SRAM GX Eagle – Long-Term Review
By Eric McKeegan
SRAM’s first 12-speed drivetrains, XX1 Eagle and X01 Eagle and their 10-50 cassettes, brought the gearing range of multi-chainring drivetrains to the single-ring universe. Everyone who rode them had little negative to say, if anything at all.
But, unless you get the parts for free, there is no hiding from the fact the both XX1 and X01 are very, very expensive. And to make it worse, one of the main wear items, the cassette, is the second most expensive part of the Eagle drivetrains. Expensive as in $380 for X01 and $450 for XX1.
In defense of those prices, those cassettes last a long time if chains are swapped regularly. But even with long-lasting parts, these drivetrains were out of reach for a large portion of the riding public. Some riders passed on 12-speed for budgetary reasons and some because they couldn’t swallow the idea of a $400 cassette.
In 2017, GX Eagle appeared as a $500 complete drivetrain with all the range and most of the features of the more expensive Eagle groups. To put it in perspective, estimated retail for complete drivetrains (shifter, DUB crank, cassette, chain, derailleur) is $1,275 for X01 and $1,500 for XX1.
I’ve had a GX drivetrain on a personal bike for a year, and most of my review bikes in that period sported a GX drivetrain as well. I’ve ridden hundreds if not thousands of miles across all those bikes. Here are my thoughts.
Crank – $135 621 grams
The main thing to talk about here is the X-Sync 2 chainring. The previous X-Sync chainrings did a decent job keeping chains on, but they could be noisy when wet and gritty. They also didn’t have the best reputation for longevity. X-Sync 2 retains the narrow-wide design but adds some extreme looking shark-tooth profiles.