It seems like forever ago, but it was just over 2 years ago that SRAM introduced their revolutionary XX1 drivetrain which promised to rid the world of front derailleurs for good. It was awesome, but it was prohibitively expensive for the majority of consumers. Many waited patiently for the release of X01, hoping it would be cheaper. It was, but was still fairly expensive. Now, with the introduction of X1, SRAM finally has a 1x group that retails below the $1,000 mark – potentially as low as $861. That’s still a good chunk of change, but it will bring wide range, single ring drivetrains within reach of many more riders, especially with OEM sales.
While the group isn’t offered at a huge discount over X01, it’s also not that far off technology wise, meaning this should be an extremely competitive drivetrain. Curious as to what’s changed? Read on for tech, actual weights, and more….
For the purpose of this review, our group was shipped with the upscale X1 1400 Hollow Forged X-Sync crankset with a 32t ring. Cheaper cranksets are also available with the X1 1000 X-Sync, and the OEM only X1 1200 X-Sync which each forgo the hollow forged arms and replaceable spider of the 1400 level crank to bring the price down. Not only is the X1 1400 crank an option for those looking for a less expensive crank, but also for anyone looking for an aluminum rather than carbon crank. Fully compatible with XX1, X01, and X1, the 1400 may be the crank of choice for chronic heel scuffers.
It’s important to note that the 1400 crankset utilizes a 94mm BCD which allows for the use of a standard 30t ring without having to thread the chainring bolt into the ring itself. It also allows for the user to swap chainrings without removing the crank from the bike. However, since it is not the 76mm BCD found on the XX1 crank you are limited to a 30t ring as the smallest option – unless you switch to an XX1 spider with the XX1 28t ring, which is possible thanks to the 1400’s removable spider.
Built with the tooth profile that started it all, X-Sync Narrow-Wide chainrings offer the original optimized tooth profile to keep the chain in place without the need for a derailleur or guide. X1 1400 cranks are compatible with the X1 chainrings in 30, 32, 34, 36, and 38t, as well as the 94mm BCD X01 chainrings in the same tooth counts. X1 1400 cranks are available in GXP or BB30 spindles and in 170 or 175mm lengths.
Integral to the 1x design, SRAM’s X-Dome cassettes are engineering marvels. Just how do you bring that technology down to a more affordable level? It’s all in the pins. While the XX1 and X01 cassettes see an immense amount of machining time with 10 of the cogs machined from a single piece of chromoly steel, the X1 Mini-Cluster cassette has the first three cogs machined from a single billet, while the remaining 8 cogs are individually pinned together. The design adds a bit of weight to the final cassette, but retains the impressive mud shedding found in the other designs.
X1 Xg-1180 Mini Cluster Cassettes still rely on the SRAM XD freehub body and offer 11-speeds (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42).
The X1 group also introduces a new SRAM 11 speed chain in the PC-X1.Built with the same XX1 chain geometry, the X1 chain uses solid pins and black coated inner links instead of the Hard Chrome finish. That’s enough to drop the price down from $63 to $37, which for a wear item is good news for riders of all 1x SRAM drivetrains.
For the most part, the X1 X-actuation shifter has changed very little from the X01 shifter. The biggest change is the loss of the adjustable pull lever which shouldn’t be a much of an issue for most. Otherwise, the Zero-Loss shifter is still MatchMaker X compatible with a two position clamp and an aluminum cover and pull lever.
As for the rear derailleur, the X1 X-Horizon unit forgoes the carbon cage of it’s higher end brethren in favor of aluminum. Still equipped with a roller bearing clutch, Cage Lock, and 12t X-Sync pulleys with sealed cartridge bearings, much like the crank this may be the perfect option for those who still prefer aluminum over carbon.
So the X1 group will be lighter on your wallet, but how is it on the bike? Compared to the XX1 group Tyler tested (BB30), the full X1 group (GXP) comes in just over 200g more at 1651g excluding the bottom bracket, and including the shift cable and shifter clamp. How much weight will this actually save over a 2×10 drivetrain with a front derailleur? We will find out soon and report back.
- Shifter $81
- RD $231
- Crank $199 – 308
- Cassette $313
- Chain $37