Review: Shimano 105 Cassette

Having run a SRAM cassette for over five years, I was looking forward to trying Shimano for a change. My old cassette on my SuperSix Evo was worn and seeing as SRAM and Shimano are interchangeable, I thought I would defect.

I ended up buying a 5700 10-speed and a 5800 11-speed within a couple of weeks of each other as I bought a new bike. I bought a new Shimano chain too.

The 5700 Shimano 10-speed 105 Cassette is an 11-28t and a nice piece of shiny. It’s nickel plated, which gives it a silvery sheen. It uses Shimano’s Hyperglide tooth configuration which apparently helps with changing gear. It is also apparently a close ratio setup to easier shifts.

The 5800 11-speed 105 Cassette is much the same. It has the same ratio 11-28t, the same nickel plating, the same tooth configuration and one extra ring.

Fitting these cassettes is simple as long as you have the right tools. Simply undo the tension from the old cassette with a special nut, unscrew the locking ring, slide the old cassette off without dropping it everywhere, clean up the hub a bit, add a little grease, then slide the new cassette on without dropping it everywhere.

I have no idea why they sell these cassettes in several pieces. Sure the pros will want to change their ratios around a bit, but the rest of us certainly don’t. As you may have guessed, I dropped mine and had to put it all back together again. It isn’t difficult, but it is a faff I could do without.

Once fitted, it was a matter of replacing the chain, cutting it to length and testing the rear derailleur alignment before a test ride.

To be honest, I didn’t feel any difference between the stock SRAM cassette and the 105. However, shifting was smooth and you could indeed change under pressure (not that you should). It used to be only SRAM that let you change up or down while giving it full beans but now Shimano does the same.

The 5800 11-speed I bought I fitted to a training wheel for the turbo trainer. The new bike came with 105 11-speed and already had everything it needed. It was strange at first having an extra gear to play with but with a bit of practice and 30 – 40 miles, it became second nature. Like the 5700, it performs flawlessly, allows quick shifts and does everything I ask of it.

Both of these Shimano cassettes offer good value for money at a little over £20 each. They look good, perform well and looked after, will still be performing well several thousand miles down the road. Can’t ask more than that.

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