SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (50)
EDITORIAL

Lost In Transmission

Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Reading time

On 3/21

A pile of neat bicycle stuff was released on March 21st, 2023. Printed titanium cranks by Cane Creek, a 12-speed cable-actuated drivetrain from TRP, new colors that are actually pretty sweet from Guerrilla Gravity, Canyon has an updated Neuron full suspension bike. Also, very sadly, Kitsbow announced that their employee-owned, living-wage, domestically-manufactured clothing experiment is coming to an end.

Even the keen absorber of bicycle content could be excused for having missed some, or all, of these things trying not to be drowned under the monstrous wave of hype as SRAM's new drivetrains came crashing down upon us. Sorry, it's called 'Transmission' not a drivetrain. That's a cheeky way of letting you know you have to buy new cranks at the same time.

Post after post, piece after piece, saying the same things. It's a paradigm-shifting once-in-a-lifetime leap forward in drivetrain technology even if it does look a lot like someone selectively polished parts of an AXS rear derailleur and bolted it to a Shimano Saint RD-M800 direct mount axle circa 2003.

SRAM t-type transmission d merdano 8

Since I don't mention the 'POD' anywhere else. It's backwards compatible to all other AXS drivetrains and folks either like it much better or much worse than the previous shifter. Test ride, then decide. Photo: Deniz Merdano

I abandoned my social media for the day as shifting through posts by bike brands, sites, shops, frame builders, supported riders, semi-supported riders, and mountain bike enthusiasts I follow was like shifting a three-month-old Eagle SX drivetrain up and down the whole 12-gears. I don't have the patience.

How many people in mountain bike media wrote some version of the phrase "I hate the term game-changer, but I'm compelled to use it here." Game-changer for whom? What percentage of mountain bikers are on 10K+ me-bikes or 15K+ e-bikes?! I'll get to the potential for trickledown later. And game-changer compared to what? For those that can afford the price tag, AXS X01 & XX1 Eagle are awesome drivetrains.

Oh, and did we ever find out who set the record for most bros piggybacking each other while standing on a Transmission rear derailleur, even though that's not really ever how rear derailleurs are impacted?

SRAM t-type transmission d merdano 1

What's the maximum number of bros that can stand on one T-Type derailleur at the same time, and what's the failure method when that number is reached!? Photo: Deniz Merdano

The WaveCel Factor

There is a bunch of cool stuff going on with Transmission and I'm actually here to talk about it. For one, brand new out of the box, I agree that it shifts better under heavy pedaling loads than anything on the market including SRAM Eagle AXS, Shimano's XTR HG+, and XT LinkGlide. Better. But, how much better? And I can buy an XT LinkGlide M8130 shifter, XT M8130 rear derailleur, and LG700 cassette for less than the cheapest T-Type cassette on its own (XG-1295 @ 400 USD).

This is a population-level evolutionary event that's being dressed up as cataclysmic change. The chainline in the lowest gears is still shitty, the increasingly massive rear derailleur still dangles, riders are still going to wear out a couple of cogs and be on the hook for a full 400-600 USD cassette. Chains cost 100-150 USD. And those prices really don't matter because anyone who can afford a Transmission-level bike can afford spare parts. The second owner had best be aware that it's X0 and up.

Yes, moving the cassette outboard 2.5 mm makes for a better chainline assuming a bike was already running Boost-148 with a 55mm chainline rather than the more common 52mm combination. As covered previously, the extraordinarily awful 55mm-Boost combo is not ubiquitous yet.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (27)

I'm not trying to start a conspiracy, but doesn't it seem like all the photographs of Transmission were shot from this angle or behind?

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (26)

I mean, if I had a say in the matter I suppose I'd prefer if folks shot me looking sleek rather than zooming in on my love handles.

When I started reading the T-Type copy all I could think of was Trek's WaveCel helmet campaign. They teased it as "Cycling's Most Important Change In 30 Years" and "Cycling's Biggest Change Since Carbon Fiber" and then it was just another f***ing unprovable helmet technology. Then they were sued at least a couple of times for too-good-to-be-true concussion claims.

If they'd just advertised that they had a helmet technology they felt was as good as MIPS but wouldn't creak or squeak, fit more naturally and provided a similar level of rotational benefit without a plastic liner, that really would have been a product worth checking out. Instead I can't read exaggerated marketing claptrap from any product or industry without immediately picturing translucent green waves.

Trek WaveCel Advert NSMB Andrew Major (1)

Some of the guesses folks had before WaveCel was released were amazing - fully recyclable bike frames made out of natural fibers! A return to USA-made carbon bicycles! Yeah, no. Photo: Trek Bicycles

I also couldn't help but notice - kudos - what a fantastic job SRAM did in all their marketing materials of photographing the T-Type rear derailleurs from only the most flattering angles. I'm an admittedly crappy photographer and had a hard time making it look so svelte and edgy.

SRAM t-type transmission d merdano 7

Any chainring that works with SRAM's flat-top chains works with Transmission. Cam's bike shifts awesome with a previous generation X-Sync. So, maybe don't bin your perfectly good non-8-bolt cranks just yet. Photo: Deniz Merdano

Compatibility

Is Transmission still Transmission if you don't use SRAM's new chainrings? Cam says, "yes," and the reason I can't comment completely on it's relative shifting performance compared to HG+ and LG is that I rode it around on his bike, which uses the 'old' Eagle X-Sync ring. It was great.

The 8-Bolt standard that SRAM is using for the new Transmission cranks isn't new, it's currently present on their road cranks and is their flat-top chain design. Many brands already make 8-bolt, flap-top-compatible chainrings in road and gravel sizes so it's just a matter of making smaller versions of the same.

Likewise, carrying forward SRAM 3-Bolt cranks or running another direct mount crank of your preference, any flat-top chain compatible ring will work. For example, any of Wolf Tooth's narrow-wide rings that use their Drop-Stop B profile, which they are working to produce in smaller sizes.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (36)

To my eyes the new Transmission derailleurs look MASSIVE compared to the last generation AXS but that's simply not the case so I blame it on the mast and the silver accents.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (37)

The jockey wheels and cage are one place that T-Type has expanded notably. Again, the silver detail makes the cage look even bigger than it is actually.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (40)

Let's not forget from whence we came. Credit to Trevor for seeing me struggling to tell a sizing story with calipers and presenting a more elegant solution.

One issue with backwards compatibility and chainrings that I can't comment on, is whether Transmission will work with chainlines other than 55mm. SRAM says it absolutely will not. But if I can run Super-Boost-157 with a 55mm chainline why can't I run Boost-148 with a 52mm? I understand that this comes down to how the AXS system is setting itself up sans limit screws. But, I do want to comment on the compatibility of the new T-Type cassettes with previous Eagle AXS and cable actuated derailleurs.

SRAM says it is not possible to use previous Eagle derailleurs because they're high-limit restricted such that they won't move outboard enough to shift into the low gears. As is often the case with bicycles, there's a low-tech solution for this high tech problem. Un-bolt your Eagle AXS rear derailleur, add a 2.5 mm spacer between the hanger and derailleur, bolt it back on. It's evolution not revolution.

In theory, with a previous generation AXS derailleur spaced out 2.5 mm, a Transmission cassette and chain, and a 52mm chainline, a rider could assemble the ultimate meat-powered SRAM drivetrain in terms of up/down shifting performance and optimum chainline in the highest torque gears. It also theoretically eliminates that pesky requirement to have a UDH compatible bike to get the Transmission cassette and chain advantages.

Derailleur Spacer Limit Adjustment NSMB Andrew Major (2)

A low tech solution to a high tech problem. Adding a small spacer between the derailleur and hanger should make legacy Eagle AXS derailleurs compatible with Transmission cassettes.

Behind The Pulp

Pealing back the flesh, there's some solid seeds in the heart of the T-Type drivetrain. Solid as in the way the derailleur hard mounts to the axle - not the frame - which should combine for maximum support for crisp shifting and maximum survivability. There are valid questions about whether Transmission is going to result in a significant uptick in broken frames as the weakest point goes from being a derailleur or hanger to the chainstay but SRAM claims this will not be the case.

Remember here that when you smoke a rear derailleur on a rock it is generally being pushed backwards and inwards, not just inwards.

I'll also add that everyone designing bikes has known what the Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH) was leading to since it arrived on the scene, so I hope they modeled for it with any designs they've updated.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (48)

As with Shimano's new LinkGlide, the magic in T-Type clearly comes down to the shaping and construction of their new 'Full X-Sync' cassette. Yes, it's called 'Full X-Sync.'

Undoubtedly the neatest feature of Transmission is the replaceable derailleur components. The tool-free cage replacement in particular is quite tidy. As a rider, I love the idea of being able to replace small parts instead of entire derailleur units. I recognize that I'm parking my well curated cynicism here in assuming that SRAM will have those replacement parts readily available, but I've had excellent experiences buying small parts for their brake systems, so here's hoping.

I'm also crossing my fingers and toes that other brands get on board with this idea. I'd love to see fix-not-replace and right-to-repair policies with all premium mountain bike components.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (50)

The orientation of the guide pulley reduces dangle while giving plenty of cage length to cover the 520% cassette spread.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (52)

Note the the tension pulley has X-Sync (narrow-wide) teeth but the guide pulley does not. T-Type can be back pedaled in all gears without dropping a chain.

The lack of limit screws seems bizarre at first but with SRAM controlling all the pertinent dimensions through UDH, it would be more shocking if they were still necessary. T-Type, like all AXS systems, has the servo-motor micro-adjust feature which is essentially the equivalent of using cable tension to set the high-limit.

I can imagine a cable-actuated version with a single limit screw just to set the high-position with b-tension and the low-limit fixed from there. It's hard to imagine much more trickling down from the Transmission setup, even to the GX AXS rear derailleur, but I'll be waiting to see with everyone else.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (20)

Are carbon frame repair shops like Robert's Composites about to get a lot busier?* Where the failure mode has moved to in the new world of Transmission is a topic of much debate.

