SRAM XO Drivetrain and Brakes Review

Jun 16, 2011 at 0:09
Jun 16, 2011
by Cory Hemminger  
 
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SRAM's XO group is firmly entrenched as the company's high-end, do everything component set and is designed to meet the needs of demanding riders from all over the world. We previewed the 2011 XO group last year and now, after subjecting it to one of the wettest, most unpleasant Wet Coast winters in recent memory, we have some pretty decent ideas about the performance and durability of the lineup.


SRAM's XO group installed and ready to go.
SRAM's XO group installed and ready to go.


Installation and setup: Installing SRAM's XO group onto the test rig was a straightforward process, and there were only a couple of minor issues to deal with before the bike rolled out the door. The high-mount, two speed XO front derailleur relies on a band clamp to keep it connected to the frame and to make for easy alignment between the chain and cage. Much like the front derailleur, the medium cage, ten-speed XO rear derailleur bolted onto the bike and was ready for fine-tuning following the installation of the shifters.

The Truvativ GXP bottom bracket threaded smoothly into the test frame and the bb accepted the 2x10 Truvativ XO crankset without any binding or fiddling around. After being torqued to specification, there was no play or unwanted movement in the system and it remained problem free for the duration of the test. The ten-speed SRAM XG 1080 cassette (11t-36t) slid snugly onto the freehub and was held firmly in place by a lock ring.


SRAM's MatchMaker clamps keep the handlebars nice and tidy while retaining a large degree of adjustability.
SRAM's MatchMaker clamps keep the handlebars nice and tidy while retaining a large degree of adjustability.


SRAM's excellent MatchMaker X clamps kept the handlebars clean and well organized, with the shifters and brake levers sharing a single MatchMaker X clamp on each side of the handlebar. The beauty of this system is that it meshes well with other products in the SRAM lineup, and the XO shifters and brakes worked well with the XLoc clamp for the XX Revelation that was run for the duration of the review. The XO shifters have a good measure of adjustment that allows riders to set each of the shifter units into one of two inboard / outboard positions, move them towards the front or rear of the bike, and to set the angle of the large thumb paddle. Avid's XO brake levers, calipers, rotors, and adapters didn't require any fiddling or special spacing after being loosely bolted on to the frame and fork for fine-tuning later on.

Once the key components were installed and cable housing was cut to length, the derailleurs were connected to the shifters using the included teflon-coated cables, and a SRAM 1091R chain was installed after the correct length was determined using SRAM's installation guidelines. To finalize the chain install, you need to hop onto the bike and put some of your weight onto the pedals so that the PowerLock connecting link can snap into place. Following the installation of the chain, each of the derailleurs' limit screws was set and any necessary fine-tuning was achieved by using the barrel adjusters on the shifters. Avid’s CPS alignment washers helped center the brake calipers on the rotors after clamping down on each of the levers and then tightening the calipers onto their mounts.

While the installation of the XO group was largely a pain-free process, there were a few points that new owners of the group should take note of. First, many of the small bolts for the cockpit controls require a T-25 Torx wrench which may or may not be a problem for home mechanics, depending on the completeness of their toolboxes and / or multi-tools. Second, and more significantly, both brakes were mushy out of the box and required bleeding which, while being a straightforward process, requires an Avid-specific bleed kit. Also, note that it's often necessary to cut your brake lines to fit your bike - if this is something you need to do, you'll need to bleed the brakes regardless.


SRAM XO technical info: For 2011, SRAM has implemented major changes to the XO group and nowhere are these revisions more noticeable than in the drivetrain. Up front, the 2x10 Truvativ XO crankset (175mm, 39T/26T, 658g) uses molded carbon fiber arms with a foam core instead of an aluminum skeleton, which is meant to save weight without sacrificing much in terms of stiffness. If the 39T/26T ring combination isn’t your cup of tea, the 2x10 crankset is also available with 28T/42T. If you're looking for a more traditional three ring setup or dual rings with an outer bash guard, you'll need to look at the 3x10 version of the crankset, which uses a different BCD than its dual ring cousin. The bottom bracket is Truvativ’s GXP model (106g, no spacers) and the test unit arrived with some super smooth bike-specific ceramic bearings and a total of eight seals that are meant to protect the internals from the elements. The bottom bracket is also available in PF30, BB30, and GXP PF configurations. Truvativ’s X-Glide alloy chainrings (39T/26T) are nicely machined and use specially positioned rivets that are designed to match the rings’ teeth with a specific part of the chain for better shifting performance. The SRAM PowerChain 1091R (257g) has chrome hardened hollow pins and is held together by SRAM’s tool free PowerLink connector. At the rear of the bike, the ten-speed 11t-36t SRAM XG 1080 cassette (242g) is a veritable work of art that is light thanks to the absence of a spider, slides smoothly and snugly onto the freehub body, and features much of the same technology as is used on the top tier 1090 cassette.


The rings use SRAM's X-Glide technology - small and large rings feature pick-up pins that are positioned to line up with the chain rivets, not the plates, which SRAM says increases both shift opportunities and shift speed.
The rings use SRAM's X-Glide technology - small and large rings feature pick-up pins that are positioned to line up with the chain rivets, not the plates, which SRAM says increases both shift opportunities and shift speed.


