Component of the Year WinnerThe last few years have seen a flurry of frame design changes – everything from wheelsize to axle spacing has been tweaked in some way, sometimes to the vexation of riders who thought the bike they'd just bought would last at least a few seasons before being out of date. That onslaught of new standards may be part of the reason why 2016 was relatively quiet as far as radically different components go – the dust from all of those changes was still settling, which meant that this wasn't the year the pipe dream of a light, affordable, and efficient gearbox came to fruition, or that a completely pinch-flat resistant tire casing was developed. Maybe someday.
There were still plenty of exciting and new products in the running for Component of the Year, though, and it was SRAM's Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, OneUp's drivetrain conversion kit, and Fox's Transfer dropper post that ended up as the final contenders. Without further ado, the winner is...
The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but by all appearances SRAM's Eagle 12-speed drivetrain will be the final nail in the coffin for the front derailleur. With a 500% gear range, thanks to the 10-50 tooth spread of the rear cassette, any remaining reasons for running more than one chain ring up front have pretty much been squelched.
Yes, the complete Eagle drivetrain is relatively expensive – after all, it's SRAM's flagship, highest end group – but the Eagle will be flying on 2017's hottest bikes, and it's surely a sign of things to come at a more attainable pricepoint. There's also the fact that SRAM's dedication to 1x drivetrains has created a thriving aftermarket accessory scene, with multiple small operations churning out conversion kits to allow riders to expand the range of their existing drivetrains. Without SRAM taking the idea of a 50-tooth cassette cog mainstream, those smaller companies would be having a much more difficult time hawking their wares. The end result? Riders have loads of choices these days when it comes to ditching the front derailleur, which is a good thing.
But let's not get too far off topic – it's time to shift the focus back to the Eagle drivetrain. The massive range is the biggest talking point, but as was mentioned in the long-term review
, “it's the little things like the improved B-knuckle, the elimination of the narrow wide teeth on the derailleur's upper pulley wheel, and the revised chainring profile that help make this SRAM's best mountain bike drivetrain yet.” Those details serve to create a crisp shifting, very quiet drivetrain, one that can be called into action aboard everything from an XC race bike to an enduro machine. Pinkbike’s Take:
|SRAM's Eagle group is the best off-the-shelf 1x drivetrain currently on the market, an achievement that earns it the title of Pinkbike's Component of the Year. - Mike Kazimer|
Click here for information about the judging and selection criteria for Pinkbike's Year-End Awards