*To be clear, this failure was caused by rider error (as well as hard rubber and slippery conditions) and had nothing to do with SRAM or T-Type. - Ed.

Trickledown Transmissionomics

On their own, Transmission XO, XX, and XXSL matter about as much to the average mountain biker as the colour options of the new Chiron matter to your typical automobile commuter. I mean, the stuff is cool, enthusiasts will enthuse, but it takes AXS economics to another level by further reducing cross-compatibility with their cable-actuated drivetrains.

Put another way, I've heard it said - those that care about compatibility can't afford it, and those that can afford it don't care about compatibility.

There are two key features we can expect to trickle down to cable drivetrains and how far really depends on how much more expensive it is for bicycle manufacturers to incorporate the UDH system over another thru-axle system. With UDH, it's quite imaginable that all SRAM derailleurs could direct mount, and even if they are to remain hanger-mounted, derailleurs could become much easier to set up, thanks to a single-limit screw layout.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (1)

Since this isn't even live and it's already a big deal for some folks. Yes, I did ride Cam's e-bike. I've actually ridden quite a few different e-bikes as part of my job turning wrenches. The dirt is his though, it's just not my thing so I put in some hard pedaling on pavement.*

*TBF, and while respecting Andrew's preferences, the advantages of T-Type are much more apparent on situations that only occur on singletrack. - Ed.

My friend Alvin asked a good question about the consistency of UDH. The Post Mount and Flat Mount disc brake standards work great if everything is aligned, but there are some famously bad QC/QA examples of both and then what do you do? I haven't seen a bad UDH setup yet, but bicycle manufacturers never stop amazing me with the tolerance issues they pass through quality control.

Like every bike mechanic who mastered setting up cantilever brakes before v-brakes, and then disc-brakes, hit the market I did have a moment of ego-driven pain resulting in having learned the black arts of miniscule limit and b-tension screw adjustments over many hours in the shop, but seeing how many poorly setup derailleurs are out there, if UDH can be implemented consistently, this could be a win for SRAM at any product level right down to SX.

axs t-type launch 4

Individual components all replaceable. Photo - Cam McRae

The other feature I'm keen on is replacement derailleur components. I love the idea of replaceable derailleur components. But here my desire for serviceability smashes up against my knowledge that making products serviceable adds cost and, at certain price points, reduces liability. I look at every brand trying to make a truly-budget dropper post that doesn't use a Wintek cartridge and wonder why.

How much extra cost would having replaceable parts add to an SX, NX, or GX rear derailleur, never mind the cost of the replacement parts relative to a new mech? It's the same dilemma I face every time I decide whether to repair or replace a damaged article of clothing, just the bicycle equivalent. With costs in mind, it's hard to see the serviceability even extending to the next generation of GX-AXS.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (43)

AXS Eagle, Transmission, Shimano DiNew, or whatever, does it make a lot more sense to be be regularly charging one battery than multiples? Look for wireless to wired conversion on rear derailleurs and dropper posts when there's a bigger power source to draw from.

And maybe this sounds cruel, but it needs to be said that throughout their many-year history, from Gripshift 400, through to ESP 5.0 derailleurs, old X-5 derailleurs, and now SX and even NX drivetrains, SRAM has consistently failed to scale the potential of their relatively awesome high-end drivetrain components into mainstream low-to-mid level products. Whether it's crappy up front performance or issues with manufacturing, or materials or all of it at once, the exponential elevator drop from their top end stuff to the suck is like riding a hydrobike over Niagra Falls.

There's always going to be a huge difference between luxury-level products and entry-level products, but I'm desperately trying to see how Transmission will benefit riders further down the food chain who aren't going to be spending five figures on a mountain bicycle - motorized or otherwise - and I'm coming up with next to nothing.

SRAM TType Transmission Drivetrain NSMB Andrew Major (16)

Do flat-top chains look cool? Yes. Do they only look cool? Maybe.

This Is Ground Control

Throw questions of money out the window, and Transmission is the best shifting drivetrain on the market today. Full stop. But it's not bloody game-changing bicycle-only future tech stealthily stolen from the defense department. It's an incremental improvement on what was already an awesome performing, exceedingly durable, drivetrain in Eagle X0 and XX1 AXS.

T-Type adds sweet elements of repairability, axle-mounts a beefed up derailleur for survivability, and makes for easier setup - which I'll note again is something that would be appreciated at all levels of drivetrain products. Who really needs easier to setup products that can survive epic hero-shifting? New riders.

deniz merdano pano code stealth ultimate brakes

In conclusion, it's really fun riding mountain bikes with Transmission. Photo: Deniz Merdano

Lower Crippler Fromme by Penny NSMB Andrew Major

In conclusion, it's really fun riding mountain bikes without Transmission. Photo: Penny

Transmission is out in the world now. It's awesome. If you have the treasure and are thinking of buying in, you will not be disappointed. If I was king of SRAM tomorrow, I'd take it away from every engineer, designer, product manager, field-test rider, customer support person, bike tech, and executive in the company and I'd make them ride SX for the rest of the year. Maybe a few hours on Shimano Deore - HG, HG+, or LG - to just see how far they have to go.

So... The T-Type drivetrain is clearly not the WaveCel of drivetrains, but comparing the improvement in performance to the exaggerated hype bordering on Steel Panther-level pomp on release day, it's also not that far off. At this point, beyond being very nifty, it's fairly irrelevant to most of us beyond demonstrating what the team at SRAM is capable of producing.

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Comments

craw
+19 KavuRider kcy4130 Blofeld Andrew Major gman3000 Skooks Mammal Harris 4Runner1 fartymarty Curveball imnotdanny Endurimil Tremeer023 dhr999 cornedbeef WasatchEnduro vunugu paradox@Goet

A lot of high end stuff (cars, motorcycles, etc) is super proprietary. Nobody complains about that when it's working well but it sure comes with caveats about hassles and I-told-you-so's about the added expense when things go wrong. This system best applies to people who are about to buy a complete bike, which is something a lot of us don't do that often. Unusually for me I am about to by a complete bikes' worth of stuff but I'm not going to buy this. I like picking and choosing too much. I'm also leery of what happens later. I tend to grind through a lot of consumables and a $500+ cassette is just ridiculous. Godspeed to this year's top tier Yeti/S-Works/Pivot customers.

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Goon
+1 Rick M

Well said

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kavurider
+9 Andrew Major lennskii NealWood Velocipedestrian Rick M dhr999 cornedbeef ohio paradox@Goet

"Godspeed to this year's top tier Yeti/S-Works/Pivot customers"

This cracked me up!

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AndrewMajor
+19 BadNudes Andy Eunson AlanB UMichael bushtrucker Endurimil Rick M Blofeld dhr999 Mbcracken Timer cornedbeef bishopsmike Suns_PSD delusional ohio Dr.Flow Cr4w paradox@Goet

Yes, I probably could have stripped the whole piece down to a single photo and this text:

Put another way, I've heard it said - those that care about compatibility can't afford it, and those that can afford it don't care about compatibility.

But, there’s something in the way that SRAM was clearly trying to make sure every person who has ever pedaled a bike - alive or dead - saw this release that seemed to warrant a lot (too many) extra words.

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smoothjazzlines
+7 Etacata Andrew Major Rick M Mbcracken Timer cornedbeef paradox@Goet

Marketing professional here... that launch plan/execution was laudable and obnoxious. And I cant tell you how much I wan't the Linkglide stuff.

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DanL
+17 T0m OldManBike Vik Banerjee TristanC trioofchaos Andrew Major bushtrucker Gage Wright vantanclub DancingWithMyself Pete Roggeman Cr4w Unkas cedrico cornedbeef hotlapz Jonthehuman

Kitsbow shutting down is just fucking terrible news.

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AndrewMajor
+7 vantanclub DanL Rick M Cr4w bishopsmike Flatted-again Jonthehuman

It’s sad that they couldn’t create success with their model. Clothing is broken from manufacturing through marketing so in a way I’m surprised they made it this far.

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Flatted-again
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

If anything, it makes me wonder about how other “make in us/Canada” places can offer clothing for more reasonable prices. Is it a volume thing? Are they cutting costs with labor, ie not paying fair wages? Is it their materials? Did Kitsbow make poor business decisions?

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pete@nsmb.com
+5 Andrew Major Johannes Schmidt BadNudes Flatted-again dhr999

Hard to comment without comparing directly and I don't claim special knowledge about Kitsbow's inner workings, however the quality of their materials and craftsmanship are pretty much unparalleled. I still have shorts, a jersey and a chamois liner from 2014 that are going strong after many, many muddy rides and washings. And my Icon is my favourite piece of clothing, and has been worn for hundreds of days. It's a shirt, light jacket, and midlayer all in one, and it's held up great after being worn for - no lie - over 500 days. 

However some of their designs are more widely appealing than others and our attempts to contact Kitsbow to get stuff to review over the last two years went ignored. I don't think they had more than two or three people in their mktg department but still, reviews are an inexpensive way to earn good media exposure and I don't think they were as active as they could have been in that regard. They had a lot of fans but when your most popular item is a $280 wool shirt that lasts for years, you need to keep introducing new people to the brand and those shirts in order to keep selling them.

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velocipedestrian
+16 Konda lennskii Metacomet Andrew Major Skooks UMichael Rick M Spencer Nelson Karl Fitzpatrick Cr4w Timer cornedbeef bishopsmike ohio Dr.Flow paradox@Goet

The firehose of coverage was too much for me too. 

"beyond being very nifty, it's fairly irrelevant to most of us beyond demonstrating what the team at SRAM is capable of producing."

Oh yes. Keep the Linkglide experiments coming.

