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Next-Gen SRAM Eagle Direct Mount Derailleur is Modular to Save the Planet & Your Wallet

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Will SRAM making their next-gen mountain bike derailleur modular alleviate all of those direct-mount fears? We’ve been sneaking peeks left & right at the next evolution of SRAM’s top-tier direct mount XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur, ever since Nino Schurter rode it to a record 10th XC MTB World Championship last summer. But we’ve actually been discussing the SRAM direct mount solution for more than four years already. Will a modular construction solution address the biggest longevity concern that both our readers and our own editors have voiced since then, while helping save the planet a bit at the same time?

SRAM Eagle modular direct mount derailleur

Based on Nino’s prototype, bikemaker leaks, World Cup podium photos, and not-so-secret event photos… the overall details of SRAM’s upcoming Eagle mountain bike derailleur overhaul are pretty clear. The standout feature of course, has been the absence of a derailleur hanger interface, instead mounting directly to the bike frame at the rear axle, thanks to the UDH interface that has quickly become an actual universal standard across many bikemakers.

SRAM Eagle modular direct mount derailleur patent rear

But while promises of improved shifting sound nice, many cyclists (including both our readers AND our editors) have been worried about the rough-and-tumble life of their derailleur. The low-cost replaceable & sacrificial derailleur hanger has protected your expensive rear derailleur for decades. Remember a SRAM UDH costs $16 / 18€ and an XX1 AXS derailleur sells $753 /831€. So when you crash or simply hit a trailside rock, that could be an incredibly expensive problem. I know many have the philosophy or never riding a derailleur that you can’t afford to replace, when it will invariably be damaged.

SRAM Eagle modular direct mount derailleur patent, UDH hanger assembly

SRAM’s latest patent published December 29, 2022 describes a modular derailleur construction that is comprised of several different modules that should be able to each be replaced separately: “base element module”, “swivel formation module”, “shifting element module”, and “chain guiding module”. It’s not revolutionary at all that a derailleur could be rebuildable, but SRAM generally has limited real serviceability in all but their top tier, and this statement from the patent is especially interesting:

“Detachable connection interfaces of the family members to adjacent sub-assemblies of the module within the sub-assembly are configured uniformly across family members for the respective sub-assembly in such a way that a family member of the sub-assembly family module is exchangeable for another family member of the same sub-assembly family that, is for example, of different material, of different design, of different functionality, of has different surface properties, while retaining the remaining sub-assemblies of the module.”

That sounds a lot to me like if you break some part of your XX1 derailleur, a universal or lower-cost GX part may get you back on the trail.

Replaceable Modular Elements

SRAM Eagle modular direct mount derailleur patent, replaceable options

SRAM’s published patent shows a number of broken-down component assemblies, that could be individually replaced. You’ve got replaceable cages, what looks like a replaceable clutch, a replaceable middle shifting assembly in the case of AXS derailleurs, and in the middle a replaceable hanger assembly.

SRAM Eagle modular direct mount derailleur patent, hanger exploded view

In fact, SRAM’s direct mount derailleur may be getting rid of the conventional derailleur hanger, but it looks like a replaceable hanger of sorts is here to stay. Simply speaking it looks like two hanger elements that sandwich the frame’s dropout (ABi & ABo), and a lower plate (HG) that holds them together and serves as the basis to hang the actual derailleur below.

Interestingly, that inboard ABi side of the hanger has more than one variant shown in Fig. 7 suggesting compatibility beyond the UDH standard interface. Perhaps that will help bring backwards compatibility to non-UDH bikes?

What do we know, now?

SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS modular direct mount derailleur patent,

The published US & DE patents are pretty long & detailed for simply talking about a rebuildable modular rear derailleur. But SRAM also goes deep into why they’ve gone down this direct-mount route. Essentially they break it down into improving shift performance across modern wide-range 12-speed drivetrains (which are more sensitive to derailleur hanger misalignment than ever) and to an environmental benefit, as well.

Cynics might call it greenwashing, but it really is silly how many different derailleur hangers are out there these days. UDH has already done a lot to improve that issue. But SRAM takes it further suggesting this new modular solution is an even more responsible use of consumed resources. No more “throwaway mentality” and a move toward “increasing demands on the service life and reparability of technical products“. Bringing back the idea that you can simply replace the part of a derailleur that is damaged sounds like a great idea to me (us).

Lastly, while we don’t know exactly when this will be launched, we do know that there is a lot of detail out there at this point on this derailleur. And we really expect this complete new drivetrain to come very soon. We’ve got our eyes peeled for when SRAM make official their release schedule for this next-gen Eagle mountain bike drivetrain

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip!

