SRAM XX1 mountain bike transmission review£776.00

A fantastic transmission set-up if you can afford it

BikeRadar score4/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

SRAM’s XX1 was the first groupset that threw away the extra weight, cost and complexities of the front shifter and front derailleur without losing usable gear range and it’s still a fantastic set-up if you can afford it.

The heart of the system is the intricate, one-piece machined and ultralight (264g) 10-42t cassette. The single axis, composite rich X-Horizon rear derailleur skims the sprockets to give rock-solid accurate shifts even under serious torque, while the clutch mechanism and thick/thin toothed jockey wheels keep the chain impressively secure and quiet even on flat-out downhill runs too.

The one-piece machined and ultralight (264g) 10-42t cassette is heart of the system:
The one-piece machined and ultralight (264g) 10-42t cassette is heart of the system:

The 10-42t cassette is the heart of the SRAM X11 system, and it offers impressive longevity

Thankfully – given the price – the longevity of both the cassette and rear mech is impressive. Chain wear is relatively rapid for powerful riders though, so keep an eye on that before your cassette gets compromised too.

The trigger shifter has an adjustable five gears per sweep downshifter paddle and it’s noticeably sharper in action than X01 and X1. Syncing with other SRAM handlebar hardware is superb and there’s even a GripShift option for instinctive shift or minimal weight fans.

Either format is still expensive, though it’s cheaper (and lighter) than SRAM’s previous 2x10 XX.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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