SRAM GX Eagle Transmission Review Update

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When the dust finally settled on the X0 and XX1 versions, the SRAM GX Eagle Transmission arrived, aimed much more at regular mortals.

  • Brand: SRAM
  • Product: GX Eagle Transmission
  • From: SRAM
  • Price: £1,180 complete groupset (individual part prices listed below)
  • Tested: by Benji for 8 months

Without wishing to waste yet more words about this seriously hyped drivetrain, here’s the basic gist: SRAM’s wireless electronic 12-speed drivetrain uses the XD freehub standard and only fits onto frames with UDH hangers. That’s enough exposition. How does it perform on the trail?

I experienced two initial niggles that ultimately turned out not to be niggles at all once I’d adapted my thumb/brain to The New Way.

The first niggle was the shifter pod. It took an embarrassingly (for me) long time to position it correctly (for me). Basically, it works when the pod buttons are positioned where your thumb would ultimately end up at the end of a traditional trigger shifter stroke, i.e. rotated very far forward, slightly under the brake lever body. Once positioned thus, you don’t have to let go of the grip much at all – just nudge the buttons with your thumb.

The other niggle was the relative slowness of the shifting. Now then, the shifting did not get faster or anything – instead I realised I no longer needed the instant-response shifting speed of traditional top-tier cable drivetrains.

Why? Because it dawned on me that I only needed the instantaneous shift to ensure I could time my backing-off of pedalling load. With T-Type Transmission you don’t need to back off your pedalling load. At all. Ever.

Eventually, you stop moping about the irrelevant ‘slow’ shift speed and begin to realise that not having to back off pedalling is absolutely more important and useful when mountain biking. Keep on the gas, keep on going, keep on flowing.

This drivetrain – sorry, transmission – has not dropped the ball once. The solitary issue is the high price. Would I pay over £1k for it? Nope. But plenty of people will. And they’ll not regret doing so. 

Here’s our initial report from back in July 2023…

Derailleur

  • Revised battery position
  • Reconfigured gearbox
  • Tool-free cage and clutch
  • Install and pair via the reliable and familiar standard AXS set-up and pairing procedure
  • Hangerless Interface, Full Mount attachment method around rear wheel axle
  • Steel inner cage
  • Can replace both its protective skid plates and two-piece outer link
  • No Magic Pulley (on X0/XX1 Transmisisons the lower jockey wheel can still spin if a twig etc gets stuck in its spokes; the outer teeth are mounted on a carriage that can spin independently of the main jockey wheel)
  • SRP £430.00

Cassette

  • X-SYNC narrow-wide teeth
  • 520% range with improved gear steps on low end (larger 38 and 44T sprockets)
  • 55mm chainline compatibility for more moderate chain angle, increased durability and accuracy
  • Set-up Cog
  • Nickel plating should be quieter and more durable
  • ‘PinDome’ design for gears 1-8 and a single piece ‘Mini-Cluster’ for gears 9-12.
  • SRP £270.00

Chain

Flattop
  • Flattop profile
  • Solid pins
  • Approved for E-MTBs
  • SRP £55.00

Crankset

  • Two independently removable composite bashguards
  • Forged aluminum
  • All-new shape
  • DUB BB (ISIS BB also available for E-MTBs, SRP £150)
  • SRP £215.00

Chainring

  • 8 bolt direct mount
  • 30T, 32T, and 34T options
  • 3mm offset for 55mm chainline
  • Bashguards available separately
  • SRP £43.00

Shifter pods

  • Same across all SRAM Transmissions (GX, X0, XX1)
  • SRP £160.00

SRAM GX Eagle Transmission first ride review

In terms of shifting performance, it’s just as excellent as the SRAM X0 Eagle Transmission. Sure, it is not as split-second fast as top-end mechanical drivetrains (there’s a tiny delay that can occur while the mech waits for the correct X-Sync teeth) but ultimate swiftness of gear changing is not what SRAM Transmissions are about.

SRAM Transmissions are about consistency and reliability. And forget-about-ability. The GX Eagle Transmission has never mis-shifted. It can take awhile to unlearn your years/decades of shifting technique (ie. easing off the pedals during shifts).

By the by, on some full suspension bikes the drivetrain can feel a little rough when it’s in the workstand – or leant against a wall during chain lubing – this is not a problem per se. Don’t worry that it’s not set-up correctly! It’s just a side-effect of having a drivetrain that is designed to work when the rear suspension is sagged.

I am getting along better with the new shifter pod designs. I still prefer the older AXS rocker style shifters (which you can use with new AXS Transmissions by the way) as I found them positive in operation when multi-shifting, but the new pods are fine really.

Aside for the sheer reliability and never-doesn’t-shift-fine-ness of SRAM Transmissions, there are a couple of slow burn benefits that make themselves known after awhile.

Firstly, less of your brain is tied up with shifting technique (press a button and let the mech deal with it) and that is just nice feeling. Freeing.

Secondly, the reduction in cabling is a nice thing. Aesthetically obviously. But less cabling also has mini knock-on benefits such as less noise-potential and the bike is easier to keep clean. Little things sure. Still nice.