SRAM.com

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48 Comments
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Dick Mooves
Dick Mooves
1 month ago

Mavic had completely serviceable components over 40 years ago.

Shafty
Shafty
1 month ago
Reply to  Dick Mooves

Yeah, and look where they are now. Their reputation was, for many years, of proprietary wheels with stagnant designs. They started UST, but didn’t overhaul their lineup for years. 40 years ago nearly all wheels and parts were quite serviceable, so Mavic isn’t noteworthy in that regard.

Dick Mooves
Dick Mooves
1 month ago
Reply to  Shafty

My point is that this is nothing new.

Maximilian
Maximilian
1 month ago
Reply to  Shafty

@Shafty: In case you didn’t know, Mavic was making derailleurs too and this is the topic here, not wheels. Although, Mavic brought a ton of innovation especially to wheels. But that’s another topic.

@Dick Mooves: Before Eagle, SRAM’s top end derailleur was the X.0 with Ti spring and was fully serviceable too, so this isn’t exactly new to them either.

Marek
Marek
1 month ago

SRAM to save our wallet… that’s a good one

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

saving the planet with serviceable components on high-end bike components is quite the stretch. Im for it, as long as parts are readily available and somewhat affordable, but i can see this going to a full piece to save weight over time and stay competitive if shimano can catch up.

Maybe it’s not a concern with this setup but, i’d think if you hit this hard enough something will bend and it will be hard to tell what since a derailleur hanger aligner is now out of the picture. small concern, but that’s always been a box to check when shifting isn’t just right.

Shafty
Shafty
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

You’re exactly right. This is simply an effort at greenwashing. How is it a step forwards to create a system that uses replacement parts only available through a single vendor? Does anyone really believe that derailleur part will be cheaper to replace than a hanger, especially UDH? This is how SRAM will temporarily lock down more OEM sales, limiting consumer’s choices. No corporation does anything rooted in altruism–it’s a side benefit as a PR move.

Also, this new design won’t solve the poor pulley durability issue with SRAM’s derailleurs.

Astro_Kraken
Astro_Kraken
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I’m all for saving the planet but eating a billionaire will be more beneficial.

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Maybe someone like, idunno, Park or *gasp* SRAM might make a tool to check that alignment? It might even come in the box with the derailleur like the installation tool for their road FD.

But, who can predict the future? Hint, historians are pretty good at it.

will
will
1 month ago

i dont know if its better or not, but i do know that I rarely see derailleurs hits that result in anything else than a broken-to-pieces derailleur and.. a straight hanger lol.

Yes, I see bent hangers but the rider never even know when this happened and I doubt it would have broken the derailleur when it did. tldr: i suspect hangers being a protection for the derailleur is a bit of a myth. Sure it’ll protect it in some rare cases but that’s about it.

I believe, at least from my experience as mechanic. that most hits that will be an issue are NOT side hits (these happen all the time and the derailleur will move inward on it’s axle on it’s own!), but vertical hits (hitting a rock straight on). Straight on, the hanger offers zero help because its made to be strong in that direction and the derailleur itself has no way of moving outwards or anything like that, so it just breaks.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago
Reply to  will

I’ve bent my hanger at least four times now with a side impact hit. The RD has been totally fine each time after whereas the hanger simply needed to be replaced.

Destroyer666
Destroyer666
1 month ago
Reply to  will

“i suspect hangers being a protection for the derailleur is a bit of a myth” – You’re right in this, although I don’t think that many have believed in it, because the much more common, and believable, version is that hangers “protect” i.e save the FRAME from having to be replaced(, not the derailleur).

Jaap
Jaap
1 month ago
Reply to  will

I’ve seen loads (about 30 I guess) of bent and broken hangers throughout the last 10 years. Both on road bikes and mountain bikes. And I’ve seen 2 bent or broken derailleurs.

Exodux
1 month ago

I like the attempt to have a modular system, although some state the cost of Sram components. But if you are paying high prices for Sram, or any other brand of components, wouldn’t you appreciate the fact that parts are replaceable?
Sram and Campagnolo always had user replaceable parts and a few times I took advantage of that, rather than having another brands components which you had to throw away if a piece (part) broke.

Speshy
Speshy
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

It doesn’t matter if it is replaceable or not because by the time you need to fix your derailleur it will already be obsolete and you will have to mothball your bike because nothing they sell is compatible with whatever it is you bought last year.

Bobalong
Bobalong
1 month ago

“an XX1 AXS derailleur sells $753 /831€” – and that’s why none of this will ever matter to me : )


Seraph
Seraph
1 month ago
Reply to  Bobalong

A GX Eagle AXS derailleur goes for $390. Pricey yes, but much more accessible if you want wireless shifting but aren’t a dentist or bike mechanic.