Shifting duties are taken care of by the newest iterations of SRAM’s highly successful trigger shifters and derailleurs. The 2x10 XO shifters (232g) used in this test rely on SRAM’s 1:1 Exact Actuation technology for shift performance to move the derailleur the same distance that the shifter cable travels during shifts – 1mm of cable travel moves the derailleur 1mm – which, SRAM claims, results in a reliable, easy to setup shifting system. The front shifter is available in 2x10 and 3x10 specific versions; the 2 speed front shifter used for this test was connected to SRAM’s XO high clamp front derailleur (136g), although it’s available in low clamp and direct mount models too. The medium cage XO rear derailleur (206g) is designed for use with the 2x10 system and is compatible with the SRAM 11t-36t cassette. The rear derailleur is also available in both short and long cage formats for downhill and 3x10 applications, respectively.

• XO rear derailleur MSRP $234 USD
• XO front derailleur MSRP $82 USD
• XO 10spd 2x10 shifter set MSRP $238 USD
• XO 1080 cassette MSRP $328 USD
• 1091R chain MSRP $76 USD
• XO crankset (2-ring, GXP) MSRP $395 USD
• GXP bottom bracket MSRP $36 USD


SRAM XO performance: Once everything was clamped onto the bike and adjusted for riding, the test rig was rolled out into the forests of southwest BC for an old-fashioned, winter beat down. Throughout the review period, the Truvativ XO crankset offered excellent performance in every condition, be it rain, sleet, snow, or sunshine. The crank arms are plenty stiff and the system provides good power transfer while coming in at a reasonable system weight. Truvativ’s GXP bottom bracket ran exceptionally smooth on its ceramic bearings and the unit has noticeably less drag than its non-ceramic counterpart. After a full winter’s riding on the trails, the crank arms are showing a little bit of wear from shoe rub and a few minor chips in the carbon’s clear coat, but nothing that’s out of line and nothing that is cause for concern. The bottom bracket was repacked a few times over the winter and is still running well: the drive side bearings remained smooth for the duration of the test; the non-drive side is running a little ragged, but is still more than acceptable. The 39T chainring took a bit of beating when it came into contact with logs and rocks, and the strikes resulted in a couple of bent teeth on one section of the ring. A bashguard would eliminate these encounters, but the profiling on the outside of the 2x10 spider prevents it from being an option.


The Truvativ XO crankset still looked good after a winter in adverse conditions.
The Truvativ XO crankset still looked good after a winter in adverse conditions.


SRAM’s XO shifters and derailleurs are consistent favourites amongst both hardcore riders and weekend enthusiasts and that popularity didn’t come about without reason. Front shifting was excellent throughout the test and the two speed front derailleur moved the chain back and forth between the 39T ring and its 26T counterpart with startling efficiency and immediacy. I’d have to let off the gas to move from the smaller ring to the larger once in a while, but shifting under load was pretty good and was easily comparable to any of the high-end offerings from other manufacturers. Overall, the gearing range on the front rings wasn’t necessarily too tall, as I had no problem making all of my regular climbs using a combination of both rings, but I did find that I was shifting out of the 39T ring and into the 26T ring earlier than I would if I were running a 36T/24T setup. This is meaningful because many full suspension frames don’t pedal as well in the smaller ring as they do in the larger one, whether they suffer from pedal feedback, pedal bob, or a similar issue. In addition to encouraging you to stay in the larger ring for longer and reaping the benefits of improved pedaling performance on your fully, a bashguard/36T/24T combo would also alleviate the chainring damage mentioned above.


The rear derailleur held up extremely well for the duration of the test and fared much better than my rear wheel.
The rear derailleur held up extremely well for the duration of the test and fared much better than my rear wheel.


Rear shifting was impressive too, and the indexed clicks between upshifts and downshifts were precise and well defined without requiring any major effort. Shifting into lower gears was smooth and nearly flawless, although, under load, the chain didn’t move into the 36t rear cog as smoothly as it did for the rest of the gearing range.

Shifter and derailleur durability was great, and everything held up admirably despite a number of crashes and some contact with immovable objects. The cassette looks very good with little appreciable wear, even on the most heavily used cogs. I was also pleased to see that SRAM has moved away from using plastic inserts with the mech's limit screws, as the little plastic sleeves were notorious for stripping under normal maintenance and it was difficult, some may say impossible, to find replacement pieces, which was pretty frustrating on a such a pricey derailleur.

The SRAM 1091R chain that was included with the XO group failed about a month after installation, breaking into numerous pieces under regular use. It’s difficult to know whether the failure was caused by improper installation, a manufacturing defect, or just bad luck, but it was replaced with a SRAM 1031 chain (267g), which has performed admirably and without fail. Also note that SRAM’s PowerLock connector isn’t as easy to remove as its 9-speed cousin so don’t rely on it to get your chain on and off the bike, especially for trailside repairs.


Avid XO brakes technical info: Avid's XO brakes sit near the top of the company's hydraulic disc brake lineup and are jam packed with nifty proprietary features that set the system apart from the competition while offering very good performance on the trail. The brake systems rely on Dot 5.1 hydraulic fluid, which doesn't boil as quickly as Dot 4 fluid and is meant to provide better fade resistance during long runs.


The Avid XO brakes look sleek and simple, but they pack a whole lot of proprietary technology into a compact body.
The Avid XO brakes look sleek and simple, but they pack a whole lot of proprietary technology into a compact body.


