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LAUNCH AND REVIEW

SRAM Launches new 52-tooth Eagle Drivetrains

Words Pete Roggeman and Cam McRae
Photos Pete Roggeman and Cam McRae
Date Jun 11, 2020
Reading time

It appears we have an arms race on our hands - or make that a tooth race. After several years as the undisputed mountain bike drivetrain leader - both in technology and overwhelmingly in units spec'd and sold - SRAM predictably conceded some of that hard won ground to Shimano with the rollout of SLX, XT, and XTR groups that all included 12-speed drivetrains with 51-tooth cassettes (the recent announcement of three new Deore group sets will further bolster Shimano's defenses). This was news we'd all been waiting for, because whether or not you favour one brand's drivetrains or the other, competition breeds better product and lower prices. Sure enough, despite no one accusing SRAM's groups of being inferior or old in the - there it is again - tooth, today they are announcing that Eagle GX, X01, and XX1 groups are being updated with 52-tooth cassettes, as well as some small refinements, both cosmetic and performance-oriented.

Unlike the usual practice with these rollouts, SRAM is focusing the most attention on the fact that GX is getting a lot of the same trickle down as its top tier siblings; namely, that cassette that outnumbers Shimano's by a single tooth, with updated derailleur architecture to make it all work.

We'll lay out the key info of this release with specs and pricing (no big surprises there) and follow that up with some ride impressions (we've had two test groups for the last several weeks) and a transcript from an interview Cam conducted with SRAM drivetrain product manager Flynn George and .

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SRAM's new Eagle groups come in colours that are designed to work together whether you stick to one level or pick and choose.

New SRAM Eagle - Key Changes

1) The new 10-52 tooth cassettes mean that drivetrain range increases to 520%. This is the biggest change, although opinions will differ about the true impact of this change.

  • All three drivetrains - GX, X01, and XX1 - get the new 10-52t cassette.
  • To accommodate the change, all three mechanical derailleurs get revised architecture, whereas AXS is forward compatible.
  • If you're running AXS now, you can bolt any of the new cassettes onto your bike and, after accounting for a b-tension adjustment and chain length, you're good to go.
  • The new derailleurs are backwards compatible, and SRAM will continue to sell 10-50 and 10-52 cassettes.
  • You don't need a new shifter or chain (as long as the length works) and there are no new standards - xD is still the free hub interface.

A critical detail is that other than the change from 50 to 52 teeth on the biggest ring, the cassettes remain unchanged. They all will have the following tooth pattern: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42, 52. So, your bailout gear got easier, but the rest of the cassette is identical. Depending on how you look at it, your steepest climb just got a bit more spinnable, or you can now switch to a larger chainring up front if more top-end speed is important to you. Depending on where you ride, one or both of those options may appeal. Cam gets into this a little lower down in his conversation with SRAM Product Manager Flynn George, but it's pretty clear SRAM would have considered rearranging tooth counts, but there are a lot of reasons to stay the course other than the big ring, mostly to do with engineering time, tooling costs, inventory bloat, and consumer confusion. It also presents a clear delineation between SRAM and Shimano's approach to tooth spacing: at the low end of the gear range, SRAM goes from 42 to 52 teeth, whereas Shimano's Rhythm Steps means the jumps are smoother and smaller, with the last one going from 45 to 51 teeth. We won't dig deeper here, but the takeaway is that for some, that large jump may matter, for others it's just an easier bailout gear, which is the reason SRAM gave for the change. Their premise is that a lot of their rider and racer feedback called primarily for an easier bailout gear - enduro racers needed to be able to spin easily on long days without blowing out their legs (and spinning is preferable to walking if it's not too strenuous) while regular Joes and Jills were asking for more help handling steeps.

2) GX Eagle sees improved shifting and aesthetics. We don't have a lot of real specific info here, other than to say that SRAM says they worked hard to make GX perform more closely to X01 and XX1 with more robust architecture, better shifts, chain wrap, and retention

3) New colourways for cassettes and chains: Black, Gold, Rainbow, and Copper. GX cassette comes in a Lunar/Black colour which is made to be compatible with the other colours and mesh effortlessly. We've seen three of the colours before, but Copper is new, and it's hot.

4) As mentioned, Eagle AXS is forward compatible with the new 52-tooth cassettes and comes in new X01 and XX1 colours, but the main news is that AXS owners just got an extra option and won't need to do anything to take advantage other than pick up a new cassette.

