Kit review: Edco monoblock cassette

You’re onto a different level of cycle obsession when you start studying the type of cassette you might want, especially when the main players offer perfectly adequate options for relatively reasonable sums.

But as with anything that costs more, if you do choose to widen the scope of your cassette choices you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Edco’s cassette offering is machined from a single chromoly steel block, which it calls a monoblock. This goes some way to explain the price point, at almost three times that of the equivalent Shimano Ultegra.

That block is a whole lot lighter for one thing – 163g to Shimano’s 208g – and there’s a lot less potential for anything to break or generally go wrong, although it would be difficult to find a lot of issue with a properly fitted new cassette.

Being Swiss, the thing is engineered with the sort of precision you might find inside your watch, if it were Swiss, and despite the light weight is possessed of a reassuring solidity.

The main selling point for this cassette is to enable you to bring your old ten-speed wheels out of retirement on your 11-speed group set. Because it is all one piece, the end of the cassette can be extended off the end of the freehub. Edco does a special lock-nut which is deep enough to tighten everything securely.

This is where the price point suddenly begins to look good value, given the vast sums you would have to lay down in order to upgrade all your wheels to 11-speed hubs, or in buying entirely new 11-speed compatible wheelsets.

Edco is a 100-year-old Swiss company which makes precision bike components. As well as cassettes they do skewers, hubs, wheels and have already built a solid reputation that seems to go along with anything that carries the Swiss flag.

Changing gears with an Edco cassette fitted comes with a solid and reassuring clunk and pinpoint accuracy, as should be expected. Is that clunk six times better than another cassette? In all honesty a clunk is a clunk. One thing we did notice was that the supplied locking nut did not fit on our installed cassette and we had to use the Shimano one on there previously. This didn’t affect the operation in any way, however.

The decision over whether you will want to fork out for one of these is going to largely depend on if you have a redundant wheelset with a ten-speed cassette body that needs reviving or how anal you are about the weight of your components, although with a 45g saving over a standard Ultegra you’d have to be possessed of a particularly strong weight saving desire.

Summary: A precision engineered component which will potentially save you hundreds of pounds on wheel upgrades if you’re moving to 11-speed, but a lovely piece of monoblock extravagance otherwise.

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