SRAM XX1 first ride review – black magic or engineering wizardry?

We’ve had the new 11-speed SRAM XX1 transmission bolted onto our Lapierre Spicy 916 test bike for the best part of a month now and done our best to give it hell. With dozens of miles under our belts, here’s how we rate it.

So good:

  • Impressive chain security
  • Fantastic gear range for proper all-mountain riding
  • Crisp, light and accurate shifting
  • Stealth-like function even on the roughest of trails
  • No front mech, shifter, cables or chain guide to worry about or clutter the bike up
  • Weighs even less than SRAM’s flagship XX transmission
  • No need for front mech or ISCG mounts, which removes limitations for frame designers
  • Simple and tidy way of maintaining a wide range of gears without having to fit a double chainset

No good:

  • At US$1,449/£1,010, it’s not cheap. We hope this technology will trickle down SRAM’s range to lower pricepoints next year
  • Complete integration means you can’t mix and match with cheaper SRAM parts should you destroy an XX1 component
  • Spares for the proprietary freehub body may be limited during the early days

Those are the ‘headlines’ – turn the page for more info on SRAM XX1, plus loads of pics.

Weavs has been putting in plenty of miles on the new SRAM XX1 kit to make sure it's up to scratch. Picture by Sebastian Schieck

Weavs has been putting in plenty of miles on the SRAM XX1 kit to ensure it's up to scratch. Picture by Sebastian Schieck

Page 1: Pros and cons
Page 2: What’s the idea?
Page 3: How does it work? Rear mech, cassette and freehub
Page 4: How does it work? Chain, chainring and cranks
Page 5: What do we think of it?
Page 6: SRAM XX1 in action (launch video)