5) There's a new Eagle 'unified chain gap tool' that replaces all other Eagle chain gap tools across both cassette sizes, and it's easier to use. Nifty.

New SRAM Eagle GX Specs and Pricing

New SRAM Eagle X01 Specs and Pricing

New SRAM Eagle XX1 Specs and Pricing

SRAM Eagle GX Riding Impressions

I've spent a good chunk of time on GX Eagle and I wrote about the experience a couple of years ago. I came away impressed with shifting performance, value, and durability. For the most part my impressions remain intact with this new version, but I did have a couple of issues. Occasionally I would over shift off the largest cog and drop down two and I was also burdened with SRAM's original 1x flaw; the chain would derail when spun backwards on the stand.

SRAM-b-tension-tool.jpg

The new b-tension tool is much easier to use. Simply put the chain in the second largest cog and then adjust the tension until the round window matches perfectly with the centre spindle of the upper jockey wheel. This doesn't appear perfectly adjusted, because it must be measured at sag with the rider here.

I fussed and adjusted and tweaked and redid the B-tension with the new and improved tool, without luck. A closer examination revealed a tooth that was scored from contact with something hard and immovable - which explained the randomly inaccurate shifting and the derailing when pedaling backwards. Luckily I could lean on Pete's impressions. For him coming off AXS, the move to GX 52, and then that same 52t cassette with his AXS setup, was seamless after everything worked similarly to his 10-50.

SRAM-eagle-52-cam-06.jpg

The cranks are finished nicely, but I'm not a fan of the buldged shape. There are also carbon GX cranks available now. Photo - Cam McRae

After a year spent on Shimano XTR, I gained an appreciation for Shimano's dedication to even spacing between cogs, and of course the smooth shifting the company is famous for.

Shimano's 10-51 12-speed cassette cogs read like this: 10 – 12 – 14 – 16 – 18 – 21 – 24 – 28 – 33 -39 – 45 - 51.
SRAM's 10-52 has nice incremental spacing up until the 42, in fact the steps are identical to Shimano's up until the 4th largest cog, but then there is a 10t jump to 52 with the end result being these sizes: 10 – 12 – 14 – 16 – 18 – 21 – 24 – 28 – 32 -36 – 42 - 52.

There isn't a single odd tooth count on the SRAM cassettes, which results in tooth count increases of 4, 4, 6, 10 for the largest four cogs, while Shimano manages a more evenly incremental 5, 6, 6, 6. This isn't a major obstacle for me, but given the choice I'd prefer the gradual approach Shimano relies upon.

On the trail the 52 got me up some steep climbs in a slightly different fashion. There is a climb up the Old Buck Trail from Indian River Rd. that includes a tricky stepped ramp up to a bridge. I'm a little better than 50% on it I'd say but I hadn't reeled it in recently. On my last ride I consciously pushed it up into the big pie plate and smoothly winched myself onto the bridge without drama.

SRAM-eagle-52-cam-08.jpg

Out in the wild on a cool day in January. My trusty test platform (Yeti SB150) has had every part changed at least once, except the headset, rear shock, and seat post, and two out of three will be swapped shortly.

For the riding I do on the North Shore, I only need the appropriate chainring for grinding up the steepest singletrack I tackle regularly. My 10t sees no off road use when I'm home and a smaller chainring means I spend less time in my largest cog where chainline has the biggest impact on drivetrain wear. Most of the time that's a 30t chainring, and I'm more than happy with the range of 10-50 or 10-51 using a 30t or 32t chainring. I won't shy away from 10-52, but given the choice I think I'd select 10-50, simply because of the smaller cog size difference for the last two cogs and because I don't feel the need to go to 52. Or 10.

SRAM-eagle-52-cam-01.jpg

In case you are wondering, these tooth profiles are not the product of your grandpa's drunken whittling. Sophisticated shapes for excellent chain retention and smooth power transfer.

A Conversation with Flynn George and Chris Mandell From SRAM

Eagle wide range cassettes didn't get a warm welcome from keyboard warriors when they were first released. Commenters were pretty quick to judge and say things like, 'what kind of slow lazy-ass needs a 50t cog?' It got worse from there, but many people who hadn't tried Eagle were missing the point; it's about range rather than simply a low gear. If 50t is too low for your powerful and hairy legs you can always size up your chainring and get taller gears throughout the range.

