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Editorial

Why Eagle Matters

Words Andrew Major
Photos Dave Smith (unless noted)
Date Jun 5, 2017

The Bar

Long, long before SRAM dropped the 1x specific XX1 group, complete with the first 11spd 10-42t cassette and Narrow Wide ring, heaps of riders were experimenting with similar setups of their own. eNVy had the 'Inner-E' plate (a sandwich for chain retention for the larger ring) with manual granny shifting but for the most part those early adopters were just mashing away at 11-32 8spd or 11-34 9spd cassettes with a 32t ring up front. Sitting, standing or walking them big gears on the freeride bikes of the day. 

It made no sense. Front derailleurs aren't hard to set-up and granny rings made crawling up tech climbs much easier. The weight savings only added up to a pound or so. Bikes at the time weren't being designed around 1x drivetrains in terms of suspension kinematics and clearance with short stays was a non issue with 26" wheels. 

No sense. No sense at all.

Adrian Marcoux Seb XX1 2013

"Simplicity is about less not more" - Seb Kemp exploring the first gen SRAM XX1 1x drivetrain in August 2012. Photos: Adrian Marcoux

But the hunger/desire/need to keep mountain biking simple is ever present and I think it comes as no surprise that two years after launching the dropper bomb SRAM was looking to appease riders by driving the return to that magic number of four* cockpit cables/lines that is rooted in our collective psyche going back to the birth of the sport. 

I distinctly remember reading NSMB's first ride on XX1. Maybe it was because of a decade riding single speeds or my own 1x experiments but for whatever reason I met the new product with muted appreciation that a huge company was actually listening, watching and engaging with what customers were thirsty for. Another click at the shifter, a new hub driver standard but at the same time a ready made answer to a question a lot of riders were asking.

That isn't claiming anything. Next time you see a group of riders in their 30's or 40's sitting around having a pint take a poll of how many tried ditching their front derailleur before 2010. These days it can be hard to find someone who wasn't in the resistance.

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The SRAM Eagle 10-50t cassettes are massive in both gear range and appearance. There's the unsprung weight increase, a derailleur cage that makes 27" wheels look like 26" and the price tag to consider. Plus, not everyone needs that range. But the fact is Eagle opens up 1x gearing to be usable by everyone. Photo: Andrew Major 

Goodbye Front Derailleur...

...we really knew ye. 


This isn’t the end for multiple chainring drivetrains as we know them. But it could be for you. I personally believe this is a great and logical step for drivetrains. Sure, we might still have the dangling protrusion of a rear derailleur, but 11-speed does away with the pesky mess of front derailleurs." - Seb Kemp, August 2012

We all hate front derailleurs. Well you know, except for me. I don't hate them. I quite like front derailleurs! You too? Weird. How many of the four bikes I'm currently riding, including my commuter, have one? Ummmmm... The answer is zero.

Actually, the two biggest front-derailleur-for-life advocates I know** don't have one on their bikes any longer. The only people I know still advocating for them are running Di2 with a single shifter and the front derailleur automatically working in pre-programmed conjunction. Isn't that really just an overly complicated 1x drivetrain with more ratios?

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NSMB's Di2 'ThunderVolt' beat up shifts like the Terminator looking for a new outfit. Impressive. It also beeped at me regularly and the collection of motors, wires and battery reflect the opposite of the simplicity I'm seeking from mountain biking.

Eagle Trickle Down

I'm perfectly happy with an 11-42t range cassette with a 32t up front. If it's my money and I can pick any drivetrain I'm still throwing down for a GX shifter and derailleur everytime. Mate that to a SRAM PG-1130 cassette on a standard (non-XD) driver, a RaceFace Aeffect Crankset and a Wolftooth 32t stainless oval ring (my one little luxury in my ultimate min-max drivetrain) and I'm happy. 

There have been some loud rumblings that suggest SRAM is bringing a lower priced 10-50t 1x Eagle system to market. I won't be surprised to see this drop because there is a lot of pent-up demand. While hub spacing, bottom bracket and new brake mounting standards all make me groan I think this is a great thing. 

