Introduction by Francis Cebedo:
SRAM revolutionized drivetrains with their introduction of the modern 2×10 system a couple years ago. They wanted to give you more functionality with less complexity. They then went back to the archives to resurrect Grip Shift by perfecting its accuracy and shifting action. Have they succeeded in both endeavors? Read on and find out.
If you are itching to ride and want to jump ahead to Brian’s conclusions, take the leap over HERE.
SRAM can trace its roots back to the Grip Shift, and through time the drivetrain company has evolved into one of the leading bike component companies in the world, and now has mountain, road and urban drivetrain systems. The SRAM 2×10 system is a couple of years old now, and what was once an oddity has become commonplace. The 2×10 system has some great virtues, such as reduced cross-chaining, quicker and smoother front shifting, more efficiency, decreased overlapping gear ratios, weight savings and a narrower Q-Factor. SRAM’s 2×10 X0 got the trickled down technology from their flagship XX group, which was the first mountain bike oriented 2×10 on the market, but the X0 comes with a better price point and greater durability and toughness, and only a slight increase in weight.
SRAM X0 2×10
The trick Truvativ X0 crank arms are made from carbon fiber with a hollow foam core construction, and utilize a separate bolt-on spider for the chainrings, which use their fast X-Glide shifting technology. It comes in a variety of gear options, including 22-36, 24-38, 26-39 and 28-42, which then mates to the 11-36 cassette. The X0 front derailleur has a narrower design to match up with the 2×10 system, while the X0 rear derailleur accepts the large 36-tooth cog and retains their quick 1:1 actuation ratio. The X0 shifters are available as the ultra sweet Grip Shift or the normal trigger shifters.
Testing Rig and Terrain
Testing was performed on my medium Ibis Mojo HD with the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air rear shock, and multiple forks, including the Magura TS8 and FOX VAN 160. I am 5’9″, weigh in at 155 lbs, and I have mostly ridden in the West, including vast portions of the Colorado Front Range, Sedona, Moab, Fruita/GJ and many parts of the Colorado mountains. The testing terrain is predominantly loose rocky conditions, with many long steep climbs and descents, rock gardens, slick rock, an occasional smooth singletrack and lots of ugly, loose gravel. I tend to enjoy gnarly technical terrain, where precise steering and maneuvering are required and intricate follow-through, and full commitment is advised. The local conditions are usually dry, with lots of gravel, sand and fine dirt, which gets into everything, and tends to wreak havoc on seals, bearings, chains, cassettes, chainrings.
- Cranks – X0 GXP 10spd 175mm 24-38-Bashguard in Silver
- Rear derailleur – X0 long cage 10spd in Silver
- Front derailleur – X0 High Direct Mount, 2×10 in Silver
- Shifters – X0 Trigger in Silver and X0 Grip Shift in Silver
- Cassette – XG-1080 11-36
- Chain – 1091R
X0 Front Derailleur
The 2×10 X0 front derailleur is available in four mounting options, High Clamp, Low Clamp, High Direct Mount (tested) and Low Direct Mount, and retails for $74. It can be used in a wide range of 2×10 gearing with a maximum of a 15-tooth differential between the smaller and larger rings. It was specifically designed for 2×10, so the cage is shorter and narrower than a 3x system. The widely spaced pivots of the aluminum links offer stiffness, while the steel cage gives durability and is shaped to work in harmony with their X-Glide front shifting technology. The X0 front worked nicely, and rolled up and down smoothly, without any stickiness, slop or clunking. There has been a great deal of improvements in the SRAM front over time, and they feel on par with Shimano’s offering. Using Grip Shift made the front shifting short, quick and lightning fast, in contrast to the long throw on the triggers. Setting the height of the high direct mount version was simple, and it only needed minor high and low screw adjustments. I didn’t have any cable stretch issues, and only minimal trimming was required. The front has done its job admirably with great durability, and the parallelogram has retained smooth operation through its arc, without any issues during the test period.