When modern wide-range cassettes first hit the market, it was the giant 50-tooth (and now 52-tooth) cogs that grabbed all the headlines. But 1X drivetrains arguably wouldn’t have taken over if it weren’t for the 10-tooth cog down at the other end of the stack. That’s how brands can claim their 500, 510 and 520-percent gear ranges. Still, it wasn’t enough for e*thirteen. They introduced a lineup of cassettes with 9-tooth cogs, allowing for lighter, more compact setups with as much as 556-percent range.
And then, earlier this year, they introduced a 12-speed cassette that spanned from 9 teeth to 52 teeth, netting a 578-percent range. Travis Engel had to get his hands on one, but not for his mountain bike. He wanted it for his multi-headed beast of a gravel, touring and bikepacking bike. Range is king if you can’t (or won’t) run a front derailleur. But is one less tooth worth bowing down to?