SRAM reps told us consumer and athlete research revealed there were many riders looking for a lower bailout gear without sacrificing range, which is apparently where 10-52 came from. And this includes EWS riders. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

I got on Microsoft Teams with Flynn George, a Product Specialist for brakes and drivetrains, and Chris Mandell, the Grand Duke of Product Communications for North America, and peppered them with questions to get to the bottom of that new low gear.


Cam McRae - One of the big reasons I wanted to talk to someone and go a little deeper is because I'm anticipating some questions from readers mostly on social media - that seems to be where the most skeptical and cynical types reside – about why anyone needs 52. Chris was talking about athletes and consumers asking for this. Where we ride the range is more than adequate because we're either going up something fairly steep or we're coming down something quite technical so the smaller cogs are pretty lonely, really. Where did your information about this market demand come from?

Flynn George - It really came from listening to our athletes and our riders and realizing there was an opportunity to expand the range and allow people the choice to have that 52, if if they want that more spin-to-win game. But we'll be maintaining the 10-50 as well to give riders that option. But one of the nice things with the expanded range, in addition to that spin game is to avoid the hike-a-bikes on the climbs and still be able to size up and chain ring if they want. And we're seeing athletes who want the bigger range for climbing as well as more top end.

Cam McRae - It was mainly internally then, so obviously SRAM-sponsored athletes and other SRAM testers and employees, and sort of staff riders, is that accurate?

Flynn George - Talking to our customers, talking to the riders out there in the world, but those weekend warriors as well as our athletes, so trying to get a good scope of the market to understand where that range could benefit riders.

Cam McRae - One of the things we were curious about is how much of this change would be driven by OE and how much spec you were seeing for next year's models of the 52. And it makes me wonder if it's like the days when you would see a mediocre spec'ed bike with a nice rear derailleur on it. And to draw people in to a bike because they see something or hear something that is impressive.

Flynn George - I mean, we always take into consideration our OE spec and there's going to be substantial amount of 10-52 on bikes in the future. But I think fundamentally we wanted to offer riders the best range that we could and that is that 10-52 cassette.

flynn-george.jpg

The second photo was a few weeks ago when Flynn George was visiting Bellingham for some product testing and ended up sampling the local rhubarb. In a ditch. If you can spot the dog you'll get an idea of how exciting that was.

Cam McRae - Do you have a sense for me of how many of your customers, or what sort of percentage, would be spec'ing 10-52 over 10-50 from GX to AXS?

Flynn George - I think I could say a majority.

Cam McRae - Cool. I can certainly see the rationale for taking the 50 to a 52, but it leaves a fairly big jump from 42 to 52. Is the future going to maybe include a more linear step in those largest three cogs?

Flynn George - We've been really happy with the step and shift performance throughout our Eagle drive trains. The incremental gain of that 10-52 was kind of improving the experience overall by taking that small step. We've been maintaining the shift performance that you expect by keeping the rest of the cassette that tried and true technology the same.

Cam McRae - So no plans at this point. You're happy with the way it shifts and you're happy with the jump in terms of ratios?

Flynn George - Yeah. We're really happy with the way that it shifts and and the range that we're able to get out of that, that 10-52. It was pretty awesome.

Chris Mandell - And I think Cam one thing to add to that is we do feel like 52 ended up being the gear where people are looking to sit into the gear and like, you know, like that is your steepest hill climbing, like get me out of jail free card. I mean, it's not free unless you're on an e-bike. Actually, it's not free unless you're on a motorcycle and you should be on a motorcycle anyway. But that's really where we see that coming in and this is the simplest feedback for me to go back to, but EWS athletes were basically saying, we don't want to expend any more energy than we have to on the climbs, but we want to run fricking massive chainrings in the front. And that's really where that 52 comes in there and given the fact that we were able to get the shifting to be as good as it is on the 50, like it's a clean, crisp experience moving to the 52, obviously with some other changes to the system. That kinda made us feel good about that change, but I think your other question, what we're going to see in the future. I think it's very clear that future states of drivetrain could be miraculous and, you know, save the world from everything. But that's not where we are at right now. Where we are right now is: this is really the best solution and the solution that people were asking us for.

chris-mandell3.jpg

Chris Mandell having to make a tough decision riding in Darrington Washington, and then lounging Hefner-style post-ride and re-fuelling with some Fritos.

