SRAM XX - 10 Speed MTB Group

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by Robb Sutton on Jun 09, 2009 at 6:42 AM

Note: we are woefully inadequate in MTB coverage, only touching dirt on our Cross bikes, so we asked Robb Sutton from Mountain Biking by 198 to cover the new SRAM MTB group for us.

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It’s official. SRAM launched their new 2×10 mountain bike component group named SRAM XX. This 10 speed mountain bike group is targeted towards the racing elite as they continue the quest for that top podium spot. With the release of this component group from SRAM, the question remains…

Is there room in the mountain biking industry for a 10 speed setup?

We have already seen a move to 10 speed in the road biking world. Some would argue that 10 speed component groups, even in road biking, is un-needed. How many gears do you actually need? When you introduce an additional gear on the cassette of a bike, you have to space the cogs closer together and use a thinner chain to fit everything in a tight space. The nay-sayers are going to tell you that this creates an unsavory situation that will cause more mis-shifts and component issues as there is less room for mud and road dirt and less give room for adjustment issues.

SRAM XX 10 Speed Component Group

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Besides the fact that SRAM XX is a 2×10 setup, it does introduce some advancements in mountain biking technology that are worth taking a look over. Significant Weight Savings

Since this specific component group is aimed at hardcore xc racers, it has to be as light as possible. SRAM significantly lighten the entire group by using several different materials…titanium, magnesium, carbon, etc. If these components still carry the same SRAM durability, that would make for a huge advancement in weight saving technology.

Hydraulic Fork Lockout

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The new SRAM XX forks (SID, Reba and Revelation) use a new hydraulically driven fork lockout mechanism called Xloc. The Xloc is 60 grams lighter than the Pushloc/Blackbox lockout control and is completely sealed (for obvious reasons). A simple push on/push off function controls all of your compression lockout functions.

Exact Actuation Trigger Shifters and Derailleurs

From sram.com

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Precision equals consistency equals victory. XX uses the Exact Actuation shifting technology developed for SRAM road to help give you the ultimate MTB shifting experience. Exact Actuation delivers an identical 3mm adjustment between each gear on the cassette, replacing the typical slop found between gears with a crisp, clean, and immediate shift. This consistent, precise adjustment means smoother, faster, and better shifting with no variation in pull effort from gear to gear.

Press Fit Bottom Bracket

Again…from sram.com

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All new Truvativ PressFit 30 debuts with XX. The XX philosophy comes to life again– everything you need, nothing you don’t. Light and strong. Our all-new PressFit 30 provides big weight savings,a narrower Q factor, and more ankle clearance in an easy-to-install, durable little black package. PressFit 30 features an integrated gutter seal underneath an aluminum-bearing shield to dramatically prolong ceramic bearing life.

Thoughts from 198 on SRAM XX 10 Speed Component Group

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So what do I think about the new SRAM XX component group? It’s cool to look at. Much like the new Shimano Dura Ace Di2 electronic shifting, this is one of those component groups that is aimed at a very specific kind of rider…a pure xc racer or a rider with too much money on their hands that has to have the latest and greatest.

The SRAM XX is a proprietary system that brings 10 speed components to the mountain biking industry for the first time ever. While I like to see innovation and technological progress, I am not sure that the mountain biking industry really needs a 10 speed component set. I do agree that SRAM’s sponsored riders and other team riders will see a real advantage to this setup, but I do not think that the average Joe mountain biker would notice any difference. Don’t get me wrong…you are going to see one of these groups at your local trailhead with some weekend warrior trying to convince you to skip your mortgage payment to pick one up, but the reality is that this group is a purpose built package.

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Would I ride a bike that has this group installed? Of course! I actually run 2×9 setups on all of my personal rigs (minus the ss). Would I buy this component group for one of my bikes? Probably not. I need to have components that I can swap out between bikes and proprietary systems like the SRAM XX do not fit my needs, but…remember…they are not marketing this system to me anyway. I am not a sponsored xc racer.

I might be eating my words in the future (it has been known to happen), but I do not thing that 10 speed component groups are going to take over the mountain biking industry like they have in the road world. I do not think there is enough of an advantage to warrant changing over everything to a new format. Of course…many riders…just like myself…probably said the same thing about the switch from 8 speed to 9 speed…

These pictures and more information on SRAM XX can be found at sram.com/xx

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