A bunch of brands are challenging the established duopoly that has dominated the mountain bike drivetrain category. Are these systems going to sink or swim?

A bunch of brands are challenging the established duopoly that has dominated the mountain bike drivetrain category. Are these systems going to sink or swim?

>>> Mountain bike groupsets: buyer’s guide

TRP DH7 7-speed drivetrain

TRP (TEKTRO Racing Products) new shifter and derailleur designed for the gravity-focused rider.

TRP DH7 derailleur

“The ongoing competition amongst the best mechanics in the world during a World Cup season is to build the quietest bike on the track. John Hall identified the movement of the derailleur around the B-knuckle as one of the points for improvement. This inspired John‘s idea to lock the B-knuckle to the bike‘s derailleur hanger. TRP engineers worked closely with Hall to create the Hall Lock feature. The Hall Lock is a lever integrated into the mount, which can be opened or closed, as needed. When working on the derailleur or changing the wheel, the Hall Lock is opened. When closed, the derailleur is locked to the frame and is stabilized in the roughest conditions. This feature helps maintain the utmost accuracy in shifting and superb chain retention. Its clam- ping force can be adjusted to balance stability and security with the derailleur’s ability to deflect on impact. Depending on the suspension layout of the bike, there can be different amounts of chain growth. This is why the team designed adjustability into TRP‘s ratchet style clutch. If a rider wants to free up the system, they can back o the clutch to balance pedal feedback with the clutch’s chain retaining properties.”

TRP DH7 shifter

“TRP engineers looked at the cable release lever’s ergonomics and devised a system to move it in a linear path to mimic the motion of a rider’s thumb rather than rotating away. Shift levers designed and located for optimum performance by Aaron Gwin. Enhanced grip & tactile feel built into lever paddles: embossed grooves on advance and release levers. Tool-free straight lace cable changes. Rider adjustable home position of lower lever with a 40-degree range.”


SRP $179,90
SRP €169,90

Box Three Prime 9 X-Wide 9-speed drivetrain

“More does not always mean better, and we believe that 9 is fine!

“Prime 9 combines much of the durability and reliability of the traditional 3 x 9 speed drivetrains with the simplicity of modern 1x drivetrains. This creates a bomb-proof drivetrain that is easy to set up and has a simple user experience. Prime 9 chains have internal dimensions that are compatible with modern Wide / Narrow chainrings and perform similarly to 11/12 speed chains. Externally, Prime 9 chains have dimensions similar to existing 9 speed chains. This unique geometry allows for thicker side plates than 12 speed drivetrains which resists stretching over time increasing shifting performance while decreasing wear on the cassette and chainring.

“An 11 to 50 tooth range is a large spread to cover over 9 gears, but we have tuned the gear ratios to have consistent cadence throughout the cassette range. This along with our optimized shift ramps makes for a smooth experience for any rider.

“9 speed chains have been used on drivetrains for decades. To this day they are commonly seen on some of the most torturous bike styles such as touring bikes, meant to last 1000s of miles under extreme conditions. This long-standing reputation for durability easily trumps the potential savings of a few grams, especially on arguably the most important part of the drivetrain.”


SRP: USD $‎199.99

Rotor 1×13 13-speed hydraulic drivetrain

The world’s first hydraulically operated 13-speed drivetrain. 10-52T cassette offers 520% range. Requires proprietary Rotor rear hub.

What are the claimed benefits of hydraulic shifting? Less maintenance. Internal routing ready. A bit lighter than electric and mechanical systems.


SRP £1,299