Review: SRAM GX 1 is the 1x Drivetrain you’ve Been Waiting For, w/ Actual Weights

SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (2)

“Man, I’d love to go 1x, but at those prices I just can’t afford it.”

I’ve had this conversation with a number of riding buddies, and sometimes even from friends who work in shops. True wide range drivetrains offer some big benefits in certain situations, but at the end of the day they are still a wear item. For something that is going to get mashed, trashed, and crashed, it can be a little intimidating to drop a grand or more on something you’re not sure you’re going to like.

As trickle down tech usually works, SRAM has slowly been dropping the price from their flagship XX1 with each subsequent component level. With the announcement of GX 1, they finally had an “affordable” group, but how would it compare against the pricier options? Quite well, as it turns out…

 

Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (14)

Just what is a GX 1 group going to run you? Pricing for the entire group shown above (with one spider and ring, trigger shifter, and GXP crank) is just $564 compared to $970 for X1, $1247 for X01 and XX1 at $1375. The biggest savings comes in the form of one of the biggest wear items, the cassette. Less than half the price of the X1 cassette at $144, it doesn’t quite have the bling factor of the higher end X-Dome cassettes, but the XG-1150 1175 Full-Pin unit gets the job done with flying colors. And at 324g, it is only 9g heavier than the XG-1180 Mini Cluster.

After a lot of mashing and wet weather riding, the black finish is starting to wear off the cassette teeth, but shifting is still nice and crisp. That’s really the reason why this group is such a home run – even the best cassette and derailleur adapters can’t touch the shifting performance of a dedicated wide range group like GX 1. Don’t get me wrong, we have a few test bikes that will be keeping their cassette adapters, but if given the choice between adapters and a full group? This wins all day.

You do have to consider the fact that the cassette requires an XD free hub body which, if you’re adding the group, you probably don’t have. A lot of wheels at this point have XD bodies available as a quick upgrade and swap, but if not, you’ll be on the hook for a new hub at minimum or a new wheelset.

Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (13) Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (17)

Compared to other 1x groups from SRAM, you’d be hard pressed to tell a difference between the shifter and derailleur of the higher end groups. The X-Horizon derailleur and X-actuation trigger shifter offer the nice, positive shift feel that SRAM is known for. After the initial set up, the only additional tweaking has been minimal barrel adjustment.

SRAM GX drivetrain 1x review advocate cycles hayduke plus 27 (4)

The rear derailleur also seems to be quite robust. Given that plus tires seem to hurl every stick they roll over straight into the wheels, I was surprised to see everything still intact after I felt this stick pop up and slam into the derailleur. After the initial impact it sort of shrugged it off to where it was parallel with the chain stay. I thought for sure this would have at least bent the cage.

SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (3)

Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (16) Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (5)

Up front, I am testing the GXP crank with a Wheels Manufacturing PF86 threaded bottom bracket. Given that this group is being used on an Advocate Hayduke (review coming very soon), the Boost crank was recommended. Fortunately, for the GX-1400 crankset, this is simply a swap of the spider which offsets the chainring 3mm towards the outside of the crank to match with the 148mm rear spacing. The X-Sync chainring is showing some wear with silver starting to poke through the black anodizing, but I’m yet to drop a chain.

It does seem that all of my test bikes with 1x drivetrains show drivetrain wear faster than those with a front derailleur, but the trade offs in many situations seem to be worth it. Also, now that there are XD 10-42 cassettes that don’t require a week’s pay, it may be less of an issue. I’m going on a full year with X1 on my Enduro rig and it is still operating smoothly.

SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (4)

SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (7) SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (6) SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (5)

SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (9) SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (1) SRAM GX group 1x11 one by drivetrain review weights actual (8)

All of the actual weights for the components came in at, or below quoted weights which makes the difference in weight between GX 1 and X1 negligible. The GX group doesn’t have its own chain as it share the PC-X1 with X1. Update: It does appear that I was sent the XG-1175 instead of the XG-1150, which would explain the weight difference thanks to the aluminum 42t cog.  

