SRAM's mega performing new Transmission drivetrain gets a price haircut, now available in GX.. it is far from a budget groupset though, so you might need a modest lottery win to upgrade
SRAM GX Eagle AXS Transmission
Back in the spring, SRAM XX Eagle AXS T-Type transmission was released. It eliminated the need for a mech hanger and bolted straight to the frame, introduced unheard of strength and superior alignment, and shifted better than anything else out there. It also cost £1,800 for the groupset, so you probably didn’t race to the bike shop to order one up. Chances are it’ll feature on complete bikes only rather than being a go-to upgrade.
Inevitably there’s now a GX version, it’s two thirds the price of the XX launch edition but still carries the same functionality. Yes £1,180 for a groupset is still out of this world for most of us, but if you want the best it’s a more palatable price. (Hey, this is called Most Wanted after all, not Most Realistic!)
That functionality then revolves (pun intended) around the Universal Derailleur Hanger, or more accurately, where the UDH usually sits. GX Transmission does away with this once-crucial part of a bike and bolts straight onto the frame, sandwiching it like a clevis joint. SRAM says this means it’s easier to set up, with no limit screws to adjust, and proves much more durable if you clonk it into a rock. It’ll shift better for longer then, is the claim, and indeed we found that to be true when testing the XX version.
You can read about the advantages to Transmission in our review then, so we won’t go into the details here. What’s interesting is the difference between GX and XX – not a lot, in short. The GX cassette isn’t as light as the top end XX or XO because it doesn’t use the X-Dome design, essentially a once-piece cassette milled from a single piece of metal (excepting the biggest sprockets). Instead, with GX you get SRAM’s Pindome design for gears 1-8, and a single piece mini cluster for 9-12, all stamped and pinned together in the usual way. The mech is different too, crucially there’s no Magic Wheel found on the XX groupset, a feature that lets the lower pulley wheel rotate even if a stick pokes through the holes.
GX Transmission takes AXS one step further forward, it’s compatible with the rest of the T-type parts (XX and XO) so you might start to see it cropping up on new bikes in a mix and match way. Any frame with a UDH can run the new drivetrain too, and after five years of patient work by SRAM there are plenty of bikes out there with the standard. It is far from a budget groupset though, so you might need a modest lottery win to upgrade.
Bosch Performance Line SX motor
It had to happen eventually – Bosch has finally entered the ‘lightweight’ world with the new Performance Line SX system. The new motor looks familiar to us, like a shrunken Performance CX unit with a magnesium casing and two-bolt mount. Weight is a reasonable 2kg – not the lightest on the market, but still competitive with the 1.95kg Fazua and Specialized SL 1.2. It’s the output where it really shines though, pumping out an impressive 600w of peak power, making it on par with most full fat options and way ahead of its lightweight rivals. At 55Nm, peak torque is more in line with expectations, meaning it won’t be able to crawl up near vertical pitches like a full fat.
Providing that power is a new 400Wh internal battery backed up by an optional 250Wh range extender. This gives it the biggest potential capacity of all the lightweight units. With a battery weight of 2kg, you’re looking at a 4kg system – 3kg lighter than Performance CX – and complete bike weights in the sub-20kg range.
Operating the familiar modes – Eco, Tour+, eMTB, and Turbo – is the existing wireless mini-remote and top tube mounted System Controller. The latter uses a series of coloured LEDs displaying the current power mode and remaining battery charge.
Friction within the motor has been reduced by a claimed 50% over the Performance CX, and the Q-factor is 15mm narrower to promote more efficient pedalling. That’s an important point because the Performance SX gives the most support at high cadences.
Bosch hasn’t neglected the details too, it’s compatible with the Smart System and that allows you to tune motor characteristics in the Bosch Flow app, as well as giving detailed information on battery status, security features and in-ride navigation.
A brief ride revealed a motor that’s powerful enough to keep up with full fat e-bikes and a technical climbing prowess that mirrors Bosch’s Performance CX, even down to the extended overrun that lets you ratchet up rocky pitches without clipping pedals. The biggest question mark remaining is range, will all that power burn through the 400Wh battery before you’ve got enough riding in? We’ll let you know once we’ve had more time on the system.
