This review was written by one of our customers, Michael Stirrat. Michael was coming from a 1x9 drivetrain on his hardtail and looking to increase the gear ratio and as soon as SRAM Eagle was announced, he knew it was the drivetrain that would suit his needs.
When I got my 29er hardtail 5 years ago, the first thing I did was make it into a 1x9. I loved the simplicity but missed the high and very low gears every once in awhile. I saw the SRAM Eagle 1x12 drivetrain in a magazine in July and knew I needed one. I got my bonus and started poking around the internet for someone who had the complete package. I had never heard of Worldwide Cyclery before but liked the web design and they had everything I needed! One stop shopping. I got the complete SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain and shifter plus a set of SRAM Rail 40 wheels.
I installed it all as a DIY. SRAM's instructions are pretty good and I had no problems with the install. The way the XD cassette mounts onto the XD freehub is very slick. Another cool thing is the spacer tool that SRAM includes to set the B tension. You just stick it up against the cassette and derailleur and turn the screw until the gap lines up with the marks on the tool. The chain length was easy to set as was the rest of the set up.
Like all other high end free hubs, the XD sounds great, like a swarm of bees chasing you down the trail. It engages absolutely instantly as soon as you start pedaling. One of the most surprising things about the drivetrain is how quiet it is. 1x set ups are quieter than 2x or 3x anyway, but this one is really, really quiet when pedaling. It sounds and feels super efficient, like a direct connection from your feet to the trail. When you first see the cassette and hold it you can't believe that there is really a 50 tooth cog on there. Just 3 teeth shy of the big ring on my roadie. It's absurd looking. And how the heck can you go from 10 teeth through 11 other gears to the 50 toother and have it all work? I don't know, but it works awesomely well. Every shift is right on the money. I'm running a 32 tooth chainring on the Eagle crankset and a riding buddy and I calculated out that the high and low gear ratios are almost the same as the ones on his new 2x10 29er hard tail rig. The 1x12 gives me all I will ever need. Another awesome thing about the Eagle 1x12 is how well the front chainring keeps the chain on. I have done enough rides on Arizona's rough rocky trails to know that SRAM's Eagle chainring is all I need to keep the chain on.
In summary, this Eagle 1x12 thing is amazing. I ride mostly cross-country here in Tucson and have loved every mile since I got it. I can't wait until the road version comes out.
To learn more about SRAM Eagle, click here.
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