Long Term Review: Sram XO1 Eagle 12 Speed

SRAM Eagle

It’s funny how resistant to change we are sometimes.  As the new SRAM Eagle XO1 was announced last year, I had just switched to 11 speed with a 42 tooth large cog.  Why would I need 12 speed with a 50 tooth cog?!  Lots of industry folks I spoke with prior to the Eagle release speculated problems the group would have:  “That derailleur cage is so low it will hit everything you ride near.  It will shift like crap into the 50.  The chain will be weak and require frequent replacement.”  After a little over 1400 miles, I have found none of those things to be true.  Sram Eagle XO

At first, that enormous 50 tooth cog looks a little strange since it’s about the size of a 180mm disc rotor.  The size is soon forgotten as the benefit becomes so apparent on the steep climbs.  The shift up into the largest cog doesn’t really feel any different than shifting into the other cogs.  Shifting is quick, smooth and the derailleur works as well as it did when new.


Good:

  • Super wide gear range that gives the ability to spin up near vertical walls.
  • Very quiet drivetrain with nearly no chain noise even in the rough.
  • Chain life appears to be very good with minimal chain stretch.
  • Excellent chain retention.  I have not had one single dropped chain without a chainguide.

Bad:

  • High replacement cost of chain and cassette

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Sram XO Eagle
After 1400+ miles the alloy cogs and chainring are starting to show some wear from the black anodizing wearing off.  Shifting remains great though.

Sram XO Eagle

The cost of the group doesn’t seem to be too crazy if bought on a complete bike.  With Ibis’s builds XO1 is just a slight increase over an XT bike.  What is expensive is the cost of the cassette and chain when it comes time to replace.  The $360 cassette is over $100 more than the XO1 11 speed and the $60 chain is double what an 11 speed can be had for.

Final Word

The group has performed flawlessly for me and is a great choice for those wanting a one chainring setup, but worried the gear range won’t be enough.  Groundbreaking?  Maybe not, but it’s really nice to have that wide range of gears in all situations from super steep climbs to fast fireroad descents.  After being bashed around though muddy, dusty conditions I’m surprised at how well everything has held up.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. T.J. Morton

    I’ve only got about 90 miles on my Eagle groupset, but I’m in love! That granny gear is to die for! :-)

  2. gma400

    I have ridden Sram XO1 for a number of years and have recently had a failure of the bottom pulley securing bolt with the bolt thread parting company from the inner cage. I am a chartered Mechanical Engineer so feel that I have the knowledge and competence to make a constructive criticism of the design of this component.
    The thickness of the inner cage does not provide sufficient support to just rely on the thread to give enough mechanical resistance in the case when the chain is moving about from side to side as in a fast rough downhill descent. Admittedly this is not the normal riding mode but is a mode that can be encountered on many rides. That said, there is an easy solution to this problem (and one that I have used effectively) which is to replace the current bolt and cage thread with a nut (self locking) and bolt inserted in the opposite direction to the normal direction. this provides an infinitely stronger mounting system and added security for fast downhill riding (the last thing you need when travelling at speed downhill is for your chain to lock up on you)

    I would strongly advise any downhill rider to consider this modification – that is unless you have done it already

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