This review is written by one of our all time favorite customers and local SoCal Yeti 4.5c rider Michael Kovac. Not too long ago we did a custom Yeti 4.5c build for him that was kitted with full SRAM XX1 1x11 drivetrain. The moment he heard about SRAM XX1 1x12 Eagle he wanted in. He’s always been an early adopter and lover of the latest MTB gear that comes out. Here are his thoughts on the new 1x12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain vs. the 1x11 SRAM drivetrain.
“Having started mountain biking in the days of the triple, I have been very happy each time manufacturers were able to drop a chainring and still keep a reasonable range of gearing. Going from three rings to two made things much less fiddly, and I never looked back. When SRAM first came out with their XX1 1x11, I was an early adopter even though quite a few people I respected asked if I was sure it was a good idea. It was, but…
Losing the front derailleur was fantastic - the SRAM XX1 was bombproof for the four years I rode it, but when the trail started to pitch up, I definitely missed the low-end gearing of a 2X. I live in Southern California (Worldwide Cyclery Country), and we have plenty of steep trails. I have always loved the challenge of cleaning the harder climbs. With the XX1, I was able to still get up everything I could before, but it definitely put me at the absolute limit to take on a series of 20%+ singletrack ridges. Once I got tired, I felt like I was mashing the pedals even on longer fire road climbs. I never seriously regretted having a 1X, I just accepted that having it came with some tradeoffs.
Not any more. Jeff (the planet’s coolest and most responsive bike shop owner) nabbed me one of the first production runs of SRAM Eagle XX1 for my half-year old Yeti SB4.5c. I thought I loved the Yeti with SRAM’s XX1, but now I really know what love is: An SB4.5c with SRAM Eagle! No more compromises! The shifts are quick and precise, spacing between gears is never too much of a jump, and now I have the gear I want going up or down.
I took it on a few steep sustained climbs (like Paseo Miramar) that I know really well to see what the new setup was like. On the Paseo Miramar climb, I was enjoying spinning at a higher cadence, keeping my heart rate and breathing under control. I was really happy that I now had the option to take it easy on this kind of climb, if I wanted to, even if it meant going slow. Except it didn’t! Even though it felt easy, it was one of my fastest times on the climb. I have since repeated this experience with the same result.
In retrospect, having a wider gear ratio on tap translating into better performance is hardly a revelation, I realize. It is just that I had somewhat talked myself into ignoring the virtue of a wider gear ratio in favor of simpler, lighter, more reliable mechanicals. I absolutely recommend that you get in touch with Worldwide Cyclery to set you up with SRAM Eagle as fast as you can. It’s definitely an investment, but you won’t regret making it.”
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