SunRace Driven mountain bike transmission £881

Alternative nine-speed shifting

BikeRadar score 2.5/5

Driven is SunRace’s top-line component range. Overall shifting action was a bit lumpy to begin with but settled down after a few muddy rides to be as smooth and controlled as the big S brands. We’d recommend it as a functional – if not great – alternative.

The 2:1 pull ratio means the components are meshable with Shimano nine-speed kit. It’s worth noting there is no Driven front mech so you’ll need to use a Shimano one. SunRace also make some cheaper 2:1 transmissions that we’re going to test in 2011, so stay tuned.

Rear derailleur, £149: Near on Shimano XTR quality, and so it should be for the same money. 3/5

The rear mech is full glamour with a very Shimano XTR-like feel. A well machined 7075 alloy body with a carbon and alloy swingarm, and 11-tooth alloy jockey wheels with ceramic bearings and lightweight alloy fixing bolts, mean it’s light at 223g and refreshingly slop-free, with crisp shifting.

Crankset, £525: Lots of show and tech materials, but average stats and performance. 2.5/5

The triple-ring 22/32/44T carbon-over-alloy armed crankset sports a hollow titanium axle and external bottom bracket. The titanium axle cranks are acceptably stiff and weigh 847g complete – spot on-the claimed weight. Shifting is competent, though for the steep price we expect full-carbon arm construction.

Shifters, £28: Not much to look at, but cheap, reliable push-push triggers. 2.5/5

The shifters are the least attractive of the lot, but we were happy with the solid feel of their push-push twin lever action. The 2:1 ratio shifters weigh 170g (front) and 173g (rear), which is average. 

Chain, £55: A slick shifter, though you pay for the experience. 3/5

The 116-link hollow-pin titanium nitride chain weighs 268g and meshes smoothly. Blindfolded you’d be hard pressed to tell it wasn’t from Shimano or SRAM. The rear cassette (£124) is double the price of Shimano XT and SRAM X9, though the extra cost of the 287g 11-34T unit buys a titanium nitride finish.

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