The SRAM XX1 bears no resemblance to the cobbled-together 1x10 drivetrains that were created using 2x10 components. SRAM didn’t want to do it that way, realizing that
to take full advantage of the 1x11 drivetrain, every component would need to be optimized for the task at hand.
X-Horizon: The XX1 rear derailleur’s straight parallelogram design limits all movement on the horizontal axis,
making ghost shifting unlikely and reducing shift force. The
large upper-pulley offset design maintains a consistent chain
gap across all gears.
X-Sync: A CNC-machined, wide-tooth/narrow-tooth pattern is repeated around the entire chainring, mirroring the
chain’s inner and outer links.
Roller bearing clutch: This one-way roller clutch in the
rear derailleur controls chain tension, significantly reducing
derailleur bounces and chain slap. This is one of the XX1
features that can also be found on other SRAM derailleurs.
XD driver body: This is a new cassette driver body
design that allows the use of a 10-tooth small cog and provides improved interface with the cassette.
Cage lock: This design allows the rider to push the rear
derailleur cage forward to create slack and lock it into place
for maintenance or for changing a flat tire.
Hard chrome: SRAM claims the XX1 chain has four
times the elongation (wear) resistance of their other chains.
The inner links and rollers of the chain undergo a proprietary finishing process.
The XX1 drivetrain is made up of the following components.
SRAM XX1 cassette: The single-unit cassette, meaning
you can’t change any of the cogs, runs on the XD driver
body. The 11-cog spread is 10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-
42, and the cassette goes for $425.
SRAM XX1 X-Horizon rear derailleur: With its horizontal parallelogram design and pulley offset, X-Horizon
keeps the chain gap constant across all 11 cogs. Limiting all
movement to the horizontal axis makes this design faster,
reduces shift force and reduces ghost shifting. The Roller
Bearing Clutch technology reduces bounce and chain slap,
and the Cage Lock feature makes wheel removal and installation easier than ever before. It sells for $305.
SRAM XX1 crankset: Each tooth’s thickness is CNC-machined to support the chain’s inner and outer links.
There are six chainring options ( 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 or 38).
These all fit the crank’s universal spider, allowing you to
change rings without removing the lightweight carbon
crankarm. The crankset goes for $325. The chainrings sell
for $115 each.
SRAM XX1 chain: The $58 chain is specifically designed
to match the chainrings of this drivetrain (the X-Sync factor). Hard Chrome technology should mean longer chain life.
XX1 shifting: You have two options, the $175 SRAM
XX1 Trigger Shifter or the $159 SRAM XX1 Grip Shift.
PICK AND CHOOSE
Riders often write to “Ask MBA” wondering about mixing
and matching select components from the XX1 group with
other drivetrains. These are tricky questions, because if you
ask, “Can I use this with that?” the answer is yes. There is
always a way to get one of the above components into a mix-and-match drivetrain. The real question is, “Should I use this
with that?” and the answer is no.
The XX1 components were designed as an ensemble, a
ON THE “TRAIL” BIKE
system that only works properly if every component is opti-
mized for the task. Using one component of the group is not
only a risky performance proposition, it is a waste of money.
The XX1 is an all-or-nothing proposition.
We have been living with the XX1 on our Pivot Mach 5
Carbon, and we have had the opportunity to ride the system
on other demo bikes. So far, here is what we have deduced.
The cockpit: Removing the front derailleur shifter and
cable from the handlebar cleans things up significantly. Our
Count ’em: You get 11 cogs top to bottom; 42 torquey teeth
on the largest cog for climbing; a top-speed-pulling, 10-tooth,
little cog; and the most direct chainline on a mountain bike
short of a single-speed. We ran a 32-tooth chainring for trail-riding situations.
Easy switch: SRAM offers
six chainring options, and
they designed the system
so that switching them is a
quick and simple process
(you don’t even have to
remove the crankarm).
Switching rings may require
changing the chain length.