Leonardi Factory unveils General Lee 11-speed cassette

New cassette offers 9-42t gearing and XD compatibility

Italian component manufacturer Leonardi has released details of its latest product, an 11-speed cassette boasting an expansive 9-42t range.

Leonardi already offers its wide-range General Lee cassette in a 10-speed version as well as a wide-range expander kit. This latest addition to the line is intended to compete head-to-head with SRAM’s own 10-42t 11-speed cassettes.

We're expecting e*thirteen to release its 9-42T 11-speed 'EXP' cassette soon, however, Leonardi is first to market.

Design details

SRAM had issues with 9t cogs when it was developing its 11-speed mountain cassettes: sram had issues with 9t cogs when it was developing its 11-speed mountain cassettes
SRAM had issues with 9t cogs when it was developing its 11-speed mountain cassettes: sram had issues with 9t cogs when it was developing its 11-speed mountain cassettes

Much like SRAM’s 1x cassettes, the Leonardi General Lee features a two-piece construction using steel and aluminium. The eight smallest cogs are machined from steel, while the three largest cogs are machined from 7075 T6 aluminium. The two halves of the cassette are held together with 12 pins. The cassette is designed to fit SRAM’s XD driver body standard.

Price, weight and availability

The General Lee has a claimed weight of 315g, making it 55g heavier than SRAM’s top-end XX1 cassette, 30g heavier than the X01 cassette, and 10g lighter than the entry-level X1 model.

The General Lee is available now for €359. (US, UK and Australian pricing have yet to be announced.)

Too few teeth?

The 11-speed General Lee cassette has a wider range than SRAM’s offerings, but that may come with drawbacks.

According to SRAM, the reason the company opted not to go smaller than a 10t cog was due to a shuddering sensation that occurs when pedaling such a small cog under load.  As cog size decreases, the rotation of the links on a chain increases exponentially, which causes what SRAM’s engineers dubbed the “polygon effect” — a feeling that the chain is going from slack to taut, resulting from variations in speed as the chain transitions from one tooth on the cog to the next.

Time will tell if this cassette suffers from the same issues as SRAM’s early 9-36t prototypes.

Below is a chart of gear ratios offered in 11-speed MTB cassettes by Leonardi, SRAM and Shimano.

Leonardi 11-speed911131517202327313642
SRAM 11-speed 1012141618212428323642
Shimano XT 11-speed1113151719212428323742
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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