by Dave Anderson
May 2, 2014
And it seems there’s still new product to reveal…
Building on what has been a successful adoption of both XX1 and X01 by both bike industry and riders alike, SRAM have now produced a new one-by drivetrain that brings existing technologies into a product aimed more at the mass market. Expect to see X1 on a lot of bikes next year and at a considerably lower price point than current 1×11 equipped bikes.
“With X1 where we take one of our core technologies and trickle it down, it’s going to become more people using it and it’s a broader range of people, it’s not just the hardcore mountain bikers necessarily. You will see X1 on bikes that are half the price of X01 or XX1.
Our customers, people who ride bikes, have been very clear that they want it. All the narrow wide chainrings, cassette bastardisation and all of these things are proof that more people want it. I was clear that they wanted us to do this so they didn’t have to take the approach of modifying what they have, taking the rear cassette off and using a rear derailleur in a way it was never intended to be used.
Our message with XX1 was pretty clear; if you like to go fast and ride hard then this is a great product for you, with X1 it’s a little bit different although the technology is the same; 10-42, one-by specific, X-Sync, it’s all still there. We didn’t take anything away, what we previously defined as performance specifics; they’re all still there. But what we’re trying to do is make people realise that while one-by started out it’s life as a performance racer product, the benefits of it; lightweight, simplicity, the ease of use, dependability and durability are all something that everybody can benefit from.
Even if you’re not an experienced, or knowledgeable biker, just the fact that you have less things you have to think about while riding makes the riding more enjoyable.” – Chris Hilton, SRAM Drivetrain Product Manager
Three crank options will be available; the existing X1 hollow forged 1400 series, currently seen on OEM X01 equipped bikes, which has a removable ford spider, be complemented by two new crank options, the X1 1200; a 7000 series forged aluminium crank and the X1 1000 series which is forged from 6000 series aluminium and will also be available in Fatbike specification.
All three cranks are 94 BCD, available in GXP and BB30 options and have only 50 grams difference between them.
All three crank options will accept X-Sync chainrings, CNC’d from 7075 aluminium, with a range of 30-32-34-36-38 available to tune into riders pedalling styles. 28 will remain an option for XX1 only. The rings have the same thick/thin (or narrow/wide if you prefer) profile to maintain chain security.
One of the challenges of X1 was to find a more cost effective way to produce the cassette, XX1 and X01 cassettes being machined from a solid block which takes considerable machine time. The result is the XG-1180 Mini Cluster Cassette. Here the three small cogs are machined as one piece with eight further individual cogs then being pinned together, XD drive compatible (naturally) and weighing in at a claimed 315 grams.
The PC-X1 chain is a solid pin option, again sharing XX1 technology. The 114 link chain comes with 11 speed PowerLock, weighing in at a claimed 358 grams.
An aluminium bodied X1 X-Horizon rear derailleur takes care of shifting. Again it sees all the technologies of XX1 but manufactured to meet a lower price point while retaining sealed bearings and the Roller Bearing Clutch Mechanism.
The X1 trigger similarly swaps carbon for aluminium; an aluminium cover and forged aluminium pull lever in this case helping keep costs down while still weighing in at a respectable 121 grams (claimed).
In our brief use, the whole X1 system offered very reliable and fast shifting. There appears to be little difference to performance higher up the range at both X01 and XX1 levels in terms of shifting. Obviously longer term testing is needed for us to see how it fairs, but at this point X1 looks to be an interesting move to bring 1×11 to a whole new level of bike user.
With SRAM claiming a lot of OEM interest in speccing the drivetrain it would appear that accessibility to 1×11’s simple approach to a wide range of gears is about to open up.
Specs and Prices