Musings on SRAM XX and Road Gearing


by Mark V on Jun 25, 2009 at 11:14 AM

SRAM XX rear derailleur.gif

SRAM’s XX 10-speed mtb group has had the top World Cup racers testing it, but what happens if you mix components with other manufacturers or different types of bikes. Like say, what would happen if you put XX drivetrain components on a road bike. People want to know.

Seriously, though, what would happen? I’m really hot to know if the new XX derailleur is compatible with a SRAM DoubleTap integrated shift/brake lever for road dropbars. The 11-36 10sp cassette on a compact double crank would be lower than a 1:1 ratio, which could be great for touring. One odd technical quirk of SRAM products is that the road rear derailleurs work a cable pull profile called “Exact Ratio” while all the previous mtb derailleurs worked on a “1:1 ratio” (though some SRAM mtb derailleurs are made to be used with Shimano’s shifters). If you read the company marketing speak, you might at first think that these are the same thing, but you’d be wrong.

SRAM XX cassette.gif

However, the new XX group seems to use Exact Ratio, but I don’t know yet if that means that it is compatible with the road shifters. If so, then I have to get me some XX. I’d race cyclocross this season on an XX mtb with dropbar/SRAM Rival shifters and mechanical disc brakes, and then next year maybe I’d tour Japan again on my Sycip with SRAM Red and XX derailleur and cassette.

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I’ve had similar musings lately. I’m not sure I have the cash to “test” the hypothesis, but maybe SRAM will be more forthcoming.

Oh, I should say that I’m assuming that the front derailleurs/shifters are not going to be intercompatible with road and mtb.  Which wouldn’t be an issue on a touring bike but might be an issue on my oddball dropbar mtb projects.  At the moment, I think I might pursue those XX experiments, but I have a bike project before that to finish. It’ll be an S&S titanium BMX bike with a rear derailleur and disc brakes. 

And in your article mentioning DA triple, I talked to various Shimano people and DA triple 7900 isn’t going to happen.  So the top-end road triple is dead after an 8-year presence.

One more thing about using SRAM on my touring bike instead of STI is that it’s easier to mount a handlebar bag without the shifter cables in the way, though the new DA7900 and Ultegra 6700 do have hidden cables now. But I already have Red and Rival shifters.

You also have drop-bar [Nexus with Hed Ardennes]( to build another project we’ve been working on.

yep that’s going to be cool and my bmx project only needs parts since the frame won’t involve an exchange of money. and a lot of the parts i already had in the old parts bin.

VeloNews claims it’s the road ratio so the rear end is compatible, but based on other information, I’d definitely choose Rival/Force/Red for the front derailleur.  Then again, the source is VN, where Lennard Zinn is there to say almost every mix-and-match will work.

I’m less impressed that “... almost every part… can be installed and adjusted using a T25 Torx driver” or that the SRAM 1090 chains are recommended.  I have a T25 bit, but there’s nothing wrong with the 4/5/6mm hex keys I keep magnetized to my toolbox and work with almost every other component, either, and 1090’s reputation for durability isn’t improving with time.

YES, EXACTLY: I hate Torx head.  Maybe okay for disc rotors…oh, wait, that’s why Shimano’s Centerlock discs rule. 

And as far as 1090 chains go, if XX works with that then it will probably work with some other 10s chain.  I’m using Wipperman chains on my 7800 and and DA 7900 chains on my Red.  No problems for me.

I’m running a KMC X10 on my Red, and it’s fantastic, and lighter than 1090R to boot.

Touring with rare high end racing-only components that have minimal durability???

That would strike me as a bit crazy.

Which SRAM derailleurs use Shimano Ratios btw? I like the direct cable routing on SRAM but a set of Shimano thumbies or barcons make a much more dependable touring setup.

Excellent question: I’m planning on doinf Death Ride again this year and just go my S-Works Roubaix from my LBS - installed the Red Shifters and front derailleur and the XX rear derailleur and XX 11-32 cassette. behind the compact cranks - should be interesting.
I’m going to test it out this wee
kend - will let you know!!!