Last year, Sram was able to convince a majority of riders worldwide that all they need is a single ring on your crankset with the introduction of the Eagle 12 speed drivetrains. Our jaws dropped on the floor when we first saw the retail price (which is similar to a brand new old stock 26″ mid range bike) and we anticipated with bated breath for the technology to trickle down into it’s other series.

And so, it has come to pass that the manufacturing world of mountain biking has yet again delivered something new, something questionable, but something intriguing. Welcome to the world of 12 speed drivetrains. So you’re wondering what the fuss with 12 speed is all about? Maybe this video will help.

With the introduction of the GX Eagle, Sram now has 3 different groupsets that offers 12 speed madness. They are;

  1. The XX1 Eagle – (S$1,660.75 est.)
    The most highest end of the 12 speed spectrum. Be prepared to pay with our kidneys.
  2. The X01 Eagle – (S$1,347.48 est.)
    The respectable pedigree from Sram. Targeted towards real riders who knows.
  3. The GX Eagle – ($743.75 est.)
    For all of us who couldn’t care less about weight nor gold bits.

*All prices are estimated from our own research from online stores (before shipping), and includes Rear Dee, Shifter, Crankset with chainring, Cassette and Chain.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the local Singapore prices for the 3 groupsets above, but a quick check online gave me an indicator on the price differences across the 3 groups. The latest introduction of the GX eagle has definitely fluttered our hearts a little bit. I’ve personally been running 11speed Shimano and Sram mix (Shimano XTR Di2 with an XO1 11-42 cassette) and it’s been fantastic so far. But now that 12 speed has become an affordable reality, the mind has been thinking. And if you’re in the same boat, here’s a couple of info that’s good to know before you decide.

The Eagle chain set is made from basic 7000 series forged aluminium and features SRAM X sync 2 profile chain ring that claims better chain retention for a smoother ride whilst extending the life of the chain ring. It’s a basic crank that gets the job done and the stout and burly look of the crankarms may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The weight falls in the range of 610-662 grams depending on spindle, ring size, and crank arm length. For comparison, the Shimano XT 11 speed cranks weigh in at around 700 grams.

The GX Eagle cassette features the exact same gear ratios as the X01 Eagle (10-50T), but the first 11 cogs are individually stamped and pinned together rather than CNC’d out of one block of chromoly like the X01. This essentially adds a little bit of weight, but you wallet will thank you for it. Claimed weight is 450 grams.

Being a GX series, the rear derailleur features a steel spring (titanium springs on the XO1), die-cast aluminum cage and steel bolts.  While the jockey wheels and clutch are identical between the GX and the XO1, the GX has a “couldn’t care less but it works” kinda finish that might appeal to some. Claimed weight for the GX rear dee is at 290 grams.

The Eagle series chainrings are cold-forged and are only available as direct-mounts. The tooth profile looks very well refined and the curves makes for retention and engagement. 

So apart from the chain and shifters, these are the main components of the drivetrain that makes up the 12 speed system. And no, you can’t use your 11spd chain but you might be able to save some cash (and weight) if you’re currently on carbon cranks that can install direct mount chainrings from Sram. Other than that, you’ll need the rest of these to make it work.

So there you have it. It won’t be long before the other big S comes out with something new, but in the meantime, I’m having a hard time justifying the need for 12 speeds unless I’m competing or climbing for long hours. Call me old school, but we’ve been riding the same trails since we had 9 speed cassettes, and we’d still grin our biggest grins by the end of the ride. So hmmmm.. but then hor, in another perspective, I can see where some might benefit from having a 50T with a 34T chainring. Dammit.. now I’m confused again…

Would you jump from 10 or 11 to 12? Lets us know in the comments below.


About Author

A bike aficionado with a soft spot for cat videos. He's always on the hunt for new adventures and you can find him spinning on his granny gear around Bee Tee.

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