SRAM X5 is the direct competitor of Shimano’s Deore range, and maybe for that reason it underwent some serious improvements for 2012. New features include a 10-speed rear derailleur and 2 and 3 speed front deraiileur, so it’s pretty much up to date, comprising the rising standard of 2×10 or 3×10 configuration. But is it enough to offer a matching reply to the Japanese manufacturer?
Quick shifting is the specialty of the X5 rear derailleur, although it lacks some speed compared to the Deore. Performance are a bit behind the Asian competitor, as neither precision, nor shifting under heavy load do not represent strong points of the X5. Also, it is a bit louder and somewhat more bulky that its rival. You’d better watch out when you leave your bike on the derailleur’s side inthis case…
The front derailleur on the other hand works like clockwork, commanding it being a more than easy task. The 2×10 configuration means fewer things to do for this component, but you will have to consider is this kind of drivetrain suits you, or you need to go for the triple crankset. Pushing the pedals with the 2 chainrings may sometimes be a challenge, so chosing the right option can make the difference between hard and good times.
Going down to the shifters, the X5 has a major setback, in the sense that it doesn’t encompass a function similar to Shimano’s 2-Way-Release. This latter innovation has the habit of making your life more pleasant during rides, which leads me to think that it would had been a wise choice to include it.
Appearance and materials favour X5’s rival, Deore, regarding the derailleurs at least, but SRAM has the upper hand when it comes to the shifters. Another advantage is represented by weight, but only in the case of the rear derailleur, which is 20 grams lighter that the Deore, with a total of 275 grams.
I can say that the new X5 range is a step forward compared to the previous version, and a good choice for a budget specification, but it doesn’t really have all the assets to overthrow Deore from its leading position. Yet, SRAM’s X5 is a fine option for recreational riders or even ones that take part in fun cross-country races, for higher performance looking up the manufacturer’s range being more than recommended.
Rear derailleur weight: 275 grams
Front derailleur weight: 180 grams
Shifter weight: 258 grams (pair)