Prototypes and spyshots no more, the SRAM CX1 single-ring cyclocross group is official.
‘Cross is hard enough on bikes, but it is especially hard on drivetrains. From broken derailleurs to dropped chains, CX groups have to work even when they’re encased in a layer of frozen muck. As one of the main weak points of a drivetrain, CX1 gets rid of the front shifter and derailleur entirely thanks to the chain grabbing ability of the X-Sync Chainring. Add in the stability and control of the X-Horizon rear derailleur and you end up with a system that is ready for the toughest conditions – if you’re ready to run a single ring.
Ditch the granny after the break…
UPDATED: Video added to bottom of post.
Rather than introducing CX1 at the top level, SRAM instead has chosen to first offer a group at the Force level. The attrition rate of drivetrains is fairly high in cross, so most privateers aren’t running the highest end groups on their race bikes. As such, SRAM Force CX1 should find its way onto more bikes for the coming season thanks to the lower price point.
We’re told there will be both mechanical and hydraulic brakes available with the system, though all we’ve seen to this point are the mechanical versions. The group will include a CX1 specific rear brake lever without shifter internals that is painted to match the rest of the system. Otherwise, the levers are fairly similar to the latest versions.
The medium cage rear derailleur is based off of the same X-horizon design as XX1, but is tuned to work with SRAM’s road shifters. Part of that redesign includes a more traditional cable routing for road/cx frames and a different cable anchor for the cable pull. Features like Cage Lock and the clutch mechanism remain unchanged. A nice design touch is the fact that the derailleur is compatible with both 10 and 11 speed SRAM road shifters, and the derailleur will accommodate up to 32t cassettes.
Obviously a big part of the CX1 or XX1 story is the X-Sync chain ring. As the narrow-wide chainring that started it all, the CX1 rings have been further optimized for the best chain retention in the worst mud. Compared to the XX1 rings, the CX1 rings are thicker to maintain their strength in bigger sizes. Starting at 38t, CX1 rings will be available in 40, 42, 44 and 46 tooth counts.
Even though the rings are standard 5 bolt 110 BCD, the crank uses the same removable spider – maybe hinting at one piece rings/spiders in the future.
But with a standard 110 BCD though, the narrow/wide rings should be right at home on any standard road crank. Meaning you can upgrade just the ring and derailleur if you’re already running a SRAM group. Cranksets will be offered in both GXP and BB30/PF30 and in 170, 172.5, and 175mm sizes.
There isn’t a specific CX1 cassette or chain, as the system is designed to work with the current Force components. That means no need for an XD driver, but also that the system won’t have quite the wide range as XX1. For racing though, the closer gear ratios will be appreciated, and SRAM says their testers had more than enough gearing with standard road cassettes.
Not everyone is switching to CX1 though – you’ll still see SRAM pros on standard road groups since the 1x drivetrain is not for all riders or courses. But for those that want the benefits of XX1 for their cyclocross bike, CX1 seems like a great option. SRAM Force CX1 will be available in shops starting on July, 1st.
- Shifters: 158 grams right lever, 119 grams left lever, Right $193/ €172/ £147, Left: $113/ €100/ £86
- Cranks: 42T: 172.5mm): 542 grams (BB30), 710g (GXP), GXP (Chainring and GXP Cups Not Included): $207/ €184/ £157
BB30 (Chainring and Bearings Not Included): $249/ €221/£189
- Chainring: 75g (42T), From $126/ €112/ £96 to $152/ €135/ £115
- Rear Derailleur: 261g, $235/ €209/ £178 Medium Cage 11-Speed
- PG-1170 Cassette: 247g (11-26), 257g (11-28), 300g (11-32), $107/ €95/ £81 (11-25, 11-26 & 11-28), $118/ €105/ £90 (11-32)
- PC-1170 Chain: 242g, $54/ €48/ £41
- In total, a 205g savings over Force22 2x