1x makes it significantly easier to design the kinematics for great suspension bikes, at every price point with every suspension system. 1x makes dropper posts way more ergonomic to use. 1x makes it easier for riders to work on their own bikes. 10-50t makes 1x usable by everyone. 

2012 Kona Honzo

I had a number of bikes, particularly hardtails, set up without front derailleurs before my 2012 Kona Honzo but it's the first non-DH bike on the market that I can recall that was specifically designed around a 1x drivetrain. With full suspension bikes going 1x specific it's significantly easier to build great bikes with kinematics and geometry uncoupled from drivetrain clearance requirements. Photo: Andrew Major

The 10/11-42t cassette didn't kill the front derailleur but I think the 50t, whether Eagle or Shark, is well on its way to doing so. 

The Elephant in the Room

Why does Eagle matter? Beyond simplifying bicycle design and bring usable 1x gearing to everyone?

Because Scott, Ray And Sam, Corp (SRAM!) is a $600 Million+ a year company that, to some arguable extent, is looking to develop what its customers want rather than a $2.6 Billion+ a year company telling riders what is best is for them. 

Yes, I'd love a wide-ranging 11-42t 8spd cassette/shifter combo with old-school 8spd spacing and a fat chain but the fact is that in terms of range and individual ratios Eagle 12spd works for the majority of riders in the majority of locations. That matters because designing a great bike around a 1x drivetrain that can be pedaled by everyone is the key to maximizing performance on bargain bikes. The Hawk Hill I've been riding for example. 

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I, for one, can't wait to see if GX and eventually NX Eagle drivetrains have the gear range to kill the front derailleur for mountain bikes. Eagle X01 is perfect for the average rider in every way except the price. My experience is that suspension bikes are better when designed around a single chainring. More on that June 27th at 12:01am. 

On another level it matters because competition is important for riders and a healthy industry. It drives innovation and hopefully keeps prices in check. When the largest company's net profit (the big blue Japanese one) is 50% of the second largest company's total revenue it's heartening to see support for number two in the same way that it's great to see third-option products like Box's Push-Push drivetrain. 


"We recently started producing a mineral oil brake because that's what brands were asking for OE but the fact is we simply can't compete with $11 a wheel so we've had to re-think our entire approach to gaining market share." - Brake Company Tech Rep.

Voting With Your Wallet

No one has to buy an Eagle drivetrain, a bike with an Eagle drivetrain or even buy into the concept of Eagle. But I'll say anecdotally that a lot of riders have as evidenced by how its showing up on the trail and it will grow exponentially as riders replace bikes and the trickle continues down. The next big trickle will likely be the nail in the coffin.

That's not saying SRAM has the best quality drivetrains, best pricing, best performance or every best value. They are simply demonstrating what happens when you listen to riders and then identify and produce the products we want.

*The record I've seen is a tie between a Cannondale and a Scott with 7x cables leaving the handlebar but 4x, or even 3x, looks a lot cleaner. 

**Hi Jimmy and Todd!

Tags: 12spd, 1x, Shimano, SRAM, SRAM Eagle
Posted in: Features, Editorial

Comments

GladePlayboy
+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - June 5, 2017, 6:19 a.m.

I've been Shimano all my riding life until this year... now 2 bikes running Eagle.. so many ratio options with a simple chainring swap... mated with the OneUp switch chainrings and its a no brainer.... once a pricepoint grouppo is available then that will be a game changer for a lot of riders.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Rob Gretchen
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 8:06 a.m.

As a long time Shimanophile it took me some effort to come around as well.

Kudos to OneUp for upcycling their drivetrains into what riders are looking for...

I think the shifter feeling has fallen behind but they still win on Shadow and the stronger clutch so maybe they save it with the next update of XTR/XT?

Then there's just all the other reasons Eagle matters!

Reply

mightyted
0
mightyted  - June 8, 2017, 8:23 a.m.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 8, 2017, 8:31 a.m.

Now we just need an NX version to mix-match parts for max value and for SunRace to make a 12spd 11-50 Cassette compatible with non-XD drivers.

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shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - June 5, 2017, 8:34 a.m.

