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MicroSHIFT Sword Wide-Range Mechanical Gravel Groups Debut

microshift sword gravel bike group being ridden
20 Comments

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

microshift sword gravel bike being ridden

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!

microshift sword 1x gravel bike drivetrain

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

microshift sword gravel group brake levers

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.

microshift sword gravel group brake levers

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.

microshift sword gravel group shifter levers

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.

top down view of microshift sword gravel group shifter brake lever hoods

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

microshift sword gravel group front derailleur cable tension adjustment

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.

microshift sword gravel group derailleur comparison
Long cage on the left, Medium cage on the right.

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.

microshift sword gravel group rear derailleur clutch

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.

microshift sword gravel group crankset
microshift sword gravel bike double chainring

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.

microshift sword gravel group single chainring on crankset

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.

microshift advent x wide range cassette for mountain bikes and gravel

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

Note: The 1x dropper and standalone brake lever images are swapped, the one with the paddle is the dropper post version, and they should have “L” rather than “R” in the model name.

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:

microSHIFT Sword gravel group pricing chart

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!

MicroSHIFT.com

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Tim
Tim
10 months ago

Amazing news! If we want to do a flat bar build, can we use the Advent X MTB shifter?
One thing about the article:
“The internals pull more cable than their road levers, too, giving you more power on the rougher surfaces.” Pulling more cable actually means LESS braking power, not more. Think of sitting on the short end of a seesaw- you make the person on the other end move a greater distance, but you need to push harder to do so.

Dinger
Dinger
10 months ago
Reply to  Tim

I think this is poorly translated marketing speak for “MTB cable pull ratio”, which pulls more cable (moving responsibility for the leverage from the brake lever to the caliper lever arm) but reduces tension on the cable/housing resulting in a much firmer feel at the lever.

You are right, the amount of “power” comes from the ratio between the brake lever and the brake caliper, not an arbitrary amount of cable pull.

Bruud
Bruud
10 months ago

The picture and naming of the left shifter is the same for all 3 shifters (-R)

Andrew
Andrew
10 months ago

Looking forward to seeing smaller manufacturers filling the void that shimano and sram unceremoniously created for compatibility and price.

Tim
Tim
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

But remember that Microshift has at times created compatibility issues of its own- the Advent X group’s shifter and derailleur work only with each other and not with Shimano or SRAM or anything else and then falsely claimed that their proprietary leverage ratio is something they had no choice but to use. Bigger drivetrain companies are more prone to doing stuff like this than small ones, but small ones do it, too if they see advantage in it.

Andrew
Andrew
10 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Do Shimano even sell a wide range 10 speed cassette? Do they make HG cassettes for MTB anymore?

Tim
Tim
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I upvoted you because you’re right- Shimano doesn’t make the things you named. Microshift is doing a good thing making wide range 10-speed cassettes which IIRC never even existed.
This does not change the fact that Microshift’s shifters and derailleurs are designed to work only with each other.
Microshift’s move is clever- keep old bikes on the road by offering 10-speed wide range cassettes for HG hubs, something a lot of people want. But the price of this is using Microshift’s proprietary shifters and derailleurs.
Judging from the downvotes, some people seem to think I am denigrating Microshift. Not at all, just saying they are probably acting as altruistically as their less dominant market position vis-a-vis Shimano and SRAM demands.
Acting nice when you’re small is not unique to Microshift or cycling- it’s common across industries. When you’re the upstart, you better have some compelling value propositions or you won’t get your foot in the door, and that is what Microshift is doing. With some strings attached.
Counterarguments greeted warmly, my mind is not closed.

Ashok Captain
Ashok Captain
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Shimano makes a Deore 11-46T, 10 speed cassette (CS-M4100). Not sure if that qualifies as wide range, but it’s cheapish, works well in mud and doesn’t cost a kidney to replace.

Tim
Tim
10 months ago
Reply to  Ashok Captain

I’d say that qualifies. It’s not light, but it’s also not a boat anchor.

Tim
Tim
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Also, look at Microshift’s website, which has already been updated with Sword. Look at the tab GROUPS up top, and you have the proprietary MTB and gravel groups front and center, and “legacy” groups off to the right where you won’t look, “legacy” being ones that work with Shimano. In other words, Microshift is “shifting” (get it?) towards making stuff that works only with Microshift- acting in precisely the same way as Shimano or SRAM.

Gary P
Gary P
10 months ago
Reply to  Tim

From what I can see, the only compatibility issues are between the shifter and rear derailleur. You can use current Shimano or SRAM 10 speed cassettes, chains, and even front cranksets. I have no problem with them developing their own cable-pull/derailleur-geometry to get unique range options. Maybe their explanation why is actually legit? After all, Shimano apparently doesn’t think their current road shifters are capable of moving a rear derailleur across a cassette with that much range with the kind of shift quality/consistency they expect. Because there’s CLEARLY a market that would gobble up a GRX 1x RD & cassette with more range than an 11-42 that would work with current GRX shifters.

I like what Microshift is doing here. The brifters look more appealing and ergonomic than anything that was compatible with Advent. I applaud them for offering the ability to convert the RD between 1x and 2x with just a cage replacement. And I love that they’re finally stepping into the crankset space, especially with a unique offering. The combination of a 46/29 up front and 11-38 in the rear gives you almost 550% range

Tim
Tim
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary P

Don’t get me wrong- I like what Microshift is doing. Good ergonomics, 10 speeds, responsibly light, mechanical shifting and cable braking (maybe with hydraulic in the pipeline)- all at a good price and with good quality (I ride Advent X on my enduro bike and really like it).

Tim
Tim
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary P

As for the necesssity of a proprietary gear ratio: let’s just suppose they’re “guilty”. I don’t think this is such a terrible thing- it just seems like this is how drivetrain makers act. When a company is weaker, it makes their parts plug and play with those of the dominant player- Suntour did this as it was circling the drain in 1994-1995, and SRAM did it as they were getting a foothold in the market around the same time. When drivetrain makers get stronger, they start to feel their oats and make proprietary stuff. Sample size: two, not huge, but it makes sense (at least to me).

Your argument about Shimano not making a wider-range cassette is an interesting one and you may well be right that there are technical reasons behind the ratio change; I’m not an engineer so I can’t say. But also remember that Shimano is a pretty conservative company- they may not be doing it for the simple reason that they do many things slowly. Again- may. We don’t know.
I do remember that when Advent X MTB came out some years ago, I asked why it had a proprietary gear ratio and they gave a wishy-washy answer to the effect that it was just better.

ShalokShalom
ShalokShalom
9 months ago
Reply to  Gary P

I just don’t understand why they don’t offer an oval shaped crankset

Scott
Scott
10 months ago

Would love to know what the availability is. When will this be available?

Jan Sæther
Jan Sæther
10 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Available now, according to Bikeradar.

William
William
10 months ago
Reply to  Jan Sæther

Does anyone have a link to this at some online retailer?

William
William
10 months ago
Reply to  William

I talked to a supplier, they are expecting to get stock in October.

Sean
10 months ago

Very cool

Sevo
Sevo
9 months ago

Would be nice to be able to buy it now or at least know when it will be for sale. But can’t find it anywhere. So weird.

Anyway. I’m down for trying it when it’s available.

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