I used to be really into getting the latest and greatest components for my road bike. It was kind of a hobby of mine. An expression of my love for cycling as it were. Now, I simply ride my bike and enjoy the scenery.
(See last entry on the matter here.)
However, recognizing that I no longer had the legs to ride a 23T up Mt Lemmon (even on a compact crank setup), I installed an SRAM Red 11-26 cassette this weekend. And it immediately took me back to my bike porn days.
I grabbed my DSLR to illustrate why before it got all greasy and encrusted with dirt:
Not only that it's a specially-made 10-speed steel cassette that is hollowed out to the point it weighs just 168g as measured on my scale (see below) but the fact that it comes in a (function-free) soft red bag is proof-positive this is a serious piece of chi-chi componentry.
Lightweight backpackers can probably appreciate that 168g is amazing light for all steel construction, especially when compared to a narrower range Shimano Dura-Ace 12-23 cassette with a mix of steel and titanium cogs riding on alloy carriers that weighs 184g on the same scale:
Functionality-wise, it's a direct drop in. Only sign I have it is the relatively subtle red plate on the back:
It works fine with the Shimano Dura-Ace chain. And shifts beautifully with a (satisfying?) clunk.
The weight savings is several orders of magnitude below any measureable threshold since I'm weighing in at 70kg plus. And in any case, I need a slightly longer (and heavier) chain.
The 26T, however, is the reason why I bought it. My legs can appreciate the slightly over 10% easier climbing it brings at the same cadence.