Eagle GX – First Look
SRAM has long been a proponent of the single-ring drivetrain and when they released Eagle XX1 and X01, it pretty much silenced any critics who said that 1X systems couldn’t provide sufficient gear range.
The massive 10-50 cassette gives their 1X12 drivetrains a gear range that matches most multi-ring drivetrains whilst retaining the simplicity of a 1X setup. The main hurdle with the 1X12 uptake was the price; with an X01 cassette selling for $600 and a derailleur at $300, it’s certainly high-end gear. With the release of Eagle GX, SRAM brings the 1X12 drivetrain to mountain bikers with pockets that aren’t so deep.
In terms of features, GX Eagle loses next to nothing when compared to the more expensive Eagle groups. The cassette offers the same 10-50 gear spread which provides a massive 500% gear range, it’s just the cogs are pressed out and pinned together like the current 11-speed NX and GX models.
The rear derailleur is also modelled after XX1 and X01 Eagle and features all the same updates that they received. The cage lock button is tucked out of harms way, the jockey wheels are massively oversized and the clutch mechanism is of the newer and smoother running ‘Type 3’ variety.
Aside from the logos, you’d be hard pressed to pick the difference between the GX trigger and the more upmarket Eagle units. You may notice that the main trigger position isn't adjustable but that's about it. No doubt the shift feel won’t be quite as refined but they’ll probably work fine—just like the current 11-speed GX triggers.
While the new GX cranks are forged alloy rather than carbon, they’re fitted with a new-style X-Sync 2 direct mount chainring. It shares the same tooth profile with the other Eagle groups—something that’s key to the smoothness and durability offered by the newer 1X12 drivetrains. Of course there’s a new more affordable 12-speed chain to complement the new drivetrain too—while it lacks the weight saving hollow pins and the fancy finish, it features the same link profiles as the more expensive chains at around half the price.
As you’d expect, GX Eagle uses cheaper materials with manufacturing that is less involved, so there’s a bit of extra weight, but the handicap really isn’t that great. At 290g the rear derailleur is only 23g more than Eagle X01 while the trigger is basically the same weight.
With it’s pressed and pinned construction, the cassette is said to weigh 450g—that’s 86g more than the one-piece CNC machined Eagle cassette and about the same as Shimano’s 11-46 cassette (the widest range 11-speed cassette they offer). There are a few added grams in the chain too, with the GX Eagle coming in around 19g more than XX1.
The most substantial weight gain comes in the cranks. At 610-662g (depending on the BB spindle type), the GX Eagle cranks will be 115-167g heavier than Eagle X01 and XX1 is even lighter again.
Over the entire component group, it suffers a weight penalty of around 250g when compared with Eagle X01— it's not that much when to consider the far more affordable price point.
Aussie pricing for the individual components is as follows:
- Rear derailleur $179.95
- Cassette XG1275 $319.95
- GX Eagle chain $59.95
- Trigger $69.95
- Grip Shift $69.95
- GXP/GXP Boost crank $219.95
- BB30/BB PF30 boost crank $299.95
- Fat Bike 4” crank $239.95
- Fat Bike 5” crank $299.95
Add it all up and you’re looking at around $850 for the parts if they’re bought individually. The same items in Eagle X01 would tally up to $1,900, so GX Eagle is less than half the price!
What’s more, the new GX will also be offered as a complete groupset for $799.95, making it even more appealing.
Early shipments of GX Eagle are expected to land in Australia by late July or early August. Look out for a full review once we’ve had sufficient time on SRAM’s newest drivetrain, but first impressions suggest it doesn’t lose out much when compared to X01 and XX1.
Check our XX1 review to read more about SRAM Eagle and how it performs on the trail.