When SRAM launched Double Tap it didn’t take very long for cross racers to realize the single lever, and its near instant shifts with zero slop, was perfect for the unique demands of Cyclocross. As the sport has exploded stateside SRAM has become the go-to group for cross racers. Surprisingly, one of SRAM’s stand-out engineering feats, the 1090 Power Dome Cassette with eight cogs CNC’d from a single block of steel, was not very cross friendly. It didn’t shed mud and lacked the bite to perform well in adverse conditions. Cross racers ran the 1070 cassette and never looked back.
As successful as Power Dome was on the road, you couldn’t help but get the feeling SRAM was a bit peeved the cassette wasn’t a cross stand out as well. Instead of whining, they got to work. When RED 2012 was launched the new cassette, the 1090 X-Glide, was lighter, better at shedding mud and offered the bite cross racers needed thanks to a combination of Power Dome technology from the road and XX technology from the dirt. Problem solved, right? Not according to SRAM. They decided to take it all a step further, with the X-Glide 1090 CX Cyclocross specific cassette. If SRAM Red was the ultimate cross group it should have the ultimate cross cassette.
The X-Glide 1090 CX Cassette is the Swiss cheese of cassettes. Every opportunity to remove material was taken, leaving hundreds of mud shedding ports. In the worst possible conditions, sticky Belgian mud, not only do the openings shed the mud that does collect, the cassette simply has less surface area to collect mud to begin with. All those holes also gave them another opportunity to showcase a logo.
SRAM listened to their incredible stable of athletes as well and answered one call specifically, no 11 tooth cog. The 1090 CX starts with a 12 and runs to a 27. This means closer ratios with a 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-24-27 progression. Ratios US Champ, Katie Compton, is already raving about. Even with that 27 cog the cassette weighs only 159 grams.
The X-Glide 1090 CX is compatible with all SRAM groups as well as the usual 10 speed Shimano suspects. Don’t be too surprised to see the 1090 CX being run on plenty of non-SRAM drive trains and even a lot of road bikes. After all bad weather isn’t cross racing specific. It is available now and costs $335.