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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 109 > THROUGH THE GRINDER

THROUGH THE GRINDER

That was it. Summer. Even the Indian summer is fading as we sit down to write this. However, all is not lost. Unlike some countries where bikes go back in the shed at the first sign of damp, UK riders keep on keeping on all winter and we’ve rounded up a collection of products that might help you do that (or flee for the sun instead).

SRAM EAGLE XX1 DRIVETRAIN

Price: Cassette £353, Chainset £356, Rear mech £234, Shifter £131, Chain £71

From: SRAM, sram.com// Tested: Four months

It’s hard to believe that SRAM’s first 1x11 groupset only came out four years ago. Since then, the ‘one by’ revolution has truly swept through the land.

With typical panache, SRAM launched its newest groupset – 12-speed XX1 Eagle – to a collection of the world’s bike media in the sunny Italian mountains. Rob Crayons headed over for us to try out this new 12-speed groupset and he returned impressed. What we wanted to know, though, is how well the groupset would do in the less sunny UK. After a short wait, our own groupset arrived and we were free to fit it to a bike.

Any bike? No. This is where we learned that SRAM is VERY keen to differentiate between XX1 Eagle and X01 Eagle. XX1 is for cross-country bikes and X01 is for trail and enduro bikes. Despite them looking similar and having almost identical specs, don’t you be putting the gold gears on an enduro bike or there’ll be trouble. Apparently.

Cranks and chainring

The chainset is a lovely bit of work. Carbon crankarms with a veiny single ring bolted to them. The chainring looks purposeful and cut away to reduce material wherever possible. The hollow crankarms look both light and reliable. Those chainring teeth, though! The teeth look hooked and already worn, but the carefully designed shape is aimed to keep a tight hold on the chain when driving, and then release it easily at the bottom of the ring, reducing noise and drag.

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: Jacob’s Cracker – The nicest man in mountain biking, Nick Craig, gets some Glaswegian encouragement from Sanny as they see who can clear Jacob’s Ladder without stopping. International Adventure: Iceland – Bikepacking in Iceland. Best bring your thermals. International Adventure: The Scottish Connection – Three Scottish friends meet up for an epic road trip round New Zealand before they all go their separate ways. Interview: David Turner – Chipps talks to the reluctant icon behind this cult brand. Classic Ride: Sutton Bank – This steep Yorkshire road climb is known for being too horribly busy (unless it’s been blocked by a misguided lorry) to ride. But how are the trails away from the fumes of brakes and clutches? Bike Test: Sub £1000 hardtails – We check out three hardtails under the magic figure of a grand. There’s no carbon and no full suspension at this price point, but is there fun? You bet there is! Grouptest: Dropper Seatposts – We check out the highs and lows of the current dropper post market. Grinder: The team bring you goods ridden through the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And possibly a touch of mud. Feature: Trail Leader 3: You literally put your life in the hands of a mountain bike guide. What goes into that experience? Silver Shredders: Mountain bike life doesn’t stop when work does. We look at a bunch of riders making full use of their newfound spare time.
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