Well here’s one package that we didn’t expect to turn up today! It’s a collection of new shifty bits from Taiwanese manufacturer SunRace, which assembled together, give you most of a 12-speed drivetrain.
You may recall that last week we stumbled across a brand new 11-50t 12-speed cassette on the SunRace website, which up until that point, we had no idea that it even existed. The cassette itself is quite interesting, because unlike SRAM’s current Eagle cassettes, the SunRace MZ90 is designed to slide onto a standard Shimano splined freehub body. Oh, and it’s quite a lot cheaper than even a £170 GX Eagle cassette, coming in at £119.99.
One of our readers, spacehopper, commented on the story and alerted us to the availability of a 12-speed shifter and chain from SunRace, also under the MZ label. So we got in touch with Ison Distribution – the UK importer for SunRace – and asked about the new SunRace drivetrain items. A few emails and a sneak-peek later, and we’ve now received the rest of the 1×12 SunRace puzzle! Well, aside from cranks.
We already have confirmed weights and UK pricing, so read on for a closer look at the new shifter, derailleur, chain and cassette from SunRace!
SunRace MZ80 12-Speed Rear Derailleur
- Range: 10-50t
- Designed to work with MZ 12-speed trigger shifter
- Stabiliser one-way friction clutch with on/off selector
- Carbon fibre/alloy jockey wheel cage
- 12t & 14t jockey wheels
- Confirmed weight: 263g
- RRP: £189.99
The rear derailleur is the only thing here that isn’t currently on the SunRace website, and that’s because it isn’t available yet. The mech we have is pre-production, and doesn’t quite have the same finish as what production mechs will have. Still, it’s the easily the most exciting part of the new 1×12 drivetrain, and it’s also the most expensive – expect these to retail in the UK for just under 200 quid.
Using a skeletal alloy structure, the MZ80 rear derailleur looks to take design elements from both SRAM and Shimano. There’s a roller pivot for the cable entry point that’s reminiscent of SRAM/Avid’s Rollamajig, and the Stabiliser friction clutch is even painted gold like the Shadow Plus switch on a Shimano XTR mech. Inside, the mechanism is almost identical to Shimano’s Shadow Plus clutch, though it doesn’t appear to be adjustable on the SunRace mech.
The jockey wheel cage is part carbon and part alloy, and it’s holding onto a 12t upper pulley and a 14t lower pulley. In terms of weight, the MZ80 rear derailleur is almost exactly the same weight as an XX1 Eagle rear derailleur, and about 42 grams heavier than an XTR mech.
Details are pretty sparse at the moment, though according to the packaging it came inside, the MZ80 rear mech has a ‘Medium’ cage length, which could imply that there may be either shorter or longer versions available. The other detail we noticed is that the MZ80 mech appears to be compatible not only with the SunRace 12-speed shifter, it’s also compatible with 10-speed and 11-speed too. We’re assuming that’s referring to SunRace’s own shifters, but we’ll post an update if we find out this rear mech is compatible with any other brand’s shifter too.
SunRace MZ3X 12-Speed Trigger Shifter
- 12-Speed right-hand trigger shifter
- Designed to work with MZ 12-speed rear derailleur
- Dual release upper shift paddle
- Single up shift
- Up to four down shifts in one lever throw
- Standard bar clamp w/MatchMaker & Shimano direct mount options
- Confirmed weight: 134g
- RRP: £59.99
At the other end of the cable is the SunRace trigger shifter, which for the most part seems very similar to a Shimano trigger shifter. There are two shift paddles, and the function is the same as Shimano, with a large paddle offering the ability to downshift one gear at a time, or up to four gears in one throw.
The upper paddle is a dual release shifter, so you can either push on it with your thumb, or pull on it with your forefinger – just like Shimano’s trigger shifters. It only upshifts one gear at a time though, so no double-upshift.
The trigger shifter we have features a bolt-on clamp for the handlebar, which looks very similar to a SRAM MatchMaker clamp. We haven’t tried yet, but it appears this shifter can be directly mounted to a SRAM brake lever via the MatchMaker system. SunRace also offers its 12-speed shifter in a Shimano I-Spec version for direct-mounting to a Shimano brake lever clamp.
Another very interesting point about the shifter is that SunRace claim it is compatible with Shimano 11-speed mountain bike rear derailleurs. The theory being that if you already own a Shimano 1×11 drivetrain, you could potentially purchase the SunRace shifter, the 11-50t cassette and a 12-speed chain, and you’ve got yourself an extra gear without having to upgrade the entire drivetrain to 12-speed. Obviously that’s not something Shimano would recommend, and we have no idea what the shifting would be like – our guess is the rear mech would need some kind of GoatLink type device to reorient the upper jockey wheel to make the leap up to the big 50t sprocket. Certainly something to test out in the near future anyway…
SunRace MZ90 12-Speed 11-50t Cassette
- Designed to fit Shimano freehub bodies
- 11-50t ratio
- Sprocket sizes: 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32-36-42-50t
- Dual alloy spiders for the largest seven sprockets
- A7075 42t & 50t sprocket
- Hi-tensile steel sprockets (1st to 10th smallest sprockets)
- Alloy lockring
- Confirmed weight: 534g
- RRP: £119.99
We’ve already touched on the details of the SunRace MZ90 cassette, so check this story out for all the details. Basically all you need to know is that this is a 12-speed cassette that’s designed to slide onto a regular Shimano freehub body, and it has a not-quite-Eagle 11-50t range.
However, we did spot some info in this compatibility chart that suggests SunRace will be offering a 10-50t cassette that will be designed to fit onto a SRAM XD freehub body. That will be a tempting option for existing Eagle 1×12 users who may be looking for a cheaper option when it comes time to replace the cassette, as this guy is about 50 quid cheaper than the current GX Eagle cassette.
SunRace CN12s 12-Speed Chain
- Chromized Pins & Rollers
- Chromoly Plates
- Confirmed weight: 268g
- RRP: £34.99
Lastly, SunRace also has a new 12-speed chain, which is designed to work with the MZ 1×12 drivetrain. It costs £34.99 and features chromoly plates along with chromized pins and rollers.
And there you have it – SunRace’s new 1×12 drivetrain. Or most of it anyway. Because the parts literally turned up in the office today, that’s all the info we have for you right now, but we’ll be getting all the bits bolted to a bike shortly to find out how it all works on the trail. We’ll also provide any updates on the rear derailleur and shifter regarding compatibility, along with any updates that we can expect for full production.
In the meantime, you can check out our unboxing video above, though if you’re after further pricing and availability information, then head to the Ison Distribution website for more.