It has been the most obvious trickle-down of the year. When (oh when!) would SRAM release a slightly more affordable version of its 11speed groupset? XX1 was an instant hit with racers (both cross country and more gravity-based) and has appeared on high-end bike spec too. The group offers 11 speeds over a single 10-42 cassette, while using a clutch mech and specially toothed chainring to keep the chain on without needing a front mech or chain guide.
Although it was immediately popular (and successful…), those riding this groupset and raving about it, were very rarely people who’d paid full price for it, if at all. The group has remained the preserve of the sponsored rider, the product manager and the bike journo. After all, who can afford to replace a £325 cassette very often?
Niner was the first to go public with the existence of the group when it listed the specs of an XO-equipped ROS9 model on its website. With a little more digging, we were able to find some more photos of XO1 and some more specs from other manufacturers – and it seems that just about all the bikes being launched to the press this coming week will have the group on it. The cat is most definitely out of the bag.
No bash-ring in the photo above, this time, letting us see that that chainring is probably as small as it gets, unless SRAM plans to make more crank spiders.
So what’s going to be in it? Well, the crank is now aluminium, rather than the carbon crank on XX1. While the cassette looks pretty similar, we imagine that there’s a cheaper manufacture to it. It’s unlikely that it starts as a single block of steel, machined for ten hours in a CNC machine like XX1 – or not if it’s to come in any cheaper. There’s an integrated-looking bashguard on the chainring, which still keeps the thick/thin profile of the original, although the spider’s (94mm) BCD is larger and that will probably limit the range of chainrings available. Racer-types will be happy to hear that there’ll be an XO1 GripShift.
The rear derailleur looks very like the XX1 one, only with less high-polish going on and still with those giant 12 tooth jockey wheels and the particular-to-XX/O1 horizontal cage movement across the block.
Don’t expect XO1 in the shops any time soon. We’ve only just been officially told about it, but we’d expect it to start appearing on bikes in the early autumn. So far we’ve only seen the groupset offered on complete bikes, with no mention of any aftermarket supplies. Patience!