I also wanted to talk about the little changes in the derailleur. Can you tell me about how that's changed? Is it parallelogram changes as well as jockey wheels and spacing and everything?

Flynn George - It's a fundamental architecture change in the length of the parallelogram as well as the pulley wheel offset built into the cage.

Sorry, pulley wheel offset?

Flynn George - Pulley wheel offset like that upper pulley wheel position.

Okay. So a little bit, a little bit of everything. I want to ask you what chainring sizes you see for EWS athletes? Is anyone going to 38?

Flynn George - It's the ability to size up two teeth if they want, without having to have any sacrifice in that climbing range. So totally dependent on personal preference. Obviously there are some of the fastest people in the world running notoriously small chain rings, instead of give them the opportunity to size up, because we know that they can spin out, but we also know that they want to realize that spin to win. That's a pretty sweet opportunity for an athlete to be able to maximize their total range.

So before this, some of your top level athletes were running thirties, say or 32?

Flynn George - Thirties. I want to say thirties was probably the smallest. We'd see some of those folks go down, too.

Chris Mandell - Sam Hill's notorious for running a small ring, so he can save more energy. 'Cause the liaison stages aren't so fast that you need to worry about speed. Basically you just need to save energy. And that's why those guys ended up walking all the hard parts of liaison.

Re-using the existing X dome smallest 10, and then adding only the 52, obviously there are cost savings there because there's not nearly as much retooling. Is that part of the reason why it's happening this way right now?

Chris Mandell - In general, based on the feedback we got, we feel really happy about where we are in terms of the steps and that the spread of the 10 to the 42. And really like the key piece of feedback that we got again from like GX riders to EWS riders, is that they wanted a bigger bailout gear. So we're giving them that.

And so a lot of our effort was in, hey, we need to like come out with his expanded range, but we can't just bring the expanded range at AXS where it's actually already compatible. You can just put a 52 on your AXS today or just come out with it at the XX1 level. It's really important for us to make it come in at GX in that first year and just elevate the entire GX product line in terms of like performance and ride aesthetic. So I think that's really the positioning there and that's why we're leading with GX. We saved tooling on not redoing the 10-42, but we also brought it all out across the full line so that everyone could have that expanded range experience from the first year. I'm a hundred percent confident that the internet will pick apart our product management decision making process there. But the reality is we wanted to try to benefit the most riders with this effort. And this was the way that we could benefit the most riders.

Well thanks very much, gentlemen. Here's one more. And because again, this is going to be asked is how important is it having one more than Shimano? And to be able to say "This one goes to 11."

Chris Mandell - (laughing) I mean, we want to give riders the best experience we possibly can? I'm not going to say it's not important.

Perfect. Well, that's an excellent end point.


Are you keen to go to 52? Happy with 50? Or maybe 42 or 51? Let us know below.

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman

Age: 43

Height: 6'1 // 185 cms

Weight: 195 lbs // 88 kg

Inseam: 32" // 81 cm

Bar width: 780 - 800mm // Reach: 475 - 500mm // Dropper: 170 - 190mm

Flats or clipless: both, but mostly flats right now

Trail(s) of choice: Dreamweaver, Boundary, Lower Digger, Ladies Only, 5th Horseman

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae

Age - 54

Height - 6'/183cm (mostly legs)

Weight - 165lbs/75kg

Ape Index - 0.986

Inseam - 33"/84cm

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Fifth Horseman

Bar Width - 770mm

Preferred Reach - 475-490mm

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Comments

Vikb
+5 Mammal Cr4w twk Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman
Vik Banerjee  - June 11, 2020, 7:23 a.m.

50T is so early 2020 anyways. It's over. Done. Obsolete. Let's move on baby! And while I welcome our new 52T pizza pie sized overlords the real question is when do we get our 60T big cog 13 speed cassettes????  ;-)

Reply

taprider
+2 Cam McRae Vik Banerjee
taprider  - June 11, 2020, 9:06 a.m.

60T is just waiting for wider acceptance of 36" wheels

Reply

GhettoFunkRadio
+1 Vik Banerjee
GhettoFunkRadio  - June 11, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

Gonna need the clearance for that baby arm sized derailleur cage

Reply

craw
+1 Vik Banerjee
Cr4w  - June 11, 2020, 10:16 a.m.

36" wheels should give you a few extra inches. Those extra big wheels aren't great for turning tight trails but deadly in the straights.

