SRAM X01 DH - Review

Dec 29, 2014 at 21:00
Dec 29, 2014
by Mike Levy  
 
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The online mountain bike scene nearly had a complete meltdown when SRAM finally released all the details of their seven speed, downhill-specific X01 DH group, something that they had been teasing the public with by having their BlackBox racers aboard it in the preceding months. Given that this was their long awaited answer to Shimano's Saint group, and that it sports a much asked for chopped down cassette, all the fuss was pretty much to be expected. I got to put a few days on the new group in March, but it wasn't until this summer that I finally got my paws on a complete test group in order to see how it functions in the real world. Individual prices for each component are listed below, but a complete group (shifter, derailleur, cranks, cassette, chain) starts at $1,100 USD if you add it all up, plus $97 for the XD driver if your wheel doesn't already have it installed. www.sram.com @SramMedia

SRAM X01DH group


The $277 USD derailleur sports a shorter cage and modified low-limit stop geometry compared to the eleven speed version, and it's available in two cage lengths: a short and a medium that will cover the chain growth of every downhill bike on the market. Many will be able to use the short cage model, but bikes with a more rearward axle path than usual, such as Canfields, should be fitted with the longer of the two options. SRAM modified their fourth generation shifter with a revised stamped steel ratchet wheel sporting four less teeth, which is a relatively simple way to go about it. The $143 USD shifter sports the same ergonomics as found on SRAM's other offerings, with an adjustable thumb lever, two-position mounting, and is also Matchmaker compatible.

SRAM X01DH group


SRAM's X-DOME cassette is arguably the crown jewel of both the XX1 and X01 component groups, with its extensively machined away steel construction and aluminum large cog / backplate combo making for an extremely light finished product. The very same manufacturing methods have been used to create the seven speed X01 DH cassette, with the finished product weighing just 136 grams. That's a bit lighter than their top tier eleven speed RED cassette, and thirty three grams less than Shimano's Dura-Ace offering, although having four less cogs obviously works in X01 DH's favour. Weight isn't the real story here, though, with the relatively large jumps between those seven cogs, yet featuring the same spacing as their 11 speed blocks, counting for much more than a handful of grams being shed. How so? SRAM says that they have data showing that racers are double shifting - grabbing two gears per shift - over fifty percent of the time when running a standard road bike cassette, something that points towards those cassettes having far too closely spaced gearing jumps to be ideal for downhill racing.

Fractions of seconds are lost while slightly easing up on power during those double shifts, which adds up over a short race time. No, that's clearly not going to be all that important point a casual rider or sport-class racer, but consider that the sharp end of a World Cup downhill field is often on the same second and you can begin to see why it might matter. SRAM tested and settled on a 10 - 12 - 14 - 16 - 18 - 21 - 24 spread, as well as an integrated spoke guard that attaches in the same manner as the large 42 tooth cog on their XX1 and X01 cassettes. The $303 USD cassette is also compatible with the same $97 XD driver bodies that their 11 speed cassettes require.

SRAM X01DH group


The group's carbon cranks are carried over versions of the X0 DH arms that were previously available, and they come in 165, 170, and 175mm lengths. Weight varies depending on the bottom bracket used, but expect a sub-800 gram total when it's all put together. The X-Sync chain rings are available in 30, 32, 34, and 36 tooth sizes to fit the drive side crank's 94mm BCD, or you could run SRAM's new spider-less rings as well. GXP compatible setups retail for $315 USD, while BB30 version go for $347 USD.


SRAM X01 DH

Yes, the Antidote Lifeline DH has chain guide tabs. No, I didn't mount a guide. I didn't drop a chain once, but you should still run a guide.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesI know what you're thinking: why the hell do you need a downhill-specific drivetrain when the one you have works just fine? The answer is that you probably don't need it if you're recreational descender, and you most likely won't be thinking that the X01 DH is the drivetrain equivalent of the second coming of Christ if you don't go up against the clock at a relatively high level of competition. But, as with anything that's built with a very specific purpose in mind instead of a bunch of different uses, X01 DH most certainly does perform better on a downhill bike than the current norm of combining a bunch of drivetrain bits from different groups. The two most obvious benefits include its ability to remain ridiculously quiet when you're smashing your way over rough ground, even without a chain guide fitted (more on that below, so don't get upset with me yet), and bang-bang-bang snappy shifting that has more traditional setups feeling a bit wishy washy. I remember having to add foam or rubber protection all over frames in order to keep chain slap noise down, but I spent exactly zero minutes doing that on our Antidote Lifeline DH test bike that I bolted the X01 DH group to, and it was likely the quietest setup that I've ever ridden. Don't they say that a quiet bike is a fast bike? Shifting across the cassette feels extremely positive, even compared to SRAM's other single-ring groups, and the 10 - 24 spread felt spot on for use on a downhill bike. I'd argue that going from ten or eleven cogs to seven, and thereby getting a more focused gear range and having to shift less, is likely small beans to a casual downhiller who doesn't race on a regular basis, but it was pretty obvious to me that I was shifting less than I would be if I had another three or four cogs, and when it comes to a downhill bike the less shifting the better.

