TRW Active is among the growing number of drivetrain companies who are challenging behemoths like Shimano and SRAM. The key selling feature is typically a combination of price and unique features, as a way for consumers to get performance without completely emptying their wallets. We spotted a near-production version of TRW’s upcoming 1×12 mountain groupset at Sea Otter 2019, so let’s dive in to some details.

TRW Active 12 speed MTB groupset

TRW Active may not be a household name, but they’re looking to become a force among lesser-known component manufacturers like Microshift, TRP, and SunRace. We showed their existing 1×11 grouppo recently, which is a huge value for less than $300 complete (at least when it was on sale at the time). They promised a 12-speed system soon, which we were happy to see in the flesh at Sea Otter 2019.

Overall, the system looks similar to the 11-speed group, with the obvious addition of an extra cog. TRW founder, Taber West, told us that they’re still refining the clutch in the rear derailleur – and once that’s done, it’ll be ready for prime time.

As far as we can tell, the crank set is a carryover model from the 11-speed system, likely with updated tooth profiles to account for the narrower 12-speed chain. The back-side of the crank should look familiar, with Torx bolts holding the ring in place.

Two cassette levels will be offered, in 11-50 and 11-52 sizes. These rely on the current Shimano HG design, because it seems that smaller manufacturers are struggling to get quick licensing deals worked out for the new Microspline freehub.

We should also mention that TRW Active is working on their own unique, 100% new freehub standard, which they say will be compatible with 9-tooth cogs and will be open to all manufacturers to license for free.

GravityWorx carbon enduro rims, new Reactor hubs, and stems

In addition to the TRW Active brand, founder Taber West also has an enduro-focused components brand called GravityWorx. They just debuted an updated version of their Reactor hub set, available in HG and XD drivers. The new hub has stiffer axles, new bearings, and a 6-pawl engagement system.

The hubs lace up to rims of up-to-36mm external width and 30mm internal width. Taber tells us that the rims are 100% tubeless-ready without rim tape, using a fully sealed rim bed. Spoke nipples are installed using magnets to guide them into the rim holes.

GravityWorx even does Enduro bars and stems, showing off aluminum and carbon models. Enduro-focused carbon stems aren’t common, and Taber says that they’re one of very few on the market.

We don’t have official availability dates for the new 1×12 system, but it sounds like late 2019 as a 2020 model year product. We’ll follow the story for more updates, and their development of the aforementioned new freehub standard that’s in the works. For now, check out GravityWorx and TRW Active at the links below.


    • @Patrick they didn’t specify – just said magnets were used to guide. And apparently I was way too tired after three straight days of early mornings and late nights at the show… and didn’t to think to ask! 🙂 Only other guess is that they use a temporary steel piece that threads into an alloy nipple.

    • no a steel insert is placed into the nipple then it’s guided to the spoke hole, the insert is then removed for spoke installation

  1. I’ll ask the same question I did in the TRP article: What’s the value proposition relative to Eagle NX? The price point on that drivetrain is so reasonable, there’s very little room for an upstart to undercut SRAM on price by enough to overcome the trust deficit.

    There would seem to be an opportunity for a newcomer to secure a toehold in the market by offering an affordable 1×12 for gravel/adventure/touring. If this had a brifter and a matching left side brake lever at the other end, along with a road bike friendly crank, they’d have folks waiting 10 deep to give it a try. As a slightly cheaper alternative to NX Eagle? Not so much, I’d guess.

    • If it can bring the final sticker price down $50-75, people will buy complete bikes with it. Assuming you can get them to test ride it AND it performs well. NX has durability issues itself, so I’d question how a cheaper group will fare. I don’t think adding a sprocket helps with this. I suppose durability shouldn’t matter on those basic bikes when they expect you to ride a few hundred miles a year maximum.

    • We do have exactly what you describe out in testing now. However, our components are much higher quality than NX. Go several levels up and our value becomes much more apparent. We also follow an iterative design and development model where we make continuous improvements to our products as we find the opportunity to do so. The issue is not quality or reliability, we have been riding and thrashing components on bikes since thumb shifters were the only option. The issue is building the advanced manufacturing capability at the sizes needed to satisfy the demand. We are ramping that up now. In the end, people simply want reliable components that they can afford. We will fulfill that need. The flashy carbon/Ti goodies will come soon enough, but that isn’t what most people need right now.

  2. 10, 11 and 12 speed chains have an inner width of 2.2 mm, so the Bikerumor author was confused about an 11 speed crank (ring) needing to be more narrow for a 12 speed drivetrain, which has the same inner spacing. The narrowness comes from thinner plates, and is why Eagle chains and the Shimano 12s are more prone to breaking. It seems like the TRW 12 drivetrain uses a stronger 11 speed chain??

    Where do we see the Raptor frame?

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