SRAM Outgears Shimano With Expanded Range Eagle Drivetrains

Eagle Expansion XX1, XO1 and GX groups feature 10-52-tooth cassettes and new derailleurs

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SRAM's new 10-52t drivetrains out-gear Shimano.

SRAM’s new 10-52t drivetrains out-gear Shimano.

Today, SRAM is introducing three updated component groups. The new Eagle Expansion groups are found at the XX1 and XO1 levels, with a complete redesign of SRAM’s affordable GX Eagle 1×12 group. These three Eagle Expansion groups out-gear SRAM’s current drivetrains with a two-tooth increase on the largest cog. In addition to this increase in range, the groups also feature updated rear derailleur designs and backward-compatibility with the company’s existing 1×12 drivetrains. Let’s take a deep dive into the tech behind these new drivetrains.


SRAM Eagle Expansion Groups

The workhorse GX Eagle group gets the largest makeover.

The workhorse GX Eagle group gets the largest makeover.

As mentioned in the introduction, SRAM is rolling out wider-range 12-speed drivetrains across multiple price points—from the range-topping XX1 Eagle to the budget-minded GX Eagle group. The new GX group gets a complete redesign, while XX1 and XO1 Eagle groups get new colorways along with the wider-range cassettes and updated rear derailleurs.

All these new drivetrains share the new “Eagle Colorsystem” called Lunar Grey that is carried throughout the line to unify the groups. SRAM is keeping the gold and oil slick colors for its chains and cassettes and adding a copper option for riders looking to add a bit of personality to their drivetrains.


SRAM Eagle Expansion Cassette 

In addition to the wider range, SRAM is adding this copper color to its gold and oil slick offerings.

In addition to the wider range, SRAM is adding this copper color to its gold and oil slick offerings.

The changes to SRAM’s 12-speed mountain bike groups are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. The most obvious change is the switch from the 50t to the 52t cog. This cog swap boosts Eagle’s range from 500-percent to 520-percent. This two-tooth increase out-gears Shimano’s 12-speed drivetrains by one cog.

The smaller 11 cogs on SRAM’s 12-speed cassettes remain unchanged. The full tooth count for the Eagle Expansion cassettes is: 10,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32,36,42,50T.

According to SRAM’s Chris Mandell, the company was content with the current steps between gears. “Expanding the range to a 52t is a small step in the design process, allowing us to incrementally improve your experience as we perfect our ideas. If gear step percentage is something that concerns you, our proven 10-50t is still offered,” SRAM stated in a FAQ article published in conjunction with this launch.

Related Reading: Frequently asked questions about SRAM’s new 12-speed drivetrains

SRAM Expanded Range cassette pricing

  • XX1 Eagle: $449
  • XO1 Eagle: $385
  • GX Eagle: $215

SRAM Eagle Expansion Derailleurs

The new derailleurs are designed to handle the wider range cassettes.

The new derailleurs are designed to handle the wider range cassettes.

SRAM is launching revised rear derailleurs alongside its wider range cassettes. The new Eagle Expanded Range XX1, XO1, and GX derailleurs are optimized for the larger jump to the 52-tooth cog. The eye-to-eye cage length is the same as previous 12-speed derailleurs, but pulley wheel offset, and the parallelogram design was updated to improve shift performance with 10-52t cassettes.

SRAM Expanded Range derailleur pricing

  • XX1 Eagle: $300
  • XO1 Eagle: $225
  • GX Eagle: $125

SRAM Eagle Drivetrain Compatability

While the new derailleurs are compatible with SRAM's current 10-50t cassettes, the new 10-52t cassettes will only work with the latest Expanded Range derailleurs.

While the new derailleurs are compatible with SRAM’s current 10-50t cassettes, the new 10-52t cassettes will only work with the latest Expanded Range derailleurs.

As stated above, there are subtle but meaningful differences between SRAM’s Expanded-Range Eagle derailleurs. As a result, SRAM does not recommend using current cable-actuated 12-speed derailleurs with these new drivetrains. According to SRAM, 12-speed derailleurs designed to shift across 1o-50t cassettes can shift into the 52t cog, but shifting will be labored and less precise.

Thankfully, the AXS-level derailleurs are able to handle the new 10-52t cassettes.

Thankfully, the AXS-level derailleurs are able to handle the new 10-52t cassettes.

On the plus side, SRAM’s electronic XX1 and XO1 Eagle AXS groups are forward-compatible with the new wider-range cassettes. Riders can also use the mechanical Eagle Expansion derailleurs with 10-50t cassettes without issues.

Related Reading: SRAM GX Eagle Expanded Range First Ride Review


 


About the author: Josh Patterson

Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998, and has been writing about mountain biking and cyclocross since 2006. He was also at the forefront of the gravel cycling movement, and is a multi-time finisher of Dirty Kanza. These days, Josh spends most of this time riding the rocky trails and exploring the lonely gravel roads around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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Comments:

  • ArtRadical says:

    Can this “evolution” (for SRAM mechanical drivetrains vs. AXS) shift under load like Shimano XT/XTR? Ability to shift under load was a game changer for me and prompted the shift from SRAM to Shimano after being on SRAM for years. Would way rather have ability to shift under load vs. extra tooth in rear.

  • Josh Patterson says:

    Art,

    I’ve just started testing the Expanded Range SRAM GX Eagle group (First ride review is here: https://reviews.mtbr.com/sram-gx-eagle-expanded-range-drivetrain-review). The changes to the rear derailleur make it feel crisper and require less effort to initiate shifts. That said, none of the changes to the new cassette or rear derailleur do anything to improve its shift performance under load.

    I agree with you that Shimano really, really stepped up its game with Hyperglide Plus. My personal opinion is that Shimano’s 12-speed groups set a new benchmark for shifting performance.

  • Art says:

    Right on. Here’s to the continued SRAM/Shimano battle for supremacy…where we riders are the real winners. #innovation

  • Jeff says:

    They’re just getting ridiculous now. Bigger is not always better and it would make more sense to maybe tailor cassette sizing and front rings with terrain type and market it that way. I have the 10-51 xt with a 34t up front and have used the 51 for a total of 100 yards because I was lazy. Will probably go down to a 10-45 so I have tighter climbing spacing.

  • Mike says:

    10-51T Shimano 12 speed VS. 10-52T SRAM 12 speed. Really is 1 better? What is this Spinal Tap the movie revisited. I guess Nigel would agree. It’s 1 better isn’t it. Spinal Tap the movie was a parody too.

  • Luis says:

    Got a Zerode with Pinion gearbox last summer. Wow. Instant shift, no grinding, no missed shifts, big smile, high reliability,
    Last week I rented an X0 derailleur bike in Sedona and felt like I went back to the 90’s. Shift, grind, click click, pedal, engage.
    There’s some appeal to old BMW cafe racers, but not when it comes to MT bikes.

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