The photo above shows the X01 DH group without a chain guide, which is clearly going to stir the pot, but it's also how I ran the drivetrain for the entire time I had it. Yes, the Antidote Lifeline DH frame does have tabs for a chain guide, and yes, you'd be an idiot to not run some type of chain guide on your downhill bike, especially if you're spending money to be in the bike park or race on a regular basis. That said, I wanted to be a bit of an idiot when testing the X01 DH group, if only to see how long I'd go before dropping a chain... and I'm still waiting for it to fall off. Plenty of days in the bike park and shuttles on my local mountains have not seen the chain bounce off, but that doesn't mean I'd recommend doing the same to anyone else. In fact, don't do the same. Use a guide so that you can't blame me if your chain does fall off, especially considering that some bikes and some riders are going to be more prone to causing trouble.

I can't really grumble when it comes to anything about X01 DH's performance, which is exactly how it should be given the group's singleminded focus. The one caveat here is that this is an expensive drivetrain that, for the most part, needs to be used together as a whole, at least when it comes to the driver, cassette, shifter, and derailleur. However, I do question if the average downhiller who does some shuttles on the weekend would be spending their money in the right place by picking up an entire X01 DH group to replace their standard nine or ten-speed setup. A competitive downhiller, on the other hand, will benefit from the system's relative low weight, quiet action and, most importantly, the on-point gearing range that won't see you double or even triple-shifting at times. - Mike Levy


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164 Comments

  • + 65
 Seems to be a lot of dead space behind the cassette. Why not shorten the freehub body (driver.....or whatever SRAM call it....), increase the distance between the hub flanges and increase rear wheel strength?
  • + 95
 Because that would make sense, and we can't have things that make sense.

DT Swiss did do it the right way though, but it was on a 135mm hub and not the usual 150mm ones used in DH bikes. But even with a narrower hub, it still had a wider flange spacing than most 150mm DH hubs.
www.pinkbike.com/news/DT-Swiss-7-Speed-Downhill-Hub-First-Look-sea-otter-2011.html
  • + 16
 I was thinking the same thing...

I would guess they didn't want to invent ANOTHER new freehub body so were stuck with the existing XD standard. Understandable. I can imagine the outrage if they tried to release an "XD mini" standard.

From an engineering standpoint you're right, there is some benefit to be had here from a new hub design. Current singlespeed hubs do something similiar (www.dtswiss.com/Components/Hubs-MTB/240s-6) albeit with the normal splined cassette interface. As far as I can tell there is nothing to stop somebody from making a 12x150mm (or whatever spacing you want) hub that fits the bottom 7 cogs off a normal cassette. This should really be pretty trivial for a major hub manufacturer, its only a matter of adjusting the spacing.

Anybody want to start a business?
  • + 28
 Could you imagine the uproar if they developed yet another new hub standard?

Even though it serves a purpose and makes a lot of sense, we'd all be the first to have a whinge at a new Sram specific rear hub.
  • + 10
 I was thinking about the hope pro 2 trials, slam 6 of your choice on the hub and also get a stronger wheel because of the zero dish design. It comes in 12x142. They should do a 150x12 for DH things with the same concept.
  • + 5
 ...which will force potential buyers to change their rear hub also. I'm not an economist, but it looks like reducing factor for the number of factual buyers.

Edit: just noticed that there should be an XD driver. Validity of my argument starts lowering =\
  • + 5
 Atomlab is going to, or already did. There was a short bit about it in one of the interbike articles I think.
  • + 1
 I'm thinking now about the 10sp X01. Yeah, it can buy you about 3 or 4 zees and 2 saints but I see the improvement in the shift time and quality. Every experience with sram has seen a more crisp and faster shift than shimano though, but if it is worth the 4x price tag? maybe, just maybe...
  • + 1
 A good idea, but I think wheel manufacturers would go crazy if a "XD DH" driver was released. At least the XD driver is the same width as a conventional 9/10 spd freehub, a 7sp version would require new hub bodies and unless Shimano offered something similar it would never catch on.
  • + 15
 I can. In IT we say that "Standards are like toothbrushes. Everyone thinks they're a good idea but nobody wants to use someone else's"
  • + 2
 I've been running a tsp conversion for two years now. Granted its ghetto! remove the first 3upper cogs from the cassette and replace them with 2 x old tsp cassette spacers (or whatever spacers you have in your tool box) and hey presto.....

Simply, adjust the reach of the rear mech by pulling/Adjusting the gear cable length to that of the mech on the new first gear and tune in. Worked perfectly fine on both the X0 and ZEE set up I had on the old bike.

Now though, I have sold the old race bike and I currently have the new demo on order (landing in the UK mid February) and i'll be loaded with this group set. I totally see the benefits of this system and to be honest, I also see the argument that this won't be bought or used by your average rider/racer. If its too pricey for people, thats ok, stick to what you can afford replace as and when.

