SRAM has been busy lately, and at Sea Otter they were showing off new and improved components. The new products included the 650B Rise wheel, Avid X0 Trail brake, Grip Shift, Type 2 Rear Derailer and Reverb Stealth, while the RockShox forks and Monarch RT3 shock got some hefty tweaks.
One of SRAM’s oldest products is the Grip Shift, and it’s perfect to coincide with its re-introduction with their 25th anniversary. The totally redesigned Grip Shift, comes in a XX 2×10, and X0 version in 2×10 or 3×10 models, and weighs in at 207 grams (cables and clamp), and another 80 grams for the optional Lock-On grip. The system uses their Speed Metal indexing for crisp and precise shifting, the Rolling Thunder ball bearing technology for low twist force and friction-free movement, and the Jaws Lock-On integrated grips for easy installation and a secure and stable interface. I have used a set of the X.0 for several rides, and I am suitably impressed, as they have a fast shift pattern, which has a precise feel through the drivetrain. I really liked the front shifting, as it only took a small amount of twist to get a quick shift, and it was nice to have the ability to roll multiple gears on the rear. In addition, the width of the shifting paddles, allow you to place your hand in more positions on the grip, and still have access to the shifters.
SRAM introduced their Rise MTB wheel in October, and it comes in two models, the carbon rim Rise 60 and the aluminum rim Rise 40. At Sea Otter, they showed the spanking-new 650B, which joins its 26 and 29 brethren, although currently it will only be offered in the aluminum Rise 40 versions. The Rise 40 is a budget conscious all around wheel, which uses a lightweight welded rim for low rotational mass and a durable hub with a chromoly axle and steel driver body, with cartridge bearings for trouble-free maintenance. They have also added a size indicator by the air valve (small red decal), to simplify identification. All the sizes, 26, 29 and 650B, share the same specs, a 19mm inner width, 24 spokes in a two-cross pattern, and a variety of quick-release or thru-axles. They are also working on a Rise tubeless-kit, to make the wheels useful for a wide variety of tires and setups.
Avid has an interesting new offering, the powerful X0 Trail brake. The X0 Trail lever has an internal stack that improves permeability and manages air better, and it uses sealed bearings at the pivot, for a lighter and friction-free feel without any stichion. It uses a four piston caliper, with new top loading pads, and it weighs in at 340 grams with a 160mm rotor. The standard two piston X0 brake (call it XX Junior), has been simplified, and loses the contact adjustment, gets organic pads with aluminum backing, and weighs in at 315 grams with a 160mm rotor. They added a 170mm rotor size, to the recently resized 140, 160, 180 and 200mm rotors, as they feel it’s a great middle size for trail usage.
The big change at RockShox is the elimination of the Dual-Air from their premier lineup, which includes Reba, SID and Revelation, in favor of the simpler single air adjustment. The Solo-Air system uses one valve to regulate both the positive and negative air chambers, for easier tuning, and fewer chance for errors. This change decreases weight, has less moving parts, and gives the forks a feel that is similar to the Monarch spring technology, for a more balanced feel. They are also adding a 650B to the Revelation model, which is good news for the middle wheel size.
The cable-actuated Push-Loc system has been upgraded, to mimic the hydraulic X-Loc lockout lever, so that it has a push-push feel, and requires less cable sweep.
The Monarch RT3 has gotten a complete redo, and now has three discrete setting, an open, pedal and lock, and the compression settings have a 360 degree dial, for easier on the fly adjustments. They have added a rapid recovery system, which allows the rear wheel to return quicker over successive hits, so the rider sits higher in spring curve, for a softer and livelier feel.
The Reverb Stealth adjustable seatpost, has the internals inverted to allow the hydraulic hose to exit from the bottom, instead of the normal upper post connection. This arrangement allows the hose to be routed internally through the frame, for a cleaner, more durable and reliable setup. Previously, Scott and Trek had exclusive rights to use the post, and now the general public can purchase it, although RockShox offers no guidelines on drilling holes into your frame to incorporate one!
The new SRAM TYPE 2 rear derailer are designed for X0 and X9 families, and it will deliver maximum drivetrain stability, even while riding through brutal technical terrain and heinous conditions.
It uses their Roller Bearing Clutch technology to prevent undue derailer bounce and chain slap by providing resistance to the cages forward swinging, without sacrificing precision and quick shifting. The system only adds around 30 grams in weight, which is a small penalty to pay for better chain management, a quieter drivetrain and more consistent shifting, especially while in rough terrain. As a bonus, when removing the rear wheel, you press a small lock button on the lower cage to disengage the system for easy wheel removal.