More affordable wide range 1X setups are already available from Shimano / OneUp.  No need to wait for the trickle down.  You can get 10-47t XT level from Shimano/OneUp for much less than half what you can get Eagle for.  Even going to OneUp Shark is considerably less expensive than Eagle.  That number goes down further if you go to SLX.  I am only talking about the cassette for this comparison, but I imagine the savings are even greater for a full drivetrain.
The trickle down needs to be a BIG step down in price for a wear and tear item before it is competitive.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 8:56 a.m.

When you're doing the Eagle math on the 10t you're factoring in having a hub that is compatible with their driver and the cost of the freehub driver itself?

I was focusing on OE - where Shark is an aftermarket upgrade vs. buying an Eagle bike - and there I think math favours Eagke; however, your point is very valid looking solely at replacement costs of cassettes. 

In my experience the SRAM NX cassette is one of the best values on the market so I'm hoping to see an 11-50t version of that in the future. I also think if we assume Eagle will trickle down to bikes in the 3-5k range there will be enough OE penetration for companies like SunRace to start making after market cassettes.

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niels@nsmb.com
0
Niels  - June 5, 2017, 10:34 a.m.

I've been using XT 11-42 cassettes with my GX drivetrain. Cheaper and lighter than the NX cassette.

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slimshady76
+1 Andrew Major
Luix  - June 5, 2017, 2:54 p.m.

I've been using a Sunrace 11-46 with my mixed GX/X1 transmission with great success. Lighter and more durable than the Shimano alternative, and without stupid gaps in the lower gears as the SLX and XT cassettes.

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tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - June 5, 2017, 10:52 a.m.

Only perceptible downside of jumping the shark is that cassette weight. Fine for a big beefy bike, and hardtails, but that kind of unsprung weight when compared to the e13 setup can dig the weight weenies out of the closet when when 2g/$ is on the table.

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tehllama42
+1 pedalhound
Tehllama42  - June 5, 2017, 10:46 a.m.

The Eagle GX groups have already inadvertently broken cover in Santa Cruz spec sheets, so that's a thing.  It should be around the same money as a Shimano XT setup with e13 cassette (Still wants an XD driver), for basically the same range. 

I think budget winner here (particularly for Clydes on a budget running DT-350 hubs) is actually taking a stock XT cassette and just adding the OneUp 10t kit for another $96.  Seems pricy, but north of 100kg, being able to come down 2 teeth on the chairing is really nice, and opting for a 46t granny setup but still getting a 3.0:1 tall gear ratio is great on a do-everything wagon wheeler.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 11:52 a.m.

The only counter point I'd make - having spent a lot of time on Shark and Eagle myself - is that Shark is not the equivalent of factory shifting - a point I made in my Shark review.

Someone who already has a Shimano drivetrain and wants a wider gear range than their current setup shouldn't hesitate to buy in but from scratch Eagle is a better shifting package.

Also not dropping chains backpedaling is worth at least $100 to me.

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slimshady76
+1 Danny Jones
Luix  - June 5, 2017, 2:58 p.m.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the effort OneUp put in their developments, but they are a band-aid for a otherwise lacking in many aspects product. And it costs money on top of the one you have put to purchase a Shimano drivetrain. 

As you actually point out, going Eagle you get the necessary performance without the unnecessary complications.

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Poz
0
Poz  - June 5, 2017, 11:36 a.m.

You miss one major point why people were trying to run 1x in years passed. 

The issue of dropped chains on freeride bikes. 

Even though 2x chain guides existed they were not ideal and in the early days ISCG wasn't a thing or present on all bikes post '03 or '05. Sure there were BB adapters but splined and square taper were still a thing too.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 5, 2017, 11:40 a.m.

I made the same point to Andrew last night when we were discussing this! I used the sandwich and manual granny and it worked really well. And I even got to the point that I could shift into the granny ring with my foot!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 11:56 a.m.

To be fair I do mention the eNVy Inner-E. Although I definitely did neglect to mention how well 2x with a clutch works - aside from overly compromised suspension performance.