Spacing/sizing of the rear hubs???? Specialized have again, returned there S-works frame to a 135mm rear spacing for a third year. Why invent a new industry standard when you have sizes that already work on the market. Granted, you may find some teams that are sponsored by hub/wheel companies will maybe trial/test new ideas but I really doubt they'd introduce yet another standard to the cheese board.
  • + 4
 Because that will move your RD inwards and hard to catch the rocks. That's not what the sales dept wants.
  • + 6
 OneUp Team, assemble!
  • + 9
 Good for you. You obviously make enough to get well... close.. to a domain name that sounds legit. A+++ would con again.
  • + 2
 do you really want another freehub or rear axle standart????
I think not!
  • + 5
 Nukeproof do a short cassette version of the generator, it has a wider flange spacing. All you need to do is remove a few cogs from your standard 9 or 10 speed cassette and limit out your derailleur.
  • + 4
 I'm more impressed with One Up than all this big $ stuff.
  • + 2
 new hub standards are coming, whether we like it or not. we've been making compromises since we stopped widening the dropouts at 8 speed, & with rim sizes getting bigger, flanges need to get wider to make wheels stay as strong as 26" was in the past. Much as I don't like it, expect a lot of 2016 bikes to be using 148mm, & expect a similar standard for DH bikes a year or two after that.
  • + 2
 Apart from having a sweet user name, I think you are probably right groghunter. But in the care of DH hubs, I think they only need to do what atom lab has done, which will allow the use of either the current 157 with large cassettes or a new 157 with a narrow cassette (XD or not). It would be hard to believe the industry would miss an opportunity to make all our stuff obsolete so we have no choice though.
  • + 2
 I think the drama with the smaller free body part is that they are all universal. IE- XC, DH, AM, Enduro etc, etc. if they made a DH specific forebody for DH only, they'd then have to have machinery that is specific to only that discipline, thus vastly inflating the costs to the end user. Granted, they would probably break even or intact make a fair bit of money off the back end of it but, it is intact a gamble that most companies wouldn't want to take I'd expect. If one of them did take the jump and the prices of the equipment were seen as far too high by the buying public, the losses could bankrupt the business. I'd say that the majority of the companies would/will stick to the standard freebody cassette spacings with narrower spacings between the gears and narrower chains.


also, good debate going on here guys!!!!! not had an open ended discussion on PB like this in ages. hahaha
  • + 3
 I'm curious to see what happens, because so far, the main justification for 148mm is absent from mainstream DH bikes: 29" wheels. That said, DH bikes are moving up a wheel size, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. you can also restore the proper ratio between the leg & base of the triangle by making the hub flanges bigger(if you can't widen the base, shorten the legs) or making the rim taller(smaller ERD means shorter spokes, that means shorter legs on your triangle) but I'd have to do the math to see how much change is needed to get to the same ratio at 650b, & I'm bad at math, plus it varies widely between rim & hub combinations.

Though if there's not a significant weight penalty, always go for the tallest flanges & tallest rim you can, as you get a stronger wheel. Physics!
  • + 3
 @gazmataz Of course, shorter freehub bodies have existed for 30+ years: 5 speed, 6 speed, 7 speed standards are all smaller, but instead of a change in flange spacing, they came with a widening of the dropouts. the reason all that stopped at 8+ speed, is that past 135mm OLD, you start having to push the chainline out past 50mm. that's a problem, as it widens the q factor, which is about right at 68/73mm hub bodies(with traditional BBs. when all these decisions were made, we were still running square taper.)

So we kept the same hub OLD for 9/10/11 speed as 8 speed, but even worse, we started needing these disc brake mounts, which eats up another ~30mm. so the distance between hub flanges have been smaller than is optimal for while now(most hubs have far taller flanges now to compensate: go look at the height of a hub flange on a old 7 speed hub, they're miniscule!)

Then we started putting bigger rims on (29) making the legs of the triangle even longer! something had to give. now that we have single & double rings commonly up front, we don't need to accommodate for the 3 different chainlines, & can make hubs wider without as much affect to q factor.
  • - 1
 A new CNC'd hub would cost almost nothing extra over existing standard---only a little more aluminum, same machining steps.
  • + 4
 not that simple: you've lengthened the space between the flanges, so now the middle of the shell has to withstand more stress. I'm sure we'll see some companies take the easy way out, just like they did with 150mm when it first came out: they'll add more length between the disc side flange & the disc tabs, instead of widening the flanges. you get none of the benefits of the new standard, but they get to save money on engineering & testing, which means it'll be cheaper, or they'll rip you off more. I saw examples of both with those first 150mm hubs.
  • + 1
 @groghunter, these are very valid points buddy and for whatever reason i didn't think about them. You are right with what needs to be done, but as stated, I can't see the majority of companies taking the harder, better planned approach to this. They'll do as you said, keep the standard hub and introduce a further spacer on whatever carcass of hub they have on the stockpile in the factory.

oh and yes, I was aware of the old 5, 6, 7 speed systems as I rode on them as they hit the peak of their lifespan before being superseded by the next biggest gear range. hahaha. I was mainly talking about the manufacturing point that all the tooling for these would be nowhere to be seen in a production line again and they'd then be reinvesting in everything once again, just for one disclpine.
  • + 2
 Well, do understand that you can't really use a 135/142 shell AT ALL: you'd end up with either the cassette too far inward, or the disc rotor too far inward(& not matching up with the brake.) What people did for some of the first 150 hubs was to essentially bring up their hub shell in CAD(or whatever) & add space between the flanges & the disc tabs. since there's more material there than in the middle of the hub, you can add length there without making a huge difference in strength. but you end up with the spoke flanges just as far apart as a 135mm hub, but the point of 148 (& 150 before it) is to spread the flanges out for a stronger wheel. so the hub fits the new standard, but the you don't get any stronger of a wheel.

To put in more succinctly: you HAVE to design a new hub shell for 148. But you can do it a lazy way, or a right way. In the past, some people chose the lazy way.

