Leonardi Factory General Lee wide ratio cassette adapter review
With more people running single ring setups, and the 11-speed SRAM XX1’s whopping 10-42T gear spread showing just how big you can go, it seems inevitable that someone else would try and produce a large ratio cassette. Enter the Leonardi Factory General Lee.
The adapter replaces the last four sprockets of SRAM X5, X7 and X9 cassettes, increasing the gear spread from 12-36T to 12-40T. Apart from the last sprocket getting bigger, the others change in ratios to give a reasonable step up in gears; the standard 24-28-32-36 jumps are replaced by 25-29-34-40.
While the asking price might seem high for just under half a cassette, if you compare it to the cost of SRAM’s official 11-speed system – for which you’ll need to buy the shifter, cassette, rear mech and either a new kind of freehub body or wheel – it doesn’t seem such bad value for money.
We used the cassette with an X9 Type 2 clutch-equipped, medium cage mech. Once the B-tension screw that sets the distance of the top jockey wheel had been adjusted to cope with the larger last sprocket, the gears shifted up and down the block from the first attempt.
It’s not as crisp as normal shifting and makes a sluggish drop from the 40T sprocket down the block, as if the sprocket was delaying the chain. The delay is worse shifting at the front, too. With such a wide ratio of gears we stuck to the lower eight ratios in general use, only using the two largest sprockets as bailout gears.
More worrying is wear. Just over four months of use have created noticeable hooking of the teeth, and it’s managed to lose a couple along the way as well. Whether this is a one off issue, or a hazard of producing cassettes from aluminium alloy and a CNC machine instead of the usual steel and stamping machines, we don’t yet know.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.