibre?

    In any case, there are much better ways to get faster.

    • Dave

      It’s an interesting concept and I applaud them for having a crack, but I get a sense that the currently released product is only a stepping stone towards a more useful application of the concept.

      I said the same thing about the Edco Monoblock cassettes (similar concept, but steel) which were reviewed a couple of months ago, with the reviewer of that product commenting that they were noisy and didn’t shift properly.

      • velocite

        Not sure what concept you mean. Surely not making a cassette out of soft alloy? Others make one-piece cassettes, but not out of Al.

        • Dave

          No, the one piece cassette in general.

          I’ve seen reviews of a few, and it seems that none of them have managed to nail it yet. This one shifts well but the teeth shear off, the Edco cassette (steel) that CT reviewed a few months ago was harder but noisy (i.e. wasted energy) and didn’t shift reliably.

          • velocite

            I’ve been using SRAM XDome 11-32 10 speed cassettes for a few years. It’s not exactly one piece: the 11 cog is separate, as with the one reviewed, and the 32 cog is a separate titanium item. SRAM said when it was launched that the big cog would be a replacement item but they reversed that, so when it wears you need to buy the whole thing. But..it’s a thing of beauty if you like that kind of thing, which I do, and it works fine.

  • George Darroch

    They look like very good gloves.

    But I’d really appreciate more colour and visibility in winter gloves. There’s nothing like bright yellow or reflective for when you have to signal a stop to the car behind you…

  • Stan Cox

    A maximum rider weight for a cassette? Surely the issue would be more with power output than weight. Having said that, you would have to be a wealthy weight weenie to go for this.

    • Nik Martin

      Good point, although from a marketing point of view it would be a bit odd to say “you can’t use this if you’re really strong”. Kind of implies only puny riders can buy it.

      • Vickijsherman

        <<fb. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!il212r:….,….

      • Hamish Moffatt

        But that’s actually the truth isn’t it?

    • Dave

      You’re thinking of torque, not power.

      Weight could be used as a somewhat more consumer-friendly approximation, albeit a rather crude one that depends on the flawed assumption that a rider’s full weight on the downstroke is the highest force which can be put through the chainset.

  • Timothy Barkley

    What was the weight of the test rider on the cassette? And why was a Shimano cassette tested on a Campagnolo drive train? Tooth profiles and shift gates differ between the two not to mention chain widths and plate profiles.

    • I weigh ~75kg, so I was well under the recommended limit. I’ve found the 11-speed Shimano and Campagnolo cassettes are essentially interchangeable, so was interested to see if that applied to BDop’s cassette and whether it was able to shake out any shifting issues. Of course, matching like-for-like will always provide optimum shift performance: https://cyclingtips.com/2014/10/mixing-groupsets-what-works-together-and-what-doesnt/

      • Timothy Barkley

        From your link: “However, there is a measurable difference in the width of each company’s 11-speed chain (Shimano’s chain is 5.62mm wide, Campy’s is 5.50mm).”
        Which chain was used when testing the Shimano specific cassette on the Campagnolo system?

        • It was a Campagnolo chain. The difference in width may be measurable but it makes little practical difference when mixing 11-speed chains and cassettes from the two brands. Some may notice a small difference, but most do not.

  • BTD

    Just a note about the Silca tubeless kit costing ‘a little more than the competition.’

    When going tubeless on 82mm rims last year, I didn’t find any actual products available. Since you need a threaded valve and the only threaded valve extender made is too short to work with any tubeless valve stem, there really wasn’t any stock option. The only solution I could find was 1) Stans (or equivalent tape) $12, 2) Stans 40mm threaded valve extender $26, and 3) two Continental inner tubes with 60mm stems and removable valve cores $15. Stealing the stems from perfectly good inner tubes, adding the threaded valve extender and taping the rims cost $53 (and still has that tiny nut pushing against a non structural carbon fiber fairing) was the only way to make a 100mm tubeless stem setup. Seems to me that $34 for the 100mm Silca kit with the speed shield spreading the pressure around the fairing is a MUCH better option now.

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