Some of them charged less. this is actually good, as it gives people a cheaper option to get into the new standard. Some of them charged just as much as correctly built hubs, & relied on people not knowing the difference. That is not good.
  • + 1
 Agreed. I guess all this will depend on if the industry does go for the different sized hub down the line then. What will they drop from the production line as the Industry to add another line??? what will take the hit. something will have to be phased out to allow this to change. Look at the rims sizings for instance. currently we have three sizes. Granted 26 is taking a big hit across all disciplines of MTB but will they actually drop it??? what will be the scapegoat for the hub sizing???
  • + 1
 Probably 142X12, 148x12 will probably take over the trail/enduro market. XC may keep it, QR will be gone (if it isnt already). we will probably look back on it as an "interim" standard. Like 135x12.
  • + 1
 So about the new 148x12 standard. We can't just make new endcaps because that would put either the cassette or the rotor too far inboard. Would it be possible to make some sort of a spacer or adapter that gets bolted on between the rotor and hub (on a six bolt rotor) to scoot it out? Or maybe even a rotor that is bent with the center farther inboard? Obviously, this is not ideal since you don't get wider flanges, but it should be possible for those of us who have expensive 142 width hubs?
  • + 1
 That's an idea. But that spacer would act as a lever on the disc tabs on the hub, with braking forces acting on it. Could possibly strip or snap the tabs, testing would be required.
  • + 2
 @groghunter. Actually it is that simple. Widening the center section between the flanges maintains the relative position of the dropouts, flanges, and bearings; so there is no change in leverage on the axle. A shear and bending moment diagram shows the shear across the hub constant and independent of width and the bending moment essentially zero over the length of the center section. The only significant increase is the torsional strain in the longer center section. (The torsional stress is actually unchanged since it is caused by either the torque from the cassette due to chain tension or brake torque, neither of which depend on hub width.) The extra engineering needed to regain the torsional stiffness amounts to a 5 minute back-of-envelope calculation for the required increase in the polar moment of inertia. And whether to get that increase via wall thickness or diameter increase (or some optimized combination).

Hub width choice is more a matter of optimization of many factors. But "optimum" means different things depending on what is important to the one doing the optimizing. For a rider/bike owner: strength, stiffness, affordable, "How do I get the best ride for my money?" For a manufacturer, especially a bike company: profit, "How can we make a bike that will collectively make the most profit?"
  • + 1
 I'd agree(especially since it seems like you know what you're talking about, & the amount of stress we're talking here isn't gigantic.) But regardless, some manufacturers were unwilling to even make that small calculation, & left the flange distances the same on early 150mm stuff.
  • + 36
 $277 USD derailleur... thats going to cause some tears when torn off, I'll happily be using a Zee still thankyou. Although, sign me up for a 7spd cassette.
  • + 11
 Same thought here. It's nice to have a sweet rear derailleur, but when a rock finds it, it's just not worth it to a casual downhiller like me.
  • + 26
 maybe i'll just grab my old 7 spd stx groupo out of the bin.
  • + 7
 i check it today on my local bike shop and they are asking 430$ just for the derailleur lol
  • + 1
 Traditional conversion method $1 = €1?
  • + 2
 i live in canada Smile 430$ is 354 euros
277$ is 228 euros Smile
  • + 12
 I think it's a good thing, the more expensive they get, the more appealing a gearbox looks Smile
  • + 2
 gearbox is the future for sure, but i cant remember the last time i ripped a derailleur off my bike
  • + 3
 You sir, are not riding hard enough.
  • + 6
 Would it not of made sense to move the cassette over to the middle for better chainline in all gears while they are at it?
  • + 3
 Just like the 42t cassette conversions made it cheap, I bet someone will come out with a 7 speed, good spread cassette for cheap that is compatible with 10 speed derailleurs/shifters. Just crank in that limit screw!
  • + 2
 @jessemerks no way man I'm just laser precise! counter steerin around boulders all day every day lol
  • + 4
 Many moons ago when i raced DH on 9speed i always adjusted the limit screws so i couldn't get 1st or 9th to avoid dropping the chain off the top or bottom............i had 7 speed, i was way ahead of my time. LOL
  • + 32
 I wonder what a $1000 drive train feels like, One thing I will never know
  • + 9
 go to a Demo bro. i felt the feel of a 10,000 dollar bike, with a super hype XX1 drivetrain. it was nice shit. don't know if its worth the price though, only because i don't care about a few seconds here and there.
  • + 28
 Probably better if I didn't know
  • + 1
 haha i guess. i do want some better wheels though. and maybe a vivid for my trail bike. but yes, there is always the temptation for better.
  • + 6
 Yeah I would rather have dialed suspension or wheels then drive train
  • - 7
flag dirtdoctor (Dec 30, 2014 at 0:44) (Below Threshold)
 You're not missing anything son, it's all marketing hype. You can build a much better Shimano 1X for LESS than 1/4 that price.
  • + 2
 Got to try a x1 11 speed setup this fall on a rental. It did shift noticably better than the x9 setups I'm used to and those shift better than x7s. Is it worth paying 450$ for the cassette and 350$ for the derailleur though? In my opinion, these parts being consumables, it doesn't. With range extender cogs now available for a fraction of the price, I find it has even less of a good deal. Would I ride it if I got them for free/cheap? f*ck yeah.
  • + 16
 I just don't understand this... - Get a hope, raceface or blackspire narrow wide ring, zee or saint groupset, some fancy carbon cranks if you must, then using a 12-36T cassette and a hope pro 2 evo trials hub, take the larger rings off the cassette until it fits onto the Trials hub et voila -