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Poz
0
Poz  - June 5, 2017, 2:28 p.m.

I remember doing the same thing, never got consistent with the toe shift though!

Andrew: good point on the clutch derailleurs, they have made a world of difference to chain retention and would have been a boon in the early 2000's

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extraspecialandbitter
0
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - June 5, 2017, 12:15 p.m.

I'm torn on this right now.  I personally find a 34 in the front combined with a 42 in the back is more than enough on a 650b wheel (except for maybe the steepest and longest Chilcotin climbs).  Do you think SRAM is going to offer 12 speed options?  eg. Could I get a 10-42 twelve speed cassette?  Or will that stick around with their 11 speed offering?  Will 11 speed disappear?  Maybe I should just hold onto my 26", 2x, anti-enduro machine for another year.  I find I get decision anxiety from all this.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 12:22 p.m.

Given how easy it is to find parts - including the best XT level cassettes Shimano has ever made - for my old 9-speed drivetrain I would have zero concern about future 10spd or 11spd consumables (cassette, chain, rear derailleurs) being available. 

I will say that you definitely sound like a candidate for single speeding.  

Try 32:20 on a 27" bike or 32:21 on a 29" and adjust a tooth up or down from there. Ring (I recommend Oval), cog and chain. Done.

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switch900
0
Andrew Hewitson  - June 5, 2017, 1:09 p.m.

As someone more on a budget and still stuck in the era of 10 speed 11-36 has anyone experimented with the SunRace 11-42?  It's priced at only $90 at MEC and is hands down the most affordable option for getting a 42 tooth granny gear on a 10 speed.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Andrew Hewitson
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 1:13 p.m.

Been running it for months on the Hawk Hill with a Deore drivetrain. 

Shifting is not high-end crisp but it's totally rideable and has held up well. I'd definitely prioritize brakes , Dropper and suspension over a drivetrain upgrade.

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mammal
+1 Andrew Major
Mammal  - June 5, 2017, 1:43 p.m.

I am about to install my second consecutive Sunrace 10spd 11-42. I chose the all steel version, and it's worn incredibly well. One cassette, one NSB 30t ring and 3 chains have gotten me 14 months of riding 3 days/week, and it's only now got to the point where I need to replace it due to the NW ring occasionally dropping chains.

I'm not the most picky rider, but I would say the shifting has been very close to shimano quality, especially before I did my 3rd chain replacement (1st year of use).

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najlos
0
Ondřej Hlaváček  - June 6, 2017, 3:44 a.m.

Had the SunRace MX3 (11s, 11t-42t) for almost a year and now changed for MX8 (11s, 11t-46t). Coupled with 29" wheels and 30t in the front the 30-42 ratio was quite hard for steep climbs, but for 650b or 26" wheels it's okay. The MX3 includes shifting gears while backpedalling and slow downshifting, but paid around 50€ back then, which is far away from any other cassette with this range. Recently paid 60€ for the updated MX8, which gave me better range and also fixed my only 2 complaints. Running great with GX/XX1 rear mech and simple SRAM steel NW chainring.

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pedalhound
0
pedalhound  - June 6, 2017, 2:42 p.m.

Been running the SunRace 11-36 for a few months now....shifts better than my XT with Wolftooth 42t with no odd gaps!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2017, 6:41 p.m.

You mean a SunRace 11-42t 10spd or did you drop back to a 36t running 1x?

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taprider
+2 ZigaK Andy Eunson
taprider  - June 5, 2017, 1:30 p.m.

Numerous tests have been done over the decades showing that you are giving up watts when the rear cogs are smaller than 14 teeth (it gets exponentially worse as you get smaller and is part of the reason Shimano does not offer smaller than 11 teeth).

Cross chaining also gives up watts (my ideal drivetrain would be multiple rings on the front and only using the 3 or 4 cogs out of 9 on the rear that best line up with the front, but keep with modern narrow chain spacing so that you could SuperDuper Boost the rear flanges to have a symmetrical dished wheel without the need for asymmetrical rim drilling, and would also allow granny chain ring to be further out for tire clearance)

Chain tension due to really stiff derailleur return springs also gives up watts.  With my multi front ring limited use of cogs on the back evolved multi X system, derailleurs would only need to wrap about 10 teeth and wouldn’t need to be sprung as stiff to control chain motion (maybe only one pulley would be needed too).