On the handlebars, Avid's Power Reserve Geometry is a fancy way of describing the pivot location for the carbon fiber brake lever, which is positioned close to the bar and results in a natural feeling inward movement and allows the rider to squeeze power out of the brakes when it's really needed. The levers feature an integrated reservoir and master cylinder that utilize Avid's Taperbore technology, which is designed to allow more fluid to pass through the brake, providing better control, heat management, and power than earlier versions of the company's brake systems. Adjustability has always been a hallmark of Avid's brake systems, and the XO brake levers continue to offer a good range of customizable features to ensure a good fit and feel for most riders. The XO levers forgo the Tool Free Reach Adjust that was found on the Elixir CRs in favour of the tried-and-true method of using a tiny allen wrench, but they retain the Contact Point Adjustment feature that has graced top-shelf Avid brakes for years.


The minimalist calipers do a great job of stopping the bike and are easy to work with, whether you're replacing the top-loading pads or bleeding the system during regular maintenance.
The minimalist calipers do a great job of stopping the bike and are easy to work with, whether you're replacing the top-loading pads or bleeding the system during regular maintenance.


At the wheels, the two-piece calipers feature top-loading aluminum-backed organic pads, an adjustable banjo, and Avid's well-known Tri-Align Caliper Positioning System (CPS). Avid's G3 CleanSweep rotors have eliminated the annoying 'squabble' that plagued older brake models from the manufacturer. The brakes - levers, lines, calipers, 185mm rotors, rotor bolts, no MatchMaker clamps, no adapters - weighed in at 322 grams and 345 grams for the front and rear, respectively, which is extremely competitive, but not industry leading.

• Avid XO brake MSRP $245 USD (160mm rotor, per end)


Avid XO brakes performance: Under pressure, the XO brakes performed extremely well. Compared to a number of competing two-piston braking systems on the market, I found Avid's XO brakes to be a little 'grabby' off the top, but stopping wasn't as sudden as is common in most four-piston setups. Once I'd adjusted to the brakes' modulation range, however, I had no problem keeping the brakes from locking up during descents and was able to control their power output without any problem. If and when I wanted to stop without reservation, the XO's provided ample power to slow me down with the 185mm rotors that were included with the set, and you can run them with larger or smaller rotors depending on your needs and intended use. I didn't have any issues with brake fade during the test.

I got about four months of regular trail riding out of the stock organic brake pads, which is slightly above average for me, and replacement was a piece of cake, thanks to the top-loading slots on the caliper. One of the retainer clips that hold the pads against the caliper pistons ended up mangled after being caught between the pad and the rotor, and it was a bit of a chore to find a replacement, so make sure you save your old, undamaged ones when replacing the pads.

As mentioned above, the brakes were soft out of the box and they required bleeding before being ridden on serious trails. I'm very familiar with the bleed process, but it still took me a few kicks at the can to get an acceptable feel at the lever. Also note that the bleed process requires an Avid-specific bleed kit which is not included with the brakes; it's a worthwhile purchase if you're into maintaining the stoppers on your own, but it does add a bit to the cost of the set. The bleed kit can be used on other SRAM products that rely on suspension fluid, including the XLoc remotes that are featured on the Reverb seatpost and RockShox's XX forks.



Product improvements:

• Better out of the box brake performance. Note: For 2012, SRAM has redesigned its TaperBore system and focused on providing better factory bleeds on its brakes, which should alleviate some of the brake bleeding issues that were encountered during the review process.[/li]

• More gearing options for the 2x10 crankset. Many riders will be satisfied with the 39T/26T range, but it would be nice to simply swap rings rather than the chain rings and the spider if you'd like to go with a lower range after purchase.



Pinkbike's take: SRAM's XO component group is filled with excellent parts that will meet the needs of demanding riders from every discipline, whether they're competitive cross country racers, downhilling privateers, bike park rippers, or anything in between. When used with SRAM's MatchMaker system, the cockpit controls can be tweaked so riders can position everything just where they want it, and the 2x10 drivetrain provides excellent front and rear shifting in almost any conditions and the brakes provide plenty of controlled stopping power when it's needed most. While the group isn't as light as SRAM's race-centric XX group, it's more affordable without giving up a whole lot on the performance front.

In short, everybody should try the XO groupset at some point during their riding 'careers'. Most will be floored by its performance and impressed by its durability and, depending on your style and where you ride, should provide multiple seasons worth of riding with only regular maintenance and little need for upgrading.


Check out the SRAM website to see their entire lineup.

Have you put time in on the XO components? Do you concur with Corey's impressions? Lets hear what you think - put those thoughts down below!
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114 Comments

  • + 28
 you must be shitting me 115 for a chain that breaks after a month? get this bitch out of here, why are people paying so much for this stuff is beyond me. best be made of gold for it to be worth so much. you can pretty much make shifting flawless on any lower tier components if you tune it right. my tarpon which uses shimano altus (one of the shitty-er derailleurs) shifted amazingly well for 2 months after i readjusted. hmmmm.... a screw driver ~$5 or $350 for a rear der?

