I use a Dawes Discovery 601 for general fitness and leisure riding for trips of 20 to 50 miles. I recently changed my cassette and chain but got rather confused as to what were the best value replacements for me. I could buy a number of compatible cassettes and didn't mind spending more money to get a better quality part that would last longer. However, it seemed that the more expensive cassettes (and chains) were being sold on being more lightweight than the cheaper ones but with no indication of whether they were more robust, or even as robust!
A Shimano HG50 (the original one on the bike) was £19 but the next one up in the range was £36 and advertised as having lightweight titanium and extra drilled holes to cut weight down. Well, fine if you want a lighter part but is it any better in terms of smooth gear changing, resistance to wear etc. for nearly twice the price?
I'm not that worried about weight as I'm not looking to scrape those last few seconds off my times and I tend to stuff my rack pack with whatever produce the roadside fruit and veg stalls sell along my routes. Eventually I'm going to have to replace other parts as they wear - pedals, chainrings, wheel bearings or whatever. Do I have a wild stab at parts that cost low to middling prices or risk paying much more for engineering that is aimed at saving those last few grammes of weight rather than improving overall quality?