Reply

Xorrox
+11 Cr4w mrraulduke Mammal lewis collins DMVancouver Velocipedestrian Kos maxc Tadpoledancer AJ Barlas Endur-Bro
Brad_xyz  - June 11, 2020, 7:47 a.m.

SRAM taking a page out of the old Shimano "Megarange" playbook.  Fortunately Shimano did not do this with their new 12 speed.  As far as I'm concerned this is a marketing driven mistake on SRAM's part.   Big jumps like this into a 'bail out' gear just make you lose all your momentum and spin out on technical climbs and create a clunky big jump when shifting in general.  I would not buy this even though I probably need a bail out gear more than most :(

Reply

mrraulduke
+2 Mammal Luix
mrraulduke  - June 11, 2020, 9:25 a.m.

THIS!
i've recently switched from GX to 12 speed XT. I had 11 speed XT, but went with aftermarket cassettes ( sunrace ) to get rid of the massive step in the bail out gear. Same with GX to XT, i'm in the 2nd or 3rd rear cog quite often, where i would be up in the 50t on the sram. 

top 3, shimano 10-51: 39, 45, 51

top 3 sram 10-50/52: 36,42,50/52

It's not so much of the 52t top end, i'd use it, it's the screwed up gearing range. Maybe it's just  BC thing, steep logging road climbs, steep single track climbs to enduro stuff ...

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - June 11, 2020, 9:53 a.m.

Nope. Not a BC thing. That gap sucks for everyone paying attention to their cadence.

Reply

mrraulduke
0
mrraulduke  - June 11, 2020, 1:21 p.m.

i meant the 'needing' the 50/51/52t.

i ride in areas where i'm not in my 46t on the 11 speed hardtail. but on the heavy ass enduro bike and the bigger climbs i was always in the GX 50t, but not always in the XT 51.

Reply

craw
+9 mrraulduke Velocipedestrian taprider trumpstinyhands maxc Tadpoledancer Sandy James Oates twk Endur-Bro
Cr4w  - June 11, 2020, 10:19 a.m.

Agreed. For me the whole point of going to 1x was to lose the big jump between the granny and middle ring. I avoid the XT 11-46 cassette for the same reason. It's amusing that after pushing 1x into the mainstream it's SRAM that brings us right back to big stupid jumps between cogs. And for what? A temporary headline about outdoing Shimano? Classic 28.99 small dick energy move.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - June 11, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

I'm personally with you. I prefer small steps near the pie plate for smooth technical climbs. I prefer the durability/longevity of SRAM XO1 cassettes, but would be thrilled with Shimano's gearing steps. 

But realize 90% of the market will never do a technical climb and just wants a bailout gear to get up the hill when they're suffering on the way to a flow trail. I think SRAM will get hammered in comments, but will sell a ton of them and make most riders happy.

Reply

Brigham_Rupp
+1 twk
Brigham_Rupp  - June 11, 2020, 11:59 a.m.

Ya, wider range... sure, whatev. I guess it doesn’t hurt but I’ve never felt like I needed it (which seems to be the general response to this release: “okay. Thanks SRAM.” And the huge step is lame. I keep hoping for a system that covers the same range in 6 or 7 gears. That’s what I would like. Fewer gears. Heck for my riding in southern Oregon, I think I really only use three or four consistently.

Reply

mrraulduke
+1 Luix
mrraulduke  - June 11, 2020, 1:25 p.m.

Have you looked into Box Components Box One Prime ($$$) or Box Two Prime ( $) 9 speed 11-50 groupsets? I got the Box 4 8 speed for my 10 year old daughter, and while being 'entry level' shifted nicely.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+4 twk Vik Banerjee Tadpoledancer Greg Hamill
AJ Barlas  - June 11, 2020, 7:49 a.m.

The pissing contest continues

Reply

mammal
+4 twk Kos Tadpoledancer AJ Barlas
Mammal  - June 11, 2020, 8:02 a.m.

And a poor bit of pissing from Sram, this round.

Reply

fartymarty
+4 Velocipedestrian Karl Fitzpatrick twk Endur-Bro
fartymarty  - June 11, 2020, 10:33 a.m.

Yawn yawn.  I'll wait for the Nicolai gearbox but in the meantime keep pedalling my 11-42 10 speed.

Reply

tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - June 11, 2020, 11:14 a.m.

