Review: SRAM X0 2×10 with Grip Shift

Components

Review: SRAM X0 2×10 with Grip Shift Gallery
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X0 Rear Derailleur
The X0 rear derailleur is available in three cage lengths, short, medium and long (tested), and comes in Silver, and Black, Blue, Red and Gold graphic colors, and retails for $255. The inner pulley cage is made from aluminum while the outer is a carbon fiber composite, and the parallelogram linkages are forged aluminum with wide pivots to ensure linkage stability and stiffness. It has sealed bearing pulleys, and utilizes their Exact Actuation Ratio technology, which is a 1:1 actuation ratio (shifter cable travel : derailleur movement), and the EA offered simple, stable and easy shifting, regardless of the load applied, the cog set spacing and cable tension. Cable routing into the derailleur uses their Direct Route Technology, in which it connects directly to the actuation mechanism to lessen damage and decrease friction and input effort. I have always liked the 1:1 actuation ratio of SRAM’s rear derailleur’s, and the X0 rear offered crisp shifts that had a nice detent, without any ghost movements or over shifting. Rolling up or down the cassette worked just fine, and with the aid of the Grip Shift, you could do large  swaths of gears at once. With the big 11-36 range of 10 speeds on the cassette, it took a bit of tweaking of the high and low limit screws to get all the gears rolling properly, and the longer cable meant occasional adjustments were needed to keep things sharp and slop free. The rear has been pretty durable, and has taken a lot of abuse, slamming and scrapping past rock squeezes and ledges, and the only thing it has suffered is some cosmetic scratches along the outside edge. The spring tension has stayed taut, so shifting has been crisp, and the cage pulleys have continued to roll with low friction, and the parallelogram pivot points have retained smooth movement and actuation.

PowerChain 1091R Chain
The PowerChain 1091R is made from Nickel silver with Chrome hardened pins and hollow rivets, and retails for $65. It uses the highly functional PowerLock tool-less connecting link, which always makes installing and removing a chain much easier. When the chain was new, it shifted without any issues even when I forgot to lube it, but after eight months of heavy abuse, and I’m getting some ghost shifts. I tend to be a low gear granny monster, wreaking havoc and creating huge amounts of torque, and the chain hasn’t failed or died prematurely.

Truvativ X0 Cranks
The Truvativ X0 cranks are available in 2X10 version with 22-36, 24-38 (tested), 26-39 and 28-42 gearing options, and PF30, BB30, GXP and GXP PF bottom bracket configurations (not included). They come in Silver, and Black, Blue, Red and Gold graphic colors, 170 and 175 lengths, and retail from $444 – $513. The three-piece Truvativ X0 cranks are comprised of the drive side arm with attached spindle, non drive side arm and bolt-on chainring spider. The crank arms are hollow carbon fiber composite with a non-structural foam core and aluminum inserts at the bottom bracket and pedal which are co-molded in place. The forged aluminum spider meshes onto a spline on the inside on the non-drive side arm, and in this tested version, it is comprised of a 24 tooth chainring, 38 chainring and a bashguard. The chainrings are made from CNC 7075 aluminum, and the bashguard is carbon fiber. With this 24-38 gearing and the optional 22-36 version, the odd spacing is 104/64 BCD, which is required to fit everything within the confines of the system.

The Truvativ X0 cranks have a minute amount of flex if you stand on the arms during a technical move, and it feels like the spindle twists, and not the arms directly, but I never felt any loss of power when cranking away while pedaling. The arms are stiff, and have been durable, with only the typical cosmetic shoe rub on the outside. The pedal inserts haven’t loosened, which can be a culprit on carbon fiber and aluminum glue-in interfaces. The ends of the carbon arms can get chipped slightly if you hit lots of rocks (like I do), so I added some crank arm boot protectors.

The 24-38 chainrings nicely meshed with the 11-36 cassette, especially if you ride a 29er, or you’re a granny gear aficionado. Their X-Glide technology functions well, and the synergy of aligning the chainring pick-up rivets to the chain pivot pin gives smoother shifts on any terrain or power mode. The closely spaced engagement zones around the circumstance of the rings, gives faster shifts under any load, though I found it somewhat clunky during the transitions and not as smooth as Shimano. On occasion, the transition of the 24 to the 38 could be temperamental, and I think a closer ratio, such as 24-36 would be beneficial. They have options for other gearing ratios, including 26-39 and 28-42, and the already mentioned micro gearing of 22-36 and 24-38.

The 38×11 (chainring/cassette) gearing isn’t the most functional when you want to press the bike to Mach 1, but it will get you going at a decent clip, and this set up is meant for AM and AT riding, not full on XC racing. The 38T offers good obstacle clearance and the 24T granny keeps the gear inches low (gear ratio x wheel size), which is especially nice for 27.5″ and 29″. After about eight months the 24T granny is worn out, and shifts aren’t quite as crystal clear like they were when new, but small chainrings get an extreme amount of torque placed on themselves, so it exasperates the wearing. They don’t yet sell individual chainrings, so you’ll need to buy the entire spider to replace anything, and even though $140 seems expensive, you do get two fresh chainrings and a bashguard in one complete package.

The bashguard has gotten some heavy abuse, and is showing some fraying and shredding of the carbon fiber material. It is only happening at two locations, right smack opposite the spindle when the crank arms are parallel to the ground. I think a more robust thickness might help with the longevity, but at least it prevented damage to the large chainring.