but the price aside the component group looks really great, no doubt about it.
  • + 13
 Chains are tricky. Shimano 10sp chains are cheaper than SRAM. XTR costs pretty much the price of sram chain dedicated for like x7 group. I bought the Shimano SLX chain first and broke it on the second ride. You have to be a precision master when fitting on a 10sp Shimano chain. Now I have a 1050 chain which works great. I always used cheaper Sram chains and had no issues with them, as sson as I bought something more expensive like XT or hollow pin SRAM, I was walking home from some rides. You get pretty much no weight saving on expensive chains, go for cheaper ones!
  • + 12
 and you always wonder why pro racers use them as FRO (for racing only)... should be called instead OTO (one time only)
  • + 43
 or.... buy KMC and win every time!
  • + 9
 Proof to me that the tighter tolerances involved in 10 speed cassettes will shorten the life of a product and be more trouble than an extras 2 teeth are worth.
  • - 7
 Shimano.
  • + 13
 I've never had a problem with KMC chains...
  • + 16
 If the 257g chain were gold it would be worth about $13,500 USD!
  • + 3
 I have the KMC gold chains on just about every bike I have. I have experienced only one broken link in the last three years. I have had some success with the mid range SRAM chains, but the Shimano ones seem to fall apart.I have only used one "high end" SRAM chain and it seems OK, better than Shimano, but no where near as good as the KMC ones.
  • + 6
 why do i need 10speeds?
if more speeds are better i would get a sram dual drive and 3 rings up front, 81 speeds.
  • + 9
 z-man: a 10spd rear was designed to reduce the number of front gears needed, but the silly consumer has the "more is better" mentality. That is the only reason 3x10 exists. Rear shifting has always been better than front shifting, so wide range rear with 2 front rings provides less duplication of gear ratios and the ability to spend longer amounts of time in either of the front rings. I have used both 3x9 and 2x10, and the 2x10 is night and day better.As finances permit, I will be switching all the rears to 10spd, but will use the existing front cranks with 24/36 or 26/38 rings as 10spd rings become more available.
  • + 2
 ..I don't get why 10spd chains are blowing up in a MTB application... maybe people are shifting too harshly? 10spd road has been around forever!
  • + 3
 The 10 speed debate is over. Every major manufacturer will phase out performance level 9 speed over the next year or two. As for the chain, there are lots of possible reasons for the failure and I replaced it with the lower grade chain to see how it would fare under heavy use. I wasn't disappointed by the 1031 and the price is much more palatable for the 'average joe' but it's still up to the consumer to make the purchasing decision.
  • - 2
 i would not see any use in a ten speed. i don't use my front gears, and in the rear i use the 4 smallest. i never go past those. that's all that i need for riding. 10 speed begins to sound ridiculous. KMC is the best chain maker out there.
  • + 1
 I spare no expense when it comes to me and my bike, the girlfriend on the other hand. . . .I'm sure you get what you pay for thank god for wholesale or I would never be able to get a full XO set up.
  • + 2
 The XO's pricing in this article was an error on our part... check out the revised, and much lower, USD MSRP's that make more sense. Sorry for the mix up!
  • - 8
 less is more

any one else think that for a "top end" gear set, it looks sooo cheap an plasticky..?

XTR is beautifull compared
  • - 2
 76 for a chain is not any better. got mine for 12 bucks the other day. same chain as on my dh and xc bikes which have been good for 3 years or more
  • + 1
 Revised? I still see $1400 USD for a drive train!!! Come on mike, typo or not this sh!t is ridiculous. I pay for my parts. Sense? Let's be realistic.
  • + 1
 I too pay for my parts. The XO stuff is close in pricing to an XTR drive train and I'll take my XO over XTR. At that price it might not be for everyone but it's more than feasible for enough riders out there.
  • + 1
 76 is still ALOT for a chain
  • + 1
 heh X0 is pricey as hell yes... you can get XTR pimped up with most of Yumeya kit for that price (which is stupid anyways). The more important issue is: who the fk needs the XX gruppo?!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 I've only used last years X0 and, IMO, nothing beats it. I've used XTR and although I do like the double down shifts, the "bolt action" shift clicks feel superb and so reassuring when in use. Sometimes I click my shifters with Shimano, and although it is lovely and smooth, you often wonder if you actually have changed gear! X0, its CLICK, right into gear and on with the shredding.

If I were to buy a new groupset for my bike, it would be SRAM, no questions asked
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I switched from Shimano to Sram buying x7shifter and x9 rear mech. I was very dissappointed, couldn't get this religion around SRAM shift quality. Tried 10sp XTR of some guy I met on trail and it felt way better. I just bought x0 shifter and I'm speechless... I still don't believe that Sram shifts any faster than Shimano, but the feel is just amazing. Shifting is distinctive as hell, both on upshifts and on downshifts - exactly what I was always looking for. There are different likes regarding smooth or finger kicking shifting - but I like the second option. Too bad you can buy XTR shifter and XT rear mech for the price of X0 shifter...
  • + 1
 you should've got an x9 shifter and an x7 der in the 1st place. only difference from x7 to x9 in the der. is materials and weight, but the shifter is 1000x better
  • + 1
 I have an X7 shifter and X9 rear mech and it works fine for me!
  • + 2
 sure X7 works fine. I had 1998 XTR which is bloody amazing, still going strong, crisp and precise after so many years .Tried 9sp X7s and X9s and it was like: ok for this quality I can give Sram a try. But then X7 10sp shifter is not as good as 9sp x7. Downshifts are great no probs with that. But upshift is soft and doesn't feel precise + lever is done from thin plastic + it has a some pretty bad play that cannot be reduced - a thing that can happen in x5 maybe, and comparing to Shimano such stuff barely happens in Alivio. Haven't tried X9 10sp shifters but as they look the same I thought that they are not much better than X7s. So I decided to put a fortune on X0, but now I'm happy with them
  • + 1
 ^^ dom69foco speaks the truth = Sram X-7 shifters feel like cr*p compared to the higher end X-9 shifters Wink