SRAM GX drivetrain 1x review advocate cycles hayduke plus 27 (7)

In the end, it might be SRAM’s heaviest 1x group (and not by much), but thanks to the comparative value and availability of affordable replacement parts, GX 1 probably is the 1x group you’ve been waiting for – if you aren’t riding it already.

sram.com

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R0b0tAt0ms
R0b0tAt0ms
6 years ago

I have heard that the X1 and GX (1x) cranksets are not particularly compatible with bashguards. Is this accurate?

Michael
Michael
6 years ago

R0b0tAt0ms – From what is shown in the pictures, they are not compatible with bashguards.
Unless there is a bashguard specific spider they did not show.
North Shore Billet makes a bashguard compatible spider for Sram cranks.
It would be one more thing to buy, but they are on Ebay for a lot less than retail.

Sam
Sam
6 years ago

If I do a 1X conversion on my Surly ICT, I’m looking at almost $300 for a chain ring, bash guard, extended range cog, and a radr cage (with limited 1X rings for the Surly OD crank). Any change they’ll be making that crank with a 100mm spindle?

If so, count me in!

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago

Looks good to me!….Trying now to decide whether to upgrade my Scott Spark 720 with either:

-A new GX1/X1 hybrid drivetrain
– A new Shimano XT8000 drivetrain but with an XD Freehub and a GX cassette (I want that 10T!)

R0b0tAt0ms
R0b0tAt0ms
6 years ago

@ Michael – thank you for the info.

Will
Will
6 years ago

Too bad SRAM derailleurs are made from cheese. I’ve gone through three in the past two years. Going back to Shimano (current bike came with SRAM) and never leaving.

GT
GT
6 years ago

Just add a Gripshift to this and you have an amazing drivetrain. You can roll through the whole range with the flip of the wrist.

bob
bob
6 years ago

looks great at this price,converting 2x bikes and other things aren’t really worth it.

It also makes X1 or X01 a little bit superfluous IMO..

As far as im concerned this is my next upgrade on the MTB (cheaper than new shimano cassette + extender + ring and all that to have subpar shifting… yeah, GX1 I’m coming.)

bart
bart
6 years ago

I have been a Shimano guy for most of my life but have had the chance to ride a few GX bikes in the last couple of months and it works really good…..like really good.

Luiggi
Luiggi
6 years ago

I went the 1X “hybrid” route:, GX shifter and chain, X1 rear derailleur, but keeping my crankset -adding a Race Face n/w chainring- and my rear wheel intact -by using a XT M8000 cassette. The 10t cog is a chain destroyer. I haven’t had to change the freehub, and the price is sensibly lower than going full SRAM.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago

Just want to point out to Andrew – SRAM GX is effectively 1x X7. X7 is equivalent to Deore, not XT. If you wanted to compare SRAM to Shimano XT, you’d need to compare to X01.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago

I don’t know that you *need* a bashguard on 28-32t rings, but that might just be the trails I ride.

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

I wish sram would tuck the mechs in like shimano shadow. Not sure how many others are having this issue but I’ve owned xx1, xo1, and gx and they all come loose. I’ve never had this issue with non clutch mechs so I suspect the clutch is the culprit not necessarily sram mechs in particular.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago

bearCol – You mean the B pivot develops play, where you can grab the derailer cage and wobble the whole derailer back and forth when there’s no chain in the system? That’s a thing SRAM derailers just kinda do in short order.

The cool thing about DMD (what you’re talking about), is that it’s an open standard, just like flat mount hydraulic disc brakes and BB30. SRAM could make it if they wanted to. But they don’t.

Charlie
Charlie
6 years ago

I’d be very interested in a 1X system if it could deliver the gearing range of a 2X system and the ability to up/downshift 3 or 4 gears at once – maybe with a separate shifter on the left side of the handlebar? (Weak irony intended.) I know 1X systems are not just marketing hype, but the 2X system on my new mt bike made me sorta miss the 3X system on my old bike. I must be getting old cuz I’m losing my [chain ring] teeth.

