SRAM_MatchMaker_NSMB_AndrewM.original.jpg
Editorial

A Steadfast Standard

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 1, 2021
Reading time

Making Matches

If you were buying a new performance level mountain bike tomorrow, it would have a few components that are interchangeable with one you purchased five years ago. Go back ten, fifteen years, and the intercompatibility sinks faster than COVID-era box office sales. One standard I'm certain will be present is the ages-old 7/8" (22.2mm) grip diameter.

There's also a very good chance it will use the 74mm Post Mount disc brake caliper spacing, which goes back some twenty-four years to when many suspension forks still had rubber boots covering the stanchions. If you're looking at shorter travel bikes, there's an increasing possibility you'll get a road caliper thanks to flat-mount 34mm. Still, I like the odds that your buddy's backup brakes will work in a pinch.

There's probably about a 50% chance the bike will have a BSA, threaded bottom bracket. As more companies figure out that riders either don't care what BB standard their frame uses or absolutely want a BSA, this ancient standard continues its slow return to prominence, which means it's increasingly likely the Chris King bottom bracket you purchased a decade ago will work. Race Face even makes a nice 24mm spindle Aeffect R Cinch crank that will fit.

Most likely the hub spacing will be Boost 148 rear and Boost 110 front, despite a thimble full of companies still pushing the theoretical benefits of Super Boost 157, but the super-wide setup lacks the participation of a major player essential for relevance. Apologies if your last bike used a fat-bike-tire-friendly rear end. Though it's easy to adapter up in size, it's not so easy going the other way. But, if you have a nice older hub, 135mm or 142mm, there's a good chance you can buy spacers to make it work with your new rig.

SRAM MatchMaker NSMB AndrewM (1).jpg

That's a 2006 X.0 9-speed shifter attached to a Guide RSC brake with zero mechanic-voodoo. Just tighten down a T-25 just like you would with a 2022 AXS setup.

SRAM MatchMaker NSMB AndrewM (2).jpg

The faux-carbon graphic is so uncool that it's actually cool. The shifter function is still fantastic and ergonomics are surprisingly similar sixteen model years later.

SRAM MatchMaker NSMB AndrewM.jpg

There's some confusion about MatchMaker v. MatchMaker X but that comes down to the brake's handlebar clamp. The shifter mounting is unchanged through all generations.

You may have to purchase a new freehub though. If your new ride is a SRAM-equipped bike with GX Eagle or higher componentry or a Shimano-equipped bike with Deore 12spd or higher componentry, then it doesn't have an HG hub driver. After 35-years of boutique mountain bicycle relevance, the desire for 10-tooth cogs means there are no high-end multi-speed mountain bikes being sold that don't use XD or MicroSpline. Your 1-1/8" stem will fit, but you may need to bring your handlebar across with it. Even then, it might be time for a new steerer-stick n'est-ce pas?

I was thinking about all this obsolescence and intercompatibility today as I completed the union of two cockpit components that are some fourteen years apart in age, by tightening a T-25 bolt. No superfluous adapter(s) were required. And, as we mutter and grouch about the ever-changing ways that mountain bicycles bolt together, long removed from the innocent promise of interchangeable adult Lego, I have to admit a small pause for admiration.

It's more than a little amazing to think, given all that has changed in those years, that I could take a fresh 2022 SRAM Code RSC out of a box and bolt it straight to a first-generation MatchMaker, 2006, X.0 9-speed shifter. And I know there's some confusion about MatchMaker and MatchMaker X being different but that just comes down to how the brake master cylinder is attached to the bar.

A MatchMaker shifter is a MatchMaker shifter, going back some sixteen model years. In this age of planned obsolescence and change for the change's sake, it will be interesting to look at mountain bikes sixteen years from now and see if MatchMaker's standard remains steadfast.

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

inclag
Inclag
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 goose8 ackshunW Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

You may know this already, but a Sram 9spd shifter mated to one of the new generation Shimano clutch derailleurs results in the right pull ratio for compatibility with an 8 speed cassette.  

With some manufacturers offering wider range 8 spd HG cassettes (like Microshift Alcolyte), you can have a nice 20% ratio step drivetrain that weighs about the same as 12 spd SLX/XT but is all steel construction and will last longer.  Awesome cost savings as well considering the chain and cassette pricing.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Timer

Depending on who you talk to and the exact setup it mostly works, works great for a block of gears (tune to the middle of the cassette), works with a spacer at the pinch bolt to slightly alter the cable pull ratio, and etc.

But yes, I’ve experimented quite a bit with mix-matching different generations and brands of drivetrain parts. 

Cheers!