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AndrewMajor
+6 Mammal Velocipedestrian cedrico cornedbeef Dr.Flow paradox@Goet

I’ll say, though I’m not convinced it will happen, that I’d be very interested in putting XT LinkGlide up against a cable-actuated GX Transmission. 

My takeaway from all this is that SRAM has proven they can make the best drivetrain - even if they’re only on top for a while / the game is the game - so now it’s time to prove they can make a competitive budget-friendlier drivetrain.

Reply

FlofromPettenride
+15 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman mnihiser Konda taprider Velocipedestrian cedrico Timer cornedbeef Johannes Schmidt bishopsmike Mammal ohio Dr.Flow paradox@Goet

Articles like this one are the reason why nsmb simply excels. Or, like former german Bike Mag 2nd Editor, Ludwig, noted: NSMB are the philosophers of the bike world (and, simply, the nature of philosophy is the pursuit for ..truth...? happiness? both  I guess! Thanks for writing.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major

Hi Flo! That's very kind, and eloquent. I didn't know Ludwig had said that but please tell him: thank you! Much respect for Bike in Deutschland.

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AndrewMajor
+1 paradox@Goet

Thank you.

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skooks
+14 T0m Mammal Vik Banerjee Curveball TristanC Andy Eunson bushtrucker taprider Zombo dhr999 Unkas cornedbeef bishopsmike WasatchEnduro paradox@Goet cedrico

Shifting was good enough a long time ago. Shimano 11-speed HG 11-46 FTW .

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mammal
+4 Vik Banerjee taprider cornedbeef paradox@Goet

That's actually what I'm "downgrading" to this season.

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TristanC
+7 Mammal Andrew Major lewis collins Rick M cornedbeef PembyRocks paradox@Goet

I just bought an XTR shifter for my Deore 11-speed derailleur. 11-51, HG, works good enough for a dummy like me.

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mammal
+3 Andrew Major bishopsmike WasatchEnduro

For me it's: XT shifter - Deore 11spd derailleur - 11-46 Sunrace (steel) cassette - 30t Sram (steel) ring

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Konda
+2 bishopsmike WasatchEnduro

11 speed X1 cassette (full steel  10-42), 11sp xt shifter/detailer, xx1 chain (longevity rating on the independent tests have it as cheapest £/mile) and a 12sp slx crankset with the steel 32t chainring

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T-mack
0

I dont know about that. I was CONSTANTLY snapping chains on my 142 11spd XT drivetrain. The chainlines were too savage in the taller gears, never been a problem since boost.

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lennskii
+13 Mammal NealWood Ripbro Etacata lewis collins DancingWithMyself Konda Spencer Nelson cedrico Timer hotlapz Dr.Flow paradox@Goet

This article is hands down the most authentic/honest coverage of SRAMs new dricetrain.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 dhr999 bishopsmike paradox@Goet hotlapz

Or at least the most ranty?

Maybe some folks writing/riding Transmission honestly think it’s a ‘game-changing paradigm shift’ and I mean, it’s very good. But I was working on an AXS Eagle bike in the shop yesterday and, while Transmission is better under load (best under load), the difference just isn’t Chevette vs. Corvette to me. 

It’s more like one really good small-batch mint chocolate chip ice cream that I like and another that I like slightly more… very happy with either.

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taprider
+1 Pete Roggeman

Chevette vs. Corvette? I've driven both, but are you old enough?

I'd down vote you for liking toothpaste flavoured chocolate. But that wouldn't fair. You like what you like.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson taprider

I’ve never driven either, but I’ve driven in multiple examples of both. I was a teenager in the ‘burbs - plenty of shitbox old Chevettes around. Just be careful where you put your feet when you’re in the backseat - the floor is not guaranteed.

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taprider
+1 Andy Eunson

another funny thing is that Corvettes are hyper speed tanks with cheap plastic Chevette-like trim

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pete@nsmb.com
+2 mnihiser dhr999

I also can't stand mint ice cream. Somehow it even makes the chocolate chips taste terrible.

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AndrewMajor
+2 utopic bishopsmike

Salted caramel? Vanilla? Just chocolate? Strawberries & cream? 

Really good ice cream in your favourite flavour and slightly better ice cream in your favourite flavour. 

Who knew there were so many mint chocolate chip haters in the world?!?!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major

Yes. No. Yes. No. Coffee/espresso. Lemon Gelato. Mango. There used to be a crazy concoction we'd buy on Mt Baker ski weekends called Goo Goo Cluster. Incredible.

velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major

Had an excellent salted caramel pecan this afternoon.

cooperquinn
+5 Andrew Major Todd Hellinga cornedbeef bishopsmike Morgan Heater

Mint chip is the best, you're a monster.

Reply

ginofelino
+2 taprider Andrew Major

This is the best/most relavent discussion I've encountered in a transmission article by far.

The best  mint chocolate is pretty darn good. The mediocre stuff is awful.

taprider
0

lol you guys

AndrewMajor
+2 ginofelino bishopsmike

@ginofelino I was just thinking the same thing. Not that the comments aren’t usually more interesting than the articles… but I could do with an ice cream flavour debate in every comment section.

pete@nsmb.com
0

I'm sorry Cooper, but this just means I'm going to have to filter out all your suggestions in future on food, beer, and wine.

Joe_Dick
+3 Andrew Major Todd Hellinga bishopsmike

my very first car was a chevette. I still have a soft spot for them. I paid $300 for it before I had a drivers license. as a rural bc kid, that car went places most modern 4x4’s would not physically fit. they don’t make shit box cars the way they once did. granted a modern shitbox is likely more reliable and way better on fuel.

this is the only article I am going to read about the T Type. seems like you covered off the burning questions.

I got out for my first ride of the year last week, some classic steep PNW road climbs into dark blue jank. on the way up, pedaling a 30x42 10 speed setup, I did wonder if I am going to get too old for that gear range and what I would replace it with. I don’t like the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on wear items. 10 speed cassettes work pretty well. breaking things meant to break seem better than breaking frames. I don’t see the current batch of mid range drive trains being so lacking that the T Type will make them obsolete any time soon.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Adrian Bostock

I drove my Ford Escort up Vedder Mtn so many times. Such a surprisingly off-road capable car probably because it weighed nothing. 

I still remember how weird it was to transition from driving my folks’ nice (enough) cars to that thing.  But I loved it. In hindsight it’s probably not a bad thing it was written-off when I was rear ended because it would have been hard to give it up.

Reply

Joe_Dick
+1 Andrew Major

we had a gang of early 80’s shitbox cars and would “rally” most weekends. the chevette was a rear wheel drive, so in the snow you could do doughnuts. but it did not have enough power to spin the wheels on dry ground. which kind of made it a good off-roader. high clearance for a shot box and it did not have enough power to loose traction. lol.

velocipedestrian
+1 Adrian Bostock

Keep the 10spd and just fit a smaller 'ring next time? Or does the 11x30 combo get regular use?

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Joe_Dick
0

I ride from home most of the time. about 5km of flat-ish ground to the nearest trailhead. I need the range. I have used mid range 11 speed and hated it. I have also used mid range 12 speed and was ok with it. but 10 speed is cheap and the chain line does not suck like a 12 speed.

Etacata
+3 Andrew Major cornedbeef paradox@Goet

I agree! It was the biggest marketing push for a bike product that I have ever seen and I had doubts it was the be all end all drivetrain that Sram was making it out to be. Thanks Andrew, great article.

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earleb
+13 Mammal Andrew Major lewis collins Cr4w Konda Adrian Bostock Timer Johannes Schmidt bishopsmike khai DancingWithMyself Dr.Flow paradox@Goet

This one right here. 

"If I was king of SRAM tomorrow, I'd take it away from every engineer, designer, product manager, field-test rider, customer support person, bike tech, and executive in the company and I'd make them ride SX for the rest of year."

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andy-eunson
+2 Andrew Major Cam McRae

Chevrolet used to claim that there was a little Corvette in every Chevy. I’ve seen enough Chevettes in the ditch to know that’s a lie. Is there a little XX in every SRAM derailleur? Maybe in looks but from what I read, not in performance.

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AndrewMajor
+5 Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian cornedbeef Johannes Schmidt paradox@Goet

I could happily ride a basic Deore drivetrain (preferably an M5130 LG / but even the current 10-spd is fine). Actually I’m reviewing a bike with Deore M6100 HG+ right now and I’d forgotten just how great it is to shift.

To get the same sense of complacency from SRAM I start at GX. So basically their XT-ish level product. That’s crazy?!?

NX and SX look the part. I’m not asking for XX1 performance on an SX budget but when I look at a lineup of three bike models (say the Canyon Stoic) that goes 1) Basic Deore 2) SRAM SX 3) SRAM NX, I should see that as downgraded drivetrains on the more expensive models?!

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taprider
+1 Andy Eunson

What!? I've seen lots of Corvettes that have been in a ditch too.

and it is true there is a little Chevette in every Corvette - the cheap plastic trim that is

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AndrewMajor
0

I truly believe it would make a huge difference to the quality and survivability of budget-friendlier SRAM drivetrain products. 

To their credit. Their budget forks are actually quite awesome.

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GiveitsomeWelly
+8 fartymarty lennskii Cr4w mnihiser Andrew Major chacou imnotdanny bushtrucker

Are you injured again or some such? 

Are all the writers on holiday? 

You are currently winning the prolificness awards.

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AndrewMajor
+2 imnotdanny Endurimil

It’s spring break for kids in school here so my main gig gave me a bit of time off. I’ve actually been riding and writing more!

Also a bit of a coincidence with embargoes lifting this week.

So I promise much less of me next week!