You'll have 6 or 7 gears with wider gear spacing than a road cassette, wider spaced flanges than a normal hub (due to the shortened freehub body of Hope's trials hub) to give you a stiffer wheel, 80 point engagement, f@ckin loud hub and a kick ass dh worthy groupset for about 1 squillion'th the price of any SRAM X1 groupset.... UK riders have been doing this for years!
(I guess it just doesn't work if you have 150mm spacing but Hope offer 135x12mm axles for the hub)
  • + 2
 My new bike is a 135mm rear spacing CTD07, and you've just reminded me of this!!!!! second whilst will have that amazing SS 80contact point buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz going on from here on out!!!hahaha.
  • + 0
 How many cogs could you fit on the SS hub though? I've been thinking about this a lot recently, as I've not been happy with the X01DH gear ratio "steps", and overall I prefer the Saint shifting feel and performance, but I like the idea of ditching a few gears in favor of larger hub flange spacing. Otherwise I feel like the 7speed has really no benefit at all - the Saint's multi-release lets you drop gears on a 10s cassetter faster than X01's 7speed.
  • + 3
 www.hopetech.com/product/pro-2-evo-trials-single-speed-rear-hub

it states 6 sp so its something to look at. all depends on what 6sp system that is (tsp, 10sp or 11sp cassettes)????

Well worth a look though.
  • + 2
 I think its possible to go 7 with a 10spd cassette... Dont quote me on that tho
  • + 1
 That would be perfect then.
  • + 1
 Almost certainly going to use 10sp cogs, as I don't think there's any cassettes out there yet in 11sp that would have enough individual cogs, both 11sp systems seem to be mostly clustered construction. Even in the road world you're looking at 3 cog clusters when you start hitting 20+ tooth counts.

I suppose you could use generic cogs with custom spacers, but this all seems pointless when you can still get 10sp Saint, Zee, or even short cage SRAM stuff. You're looking at going to a 11 - 26 (If you're trying to get the same spread as X01 DH) which would be easily doable with 6 cogs: 11 - 14 - 16 - 18 - 22 - 26.

The biggest limiter with that hub is really that it only comes in 135mm.
  • + 1
 Well I guess that will only help if you have a 135mm back spaced bike. for me, the new S-Works demo is just that so I won't be having any issues with that drama.
You'll find that a large number of DH frames are now starting to step down from 150mm to 142mm or even 135mm again. Strength and rigidity are vastly improved over what was on the market 5 years ago with regards to materials and rear ends on bikes so, narrower widths aren't as bad as they used to be.
I agree that It's crap for people that won't be buying new bikes but then again, if they're not buying a new bike why would they be changing/Vastly upgrading the drive chain from something thats working on the bike they've currently got if a specific hub standard is the thing they are chasing like the SS/Trial hope Tech hub????

As stated though, this hub option is for 135mm frames that are already on the market/owned by individuals that want to do this.

