SRAM Eagle Groupsets Compared! XX1 vs X01 vs GX vs NX vs SX [Video]

Words by: Liam Woods

Intro:

When looking at any drivetrain for your mountain bike, it's difficult to not put SRAM Eagle at the top of your list. It was the first to the 11-speed game, the first to remove the front derailleur and still have a range that allowed you to pedal up almost anything. Shortly after, they became the first to the 12-speed game as well. It’s no doubt that SRAM is at the top of the list when it comes to innovation. Plenty of brands have followed, but I don't think anyone does it as well as SRAM. With the newest generation of the higher end Eagle drivetrains, you get a 10-52t rear cassette. This gives you a massive range enabling you to pedal up practically anything. When SRAM Eagle first came out, it was only available in the top trims of X01 and XX1. Eventually, GX Eagle came out.

The launch of GX Eagle was really when Eagle gained traction and was then affordable for most mountain bikers. Soon to follow was NX Eagle and then SX Eagle. Once again, SRAM rocked the mountain bike world and released X01 and XX1 AXS, wireless electronic shifting. While not cheap, the wireless performance and ease of use took SRAM Eagle to the top, above any other brands, and we still haven’t seen anyone come close to matching the performance.

Recently, SRAM updated XX1, X01, and GX Eagle with a larger 52t cassette cog, which was previously a 50t max. Along with the extended range, the rear derailleur received a revision. X01 and XX1 saw new colors in addition to the rest of the lineup getting updated graphics. Now you can mix and match all levels of Eagle as well as the colors of the cassette and chains. 

SRAM Eagle Drivetrain Comparison

What is most impressive is how affordable SRAM 12-speed has become. A full NX Eagle groupset with shifter, rear derailleur, cassette, chain, and crankset is just $375! At that price, the NX Eagle provides an insane amount of performance. But the price creeps up from there, with GX Eagle sitting at $545, X01 Eagle priced at $1,275, and XX1 Eagle at $1,500. There are also the SRAM AXS kits, which are $1,000 for a controller (shifter) and rear derailleur, and that’s only if you wanted to upgrade your current mechanical drivetrain parts. It’ll cost you $1,900 for a full X01 Eagle AXS groupset and $2,000 for an XX1 Eagle AXS groupset. Let’s take a look at what the levels are from entry to high-end and also what you get when moving from one level to the next. 

Hierarchy: 

If you don’t know much about SRAM drivetrains, like most brands, the naming structure isn't the most simple thing to figure out. Let’s start with the premium products, SRAM XX1 and X01 Eagle. These are going to be the upper tiers when it comes to drivetrains. Technically, XX1 is a bit more expensive and lighter, but that is due to the fact that XX1 has a few more carbon bits. SRAM considers these to have the same level of performance, but they’re made for different riders. XX1 is for the weight weenie, cross country racer, or light trail rider. It’s for someone who is looking to shave grams, which comes at the cost of not being quite as durable. SRAM X01 is made to take more of a beating. With more alloy parts, X01 is made for the heavy trail rider or enduro racer. Both are the premiere products, just aimed at different riders. Next down is the working class hero, SRAM GX Eagle. It’s made to be both more affordable yet not sacrificing any performance. GX Eagle still gets the new wide range of 10-52t cassette, and a sleek look to match any color cassette and chain combo you might want. 

Yeti SB115 SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Copper

The next two versions of SRAM Eagle are barely a step down. This is mainly from the rear cassette you will find on the SRAM NX and SX Eagle groupsets. SRAM NX Eagle slots in right below GX, at just $375 for a full groupset. For that price, the level of quality you get is pretty insane. SRAM SX Eagle, at the bottom of the hierarchy, is a not so common option, as you will most likely find this on OEM or stock bikes. 

SX EAGLE:

SRAM SX Eagle is going to be the most entry level SRAM 12-speed mountain bike groupset you can get. While you can purchase a SRAM SX Eagle shifter, rear derailleur, and crankset aftermarket, they’re most commonly found as stock on a bike, or OEM. With SRAM SX Eagle you will be using the Shimano HG style freehub body, meaning that this is an easy way to upgrade an older or more entry level bike so you can put the cassette on your existing wheel. Unfortunately, this means you’ll only be able to have the 11-50t range. 

SRAM SX Eagle Drivetrain

Weights:

- SX Eagle Shifter: 129g
- SX Eagle Rear Derailleur: 337g
- SX Eagle Crankset: 694g

SRAM SX Eagle Drivetrain Weights

Specs:

- 1x Specific, 12-speed drivetrain
- 11-50t cassette range
- HG splined Shimano freehub body
- 3pc crankset (bb not included)

NX EAGLE:

SRAM NX Eagle will be the next full groupset you can get, and it’s a great option to upgrade if you are currently using a 2x or 3x system. NX Eagle will allow you to have 12-speed on your current wheels that might have 2x or 3x systems, as those typically use the Shimano HG style freehub body. That means the SRAM NX Eagle gets the 11-50t cassette range as the next level gets the bump up.