DM
DM
6 years ago

Are you sure that is the 1150 cassette you weighed and not the 1175? SRAM’s stated weight for the 1150 is 394 g.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

I want but the pricing simply doesn’t make sense now for the mid-level group. Really? Double?

MERICA'F###YEAH!
MERICA'F###YEAH!
6 years ago

@Charlie

What you just described is XTR Di2. Try it. It’s like riding a 1x, but with a wider gear range, and you can set up the shifter(s) any way you want.

mortimer
mortimer
6 years ago

GX, nice. Just need to team it up with some decent brakes like some Deore or LX.

CU
CU
6 years ago

Right on, GT. I will never understand why not more riders use Gripshift. Better shifting and less clutter – ahhh, make that no clutter – on your handlebar.

sd
sd
6 years ago

@Charlie true you dont have the same range on 1X and either its harder to pedal either you can’t go as fast (i go with the later!)

In exchange though you get perfect shifting, chain line and no chain drops.

Even the most perfect 2X has a bunch of chain slack, which ends up either dropping, either hitting the frame. Even with Di2 (which the most perfect 2X), it’s still not as good as going 1X for this.

Now, if you ride calmly, don’t jump, etc. then you’d rather stay 2X than going 1X for sure as the slack won’t be a big deal and you won’t drop anything.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago

My fatbike, with X0 2x, doesn’t suffer chainslap or drops. Ever. Even doing dumb stuff at Ray’s. It’s all about having a clutch type derailer, and properly adjusted limits.

Daniel
Daniel
6 years ago

Just a quick one to say I bought a praxis wide range cassette when they came out in the UK which worked out cheaper than an Slx cassette and wide range adapter to work with a zee mech and shifter and a kmc chain. It works exactly as well as the xt cassette it replaced l, has good gaps between gears and wears really well, I’ve been really impressed and given I’ve always preferred shimano shifters it is a great value upgrade. If you don’t want to replace a functional shifter, crank and mech when your cassette wears out it’s a great budget option.

Fan Boy
Fan Boy
6 years ago

single front chainring?

same range a 2×10? (or even a 3×10)

no chain drops?

Rohloff.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago

@Fan Boy- Rohloffs do have the advantages you name, but they are 1500 bucks for the hub, shifter, and cables. Also- as far as I know, they don’t do Boost, and don’t do through axles.

rupert3k
rupert3k
6 years ago

Next SL + XT 11-42 FTW

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
6 years ago

rohloff as alternative? Haha. Eat more bacon

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

Eric Hanson: I’m not experiencing b tension slop. What I’m experiencing is the attachment bolt backing off. I’m assuming the clutch is backing off the bolt. If you think about it the clutch is creating torque in the loosening direction every time it resists the pulley cage moving forward. The attachment bolt is designed to pivot inside the mech so any loosening energy should be diffused by the bolt pivoting inside the mech. I’ve found my xx1, x01, and gx all developed lots of friction where the bolt pivots in the mech. I believe this is causing every 1x sram mech I’ve owned to loosen. I didn’t experience this with shimano clutch mechs.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago

@bearCol- turn off the clutch when not riding? Not a perfect solution, but it might help some…

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

fan boy: I would love to try a gear hub. While I prefer 1×11 when faced with other traditional drivetrain options I would ditch the rear defaileure in a second for internal gears!

We all know the drivetrain drag and weight arguments, but it’s pretty clear there are plenty of riders willing to accept that in trade for internal gears. Why the industry won’t give it to us is beyond me? Second gen hammerschmit coupled with a geared hub would be a dream. Or I would buy any new standard the industry wants for a gearbox and happily accept the value of all my 1x crap plummeting off a cliff like so many parts before it.