One less cable

(I’m also tempted to pontificate about the reduction in cabling between front triangle and rear swingarm can only be a good thing for suspension action… but I think I’m overstating things rather!)

Overall

This all feels very reminiscent of Mk1 AXS stuff, in that for the vast majority of riders there doesn’t feel to be any real point in buying the X0/XX1 version now that the GX version is out.

This new GX Transmission just works pretty much exactly the same but is a bit heavier. What appreciable differences exist are essentially ‘you win some you lose some’. You don’t get the Magic Pulley on GX but you do get the revised battery location. I’ll take the better battery placement thanks.

Cable-less GX does it again.

Questions?

Comment below 👇

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Review Info

Brand: SRAM
Product: GX Eagle Transmission
From: sram.com
Price: £1,180
Tested: by Benji for 2 weeks

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • SRAM GX Eagle Transmission Review Update
  • dc1988
    Full Member

    They’ve changed the direct mount chainring interface by the looks of it which is a pain.

    nickc
    Full Member

    You don’t get the Magic Pulley

    It does feel like a gimmick anyway. Plus, as I now have a bike that will accommodate T series, a story about new GX AXS is still not helping in my quest to not buy AXS. I’d appreciate it if you never speak of this again. Thanks.

    devash
    Free Member

    That crankset is ugly. Otherwise, looks like a decent groupset and I see no reason to go with anything higher.

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    dc1988

    They’ve changed the direct mount chainring interface by the looks of it which is a pain.

    8 bolt ones have been around for a while on their road kit, but yes, the 3-bolt system didn’t seem broke

    branes
    Full Member

    They’ve changed the direct mount chainring interface by the looks of it which is a pain.

    They’ve changed almost everything – flat top chain with the bigger rollers means cassette incompatibility too. I mean, it’s now compatible with the Road stuff, but other than locking everyone in to them I really don’t know why they had to fiddle with the chain.

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    The 8-bolt thing is apparently to accomodate power meters

    thisisnotaspoon
    Free Member

    They’ve changed almost everything – flat top chain with the bigger rollers means cassette incompatibility too.

    Isn’t cassette incompatibility a given as “T-type” kit is spaced wider?

    DrP
    Full Member

    presumably the 12 speed cassette spacing is always the same? just the ‘start – finish position trim’ changes?

    Dunno…i’ll look into that…

    I’d hapily try one of the t type derailers if that’s ALL i need to buy… I’ve got a shifter/chain/cassette that are fine!

    DrP

    thisisnotaspoon
    Free Member

    presumably the 12 speed cassette spacing is always the same? just the ‘start – finish position trim’ changes?

    Dunno…i’ll look into that…

    I thought part of the reason they did it was that by dictating exactly where the cassette and derailleur are in relation to each other they could effectively use that last few mm of dead space between the cassette and the dropout? i.e. the bit of a boost hub that used to measure 141mm (excluding the bit that sit inside the dropout) can now be slightly wider as they don’t have to allow for frame designers doing their own thing with dropout shapes.

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Massive reductions in price by the new year do we think? That’s when I’ll pick it up, minus the cranks.

    gowerboy
    Full Member

    So will Salsa be able to produce an Alternator dropout for this?

    barney
    Free Member

    Those cranks (and to a lesser extent the rear mech) make it look like a Duplo Transmission to me 🙂

    cheekysprocket
    Full Member

    At £1180, I’d say it’s almost reasonable enough for me finally to make the jump across to electronic gearing. I really want to. But having to buy a new frame to hang it off?

    Sorry SRAM, but I’m out.

    crossed
    Full Member

    At £1180, I’d say it’s almost reasonable enough for me finally to make the jump across to electronic gearing. I really want to. But having to buy a new frame to hang it off?

    Surely you can pick up a full GX AXS groupset for less than that without having to resort to the new version?

    Kramer
    Free Member

    I’ve got a compatible frame, and think that when my chain ring and cassette go, I’ll be upgrading.

    The idea of not having to keep replacing derailleur hangers and shift cables is very tempting.

    tomhoward
    Full Member

    Surely you can pick up a full GX AXS groupset for less than that without having to resort to the new version?

    reckon around £600 with some deal hunting. Upgrade kit is sub £400 on sale, cassette & chain ~£200

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Have they done anything to fix the lag between presssing the sifter button and the electronics deciding it’s lined up and will actually shift gear. There are loads of videos showing how much slower T type AXS shift compared to normal AXS that none of the journos are commenting on for some reason

    kelvin
    Full Member

    It’s mentioned by Ben in the write up above.

    smeear
    Full Member

    thats what i am hoping too!

    smeear
    Full Member

    So will Salsa be able to produce an Alternator dropout for this?

     

    thats what i am hoping too!

    I have sliding dropouts

    cheekysprocket
    Full Member

    The GX AXS is an option, yes, absolutely. But how long are Sram going to support it, given they’ll be wanting folk to go for their flagship UDH system?

    Kramer
    Free Member

    I’d say that there’s going to be decent market for non UDH derailleurs for quite some time yet.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)

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