ASK RIDE… How will I know when to replace my cassette?

Hey guys, I am just wondering about SRAM cassettes. My SRAM Red gruppo now has a tendency to skip gears a bit, even when the rear mech is tuned. How can I tell if I need to replace the cassette?

Trevor Raven


HI Trevor,

Thanks for the question.

If the frame, hanger and rear mech (derailleur) are correctly aligned and tuned for proper indexing, and the cassette & hub interface are tight, then I would consider the condition & age of the chain and cassette. It’s much easier to evaluate condition first, so be sure you haven’t any corroded/bent/frozen links in the chain and of course that there is nothing damaged or obstructive in the cassette. Age may be the culprit. The OG1090 cassette has great wear life due to its steel cog design and all 10 positions are machined using hardened steel. Maintaining the cassette with regular cleaning and replacing the chain prior to overuse and severe wear (stretching), the Red cassette should serve the recreational cyclist for a couple of years. If, however, one continues to use a chain in adverse weather beyond its service interval (approx 1500km) or fair/dry conditions life interval (approx 3000km), then such a chain can begin to prematurely wear the cog teeth. Such wear will go largely unnoticed if the same worn chain remains in place.

Lubricant can be added to minimise any worn chain noise and the rider will likely not sense a small degrade in shifting performance. However, once a new chain is installed, that chain’s fresh rollers and tighter pin-to-pin length/tolerance may no longer fit the now aged cog tips and valleys. With enough rider power input this new chain can literally dislodge and skip.

Keep your drivetrain clean for best results and longevity. Replacing the chain before it becomes to worn will increase the life of your other parts.

Keep your drivetrain clean for best results and longevity. Replacing the chain before it becomes too worn will increase the life of your other parts.

If skipping were to occur outside of any of these diagnosis, I would recommend inspection by a qualified SRAM dealer or technical representative.

Regards Rob Eva

Rob began his cycling career in the MTB discipline in the mid 80’s. He worked his way to become a professional rider and won a number of Australian titles along the way. He has been working in the Bicycle industry for over 20 years and now finds himself at SRAM as a member of a very dynamic team. He started at SRAM as part of the product development team and has since become the market manager for SRAM Corporation, for brands including SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid and Truvativ in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

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