SRAM X-9 (or X-0) shifters with SRAM X-7 rear mech is the hot tip for bulletproof performance and a rear mech that is affordable to replace in a crash (which often happens in MTB)


my all-mountain bike uses 9-speed with X-9 right shifter pod, X-0 left shifter pod (a customer gave me this unwanted item), Shimano XTR front mech and X-7 mid cage rear mech with PG-990 cassette, PG-971 chain and Shimano SLX HT2 cranks running bashguard / 36T / 28T setup

never had any issues with shifting performance, shift action feels really solid, and its proven very reliable during long periods of mud, snow and rain soaked mountain biking here in the UK; my Shimano HT2 bottom bracket has finally gone graunchy on the non-driveside after 23 MONTHS of abuse!

I have not had to replace the gear cable or index the gears since installation!

X-0 shifters do make sense to me because the aluminium paddles feel more solid than the plastic paddles on X-9...but I'll always use the cheaper X-7 or X-9 rear mechs and always use Shimano front mechs and HT2 cranksets

my buddy is running Sram 10-speed on his all-mountain bike, and has had nothing but ongoing problems with poor shift indexing (he said its as unreliable as his jump bike which runs Shimano Saint 9-speed)
  • + 1
 10 speed is great for those wanting one chainring up front to ride trails and AM. 1x10 feels better than 1x9, not only thanks to two more teeth on biggest cog in the rear, but also smoother gear ratio ramp up. Tried both and 10sp feels much better. If you ask me I see no point for 10sp even in 2ring up front setup. 2x9 is perfectly fine. As for DH it's pretty clear that 6, 7 speed is more than enough, and lot's of people on their DH bikes could be good with singlespeed
[Reply]
  • + 4
 i ride with a single chainring with 9 gears, i ride everywhere i go on that set up. 11-34 rear and 36 up front, that is all you need. this 10x 2 or 10x3 is alot of shite. just a gimik. the chain is too narrow and will break in no time. i don't see the need for tripple ring front ends either...your quicker walkin.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 This is a pretty disappointing review. I can't say I'm that critical of a broken chain when I see the rear wheel of the test bike with several broken spokes. And a wheel built with alloy nips? Come on. And a carbon crankset that's ostensibly recommended for all uses but it can't take a bashguard? Thumbs down, PB. This is an XC racing/weight-weenie trail-riding group. Please help other readers, and point out these limits. Also, getting the prices correct before publishing is muy importante.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I must say i bouth an XO derailleur way back in 2002 and that thing is still as crisp as the day i got it. Ive used it for XC racing and DH racing on everyone of the bikes ive had in the last 10 year and when the day comes to buy a new derailleur I know where my moneys going. Ive bashed this thind on rocks and its removed to hangers from both a turner DHR and a Scott nitrous and still works fine. So imo these things are worth every penny. also on the cranksets these things are essentially truvativ's and ive only ran stylo teams on all of my bikes in the same time frame and never had a problem with them either.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 well I have my point of view, SRAM chains work and last a loooot more than Shimano, even XTR, I has been using them years and years, never broke one. Shifters, X9 is over all the brands and models, X0 is a X9 shifter but more fragile, need more maint, X9 is more robust in the parts and can hold more abuse, shifting is exact, you push the lever and the chain go in one jump, no jumping chain like Shimano, I has been using a X9 set up for more than a year without need of change cables or adjustment like my old Shimanos. In the back of my bike X9 again, some friends of mine gotX0 because is the top of the line (before xx) and the equipment tend to wear more fast than the X9 even XTR, so I decided to go 1 level below and like I told, no problems in years. Brakes, well Shimano previous generations are not a very good reference, but after Juicies 7 and Ultimate that I used, I think the Elixir are loosing in some parts. My Elixirs has been rebuild many times because wore parts than any brake before, even the paint is a crap, with sweat and bleeding (even well cleaned after it) it came off like flakes, the calipers has been in parts several parts because the piston seals are crap also. So my experience, X9 drivetrain is perfect, elixirs no way.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 After taking a older bike from 8 to 9 speeds I'm wondering why I bothered, it seems harder to adjust, harder to stay adjusted and at times I shift and since the gears are so close can't even feel the difference in the new gear. I would imagine 10 speed would be even worse. Not sold at all, wishing I could find high end 8 speed these days that is just bullet proof shifting like the old stuff was !
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Thanks for the review. Sounds like XO is still consistently good while Avid brakes are still also consistently good (performance) and notably bad (needs bleeding out of the box). Ironic that you also had a RockShox Reverb - did that need bleeding out of the box also? Good headsup
  • + 3
 I didn't have a Reverb and the remote was for the XX Revelation. It does need frequent bleeding (every few weeks) but the process takes under two minutes.
  • + 1
 I will never get the remote lockout thing... Lockout is strange for me in general especially considering latest development in xc fork dampers. If your trails allow you to make use of lockout (like most XC racing courses), then they also allow you to run a stiff fork, so you can save yourself some weight instead of using suspension fork. this is mountain biking not mounatin roadie'ing
[Reply]
  • + 6
 How much for a cassette !? Blimey !!
  • + 8
 Chain costs more than the front mech Eek
  • + 4
 hahhahahaha the prices hahahahhaha!!!
  • + 3
 Indeed marquis and the replacement chain, PC1031, is half the price of the 1091R( £32.99, but £18.99 online) and "performed admirably and without fail" and although it is 10g heavier, I still can't see why you would spend so much for a chain!!

