Get ready to dive into the heart of your mountain bike’s performance powerhouse: the cassette. Sitting proudly on the rear wheel, this vital drivetrain component boasts a series of circular sprockets, each adorned with teeth that securely grip your chain.
The number of gears at your fingertips can vary, with mountain bike cassettes typically offering 9, 10, or 11 sprockets. Just imagine, a 10-sprocket cassette paired with two front chainrings delivers a whopping 20 gear options to tackle any terrain!
Our guide will cover the best mountain bike cassettes on the market for 8-11 speed bikes.
How are mountain bike cassettes sized?
Buying a new cassette can be confusing. Cassettes are sold in speeds, so a Shimano 11-speed cassette will have 11 sprockets with teeth. They are then sized by the number of teeth each sprocket has, so an 11-40T will have 11 teeth on the smallest sprocket and 40 teeth on the largest sprocket.
Are cassette sizes interchangeable?
No. If you have a 10-speed cassette, it must be replaced with another 10 -speed cassette, unless you are upgrading your entire drivetrain.
Who are the top mountain bike cassette manufacturers?
There are two daddies: Shimano and Spram.
What is a mountain bike groupset?
A groupset is all the components that make up your MTB drivetrain. These include: Crankset, bottom bracket, shifters, derailleur, chain and cassette.
Best MTB Cassettes
SRAM PG850 8-Speed Cassette
- Cassette offers ideal combination of lightweight materials, durable construction, and precise engineering
- Keeps shifting smooth and easy on pavement or singletrack
- Race-proven design and durable, chrome-plated finish ensure years of hassle-free use
- Eight speeds; recommended for use with PC-38 chain; steel lock ring and nickel/chrome-plated sprockets
- Includes limited two-year manufacturer's warranty
A top-selling cassette from Spram. The cassette utilizes Sprams Powerglide 11 technology.
For technical information on this cassette, you can download Spram’s user manual to check all your compatibility and drivetrain set up.
How to install an 8-speed cassette
Shimano HG51 8-Speed Cassette
- High quality 8-speed cassette
- Hyper glide sprockets have a computer designed tooth configuration with contoured shift gates
- Close ratio gearing allows a more efficient use of energy through finer cadence control
- Sprockets are cut away to further reduce weight without reducing rigidity
- Nickel-plated finish offers hard wearing resistance to corrosion
Low cost 8-speed cassette from Shimano. This is a solid MTB cassette for people looking for an 8-speed.
Shimano CS-HG31 8-Speed Cassette
8-speed cassette with a black finish. Total weight of this cassette is 313g.
The cassette will need to be used with Shimano’s freehub. Cassette will work great on 26″ wheels to 29ers.
Shimano HG400 9 Speed Mountain Bike Cassette
- Alivio CS-HG400 9-Speed Cassette
This Shimano 9-speed cassette is a best seller in the 9-speed category. Features include Shimanos hydroglide technology and are lightweight.
Shimano Tiagra HG500 10-Speed Mountain Bike Cassette
Shimano’s best-selling 10-speed cassette. This cassette is nickel plated which is said to reduce corrosion. You will also notice the sprockets have drill holes to reduce the overall weight of the cassette.
Shimano XT CS-M771 10-speed Mountain Bike Cassette
- Dyna-Sys Components
- 8 rings on Spider (3+3 structure)
- Alloy lock ring
- HyperGlide Sprockets
- 10-speed cassette includes cogs 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32-36T
This Shimano 10-speed cassette is nickel plated and weighs 276g. You can buy much lighter cassettes, but this one has great durability. The cassette will fit both Shimano and Spram hubs.
SRAM GX XG-1150 11-Speed Cassette
- This xg-1150 cassette is an integral part of the Sram 1x drivetrain system, no compromises
- Full pin technology uses eleven lightweight, stamped steel cogs held together with 123 High-Strength stainless steel Pins
- Sram Super wide 10-42 gear range that's a perfect fit for any ride
This Spram cassette has a 10-42t gear range, perfect for train riders who do a bit of everything on their rides. The product uses Sprams Full Pin technology to make the cassette lightweight and super tough.
Weight is 394g and made of steel.