Nukeproof Blackline Ridewear
Nukeproof’s premium clothing range is called the Blackline collection, it’s made with technical fabrics, is cut for mountain bikes and it’s here as Most Wanted because the jerseys, pants and shorts come in a riot of colours. More importantly, construction is now Bluesign Approved too, which means it’s met strict environmental and safety standards: That means the whole supply chain is required to be made with minimal impact on the environment, use less water, emit fewer emissions and treat employers decently.
Top of the pile is the Blackline Trail pants, it’s made from 4-way stretch fabric and features laser cut ventilation holes, a DWR coating to keep the showers off, YKK zips, D-loops for your keys and a slim fit with room for your kneepads.
The Blackline Short Sleeve Jersey uses a lighter, warp-knit back panel to better wick sweat and improve airflow around your body. Nukeproof has worked in a UV protective coating, and an antibacterial finish, so you’ll neither burn nor stink.
Motul Chain Cleaner, Tire Sealant, Chain Lube, and Frame Cleaner
Motul has moved into bikes, it now makes Chain Cleaner (degreaser), Tire Sealant, both dry and wet Chain Lube, dry and wet Frame Cleaner, and Motul Bike Frame Clean Dry.
The products are all eco-friendly and come in recycled and recyclable packaging, Motul says. Our pick: Dry Clean, which leaves a water-repellent protective layer.
The 100% RideCamp Shorts now come with a liner for £99.99, or without for the ridiculously good sale price of £42. Highlights include a DWR coating, 2-way stretch fabric, mesh fly, velcro cargo pocket, zipper pocket, clever adjustable popper closure.
HUX says its Nootropics supplements boost your focus, cognition, memory mood and overall brain health, thanks to 500mg of Citicoline and 300mg of Lions Mane mushroom, which increase blood flow. The jury’s still out over nootropics efficacy, but some small studies do indicate a benefit.
DT Swiss FR1500 Classic
The FR1500 Classic is for gravity riding, DT Swiss says its reworked rim profile has better impact resistance, 17% improved puncture protection than the old FR 1950 Classic, and the wheelset weighs 7% less too. 1928g, 30mm internal, 240 classic 36T Ratchet EXP hub, 28(f)/32(r) spokes.
With a ludicrous 60 days of battery life and solar charging to top it up, Suunto’s new Vertical smartwatch should go longer between charging than any other.
Features offline maps, route and POI navigation, dual-band GPS, and multiple sport modes (MTB too). Finnish made, using renewable energy.
Acid Husk 24
True to its name, the Acid Husk 24 has 24 tools secreted inside its two alloy tubes, including hex and torx bits, flat and phillips screwdrivers, a chain tool, spoke wrench and spare link. It’ll fit inside your bar ends or to the bottle cage, via additional mounts.
Endura MT500 D3O Protector Vest
The Endura MT500 Protector Vest uses D3O’s flagship armour LP1 inserts on the chest and back, meaning it’s lightweight, flexible, and claims better breathability than the competition.
The vest itself is made from neoprene and mesh, uses a velcro waist closure, meets CE EN 1621/1 standards, and comes in three sizes.
Five Ten Kestrel BOA
The name might be familiar but the Kestrel BOA is all new from Five Ten. It’s aimed squarely at the downcountry set, meaning it’s firmly tilted towards XC in terms of stiffness but also shields your feet inside a reinforced toebox for downhill protection.
Up top you’ll find a couple of velcro straps, but also a dial BOA Fit System to make adjustments on the fly as easy as possible (and to try and mitigate the sky-high price).
The synthetic upper is made from 50% recycled materials and there’s a seamless overlay to minimise hotspots inside and add comfort and durability.
The best bit is underneath though, the Kestrel BOA is of course clipless, but it’s still got Five Ten’s famous Stealth Marathon rubber going on, the idea being it’ll stop you skidding off the pedal if you fail to clip in. The wundermaterial also pops up on the lugs, which are all over the sole, half a dozen up front, at the rear and two big sections to the left and right. We’re looking at a clipless shoe with all the bite of a football boot.