Roger Pedacter
Roger Pedacter
1 month ago

So they traded a replaceable hanger for… a… replaceable… hanger?

Cool. Good work guys >thumbs up<

Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
1 month ago
Reply to  Roger Pedacter

this. exactly.

Seraph
Seraph
1 month ago
Reply to  Strom Thurmond

Not exactly. This design is still superior because it sandwiches the dropout/hanger between two plates, which offers a much more stiff shifting base.

Speshy
Speshy
1 month ago

So does your frame have to be specifically compatible with this new derailleur system? Can I mount this derailleur on a bike that currently has a standard hanger? Does this open up an opportunity for someone step in and manufacture a shim or adapter or something? Will SRAM make them? I kind of don’t care because I am still running an 11 speed setup and I think 12 speed cassettes are heavy and ugly anyways.

M. Lopez
M. Lopez
1 month ago
Reply to  Speshy

If you frame uses a UDH, then this derailleur will work

Dockboy
Dockboy
1 month ago
Reply to  Speshy

Ratio make SRAM derailleur parts already, including a b-knuckle, and they’re developing a SRAM-DM knuckle presently. If you search “Ratio” on this site, you’ll find the article on it. I would be surprised if we didn’t see this generation of derailleur have two mounting systems – DM or hanger-type – when it hits the market.

Shimano tried to change hanger design a while back with their “Direct Mount” system that removed a link plate from the derailleur and pushed the mount location back and down, but they seem to have moved away from that and back to the traditional hanger style.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Dockboy

“moved away from and now back to” , now there’s the trend I notice with modern cycling equipment .

Heyder
Heyder
1 month ago

Bunch of grumpy old dudes come to the comment section of the site that posts the newest gear, to complain about how it used to be.

Hambo
Hambo
1 month ago

Make the largest cassette cogs replaceable and available and I’ll be interested.

Antoine
Antoine
1 month ago
Reply to  Hambo

With XX1 11 i was eating the largest cog but my experience with eagle 12 is that the cassette is worn before the biggest cog. They made it with bigger teeth and the wider spacing mean it see a lot of use but not a much as a 11 setup. If you spend your day on the bigger cog it might be time for a smaller chainring.

Exodux
1 month ago

By reading several of these post and many more on this site( which btw is quite entertaining), I think the site should be called “Bitch and spread rumors”.
I cannot even remember when a article had 90%+ positive comments.
If you don’t like something, don’t worry, you are not forced into purchasing that product.
Now bowling…..not really any new tech there, maybe some should pick up that sport…BowlingRumor anyone?

Andrew Groom
Andrew Groom
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

Totally agree. If nobody innovated we would be stuck riding triples, cantis and 5 speed blocks on rigid bikes with narrow bars, long stems and rubbish tyres. For those who object, there’s always retrobike.

And for those complaining about SRAM greenwashing, re-read the article. It is a patent study and a piece of prediction by Bike Rumor, not a press statement by SRAM. Nowhere is there a quote from SRAM claiming any planet or wallet saving benefits.

I personally welcome progress. Don’t like it? – don’t buy it. Can’t afford it? – don’t buy it. Prefer Shimano? – go buy Shimano.

WhateverBikes
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

This really is a bit too simplistic.
No, you are not forced to buy the exact stuff the article is about, but if the kind of product it is about developing in a way that doesn’t suit you, it does impact you.

Personally I still ride my nineties mountainbike, and I can still find everything I need for that and for the simple rebuilds that I do. I am perfectly happy with that, and I don’t intend to ever buy a new or even modern bike. I’m good.

But if – like me – you don’t feel the need for disc brakes, and happen to not like them (noisy, fumble to get them to not rub, not in to hydraulics), your options are getting quite limited. If you don’t like slack head tubes, or wide handlebars on mtb’s, same thing.

What you call ‘bitching’ can very well just be legitimate counterpoints to all the marketing blah blah.

Exodux
1 month ago
Reply to  WhateverBikes

Just say that this catches on…or all internal cables that appeared in a previous post.. and every component and frame manufacturer follows suit and there is no alternatives (I’m pretty sure that internal cabling won’t) what are you going to do? quit cycling? ride your old bike and search the internet for old parts? what?
I’m not into changing new standards every year either, but I know that I’m not forced into anything if I really don’t want to be.

