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Depends on the range you need. If you're going from 1x - 1x, then it's literally dependent on whether you need/want the extra gearing. If you're coming from 2 or 3x, you can usually get the same range and save weight with even a heavy wide range cassette once you lose the front ring, shifter, cable, and derailleur.
 

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Yeah. Depends what you mean by trump. If you can't make it up a hill with a 42 but you can with a 46, the 1/4 lb is inconsequential.

Look at it this way. Say you and your bike weight 220 lb (100 kg). Going up hill, a 46 will make it ~10% easier to pedal than a 42. You'd have to lose 22 lb to make it equivalently easy to pedal up that hill. That said, you'd be going 10% faster if you lost that 22 lb.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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IMO, achieving a particular target gearing (whatever works best for the rider and terrain) is more important than the weight of the parts to get there.
 

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There's actually a third aspect to this dilemma to consider, it's really; weight vs range vs price.

For me the XG1150 10-42 SRAM is a good middle ground for everything, gives me sufficient range with a 30T up front, is reasonably cheap and not too heavy. If the sub-400g weights shown on JensonUSA for the new XT cassettes are right then I might finally consider going 12sp; XT 10-51 $159 and 367g, SRAM GX Eagle 10-50 $215 and 450g.
 

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The 12sp cassettes and derailleurs are really big. I didn't realized how big till I put the bikes side by side with an 11sp. At least for now...if I need moar low...I'll go to a smaller front ring.
 

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XT to XT, going from 42t to 46t is more like 30g. Its hardly anything. For XTR, 45 to 51t is only 10 grams.

You gotta switch to sram cassettes to get those 1/4 pound changes, but the price quadruples too.
 
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