Review: SRAM X1 Drivetrain (2015)


May there be 1×11 for all the people! SRAM takes the 11-speed technology at a new low regarding price by launching the X1 range, which features trickled-down technology from the X01 and XX1 groupsets. It’s obvious we were very curious to test this cost-effective components, but before we start telling you the story we reckon the X1 isn’t that cheap, therefore we think we might see a few more similar stunts from SRAM in the coming years.

In figures, the X1 will cost 139 euros less than the X01, which means we’ll be dealing with a price revolving around 700 euros. The bad news? Well, the 200-gram weight penalty compared to the same set, but at least this is where the differences between the sets stop as far as we’re concerned.

Shifting isn’t as fast or accurate like in the case of X01, but the performances are very similar. Actually, if you never rode the greater set before using the X1, the thought that the X1 has any flaws won’t even cross your mind. And neither will the fact that the derailleur’s cage isn’t made out of carbon, as is X01’s, nor the 5 grams of penalty inflicted by this. Compensating any kind of objections will be the Type II technology present that will reduce, as usual, chain slap and noise.

The cassette represents a crucial difference compared to other SRAM sets because of its construction – only the lowest 3 sprockets comprise a single body, being riveted, not CNC-machined. Weight claims its share again, and adds an extra 50 grams over what the same X01 cassette would weigh, making the scale show 315 grams once these cogs are measured. Also, you’ll have to make do with the single 10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42 format.

The shifter’s long lever plays an important role in improving the shifting experience, making it very easy to send the derailleur over the cogs. Again, the only difference between the X1 and X01 are the extra 30 grams of the first, but other than that nothing sets them apart, a thing which we can’t exactly say about the crankset. The main dissimilarity we found was the lack of carbon in X1’s construction, the entire component being built out of alloy, which determines the higher gram count, ranging from 800 to 850 grams. This value depends on the chainring used, of 30, 32, 34, 36 or 38 teeth, but also on the arm length. And, even if we haven’t checked it out, SRAM offers even a fat bike version of this crankset. We must underline maybe the greatest thing about this single-ring drivetrain, that you don’t need a chainguide in order to prevent the chain from falling. The ring’s construction itself stops this from happening through the shapes, sizes and pattern of the teeth.

Final words on the SRAM X1? If your budget isn’t passing through its finest hour or you simply want to spend a given amount (good luck with that, by the way!), maybe this set can represent an option. We still think the price level could have been even lower, but we are confident that that moment will arrive soon, and that will be the real start of the battle between triple and double drivetrains on one hand, and single chainring drivetrains on the other. However, you should keep in mind that one chainring might not be enough, especially if you ride various types of trails, so very probably you will have to arm yourself with at least an extra one.

Weight: 1.750 grams