Can you… run an XX1 crankset with a Shimano drivetrain?

Our guy Dan over at Bikeworks was recently in touch about the Shram XX1T build on his Giant XTC 29er hardtail.  It being the slow season, he decided to throw a spangly new SRAM XX1 crankset on his Shimano-equipped hardtail.  So far it seems to be working perfectly and he shed a pound by replacing the XT front shifter and derailleur and the XTR triple.  More after the jump…

Sure, this approach forgoes XX1’s  signature 10-42t cassette (and leaves the rider with a roughly 309% rather than 420% gearing spread).  Based on Dan’s early feedback, anyone considering a 1×10 setup may want to consider the SRAM XX1 crankset- saving the cost, weight, and potential hassles of a chainguide.  With the right clutch-type rear derailleur, we see cyclocross hacks on the horizon too…


Mech T.L. - 12/18/12 - 8:58am

If one is not too mindful of the setup, then the whole XX1 can easily be transported to a cyclecross frame for that usage. I would figure there will need to be some mod on the gear shift but there is many previous example of using MTB grouppo on RB frame. So really there shouldn’t be much a problem. SRAM should really made a cassette without such long gearing, well perhaps something like 12-40 would do and that to pair with the already launched choice of 6 chain ring. And perhaps another couple more like 40 and 43

Collin - 12/18/12 - 9:10am

The important question is, what chain did he run to make this work? Isn’t the XX1 chain special to fit into the magic groves in the XX1 chainring?

Nicholas - 12/18/12 - 10:20am

Looks like KMC goodness holding it all together. Do they already have something that works? Or is that a hack as well?

Ploutre - 12/18/12 - 10:22am

@Mech T.L : Leonardi Factory makes a kit to modify a cassette to ramp up to 40T cogs. And apparently, a regular long cage Shimano XT accepts such massive cogs.
( )

Brett - 12/18/12 - 11:45am

The only reason I haven’t put a clutch type rear d on my cross bike is how expensive it will be to replace when it gets broken. Otherwise it’s a great idea.

Throttlemire - 12/18/12 - 11:56am

I’m guessing he is using the XX1 chain. Otherwise, the chain will fall off without a guide. They should have made that clear in the article, though.

Steve - 12/18/12 - 12:11pm

The clutch keeps the chain on as well. Very likely, this works super with a XTR chain.

EpicThroatBeard - 12/18/12 - 12:13pm

There is nothing “special” about the chain. the chain ring is special, really we are all special. i bet you could use any chain. the ring clocks into the wide-narrow-wide spacing of a chain and has esp. tall teeth since there is no need to move the chain away from the ring.

Mr. Bojangles - 12/18/12 - 12:52pm

At one of the local shops here i Oootah they have setup nearly a dozen bikes with this stuff and are having success w/ both 10 and 11 spd chains. Time will tell how things go over on rougher trails with the 10 spd stuff. In the meantime they both feel the same in the stand as far as the chainring’s kung fu like grip on either chain goes.

pete - 12/18/12 - 1:26pm

i’m about to go 1×10 on my stumpy carbon. i’ll be fitting an s-works crank to a 38t renthal S4 120 ring ( and XTR shadow. i’m still up in the air on chainguide… is it even necessary with clutched r der? i saw you just installed a csixx guide on a test bike. any ride reports from it? also, how does it stack up against the mrp 1.x and e.thirteen xc?

Hamplanet - 12/18/12 - 1:35pm

@Mech T.L: a 43 T XX1 Chainring is impossible.

ant1 - 12/18/12 - 2:28pm

i run a 1×9 with an old xtr derailleur (no clutch) and one of those dog-tooth little chain watcher things and a stylo single speed crank up front. chain rarely comes off and i ride rigid.

Dan - 12/18/12 - 2:44pm

I’d also really like to know what chain he’s using and how well it goes on rough terrain. Please keep us posted!

what? - 12/18/12 - 3:25pm

XX1 chain is different- the ring works with the chain

rick - 12/18/12 - 3:42pm

If you go to the shop link it gives you some more info including that he used a KMC 10spd chain.

Robert - 12/18/12 - 4:11pm

I am running the new XX1 cranks on my 1×10 setup using an X.O. Type 2 rear derailleur and the 10 speed SRAM 1091R chain. Absolutely no problems holding onto the chain on even the roughest rocky downhill sections. It’s actually pretty strange to not hear any chain slap.

Todd - 12/18/12 - 5:24pm

I have a similar CX setup already, and don’t even need the XX1 Cranks. 1×10 with a 46 up front and an 11-36 in the rear using the SRAM X9 Type 2 rear. I took it down a downhill trail, totally hit a tree, but no chain drop, and chain slap is almost gone. I’ll admit the front ring is a Salsa single ring which has pretty fat teeth. Would totally buy a XX1 crank ring for added piece of mind, even an entire crank if they come out with one with road spindle length.

I can post photos if anyone is interested

kcr - 12/18/12 - 7:21pm

Been planning on doing this as soon as I can let go of my XTR cranks….

Marc - 12/18/12 - 8:38pm

Collin & What,

As Rick noted, Dan used a KMC 10s chain with this setup. There’s no need for a dedicated XX1 chain: the magic is shared between the XX1 chainring and the clutch-type (XT Shadow+ in this case) rear derailleur.


Mindless - 12/19/12 - 6:41pm

I plan on trying that with my bike – 11-36 HG81 cassette, Zee derailler, Saint shifter, Shimano 10sp chain, XX1 crankset.

Mindless - 12/19/12 - 6:46pm

@Brett: Zee or SLX is $63 from Europe. It is not any more expensive than a regular derailleur.

paul - 12/21/12 - 7:30pm

Very cool, I use a 1×9 w/ an 11-34 cassette and 32T ring, and a top-only e13 XCX guide, and I absolutely love it. Not that I have any problems with the guide, but it would be pretty cool to do away with it and my triple crankset in place of this pretty crankset.

Paul - 03/02/13 - 5:51pm

I am about to run a xx1 with a XT derailleur, I will report back when I am finished…

Luis - 07/08/13 - 10:16pm

As was said a couple times, this works with a speed chain. There is no difference internally between the 10 and 11 speed chains. The 11’s are a tad narrower overall but internally they’re the same.

Basically all you need is the xx1 crank. A clutch type derailleur is strongly recommended but the xx1 holds the chain VERY well, I can see it working with a regular derailleur but I personally would run a clutch type for added security.

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