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Goon
+8 Cr4w Andrew Major Skooks 4Runner1 Velocipedestrian utopic bishopsmike paradox@Goet

It's cool and all but I'm not convinced that I need robots to do my shifting or move my post up or down,I may be a luddite but I specifically did not want that stuff on my bike that I just built I mean I can barely figure out the suspension and now I've got to worry about batteries and the cost if I break something. Thanks but no thanks I'll just stick with xt it just works

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AndrewMajor
+1 Andy Eunson

When I saw Transmission one of my first questions regarding the improved shifting under load (the fact it shifts better under load) is whether, when I hit the button on the POD, I’m telling the drivetrain to shift or asking the drivetrain to shift. 

SRAM says it’s still direct in that I’m telling it change gears and it’s going it. It’s a motor manipulating the derailleur rather than my thumb & a ratchet but it is still that one step removed from the robot making the decision. Maybe Transmission-2.

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jeffp
+2 Skooks Adrian Bostock

My understanding was that your thumb asks the electronic computer to make a shift by pressing the button, which is near-instantaneous, then the electronic computer asks the chain+cassette mechanical computer to shift by moving the derailleur. The mechanical computer then initiates the shift when a ramp rotates into position to allow the chain to leave the cog teeth for another cog. This takes some time and depends on the rotation rate of the cassette and which cog you are in. Do I have this right?

Traditional shifters are also mechanical computers of a type. With electronic shifting, we've moved that complexity to software. This is something we've been doing as a civilization for half a century now - in cars, in telephones, in industry. Electronic computers are extremely reliable compared to mechanical computers.Electronic automatic car transmissions and fuel injection are great examples. The old hydraulic computer transmissions and carburetor fuel systems required a lot of of adjustment and were not that smooth, adaptable, or efficient. What we've traded for in that reliability is self-repairbility. When the systems require service, they need an expert, and the parts are expensive. You replace the entire engine computer instead of readjusting the points in your distributor.

As a hobbiest, I love the older stuff that I can hack to my heart's content. To the average user who can still afford a car (or a modern mountain bike), operating something that just works is the goal. Now the trickle-down comes in the used car or bike market, not the new component market. And maintenance will less common, but more expensive.

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AndrewMajor
0

This was my clear understanding as well so I very, very concisely asked the same question and was told no, I am telling Transmission to shift. 

There must be enough up/down ramps in the cassette to walk the chain up/down the cassette within a certain minimum rotation.

In the stand the up/down movement of the derailleur appears to coincide with pushing the button.

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cooperquinn
+7 Andrew Major Mammal ChrisHilton Hbar Pete Roggeman dhr999 Justin White

Its mechanical - there's no rotational position sensors in the cassette or RD. Push button - RD moves. The delay comes from the aggressive tooth profiles that basically don't allow the chain to move until it hits a shift lane.

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the-prophet
+3 Andrew Major vantanclub Justin White

I was thinking all that "it doesn't shift until it knows a ramp is there" talk was some B.S.

More like it CAN'T shift until a ramp is there.... ;)

GB
0

So it  uses a servo motor not a step motor .? A step motor simply knows its position through electronic pulses sent to the motor , knocked out of position the motor knows where it is . No sensors are needed . 

I would assume using CNC . Computer numeric control would be the engineers choice as writing the programs would be straightforward.  

If this is the case then in theory the motor in the derailleur knows what position its in .

humdishum
+7 Blofeld Velocipedestrian Andy Eunson cornedbeef Johannes Schmidt utopic paradox@Goet

@AndrewMajor I don't know if it was intentional, but from this angle on the cover picture, that derailleur is the ugliest one I've ever seen. The way the silver jockey wheel "stub" peeks out in the middle does not help. I am glad someone showed that angle, because this media coverage was "it's all so perfect!". 

I was listening to the Blister Podcast with Chris from SRAM, and the amount of bull**** he was saying about the Transmission TM was incredible. First, that they called it a "Transmission" because it was so different from all their previous "drivetrains" that it needed a new term. All the parts of the Transmission are interconnected and made to work with each other, versus all the other drivetrains (oh really?!). The fact that the XD driver links the cassette to the axle, and the axle holds the derailleur makes that there is no "tolerance stacking" versus a regular drivetrain. The only tolerance stacking on a regular drivetrain could be the hanger, which can be aligned anyway.

Maybe it's only me, but in 31 years of riding, including my teenage years racing DH and not caring for my bikes, I have never replaced ANY rear derailleur. Zero. Some had some wear marks obviously, some had some slack, but even in rocky east coast terrain, I have never needed to replace a rear derailleur in my lifetime. If it was to happen, in 31 years I'd say that would still be a good average. I understand that for many it's an issue, but I don't know of anyone else in my riding groups/friends who had to replace a derailleur, and I've never seen a failure on the trails.

Altough, I can't say that I have ever stepped on my derailleur to see if it was strong enough. That does not tell anything meaningful for a rear derailleur, except for those who violently thrown away their bikes on the ground or against a wall. 

I usually don't react to the companies' propaganda, but SRAM seems to be better than any other company to say meaningless things to sell parts. Anyway, my bikes have been 100% SRAM free since st least 13-14 years, and I don't plan on buying anything from them anytime soon, so the Transmission is obviously not for me.

End of rant, and thanks Andrew for showing another angle of that Transmission (and derailleur).

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AndrewMajor
+2 humdishum cornedbeef

I’m not a great photographer to begin with so that doesn’t help. I wasn’t intending to make the derailleur look ugly, but I wanted to show it in a unique way. I’d prefer a black cage, but I do think it’s neat how much they’ve thought about getting the chain length for 10-52t without making the cage longer. It’s not that there isn’t neat stuff happening with Transmission.

The big thing with controlling all the tolerances related to the drivetrain - and I don’t disagree that it couldn’t have happens with UDH and regular derailleurs - is the elimination of limit screws. As noted, we’ll see if bike companies will come through with the required QC/QA but it’s neat all the same.

I’ve broken a few derailleurs and replaced a stream of them over my years in shops so it’s not a non-issue from where I sit.

It will be interesting to come back in a year and see where Transmission is at. One of my friends just has his kit arrive in the shop and we’re riding together on a group trip next month where he’ll be on his carbon WR1 Arrival with Transmission and I’ll be on my rigid single-speed. 

I think that captures the essence of mountain biking - ride what you brung as best you can and have fun doing it.

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humdishum
+2 Andrew Major tmb1956

Just to be sure, that wasn't meant as a comment to your photography skills, but as a compliment to your idea to show things from a different angle of view. To me it felt like a counterbalance to all the other media, and I loved it!

I think that the podcast discussion made me a bit more emotional about this because of the marketing speech and the lack of any critical thinking or replying from the host. I'm not against evolution of the drivetrain/transmission at all, it's just that the "game changer" idea that was said everywhere was a bit exaggerated  in my opinion.

Again, I really appreciated your different point of view, and this is one of the reasons why NSMB is truly great!

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AndrewMajor
0

Cheers & no stress, I was just giving the derailleur some cover in terms of its relative ugliness. I was aiming for interesting!

As an unapologetic luxury drivetrain AXS Eagle XO/XX1 is awesome. Transmission is an improvement particularly to shifting under load. I agree an alternative to the hyperbole there’s a marketing strategy that would have showed more reverence for the previous top-end setup. 

But, that said, they did get us all talking about it. If it was just an update AXS group I wouldn’t have written about it.

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YungSquab
+6 Justin White Kristian Øvrum bushtrucker Blofeld bishopsmike hotlapz

Do any unsponsored, non-dentist types buy this stuff? When I think of components that actually make or break my ride enjoyment, none of them are related to my drivetrains. Shifting is a sporadic activity that doesn't impact dynamic bike handling. I buy XT, set it, forget it, and the apply all my bike nerd energy to suspension, tires, geometry, and cockpit tweaks that meaningfully impact dynamic weight distribution. Once you dial in components you like, you stick with those systems and buy frame-only. Who has time or cash to buy complete bikes with an extra $4k of unproven, undesirable crap to dump on craigslist?

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just6979
+1 ZigaK

I'd say a truly bad drivetrain could certainly break ride enjoyment. It sucks to not be able to put down the power when you need to because of jumping/grinding/skipping gears, or having chains constantly falling off, or all the other things that decent modern drivetrains are pretty good at preventing.

But saving my thumb 0.14159 watts per hour with little buttons instead of small levers? Probably not going to appreciably increase any enjoyment factor. Especially when my brain has spent way more energy worrying about keeping who-knows-how-many batteries charged up.

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cooperquinn
+4 bushtrucker ZigaK Velocipedestrian Johannes Schmidt

"I buy XT"

This is, objectively and by most standards if you look outside high end mountain bikes, very nice and expensive stuff, though. XT is far from cheap, but to your point, yes there's potentially diminishing returns (which is also probably why you don't buy XTR).

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awesterner
0

Judging by the automotive machinery parked in front of Steed (on the Shore) the other day (as I was embarrassingly trying to find a spot to lock my bike…), I’d say yes LOL

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andy-eunson
+5 Andrew Major Skooks Todd Hellinga Endurimil cornedbeef

Like many people it’s the ultra hype that that leads to a knee jerk reaction of wtf. Next thing you know some rider who has been game changed will let us know that you get more fit with less effort from this transmission. I do trust that those who have ridden this stuff and say that it shifts better than anything that they’ve used before are not making it up. I do believe that. But. What can these riders do now, on the bike, that they couldn’t do before? Does transmission suddenly turn them into a technical climbing wizard? Will I be able to descend local double black while yawning in boredom? Doubtful. 

Having the ability to repair or replace parts as needed is a big plus. It remains to be seen if shops will actually stock those service parts or will have to order them and a rider is waiting for delivery. But being what appears to be a pretty skookum set up, we may never need spares. I mean the XO1 on my two bikes are beat up but still work amazingly well. I’ve only had to straighten the derailleur hanger on the Chameleon once in its five years. Maybe once on the Remedy too but I can’t remember for sure.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson bushtrucker

An excellent synopsis of Transmission Andy. 

