SRAM XO1 Eagle 12speed | First Ride
June 20th, 2016
SRAM XO1 Eagle 12speed – the full low down
Back in March, SRAM unveiled the staggering new 12 speed transmission, which features the much talked about 10-50 range cassette.
Last week I spent a day with SRAM in the Forest of Dean, kitting out my Mondraker Dune with a full SRAM XO1 Eagle transmission and finding a bit more about the new technology…
As always, SRAM put on a slick presentation and sent along marketing man Alex Rafferty, to make sure we set our system up correctly and had all the facts.
The biggest question people have been asking about the new SRAM XO1 Eagle is how much heavier the huge 12speed cassette is than the 11speed options. The concern is that having a heavy cassette adds weight to the unsprung mass, which could affect suspension performance.
The 11 speed SRAM XO1 cassette weighs in at 268grams, whereas the new SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 speed version weighs in at 355grams – just 87grams more. Which is impressive considering the sheer size of the 50tooth sprocket!
The design of the cassette is very similar to the 11speed system, and mounts using the same XD driver body. With a 10-50 gearing spread (10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42, 50) you can climb virtually anything, and run a slightly larger chainring too giving a bigger high end gear.
The same SRAM layout is present throughout the new Eagle XO1 drivetrain – but things have been redesigned specifically to cater for the enormous gear range now on offer, and set up takes a little more care.
The rear derailleur still uses the X-Horizon design, and still has the Cage Lock – though it’s tucked further back. Most noticeably on the rear mech is the huge new 14tooth lower jockey wheel. The clutch is now a type 3 design, and is much smoother in use.
First Flight With Eagle
Changing gear with SRAM XO1 Eagle is a nice experience – the same direct, positive click is there – though the shifter now feels more responsive. There’s less throw and a faster downshift too.
Although SRAM say the new Eagle carbon cranks are their stiffest yet – it’s hard to tell until we spend a bit of time on some rougher trails.
The X-Sync 2 chainring and Eagle 12 speed chain combination are noticeably quieter than some of our older 11 speed set ups though – we expected more noise, not less. Which is damned impressive.
To cater for the huge gearing range, the lower jockey wheel is much bigger than before and has 14 teeth. Combined with the smoother action of the Type 3 clutch system, the new SRAM XO1 Eagle rear mech works excellently.
Smooth, quiet upshifts and lightening fast downshifts with that punchy feel that SRAM are known for.
Here are the full details of the SRAM XO1 Eagle drivetrain:
- XO1 Eagle carbon crank with X-Sync 2 chain ring $390 | €426 | £328
- XO1 Eagle rear derailleur, Type 3 Roller Bearing Clutch $220 | €240 | £185
- XO1 Eagle trigger shifter $127 | €145 | £112
- XO1 Eagle XG-1295 12-50 Cassette. 355grams, 10-50, $360 | €392 | £302
- XO1 Eagle chain, $60-85 | €66-92 | £50-71
- Complete groupset price – $1,193 | €1,306 | £1,005
Although initially sceptical about how heavy the cassette would be; how smooth shifting would be and if we actually needed the enormous 10-50 gear range of the SRAM XO1 Eagle transmission – we can’t really find any faults at this stage.
The shifting is very smooth – especially the down shift – and the chain seems to be the quietest yet. It’s hard not to like this wild set-up from the off!
However, the jury is still out on whether this amount of gearing is actually needed for many riders – but we like that the option is there. Alpine riders will certainly benefit from it, as will those wanting to run bigger gearing up front without losing out on low range gearing.
We’ll be leaving the 12 speed transmission on until it wears out – we will keep you updated with any rear mech waggle or troublesome shifting that might occur in the coming months.
What do you think of the SRAM Eagle 12 speed transmission?