Reply

inclag
Inclag
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

There's so many possible permutations of mixing and matching, but based on the math I did and empirically on my bike a 9spd SRAM shifter, 11/12spd Mech, and 8spd cassette = no faffing, spacers, or needing to tune to the middle block of gears.  On a 9 spd cassette, yes there is some faffing.  Once tensioned and adjusted I haven't needed monkey about once with my drivetrain and best of all I never have any more backpedal drops due to wear.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

What cassette did you go with? Range? 

Cheers!

Reply

inclag
Inclag
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I ended up going with a 12-42T 8spd Microshift Alcolyte casssette.  Since the typical 8spd cassette is a pinned system, I had pulled together a spreadsheet and had identified alternative cassettes that I could gut to get a near ~20% jump between all gears but have decided not to nerd out too much and have kept with the stock MS cassette for the time being.  This was mated to a Shimano RD-M8000 GS (mid-cage) mech as the B-adjustment can handle the 42 tooth max cog.  I'm using an old Sram 9spd X9 shifter until I find an X0 that pops up for cheap somewhere.  

My goal has been to pull together a system that is just robust and is a workhorse.  The pricing is expensive and the weight of these new 11/12 speed systems is very high unless investing in the top tier groups.  The large aluminum top cogs and long cages are also prone to quick wear and degradation in my experience.  Less gears which are steel and smaller derailleurs so far are getting it done for me at least.  

I'd love to try to weasel on a Saint mech I have in my parts bin to get a more compact derailleur on my bike, but I don't believe it would have the capacity.  I'm aware you've done a number of custom drivetrains.  Have you found any widgets for Saint/Zee's to increase their capacity?  Also considering trying to parse down the number of gears further over the winter season to assess if the parallelogram of the current mech can handle this.  I think the limiting factor is that I'm not ready to bail on a 42 tooth top gear since it's already pushing it with the 29 wheels and 1500g tires and I don't want to reduce my front chainring below a 30t since I also ride use the same bike for DH.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Have you tried a Wolf Tooth Goat Link for increasing cog capacity? Worked for me going to 10speed 11-46.

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I have an un-used goatlink sitting in my parts bin (just spied it again this morning actually) DM me if you want it to further your experimentation (cost of post only).

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’ve had good experiences with Goat Link. 

Not using it in this case as I don’t need more range and it’s a hardtail so a small ring is the lightest, least expensive path to take. But I would recommend the product.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks! I’ll hit you up if I think of a project for it.

hotlapz
hotlapz
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Zero-cool Andeh Metacomet Raymond Epstein

Go to hell shimano with your stupid ispec clamp standards.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Gotta appreciate that the latest version is MMX compatible though! 

(Although it doesn’t really line up nice if you add a brake lever)

Reply

craw
Cr4w
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major kcy4130 Mammal

And for all the time that 22.2mm has been around ever notice how only a tiny handful of companies offer actual grips in different sizes?

Also, have you just considered going singlespeed and save yourself the bourgeois hassle of shifters?

Reply

Timer
Timer
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Cr4w

I'm more surprised that not even SRAM has attempted to establish a new handlebar diameter which is incompatible with everything ever made. So far they haven't....

Reply

craw
Cr4w
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Give them time.

Reply

Briain
Briain
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Is that not the size of most motorcycle bars. Find a set that suits and cut down to size

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

ATV grips, for use with a thumb throttle, could be the way to go. Linked to some fat looking ODI dual density push-ins.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

You mean there isn’t a huge variety of options in different outer diameters?

Reply

craw
Cr4w
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major RideEverything

Correct. It's surprising there isn't a single option over 34mm. Those weird foamy silicone ones don't count since the 36mm diameter squeezes to basically nothing and they don't offer any grip when wet.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 AndrewR

So there's a follow-up question which is, are there no good options or do you just wish there were more options? And I'm not counting the silicone ones - I'm not a fan.

Meaty Paws are 35mm!

Don't want a lock-on?

SQLab 711 Push-ons are 37.9mm (circumference: 119mm). It's a silicone/rubber mix and doesn't feel anything like the various silicone options. 

I couldn't find an O.D. on them anywhere but these push-on dual-ply ODI ATV grips look interesting too.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major AndrewR

The Meaty Paws are pretty good. They are the only option at that size. I like that they have that rib at collar end.

I'm using the large version of the SQ Lab 711 grips and despite not being maximum size the rubber texture and ergonomics are worth it. I would buy XL if they offered it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Man, if you switch to push-one I will wire them for you no charge! The man who seeks out custom GoreTex jackets, custom jerseys, and custom shorts running lock-on grips for the convenience is just so off brand.