And yes, the previous gen, high-end, SRAM cable and AXS stuff (X0/XX1) is pretty awesome and durable. Certainly could have presented the new-new while acknowledging that.

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Squint
+5 Mammal T0m Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian Johannes Schmidt

Of the two major drivetrain (sorry... transmission) releases recently, it's not this one that is exciting to me. 

My SLX drivetrain already gives me any shift, loaded or not, that I ask for. Can't remember the last time I needed to stand on my bicycle to reach something on a shelf. More intercompatibility, not less, is a benefit.

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T0m
0

Yes! I have many miles on 11s SLX and XT with a cog taken out to improve chainline and seriously wtf needs moar gears, moar precision, etc? This sport started with hippies and dirtbags and I’m proud to stay away from high end drivetrains. Spend good money on tires, frames, suspension, and brakes. Nobody is being held back by a mid grade cable drivetrain. Maybe the DH elite with constantly broken chains can claim to need better.

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just6979
+2 Andrew Major Endurimil

The DH elite are mostly running 7-speed drivetrains that are basically just range-limited 10-speed setups, often with "corn-cob" (all 1 tooth jumps) cassettes borrowed from the road product lines. Way less need for fancy ramps  and asymmetrical chains and robot helpers if you're making fewer shifts through the smallest possible ratio changes.

So they're really sorta closer to the OG dirtbags than the corporate overlords would have you believe, at least in the drivetrain area.

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Offrhodes42
+4 Metacomet Andrew Major Mammal Konda

I just like the fact that you were able to get a Steel Panther reference in this article.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Offrhodes42

Thank you. It seemed necessary.

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kavurider
+3 Mammal Curveball bishopsmike

I actually heard a group of riders talking about this new drivetrain at the top of one of the local trails.  They were all about it and will be ordering it as soon as it is available.  It blows my mind how much money is flowing through the sport now.  I know it was never a cheap activity, but wow.

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AndrewMajor
+1 bishopsmike

It’s certainly true in the wealthy moated-community of Vancouver’s North Shore.

I know I’m a broken record but last year the number one topic for personal reader correspondence I had was rigid forks / aggressive rigid bikes. 

It’s not like we’re going to see thousands or hundreds or even tens of them on local trails, but folks are looking for ways to do the activity they love and opt out of the hype/marketing/cost at the same time.

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cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major

"I know I’m a broken record but last year the number one topic for personal reader correspondence I had was rigid forks / aggressive rigid bikes."

Siri, define 'sample bias'. 

*look I know you know that's what it is, but if you point that out, it kills my attempt at humor, ok?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Cooper Quinn

You’re cheeky today.

I suppose I could have more clearly noted the increase is as a percentage of the correspondence I get (it’s a relative change) but as you say that’s less fun.

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mammal
+3 Velocipedestrian bishopsmike BadNudes

I also couldn't help but notice over the past couple of years, that AM's articles tend to attract more correspondence in aggregate than other writers here, perhaps almost double. And that's not a slight to anyone else here, the content in general on NSMB is amazing right now (keep it up!), but I think the volume of that interaction indicates a huge swath of our riding population feeling a bit alienated by the uber-hype industry trends. I guess my point is that AM's sample is a pretty defining one.

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cooperquinn
0

This is again pretty straightforward sample bias.

You like something Andrew wrote? You're more likely to read more of his work, more likely to comment on it, and maybe he responded. and maybe you sent the next piece to someone. Did they enjoy it? They're more likely to read his next one, more likely to comment on it... its a feedback loop that builds bias, and its not a bug its a feature.

Comments also aren't the best proxy for views and reads - think about how many NSMB articles you've read in the past week that you didn't comment on. But what I'd say is kudos to 'Drew for building an audience that engages in the comments; this is in large part because he engages in the comments, and keeps like-minded folks coming back. So while there's more happening in the comments here (which I clearly care about, I'm here!), keep in mind that a lot of those comments are Andrew himself (its the same on some of mine; if a contributor responds to every comment, 50% of the comments end up being said contributor).

I'm not taking anything away from 'Drew-bob here, but what you're seeing is the same bias in a different place. Its also why I engage in my comments; different contributors have different workflows.

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mammal
+3 ZigaK GB Etacata

Personally, my comments are spread pretty evenly over different contributor's articles, but reading-wise, it is the subject matter that leads me to be more engaged in Andrew's stuff than anything else. 

"Comments also aren't the best proxy for views and reads". I find this interesting, and although I'm sure there are better internal tools you have for gauging interest, I would find it really surprising if the amount of comments didn't indicate increased readership in general.

pete@nsmb.com
+11 Andrew Major Andy Eunson Blofeld JT Spencer Nelson BarryW Velocipedestrian Etacata bishopsmike khai Mammal

It warms my heart that we're witnessing a conversation about conversations.

kavurider
+1 Andrew Major

The next bike I build up will probably be a rigid aggressive singlespeed.  I have been riding my (used) hardtail the most lately, my Ripmo AF has been gathering dust.  If it wasn't nearly worthless on the used market I might be tempted to sell it.  The hardtail has not held me back at all on any of the tech trails in my area.  I find it interesting to see what I can ride with it.  

I used to have a rigid 29er singlespeed about 10 years ago, loved that bike, but the geo was all wacky.  Would love to try a modern 29er with a rigid fork.  

Speaking of which...eagerly awaiting that Marin El Roy project update!

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AndrewMajor
0

Are you North Van based or day-trip-able?

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mammal
0

If I remember correctly, he moved out to somewhere around the Kamloops-ish area in the last few years?

Forum/comment section memory dredging...

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AndrewMajor
0

All good, thanks!

DC
+3 Skooks Velocipedestrian nothingfuture

Looking forward to reading more about Linkglide!

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AndrewMajor
+5 Skooks lennskii Velocipedestrian Johannes Schmidt nothingfuture

I’m really hoping to have a chance to ride CUES and Deore M5130 soon. The XT M8130 drivetrain is excellent but it’s the trickledown that really matters.

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cooperquinn
+3 Blofeld Pete Roggeman BadNudes

AM I THE ONLY ONE HERE POINTING OUT ANDREW WAS RIDING AN EBIKE?!

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AndrewMajor
+4 Vik Banerjee Pete Roggeman cornedbeef BadNudes

I saw you, and everyone else, coming.

Since this isn't even live and it's already a big deal for some folks. Yes, I did ride Cam's e-bike. I've actually ridden quite a few different e-bikes as part of my job turning wrenches. The dirt is his though, it's just not my thing so I put in some hard pedaling on pavement.

I remember the first time I was called out for riding a Specialized Levo on the road - full gotcha moment - and it’s like, how can you work on bikes without test riding them?

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skooks
+1 Kyle Dixon

"AM I THE ONLY ONE HERE POINTING OUT ANDREW WAS RIDING AN EBIKE?!"

What's your point Cooper?

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AndrewMajor
+2 Kyle Dixon BadNudes

Mr “Shore Country” is just being cheeky. He’s far from unique in this aspect, hence getting out in front with the caption with the photo of the EX-E’s motor. 

I might really blow some minds and write something about that bike.

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cooperquinn
+8 Andy Eunson Andrew Major Hbar Pete Roggeman PowellRiviera nothingfuture bishopsmike BadNudes

My point is, I'm making fun of the guy who runs a website called "meat engines", for riding an ebike. 

I think we're still allowed to have fun around here and make jokes at friend's expense?

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AndrewMajor
+9 Grant Blankenship lewis collins Cooper Quinn GB Todd Hellinga cornedbeef nothingfuture bishopsmike BadNudes

I have leathery retail-survivor skin - make fun to your heart’s content.

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OtherGrant
0

This comment has been removed.

LoamtoHome
+3 Cooper Quinn dhr999 Mammal

no...  people get offended really easily now.

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AndrewMajor
+5 Kyle Dixon dhr999 Jerry Willows Todd Hellinga Mammal

I don’t Jerry, you can poke fun at me.

#DragYourBrakesWhileJerryRakes

#JerryWillowsHatesMyBike

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LoamtoHome
+3 Todd Hellinga Andrew Major Mammal

#alltrue

vincentaedwards
+3 lennskii Andrew Major bishopsmike

Thanks for writing this Andrew- you’ve put to words a lot of the ideas bouncing around in my brain since this release. 

On one hand, I’m a champion of good engineering that solves a ‘problem’ … on the other hand I hate to see our sport become increasingly luxury oriented where top the products that solve those ‘problems’ are only available to the upper middle class and beyond. 

This makes me like my single speed that much more… and let me provide and example to go along with that sentiment.

When I bought my first new car in 2019, (a 6-speed subaru crosstrek) it was very hard to find the manual transmission… and the dealers were pushing hard to sell me on a CVT because of the driver assist technology packaged along with it. When it came time to sign papers, they pushed hard for me to get extra insurance to cover ‘computer issues’ citing that 40% or more of their vehicles now require $2k plus repairs to the automation systems during the lifetime of the vehicle.

I told them that’s why I bought the least automated vehicle they had on the lot, and that I’d take my chances. 

_

Are we getting into drivetrains, (excuse me- transmissions) for our bikes that might justify something similar? Is the next thing going to be ‘transmission insurance’?

_

I sincerely hope the UDH tech can and does appear at NX and SX level, and that with that comes a drastic increase in reliability for those groups. 

I’m excited to try linkglide. 

In the meantime, I’ll be out there enjoying my singlespeed and my manual transmission :)

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AndrewMajor
0

Cheers!

One note about UDH v. Direct Mount. I quite like UDH in that it provides a solid precise platform for 12-speeds derailleurs to shift from. 12-speed derailleurs, even compared to 11-speed, have much less tolerance for being out of wack, especially the cheap ones which aren’t as precise to begin with. 

