Key points

  • Cheapest fully featured 1×11 drivetrain on the market
  • Undercuts Shimano XT
  • Uses a 11-42t cassette for greater compatibility

Is this another 1×11 drivetrain?

Yep, that’s right. Since 11 speed shifting first dropped into our laps in 2012, the 1x war has been fiercely fought. At the moment it seems like a race towards making it universal with cheaper options like Shimano XT and SRAM GX both released in the past year.

SRAM NX featured

Looking to trump them both is the SRAM NX which comes in at a budget busting £251 for a crank and chainring, rear mech, shifter, chain and cassette. That makes it easily the cheapest 1x system around and gives you almost exactly the same 11-42t range available on Shimano’s XT groupset… but for £120 less.

What makes it so cheap?

A number of factors have contributed to the rock-bottom price of this groupset. First and foremost is that, now the technology is pretty well established, the research and developments costs of each groupset are massively reduced.

Are there any big changes though?

The new SRAM NX cassette is 11-42t, as opposed to the 10-42t you’ll find on other SRAM cassettes. This may not seem like a big deal but it means it’s far cheaper to make and you don’t need a specific SRAM XD driver body to run the cassette, it can simply be run on a standard freehub body.

SRAM NX CASSETTE

The result of all of this is that the cassette costs only £68 (£12 cheaper than XT) but you needn’t worry about the spread of your gears as there are eight chainrings, ranging from 26t-40t, to help you find the perfect ratios.

What are the downsides?

Of course, SRAM has had to cut corners elsewhere too. The NX is far from the Gucci, carbon world of XX1 – the rear mech cage is steel, as are the pulley bearings, the cassette uses pinned steel sprockets and the crank arms are forged, but not hollow. The result of this is a groupset that weighs in at over 2kg.

SRAM_MTB_NX_Crank_1000_32T_AL_Spider_30mm_Side_Black_M

The shifters are also not matchmaker compatible so you’ll have to put up with a bit more clutter on your bars.

Is it any good?

SRAM reckons that “more people will ride bikes if shifting them is easier” and we have to agree, however we won’t be drawn into saying that NX is the ultimate solution.

SRAM NX shifter and mech

We’ve not got our hands on the NX yet but bringing the simplicity, range and chain security of single ring drivetrains to a wider audience has to be a good thing. While NX may be the cheapest option currently on the market there are rumours of an SLX 1x system coming in the near future.

Costs and weights

Crank and chainring: £92 (680-780 grams)

Rear derailleur: £58 (322 grams)

Shifter: £22 (142 grams)

Chain: £11 (232-273 grams)

Cassette: £68 (538 grams)

Groupset total: £251 (2,055 grams)

SRAM GX groupset: £451

Shimano XT groupset: £372.95

  • David Simons

    There always has been cheap drivetrains, but everyone upgrades from it as soon as they can.