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. 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.
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. 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. 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.