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SRAM SRAM XX1 Groupset

Editor's Review

A new standard for mountain bike drivetrains?


- Simplicity
- Smooth shifting
- Versatility


- Single chain ring obviously removes some gearing options


The 1x11 drivetrain has been around for a little while now and is becoming more common on the trails as people begin to upgrade or buy a new bike, and it seems the minimalist, no front derailleur option is catching on.

We rode the SRAM 1x11 last year and were very impressed with the groupset. Removing the need for a front derailleur has massive implications for mountain bike frame designers, particularly when making a 29er, as new profiles are possible when you remove the need to find a place for a derailleur to attach. That is all very well, and riders will benefit from this down the track, but in the here and now how well does the 1x11 drivetrain work?

The most obvious first advantage is the simplicity resulting from ditching the typically finicky front derailleur. Aside from this there is a great improvement in performance and smoothness when riding a straight chainline - accomplished by a drivetrain designed from the ground up with a single chain ring. The SRAM chainrings are designed also to hold onto the chain. Previously chainrings were designed to do the opposite - drop chains- in order to facilitate smooth, instant gear changes. Not necessary here. A chain guide is perhaps recommended in extreme riding situations, but throughout our test riding there was never even a hint of the chain dropping.

Even on an 11 speed drivetrain there are going to be a few gaps in the ratios, especially with the 10-42t cassette. In action it wasn't too noticeable until you hit the really low gears. Shifting from 32-36 and then onto 42 is a big spread, but this is really a replacement for the 22t "granny" chainring and should be seen as a bail out option only. In the higher ranges the ratio spread is tighter and felt quite natural throughout most of the trails we rode.

The exciting thing about this system is its versatility. Freeride and downhill riders have been using single chainrings for years and it is exciting to see this technology available to XC and trail riders as well. There are few bikes that wouldn't benefit. We will probably continue to see doubles and even triples for a while yet, especially for an XC racer who needs a "big dog" to grind, but for the general mountain bike XC, trail and all-mountain crowd I would definitely recommend checking this one out.


ONE. AND ONLY. SRAM XX1 was built with a dedicated 1X drivetrain philosophy—making it simpler, lighter and more durable than any other. No matter where you ride, no matter what you’re up against: SRAM XX1. UNSTOPPABLE.

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Name:SRAM XX1 Groupset
Brand: SRAM
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