While I agree, the one ray of hope in all this is that the trickle down is going to become actually useful.
I was really holding out for an NX-XD type setup (budget 10-42) to let them burn off old tooling on 11spd setups, because that's something I'd very happily use on my omni-bike (trailer hauler, road bike, gravel bike, trail bike hardtail that sees sustained winch&pull climbing as well as spinning out at 33mph)... but still nothing

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - June 11, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

This gear range thing reminds me of the early to late 80’s. My first mountain bike came with a 14 - 28 freewheel and 28-38-48 chain rings. Then came 6 speed and a 30 tooth, 7 speed up to a 32 low, 26-36-46 then 24 34 44, Compact etc. It has always been about useable range. Having a choice of range is a good thing.

Reply

Jenkins5
0
Jenkins5  - June 11, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

These look good. I'm a fan of more range, but it kind of sucks you need to get a new derailleur....I went the other way when replacing my GX cassette and plugged in the e*13 9-50. More range than this new Eagle and allowed me to go 30T front (more clearance) and still have a decent DH gear with the 9t....It's a nice chunk lighter than the GX Eagle cassette too. Shifting seems on par so far as well....

Reply

shoreboy
+4 Brad_xyz Mammal Kos maxc
Shoreboy  - June 11, 2020, 9:16 a.m.

Thanks SRAM!  A release like this further consolidates my preference to run Shimano.

So they want me to buy a new RD to get 2 more teeth AND a ridiculously large jump up to the granny?

Reply

mammal
+1 twk
Mammal  - June 11, 2020, 9:50 a.m.

And a crank upgrade for over $2 USD per gram saved. And a clutch that may fail after 5 rides, and then nothing you can do about it. No thanks!!

Reply

Timer
+2 twk Greg Bly
Timer  - June 11, 2020, 11:47 a.m.

Who “upgrades” their derailleur anyway? If the range was fine when you bought the bike, why should it suddenly stop being fine? And if it wasn’t, why buy the bike in the first place?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 william bailey
Pete Roggeman  - June 11, 2020, 8:56 p.m.

*Not singling you out here, Shoreboy, but...

I'm not sure why the reaction is that people feel compelled to buy the new cassette, or a new derailleur. If your derailleur still works, great. If you're happy with your 10-50, bully for you. They're going to continue selling the 10-50. So, if you're happy, stay happy - nothing to see here.

Reply

D_C_
0
DMVancouver  - June 11, 2020, 11:32 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

LoamtoHome
+3 Greg Hamill twk Endur-Bro
Jerry Willows  - June 12, 2020, 10:43 a.m.

Problem is that it will be the standard next production run.  Then it will be 54 because Shimano went to 53.  The bike industry is messed up on so many levels.  Another change that nobody wants, needs but is going forward anyways.

Reply

Brocklanders
0
yahs  - June 16, 2020, 8:01 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

morgan-heater
+4 Cr4w lewis collins Skooks maxc Sandy James Oates Greg Hamill
Morgan Heater  - June 11, 2020, 9:57 a.m.

I wonder what percentage of riders are still on 1x11 XT? I bet it's pretty high.

Reply

Xorrox
0
Brad_xyz  - June 11, 2020, 10:09 a.m.

Me!  I've been using Shimano's 11-42 cassette with OneUps  47T Sprocket +18T [Shimano 1x11]  which lets me keep the mid cage derailleur and smooths out the top jump that the 11-46 has.  Love this setup (but still curious to try the 1x12 XT group at some point).

Reply

Jotegr
0
Luke Kozakiewicz  - June 11, 2020, 10:29 a.m.

I'm running xtr/1st/xo1/e13 11 speed mix on 2 of my bikes. Ive been happy with this mix for several years. 

That said, I recently swapped a 12 speed SLX drivetrain off an ebike (because I know the torque would eat that stuff for breakfast) on to my long travel rig.  I find it ridiculously impressive for the slx level. So long as my 11 speed xtr shifters keep working I'm not about to trade them in but I was very impressed with 12 speed slx to the point I'm not sure id feel any need to spend more money to go to a level above that.

Reply

craw
+4 Vincent Edwards Andrew Major Morgan Heater twk
Cr4w  - June 11, 2020, 10:29 a.m.

I've been running 32x11-42 on two bikes the whole time. Those cassettes work great and are downright affordable compared to anything from SRAM. I don't put in a lot of road miles so the limited high range is liveable. I can get up pretty much everything with that low gear and If I can't I just keep coming back until I can. Anything lower and I'd be spinning too much anyway.

