When SRAM originally launched its XX1 drivetrain four years ago, the Chicago-based company spent a lot of time explaining how the technology had the potential to revolutionize the modern mountain bike. Most of the conversation centered around how eliminating the front derailleur would allow frame designers to shorten chainstays and increase tire clearance. But part of the discussion was also on how the drivetrain could help reduce the learning curve for novice riders.
But a full XX1 drivetrain retailed for over $1,500 dollars, and with no other competitors, prices remained high for another two years until SRAM released a sub $1000 X1 groupset.
Since 2012, the SRAM family of 1x drivetrains has expanded to four different price points, with the cheapest option retailing for around $500. That was until this week, when it launched its new NX drivetrain, which will set you back just over $300 for a complete drivetrain. The main difference between this new groupset and the upper tier versions is largely in material. To help reduce cost, steel was used rather than aluminum, or aluminum versus titanium, and so on. This, claims SRAM, means users will get the same experience without sacrificing the functionality or durability of the original technology.
At that price, you can expect to see this drivetrain ship as OEM spec on sub $1,000 hardtails, although most product managers will find a mix of SRAM GX and NX components to be the sweet spot on entry level full suspension mountain bikes. If you really wanted to compare NX to another drivetrain in SRAM’s portfolio, you could think of it as the X5 version, or in some cases X7 version of their 1x groupset. Their marginally more expensive GX drivetrain would probably be best compared directly to something like Shimano’s XT group.
The shifters will be available in either trigger or grip shift format. The trigger shifter offers a maximum of five upshifts, weighs 142 grams and will retail for $27. We don’t have a listed weight for the grip shifter but retail price will be $33.