New 10-speed SRAM X7 unveiled

Mid-range groupset sports XX desirability

SRAM have released details of their new 10-speed X7 mountain bike groupset, which is aimed squarely at mid-level cross-country riders and entry-level downhillers, but looks downright desirable to any rider on a budget.

The 2011 groupset – and it is now a complete group, with a crankset, hubs and X7-specific Avid brakes – leaves little doubt that the company’s other higher-end kit (X.9 and X.0) will soon follow suit with 2x10 drivetrains.

By launching a 2x10 group at the lower end of the market, SRAM reveal more about their commitment to the design than they ever could with a top-tier group like XX. They say the new group is lighter and has better shifting performance than anything previously offered at this level.

“The response to XX was so positive and across the board, even from a trail rider’s standpoint,” Tyler Morland, press manager for RockShox and Avid, told BikeRadar. “2x10 is easier to shift, it’s more efficient and I think that it’s totally exciting for this level of component.”

In the ultimate trickledown of technology, SRAM bring top-level features including X-Glide timed front shifting, Exact Actuation shifter technology, wide range PowerGlide cassettes, carbon rear derailleur cages and Elixir R Taper Bore brakes to a price just about every rider can afford.

The X7 breakdown

Rear derailleur: In a departure from the single cage length of the 10-speed XX derailleur, X7 offers three choices: long, medium and short. The mech operates via SRAM’s Exact Actuation cable pull ratio. It has a 3K-carbon pulley cage and the ability to accommodate a 36-tooth cassette. The long cage derailleur has a claimed weight of 239g.

Carbon fibre trickles down to X7's rear derailleur for 2011

Front derailleur: The new front derailleur is designed specifically for the X-Glide two-ring timed front shifting system. The X-Glide X7 design is the same as XX and SRAM subsequently touts X7’s front shifting, as ‘the fastest shift ever', just like XX. The mech is available with high and low clamps, plus the option of direct mounting that’s compatible with most major frame manufacturers using direct-mount technology. The low clamp model has a claimed weight of 137g.

10-speed shifters: SRAM combine an Exact Actuation 10-speed rear shifter with a dedicated two-speed front shifter (SRAM offers an optional 3-speed front shifter as well) for a streamlined 2x10 shifting system. The new X7 shifters have a removable clamp that’s MatchMaker compatible and feature a new cable change access point on the topside of the shifters. The shifters are also available in a nine-speed version that accommodates a triple crankset. The 10-speed shifter set has a claimed weight of 232g.

S1400 2x10 crankset: The 7075 alloy OCT hollow forged crankarms use the same 64mm/104mm bolt pattern design and timed, 1:1.5 small to large chainring ratio to recreate the fast shifting of the XX group’s X-Glide design. The XR GXP bottom bracket has a new ‘Gutter Seal’ design, which is claimed to reduce seal drag and increase resistance to bearing contamination. Like XX, the S1400 chainrings come in 42/28-tooth or 39/26-tooth combinations. The arms are available in 170mm and 175mm lengths. The 175mm crankset weighs a claimed 871g with the XR GXP bottom bracket.

SRAM's OCT S1400 double mountain bike crankset will also be available in black

PG-1050 PowerGlide 10-speed cassette: The PG-1050 features a semi-spidered construction, heat-treated steel cogs and lock ring. It’s available in 11-32 and 12-36-tooth ratios. Weight is claimed at 302g for the 11-32-tooth model. This cassette will undoubtedly be as useful to XX owners, for their training wheels, as it is an integral part of the new X7 component group.

Elixir R brakes: The Elixir R Taper Bore brakes feature new, larger pistons and top loading pads, as well as a new storm grey finish to match the X7 group. Rotor options are 160mm, 185mm and 203mm. Avid also offer a carbon lever blade option, which knocks 10g off the 160mm rotor option’s claimed 375g weight.

The optional carbon lever blade knocks an extra 10g off the Elixir R's 375g claimed weight

PC-1051 10-speed chain: The entry-level 10-speed chain in SRAM’s line features solid pins and the PowerLock connector link. Its weight is claimed at 277g for 114 links.

X7 hubset: SRAM will offer a disc compatible, 32-hole, cartridge bearing hubset with standard quick-releases as a complement to the new group. The front hub is claimed at 108g and the three-pawl rear hub weighs 425g.

The group will be available first on new 2011 model bikes expected in late August, then aftermarket. Stay tuned for pricing and more detailed availability information. In the meantime, use the comments section below to let us know whether you think 2x10 is a good direction for X7 to take.

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