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On test – SRAM X01

December 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

Recently arrived in Spoke towers is the rather nice X01 drive train from SRAM.  With a monster eleven speed rear cassette and a new rear derailleur that features huge jockey wheels to handle the chain and a single ring up front it’s a new look at how we should power our bikes off road.

True XX1 has been available for a while now but this is the next progression that sees it become a little more available to the masses.  I say little as the after market price is not that, infact it is downright shocking however where it will start to creep in is on complete bikes where the cost is absorbed by bulk ordering components.  SRAM products end up on a lot of bikes so we expect to see lots of X01 next year.

One thing for sure, like all SRAM products it is absolutely gorgeous.  The cassette is a thing of beauty.  CNC’d to perfection it is incredibly light (lighter than my 10 speed highend from a competitor and my X0 10 speed cassette).  Mud clearance would appear to be exceptional with a huge central part for it to filter out.  With a 10-42 range it should cover all eventualities too.

The rear mech looks different too.  The knuckle has to move a lot more when compared to a standard range cassette, think about trying to accommodate that 42 cog on the rear, moving all the way down to a 10 tooth.  The whole way it moves has been redesigned and the mech also features SRAM’s clutch setup.

The thumb shifter has to accommodate more cable than normal as it pulls the chain up and down the cassette.  The unit is bigger than the standard X0 but the action is similar.

Moving to the crank and this is another thing of beauty.  Carbon fibre with a huge profile, light yet powerful it needs to fulfill functions for riders from XC to Enduro.  The chainring is fitted with the standard four bolts and several sizes are available.  Riders can change the chain ring without removing the crank.  We went for a 32T to try and cover all eventualities.  It is a little smaller than we would like for XC but covers the Enduro and trail riding brief really well, especially as we plan on using it on a 29er.  Interestingly the crank comes with a protective wrap of helicopter tape, a welcome addition for those of you (like us) who scuff cranks.  Well done SRAM!

That’s it, that is the full drivetrain.  No front mech, no left hand shifter.  However there is another chapter to the story.  Due to the size of the cassette you need to add a specific freehub body.   SRAM’s XD Driver body is narrower to accomodate that 10T small chainring and you’ll need either a new wheel or an adapter if your current wheelset supports it.  The good news is that plenty of brands do such as Hope who supplied us with an amazing Pro2 setup with an XD driver body.  More on that later.

Initial thoughts are that this is a game changer.  Shifting is super smooth (even to that monster 42).  It handled everything we threw at it on the initial rides with ease and most importantly – no dropped chains despite not using a chain device.  More on this as we put some serious trail time into it.



Tags: Cross country · enduro · Mountain biking · Tech