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Not true: Sensus Meaty Paw 35 mm

Database I made (as I need to know this stuff as a coach): Grip Database

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Morgan Heater

Does a matchmaker set-up actually work for you ergonomics-wise?  I always switch it out for individual clamps to achieve my preferred brake and shift lever distances.  Same with dropper and brake levers on the other side (using a OneUp lever, but same with my previous Wolftooth).

I find with matchmaker I always have to compromise with either my brake lever to close or my shift levers too far.  I think I have fairly average-sized hands??  Maybe not... maybe I like a weird set-up... ha.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Cr4w IslandLife Morgan Heater

I prefer to run four individual clamps. It's as much about the tilt - since I run my brakes fairly French - as the side-to-side adjustment. 

Although, swapping RH/LH elbows combined with the two mounting holes (or three if you run an e13 remote) delivers a fair few options.

I think what it really comes down to is that most riders who care want the cleanest possible cockpit which is where MM and I-Spec came from in the first place. And in that vein, I think it's cool how long the MM standard has been around.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yep, makes sense... by french, you mean flat? If so, I'm in that boat as well and yes that also reminded me that I also don't like the tilt of my shifters (using MM) where I like the tilt of my levers.

I do love and lust after as clean of a cockpit as possible, what's the saying - cleanliness is next to godliness? Haha... So it does hurt me a little inside to use so many clamps. I guess I just prefer a perfect set-up vs being closer to god ;-). Why must religion require so many sacrifices!  Why can't I have a perfect set-up and be close to god?... typical...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

Have you considered single speeding?! Get to ditch a cable at the same time! Hahahahahaha.

Surprised that no one, and especially SRAM makes bigger elbows for MMX. It would be an easy solution to reach though not angle. In the future maybe you’ll be able to 3D print the exact position you want?!

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Mammal

Ha, always on that single speed agenda... speaking of religion... no thanks Father Andrew, I'm good.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mammal IslandLife

Hahahaha. Received this recently as a ‘gift:’

ackshunW
ackshunW
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Cr4w IslandLife

Sounds similar to me, love the brake levers waaaaaay far in so I’m just reaching the end of the lever with index finger and never crushing any adjacent fingers with the lever ends.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I swap them L/R to get a bit more inboard shifter/reverb. Its especially important with the v2 AXS shift paddle - without this I get a rub spot on my thumb that bleeds.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Huh, interesting... might have to check that out.  Fear it still won't fix the the brake lever vs shifter angles though.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

You want to bring the shifters rearward yes? Already tilted back as far as they go with the brakes flattish?

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

AXS Shift paddle V2 is much better once it has been dremelled for proper ergonomics (and had grip tape applied to it).

I can change either direction on the cassette with a light press of my thumb (on the re-shaped forward toggle switch) without even unwrapping my thumb fully from the grip. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CIPPcyoH8C2/?utm_medium=copy_link

(I know that this is version one - V2 is better).

It has taken fairly amazing to completely awesome.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Damn! Finished product looks awesome.

Reply

AlbatrosNH
Paul David
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 AndrewR

I swap the left and right matchmaker mount to get my shifter and dropper controller where I want them.

Reply

Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I believe I read on here that it works with the 11s Shimano for a 9sp as well.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 ackshunW

This is the most common mix I’ve seen in the wild. Shimano 10/11 clutch derailleur + SRAM 9-speed shifter.

This shifter will be mated to a period correct XO derailleur and narrow-wide ring, relying on the stronger tension of the cage spring v. budget options to make up for the clutch. If it’s not as desired then there’s a Zee mech waiting in the wings.

Reply

Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I will have you know that I am narrow wide without a clutch on this gen of system with no issues on my hardtail...has worked for years...I am not on a super wide cassette tho, just a 30t to make up for it. My racing days are long past me!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I like the clutch for the combination of quiet a d chain retention but I will say I’m running old 9-Speed XTR m970 with a narrow-wide on my commuter a c nothing shifts like it. It’s beautiful. It’s quiet and no issues with dropper chains but again - commuter.

Have high-high hopes for this XO drivetrain combined with a 24t narrow-wide ring from NSB.

Reply

Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I think it will work great for you use (not that I'm an expert) and am excited to see the full build...I love a good nerd-bike that repurposes good-old tech!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

It’s actually for my Grom’s use. I think it’s going to be amazing!

FlipSide
FlipSide
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Thank you for this editorial. Persistent standards should indeed be celebrated as much as useless new standards should be denounced.

