SRAM is usually great at letting us media-types know about its new components, often giving us a chance to try it a few weeks before the news breaks to the public. However, we’ve had a couple of instances of ‘SRAM SX’ turning up in the last couple of days and it was news to us. Was SRAM SX something that came out in 2011 that we’ve forgotten about? No, it seems not. It’s just that SRAM seems to have soft-launched it into the world. SRAM SX doesn’t even appear on SRAM’s website yet.
If it were us, we’d be shouting it from the rooftops as it provides what appears to be a full 12 speed transmission (SX DUB cranks and chainring, 12 speed SX Eagle Shifter, SX Eagle 12 speed rear mech, along with NX Eagle 12 speed chain and NX Eagle 11-50 cassette) and all for what appears to be a retail price of €365 (which is already appearing on German discount sites for a sub-€300 street price…) Even Wiggle has the components on offer to order.
The NX cassette in the groupset suggests that it’ll work with Shimano freehubs (the 10T sprocket needs a special SRAM xD driver hub, but an 11T cassette fits just fine) and as these are very common in the current mountain bike world, it should be a very simple swap over for riders wanting that elusive 50T low gear. The NX cassette isn’t the lightest, but hey, if you can junk your front mech, chainrings, front shifter and go from 2×10 to 1×12, we think it’s a winner.
Twelve speed for £300? That’s less than the price of a SRAM Eagle XX cassette… OK, so it appears that you can’t buy it yet, with the German discounters suggesting it’ll be in stock in the next six weeks. However, by lucky coincidence (or was it?) we were talking this morning to Ben at Bird Cycleworks about an upcoming bike test when he mentioned that Bird’s new Five Year Anniversary Edition would include two models with SRAM SX. ‘SRAM what?’ we answered, so we’ve done a little digging.
It’s likely that the SRAM SX groupset is mostly aimed at bike company product managers aiming to offer that magical 12 speed 1×12 gearing for a particular price point and it wasn’t really meant to light up the aftermarket – but given how many people ask on the forum about cheap ways to go 1×12 and how many other companies are starting to fulfil those needs, we can see this being a quiet success. And if you’re a mega mileage rider, or a habitual mech smasher (or just on a plain old budget) then this is also going to appeal to you.
It also focusses eyes on Shimano, who currently only have one very, very top end XTR groupset that offers 12 speed ratio for riders. Where’s the dozen gears for the rest of us, eh?
It’s going to be an interesting year…
And because Bird helped tip us off to this new grouppo silently sneaking into the market, we heartily recommend you head over and check out the Five Year Anniversary bikes that Bird is going to be shipping soon – with SRAM SX… bird.bike/five