It might also be worth noting that Shimano's top tier XTR is around £60 less than SRAM's second tier X.0 and IMO works just as well, if not better and there is no splitting carbon fibre to worry about.

Anyways, just my 2p worth...
  • + 1
 I like the cn-7701 and find it more than capable.
  • + 2
 @ryan: XO is equivalent to XTR line wise. XX is like the Yumeya (sp?) XTR.

SRAM MSRP is rediculous, but street prices are cheaper than Shimano in most cases. XO crank is 2/3 the price of XTR in mt LBS. I just bought an X9 rear 10spd for $80.00.
  • + 1
 The original prices in this review were a typo, our mistake. The cassette has an MSRP of $328 USD.
  • + 5
 ^^ WOW is that all I will have 1 for each of my bikes then please..
What a mugs game , these prices are just a joke , companies are laughing their cocks off at us you know ...you take any of this junk to an engineering place and they will laugh till they drop at the pricing.
There is not one thing they can do to justify these prices , yeah they might be high quality and they may be light but it in no way makes up for the pricing.
  • + 1
 Still, $328 USD is a heck of a lot just for a cassette. I'm quite happy with my Shimano Deore Cassette at £17.99. It weighs a ton, but it goes on for years showing very little signs of wear. In my book, there is very little you can do to justify charging $328 USD for a cassette.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Ceramic bearings in the bb and one side was a lil raggy after a couple months use. Sorry but I dont think how anyone can find that acceptable, especially for the extra price. The truvativ bbs have always been crap and that seems to follow the trend.
  • + 1
 2 months in NS winter conditions is about right.I used to ride offroad moto on the Alberta side of the Rockies and we would go through 3-4 sets of wheel bearings and 2-3 sets of fork seals per season because of the muskeg. I just wouldn't use a ceramic BB in conditions where replacement is so frequent.
  • + 1
 Well, the bb was 'a lil raggy' after five months of winter riding. I get about 3-4 months out of Shimano and RaceFace bottom brackets and I have a King bb that felt similar to the Truvativ one over a similar time period. Both the King and Truvativ units can be repacked easily.
  • + 1
 Guess it's your riding style and whether or not your frame has been faced. I personally ran a road external bb on my suburban for a year without problems. It hasn't got a faced bb shell either.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 love the performance but hate the price. how about a review for the X9 or X7? i bet most people would be getting those instead.
  • + 2
 The XO's pricing in this article was an error on our part... check out the revised, and much lower, USD MSRP's that make more sense. Sorry for the mix up!
  • + 2
 thanks for the update mike! for awhile there, the prices for the crankset and chain were astronomical. prices looks better now. makes me wonder how the X9 and X7 will be more within reach to us mere mortals. hopefully you guys can do an awesome review on those as well. cheers!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I built a superfly elite at work the other day (I work at the local Trek store), that had all X0 componentry, and to be completely honest, this stuff blew my mind. I've never been a Sram fan, but these components were simply amazing to work with, the tuning was so precise! not like any of the garbage Sram I work with a lot (lower X groups). I really didn't expect this to be sooo much better than every Sram product I've worked with thus far. Gave me a whole new outlook. I still like my XTR better though.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So SRAM are still fooling people into thinking the CPS gimmick works. Shame on them.

That said, I was under the impression that Avid has squealing issues with the old Roundagon rotors, not the G2s. I have the G2s (185mm) and haven't had much issue with them. I have had issues with sticky pistons.

I use X0 shifters (fantastic) with an X7 RD, with a Shimano Ultrega cassette and a compatible chain. No issues and way cheaper.
  • + 1
 yea I am wondering why someone would buy X0 rear mech. Price is killing and looking at X9 I have no idea what more can you expect. X9 is superlight by all standards and strong as hell. I got a stick into that pushed the cage got into spokes. I was riding slow, yet still the rear mech came out of that without any harm, while a pretty massive hanger on my Nomad got properly bent. X7 rmech seems not much worse or might even be the same, but yes honestly I took X9 to match my bike graphic scheme Razz
  • + 3
 CPS has NEVER worked for me. I always end up lining up the caliper by eye, usually driving myself crazy in the process.
  • + 1
 @dirtydroog: I'm not sure why you think it's a gimmick.

I've had mixed results with the CPS system in the past but, for whatever reason, it worked fine with the X0 brake which was what was under review here. I'm not convinced that CPS is an improvement on what's available from other manufacturers but it worked over and over in this case.
  • + 2
 as a pro mechanic, I am not a big fan of the CPS mounting because it seems to result in a lot of customers not setting their Avid brakes up properly, and the brakes constantly squealing, feeling a little spongy (despite good bleeds) or developing wear and tear as one piston is doing more work than the other!