Reply

tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - June 11, 2020, 11:17 a.m.

I'm also in the oddball camp with the e.13 9-46T option, so yes.  This is the first really mass produced offering to actually exceed the gear range I've been happily toodling along with on my bike for years now.  The cost and shifting refinement aren't what I'd have chosen from a blank piece of paper, but compared to everything else out even including this latest setup, it stacks up ridiculously well for the money.
I figure I'll migrate to the 12spd XT down the road, but it isn't offering me anything I don't already have.  My other bike is on SLX 10spd, and because it plays nicely with a dual chainring setup, I'll keep rocking that.

Reply

vincentaedwards
+1 maxc
Vincent Edwards  - June 11, 2020, 12:21 p.m.

I went back to XT 11 speed after running GX-Eagle for about a year. (and suffering all the usual issues- ejected jockey wheel, degrading shift quality, and a big bulky derailleur that liked to catch rock strikes)

My current setup pairs a SRAM XG-1195 cassette and chain with Shimano 11 Speed XT/XTR mix. 

(most most recent bike actually came w/ GX Eagle, which I took off, sold, and replaced w/ 11speed XT)

It's very reliable, shifts great, and provides me with enough range to get the job done when paired w/ a 30t Chainring.

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skooks
+3 maxc Sandy James Oates Luix
Skooks  - June 11, 2020, 2:03 p.m.

Me! I run Shimano 11-speed with the Sunrace 11-46 on all my MTB's. Very cost-effective, reliable, and acceptable level of shifting performance. I much prefer the smaller gear-tooth steps on the Sunrace compared to the Shimano cassette. I love all the new drivetrain stuff because it helps drive down the cost of the tried-and-true previous generations.

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WalrusRider
+1 maxc
WalrusRider  - June 11, 2020, 2:21 p.m.

When I built out my hardtail about a year ago I went with 1x11 XT with the 46 and I love it. The 1x11 is so incredibly cheap and works extremely well. Never have I wished for more gears or a different drive train on that bike. With that said, I have X01 Eagle on my FS bike and I'm glad for the 50 tooth cog when I'm climbing. That bike is also 5 pounds heavier than my hardtail and has heavier wheels and tires. My next full suspension bike I'm probably going to go with either 1x11 XT or maybe the 1x12.

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luisgutierod
0
luisgutierod  - June 11, 2020, 11:15 p.m.

I'm on 11sp wagon, and I'm fine. Got a xtr 11-40 on sale, 45t extender, with 30 or 32t in front I'm fine, good cog spacing, light, perfect for Enduro races( save some weight as I'm in bad shape always). Don't need more.. I have a heavy ass 11-50 sunrace, got the long cage parts and converted my sgs rear mech, all good. I'm eyeing the 11-48 garbaruk for replacement. I won't get any 12 sp, only if it comes with a new bike, 2021 or 2022. My upgradeitis is on tires, Thank God.

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Xorrox
0
Brad_xyz  - June 11, 2020, 10:03 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Shoreloamer
+5 tashi maxc twk bumVSmtn Cam McRae
Greg Bly  - June 11, 2020, 10:40 a.m.

https://www.microshift.com/en/advent-x/

No interest in this Sram new and improved game. 

10 speeds

Wide range 

Clutch mech.

Lightweight

Affordable. 

Micro Shift. 

Please do a review . 

Thanks.

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mrbrett
0
mrbrett  - June 11, 2020, 1:48 p.m.

Do they have to do the review 10x?!

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tashi
+2 Greg Bly twk
tashi  - June 11, 2020, 3:43 p.m.

This.  I love 10-speed and reasonably priced wear items so Advent is looking real good to me.

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fed
0
fed  - June 11, 2020, 11:48 a.m.

I can see Sram updating the GX line bc it really need it to, specially competing against Diore and SLX in the EOM market.  The previous GX derailleur i found it to have a lot of play and it just felt cheap.  Something that Sram does so well is the aesthetics, the New GX looks on par with the XO1.  IMHO what i don't like is that massive jump from 42T to 52T, they should have release a cassette with better spacing between those gears; or a new cassette altogether with different ratios to have a better cadence.   It Is interesting that Sram said customers requested this 52T, i wonder where those customers are from. I ride in the north east USA with a lot of people, some compete in pro levels locally to beginners and i had never heard anyone said i need a bigger cheese plate.