For bikepack racing I need a 17” to 90+” gear spread.  I have seen a prototype and/or aftermarket 52 tooth rear cog.  But that sure would add a lot of un-sprung weight. That ~250 gm you saved getting rid of your front derailleur (100 gm shifter + two chainrings (~120 gm) + some gear cable (~30 gm)) gets put back on with large rear cogs (~150 to 200 gm compared to an old 8 speed XTR and that is not even counting what is possible with all the CNC milling possible with what Eagle does or using plastic carriers like modern XTR) plus a heavier rear derailleur (~100 gm compared to a short cage no clutch derailleur).  So weight between 1X and evolved multi X would be a draw, but multi would be un sprung.

Shimano’s new forward-pull side-swing derailleur shifts quicker and more smoothly to lower gears than ANY rear derailleur shifts inwards to the larger cogs (to me rear shifts greater than 6 or more teeth between cogs feels as slow and grindy as an old fashioned shift from the mid ring to the big ring).  

You can have your 1X for freeride, Enduro and DH.  Just don’t take the choice away from me to have multi rings for xc and bikepack race purposes (actually the choice has nearly been taken away, I have to order frame only, and pay more and wait more to piece together what works for me).

Plan B is to go to a dingle or tringle with a toe shifter

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 6:44 p.m.

All I have to say is... 

Do you want to buy some Shimano triple ring sets and/or XTR front derailleurs?

BACK OFF everyone with tonnes of take- off 24/32/42 rings at home! I saw him first!

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taprider
0
taprider  - June 5, 2017, 8:56 p.m.

unfortunately my new bike can't do 3X
but if you have front pull side swing XTR derailleurs I'm yours

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zigak
0
ZigaK  - June 6, 2017, 11:13 a.m.

Hello multiple front ring aficionado :)
I pretty much share your views regarding shifting. I have a 3x9 setup with a short rear derailleur. I can use the 4 smallest sprockets on the 44 front ring, the middle 7 (or 9 if necessary) on the 32t and the 4 largest sprockets on the 20t. As long as you know what gear you're in and where you shouldn't go it works perfectly. Lowest gear 20x34 on a 26" (20x2x07/34 = 121 cm = 48"), highest (44x2.07/11 = 828 cm = 326") (15" to 105" gear spread)
Re: taking the choice away - it's basically a done deal, gone. I will be sidestepping the whole 1x to a gearbox option.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2017, 6:56 p.m.

ZigaK, I'm not meaning to pick on you here but I've been watching people proclaim the coming of gearbox bikes since Alex Morgan stuck a Nexus hub in a home made carbon DH frame... 15 years ago now? 

I know two people over all those years that have bit the bullet. One bought a GT IT1 for the price of the Fox 40 on the front and still regretted it the first time he road it. One bought a Zerode DH bike and flipped it ASAP. 

Have you purchased one? When do you intend to purchase one? Is it simply a matter of outlay or are you waiting for some advancement before buying in?

That's not to say that the Pinion stuff isn't very intriguing / cool / beautifully made. It is, but without a lot of early adopters buying in to the system how long will it take to come close to matching the performance and price of a basic derailleur system?

Plus, regardless of development to work with any suspension frame worth owning a chain tensioner is still required - and dangling down in harms way, all the systems besides putting a Shimano commuter hub in your frame use a twist shifter that makes Grip Shift X-Ray feel cutting edge.

I'm willing to bet that if we do finally see the death of a derailleur dangling off the rear triangle it will be in the form of a derailleur-in-a-box system a-la Alex Morgan (again), Pete Speed and Honda. The issue there is making the system micro enough to work in existing frames while avoiding the efficiency issues of cogs with low tooth counts.

The one thing that is really cool about the potential for derailleur-in-a-box is a floating interface so chain line would also be perfect.

