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Brakes & Gears Etc

New SRAM NX Groupset

Budget, value for money 11 speed transmission

With the single chainring revolution sweeping through the mountainbike world we are seeing more bikes and riders benefiting from this simpler approach to gearing. Has Sram’s new NX groupset moved the goalposts again? Here’s a first look at this new, cheaper one-by-eleven transmission.

Less can certainly be more in many cases, especially with an eleven speed cassette at the rear. Now frames can be designed with no front mech fitment, opening up new possibilities when it comes to geometry, chainline and tyre clearance.

Sram pioneered the ‘one by eleven’ groupset, starting at the premium end of the market (XX1 is our pick in the 2016 Dirt 100) and trickling this tech down to their recent GX level kit, which is popping up on production bikes below the £1500 price point in many cases.

One of Sram’s plus point has been an eleven speed cassette with a 10T – 42T range but this has to fit on a specific hub with an ‘XD driver’, adding to the cost of upgrading. Shimano’s recent arrival of their XT eleven speed groupset with a cassette that fits onto a standard ten speed freehub body simplifies things and has been seen as an easy way of moving to a one-by-eleven transmission and at a more realistic price.

Just a few years ago most up us here at Dirt were running a single ring with a guide and a ten speed cassette out back. Times move on…

Now we have plenty of choice and Sram have moved things on again with this new NX transmission, a cheaper eleven speed set-up with an 11-42T cassette (no 10T cog) that fits on a standard freehub body. Pricing is in the region of the current Shimano SLX when comparing full retail prices and there is even a Gripshift option.

Here’s what’s on offer:

Cranks:

GXP/BB30 fittings, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40T chainring options, 155, 165, 170, 175mm crank options, Weight: 680 – 780g

Price: £92

 

Rear Mech:

X Horizon, CageLock, Roller bearing clutch, Weight: 322g

Price: £58

 

R/H trigger:

X-Actuation shifting tech, Weight: 142g

Price: £22

 

R/H Gripshift

Jaws lock-on system, Rolling Thunder ball bearing , X-Actuation shifting, Weight: Not listed

Price: £26

 

PG – 1130 Cassette

11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28, 32, 36, 42T option only, Compatible with non-XD driver body, Weight: 538g

(In comparison, the top of the range XX1 cassette is 268g/£333 and the cheapest GX (XG1150) cassette is 394g/£115)

Price: £68

 

PC – 1110 Chain:

Chrome hardened treatment, Powerlock link, Weight: 232 -273g

Price: £11

So, this NX kit with great pricing, a choice of shifters and standard freehub fitting opens up opportunities to build an up-to-date bike on a lower budget, or put more of your spend into the suspension or wheels, areas that can really make a noticeable difference to ride quality and dynamics. We’re looking forward to checking out how it performs and how long it lasts.

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