I rode my bike to work the last two days with the new custom cassette in place. I like it. I’m yet to try it with my intended touring load, but unladen it works very well.
I’m using a wide range double crankset (42/26) and with the closely spaced higher gears on the cassette, this gives a very usable “meat and potatoes” range for flat and mild uphills (13-15-16-17-18). And then I’ve got the more steeply graduated low gears when it gets hillier (21-24-28-32). I haven’t had to use the 32 or my small chainring yet as the hills in central Sydney aren’t steep enough.
I’ve used the cassette in friction mode with a Silver shifter so far, and shifting was not problematic. The chain behaved itself and I couldn’t detect any issues caused by the Hyperglide shifting ramps not being in their intended positions.
Update 14/02/12: I installed a 9 speed DA shifter, and rode to work again this morning. Shifting is still pretty good. Some gears shift with a bit of a clunk, but certainly nothing to worry about. The cassette is making a few tingling noises though, and I think the lockring is coming loose. They have serrations on the first position sprocket for a reason!
I’m planning a trip to France this year and will be travelling pretty light with a saddlebag and handlebar bag, so will do some test runs with that load and my new cassette and report back again. I’ll need to find some steeper hills to simulate the Alps.