Key Points

  • First ever 12 speed drivetrain in cycling
  • Cassette offers a 500 per cent gear range
  • Upgrade applied to XX1 and X01 groupsets

12 speed?!

Yep , that’s right. With SRAM declaring the death of the front derailleur last week, we thought it would have a nest egg buried away and here it is. The SRAM Eagle has landed and it’s brought with it 12 cogs for you to pick from.  The 12 speed groupset offers a 500 per cent gear range which SRAM reckons is as wide as its competitors 2x drivetrains.

SRAM Eagle white background

How does it work?

SRAM was the first brand to hatch a 1×11 drivetrain and it has taken this experience to bring a whole load of new tech to its Eagle drivetrains. It claims that Eagle is its toughest and best performing drivetrain to date.

Perched at the top of the tree is the new X-Dome 12 speed cassette. The 10-50T range delivers the range of a 2x system while being significantly lighter. SRAM has had independent testing done which confirms that the Eagle X-Dome is the strongest cassette on the market.

Who is it for?

SRAM is offering Eagle technology on two of its drivetrains – XX1 and X01. This means theat 12 speed will be available to both cross country racers and trail/enduro riders (as long as they have deep enough pockets). The drivetrains share the new Eagle chain and chainrings but receive their own, updated, crankset, derailluer, shifter and cassette.

Tell me about the XX1 drivetrain

SRAM XX1 eagle

XX1 first swooped down to rewrite the drivetrain rulebook in October 2012 and Eagle it looks set to do it again. The XX1 Eagle will remain cross country optimised and you can no doubt expect to see it at World Cups soon.

SRAM claims the Eagle crankset is the lightest, stiffest and strongest available thanks to a new carbon weave. The entire groupset comes with a gold trim (just so everyone knows you are rolling on the latest tech)

The entire groupset will come with a crankset, rear derailleur, shifter, cassette and chain and will cost £1,173. It weighs 1456 grams.

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Tell me about the X01 groupset

SRAM X01 eagle

The X01 drivetrain is aimed more at enduro and agressive trail riders (in fact some have already been seen on bike being made ready for the first EWS in Chile this weekend). It shares the same range as the XX1 but is a bit tougher, heavier and cheaper.

The entire groupset has a claimed weight of 1502 grams and costs £1,005.

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What about the shared parts?

Both the chain and the chainrings are shared between Eagle XX1 and Eagle X01.

The SRAM Eagle chain is designed to be totally silent with smooth link technology that reduces friction and wear. In fact SRAM claims this is the quietest, strongest and most wear-resistant chain in the world.

Eagle chain

SRAM is offering 5 chainring sizes with the groupset (30T, 32T, 34T, 36T, 38T) all of which come with the new X-Sync 2 tooth pattern. X-Sync is SRAM’s narrow-wide design and this is an improved version that works with the SRAM Eagle chain to improve chain life and reduce resistance.

Will it be any good?

Well considering 1×11 has become widely acknowledged as the standard for mountain bikes we find it tough to believe that 1×12 won’t do the same. We’ll reserve judgement until we get Eagle in to test but it seems SRAM has put enough care into this product to make sure it flies high.