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by James Huang
May 5, 2016
It’s back! After a one-year hiatus, we’ve resurrected our monthly product showcase where we highlight gear that has landed on our doorstep, providing firsthand impressions of their performance — good or bad. This month, we’re featuring some parts and accessories from our new U.S. office in Boulder, Colorado.
Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:
Easton E100 handlebar
Edco Monoblock cassette
Gore Bike Wear One Gore-Tex Active Bike Jacket
Rudy Project Tralyx sunglasses
Just Enough Tools JET Roll III tool roll
Ass Savers Fendor Bendor fender
Edco may be best known for its expansive collection of road wheels, but its Monoblock cassette is arguably the most interesting product in its catalog. Milled from a single chunk of steel, it resembles similar cassettes from SRAM with its hollow, dome-like architecture. It’s also fantastically light, at just 188g for an 11-28T, 11-speed sample — including the aluminum lockring.
For comparison, a SRAM Red 22 11-28T cassette weighs 167g, a Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-28T cassette comes in at 190g, and a Campagnolo Super Record 11-27T cluster is 202g.
Overall, the Edco Monoblock wouldn’t be my first choice in a high-end cassette, but the prospect of being able to convert older wheels to modern drivetrains without having to switch freehub bodies is certainly interesting.
Edco offers the Monoblock in a huge wide array of sizes: 11-25T, 11-27T, 11-28T, 11-29T, 11-32T, 12-25T, and 12-27T for Shimano/SRAM 10-speed drivetrains; 11-23T, 11-25T, 11-27T, 11-28T, 11-29T, 11-32T, 12-23T, 12-25T, 12-27T, 12-28T, 14-25T, and 14-27T ratios for Shimano/SRAM 11-speed systems; and 11-25T, 11-27T, 11-29T, 11-32T, 12-25T, and 12-27T options for 11-speed Campagnolo bodies.
Even better, the 11-speed Shimano/SRAM cassettes will work on 10-speed freehub bodies when paired with Edco’s optional Ten+Eleven lockring, which features a longer-threaded section. In this way, provided sufficient frame and hub endcap clearances, you can still use your existing fleet of older wheels with more current drivetrains.
The internal ribs provide sufficient support to keep the cassette from being crushed as the lockring is tightened.
Shift quality on the Monoblock in either direction is good, but not great. It’s noticeably clunkier than Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo, and also runs a little louder than all three. The drivetrain noise has subsided a bit after several months of riding, but shift quality remains so-so.
Given that the price is roughly comparable to more refined offerings of similar weight from Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo, this wouldn’t be my first pick for a straight-up replacement cassette. However, the potential for infusing new life into a collection of wheels that can’t be updated with 11-speed freehub bodies is undeniably appealing — and in many cases, could easily justify the Monoblock’s cost and middling shift performance.
Price: US$210 / AU$300 / £170