Spinning on 27 speeds has finally been the norm for me in the past few years after always opting to remove the big chainring in favor of a bashguard. I always figured I rarely used the big ring, so why bother with it? As my bike preferences and bike technology have evolved since my big-heavy-freeride bike days, thankfully shifting technology has also improved–and with the all-new SRAM XX group, that improvement is flat-out amazing.
After my trip to SRAM HQ a few weeks back, I was determined to get onboard the SRAM XX group during the Interbike Outdoor Demo to see just what all the hype was about. So, I dropped into the SRAM booth and met up with Eric Schutt from SRAM who promptly asked, “You want to try XX?” Of course I did… are you nuts?
My bike would be a custom-built Trek Top Fuel decked out to the hilt in the full XX component group. Uh yeah… I was feeling completely spoiled as I was the first one to take out a brand new tricked-out bike for a little desert testing in Bootleg Canyon.
Every part of the SRAM XX group has been engineered from the ground-up to be lightweight, ergonomic, accurate and supremely adjustable. Just walking through the barrel adjustments on the Avid XX brakes was amazing in an of itself, but that was just the start.
Here’s the guts of the full XX group on the Trek Top Fuel:
- Truvativ XX carbon fiber crankset
- Avid XX disc brakes
- SRAM XX trigger shifters
- SRAM XX front derailleur
- SRAM XX rear derailleur
- SRAM XX cassette – 11/36
- Rockshox SID XX World Cup with XLOC
After a quick walk-thru on the function and adjustability of everything, we set out on the trails for a quick loop. The shifting accuracy was unlike anything I’ve used to date. Upshifts and downshifts were instant and accurate–even under load. The front shifting is lightning-fast due to the dedicated 2-stage derailleur and chainrings that only need to shift up or down–not both.
The 2×10 drivetrain does wonders for the chainline and eliminates unnecessary gear overhead. With a traditional 3×9 drivetrain, there are a ton of overlapping gear ratios that go unused and the big/big or small/small combo always results in chain rubbing.
Aside from the instant shifting, the entire package was so comfortable with more adjustability than any other group on the market. I’ve ridden X0, X9 and Shimano XT and XTR this Summer and the XX group blows them all away in every respect. Subsequent rides have continued to prove their worth as the XX grouppo remains the one to beat.
No matter how hard I pushed or how awkwardly I tried to shift, everything performed flawlessly and felt super-smooth. Click (shift). Click (shift). That’s about all you need to know about the XX grouppo.
The Bottom Line: SRAM XX Component Group
Hopefully I’ll get more saddle-time on the XX group by next Summer and I can bring you more insights on performance, durability and ergonomics. For now, trust me… the XX group will have you wondering why we even have triple chainrings at all. If this is a sign of things to come, I sure hope traditional 3×9 drivetrains quickly go the way of the Dodo.