Speshy
Speshy
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

The point is that component companies are constantly making frames obsolete. So you spend 8K on a bike in 2020 and two years later you decide to upgrade your groupset, and it took you that long to scrape up the cash because everything is so expensive, and lo and behold the latest groupset is no longer compatible with your frame for some reason (flat mount brakes, UDH, or whatever). So you’re stuck and now you have to figure out how to offload your equipment so you can buy into the new direction of componentry and technology. These manufacturers can do this in a way that doesn’t abandon current design but they choose not to because they can make more money off of people who want to stay up-to-date with the latest tech.

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
1 month ago
Reply to  Speshy

BTW, it’s bike manufacturers that 90% of the time push proprietary standards in the bike industry. OE suppliers, like SRAM, work for them. The frame manufacturer is the customer, and when that customer is responsible for a big chunk of a component maker’s revenue, the component manufacturer is going to make it for them.

Not saying that’s the case with this particular product offering, it’s a rare case when the opposite is true, but with UDH full backwards compatibility, I don’t get the beef with it.

Really wish the cycling press would make an effort to learn the truth about how the industry actually functions and educate its readers. That way we wouldn’t have to constantly hear the same myths and canards trotted out every single time a new component press release drops.

It’s also ok to pose a question in a comment section. It doesn’t have to be a statement or opinion.

WhateverBikes
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

You make no sense here.
First you give examples where you yourself claim the only other option than following the new direction is to keep riding your old bike and search for parts (and you make it pretty clear that you don’t think that’s a valid option, and then you claim that you are not forced to follow those new directions. Which one is it?
By the way, yes, like I said, what I do is ride my old bike and find parts for it. And I’m completely happy with that too. My old bike is fantastic, and it does everything that I want. Whatever breaks on it is easily replaceable for less than 100 dollar. Parts are easy to find, as they were standard for so long, that many brands still make those products. 26″ tires, 8- or 9-speed cassettes, square tapered bottom brackets, quill stems iy you want, it’s all readily available, for my 27 year old bike.
Good luck trying to find a replacement battery for your 2020 electronic derailleur in 25 years time though.

Exodux
1 month ago
Reply to  WhateverBikes

Know why…because I do both. I have vintage bikes that I ride that will never have new parts on them, so searching for for old vintage parts are a must. I also have new bikes with the latest tech.
What I’m saying is that these changes do not force anyone into anything. Some make it sound that you have to buy the latest tech or your ability to ride stops.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

I hear SRAM has developed and patented a new and improved sphere.

mud
mud
1 month ago

Sram should spend some time inventing a low friction IGH instead.

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
1 month ago
Reply to  mud

Because doing one makes it impossible to do the other…

Pa-lease
Pa-lease
1 month ago

The modular and green points are pretty cynical. If SRAM wanted to be green, they would let consumers adjust old etap shifters to work with 12 speed drivetrains for a start. I bet this new 12 speed drivetrain won’t be compatible with the old 12 speed drivetrain…new chain, teeth profiles and all.

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
1 month ago
Reply to  Pa-lease

I would recommend considering the possibility of hardware compatibility issues between 11 and 12 speed eTap before making such a declarative statement along with other compatibility speculation.

Destroyer666
Destroyer666
1 month ago

“this new modular solution is an even more responsible use of consumed resources. No more “throwaway mentality” and a move toward “increasing demands on the service life and reparability of technical products“. Bringing back the idea that you can simply replace the part of a derailleur that is damaged sounds like a great idea to me (us).” It’s as if these guys have never heard of replacement parts! If replacement parts are offered in general in the same manner as those written about here, the benefits of modularity to reduce for example “throwaway mentality” is pretty much zero. What greenwash bullshit.

Jaap
Jaap
1 month ago

So now we have a non-standard modular derailleur hanger?

Seraph
Seraph
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaap

This derailleur fits any bike that uses the standard UDH. Which is quite a few companies these days.

Mr Pink
Mr Pink
1 month ago

And if you don’t want AXS and prefer mechanical will they have that option? Not everyone wants to charge their derailleur.

Seraph
Seraph
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Pink

Well good news then, because you don’t charge your derailleur with AXS.

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Pink

Yes. It may not be from SRAM, but if there’s money to be made selling mechanical parts, I’m very confident someone will. Paul Klampers anyone?

Exodux
1 month ago

The article doesn’t claim, at least that I read, that Sram claims “green” as part of the reasoning behind this design. Surely we would like to believe that it is a secondary benefit of this design.

As far as upgrading and finding batteries or other parts twenty five years down the road, you most likely will not find them from Sram’s website, just the same as I wouldn’t look on the Shimano website if I was looking for a 1986 6 spd Deore rear derailleur . Maybe, in the future that if you have some current tech, you may be able to find it on eBay or something similar.

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
1 month ago
Reply to  Exodux

So weird to me that no one complains about future part availability with cars, but can’t stop talking about it with bikes.

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