Going direct mount there’s a significant increase in leverage wanting to break the derailleur in a strike because it’s mounted higher (at the axle instead of at the hanger). No stress with the manufacturing and materials behind X0/XX1 but with the SX/NX equivalent its hard to imagine they won’t either weigh a ton or fail spectacularly.

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papa44
+3 Andrew Major hankthespacecowboy BadNudes

The trifecta. I come here for Andrew’s articles, the comment section and to shoehorn in my opinion on 10 speed short cage zee drivetrains being the pinnacle of mountain bicycling. Not in that order.

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AndrewMajor
+1 papa44

Hahahahahaha. Thanks for reading & engaging & shoehorning in your opinion (in whatever order you like).

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Polk
+2 Kos DancingWithMyself

There is one other "revelation" point that rubbed me the wrong way; the supposedly more balanced steps between cassette cogs. The previous 42-52 step is somewhat big (did we even need a 52t cog? Or was 50t adequate, in which case 42-50 was probably fine.). But Sram simply moved the excessively large step down a couple of gears, to 32-38. I would argue that having a large step in the middle of the cassette breaks the rhythm up more than having a big step to the bail out gear.

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craw
+2 gubbinalia DancingWithMyself

Not offering a cassette with smaller jumps is a no-go for me. I've never needed or wanted a 51t+ cog and I dislike the big jump to that huge cog.

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snowsnake
+1 Cr4w

For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure it’s possible to run 12 speed XPLR with the mtb controller. 10-44t 12 speed sounds pretty dang nice.

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cooperquinn
+1 Blofeld

Anything that says AXS will talk to anything else that says AXS. 

One main with running a Force RD on a mountain bike is the lack of overload clutch - but there's lots of XC folks out there doing it to save weight and run tighter ratios.

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DancingWithMyself
0

Yep.  My interest got piqued by the comment about potentially spacing the cassette and use existing X01 mechanical derailleurs.  But then I realized there wasn't a 10-50 option, which is kind amazing considering how many of these "transmissions" are going to end up on ebikes.

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AndrewMajor
+4 dolface Curveball lennskii DancingWithMyself

I preferred 10-50t and downsizing the ring to find the right low gear as needed. If they’re going to do 10-52t I think there’s an argument that a market exists for the addition of a 10-45t with smaller jumps.

But, 520% gear range is the goal.

But, also, I’m a big fan of fewer gears and bigger jumps for trail riding. I think the new spread will work better for most riders that then previous 10-52t and based on how many gears most people really use for 90% of their ride (at least here on the North Shore) they could have chopped a few more.

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jt
+2 Skooks Pete Roggeman

Hear Hear! Thanks for not floating on the puff and fluff of the new product release. It appears the gentlemen's agreement in the industry of at least keeping chains common has finally had its first defector. 

Their drivetrains can't scale down in price points simply because the XD freehub prevents a cassette from being made well and affordably to OE price points. HG & MicroSpline let every cog interface the driver separately, which drops manufacturing costs.  I like their attempt at a direct mount derailleur, but I don't think it has the ability to scale down as well since it would need to be able to fit around a HG cassette's dimensions. I don't think there's enough clearance for it to do so. Millimeters matter, and there doesn't look to be enough of em to go around at that interface. It looks like good engineering in a dedicated environment, but that's where it stands for me. I'm not interested in purchasing one simply due to the inability to use other brand's components in a pinch situation. I've snapped an 11sp chain on a trip and ended up driving 2 hours to find another one as the local townie shop only had 9 sp. That bit makes Shimano's LinkGlide look awfully, awfully compelling. And honestly, I can't recall the last time I beat a derailleur enough to bend the bejeevus out of it enough to require replacement (it was probably when 9sp was still the Next New Thing), but I can recall the last few times I've mangled a chain. I'm sure there are gonna be those with overlanding rigs that will happily shell out the extra coin for backup parts to lay in those well appointed interiors' drawers, but I am certainly not one of em.

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AndrewMajor
0

On the chain, while you generally need a ring designed for flat-top to run those chains the opposite isn’t necessarily true.

Just as LinkGlide can run any 11-speed chain, I’d be surprised to learn that (optimized or not) Transmission can’t run any Eagle or aftermarket (other than Shimano) 12-speed chain without a flat-top.

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andrewbikeguide
+1 Andrew Major

But it is also based on the 'ego driven?' requirement to have a 10T cog (to brag about gear range), some thing that three years of AXS based tracking indicates I used for about 45 minutes of 1100 hrs of riding!

Personally I would like an all steel cassette (but I can live with 52T being alloy as I choose my chain ring to ensure that 'first' gear really is a "bonking badly or carrying a guide pack up another 15% climb" bail out gear) and a range of 50 - 14T with much nicer shift spacing across the 12 gears. Why not be like Shimano (coughing heard in the board rooms) and offer an athlete cassette (52-10T) and a weekend warrior/ normal human cassette (52/50-14T)? As long as it does negatively affect my suspension I don't care if I have to run a 30T or 28T front chain ring whilst the pros and 24 year old ego driven enduro-bros are stomping their 32 or 34T chain rings.

One of the things I like best about the Transmission is the better spacing across the four lowest gears (52-44-38-32) compared to the Eagle cassette.

AXS is amazing and the new T-type derailleur is a pretty impressive bit of engineering. It is way easier to set up but novices and "I don't read the instructions" types might still struggles as it requires knowing the chain stay length, reading a chart and counting links. If one can manage that then it is even quicker to set up than AXS Eagle is.

As to the pod: "Since I don't mention the 'POD' anywhere else. It's backwards compatible to all other AXS drivetrains and folks either like it much better or much worse than the previous shifter. Test ride, then decide" - possibly the truest words ever written by AM. With Matchmaker and with the Infinity loop bracket there is no position (that I can find) that is an ergonomic improvement on the AXS paddle shifter (either version). It is as if someone decided that the mechanical shifter was the greatest invention ever made and went about designing a shift pod to emulate it, ignoring all the advantages that electronic, almost effortless, shifting might offer.

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AndrewMajor
0

Cheers.

In general, going back to the first Di2, there seems to be a desire to emulate mechanical shifting/positioning with electronic controls when, as you note, minus the need to lever a ratchet around the shifters can be tiny perfectly placed buttons or the such.

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andy-eunson
+2 Andrew Major JT

I’ve been riding mountain bikes longer than many of these paid reviewers have been on the planet. Forty years. I’ve used and abused the shittiest stuff which at the time was state of the art. State of the art in 1983 was basically cave wall paintings. Mafac cantilever brakes were museum relics when we used them. Five speed freewheels with often bent axles were the thing. 14-28 out back and 28-38-48 up front. No shift ramps at all. Every year it got better. A lot better at first. But improvements came along more slowly and in smaller increments as time past. Indexing was a big jump as were disc brakes. Droppers posts are not exactly revolutionary but they sure are a good thing. Suspension adds to the enjoyment. We’re starting to see specious improvements. Like hidden shocks and cables. How many articles tell us that internal routing is "not that bad". It’s like my mother-in-law and her cheap wine. It’s not that bad she says. Yeah. Wine Spectator reviewed this swill and stated that it wasn’t that bad. For guests that you wish would never visit again. Transmission is a bit different I think. I accept that it is likely more sturdy. I accept that it likely shifts really well. I accept and applaud the ability to replace bits and bobs that you might break. Non of these things are what I would call game changers. Suspension, disc brakes. Those were game changers. I remain sceptical that this transmission stuff is actually game changing.

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pete@nsmb.com
+3 Andrew Major Andy Eunson Todd Hellinga

I think we've succeeded at keeping game-changer from being used around here for many years, if not forever. I agree: it is horribly overused, almost always incorrectly. If most people read books with the same veracity they use to copy each other's lazy language choices, we'd be much better off.

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andy-eunson
+2 Pete Roggeman DancingWithMyself

True. Other webzines have used the term to describe transmission. At least no one has referred to transmission as being "playful".

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andy Eunson

But I guess it is 'flickable'. 

Sigh.

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Vikb
+2 Andrew Major Blofeld

I saw the news about Kitsbow. Sorry that they couldn't keep things rolling. The deluge of Transmission transmissions online make me wonder if they would have been more successful had the designed 3 or 4 batteries and maybe 4 superfluous zippers into their clothes? Seems like that's where the MTB world is headed.

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AndrewMajor
0

Battery powered climate control could have saved them?!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major

It sucks about Kitsbow. I have an Icon that has been worn more than any other garment since 2019 that still looks and feels as good as new. I've ridden in it, skied in it, and pull it on and wear it all day 2-3 days a week from October to May. Tried to buy another one when I heard the news and could only snag a denim one. If it's even half as good, it'll be well worth it.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman

I just had Sherry @ Sateen sew new pockets into the Haskell shorts I’ve been regularly using since 2019. I wear them so much and they just keep ticking along but keys and such wore through them. 

They don’t look ‘fresh’ anymore but I’d bet they’ll still be multi-day-a-week shorts for mountain biking and commuting and life a decade from now.

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DancingWithMyself
+2 Vincent Edwards Velocipedestrian

I for one an super excited about Transmission.  I have an X01 derailleur from 2020 that is getting a little clapped out and an X01 cassette that is about to finally wear out (mainly the shifting ramps).  Just picked up replacements for great prices.  Cassette was 30% off.

And it's a total first-world, super-enthusiast problem, but I've got three bikes and don't think I'd want Transmission on just one.  

For example, I've got oneup posts on two bikes and a revive on the third.  The longer drop I can get with the oneup posts has me spoiled, and I'm thinking about replacing the revive.  I could fit a longer revive on that bike. 

