Specs:I should probably title this “part one of my series: things I had to replace as my bike was falling apart.” This is a review for the SRAM PG (power glide) 990 cassette. This is a 9-speed only cassette and is what passes for top-of-the-line with SRAM. It is available in an 11-32 or 11-34 ratio. I sprung for the 11-34, for no particular reason. The locking nut and spider are constructed from a red anodized alloy, which give this cassette an attractive look.
Why I bought it:Most of the items on my bike were falling apart and it was pretty much time to replace. It was also starting to get more difficult to find replacement parts for my 8 speed system, so I figured I might as well make the leap to 9 speed. I was also able to find a deal on this cassette, making it a cheaper alternative to the Shimano cassettes.
Not to mention the red highlights, which look pretty sweet!
Conclusion:I finally got my bike back to good working order about three days before a good sized snowstorm hit this area, so I haven’t gotten a chance to really put this through its paces. So far it has performed quite well. It is the only SRAM component on my drive-train; the rest is a mixture of LX and XT. I wouldn’t say that I am sold yet on SRAM (specifically drive-train) components being up to the same standard as Shimano, but so far the shifting seems crisp and I haven’t noticed any issues. My last cassette was a Shimano knockoff (Nashbar brand or Performance Bike brand, something like that) which was a pain in the ass. The locking nut wouldn’t stay tight and the highest gears would eventually start slipping. I swore off off-brand drive-train items, so even this I consider a gamble.
From other reviews of this item, I understand that some folks have issues with rapid wearing, but it does not seem widespread, so I am going to chalk that up to a defect, not the item itself.
So, I guess at the moment I would say if you can find this at a deal price, go ahead and snap it up. If you are going to be paying the same as for an XT cassette, I'd probably lean toward the XT.
I am going to try to update this review when I get a chance to really use the bike again.
I haven't had a chance to really put this through its paces, but I have been commuting. My impression are:
The shifting is quite crisp. It's equal to the middle-range Shimano cassettes. I still think I'd take an XT over this, if the price were the same.
There is a nice ammount of clearance between the cogs. This doesn't affect performance, but it's easier to clean than my previous cassette.
After putting the cassette through its paces and taking it on quite a few 2+ hour rides, my impressions haven't changed all that much. The shifting remains crisp and it seems quite worth the money I put down on it. I still would take an XT casstte over this, but if someone found a deal, I would not hesitate to recommend this one. I remain pleased with the ease of cleaning, which is a huge advantage over my previous cassette.
I still am not convinced that a whole SRAM drivetrail set up would be quite as nice as Shimano (and I mean primarily the derailleurs), but this piece has gone a long way to convincing me that they are moving forward.