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vincentaedwards
+1 Cam McRae
Vincent Edwards  - June 11, 2020, 12:35 p.m.

If the claims around improved shift quality at the GX level are true, then that's the real win here. Hopefully reliability will be improved as well. 

It's a bummer that most OEM bikes will end up speccing this lame cassette w/poor steps at the upper end... Nice to see prices stay the same, at least.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Kos
Cam McRae  - June 11, 2020, 3:57 p.m.

TBF, the jump from 42 to 52 wasn't as awkward as I expected. In most situations if I needed to gear down it worked just fine. It's much worse on paper than in reality because the 2 tooth difference between 50 and 52 teeth isn't monumental.

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kos
+2 Andy Eunson mrraulduke
Kos  - June 11, 2020, 5:37 p.m.

True on the 2 tooth difference not being monumental, but the 42/50 jump already drives me nuts.

I'll wait for my first worn out drivetrain, then convert all three mtbs to Shimano 12-speed.  It WILL be a bit painful to buy the drivers.

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Vikb
+1 william bailey
Vik Banerjee  - June 11, 2020, 7:07 p.m.

In all seriousness when I drove to the trails I was the guy using 3-4 gear at the big end of the cassette and rarely touching the bottom 4-5 cogs. These days when I rarely drive to the trails I'm using the whole damn cassette! I don't need that extra 2T vs. 50T on Eagle, but at least I can appreciate the desire for the really wide range now.

Hopefully they discount the crap out of the 50T GX cassettes and I'll happily buy them. :-)

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Skeen
+2 Heinous mrraulduke
Skeen  - June 11, 2020, 8:11 p.m.

Although I have preferred shimano since the days of hating grip shift I found GX circa 2011 held up well. But NX and GX from 2018 were  pure crap. I find the reasoning that the jump to 52t is okay because it's not that much worse than the (already poor) jump to 50t to be pretty weak. Appreciate the article, more reason to move on to XT 12 speed once my 11 wears out.

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IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - June 11, 2020, 8:41 p.m.

If SRAM wanted to really hit Shimano hard... they'd release a wide range, light 9-speed, maybe as an option?  Range is great, but all these gears are unnecessary (speaking as a coastal BC rider), like the new box drivetrains.  Box makes a wide range 11-50 cassette that is all steel and is only 360 grams.  If SRAM or Shimano made a version, I'm sure we'd see that weight drop even more.

The large steps aren't an issue with today's drivetrains as you've noticed with the 42 to 52 step being just fine.  Even keep the 52... but even with just 9 gears you an still get pretty small gaps (small enough anyway).  Give me  a lightweight 11 – 15 – 19 – 23 – 28 – 34 – 40 – 46 - 52 (or whatever works)... make the chainline better with less drag... and/or allow for less dished wheels, keep the derailleur in closer to the wheel and maybe even drop the price with less material needed?

Yes please.... for all we know, this is next... these companies are working years ahead with development so who knows.  I'm hoping in 2025, I'll be riding a cheap, wide range 9 speed AXS.... or whatever Shimano's version will be... actually that might be a cheap, lighweight electronic gearbox... so maybe I'll be using that... I don't know... predicting the future is tiring.

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Heinous
+1 Luix
Heinous  - June 11, 2020, 9:47 p.m.

They would have been better updating the GX cage and knuckle design and materials so they don't lunch themselves at the sight of mud. Expecting them to run on an even larger cassette with an uglier jump is classic SRAM.

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Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - June 13, 2020, 10:09 a.m.

This is getting so ridiculous that I may just order a Pinion equipped frame next. 

PS

Ebikes are just a ploy by Big Drivetrain to squash the gearbox revolution.

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Brocklanders
0
yahs  - June 14, 2020, 9:51 a.m.

The circus continues....

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martyz
0
Marty Zaleski  - June 25, 2020, 1:57 p.m.

Wish they'd engineer a different way to attach their cassettes. My XO Eagle cassette is seized to the XD driver; LBS sheared off all the splines trying to remove it (and yes, it was greased, and torqued to spec). A quick internet search tells me this happens a lot. I'd love to have seen SRAM address that before adding two more teeth. Looking quite seriously at an e-thirteen replacement at this point.

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skooks
0
Skooks  - June 25, 2020, 2:52 p.m.

That's brutal, and yeah you aren't the only one with this problem. I am hoping microspline is a better design.

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