Sram XX – the low down.

May 27, 2009


So by now you should have figured that XX is a new and, indeed, first groupset from Sram, with each component designed to work as a part of the  whole. The resulting parts weigh in at 2.3 kg ignoring the fork.


XX test bike
XX test bike


Starting at the controls, MatchMaker X clamps allow shifters, brakes and Xloc lever to be combined into one neat setup. Shifter position is adjustable in/outboard as well as fore/aft to allow tweaking to suit individual rider preferences. The XX shifter is streamlined and features a carbon fibre lever. XX brake levers are forged magnesium with a carbon fibre blade, feature a smaller than Elixir body and connect to a two piece forged caliper body. Six bolt, two piece rotors complete the package and offer great one finger braking, these are nice and powerful for an XC oriented brake. Sram are working with DTSwiss on a XX centrelock adapter.


Onto the drivetrain. A new low profile XX front derailleur is available in over 40 different versions, high mount, low mount, direct mount, top and bottom pull. No issues of rubbing in extreme combinations means all the ratios are available. The XX crank has been designed specifically for 2×10, has a 49.5mm chainline and features a new 120/80 bcd to support the rings during shifting. Chainrings are cnc’d 7075-T6 with X-glide technology that provides 4 chain pick up points and 4 release points. Shifting up and down the rings even under pressure is both easy and quick. The cranks come in GXP, PressFit GXP, BB30 and PressFit 30 flavours all of which have Blackbox ceramic bearings as standard.


The XX cassette has been designed with an influence from the road groupsets, eight cogs cnc’d from a solid billet of steel (evidently a process that takes nine hours per cassette) married to a 7075-T6 large cog (this can be replaced separately if needed). The open design looks like clogging won’t be an issue but we look forward to testing this in U.K. Conditions. PC1090 and PC1090 chains are recommended. And lastly, the XX rear derailleur a combination of carbon fibre and aluminium linkage with a carbon 93mm cage and a ti spring.


Suggested retail (in dollars)


Rear derailleur – $265

Front derailleur low clamp – $119

Trigger shifter set – $276

Cassette – $328

GXP Crankset – $430

GXP BB – $195

Avid XX brakes 160mm – $373


First impressions are of a sharp and snappy shifting package that allows climbs to be approached differently, there’s no need to pre-shift in preparation for a climb; you can simply push on up in the big ring safe in the knowledge that if the biggest cog isn’t going to get you to the top you can still shift down at the front without having to ease off the gas. Brakes are a marked improvement on the Elixir CR’s I’ve been running at home with the 160 rotors providing plenty of power without loss of feel.


I think I need to try it on familiar trails now.

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