But I'm not sure I want another revive, even though it's a far superior post.  The oneups feel fine on their own, but not very good in comparison to the revive.  Thinking I'd rather remove the comparison by going with another oneup and let my brain recalibrate.  Plus I could buy a spare wintech cartridge and keep a single service kit / spare parts stash.

In the same vein, my mechanical X01 setups feel great.  Not sure I'd want to put Transmission on one bike and thereby make the other two feel like they don't shift well.

More generally, I'm not delusional enough to think anyone else cares about how fast I am (query whether Transmission would really make a difference there anyway), so it's all down to my experience.  And consistency across bikes helps me focus on the experience and not individual components.

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AndrewMajor
0

I for one a super excited about Transmission. I have an X01 derailleur from 2020 that is getting a little clapped out and an X01 cassette that is about to finally wear out (mainly the shifting ramps). Just picked up replacements for great prices. Cassette was 30% off.

You’re certainly not the only one. I know of at least one rider who scored a massive discount on an ‘old’ AXS bike their shop was stuck with after Transmission was announced. 

———

OneUp uses their own cartridge, not a Wintek. But yes, with multiple OneUp posts of the same length a spare cartridge and other small parts like brass keys could be worth hoarding.

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DancingWithMyself
+1 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman BarryW

Thanks for the correction on the cartridge.  Have never paid that much attention because you can just order it directly from them.

With full awareness that I'm talking to the wrong audience, I have an EXe I really enjoy (but about which I am definitely somewhat conflicted).  But somehow I cannot come to terms with electronic shifting.   

With the EXe, I can tell myself, especially as I get older, that the motor allows me to do X, Y, and Z that I couldn't do otherwise.  Conversely, electronic shifting seems almost like conspicuous consumption.  Hard for me to articulate, but it's somehow easier for me to come to terms with a sensibly-powered, very bike-like ebike.  Unlike my legs and cardiovascular system, my thumbs are aging pretty darn well.

I'd almost put electronic shifting in the same category as battery-powered wine openers.  When future civilizations study the downfall of our civilization, I'm convinced an agreed upon inflection point will be when we got too lazy to open alcoholic beverages without the assistance of motors and batteries.  

(BTW, in such future civilization, there still won't be gear boxes that are worth a sh!t.)

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AndrewMajor
+2 Pete Roggeman BadNudes

“(BTW, in such future civilization, there still won't be gear boxes that are worth a sh!t.)“

Hahahahaha. If all the industries using gearbox style transmissions haven’t managed to deal with loss over all this time I don’t know why anyone thinks the bike industry will magically be able to make them more efficient.

That said, if 1/15th of the people waiting for some mythical future gearbox had bought one there’s a chance some of the big brands would have investigated the idea further. 

I do think we’ll see gearboxes on full-on e-bikes. They’ll be integrated with the motors, but bikes like the EX-E will continue to use the most efficient option (derailleur).

I’ve been think of writing something about the EX-E but, of course, writing anything about blenderized-bikes requires me to tightrope-walk on a single strand of razor wire over a piranha-infested hot tub of my own making. 

It really is the e-bike that every e-biker says/said they want(ed) from day 1. It’s quiet enough that it’s not going to offend anyone’s voyage through nature. It feels like riding a normal bike. It has enough juice to make up any fitness deficit without the whole showing up to a road ride with a Ducati factor. It even looks like a me-bike. 

It’s not my thing. But at least I can comprehend why a mountain bicyclist who for whatever reason can’t ride a fully meat-powered rig would see the EX-E as a bicycle-enough compromise.

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Larrabee
0

Ok!  You hooked me there:

“…without the whole showing up to a road ride with a Ducati factor…”

I had a brand new 900SS in 1988. I get it. Absolutely.

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DancingWithMyself
+1 Andrew Major

I've never really done a deep dive on gearboxes.  But based on the little I know, people don't want gearboxes.  They want derailleurs in a box that are sprung weight.  Or put another way, what they want is so fundamentally different from what a gearbox actually is that they shouldn't refer to is a gearbox.  

In reality, I think they like the idea of a gearbox, but not actual gearboxes.  "You see, what I want is a singlespeed, but one that get easier to pedal when I'm going uphill and harder to pedal when I'm going downhill."  

Regardless, an honest, decently technical look at gearboxes would be an interesting read.

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AndrewMajor
0

I think LAL Supre Drive or something similar has more chance of catching on than a derailleur-in-a-box for trail riding. There’s already issues packaging a shock and a water bottle into the front triangle and a 500%+ cassette range takes up a lot of space. 

I understand gearboxes are going to come integrated with motors for full-juice BroPeds, but for me-bikes and low-powered e-bikes efficient counts for a lot.

xy9ine
+2 Velocipedestrian Andrew Major

yeah, gearbox integration w/ ebikes seems an inevitable next step, but i don't foresee mainstream non motorized adoption any time soon, given the inherent issues, and how good derailleur drivetrains are these days. 

trinity is doing interesting things with derailleur-in-a-box development, bit as andrew says, packaging is problematic, so i don't see that taking of in any meaningful way. 

random: the classified 2 speed internal hub is interesting, conceptually (relatively light, electronically actuated) - ie, what if you could achieve the same gearing range as a 10-52 using a compact cassette & short cage mech - with both the hub & (electro) mech mapped to a single up/down shifter?

taprider
0

4x6 drivetrain, but each chain ring is limited to only the 3 most in line rear cogs

plus front shifter is stacked on top of the rear shifter so they can "communicate" with a cam, and the rear derailleur would only near to wrap ten teeth plus what ever your bikes adds for chain growth, and both front and rear rings/cogs would be spaced the same as an 11 speed cassette

LoamtoHome
0

Pinkbike had a podcast with Jason Chamberlain (last week?), and he talks about the issue with gearboxes and "meat engine" bikes.  Shifting underload will be the biggest issue with the bropeds.

AndrewMajor
0

@JerryW with the BroPeds I imagine it will be electronic only and when you push the shift-request button the computer will seamlessly adjust the power curve as it shifts the gearbox.

Did he actually use the term “meat engine” bikes?! Haha. Shimano uses “muscle bikes” which I love.

vincentaedwards
+2 Andrew Major DancingWithMyself

You make a great point about what level of quality we’re calibrated to expect from certain components. We adjust to the components we have, and learn to compensate for minor shortcomings. If something is unreliable, that can really impact our enjoyment… but the difference between ‘good’ and ‘better’ is far less pronounced. 

I seriously doubt Transmission will make the average rider any faster - and I also agree it probably feels more refined than my XT 11 speed setup. (But less refined than my SS, which is always in the right gear) If the reliability and quality are best-in-class, that will be good for the folks who adopt it. 

I really notice this with hubs now… if I jump on a bike with a cheap low-engagement ratchet hub, it feels so unrefined (compared to high-end hubs) … but if that’s all I had to ride I would quickly adjust.

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maximum-radness
+1 Andrew Major

If AXS was any indication, ( love your throwback to x-5 btw) the team at SRAM is capable, but ends up, not actually producing anything with valuable trickle down importance to  average income -average rider -average use scenario…. But man!  I would love to be wrong!! That was also a shameful shower of over hyped barely valuable tested if side loading photos and marketing drivel. I really did expect a much lower price point. Wouldn’t dropping this in the cabled gx model BLOW SHIMANO OUT? Instead it’s just the Grammys of over dressed new new gear hype. I loved the durability of my OG saint, it was rapid rise that killed it. I don’t know any Japanese or I’d type it so shimano could hear. I did see a patent alert that showed shimano and direct mount AND b-tension adjustment. Did SRAM have no choice? They had to ditch cables to get around patents? Is shimano once again holding the entry level direct mount market over srams heads????? Cést la vie. Shifter  Cables and hydraulic brakes and dropper post equipped mountain bikes are all fun as hell. So are the bikes without those things.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Skooks Curveball bushtrucker

Shimano XT LinkGlide M8130 is awesome to shift (under load and otherwise), uses an HG driver, and promises awesome durability. It’s absolutely worth checking out and given a cassette/der/shifter (the only LG parts) cost less than the cheapest Transmission cassette it’s certainly more relevant to more people.

I don’t think a cable-driven GX Transmission would be a LinkGlide killer but I’d certainly be keen to compare them. If SRAM could deliver the quality of cassette/shifting of Transmission to a GX price point.

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kos
+1 Andrew Major

I buy a fairly high-end mtb every 2 or 3 years.

I suppose this stuff will be on the next one.

And I doubt I'll really notice.

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AndrewMajor
0

What drivetrain are you on now?

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kos
+1 Andrew Major

XO1 on most bikes, with a smattering of XX1, but strongly prefer the shifting and gear spacing of my riding buddy's XTR.

Only real quibble is the occasionally clunky 3-2 shifting regardless of how perfectly the b-screw is adjusted.

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alexdi
+1 Andrew Major

I had similar impressions across the board. I still don't like electronics outside of a race and the pricing made my eyes glaze over. I'm also deeply suspicious of replaceable parts. It's marketing drivel until we know cost and availability. From a teardown elsewhere, it looks like the upper and electronics will be sold as a unit. If that's less than two-thirds the cost of the derailleur, I'll eat my hat. Let's also note that your Shimano 600 RD is impervious to the sticks that SRAM designed a clutched pulley wheel to handle. 

All that aside, I like the new mount style and hope it's more widely adopted. I'm bowing out because my frame doesn't support it, but it'll be a mandatory feature on the next one. No rush though. I went out on my DC bike yesterday, still equipped with an ultralight and utterly reliable XX1/11 group seven years older than the frame. I came back with no desire to change anything.

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AndrewMajor
0

Yes, the 600 Derailleur was just meant to highlight what the Transmission looks massive to folks who’ve been around bikes a while - I think Transmission looks huge (all the silver details?) but it’s really not larger than AXS.

And, yes, I’m also skeptical of the replacement parts until I see prices and availability, but I still think it’s a nice shift to see anyone even thinking about it.

