XT or SLX cassette for aluminum freehub driver? Does it matter?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    XT or SLX cassette for aluminum freehub driver? Does it matter?

    I just put an SLX 11-spd cassette on my new wheelset. I'm a bit worried that it's going to chew up my new freehub. Would an XT cassette be any better? I don't care about weight, and the small price increase isn't an issue if I can prevent some freehub damage. The price of XTR is too steep.

    Background: At the moment the SLX cassette on my old ( now backup) rear wheel is stuck on the freehub. I'm pretty sure I will be able to remove it, but I have no idea what the hub body is going to look like. This is what I'm hoping to avoid with my new wheels. Apparently a steel or ti freehub is not available for my new hub.
    Veni vidi velo!

  2. #2
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    I've used both on the DT aluminum freehub with no issues.

    If it really bothers you, you can get a file and shorten the leading edge of a spline until a thick steel staple will slide in between the cassette and spline. This is kind of a bodge, but Shimano aluminum freehubs are bodges themselves.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    I've used both on the DT aluminum freehub with no issues.

    If it really bothers you, you can get a file and shorten the leading edge of a spline until a thick steel staple will slide in between the cassette and spline. This is kind of a bodge, but Shimano aluminum freehubs are bodges themselves.
    Thanks, good to know. Bothers me only because the cassette on my old wheel is jammed tight to the freehub. Thus far trying to hammer it off has succeeded only in separating the freehub from the hub shell and displacing the pawls and springs.
    Veni vidi velo!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    If it really bothers you, you can get a file and shorten the leading edge of a spline until a thick steel staple will slide in between the cassette and spline. This is kind of a bodge, but Shimano aluminum freehubs are bodges themselves.
    Not a bodge, that's the Anti Bite Systemô

    XT or SLX cassette for aluminum freehub driver? Does it matter?-13738318_1174176739305409_2450610388979277886_o.jpg

    Feeling nothing but effective and protective

  5. #5
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    How old is your old bike? Is it jammed on in 2 years time? Is it 9 years old?

    Perhaps you can remove the cassette once or twice a year and clean it up, if cleanup is required.

    SLX is pretty standard equipment. I'm not suggesting there is nothing wrong with it, but it does mean there are thousands of serviceable bikes rolling around.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    How old is your old bike? Is it jammed on in 2 years time? Is it 9 years old?

    Perhaps you can remove the cassette once or twice a year and clean it up, if cleanup is required.

    SLX is pretty standard equipment. I'm not suggesting there is nothing wrong with it, but it does mean there are thousands of serviceable bikes rolling around.
    Thanks for the info.

    The bike is one year old. The freehub in question is four months old. The cassette is original. I have nothing against SLX. It works great, wears well, and weighs just 50g more than XT. Thus, a good value. But the cassettes seem to chew up aluminum freehubs.

    After some additional investigation it looks like XT uses aluminum cogs that help prevent freehub gouging. So it appears this may be an issue for others. They don't last as long as the steel in SLX, but I think I will give XT try.
    Veni vidi velo!

  7. #7
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    Double chain whips make the removal easier, one holding the smaller cogs, and the second to rotate the larger cogs backwards out of the groove. This is what I do at the shop for nasty stuck cassettes

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rides Bikes View Post
    Double chain whips make the removal easier, one holding the smaller cogs, and the second to rotate the larger cogs backwards out of the groove. This is what I do at the shop for nasty stuck cassettes
    Thanks for the tip!
    Veni vidi velo!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    After some additional investigation it looks like XT uses aluminum cogs that help prevent freehub gouging. So it appears this may be an issue for others. They don't last as long as the steel in SLX, but I think I will give XT try.
    The difference between XT and SLX 11 speed cassettes (as it relates to gouging an aluminum freehub) is that the SLX has the 3 biggest cogs on an aluminum carrier, while the XT has the 6 biggest cogs on 2 carriers. The remaining cogs are loose (slide directly onto the freehub with spacers between them). The carriers won't gouge the freehub, but the loose cogs still will.

