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by Matt Wikstrom
August 16, 2016
Photography by Matt Wikstrom
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:
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.
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.
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.