your point about the generic stuff is exactly my point as well. I've been doing this for the last two years without any issues. i've had road cassettes on the bike (11-23) and took off the largest 3 gears. Think it went 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19. this worked really well in my opinion with a 32T or 34T chainring on the front. Snappy on the start but not so that you spun out and required to change quickly. You didn't require much gear changing on a DH run as you were sat in the optimum range straight off the gate.
  • + 1
 Actually, due to the larger rim sizes needing wider flanges, the bike industry is all talking about that new 148mm standard being the next big thing. I'd expect a similar standard for DH bikes soon after (163mm would be the equivalent to the 150/157mm standards.)
  • + 1
 Now that I didn't know. interesting to say the least. One to keep an eye on then.
  • + 1
 Trek started using it for MY15 29'ers, & you can already get I9 hubs & wheels. It uses a different flange spacing, so no cross-compatibility with old hubs at this point(the only way you even could would be to space the drive side inwards, which would screw up your chain line something fierce.)
  • + 1
 agreed
  • + 9
 Will PinkBike writers please get their shit together and stop using Canfield Jedis as an example of a bike with massive chain growth? The Jedi idler pulley negates any growth so there is almost no movement of the derailleur during the suspension cycle. If you need an example, use an Orange or something...
  • + 7
 Haven't seen this posted yet, make sure you buy a 10 speed XT 11-36 cassette and remove the rear three cogs. You still get the 11-26 ratio. Then just dial in the limits and your good to go.
  • + 2
 Literally just typed the same thing. Done this for the last two years without any issues.
  • + 1
 I've been doing the same for two years too. But I'm interested in trying this solely to get a 10T cog. I find 36x11 to not quite enough, but I don't want to increase my ring size as it means a much larger bash plate and a lot less clearance since you step up to one that accommodates up to 44 or more. I'm also hoping I can use a saint mech with 11sp xtr shifter as I much prefer Shimano's shifter with double upshift. I am going 11sp xtr on my trail bike with xx1 cassette for the 10T too. I know that works. As long as the shimano 11 and 10sp share the same pull ratio it will work.
  • + 1
 I recently took a wide range zee derailleur and took the biggest 3 cogs off my cassette. Screw in the lower limit screw and throw old cassette spacers in the gap between the hub and cassette and its all ready to go. (you might have to remove the spacer between the limit screws and derailleur to get the right alignment)
  • + 5
 i'm thinking I might try and modify a cheaper current cassette with the same spread, find a ten speed shifter i dont care about and mod it to stop at 7 shifts. sounds more than do able.
  • + 3
 I run X01 on my trail bike but I cant see me going for the DH version unless it's speced on a new bike, I do like the concept of having minimal gears but there is much more of a risk of something getting damaged in DH use and thats why i'll be sticking to my Zee set up with a Saint shifter. Deffo good for the Pro Racers though
  • + 1
 i was actually wondering whether i could put the x01 dh groupset on my enduro bike which actually just use as a freeride/mini dh bike, my bike is a nukeproof mega am 2014 will the x01 dh fit????
  • + 4
 I don't get why this 7spd casette has to be machined the same expensive way as the 11 spd casette. If the reason is weight, I'd say people rather want to save 200$ than 50 grams.
  • + 3
 they've already got the machinery and software programmes sorted for this. it's half the price of what they'd spend on development and they've got a product for the weight weenies that love the figures that show lower weight that price tag values.
  • + 2
 That's true. I think many riders would had appreciated if they would had based this drivetrain on their 10 spd models to drop the price a big chunk, but on the other hand that would be a very similar setup to running a normal (for example Zee) drivetrain with some cogs removed of the cassette.
  • + 2
 exactly. they are trying to optimise a system specifically for DH racing.
  • + 1
 They do have have a 10sp compatible version of this. the 7 speed is the ultra-racer version. The 10sp even takes 11-36 cassettes. www.sram.com/sram/mountain/products/sram-x01-dh-10-speed-x-horizon-rear-derailleur
  • + 1
 Yup. That said now would be a great time for Shimano to bring out an affordable 7 spd drivetrain based on Zee or Saint that fits traditional freehubs. There must be tons of downhillers that would be all over that stuff since people are already running very similar custom setups.
  • + 1
 @groghunter Looks pretty nice, thanks for the info! AFAIK there still isn't an affordable 7 spd dh cassette to go with it though (apart from the DIY mods). Let's see if someone fills that gap.
  • + 1
 Nobody'd make money competing in between the 7sp X01 & this www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=14031&category=40 If you want a 7speed that's cheaper, you're building it yourself. All you need is the cogs you want from that page(shimano ones, of course, campy uses a different freehub body) & a pack of 10 speed spacers.
  • + 3
 Don't forget you can still get the benefit of the stability of the horizontal parallelogram rear mech cheaper by using the 10 speed version of this mech with a regular 10 speed cassette (up to 28t) and rear hub and any 10 speed sram shifter. Rear mech is still expensive though
  • + 5
 My biggest question about SRAM's new drivetrains is whether that 10 tooth cog was so necessary that it was worth developing a whole new proprietary freehub for.
  • + 2
 Like many MTB things it may not have been strictly necessary but it was an improvement, albeit a small one. XD is better but also a little more expensive to make cassettes for.
  • + 6
 That's my thought. I've had XX1 come on 2 bikes, but I sold the groupset because I simply can't stomach paying $300-$400 for a cassette. Especially when my 10 speed XT cassette cost $45 online and my Hope expander cog cost about $70 and should last through at least 3 cassettes. The XX1 set works amazingly, but I'm just not willing to pony up the cash.
  • + 2
 Fun facts! SRAM took a batch of roughly 150 X01DH cassettes, put a DLC coating on them (like on the boxxer stanchions in 11') and strapped them onto the bikes of the finest of racers. Tests yieled a mear 2-3% friction coeificent decrease but the cassettes wore out in a single weekend of racing. Lovely investments but in the name of science and podiums~ SRAM is the raddest.
  • + 5
 Why not just Canfield 9t microdrive everything... Oh yah they don't make them anymore.
  • + 2
 Cost saving tip: if you want the performance of the XO1 DH derailleur without having to buy a new freehub and that expensive cassette, they actually make a 10 speed version of the XO1 DH derailleur in both short and medium cage. I never see it advertised but I have one. You can run it with any 10 speed shifter and cassette. Works flawlessly.
  • + 2
 A dirtjumper came in the other day with a slope bike.

He had a singlespeed cassette wheelset, no shifter or derailleur. Wanted some gears.

SLX shifter, Zee Derailleur, Chain and a 10sp cassette cut down to 7speeds.

Bout $300 with labor. Super tough "singlespeed hub" bracing angle. Has to deal with a few ghost clicks. Works like a charm.


