SRAM launches Eagle 1×12 drivetrain with 10-50t cassette

If the MTB front derailleur wasn't already dead, it probably is now

Components News
Look closely and you will see 12 cogs, including a 10t and a 50t.

Look closely and you will see 12 cogs, including a 10t and a 50t (click to enlarge).

Last week in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek video posted to its YouTube channel, SRAM eulogized the front derailleur, saying that its usefulness in mountain biking had come to an end. Today, we find out why, as the Chicago-based component maker unveiled SRAM Eagle, a 1×12 drivetrain system that boasts a sprawling 500% gear range thanks to a 10-50t cassette. That’s roughly the same range you’d get from a standard 2x set-up, but with one less derailleur and a cleaner cockpit.

For now, the new set-up will be available at the XX1 ($1417) and X01 ($1193) levels only, though we expect to see mid- and lower-tier options sometime down the road. Claimed groupset weights are 1456 grams and 1502 grams respectively, not including the bottom bracket. Availability is set for June. And old school riders will rejoice at the inclusion of a Grip Shift option.

You can see claimed individual part weights, colors options (including gold), and more in two the charts below. Click on the image to enlarge.
SRAM Eagle XX1
SRAM Eagle X01

SRAM, which deserves much credit for harkening in the age of single-ring MTB (and cyclocross and road) set-ups, says Eagle is its “most advanced and highest-performing drivetrain to date… These drivetrains have not only been refined, we have torn them apart, built them up, tested, tweaked, engineered and tested again.”

Here’s another video from SRAM explaining why they’re convinced 1×12 is the way of the future. Scroll down for a full part-by-part breakdown starting with the all important chain.

The marquee-topping SRAM XX1 Eagle is billed as a cross-country-optimized drivetrain that combines new 1x technology with lightweight materials. Indeed, SRAM claims the XX1 Eagle group weighs up to 300 grams less than 2x drivetrains with similar gear range. Meanwhile, the X01 Eagle is targeted at the trail/enduro crowd, presumably providing greater durability. Claimed weight savings between SRAM Eagle X01 and 2x drivetrains with similar gear range is 250 grams.

Eagle Chain in Gold

Eagle Chain

Calling it the biggest contributor to the “Eagle drivetrain’s ultra-smooth, precise, durable and quiet performance,” the new chain’s links have a smooth radius, with no sharp edges or chamfers. This, says SRAM, yields a reduction in noise, friction and wear on chainrings and cassette cogs.

The design also allows for a flatter plate, meaning more consistent chain riveting for improved strength. Further, SRAM’s “hard chrome” technology is claimed to extend performance life, and a titanium nitride coating on the gold and black models is said to decrease corrosion and further reduce friction. (Yes, there are color options, including silver, too.) The chain is closed via a familiar PowerLock, and is only compatible with the new Eagle 10-50t cassettes. It comes in XX1 and X01 levels.

SRAM Eagle X01 Cassette

Eagle Cassette

Designed for use with an XD driver body, this 12-speed, 10-50t cassette offers a 500-percent gear range at a lower weight than 2x systems, says SRAM. They also claim the X-Dome architecture is among the strongest on the market, and that new shifting characteristics improve both, inboard and outboard shifting, as well as chain retention. The cassette is built with a machined cromoly 11-cog cluster, plus an aluminum 50t cog. It comes in XX1 and X01 levels. Gear steps are: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42, 50. And unlike the recently released OneUp 10-50t set-up, the Eagle cassette does not require the less-common mini-driver to utilize the 10t cog. Instead, if your bike is compatible with SRAM 1×11 it should work with 1×12 as well.

Continue to page 2 for more on the new SRAM Eagle group »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • Charlie B says:

    Spinal Tap’s amp only went to 11.
    12 is BIGGER!

  • mac says:

    Gotta hand it to sram. The xx1 stuff with the gold accents looks fantastic. The chainring design is badass.

  • Shark says:

    I’m waiting for a 10-70 cassette! gonna be sweet.

    • Grandpa Jones says:

      It’s inevitable. The average age of mountain bikers is now over 40 and the old timers need the easy gears. Also, it’s mostly people over 40 that can afford this stuff.

      • fasterjason says:

        Wrong, I am 41 and run a 11-28 on my 29er with a 36t chainring and I feel like I need a tampon for not running a 40t. If I leave the piedmont and ride in the blue ridge I put on an 11-34 and call myself a pussy. Everyone needs to ponder rule V before buying this crap.

  • preston says:

    Too much gear range ? I would say its still not optimal because my 2*11 is 620% range and I use it all. I”m not about to trade that gear range for 300g. But it certainly opens up options for people. The parts do look slick.

  • Rob Moucha says:

    Man I hope this means that the x9 will get the previous x0 1×11 setup, maybe we’ll even see an x7 1×11?

  • Matt says:

    Everyone lost their marbles over 11sp being excessive. ‘It’s too delicate, needs new wheels, I prefer 9sp,’ etc. You guys are being fairly positive. Is this the same internet?

    Did anyone else notice that the XD Driver “SHOULD” accommodate the cassette?

  • Cooper says:

    Haha! “…the derailleur that made dedicated 1X drivetrains possible…” — umm, sorry Sram, but no. Many folks (myself included) were running 1X looong before XX1 came along and I continue to run my homegrown Shimano 1X10 today because, well, it just works 🙂

  • MarkonMTB says:

    “Smooth plate chain design helps it run smoother.”

    Because we know that Chamfered plates shift better. SRAM, advertising to those who might not know!

  • Eldon says:

    Seems like yet another band-aid trying to jam a square pin in a round hole. SRAM wants to completely remove the FD — because they couldn’t ever make good front shifting anyway — now trying to make it appealing with advertising instead of facts — to pad their own pockets with your cash. 1X is great for a lot of people, but not for others. There is no one-size-fits-all because there are so many riding conditions and people of various fitness levels. 500% is still far shy of the 654% that was standard for years (triple with 11/36). There is a reason that became the go-to ratio.

    • BE says:

      This! (I do have a front SRAM shifter that works for me.)

      There is no one size fits all. First there was 1x then they invented 2x. Along came the tripe and people thought it was great. Then they found that they could get the range of a tripe in a 2×10. And all was well. Then for no reason they decided we needed 11 speeds even though we didn’t. And now this.

      And yes, I own bikes with 1×6, 2×6, 3×7, 3×9, 3×10, 2×9, 2×10, 2×11, 1×10 and the only one I find lacking in range for it’s intended purpose is the 1x but a stupid big/expensive rear cassette isn’t the answer.

      I absolutely refuse to believe the hype on this one.

  • jsmbytheby says:

    waiting for 1×20

  • josh says:

    You know, for what it is worth, 50 IS NOT a 500% increase of 10. 50 is 400% increase of 10.

  • Stumpy says:

    The cassette looks dangerous. HUGE! And 12 speed? What does that do to the wheel dish?

    I bought a 1×11 that the frame has a front derailleur mount but I’ve been wondering if anyone has a ‘kit’ with the left shifter, cable, housing, and derailleur? Probably not, I’d guess…

  • Jeremy Bennett says:

    So can I simply replace my current XX1 cassette and chain with the new Eagle Cassette and chain? Or do I need a complete new set up?

    Thanks, Jeremy

  • bk says:

    Just go singlespeed you pussies.

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