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

Tim: you can’t turn off the clutch on sram mechs only shimano. You can loosen them, though sram doesn’t recommend fooling with it.

Will
Will
6 years ago

Looks good……….. For SRAM, but I’ll wait to see the reviews on the box system and if it’s as good as the “rumours” say I’ll be giving both SRAM and shimano the flick till the new Zerode trail bike arrives, then I’ll say bye bye to derailleurs for ever….

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

Rohloffs are cool but I like to pedal when I shift

benzo
benzo
6 years ago

The only interesting item is the 1042 cassette, although the availability of 1145 and possibly 1146 Shimano makes it questionable. But more importantly: how is the cassette built? Is it of the hub body churning variety like other lower end SRAM cassettes?

Brian
Brian
6 years ago
Vincent
Vincent
6 years ago

Wow, that does look like the 1150 cassette (full pin) coming in 70g below sram’s stated weight. Thats a really good thing. I’m glad this group is finally here. I have xo1 on my bike and love it, but as things wear out this provides a much cheaper way to replace wear items.

Dug
Dug
6 years ago

@Veganpotter Rohloff’s can be shifted while pedaling or coasting. I shift mine all the time while pedaling.

gee
gee
6 years ago

That cassette is 40 g lighter than an XT 11-42,

mortimer
mortimer
6 years ago

Rolhoffs? Isn’t that why they created ebikes? To overcome the friction during run in. Current Nexus rides well and shifts perfectly – heavy and not enough range. Oh, yeah it gets expensive to have two wheelsets for the one bike, and a bit dickie mucking with the cables to remove wheels. Do they do a 12mm axle for them?

I’d rather the 1x?, but to be honest will stick with the old 2×10.

hjb
hjb
6 years ago

I’m a little confused about the weight of the XG-1150 cassette. According to the interwebz it is actually 394g, NOT 324g… can you clarify thanks

Hank mardukas
Hank mardukas
6 years ago

@Bearcol

I had the same issues. Every few rides I’d have to crank down on my mounting bolt because it would be loose. I even put a dab of blue locktite and it would still back out. After having 3 derailleurs replaced under warranty for creaking I gave up, sold my derailleur and shifter and bought xtr 9000. No more creaks and no more derailleur backing off.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

Dug, while you may do it, you’re supposed to back off when shifting. If you’re always shifting under power, chances are, your hub won’t last as long as it’s intended

Randy Harris
Randy Harris
6 years ago

I’ll bet the Cassette is actually the XG-1175, not the XG-1150. XG-1175 is also full pin and stated weight is 325 grams.

Benedikt Skúlason
6 years ago

I’m pretty sure it’s the 1175 cassette you have, with the 42t out of aluminum. I just weighed a 1150 cassette here and it was around the claimed 394g. A gx1 drivetrain with the 1175 cassette is the way to go. Kind of makes all the other high-end groups (X1, X01, XX1, XTR) a bit redundant.

Goran
Goran
6 years ago

Quote Eric “SRAM GX is effectively 1x X7. X7 is equivalent to Deore, not XT. If you wanted to compare SRAM to Shimano XT, you’d need to compare to X01.”

Well, pricewise, not really.
Check XT prices for the 1 x group.

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

Hank: thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve tried locktite too but on rough terrain they still loosen on me. Good to hear it’s not happening with shimano, I may have to go that route. I really don’t want to because I’m happy with shifting performance and I already own two shifters and three mechs, but I’m at my wits end with this loosening issue. Nearly 20 years of riding and I’ve never dealt with this. Something is up with sram 11 speed, but it seems only a minority is dealing with it. I suspect it has a lot to do with terrain and riding style so many won’t experience it.

DM
DM
6 years ago
TimB
TimB
6 years ago

Rohloff does indeed do 142×12 thru axle.

Its a great alternative way to get 1x but ……

you have to run a larger chain ring which can be a problem on some modern chainsets which only allow up to 38T on their 1x setups