Twelve-speed 10-50t drivetrain for £425.
This is our first look at the new SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain. A single-ring 12-speed drivetrain with a 10-50t cassette at an affordable price.
SRAM GX Eagle pricing
- Shifter £30
- Rear Derailleur £93
- Cassette £170
- Crankset £107
- Chain £25
- Groupset price £425
SRAM GX Eagle description
SRAM’s Eagle drivetrain first launched about a year ago and it was obvious the massive 10-50t cassette was going to trickle down to a more affordable level at some point. Well that time is now.
To cut costs SRAM uses slightly cheaper construction techniques in the GX Eagle components. Starting at the shifter, it runs on a bushing rather than a bearing, features a forged trigger lever, a plastic cover, rather than carbon, and steel hardware over the titanium bolts but it’s mechanically identical and no difference in weight. The best thing about the GX Eagle shifter though is the price – it’s a £100 cheaper than XX1.
The new GX Eagle rear derailleur weighs 290g and costs £93. In comparison XO1 is 276g and costs £185, XX1 is 264g and sells for £234. Obviously the quality of the GX Eagle all-alloy mech is not the same, it uses cheaper bearings in the jockey wheels and a heavier steel actuation spring, but it still has the Type-3 Clutch mechanism to reduce chain slap and the innovative Cage Lock, which allows you to detention the derailleur to speed up wheel changes.
The new GX Eagle crankset is cold forged 7000 series aluminium and, while it’s an open design, which means the arms are not hollow and a bit heavier, it actually felt marginally stiffer than XX1 and XO1 carbon cranks.
Put the GX Eagle’s X-Sync 2 direct mount chain ring alongside XX1 and XO1 and you’ll see it doesn’t get the crisp machining but it’s available in similar 30, 32 and 34t sizes and 6mm (49mm chain line) and 3mm (52mm chainline) offsets for standard and Boost frames.
Obviously the biggest and most expensive component in GX Eagle drivetrain is the massive 10-50t cassette but SRAM has managed to keep the weight and price really affordable by using a cheaper manufacturing process.
Both top-end XX1 and XO1 Eagle cassettes use SRAM’s X-Dome technology, which means the one to eleven tooth sprockets are machined from a single billet of cromoly steel with the massive 50t aluminium cog bolted on afterwards. SRAM uses the same outer alloy sprocket with GX Eagle but the other 11-sprocket are stamped from steel then riveted together using stainless steel pins. This process means the GX Eagle cassette is 90g heavier but at £170 you can buy two GX cassettes for the price of XX1 and XO1.
The GX chain has a cheaper solid pin construction and black oxide finish but still features the Flow Link technology to improve chain retention, reduce noise and improve wear resistance. Like all SRAM chains it comes with a PowerLock chain link to speed up the fitting process.
First ride on the SRAM GX Eagle
To put the new group to the test we spent a couple of days in the Forest of Dean in April and it wasn’t immediately obvious we were riding a budget drivetrain.
Yes, there are some slight differences in shifting function, GX Eagle is not as smooth and shifting between sprockets is not as seamless, but we’re really splitting hairs and you’d have to back-to-back it with Eagle XO1 to notice the difference.
In terms of chain retention and noise, we never shipped a chain and even under those ugly shifts mid climb, GX Eagle never put a foot wrong.
In this respect GX Eagle is indistinguishable from the more expensive drivetrains. The only question mark at this stage is durability but we currently have a groupset on test and we’ll report back with a longterm review later in the year.
Meanwhile here’s the catalogue bumf…
GX Eagle Crankset
The reliability of forged aluminum crank arms is undeniable, and the GX Eagle™ crankset completes its performance mission with the new X-SYNC™2 direct mount chainring. With numerous Eagle™ ring size options, your range can be tuned for any ride you can find yourself on. The GX Eagle™ crankset is designed around not only SRAM bottom brackets, but Eagle™ technology as a whole.