Working man's X01DH.
  • + 1
 Should be no ghost clicks if you limit the derailleur properly and set cable tension as though you were running 10 gears
  • + 6
 just a zee guy passing threw
  • - 1
 just a zee/saint guy passing also.
  • + 4
 As much as I'd love to have a groupset, I can't justify that much money. I'll stick with my old X9 and road cassettle
  • + 1
 its too expensive indeed. such is the cost of innovation tho. I'd stay with zee or saint as they perform superb for less.
  • + 2
 It´s the same as with the XX1,wait some years and they´ll come out with a cheaper version.
  • + 1
 Sram is definitely upping their game and putting the pressure on shimano to keep up! I love the look and sleek design of this set up. I would for sure run it on a new DH bike if I got one! Not to keen on the crank arms tho as I'd switch them out for some raceface SixC, only then would this be a bomb proof set up Smile
  • + 4
 Mike Levi is the man!!! I always enjoy reading his articles and i think this is something that we all can agree on Smile
  • + 1
 I'll wait for this to trickle down or maybe get them on sale or a few years from now. cannot justify the price at all but do want them honestly.

question tho, arent some of the sram cranks have spiderless designs in them? I think it was called x sync where the chainrings bolt in unto the crank like their cassettes. why not the cranks using them?
  • + 1
 Probably works great! How many pros will run it with out a chain guide? 300$ seven speed cassette? Suntour makes a sub 300 gram cassette for 20$ Mind you its eight speed.
How much weight savings compared to XTR with a single ring and an 11/24 rear cassette?
  • + 0
 Some of you need to ride it instead of sounding like know it all dicks, yes its expensive, Ive been asking for this for years and its worth it if you spend the money on your DH bike and want to maximise it, Im not a Shimano transmission fan however I did find Zee to work well for a short run I did on it, I like Shimano cranks and brakes, same with others they like Shimano trannys, I prefer Stams feel, but for me the speed crispness of X01 felt almost gearbox like without any of the disdavantages, a huge improvement over 10spd Sram XO DH. You'll never please everyone esspecially here where the real world dosent exisit excepts in PB members wet dreams! Its been tested for years by Sam and Troy and others if it dosent work for you dont blame the game player! Good work Sram thanks for listening.
  • + 1
 I find the dropped chains happen once the ring gets a bit worn. I went 6 months with no dropped chain then started dropping chains (well, dropped twice but one time was during an enduro race)
  • + 5
 SAINT FOR LIFE
  • + 20
 Naw man zee for life! 1/2 the price for pretty darn close to saint performance...
  • + 17
 Saint Shifter, Zee everything else
  • + 3
 @Medacus run it just like you, but altered my cassette to 7 gears and it's ruining spot on
  • + 1
 @tiagomano, i've been thinking of doing that myself, I taked it, it's just a case of converting the existing 10spd cassette buying a new 7spd then changing the high/low limits
  • + 2
 yes, i just took out more closely spaced cogs, making it like 2 or 3 tooth spacing
  • + 1
 I'm running zee brakes and zee rd and saint cranks plus shifter. can get away with the zee cranks sure but the combo in itself is solid enouh for AM up to DH
  • - 5
flag y9pema (Dec 30, 2014 at 12:55) (Below Threshold)
 SRAM FOR LIFE!!
  • + 1
 What is the benefit of using the XD driver for this? Couldn't the same range be achieved with an 11-26 or something like that? It just seems unnecessary in this application, much like CX1.
  • + 4
 10 tooth in the back lets you use a smaller ring in the front, slightly lighter and better clearance. Wouldn't be worth it for most people but might be a small advantage. Probably some other benefit I'm not thinking of as well.
  • + 2
 Don't 10t cogs have some disadvantages as well, like lower efficiency and worse mud tolerance (and more prone to chain skipping when you wear your chain/cassette completely out like me but normal people should know better)?
  • + 1
 I can't speak to the other points you bring up, but the straight parallelogram on these derailleurs is supposed to take care of the skipping by improving chain wrap, at the cost of only being able to run a single ring up front. you can go as small as 8t on BMX i believe, it's all a matter of chain wrap.
  • + 1
 Thanks @groghunter . That is exactly the info I was looking for. I'm assuming CX1 is the same although it doesn't use the XD driver.
  • + 1
 It has more to do with them wanting to push people to 11 speed in CX1, & a dedicated shifter/cassette in this case. The only advantage with XD here is that a 10t allows a 2t smaller chain-ring. Good on a bike designed for it, not so much on one that's designed for a bigger ring, will cause weird suspension behavior. DH bikes haven't been designed to account for a 22t granny like other bikes have, so suspension designers have been able to optimize for typical DH chainring sizes. You go outside those ranges, you get into trouble.

Some of the articles when X01 DH came out claimed that SRAM's solution for a more freeride-esque bike is to use the longer X01 DH derailleur, a X0 shifter & a 11-36 to create a 10sp drivetrain with an straight-parallelogram derailleur, but I haven't heard anything since.
  • + 1
 the cx1 mech is 10 and 11 speed compatible so they aren't forcing an upgrade for cx riders and anyone with original x0 dh can put the 10 speed version of this mech on their existing setup. If you want 11-36 with straight parallelogram mech you can actually use the med cage cx1 mech with a 10 speed 11-36 cassette and 10 speed sram trigger i believe as they have just announced a cx1 36 tooth cassette so the mech should take it, the only downside is the looped gear outer on the cx1 mech though that could possibly be adapted using x01 mech pulley parts. Personally i would like a 10-36 'freeride esqe' as you put it off the shelf 1x setup too.
  • + 1
 Absolutely true, they aren't forcing the matter, but they are trying to nudge people in the 11 speed direction.
  • + 1
 true, until 12 speed happens!
  • + 2
 I almost never went into the 10t cog on my X01 DH. I also wish they had other cassette ratio offerings, like 11-27 or other normal things. I found the stock ratio to be a bit limited.
  • + 2
 That sounds like you could benefit from a chainring size swap. If you're not using the top of your range, but feel like you need more on the bottom, then you should switch chainrings until you use the whole range more effectively(technical terms: you need a shorter gear-inch ratio across your whole range, which is easiest to change with a smaller chainring.)

