Determining what constitutes a good value in the world of mountain biking can be a tricky proposition. There's a difference between something offering a good value versus solely being inexpensive; it's a matter of judging a product's price and performance against other options in that category. For instance, a set of $1,000 carbon wheels could be a good value when compared to options that cost three times as much, even though that's still a bunch of money to spend on wheels.
This year, our picks for best value included Marzocchi's Z1 fork, SRAM's NX drivetrain, and OneUp's dropper post.
SRAM's NX drivetrain makes it possible for even more riders to benefit from a wide-range 12-speed cassette, and further solidifies the death of the front derailleur in the mountain bike world. The entire group (shifter, derailleur, cassette, cranks, chainring, and chain) is priced at $375 USD, which is less that than SRAM's top-tier XX1 cassette alone.
Yes, there is a weight penalty, and the gear range isn't quite as wide as the higher end Eagle offerings due to the use of a 11-50 instead of a 10-50-tooth cassette, but that's about it as far as downsides go – the shifting is quick and crisp, with a feel that isn't dramatically different than those pricier options.
There's also the fact that NX Eagle doesn't require an XD driver – the cassette works with either a SRAM or Shimano splined freehub, which means that riders looking to upgrade from a 10- or 11-speed setup won't need to shell out for a new driver body. The launch of NX pushed SRAM even further ahead of Shimano when it comes to offering a complete selection of 12-speed drivetrains, and it's going to be an increasingly common spec choice on entry-level performance mountain bikes next season.
Thanks to its reasonable price and a solid performance out on the trail, SRAM's NX gruppo earns the title of Pinkbike's Best Value Product of the Year.