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zigak
0
ZigaK  - June 7, 2017, 1:30 a.m.

replying to drew:

I'm not claiming the coming of the gearbox, it's all ready here, kind of. I am perfectly fine with gearbox being a niche product. I know my tastes regarding bikes are weird, stuck in the past or whatever - so there's no way the shimano/sram juggernaut will be coming in my direction unless purely by chance. Don't get me wrong - if there is going to be a wide adoption of gearboxes, great, but if not, no problem. 

I'am perfectly happy with my current mtb (had it for 15+ years), what is pushing me to buy a new one is the fact that I want/need a wider tire in the back for climbing steep technical stuff. Currently I can fit a 2.25, I would like to play with wider rubber to see what is ideal for me. Will probably end up with a 2.5. I keep delaying it because the new bike fund keeps draining with purchases of bikes for my 2 sons, just bought a fuse for the oldest one. I have a bike lined up, it's an aluminum am 27+ hardtail with sliding dropouts, so no need for a tensioner, 3k€+. 

Grip shift is another thing that I really like, it's cheap, light, unbreakable (Sram made sure to mute at least 2 of those qualities with the 10sp onwards) and hugs the least space under the bar. I don't know if others have the same problem, I keep banging my knees there. The only problem is the rubber - it starts "melting" after a couple of years. I'm sure I will not have any problems with the gearbox twist shifter.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 7, 2017, 9:37 a.m.

Thanks ZigaK,

Yes, hardtail with sliders removes a lot of issues (other than being a hardtail - which you know I love). I try not to tell anyone what they should ride - after all I spend at least 1/2 my riding time on a single speed I mainly just have this curiosity about gearboxes as it seems there are a lot of proponents waiting for some break through before they put down for one. 

But, it isn't exactly clear what they are waiting (lower cost? less drag?). The advantages of perfect chainline and a sealed system are there but the nature of the beast is there will always be an efficiency and simplicity trade off when measured against a simple derailleur system. 

If the twister works for you it works for you!

Glad you are getting to share riding with your kids. Most the awesome and interesting people in my life I've met on or around mountain biking.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2017, 6:43 p.m.

Taprider, unsprung weight is a great point. I have a piece in the works talking about a work-around for that so hopefully we can discuss in the future!

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taprider
0
taprider  - June 6, 2017, 8:31 p.m.

front derailleur and multi rings in a box and get rid of the rear derailleur

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doug-hamilton
0
Doug Hamilton  - June 5, 2017, 7:35 p.m.

There is a race in New Zealand call 'The Pioneer'. It's a 7 day stage race that involves lots of really big steep climbs, day after day. A couple of guy's I know that worked as mechanics on the event said they were amazed at how many competitors in the event wanted 2x gearing after a few days of the race, even those with Eagle wanted it. The only people that were really happy were the ones running Di2 2x drivetrains apparently.

Yes simple is good, but not always best or smartest. If you want to go riding bikes in the real mountains, 2x is very hard to beat. And fortunately for those of us that like to do that, Shimano still listen to us.

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AndrewMajor
+2 pedalhound Rob Gretchen
Andrew Major  - June 5, 2017, 9:49 p.m.

Eagle's 500% ratio is as big or bigger than most 2x system. Why not just go down a couple teeth up front if gearing is too high?

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GladePlayboy
+2 Andrew Major Cam McRae
Rob Gretchen  - June 6, 2017, 6:12 a.m.

Precisely....

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LoamtoHome
+1 ZigaK
Jerry Willows  - June 6, 2017, 10:34 a.m.

chainline on a 1x system is horrible and lacks efficiency when in the lower cogs.  If I were to do a BC Bike Race or something similar, I would want a 2x system.

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doug-hamilton
+2 Jerry Willows ZigaK
Doug Hamilton  - June 6, 2017, 5:22 p.m.

If you take from one end, you lose at the other with 1x. I think accepting that 1x or Eagle is not for everyone, as 2x is not either. There are sound reasons for both systems and both need to be available to customers that have varying needs and live and ride in varying locations. What works for you in your normal riding area might not be suitable for someone riding somewhere else or their riding style. Choice is important.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2017, 6:39 p.m.

