First Impressions: SunRace Wide-Range Cassette

Until recently, riders seeking cassettes larger than 36 teeth had two options: aftermarket extender cogs or SRAM’s XD-based freehub/cassette system. Now, there’s a third option with SunRace‘s line of wide-range cassettes. The company’s cassettes fit standard Hyperglide-compatible freehubs, and are available in 10- and 11-speed versions.

My first exposure to SunRace‘s wide-range cassette coincided with the arrival of a Gestalt 2 demo bike from Marin. The aluminum-framed Beyond Road model featured an 11-42t SunRace cassette paired with SRAM’s X7 MTB rear derailleur controlled by Apex DoubleTap levers. That combination performed so well that I was inspired to install a SunRace wide-range cassette on one of my personal bikes.

SunRace offers their wide-range 10- and 11-speed cassettes in two versions: the all-steel CSMS3, and the CSMX3 which features an alloy 40t or 42t cog. The aluminum large cog saves approximately 60 grams, with my sample 11-42t MX3 cassette weighing 389 grams (two grams over the claimed 387-gram weight). SunRace doesn’t specify a retail price for the MX3 cassette, but they can usually be found online for less than $70.

Installing the CSMX3 cassette was easy thanks to SunRace’s use of alloy spiders for the six largest cogs. In addition to saving some weight over separate steel cogs, the machined spiders are less likely to damage the splines on lightweight aluminum freehub bodies. Other niceties include alloy cog spacers (as opposed to plastic), and an alloy lockring anodized to match the spiders’ red color.

SunRace

Testing the SunRace cassette took place on the aforementioned Marin Gestalt 2, and my full-suspension Transition Scout MTB. Both bikes feature 1×10 drivetrains and are spec’d with SRAM rear derailleurs and shifters. The Gestalt was a member of Marin’s demo fleet, and despite having seen previous use, the SunRace 11-42t cassette shifted with quiet precision. Replacing the Scout’s stock (SRAM) 11-36t cassette with the wide-range MX3 required only a quick adjustment of rear derailleur’s b-tension screw.

Having used Shimano and SRAM cassettes exclusively for as long as I can remember, I was initially concerned that the SunRace unit wouldn’t offer the same level of performance. The bottom line is that I was dead wrong–the SunRace cassette sacrifices nothing when it comes to shifting performance. And despite being removed and reinstalled multiple times (on different bikes and wheels), I never encountered any creaking or popping when pedaling (and shifting) under load.

Much of my testing took place in between heavy snow storms, which meant wet and gritty conditions. It’s too soon to comment on the CSMX3’s long-term durability, but I haven’t noticed any premature wear on either of the sample cassettes. Look for a future update to see how the SunRace unit holds up to typical Colorado winter riding.

Disclosure: SunRace provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

33 thoughts on “First Impressions: SunRace Wide-Range Cassette

  1. I have SunRace cassettes (8x) on my tour bikes and sold at my old shoppe, they are plain Jane functional and under appreciated

  2. SunRace has been around a long time, and, as Chuck states, are a very functional cassette. Bought a $2 clunker bike with a cracked frame at a yard sale just for the peddles (really nice old cager flat peddles that are 20+ years old and still going strong). When I salvaged the rest of the parts, the original SunRace cassette needed a wee bit of cleaning, and it bolted right up to a kid’s Trek 220 I rebuilt for a kid who needed a bike. The old ones “click” cooler than SunTour of Shimano, too!

  3. You think if work better with sram x9 or gx, any recommendations.

    On front use 24-36
    On rear I thinking on 11-40

    Thanks for your time

    1. No experience using the SunRace cassette with a double. I did run 24/36 with 11-36 and used a long-cage X9, though.

  4. Just curious if the 11-speed Sunrace cassettes fit on 8/9/10 speed freehubs like the Shimano 1-speed MTB cassettes?

    1. Good question (and good timing). I have an 11-speed SunRace cassette arriving in a couple of days and will post an update when I find out.

        1. I tested the 11s version on a Shimano M618 freehub (thru-axle) and it fit. While I didn’t test shifting, etc, it spun without any issues.

  5. Hey I was wondering if you had an update on the 11 speed sun race cassette fitting on a 9-10 speed hub?

    1. I tested the 11s version on a Shimano M618 freehub (thru-axle) and it fit. While I didn’t test shifting, etc, it spun without any issues.

  6. I installed recently a sunrace Csmx3 11-40t 10 speed work perfectly

    Setup

    Front 22-36 doval
    Rear delaurier xt 10v shadow plus
    Sunrace 11-40
    Chain kmc 10sl ti ni 116 link

  7. I have seen a couple of reviews saying the chain drops to the 36t cog when you back pedal on the 42t. Have you found that to be the case?

    1. Yes, the chain does drop from the 42 to the 36 when you backpedal more than, say, half a revolution. The 11s (11-40) version does the same thing. I haven’t found it to be an issue in real-world conditions, however.

    1. I don’t know of any derailleur that can clear the 42t cog and wrap enough chain for a double.

  8. I wonder if a half step double up front would work, that would be only 3 additional teeth

  9. Good to hear that the 40 t cassette runs with a 2×10 with a 22 t chainring up front.
    I’m after maximum low range for my fat bIke.
    The tracks here a very steep and I find the extra wheel hight of the fattys more like a 29r ,it takes some of the low end away.
    Has anyone ever tried to run a 20 t chainring with the 40 t cassette? .
    I guess it’s to much of a stretch.
    Ta.

  10. This may have been answered already but I must admit I’m easily confused these days. So basically I am just looking for clarification. I have a Giant Revolt gravel bike. It has a double 34/48 up front, 10 speed on back. In my never ending battle with this one particular hill I would like to go to a wide range cassette. I realise I will most likely have to change my rear mech but can I run either the 40 or 42, or is just going to the 40 advised? Also what recommendations could be given for economical rear mech? Thanks.

    1. Is your Revolt fitted with a Shimano or SRAM drivetrain? If you’re running SRAM, their medium/long-cage MTB mechs should work fine. Shimano drivetrains, however, present a bit of a challenge. Their 10s road shifters/derailleurs have different cable pull requirements than their 10s mtb shifters/derailleurs. But, you can use a 9s MTB derailleur with a 10s road shifter. The 9s MTB mechs will clear 36t cogs, but 40t and 42t cogs sometimes require longer b-tension screws, etc (MTBR.com is full of threads that discuss these mods).

      1. For the Shimano drive trains you just install one of those Wolftooth RoadLinks which enables you to use your existing road derailer with a wide-range MTB cassette. A friend did it on his bike with 11-40 11 speed shimano and a 105 rear derailler.

    2. i don`t try , but i think you can use only front 48 rear 11-16t and 36front rear 13t-40t read delaurier xt or xtr 10v

  11. What about using a short cage x9 derailler with the 40t (or 42t) cassette, anybody experience if it might work? (Either 36t or 32t in front if it might matter)

    1. Sun Race just released the MX3 10 speed in 11-46T. Just installed on my Stumpjumper. Requires a Wolf Tooth Road Link and long B screw but works like topsy.

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