SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain first ride review

Budget-friendly version of popular 1x12 group officially launched

Components
SRAM GX Eagle

Mtbr’s been testing the new SRAM GX Eagle group on this Santa Cruz Hightower.

SRAM Eagle 1×12 was introduced last year amidst much anticipation (and some skepticism). But the near unanimous feedback from everyone who’s tried it has been a resounding thumbs up, aside from some complaints about the price. That issue has now been addressed with the release of the lower price point GX group.

A decade ago, nobody would have ever thought they needed a rear cassette with a 10-50t range. But use the drivetrain and the mountain bike experience is absolutely improved in so many aspects. The only issue holding back riders was that price ($1417 for the XX1 Eagle group or $1193 for the more enduro-oriented X01 Eagle group). And more significantly, the cassette which is a wear item that needs to be replaced semi-regularly and costs $420 for XX1 and $360 for X01.

Read the Mtbr review of SRAM’s original Eagle group.

SRAM GX Eagle

The new SRAM GX Eagle group is here.

What’s the price difference

As already mentioned, XX1 Eagle runs $1417, while X01 comes in at $1193. This includes shifter, derailleur, cassette, crank and chain. The new SRAM GX Eagle comes in at a much more wallet friendly $495. Here’s the full price breakdown:

  • Cassette: $195
  • Derailleur: $110
  • Shifter: $40
  • Crank: $120
  • Chain: $30
  • Total: $495
SRAM GX Eagle Cassette Weight

Actual weight is 447 grams for the GX Eagle 10-50t cassette.

What’s the weight difference

One of the great benefits of 1×12 systems is they’re about 300 grams lighter than the 2×10 systems they replaced. SRAM Eagle XX1 weighs in at 1456 grams and X01 is 1502 grams, it’s only natural that the lower priced GX will be heavier. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Cassette: 455g
  • Derailleur: 290g
  • Shifter: 122g
  • Crank: 610g
  • Chain: 270g
  • Total: 1717grams

So it is 215 grams (or 0.47 pounds) heavier than X01. Quite significant is the cassette at 455 grams which may seem heavy but it is very respectable for a cassette with 12 cogs with the largest at 50t. For comparison, the 11-speed Shimano XT 11-46 weighs 439 grams.

SRAM GX Eagle

The new cassette and its companion PowerLink-equipped chain.

On the trail

Mtbr took delivery of the new SRAM GX Eagle group three weeks prior to release, so we’ve had a few rides on it already. Craftsmanship is first rate and it installed without any quirks or difficulties. There is no detectable play in the shifter or cassette.

Shifting performance is the key, and to our delight, GX Eagle performs just like X01 (and even XX1). Shifting fires consistently and predictably. Getting on to the 50t ring is no problem at all and feels no different than moving around the rest of the gears. Even when shifting quickly under load, we never got the chain to hang up.

The prediction here is that this group will perform just like the GX 1×11 group since construction is very similar. And most users of that system report that its performance and durability is on par with X01.

SRAM GX Eagle

The SRAM GX Eagle crank.

Cranks Details
  • Durable 7000 series forged aluminum crank arms. X-SYNC tooth profiles engineered to match with SRAM Eagle chains
  • Light weight and durable direct mount ring construction
  • Weight: 610-662 grams
  • Price: $120-$170
SRAM GX Eagle Rear Derailleur Weight

The rear derailleur weighs 291 grams.

Rear Derailleur
  • Features X-HORIZON design and Type-3 ROLLER BEARING CLUTCH technology
  • Simplified installation and added robustness with repositioned CAGE LOCK
  • 1x efficiency and quiet operation with Eagle pulley technology
  • Weight: 290 grams
  • Price: $110
SRAM GX Eagle Shifter Weight

The front shifter weighs 122 grams.

Shifter
  • Smooth and reliable 1x shifting
  • Optimized shifting via X-ACTUATION cable pull paired with Eagle rear derailleurs
  • Durable forged aluminum trigger is designed to take a beating
  • Weight: 122 grams
  • Price: $40
SRAM GX Eagle

The 10-50t cassette is bigger than the rotor.

Cassette
  • Durable and lightweight cassette that incorporates FULL PIN technology using 11 lightweight, stamped steel cogs and one 50-tooth aluminum cog held together with high- strength stainless steel pins
  • Smooth, consistent gear steps across range of cassette
  • Massive 500-percent gear range for lower low gears and higher high gears. Also ability for advanced level riders to ride larger chainrings for a smoother overall pedaling feel
  • Weight: 450 grams
  • Price: $195
SRAM GX Eagle Chain Weight

Chain weight is 261 grams.

Chain
  • Increased longevity and better chain guiding with new Eagle PowerLock chain connector with FLOW LINK technology
  • Unique features and design provide significantly improved wear resistance on Eagle cassettes and rings
  • Weight: 270 grams
  • Price: $30

For more information visit www.sram.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Roy says:

    Can you back pedal in the 50 tooth cog without having the chain drop to a smaller tooth? This has been prevalent with the 11 speeds.

    • Brentos says:

      On my 2 current Eagle setups, you can backpedal without the chain dropping. This was not true on the for the 11 speed setups I had.

  • David T. King says:

    Thank you SRAM for making this stuff affordable!

  • nick says:

    $195 cassette affordable? More than a crankset. To be replaced every year. Who are you kidding? And a pound of rotating, unsprung weight at the rear wheel. I can see no issue here./s But I guess this is the price of being hip and keeping up with trends. CVT is coming next year to a bike near you.

  • Ainsley says:

    Hey thanks for geoblocking and reaming aussie customers SRAM. Not buying until you stop this madness.

  • jim says:

    ever notice how there’s never any photos from the unbiased coverage of great side bulge with All of sram’s horizontal parallelogram derailleurs?

  • Mark says:

    My prayers have been answered! Finally, an affordable, “working mans” wide-range 1×12 drivetrain! Front derailleurs are now museum pieces. The next time I need to buy a new cassette for my current bike, I’m going to switch to 1×12. And I want my next new bike to have this drivetrain.

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