With GX Eagle, SRAM's march to bin the front derailleur to the annals of history gains even more momentum. With nearly the same performance as its more expensive 1x12-speed partners, GX Eagle is a very impressive drivetrain that's tough to beat.
SRAM GX Eagle highlights
- 1x12-speed drivetrain
- Compatible with all SRAM Eagle components
- 10-50t cassette
- Actual weights: cassette 447g; chain 252g; shifter 131g; derailleur 290g
SRAM GX Eagle ride impressions
Right off the bat, it's impressive how much GX Eagle feels like XX1 and X01 Eagle.
Shifting performance was impressive, so much so, that I'd wager most riders couldn't tell much difference between GX and the spendier XX1 and X01 versions.
At the shifter, the levers are exactly the same shape and placement as the higher groups. The clicks of the GX Eagle shifter are a bit less crisp and a touch less smooth. From the top tier XX1 to GX, they all display the mildly annoying free float on the bigger lever.
One noticeable feature the GX Eagle shifter lacks is the adjustable thumb lever. On XX1 and X01 shifters, the big lever can be positioned for dialing in your personal ergonomics.
To keep the shifting quick and accurate, the XG-1275 cassette shares the same tooth ramps and profiles as the extremely fancy X-Dome cassettes. Even pushing up into the monstrous 50t granny gear was easy.
Out back, the rear derailleur doesn't have the near-instant immediacy of the more expensive carbon and titanium-filled derailleurs but that's only noticeable when doing quick back-to-back testing.
Chain retention has been perfect. Even as someone who's a strong proponent of top-mount guides — even with narrow/wide chainrings — I didn't throw a chain. Granted, the chain and chainring were new, but on a 160mm travel enduro bike bouncing and blasting through the rocks, it's an impressive feat.
Durability over a few hundred miles has been good as well. The chainring is showing some wear and the derailleur has a scratch or three, but the shifting feel and accuracy is still on par from when it was shiny new.
SRAM GX Eagle pricing
- Cassette: £170 / $195/ €200
- Rear mech: £95 / $110 / €110
- Crankset: £105 / $120 / €125 (GXP) £125 / $170 (BB30)
- Shifter: £30 / $40 / €35
- Chain: £25 / $30 / €29
Who's SRAM GX Eagle for?
I'd recommend GX Eagle for any mountain biker who wants a high-performance, single-ring drivetrain on a budget.
The added, roughly, 200 grams over X01 Eagle is paltry compared to saving a few hundred dollars ($545 vs $1,187).
Compared to Shimano's XT, GX Eagle is less expensive ($545 vs $620) and offers wider gear range in a 1x configuration. However, Shimano still offers two-chainrings and a front derailleur, with a wider gear range, should that fit your riding style and terrain better.
If you're going the SRAM route, the company thoughtfully made all of its 12-speed Eagle components interchangeable. This means that if those few grams keep you awake at night, you can drop the coin on a nicer, lighter cassette or crankarms and narrow the gap to X01 in overall weight.
If you're buying parts to build a bike, GX Eagle should be on your shopping list. With the extra budget, get better wheels or suspension.
SRAM GX Eagle bottom line
It's a bit astonishing what SRAM has done with the GX Eagle line up. It loses a bit of the carbon and gold bling flash, but its performance rivals that of the company's much more expensive drivetrains.