I don't disagree re. how much faster it is to dump/gain ratios with a 2x system. I've also spent enough time on Di2 2x to say it's easily the best 2x system that has ever existed from a shifting performance metric.

I also recognize that there are some issues with 1x chainline - which is why when possible I move my ring inboard so that the chainline is better with the gears that see the most torque.

I still argue that 1x is a significant benefit in terms of designing good full suspension bikes - with any design - on a budget since anti-squat is so easy to dial in around a single ring.  To offer other examples than my broken record budget Hawk Hill example, Santa Cruz' VPP bikes and Intense's vpp bikes pedal and perform significantly better in a single ring format. 

I'd rather be riding a 1x system than be faffing with ProPedal adjusters or to have another cable going to my bar for a shock remote or worse yet riding a Specialized Brain - these are realities linked to maximizing pedaling performance with multi ring systems on full suspension bikes (Examples: Scott, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, etc, etc). 

As you say, to each their own. But I think 1x specific is going to be increasingly the reality. A prime example would be the German market where 2x is still very popular and Rocky Mountain who sell a lot of bikes in Germany. The newest generation Element bikes are no longer 2x compatible. That is a huge change in thinking. 

The good news is Chris at Pivot is a front derailleur aficionado himself and his bikes actually pedal well with different chain ring sizes, so if you're holding out definitely consider supporting Pivot!

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zigak
0
ZigaK  - June 6, 2017, 11:19 a.m.

2x is very easy to beat (with 3x :)  better chain line, wider range, more redundancy (that's a good thing) ability to dump gears front and rear, ...

just kidding

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taprider
0
taprider  - June 7, 2017, 10:54 a.m.

New Element still does 2X
you just can't buy a complete bike that way in Canada so have to do it your self

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scoleman
+1 Andrew Major
SColeman  - June 6, 2017, 3:31 p.m.

"Yes, I'd love a wide-ranging 11-42t 8spd cassette/shifter combo with old-school 8spd spacing and a fat chain"

Ahem...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2017, 7:02 p.m.

I wrote about that too :-) : Does 'E' Stand For Everyone?

I would love to test the derailleur/cassette/shifter. The one issue I perceive from a performance perspective is the shifter only allows for single clicks up/down which I think would be hugely annoying?

I do wonder if the cable pull ratio matches something else in their current or past lineup? Because the single click thing aside this could easily be my dream drivetrain.

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scoleman
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SColeman  - June 6, 2017, 7:32 p.m.

It professes to use X-Actuation (as opposed to the old 1:1 Exact Actuation), which would imply that it's compatible with any SRAM 11/12-speed shifter.  Not sure how they account for the different cog spacing though.  Would be an interesting experiment.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - June 6, 2017, 7:39 p.m.

Yeah, they specifically state both X-Actuation & a "wider chain" for high torque usage so I wonder if its a custom cable pull ratio to shift larger distances than their other products. 

Would love to find out!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Tehllama42
Pete Roggeman  - June 7, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

Big gear jumps and weight are the bugaboos for using EX1 and comparing favorably with, say GX1. Many people wouldn't care much about the weight, but the big jumps btwn gears could be an issue.

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - June 8, 2017, 9:02 a.m.

I think the wider gear jumps seem trivial in isolation, but because 11 speed chains don't really self-destruct without having hundreds of miles on them (at which point the value proposition gets a lot better), then it looks a lot more like a feature which is lumped in with the lighter and cheaper XT/NX equivalent option.

I'd still like to see a manual granny setup ship stock - it's not as though a 22T ring adds that much weight, and would in my estimation quell a lot of the concerns of people with questionable knee meniscuses (myself included).

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doug-hamilton
+1 Andrew Major
Doug Hamilton  - June 7, 2017, 7:35 p.m.

Thanks for verifying my comments Andrew. Funnily enough I'm riding a CUBE from Germany at the moment. Most of their bikes come 2x and to be honest with you, the people who buy them from me really appreciate that they come stock like that. Most of the purchasers are in the second half of their life, so not wanting to make riding any more difficult than it needs to be, if you know what I mean.

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