Avid's method of loosening the CPS and spinning the wheel, then tightening the CPS (and perhaps repeating this procedure) rarely achieves a good setup, you end up doing it manually by eye!

I'd prefer to see the disc mount faced properly, and the CPS replaced with suitable height spacers, to guarantee a parallel piston / brake pad to the disc rotor

if inboard lateral adjustment is needed, you can always shim the disc brake mount adapter (as old brakes did)
  • + 1
 Fair enough. I prefer your method too, but I still got decent results on these calipers with SRAM's recommended method.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 After running Sram XX cranks for a year with a lot of frustration I switched a 1x10 setup with a MRP Lopes guide. The problem with SRAM's double cranksets is that you will drop the chain when going downhill. It happened to me over and over resulting in numerous chain replacements due to bent links. On my other bike I run a double up front with a bash and Blackspire roller. In my experience running a double with no bash or guide simply won't keep the chain on.
  • + 1
 yes these xcx guides are a pretty hipster idea, you will drop the chain anyways, it's just that you can get it back by pedalling. Still unreliable as hell, I can't imagine myself checking if the chain is on everytime I want to push hard on the pedals as a root ladder grows in front of me. Lopes guide seems great for those who don't ride in too rocky area. I would definitely use it in my hometown, where there's a small chance of hitting something with BB. But where I live now I need a G2 Mini SL for riding XC. If I had no taco my chainring and chain would be like Salvadore D'Ali painting
[Reply]
  • + 4
 but did the XO brakes squeal all the time? because that seems to be a common theme with the avid brakes I've worked on.
  • + 1
 they put the blame on the rotors. check out the rotors on the new XX. they'll be using holes instead of slots on the rotors kinda like shimanos. in short, they might be replacing the G3 rotors soon.
  • + 1
 I've got X.0 brakes and use Hope floating rotors,they a amazing and strong can stop u every time when u want,i'm happy using them.I'ts recommended for everyone and no expenses was spared at the brakes Big Grin
  • + 1
 I have 2 sets of 2010 avid brakes (elixir cr mag, and elixir cr) the rotors suck on both of them, you feel the slotted holes pulse the pads as you brake, its called warble I believe. On my trail bike its not too big of an issue because they are 160mm and braking is not as serious usually, but on my DH bike you can really feel it, I will be switching both of the bikes to Shimano rotors very soon as I already have the rotors and just need to install them.
  • + 1
 @rasterman if you fixed yourself splined Shimano rotors then you should be very satisfied - work smooth and are very resistant to bending. Last weekend a nasty stone hit my rotor, making an ugly curb in it, yet there is a very very little bend. I just took pliers, made it pretty perfect, filed all the scratched stuff down and it's good. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
  • + 1
 The brakes used in the test were quiet with no pulsing at the rotors. I'm very familiar with this trait after running numerous different Avid brakes over the past few years, so I'd definitely have pointed it out had it been present.
  • + 1
 if the rotors were squeaking you should just put a dab of oil on them. 80% of the time, works everytime.
  • + 1
 tips for getting the cable in the right place? mines drooping onto the tyre no amount of adjusting the lever works. im thinking hairdryer to soften a littleand zipties to set in place. and some gentle massaging
  • + 1
 2 things, DO NOT LUBE YOUR BRAKE PADS AND ROTOR. it might make then quieter but it'll also reduce their stopping power.

stpguy, if you can post some pictures of your brakes I may be able to give you some advice, but don't lube the pad. Smile
  • + 1
 managed to sort it. i hooked it back over the stem and ziptied it onto the toptube for a few hours. just long enough for it to set higher up. cheers though
  • + 1
 robot: it must have something to do with the angle at which the caliper is to the rotor, it is a design flaw in the rotor IMO, the holes in the rotor are just too damn big, the design of the Shimano and Formula rotors are superior IMO with many smaller holes.

BTW holes in rotors are a total load of crap as far as brake cooling and performance are concerned. Holes only reduce the thermal mass of the rotor and cause them to heat faster, they also reduce the contact area of the rotor reducing braking force. They also allow dirt and debris to be lodged in the rotor and pads more easily. It seems a better rotor design would be solid and smaller and if your rotors are overheating get rotors with fans.
www.xtremeimportperformance.com/tech-page/cross-drilled-rotors-myth
  • + 1
 Almost right but,when a disc and the pads heat up they produce a gas,the holes are there to allow the gas to be compressed into the holes so your not trying to compress the gas whilst braking. Most holes in mtb discs are just a means of saving weight.
  • + 2
 WARNING!!! WARNING!!! NERD CONTENT!
  • + 1
 bit late there matey
  • + 1
 hey I think it is great that people who know details about how bikes work are whiling to share it openly online.