    I personally wouldn't replace a perfectly good new SLX cassette for an XT just to get the protection from 3 more cogs. The smaller cogs will still gouge either way.

  10. #10
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    You need to put grease on every bike part, including the hub.

    My slx steel 11 36 9 speed chewed into my Hope Pro II hub. Looks bad, still useable. I changed my chain at .5 and those steel cogs lasted longer than an energiser bunny. I was able to take them off because I put some grease on the hub before I put the cassette on.

  11. #11
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    ^Hope freehubs get chewed up fairly quickly, but I agree that it's usually just cosmetic. Do you tighten the lockring to proper torque? That helped mine a bit along with a cassette with a larger spider for the bigger rings like the Sram 990 or XT.

    One can also purchase a steel freehub from Hope if need be.

    OP, I think that the XT cassette has a larger spider than the SLX, but properly tightening the lock ring should keep the cogs in place. There is no point in replacing the working freehub if it's already chewed up. Perhaps revisit the issue when you need a new cassette if it bothers you.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  12. #12
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    OP here. Thanks for the replies. Interesting to read others' perspectives.

    My new freehub is a Project 321. I have five rides on it, maybe 80 mi. I put a light coating of grease on it. It's tight I but did not torque. My torque wrench does not work with my lockring tool. My bad. I'm pretty sure it's not notched too badly yet and that I'll be able to remove it. I'll have my shop check it and torque it to spec. I asked about a steel free hub, but apparently Project 321 doesn't make one.

    It's on my backup wheelset that my cassette is stuck on a 4 month old freehub, which was also greased. Once I get the old, worn cassette off, I was thinking of putting the new SLX cassette on the backup wheel and buying XT for the new wheelset. Assuming XT is less likely to booger up the hub. Sounds like it may be.

    I just found about another option: Sunrace? They market them as easier on alloy freehubs? Experience anyone?
    Veni vidi velo!

  13. #13
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    No specific experience with Sunrace, but I've contemplated a wide range cassette from them. Bascially, the steel cogs that are loose with a spacer in between and held together in a bunch by a screw and not on a spider will impact the freehub like a single cog. There is a reason the SS cogs are typically wider at the freehub than the chain. A spider that joins the cogs into a group will spread the force across the surface rather than at the point of cog contact. Some cassettes will have a good portion of the larger cogs on a spider, some will be broken into a couple spiders and the lower end cassettes will have no spider. The wider the spider the more "protection" against freehub gouging, but the smaller cogs will still bite into the freehub.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  14. #14
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    So I decided to pull the SLX cassette off my new wheels today just to see how notched the freehub was after 5 rides totalling maybe 80 miles. Thought it would be the prudent thing to do before dropping more money on a higher end cassette.

    The first five cogs came off easily but the remaining six cogs were stuck on, just like on my old hub. They eventually came off with a few taps from a rubber mallett. The freehub was pretty well notched, far more than I would have expected for such low mileage.

    I weigh 230 with riding gear, ride 30-70 miles a week and climb 2-3000 feet on pretty much every ride. I guess this is what comes with a bigger guy riding lightweight aluminum freehubs?

    I'm going to try an XT or Sunrace cassette and see if it makes a difference. I suspect I am going to be disappointed. Just doesn't seem right that you would have to hammer off a cassette after less than100 miles of use.
    Veni vidi velo!

  15. #15
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    As a Clydesdale, I had similar issues with an SLX cassette on an aluminum hub. XT took care of the issue for me. Even though the smaller cogs are separate from the spider, the loads are MUCH smaller in those cogs, so they don't tend to dig in so badly. YMMV

  16. #16
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    XT will be better, but you still have to file down the gouges from time to time and ultimately it might affect the shifting performance. My experience with DT Swiss alloy freehub is here: https://forums.mtbr.com/wheels-tires...e-1000563.html I ended up replacing it with steel freehub.

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