• Durable 7000 series forged aluminum crank arms
• Best-in-class chain retention and wear characteristics with X-SYNC™2 tooth profiles engineered to match perfectly with SRAM Eagle™ chains
• Light weight and durable direct mount ring construction
• A master-class crankset at a working-class price point, the super-tough GX Eagle™ crankset makes it easy for riders who are hard on equipment and/or setting up multiple bikes to have 100-percent Eagle™ compatibility
GX Eagle Rear Derailleur
Simply put, the new GX Eagle™ derailleur extends the range of your riding because of its ability to handle the 10-50t Eagle™ cassette—but there’s more to this new derailleur than capacity. The GX Eagle™ derailleur includes the Type-3 ROLLER BEARING CLUTCH™, so that chain management feels the same on every cassette cog, small or large. And a new Eagle™ pulley design, combined with the SRAM Eagle™ chain, helps to make this drivetrain super quiet and incredibly efficient.
• Best-in-class chain management with our proven X-HORIZON™ design and Type-3 ROLLER BEARING CLUTCH™ technology
• Simplified installation and added robustness with our repositioned CAGE LOCK™
• Best-in-class 1x efficiency and quiet operation with our Eagle™ pulley technology
• The GX Eagle™ derailleur carries with it the rough-and-tumble toughness of our X-HORIZON™ design; no derailleur wants to be abused, but the X-HORIZON™ design is built to withstand a lot
GX Eagle Trigger Shifter
The GX Eagle™ trigger shifter is the control center of the new Eagle™ drivetrain that unlocks its range to allow you to realize full potential of Eagle™. Superior ergonomics and adjustability let you shift quickly, comfortably and intuitively. The GX Eagle™ shifter carries with it all of the enhancements and improvements that the XX1 and X01 Eagle™ trigger shifters received, improving trigger feel, precision and durability for every rider on any terrain.
• Eagle™ provides the smoothest and most reliable 1x shifting in mountain biking
• Optimized shifting precision via X-ACTUATION™ cable pull works flawlessly with Eagle™ rear derailleurs
• Super durable forged aluminum trigger is designed to take a beating
• With MatchMaker™ X you can adjust your shift, brake and Reverb lever setup for lever ergonomics that are perfect for your hand position and the way you ride
XG-1275 Eagle Cassette
Best-in-class 1x range that allows you to ride anywhere, this XG-1275, 10- to 50-tooth Eagle™ cassette FULL PIN™ technology uses lightweight, stamped steel cogs held together with high-strength stainless steel pins. The result: a cassette that’s light and strong. The open design—similar to our X-DOME™ cassette—aids in mud clearance, giving you cleaner shifting performance and longer component life. New X-GLIDE™2 teeth features mate perfectly with Eagle™ chains to improve both inboard and outboard shifting, as well as chain retention.
• Extremely durable and lightweight cassette that incorporates FULL PIN™ technology using eleven lightweight, stamped steel cogs and one 50-tooth aluminum cog held together with high-strength stainless steel pins
• Perfect range for any ride with our 10-50t [500 percent] gearing
• Smooth, consistent and optimized gear steps across entire range of cassette
• The XG-1275 Eagle™ cassette not only offers a massive 500-percent gear range for lower low gears and higher high gears, but also the ability for advanced level riders to ride larger chainrings for a smoother overall pedaling feel
GX Eagle Chain
Though you may think of it as a humble assistant to the rest of the groupset, the GX Eagle™ chain is the epicenter of the drivetrain. Featuring link plate geometry optimized for massive 500-percent range, Eagle™ derailleurs, chainrings, cassettes and shifters have been designed to work perfectly with Eagle™ chains. Anything less is nothing but a performance, reliability and durability compromise.
• Increased longevity and better chain guiding with our all-new Eagle™ PowerLock® chain connector with FLOW LINK™ technology
• Unique features and design also provide significantly improved wear resistance on Eagle™ cassettes and rings
• The GX Eagle™ chain is constructed using the same link geometry and general manufacturing processes as XX1 and X01 Eagle™ chains, making it the ideal backup chain for XX1 and X01 riders