I'm trying to figure out in my head how gas is produced, is that just a heat and air thing plus compression thing?
  • + 1
 No idea lol but some dude on a programme said the holes were there for the gas and that was about it,at a guess it could be the material of the pad as it heats up maybe.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ok I just took my S-Works out to Marshal Canyon this past weekend and I had 4 problems with my chain coming off....I just bouight the bike so it was tunes upon purchase and this was my 4th ride on it. All the problems were when i was about to go up hill and i was shiftinh either from the big ring to the little one or changing the rear cog. This pretty much pissed me off on this ride...but once the crap was fixed the bike work flawless going down or doing med climbs but I don't the WTF ws happening there when I was had load on the cranks and trying to shift....it failed on the most important part of mtbing.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Is it just me, or is that height adjust seatpost actuator on the SRAM Matchmaker piece?
Cause if so, make them in anodized colors and sell me one.....
[Reply]
  • - 1
 My Specialized Pitch came with a mix of Avid Brakes and X7/X9 Shift components ..... after 6 months I kicked it all off and put on Shimano SLX !!! Shifting on SRAM was a pain in the ass, always having to adjust it, getting mis-shifts and jumps all the time. haven't touched the SLX's since I put them on. Next up are the brakes. Juicy's are just so spongy, especially the back ( even after bleeding ! ) Putting on a set of Saints and back to Mineral Oil ... no more DOT crap .
A Friend of mine had a brand new bike with an XO Chainset. 4 Months of riding, he shifts to the small Ring .... and it wasn't there anymore !!!! The bolts had broken !!!! Never ever heard of that happening before ... on anything !
Sorry SRAM, but the quality is not up to scratch, and the prices are off the Planet ! Get a grip here and get Shimano.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Haven' had to adjust my x0 shifter - x9 derailleur combo in 11 months. Good stuff. But of course that is 9 speed . . .
  • + 2
 I agree X0+X9 is an awesome combo, you pay for quality. I've had 0 problems with my X0 derailleur and X9 shifter in over 2 years of use with minimum maintenance. I dont even think i've had to adjust it.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I have to bleed new stupid expensive brakes?? ridiculous..
[Reply]
  • + 2
 So the spider profiling means there's no way to fit a bash to 2x10 X0? Is that also true of the 2012 cranks?
  • + 2
 nope... go for 1x10 if you are a gravity man... you can also get stuff like MRP xcg tripple for this 2x? setup, so you don't need the bash at all.
  • + 2
 I have the xcg triple on my mojo SL with XX crank. I had to mount the polycarbonate glide plate on the back of the boomerang rather than the front to clear the 38T ring, but it is clean and light. No damaged teeth. The blackspire chain retention devices will work as well. www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=17282 While not a bash, it solves the chain jumping common on 6" travel bikes. I have one of these on my Titus El Guapo and it is pretty slick.

Warren
  • + 1
 If you want to run a 2x10 + bash, you'll need to pick up the 3x10 option and run two rings on it.
  • + 2
 I picked up an MRP XCG in April and have to say it's as sweet as sliced bread on my 2x10 set up = works great!
  • + 1
 PB should have pointed out that 1x10 is a VERY viable option for fit riders. Run an XCG and away you go. Lighter, simpler to boot!
  • + 1
 XCG with 1x10?! qua?
  • + 1
 XCG is available in more than just the Triple config. Run it with a single for the sake of simplicity. With a 10sp cassette, many riders will have plenty of gear for their trails.
  • + 1
 I guess you mean XCX, with XCG and no front mech or whatever holding the chain in the upper part you will pretty much... fail Big Grin


XCX is also not that fantastic, it's a semi-solution for smooth trails - you drop chain from time to time, just as you would do with the front mech, not only by backpedalling. With the front mech it's more likely, yet, the chain will drop to the granny, and you will make few chaotic spins - with XCX you will bend the chain and the chainring if you press hard enough.As long as you fancy checking whether the chain is on before pressing hard on the pedals, it's fine. I don't even mention that some fancy anodized chainrings will meet their fate when cranked over some rocky trails. I personally like full reliability and run G2 mini and could eventualy run away with Lopes CG
  • + 1
 Thanks for the real-world feedback, WAKI. Good to know. You might have me there, on the product description. I'll keep researching solutions for my Sortie Black as I plan to go 10-sp when my 9sp XO cassette wears out. Currently I never use the 44T, and I used an XTR 10-sp Sortie last year and was stoked to complete a 30+ mile trail ride without shifting out of the middle ring.

Are you running 1x10?
  • + 1
 1x10 32x11/36 and mrp g2 mini
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Single-speed FTW! Take 2 lbs and $1300 off your bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I miss the uber nice anodised XO rear derailleurs like the Redwin. The black is boring
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  • + 2
 What frame is that?? it looks pretty groovy
  • + 5
 Banshee - Spitfire Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Damm $2230,93 USD for the whole groupset incl brakesEek ,that's serious expensive.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Three cheers for alloy nipples! Oh wait, no cheers.
  • + 1
 You saw that too? Mangled wheel. Nice.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Is that height adjust seatpost button on the Matchmaker mount??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 there are several DOT 4 fluids that have higher boiling temps then DOT 5.1
  • + 2
 Agreed. Dot rating is more about stability eg, resistance to dissolving air. In practise, Dot 4 or 5.1 makes no difference whatsoever in a MTB brake, in my experience.
  • + 2
 i havent noticed a difference w/ 5.1 or 4 in the same brake either. DOT 4 is usually easier to find too
[Reply]
  • + 2
 not for dh!!!!
  • + 2
 True story. Companies are stocking these brakes on DH bikes and they are NOT strong enough. 2 Master cylinders and 3 bleeds in 2 months. Just saying.
  • + 1
 Nor are carbon cranks that cannot accommodate bash guards.
  • + 1
 i have elixsir cr carbons and they work fine no problems yet... altho i don't trust the carbon levers yet Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 My xo rear der broke in half within a month, they did replace it though.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 fuck a ten speed
[Reply]

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