Components Reviews

SRAM 1×11 Components: Where to spend your money

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

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, 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 kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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