That, or swap a 10 sp shifter on there & put a climbing (11-27) road cassette on.
  • + 1
 The only way a 10-speed shifter would work is if I had the 10-speed derailleur. I had the 7-speed, 11-speed spaced model. It would only work with an 11-speed or their own 7-speed shifter.
  • + 1
 So, my understanding(based purely on press materials) is that the derailleur is irrelevant, unless you want to use a mountain cassette: the only change you need is a shifter with more cable pull per detent(& 10 detents instead of 7, of course.) There's precedent for this: 8 speed & 9 speed SRAM derailleurs were interchangeable, as they both used a 1:1 pull ratio, The shifter just physically pulled less cable per detent on 9 speed model. 10 speed moved away from 1:1, but my understanding is that the raitio is the same for 10 & 11( & that the spacing isn't even that far apart: the 10t cog is spaced closer to the dropout, & the back of the cassette sits closer to the flange of the hub, from what I've seen. so instead of cramming 11 gears into the same space as a 10sp cassette, it's more like they crammed it into the same space as 10.5 gears.)
  • + 1
 ^The above is a lie, disregard. they actually do specify that they use different actuation ratios, my bad. 8 speed & nine speed were interchangeable though. I'm really curious about the spacing on the 11 speed XTR incidentally: the cassette is dished towards the wheel a fairly large amount: it could legitimately be the same spacing as 10 speed, & also legitimately different spacing than SRAM.
  • + 2
 This Mike Levy is a very good review and conclusion, more pinkbike´s take like these!!
  • + 1
 Has anyone ever tried an X-Sync chainring with a normal derailleur? Wanted do try this setup with an upperguide only because i like the look and the lweight.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure about a SRAM X-sync but I'm sure a few people run a narrow wide chainring with a clutchless derailleur. Do some googling.
  • + 1
 Isnt the X-Sync just a narrow wide chainring?
  • + 1
 Yeah, I only added that caveat since I wasn't sure if all narrow wide tooth profiles are equally good.
  • + 3
 But will it make me go faster?
  • + 30
 nope, but you will look good in the lift line!
  • + 1
 then you can shred then flying..
  • + 2
 the only way it can make you faster is if you are racing, and need to rapidly change the gear and pedal hard accelerating fast .
but, i run a shimano zee rear derailleur with 7 speeds, so why spend all this money? just put the gears you want limit your derailleur and put spacers on the end
  • + 1
 Great review @mikelevy. Did you ride it in wet/muddy conditions at all? Wondering if you had good luck in mud with chain retention.
  • - 1
 "Fractions of seconds are lost while slightly easing up on power during those double shifts"

Only with SRAM do you have to ease off power when upshifting. I'm a high power clydesdale and I never let off the power when upshifting any of my Shimano groups. Hell, even downshifting you don't have to ease off the power.
  • + 3
 303$ cassette ? Are you fcking not kidding me !
  • + 1
 I know man... Why they had to machine it in such a complex way baffles me
  • + 1
 i run 9sp saint mech and 5 gears but this does look like a good setup, minus cranks, gona wait to see what people say before i make my mind up to if i should use it
  • + 1
 You're all tools. Like 7 sp for DH is anything new. Been doing it for years.
  • + 2
 shimano saint still wins Big Grin
  • + 1
 i like. not enough to spend a grand on, tho. is the technology likely to trickle down?
  • + 1
 Well the X1 is a down trickled XX1, expensive as hell so you can't really compare that to getting a clutch in Deore rear mech. So the answer is no. Get a 10sp X7 short cage, some stripped down cassette and there you go.
  • + 2
 Nice bit of kit but price is a bit ridiculous!
  • + 1
 you got that right
  • + 2
 remove cogs add price

m.memegen.com/ml2mbt.jpg
  • + 1
 Now we need this cassette for a 10 speed hub. Kinda rediculous having a 7 speed cassette on a 11-speed XD freehub body.
  • - 1
 what if i would tell you, that saint set can run 7cogs just as fine and it will work like it should, not like sram stuff, that reminds me of girl on periods.
  • + 2
 San Diego, you stay classy...
  • + 1
 If Andreu doesn't run a guide......
  • + 1
 and he's a boss!
  • + 1
 no drops in 2 years
  • + 1
 Marry a trust funder and you too can afford to buy this
  • + 1
 Were you running 34 or 36 tooth up front?
  • + 1
 Could have done with this news BEFORE CHRISTMAS !!!!
  • + 1
 I thought this 7 spd shiz had been around for ages?
  • + 1
 or you could just go to ti-springs.com and get the 7 speed conversion kit
  • + 2
 Shimano. Nuff said.
  • + 0
 And if I use it for Enduro? Is it good enough?
  • + 1
 it should be good enough but 7 speed?
  • + 3
 For years I preferred 7/8spd over 9/10spd because the spacing between gears allowed for a wider chain with longer replacement intervals, but ultimately being a 1x7 rider I went to a 10spd setup simply for a lower climbing gear. If they made a 10-40 cassette in 5spd, I'd be all over that. All the other gears are useless.
  • + 0
 Gorgeous equipment ! Nice work SRAM !!
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