We have 4 mtb in our garage:

- 3 rear hub spacings,

- 2 freehub standards,

- 2 front hub spacings,

- 3 wheel sizes, 

- 2 steer tube standards, 

- 2 bar clamp diameters,

- 3 seat post diameters, 

- etc

Basically, very few things are interchangeable between the bikes. However, all 4 bikes are using SRAM shifters (X.O1 10sp, XX1 11sp, GX Eagle (x2)) with cross-compatible MatchMaker adaptors. Thanks for making me realize this. :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 FlipSide

It’s a jungle out there! 

I’ve worked on a lot of bikes with Problem Solvers Boost hub adapters lately. There’s a whole industry just making stuff work together - which I think sheaths very positively to the quality of some components.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm on the discrete clamps train, but my Code brake and XT 11spd shifter do not get along. The latter must have been designed to sit inboard of Shimano brakes with their shorter levers. I'm not willing to compromise lever position, so I keep my shifter jammed against my thumb: better than out of reach. It's almost bad enough to consider an adapter ...almost.

Speaking of SRAM and consistency, the Code pads have stayed the same shape for quite a while. Fingers crossed they don't screw that up with whatever they were testing this summer.

Reply

moutarde_dijon
moutarde_dijon
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Speaking of franken-drivetrains, does anyone have a silver bullet for a shortcage, moderately widerange (10-42) drivetrain sitting on an XD driver (preferably)? My hardtail has a steady diet of Shimano's 11s rear mechs and hangers, and I just hate the HG freewheel bodies being massacred by the cassettes (and having to use brute force to remove them). 

Currently on SRAM's cassette & chain w/Shimano's 11s shifter & derailleur (which works good for some derailleurs, crappy for others, wolftooth's goatlink on the way). Would be happy to go for a smaller number of gears but retain the range (oval 28t x 10-42).

Was considering a 10s Zee, but that opens a new can of worms with the XD driver...

All recommendations welcome!

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I ran a 10-42 11 speed (XX1) cassette on a XD drive (obviously) with a 11 speed XT or XTR RD and an XTR shifter for several years. Worked well with XX1 or XTR 11 speed chains (the XX1 lasted a bit longer).

It was my way of making back the weight I was giving up by running an Onyx hub (so silent but so heavy before they developed the alloy axle and then the Vesper model).

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

11spd SRAM cassette plays nice with Shimano.

But the magic drivetrain I want to try is a SRAM Force or Rival 1x11 clutch setup with a flat bar shifter. Definitely not something you see every day.

Reply

Ceecee
Ceecee
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

XCX 9-39/42t. No clue on shift quality as I haven't used one and reports are mixed. On sale for the low, low price of $200 USD. Or steel HG body if hub is 350/240

Reply

Lucinka2
Petr Horáček
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

e13 9-42 ten-speed with saint shifter (oneup cage). flawless, but discontinued

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Is this where we play "what's the oldest current standard"?

Saddle rails? Pedal threads? 

Or is it just a companion piece to the railing against post mount on Meatengines?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Saddle rails! That’s a great one I totally missed. 

I was thinking Presta valves have been around as long as mountain biking? Was Schraeder ever not the territory of cheaper bikes and grumpy men with drills?

Reply

ackshunW
ackshunW
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

My very top-of-the-line (and exceptionally narrow) vintage Mavic 117 ceramic rim (from probably 1996ish) came drilled for Schrader, with a little plastic grommet for presta. 

Not to mention every MT bike I’ve ever had has been on Schrader! (Uh yea, I did drill some of those holes... but the older ones were all Big Valve).

Reply

mammal
Mammal
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm pretty sure I had a cheaper Mavic rim like that with the plastic insert a very long time ago.

Reply

nothingfuture
nothingfuture
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

My set of Mavic UST DeeMax wheels came with adaptors for Schrader- I think there was attention there because the ultra-heavy DH tubes people were running them came that way.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, that’s a good one I forgot about. Presta DH tubes were expensive and uncommon compared to Schraeder.

Reply

nothingfuture
nothingfuture
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

kavurider
KavuRider
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I love these articles!

Please keep them coming!

(PS, I have a singlespeed back in the stable now!)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Cheers!

Just in time for #InternationalSingleSpeedDay?!

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I’m 99% sure that shifter cover is real carbon fibre! I remember taking one apart years ago, and was shocked and impressed at the same time. Possibly the most absurd place to add the carbon tax, but there it is!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I disassembled it to change the cable but to be honest, I didn't look that closely. That would be hilarious absurd if it's t case but I'll have a good look next time I'm taking it apart. Carbon tax or otherwise, I do have to say it's impressive how fantastic the shifter feels.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.