26 October 2009 - 11:07X-Rated Post
Actually, this post is rated XX.
I’ve just received our first SRAM XX group, and I can tell you that I am very excited to see how it works. For those that have been living in a cave for a very long time, most mountain bikes (geared ones, singlespeeds don’t really apply here) have had a 9 speed drivetrain for the last 10 years or so. SRAM has preemptively launched a new 2×10 component collection, with it’s sights set dead on Shimano’s flagship XTR group
The concept of a mountain double has been bouncing around for a few years, although, it has been nestled in the 9 speed world. For a while, pro-racers had special 2×9 drivertrains cobbled together for their race bikes, but for the most part, the choices for proper gear ratios were less than adequate. We’ve certainly messed with it ourselves, and in fact, I use a 2×9 right now. It isn’t exactly a race set up, but it certainly gets the job done for general messing around. I use a 36-22 with an 11-34 cassette on my fun bikes, but have a standard triple on my XC/race bike.
Well, SRAM has definitely upped the ante here. Not only is this the fist mountain double, it has a range of usable gears depending on which components you select. I chose a 39-26 for the cranks, and an 11-36t cassette. There are 42-28 and 45-30 cranks are also available, as is an 11-32 cassette.
This is a beautifully executed group, that uses all of SRAM’s four companies, Avid brakes, Truvative cranks, SRAM gearing, and there is even a XX edition Rock Shox Reba 29er fork. There is a lot of carbon composite bits here, including the (of course) the cranks, cage of the the rear derailleur, the triggers on the shifters, the brake levers etc. All the hardware is Ti, and uses a Torx bolt instead of the more widespread Allen head, which should prevent even the most ham fisted mechanic from stripping out the bolts. The rotors are a two piece design, the steel rotor is riveted to a lightweight aluminum carrier.
Perhaps the most innovative feature of this group is the rear cassette. The eight middle cogs on the 10 speed cog is machined form a single piece of billet steel. It takes something like 8 hours or so for each cassette to be made, and it is truly something to behold. Even without a scale, you can tell that it’s a lot lighter than even the relatively light SRAM PG990 cassette. 50g in fact.
Sadly, it will be a while before I get to put this stuff on a bike and ride it. That is after all, where the real opinions are drawn from, the ride. It looks dead sexy though, I think they might be on to something…