As the proliferation of 1×11 drivetrains has expanded, so has the affordability. Of course, as the the purveyors of 1x drivetrains, SRAM is leading the charge and the affordable GX kit knocks it out of the park with stellar function at an affordable price.
SRAM GX Groupset Features:
- Available in DH, 1×11 or 2×11 flavors
- Two cranksets are available in BB30 or GXP with BOOST options
- Single trigger shifter or grip shift options
- Two cassette options (both require XD Driver)
- MSRP: $514.84 (as tested)
GX 1×11 delivers top-quality shifting
Since 2012, SRAM has been beating the 1×11 drum with the introduction of their then top-shelf XX1 1×11 drivetrain Now, this year, they have upped the ante with 1×12 with their XX1 Eagle kit. Since that time, SRAM has pushed the 1x message down the food chain in more affordable variants and after a few months with the GX 1 kit, I’m pretty satisfied with going budget 1×11.
The makeup of the GX kit is as expected. We’re talking a single shifter, a 1x crankset with your choice of narrow/wide (X-Sync) chainring, an X-Horizon rear derailleur and a wide-range 10-42t cassette. Within the GX line, SRAM offers two 10-42t cassettes — XG-1175 and XG-1150. The difference is whether or not the 42t is aluminum or steel for a 70g weight reduction. I’ve been aboard the XG-1150 and honestly haven’t noticed any hiccups shifting up or down the cogs. And should you want to get even more economical, you can opt for the NX 11-42t cassette that adds more grams, but works with your existing freehub body.
SRAM differs from the competition in that, for the most part, the components remain the same as you go down the line, but carbon and titanium bits are progressively swapped out with alloy or steel. As such, the feel and performance remains indistinguishable to you and I. The only significant tradeoff is a weight penalty and bragging rights at the trailhead. If you’re not into that sort of thing, you’ll dig the GX groupset.
For starters, the GX kit looks great. My setup included the GX-1000 crankset, which felt stiff enough for all-around use and withstood a good amount of abuse. Certainly, SRAM’s X-Sync chainrings keep the chain reliably on board — no matter the terrain. The remaining kit is just as unassuming yet reliable.
Shifting has remained predictably-crisp throughout my testing. This season, I’ve ridden both 1x GX and Shimano XTR extensively and I’m going to have to be honest here and say that, in my experience, the budget-priced GX kit simply outperforms the other guys top-shelf kit hands-down. Shifting accuracy, speed and feel are far and away better in every respect. I think it’s fair to say that if you want to get a 1x drivetrain, stick with the originals, folks.
With a 29 lb. 27.5+ bike, I was completely satisfied with the 32t chainring and 10-32t cassette. If I had a lighter, more racy bike, I think I’d opt for a 34t chainring.
- Top-shelf shifting at journeyman pricing
- Unassuming performance
- Reliable, predictable performance
- Same ergonomics as its more expensive brethren
- Saves a ton of coin
- Roller Bearing clutch keeps things quiet
- Cage Lock makes for easy wheel changes
- The weight penalty
- Still, not quite as sexy as carbon/titanium
- May need to get a new wheelset if your hubs are not XD-Driver ready
The Bottom Line: SRAM GX 1×11
If you’re eyeing a bike with GX or are itching to upgrade to 1x on your current bike, but don’t have the budget. Squeeze some pennies together and hop up to the GX groupset for reliable performance at a fraction of the cost.
Buy Now: Visit CompetitiveCyclist.com
No way around it... the GX groupset is fan-freaking-tastic. Shifting is reliable, fast and predictable and the ergonomics just plain work. You can call this kit "budget" but when it comes to hitting the trail, you'll be laughing your way to that next KOM.