Review: Sram X0 Type 2 Rear Derailleur
October 30th, 2012
By Olly Forster
It’s not every day that a component arrives that totally transforms both your bike and the experience you have riding it. The use of clutch technology in rear derailleurs is still pretty new, but one that’s quickly gathering momentum and something many of you looking to treat yourselves with a new ride for 2013, will most likely find bolted to your new bike. So why are these so good? To put it simply, they allow you to focus on what your doing and the reason you ride bikes in the great outdoors; ripping trails without unwanted distractions!
Since its inception, Sram’s X0 group hasn’t lacked admirers and if looks could kill? Well, the 2013 range follows on in this tradition with a whole host of what can only be described as some of the best looking drive and brake components on the market, but do they look as good as they work?
The pictured below shows the derailleur with ‘Cage Lock’ off and on for wheel removal. The first thing you notice handling the Type 2 derailleur is just how different it feels compared to a regular derailleur with the cage needing quite a bit of force to move where a regular derailleur has little to no resistance past that of the spring.
The Cage Lock is a neat function that allows the derailleur to be locked forward and in doing so, removes any tension on the chain and enables the rear wheel to be removed and installed without issue. Activated when the cage is physically pushed forward and then held in place by depressing the small button with the pad-lock logo on, keeping the cage in place. To disengage, simple push the cage a fraction forward or bang on the back wheel and the derailleur returns, ready for action.
Available in three size options: Long Cage (triple), Medium Cage (double) and Short Cage (single & DH) pictured here, which I prefer for a 1 x 10 set up and yes, it works fine with a 36 tooth cassette. In the bottom photo, you can see the Cage Lock in operation, holding the jockey wheel cage in place by blocking it’s return against the spring.
The Cage Lock is neat and, but the real beauty in this beast, is the clutch. Unlike the Shimano Shadow derailleur, the clutch in the Sram design has its damping pre-set and works almost instinctively allowing the derailleur to move through its range while resisting chain forces without compromising on it’s ability to access all gears, both smoothly and without any issue or resistance. While the Shimano design also offers great feel through the shifter, having the ability to adjust the amount of damping can work against you as the levels needed may change throughout a ride.
The clutch is essentially a one-way, self lubricating needle bearing with 360 degrees of rotation that affects how the jockey wheel cage moves on its axis from the main body, both under load and under stress from impacts and deals amazingly well with the issues of chain growth found on full suspension bikes.
I’ve always been a big fan of Sram gearing with its 1:1 actuation ratio that just feels and works like it should, but also because it represents quality and reliability. I have heard of some issues with OE (original equipment) specced Sram parts, but I’ve only ever had consistent experiences from X7 through to X0 and consistent enough to keep Sram as my gearing components of choice.
This review might be focusing a lot on the technology rather than the actual component, but rest assured. I’ve been on Sram X0 for years and the last one did three seasons without missing a beat. Drag ‘em through the mud and it’ll only come back for more!
Out on the trail the clutch handles the annoying noise of your chain clattering and baniging on your stays and instead allows you to focus on the trail and the sound of pattering suspension and rolling rubber, it’s just awesome! Switching between bikes equipped with damped and un-damped derailleurs is eye opening to say the least, but the Type 2 derailleur represents something far more than noise reduction. Because it also control chain growth, you don’t have to worry about throwing a chain and in doing so means you could opt for a lighter ‘upper only’ chain guide and if you run a 2 x 10, you might even find that you can ditch the chainguide altogether.
Fitting the Type 2 derailleur didn’t disappoint one bit and my only criticism is that it’s currently only available in X9 (£90) and X0 (£200), which at these price points, may deter some riders from what is truly a game changer in the way bikes behave. There is a slight weight gain over the old style derailleur, which after a bit of research on the net has shown to be 30 grams and not something I’d loose any sleep over.
Anything that allows you to focus, without distraction, at the one thing you’ve waited all week to do (ride your bike) and improves the experience of riding said bike, is quite often worth its weight in gold. The X0 model tested here is pretty pricy at £200, but with it’s nearest relation coming in at £90, you’d struggle to spend that elsewhere on your bike and get a similar or increased boost in performance and by performance, I mean the size of the grin on your face as you pack your bike away after a killer loop. Highly recommended component from the cool guys in red.
Sram is exclusively distributed in the UK by Fisher Outdoor Leisure and for more on Sram Type 2 Derailleurs, tap the logo below for more info. Happy trails!