SRAM 1×11 Components: Where to spend your money

Part by part breakdown of where you'll find the best bang for your buck

Buyer's Guides Components Tech
SRAM’s 1×11 groups have revolutionized mountain bikes. Photo courtesy of Art's Cyclery

SRAM’s 1×11 groups have revolutionized mountain bikes (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy of Art’s Cyclery

Editor’s Note: This article is courtesy of the team at Art’s Cyclery. The original post can be found here.

SRAM’s 1×11 groups have revolutionized mountain bikes and we’ve only just begun to see what is possible with full suspension frame designs built around 1x groupsets. Each of SRAM’s 1x groups works great, but some of the components offer better value than others. Here are our picks for the best combination that will bring cost down but not greatly reduce performance.

For the highly visible and vulnerable rear derailleur in this group, X1 ($180) is our value pick.

For the highly visible and vulnerable rear derailleur in this group, X1 ($180) is our value pick.

For the highly visible and vulnerable rear derailleur in this group, X1 ($180) is our value pick. It is only 6 grams heavier than X01 ($200) and still features steel ball bearing equipped pulleys and all of the precision of the X01 and XX1 ($246) derailleurs for a fraction of the cost, and it looks good too. Plus you won’t shed as many tears when it gets destroyed in a crash.

The bang-for-buck pick here is to stick with the crank you have and just upgrade the chainring.

The bang-for-buck pick here is to stick with the crank you have and just upgrade the chainring.

1×11 cranksets are essentially the same as other cranksets, they just have one chainring. The bang-for-buck pick here is to stick with the crank you have and just upgrade the chainring. There are a ton of narrow wide chainrings out there these days, but in our opinion the SRAM X-Sync rings ($54 and up) really do the best job of chain retention. Chromag ($56 and up) makes some great 1x rings that license the patented SRAM X-Sync tooth design and they run cheaper than the SRAM chainrings, so they are another great option.

If you don’t have an old crank to use, SRAM’s X01 carbon crankset ($249) is outstanding and relatively affordable.

If you don’t have an old crank to use, SRAM’s X01 carbon crankset ($249) is outstanding and relatively affordable.

If you don’t have an old crank to use, SRAM’s X01 carbon crankset ($249) is outstanding and relatively affordable. It is the same as the XX1 crankset ($400 and up), but has a heavier (but removable) spider and a lower price.Thus we recommend going with this crank and opting for a direct mount chainring to get a complete crankset that is lighter than XX1 for less money. If you are on a tight budget though, the alloy X1 crank is a great option.

All of SRAM’s XG 11-speed mountain cassettes are impressive with their broad range and light weight, but the X01 XG-1195 cassette ($251) is the best value of the three.

All of SRAM’s XG 11-speed mountain cassettes are impressive with their broad range and light weight, but the X01 XG-1195 cassette ($251) is the best value of the three.

All of SRAM’s XG 11-speed mountain cassettes are impressive with their broad range and light weight, but the X01 XG-1195 cassette ($251) is the best value of the three. In addition to its sexy black finish, the X01 cassette is actually just a few grams lighter than the XX1 cassette ($259), costs less, and features the essentially the same construction with 10 cogs machined from one piece of steel billet and an alloy 42-tooth cog. The X1 XG-1180 cassette ($220) is a little cheaper, but it is also 47 grams heavier and the cogs aren’t quite as stiff or crisp shifting as the ones on the X01 cassette.

Continue to page 2 for more SRAM 1×11 component picks »

About the author: Arts Cyclery

This article was originally published on the Art's Cyclery Blog. Art's Cyclery is dedicated to offering free expert advice, how-to videos, and in-depth product reviews on ArtsCyclery.com to help riders make an educated decision when selecting cycling gear.


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  • loll says:

    How about an article on shimano 1×11 system. Where to spend on XTR vs where to save on XT M8000?

    Also, just throwing this out, SLX is doom to become a 1×11 soon or later to complete with SRAM GX. Unless Shimano introduce a whole new low end 1×11 drivetrain system.

  • Colin says:

    What about using a XT 11-speed cassette? That’s way cheaper, especially if you have to buy a SRAM XD driver body.

    • Luiggi says:

      This. I upgraded the drivetrain on my Orbea Rallon X30 to 1×11 by placing an X1 RD (got to agree with this article, it’s the best bang-for-the-buck one in SRAM’s 1×11 line), an XT M800 11-42 cassette, GX chain and shifter, and a Race Face N/W ring. I kept the original rear hub and cranks, and I’m rocking my new drivetrain with minimal wallet impact.

  • Coby says:

    I currently built up a SRAMano drivetrain as follows:
    XX1 Cassette (on sale at Jenson) – for the weight savings over shimano
    XX1 chain – I just like SRAM chains better than Shimano
    XT rear derailleur – At the price, unbeatable
    XTR rear shifter (on sale at Jenson) – Just better, and much cheaper than a SRAM X01 or XX1 shifter
    Cranks will be a Race Face Cinch with an Absolute Black Oval ring.
    Now thats a MUTT of a drivetrain.

  • BlackBean says:

    Wow. $930 (before taxes or installation) and they think your wife will love you because your wallet is still filled with all those $100 bills???? Haha…laughable. I have no trouble dropping money on a bike for maintenance, fixes or upgrades. But this is ludicrous. I would rather go with a 1×10 system that you can get at less than half of this bundle and the equipment will work just as well.

  • Jonathan says:

    I picked up a base spec Pivot Mach 6 for a steal and figured I would upgrade the drive train as I went.

    The GX drivetrain with X1 rear mech has been flawless for the past 3 months, easily as good as my experience with XT and X01 drivetrains. It’ll be hard to justify spending anything extra. I’m even thinking about trying the GX rear mech if/when the current one gets destroyed.

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