MicroSHIFT has always kinda flown under the radar with well-performing road and mountain bike groups at great prices, gliding under the shadow of SRAM and Shimano’s position as mainstream category leaders. So their new Sword gravel groups shouldn’t come as a surprise given the category’s growth, but they definitely come out swinging.
Offering dedicated 1x and 2x setups, the MicroSHIFT Sword groupsets come with shifters, derailleurs, cassette, cranks, and chainrings, leaving you to source whatever mechanical brake calipers you want to run. And yes, it’s fully mechanical and very affordable. Let’s take a look…
Really wide gearing from just 10 speeds
One of the biggest standouts for the group is how big of a gear range the 2x group will get you. It’s offered with two chainring combos, 46/29 and 48/31, each with a massive 17-tooth jump. Combine that with the 11-38 cassette and you can get a 24% lower gear (0.76 lowest gear ratio) than with a standard 50/34 compact chainring setup with 11-34 cassette!
The 1x chainring is offered with 40 and 42-tooth counts, and with the 40T paired to an 11-48 cassette, it’ll give you a 0.83 lowest gear ratio. If you can’t crawl up any climb with those, it’s not the drivetrain that’s the issue.
Shifting & Ergonomics
The Sword brake levers are designed for flared bars up to 45º, with an outward angle to match where your fingers are on modern gravel handlebars, but they say it’ll still work fine with 0º flare bars, too.
The levers have a high pivot placement to increase leverage and reduce reach, so you have maximum braking power even with a single finger, which is helpful when braking from atop the hoods. The internals pull more cable than their road levers, too, giving you more power on the rougher surfaces.
The shifter buttons are two distinct buttons, with a bigger paddle for pulling cable (up to larger gears), and a release paddle to click down to a smaller gear. There’s a single right-hand shifter to handle the rear, but the left hand gets options. A matching two-trigger design handles front shifts on a 2x build, or opt for a fixed brake lever for standard 1x builds, or one with a pivoting lever to control dropper posts.
The hoods have textured rubber covers, and underneath are independent reach adjustments for shift and brake levers, so you can get everything exactly where you like it.
Shifty, Pedally Bits
The front derailleur gets a clever cable tension adjustment screw that’s easily accessible from the top. Once installed, simply turn a 3mm hex wrench in there to loosen or tighten cable tension to fine-tune your shifting.
The rear derailleur comes in two variants, one for 2x with a long cage to handle the extra chain movement, and a medium cage for 1x builds.
There’s a built-in clutch that can be turned on or off for easier wheel removal or improved chain management. The expected bezel to adjust cable tension is there, but it sits on an orbital mount that allows 15º of rotation in any direction. So, no matter what odd angle your cable housing exits your frame, the bezel’s range of motion helps improve the angle at which the housing feeds into the derailleur for less cable friction and smoother shifts.
Lastly, the pulley cage is easily removable and replaceable should you bend or break it…and it’s the only piece that needs to be changed to go from 1x to 2x and back. Well, you’ll want to swap the cassette and chainrings, but you won’t need a new derailleur or shifters to switch between drivetrain types, just change the cage.
The crankset is also the same for 1x and 2x, with an asymmetric 110/80 BCD that fits one or two chainrings, both theirs and many aftermarket options, too.
It has a 24mm spindle to fit any Shimano or similar bottom bracket, and comes in 165/170/172.5/175mm lengths.
The 10-speed 11-38 cassettes are all new for this group, and come in two variants, both with 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32-38 tooth counts. The G-Series is the higher-end, lighter version that uses an alloy carrier with alloy big cog, and the H-Series is all steel. Complete weights listed further down in the article.
The wider range 1x cassettes are their Advent X 10-speed mountain bike cassettes (425g for G-Series, 662g for H-series) with 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-34-40-48 cogs. All cassettes fit on a standard HG freehub body.
Parts & Spec
Claimed weights for all components are:
- Shifter SB-G7000R: 256g
- Shifter SB-G7020L: 256g (2x left)
- Shifter SB-G7000L: 170g (1x left)
- Shifter SB-G7000LD: 250g (dropper left)
- Front Derailleur: 108g (braze on)
- Rear Der-Med: 308g
- Rear Der-Long: 329g
- Cassette H105 11-38: 453g (all steel cogs)
- Cassette G105 11-38: 336g (alloy spider with alloy big ring)
- Crankset 1x 40T: 790g (810g 42T)
- Crankset 2x 46/29: 925g
All cranks weighed in 172.5mm length without pedal spacers. Individual component pricing is:
We have a group on the way (along with some TRP brakes) and will report back once we’ve put a few miles on it!