The bottom bracket includes Truvativ’s new Gutter sealing system, which has a better seal design, with less drag, greatly improved water resistance and bearing durability. It has been durable and smooth rolling throughout it usage, without any grittiness or stiction, and the cranks easily spun through them.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Wilhelm ritter says:

    Did you test the gripshift with new style Simano brake levers? Will they clear the shifter?

    • JS says:

      I know one person with this set-up – they will clear but you will need a long index finger/have to stretch. If you brake with your middle finger, forget it.

  • Rich says:

    Nice job Brian
    Wilhelm- I have used the old style 9 speed twisters w/ XT’s. The levers are short but not bad. The new style XO appear to be wider yet at the body,but w/ a lower profile. No problem w/ clearance, just reach.

  • Reformed Roadie says:

    Sram 10 speed, road or mountain, is not 1:1. That is why 9spd rear derailleurs are not compatible with 10spd shifters, and vice versa.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Per SRAM =>

      Exact Actuation
      When we launched our road technology from scratch we reapplied our MTB proven SRAM 1:1 actuation ratio (shifter cable travel : derailleur movement) for 10 speed rear shifting. EA helps to simplify/stabilize the uneasy act of balancing rear derailleur hanger design, tight cog spacing and exact cable tension. The result: the easiest index shifting system to set up and it stays that way.

      • Howard says:

        Brian,

        I am sure that is what SRAM says, however from various forums it appears you cannot use a 10 spd RD and 10 spd chain with a 9 spd shifter and cassette.

        So it must be close to 1:1 ratio on both, but not exactly the same.

        • Brian Mullin says:

          The spacing on 10-speed is different, so 9 isn’t compatible with 10, it’s 1:1 on 10 vs 1:1 on 9, so they’re not the same

          • Howard says:

            Yes I understand 9 and 10 speed spacing is the same. My point is that if actuation is 1:1 exactly on both systems then you should be able to replace your 9 speed RD and chain with 10 speed and have backward compatibility. Theres a few reasons to do this like having an RD that is designed for a 36 tooth cassette or to replace an ageing or damaged 9 speed RD with a new 10 speed or to gradually morph your drivetrain from 9 speed to 10 speed a component at a time. I am currently using an X7 long cage 9 speed RD with an 9 speed X0 gripshifter with a 12-36 9 speed Shimano cassette with no problems even though the RD is only supposed to go to 34 tooth. I have considered replacing the chain and RD with 10 speed components but the reading I have done says it won’t work.

  • Hefe says:

    The small chainring options for the crank don’t seem to really exist for normal consumers – they are not available anywhere.

  • John Sokuda says:

    Impossible to find the small chainring version of the cranks. I’d like SRAM to point to any retailer that has the XO Silver with a 24-38 in stock, or even to point to one that has EVER had them in stock.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Colorado Cyclist seems to have them in stock? BTI only shows 170mm BB30 versions. Not sure why the lack of those micro drive models, but I’ll see if I can get any information. No silver though.

  • rael says:

    I’ve been using nearly this exact set-up since August 2012. First installed on a 2008 Yeti 575, and recently transferred to a new build 2012 Yeti SB66c.

    For the cranks, I had to buy the 39×26, then buy separately the 38×24 with bash. This was only available in GXP when I bought. Anybody want an unused 39×26 chain ring set? :-) Or Maybe I’ll put it back on when I get in shape this coming summer!

    The X0 gripshifts are great, no issues in the last eight months. It does take some fine tuning to get everything working on the rear derailleur, especially when brand new. Once I get it dialed-in, can go months without any twiddling. I use the Type 2 X0 with medium cage, very sensitive to chain length. I’d say you have a two link +/- before the chain binds on big/big combination (cross chain) or rubs on itself (small/small) due to not enough cage to hold tight the chain. But once I got this set, no issue using all 20 speeds.

    When I transferred to the SB66c, went with Chris King BB, nice and smooth and bling. Bought a X7 3×10 to rebuild the 575.

    Also went with X0 Trail brakes, very happy once I bled them a few times (had to shorten rear line).

    I use a lower end cassette, as my wheel maker said not to use a “spiderless” version, like the one shown. Big savings in price, not sure about performance.

    Here’s a link to my build:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/yeti/sb66-carbon-build-thread-777433-14.html#post10018345

    dave

  • Talabardio says:

    A very well-known high-end Ti bike builder is building me a 650b hard tail to compete at the upcoming NAHBS show (the bike will be mine after the show!) and he could not find the Silver XO crank in a smaller chainring configuration anywhere – so we went with XX instead. But really, smaller chainrings and a Silver crank would have fit the rest of the bike beautifully. So lame – SRAM should either pony up the actual product to the public or withdraw it from their website.

  • David993 says:

    Tried the twist shifters some months ago now. The rear proved faulty after 15 kms and defaulted straight to 10th unless held. Waited for 4 months for a replacement but no joy so dumped the front shifter too!
    However the front shifter was faultless and used successfully with an XT front derailleur and triple crank!
    The ability to shift masses of cogs in one twist is great, but reliability wins, so if we are talking triggers then my preference is for Shimano!

  • Shane jones says:

    I’m wondering about chainring combos. Any problems with running a 28/39 combo? Wanting to go 2×10, but seems like a 28 inner would be better than a 26 for most of the riding I do. I ride a 29 er so I do want a 39 outer.

  • tim walsh says:

    Can you use the XO type 2 rear derailleur with this?

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