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?

SRAM XX Trigger Shifters

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.

SRAM XX Cranks

SRAM XX Rear Derailleur

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.

Buy Now: Find SRAM Components at CompetitiveCyclist.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

14 Comments

  1. I’m a moron and didn’t take such great pictures of the components. I don’t know what I was thinking, but obviously taking pictures of the components was not my focus. Trust me… the SRAM XX group is amazing.

  2. So I guess if we have some XTR/XT we should sell it and jump over to XX? I have XT XTR mix and the Talas FIT 150 RLC. It may be less expensive to sell the whole kit and start all over. Thoughts, anyone?

  3. Well… it’s your choice. Nobody’s forcing you, but the benefits are astounding. The investment is serious since you do have to swap out your crankset to move over, but the choice is up to you. The comparisons are as follows (Prices from JensonUSA):

    Shimano XTR
    Crankset – $499 (w/BB)
    Cassette – $280
    Rear D – $200
    Front D – $89
    Shifters – $249
    Chain – $29
    TOTAL – $1346

    SRAM XX
    Crankset – $470 (sans BB)
    BB30 – $195
    Cassette – $328
    Rear D – $265
    Front D – $116
    Shifters – $276
    Chain – $45
    TOTAL – $1695

    The full component group is definitely much more expensive than XTR and the hardest thing is having to swallow the new crankset and BB since that’s key to the magic.

  4. What about brakes? Should they be changed out as well? How does the XX compare to the Hammer system or two different animals?

  5. The Avid XX brakes are flat-out amazing, but you don’t HAVE to include them as part of the package. Any brakes will do, but Avid brakes can take advantage of the Matchmaker Plus system to simplify the bar attachments.

    Ultimately, if money is no object, a full XX system would be ideal, but if you have to pick and choose, you can opt out of the XX brakes in favor of whatever else you currently have.

    The XX system and Hammerschmidt are completely different beasts… not much of a comparison and not much compatibility since Hammerschmidt requires ISCG05 tabs.

    @John: Yes, this will fit just fine on the 575 or any XC/AM bike for that matter. The only fit issue would be if you really wanted the BB30 bottom bracket option and your frame didn’t accept that. But, they do make a standard BB size crankeset as an option, so you’re golden.

  6. I’m getting ready to buy a Blur XC Carbon…and am looking into new components. What I’ve read about the XX group is leading me that way…except it has a 49.5 chainline…and the BB30 won’t fit the Blur. You mentioned a “standard” bb in a post to John above. The tech specs for the new Blur frame specify a 50 chainline. Will the “standard” bb/crankset change the 49.5 at all? I take it the “standard” version has everything but the BB30?

  7. Brett

    I’ll have to do a bit more research on your chainline issue with standard BB’s. I assume you could dial in the chainline just fine, but little things like that are sometimes best left to wrench-turners. Let me see what I can find out for you.

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    • Here’s a quick video about the performance of the XX 2×10 platform on the World Cup XC circuit (Sorry, lots of Spanish and Italian with a bit of German here and there. Oh yeah, they do speak English too… sometimes):

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