11spd XX1 is still rad!

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wishiwereriding
+1 BadNudes

I LOVE your writing, thoughts, feedback, and opinions. The more advancements I read about, the more I want to go back to friction shifting and fewer gears.

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AndrewMajor
0

Cheers, John. Thank you for reading and for engaging.

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NealWood
+1 Andrew Major

Steel Panther reference.  Nice.

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bushtrucker
+1 Andrew Major

Thanks for the reality check Andrew. As someone who rides GX/XT level at best this tech is a few years away from affecting what I ride, if that. In the meantime it does make me enjoy riding my SS hardtail that little bit more. Hard to beat the original hanger free design.

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AndrewMajor
0

Looks clean! Cheers,

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khai
+1 Andrew Major

I was bummed to hear of Kitsbow's demise.  Years ago on a trip to NorCal I tried to drop by but they weren't open on the weekend or something like that...  I never ordered any of their kit as I was hesitant to drop that much cheddar on a clothing piece I'd never tried on, particularly with a small retailer that couldn't afford to offer free shipping on returns.  Paying shipping bidirectionally plus the cc conversion fees is an expensive way to try on a shirt or pair of shorts.

When I saw the deluge of Transmission articles I swore remembered Andrew hating on UDH for providing "too solid" of an interface to provide any protection for the derailleur and thought - "Oh - this makes sense now".  It's neat but I'm unlikely to ever own it.  My go-to is an XT shifter paired to a Deore derailleur with a spare in the truck.

It's also hilarious to me that this upgrade kit costs significantly more than "the most Andrew Major-like bike I've considered owning"...

NorcoBigfoot3

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cxfahrer
0

I still wonder what will happen with all those bikes being UDH ready for Transmission. 

Who will be the first to make a cable actuated derailleur for direct mount UDH complete with an axle? Like rd-m800? SX level..?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Skooks

I generally like UDH aside from the Transmission application. Sure your derailleur is more likely to fail than the hanger, but all the 12-speed stuff from every brand is so much more precise than even 11-speed that mounting it to something stiff and straight is important.

I don’t know how many brands will chase direct mount, if any. Maybe SRAM will do a cable-version but they’re not saying.

Are limit screws really that big a deal? Do we need to be able to stand on our derailleurs in the parking lot or shop?

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just6979
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

Low-limit (big cog) are definitely a big deal, unless they can control the tolerances well enough that the hard mechanical limit of the parallelogram is always in the right place. It doesn't take much of a bump to the 'gram to push the cage beyond the big cog if the low-limit isn't doing the limiting properly. AXS handling the indexing won't help because it has the "magic" of releasing upon the exact impacts that would push a cage too far inboard if it's not already at the limit. I know the UDH design has the specs and tolerances needed, but since the bike industry, as a whole, couldn't get the specs and tolerances of pressfit BBs correct enough to make that superior solution actually viable after decades of trying, I have my doubts.

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Squint
+1 Andrew Major

No we definitely don't need to stand on our derailleurs, and it's also not a very good indicator of durability for MTB application. Static load and impact forces are very different things. 

Anybody stood on a UDH or other current derailleur hanger to see if it's fine too? For science.

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cooperquinn
+2 Mammal JT

What is probably the first cable actuated UDH RD* already exists (but you can't buy one)

https://www.instagram.com/p/Ck8irwVK1rk/

*I'm sure SRAM has prototypes, too.

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jt
0

Prob a hop up kit for existing SRAM jobbers, but you're not far off for certain.

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just6979
0

RE: Using a T-type cassette with other deraiiluers...

"It also theoretically eliminates that pesky requirement to have a UDH compatible bike to get the Transmission cassette and chain advantages."

IFF that non-UDH hanger and the surrounding frame has room for the extra 2.5mm outboard. I think the guys from Cotic have noted that the new cassette won't actually fit on some of their non-UDH frames. On my Stumpy I measure ~3mm between an X01 chain on the 10t cog of an Eagle cassette and the hanger. I would not be comfortable shrinking that gap to 0.5mm, especially with the same proximity to the carbon of the seat-stays.

Hopefully the fancy ramps and chain trickle down to non-T-type systems. I think we all know by now that the smoothness of the shifting itself it is pretty much all about the interaction of chain and cogs (ramps and link plate shapes), while the shift feel/action is all about the interaction of shifter and mech (clutch, cable pull ratios, levers vs switches). Those T-type cog shapes (and the new chain) in a 52mm chain-line cassette should still shift smoother and quieter than existing Eagle, even with a cable mech.

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AndrewMajor
0

“Theoretically”

I haven’t had a chance to try it with any bikes never mind a selection of bikes.

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just6979
0

"Oh, and did we ever find out who set the record for most bros piggybacking each other while standing on a Transmission rear derailleur, even though that's not really ever how rear derailleurs are impacted?"

This, 1000%.

I truly can't wait for someone on YouTube to start throwing rocks and sticks at the cage as a bike rolls by, and seeing how carnage they can make happen.

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FlipFantasia
+2 Andy Eunson Justin White

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just6979
+1 BadNudes

They didn't do any tests with the chain moving, nor in the lower range of the cassette, so there was no test of the low-limit. The cage and chain hitting the bigger cogs was the limit as to how far everything got pushed.

They also didn't get the old hanger and mech to break until they moved up to a weight, angle, and basher-end that also broke the Transmission mech. Granted, that was an unlikely catastrophic impact, but at least in the case of the old stuff, you might actually be able to ride out with a gear or two that works well enough after some unbending and adjustment. Unless people are going to be carrying T-type replacement parts instead of hangers?

So yeah, Transmission is strong, at least when getting pummeled while in the lower 2/3rds of the cassette without the drivetrain in motion, but the old hanger seemed pretty strong in this case as well.

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oldmanbike
0

This seems like such an obvious question that I'm sure it's been answered a few times already, maybe even in Andrew's fine article that I probably didn't read carefully enough. But, without the hanger as the designed weak point when destructive forces are applied on the RD, what is the new weak point? As it stands, the whole "gee whiz guys we finally got rid of those flimsy hangers!" celebration makes me feel anxious rather than triumphant.

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AndrewMajor
+1 OldManBike

To be determined but the direction of force is never going to be the same as someone standing on the derailleur?!

Thinking about clipping a derailleur and it moving backward and inwards, if the mast of the T-Type derailleur isn’t the failure point…

I’m guessing the drop out / chainstay. I’d guess SRAM knows where the weak point has moved to from their testing but they aren’t saying.

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oldmanbike
+1 GB

My far-from-expert understanding was that the core purpose of the hanger was so that, when the inevitable happened, it happened to a cheap replaceable part instead of to the RD or the frame. That seemed like an eminently worthwhile purpose. So I'm confused about SRAM's basic vision here of why removing the hanger is a good thing, and I'm confused about why others don't share my confusion about it. I must be missing something obvious.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson dhr999

That was true in the past and is still true of many budget friendlier bikes that would never see Transmission, but no, generally the rear derailleur is the failure point on most high end bikes/drivetrains now. Or the derailleur and the hanger in a really bad event.

Since 11-spd came out, and then much more so with the advent of 12-spd bikes have needed to be a lot more precise for cable shifting to work well (which is part of the impetus for AXS to begin with). Cables and housing need to be in better condition and hangers need to be straighter and much stiffer. 

Put another way, if you bolt any 12-speed derailleur to an old frame or basic hardtail with a classic replaceable hanger you’ll be trying to tune your shifting constantly.

Classic hanger. Bends easily to save drivetrain and frame.

Modern hanger is very stiff for optimum shifting with the precision required by 12-speed drivetrains. Usually out survives rear derailleurs.

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pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson

Once upon a time it was foolish not to carry a spare hanger - two for long rides or trips. 

Haven't carried a spare or needed one in about a decade.

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DancingWithMyself
0

I get the "universal" part and fewer sku's as well as the trojan horse angle for Transmission.  But I've always felt like NSB and WheelsMfg solved the stiffer-and-more-precise problem years ago, and all the UDH has done is take away flip chips.  Am I missing something?

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AndrewMajor
+1 DancingWithMyself

NSBillet hangers are certainly much stiffer and better quality for than the soft cheese that many OE hangers used but there’s still a significant difference between a long skinny hanger held in place by a chain ring bolt and something like UDH (or similar non-UDH hangers).

I don’t see why there’d be anything stopping companies from having multiple wheel base options with UDH. Go to replaceable dropouts like Banshee or put the UDH + non-drive axle mount into flippable inserts?

ackshunW
0

Old style with the half-dropout-thickness lap joint was never going to be great. That’s neither stiff nor strong. On the other hand, always thought my Syntace X-12 style is clever, because it has a decent-sized registration surface, but is held on by a fragile hollow aluminum bolt. Stiff but weak. Certainly sturdy enough for Zee 9-speed shifting… do people have trouble with that style on 12-speed?  (I could imagine the little aluminum bolt snapping just under the weight of a NX monster).

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AndrewMajor
+1 ackshunW

The issue with X-12 isn’t breakaway bolt it’s the pin in front. I’ve seen a few damaged frames from it twisting out. That aside, the interface is plenty stiff while also honouring the original idea of the replaceable hanger.

ackshunW
+1 khai

Note to self (via Andrew’s response below, couldn’t reply directly):

Drill out my hanger pins and fabricate sacrificial cheese-based pins to use in its place.

grcgrc
0

I think I will continue to wait for a modern steel HT with a pinion gearbox to arrive. Then i will not have to worry about how many angels (or tech-bros) can dance on a rear derailleur. 

In the meantime my trusty Rootdown with 10spd Shimano will remain my steed of choice.

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AndrewMajor
+1 BadNudes

You could wait forever, or get your own custom built.

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Dogl0rd
0

Those PNW pedals are the best

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