SRAM NX Eagle Drivetrain

Weights:

- NX Eagle Shifter: 101g
- NX Eagle Rear Derailleur: 337g
- NX Eagle Crankset: 700g
- NX Eagle Cassette: 629g
- NX Eagle Chain: 271g

Total Weight: 2,038g

SRAM NX Eagle Dirvetrain Weights

SRAM NX Eagle Drivetrain Weights

Specs:

- 1x Specific, 12-speed drivetrain
- 11-50t cassette range
- HG splined Shimano freehub body
- Trigger Shifter, or Single click E-Bike Shifter options
- $375

GX EAGLE:

SRAM GX Eagle is the next level up and what I would consider as the first step into the performance range, meaning GX Eagle gets you that premium performance and quality. GX Eagle is the first level to use the SRAM XD freehub body. If you have the Shimano HG style freehub body and you don’t want to upgrade it, you can always use the NX Eagle cassette with the rest of the GX Eagle components. But if you want the full GX Eagle groupset, you will need the XD driver so that can work. The newest version of SRAM GX Eagle also gets the 10-52t cassette range, or the extended Eagle. 

SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain

Weights:

- GX Eagle Shifter: 122g
- GX Eagle Rear Derailleur: 300g
- GX Eagle Crankset Alloy: 649g
- GX Eagle Crankset Carbon: 555g
- GX Eagle Cassette: 451g
- GX Eagle Chain: 271g

Total Weight: 1,699g (carbon), 1,793g (alloy)

SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain Weights

SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain Weights

Specs:

- 1x Specific, 12-speed drivetrain
- 520% range (10-52t Cassette)
- XD Driver specific
- Trigger Shifter, Grip Shift, or Single click E-Bike Shifter options
- Carbon or Alloy Crank Options
- $545

    X01 EAGLE:

    SRAM X01 Eagle is going to be the premium, top shelf offering for any rider looking for the best performance combined with durability. X01 Eagle is aimed at the aggressive trail or enduro rider looking to get that snappy, precise shifting you love from SRAM while not sacrificing durability. The newest version of SRAM X01 Eagle gets the 10-52t range and can easily match any of the colored cassettes that SRAM offers with its new sleek look. 

    SRAM X01 Eagle Drivetrain Weights

    Weights:

    - X01 Eagle Shifter: 117g
    - X01 Eagle Rear Derailleur: 285g
    - X01 Eagle Crankset: 463g
    - X01 Eagle Cassette: 372g
    - X01 Eagle Chain: 262g

    Total Weight: 1,499g

    SRAM X01 Eagle Drivetrain Weights

    SRAM X01 Eagle Drivetrain Weights

    Specs:

    - 1x Specific, 12-speed drivetrain
    - 520% range (10-52t Cassette)
    - XD Driver specific
    - Trigger Shifter, Grip Shift, or Single click E-Bike Shifter options
    - Adjustable downshift paddle
    - 4 color options for cassette and chains
    - $1,275

      XX1 EAGLE:

      SRAM XX1 Eagle is the option for the cross country racer, weight weenie, or someone just looking to shave any gram possible. While at the same performance level as X01 Eagle, XX1 Eagle gets lots more carbon bits, like a carbon derailleur cage, carbon shift paddle and shifter cover, and the cranks also shave some weight over the X01. The newest XX1 gets a makeover by way of sleek, new graphics to match any colored cassette SRAM offers, as well as the extended 10-52t cassette range. 

      SRAM XX1 Eagle Drivetrain

      Weights:

      - XX1 Eagle Shifter: 112g
      - XX1 Eagle Rear Derailleur: 269g
      - XX1 Eagle Crankset: 424g
      - XX1 Eagle Cassette: 371g
      - XX1 Eagle Chain: 262g

      Total Weight: 1,438g

      SRAM XX1 Eagle Drivetrain Weights

      SRAM XX1 Eagle Drivetrain Weights

      Specs:

      - 1x Specific, 12-speed drivetrain
      - 520% range (10-52t Cassette)
      - XD Driver specific
      - Trigger Shifter, Grip Shift, or Single click E-Bike Shifter options
      - Adjustable downshift paddle
      - 4 color options for cassette and chains
      - $1,500

        AXS EAGLE:

        SRAM AXS Eagle blew some minds when it first came out, creating the first truly wireless shifting for the mountain bike market. Offered in both SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS as well as SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, you can get the durable option, or the carbon option. Both follow the same recommended rider as the mechanical counterpart. If you want to just get the wireless AXS shifting for your current SRAM Eagle setup, you can easily just upgrade by getting the SRAM AXS Controller and SRAM AXS Rear Derailleur. 

        SRAM Eagle AXS Drivetrains

        Weights:

        - XX1 Eagle AXS Controller: 71g
        - XX1 Eagle AXS Rear Derailleur: 350g
        X01 Eagle AXS Controller: 71g
        - X01 Eagle AXS Rear Derailleur: 364g

        SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Drivetrain

        SRAM X01 Eagle AXS Drivetrain Weights

        Specs:

        - Used on either 10-50t or 10-52t cassettes
        - 20-hour battery life
        - X01 and XX1 options for xc or trail
        - Customizable controller settings
        - Sync with SRAM App for details and battery life
        - $1000 for upgrade kit (controller, rear derailleur)

        Upgrading Options:

        Before upgrading within the SRAM Eagle ecosystem, or even changing brands, there are a few things to consider first. I mentioned the use of different freehub bodies, or drivers. So for SRAM XX1, X01, and GX, you need to use a XD driver/freehub body. This is specific to the way the cassette mounts onto the wheel. If you currently have SRAM SX or NX Eagle, you will need to change out the freehub body. If you are going from GX Eagle to XX1 or X01, you won’t need to worry about this. 

        SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Copper

        A big upgrade we see riders looking to do is ditching the mechanical SRAM Eagle and going with the wireless SRAM AXS components. This is pretty easy to do, and you just need the upgrade kit to make that happen. This will come with the SRAM controller and rear derailleur. Once you install these and adjust them, that is pretty much all the work to be done. It’s actually easier to install the SRAM AXS as you don’t need to mess with cables and housing and then adjusting it all with some fine-tuning. The SRAM AXS makes it pretty easy and also requires less maintenance, except, of course, to remember to charge your batteries. 

        SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Copper

        Cross compatibility with SRAM Eagle is pretty good. You can pretty much use any level part with each other, with the exception of the cassettes and that really just matters according to what’s on your wheel. Technically, if you wanted, you could run SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS with a NX Eagle cassette, if that is what your wheel will take. You can pretty much use whatever combination of parts you can think of, as long as you have the right freehub body for your cassette. I often mix and match my parts. I'll go over what I prefer to run below. 

        Suggestions:

        I mentioned mix and matching parts. You might want to do this when upgrading or if you have a more expensive version and break some part and want to grab the more affordable option. That can work, but I want to talk about the version I choose to run on my enduro bike for the best performance to cost. My enduro bike is my go-to bike when traveling (meaning it goes into a bike bag several times a year), and it’s also put through the ringer with shuttle trucks, rock smacks, and let’s face it, crashes that are more likely to occur because bigger bikes mean bigger trouble. Because of that, I want to, of course, have the best performance, but I also don't want to be out $500 if I clip my rear derailleur on a rock. So this is what I mix and match. 

        Yeti SB130LR SRAM XX1 Eagle GX Eagle

        I start with the shifter, as that is what you feel the most, and I choose to use the SRAM X01 Eagle shifter. This is because I like the feeling of the more premium shifter, it's more precise and smooth, as well as the downshift paddle is adjustable. Also, by going with X01 and not XX1, you get an alloy shift paddle, which I prefer. Plus ,it is less likely to snap in a crash, or if the bars twist into your leg, you are left with just a bruise and not a broken shifter. I’ll take the bruise to continue riding.

        Next, I run the GX Eagle rear derailleur. The GX Eagle provides smooth and quiet shifting, while being affordable to replace when, not if, I smash that guy hanging down near rocks. It sucks to be neighbors with a rock, but that is the job of the rear derailleur, plus bringing a spare with you is also easier when it's a bit cheaper. I always travel with spare rear derailleurs and chains. Speaking of chains, I typically run the SRAM XX1 chain, mostly for looks as they come in colored options and I dig that. For spares I get the SRAM GX Eagle Chains as they shift just as well, weigh only slightly more, but are affordable to keep as an extra in the travel box.

        Cassettes, I use X01 or XX1. XX1 if I am trying to match my chain color, but both are going to be a significant weight and shifting improvement over the SRAM GX Eagle. This is because the cassette is machined out of a single block of alloy, instead of being forged cogs and pinned together. To me, the weight and shifting performance is worth the cost in this situation, and if you replace your chain often enough, cassettes last for a long time, even in the event of a crash.

        Lastly are cranks, and if I am running SRAM cranks I choose to use SRAM X01 Eagle crankset, not the XX1. While the XX1 are lighter, the XX1 are hollow carbon arms while the X01 are foam filled. What does that mean? Basically the X01 arms are stronger and less likely to have any issues. Again, not something I want when on a trip and just want to rip some fun trails. 

        SRAM XX1 Eagle GX Eagle

        So as you can see I run quite a mix of parts, but it's all about the balance of price, performance, and weight. While some parts are more expensive, there are some performance improvements that I choose to take when I can, and then I choose to go cheaper on other areas that I don't notice or are more likely to have issues in a crash. 

        Biggest differences on the Trail:

        If you were to blindfold someone and ask them to try to notice the difference between each level of Eagle, I think they would really only be able to tell the difference of NX Eagle from the rest as the shifter has a different feeling. As far as GX Eagle, X01 Eagle, and XX1 Eagle, it’s pretty hard to notice that difference. You do get a bit of a smoother shift with X01 or XX1, but that is the full combination from the shifter to the chain and cassette interface. If you mix and match parts, it's really hard to notice between the different levels. Durability also gets to a peak, topping out at X01, which is the most durable version of Eagle. It seems like the pivots and machined parts just fit together that much better, and you don’t notice the wear as much as say GX or NX Eagle. But I would say if looking to really get SRAM Eagle while not breaking the bank, SRAM GX Eagle gets my vote. It's a hard system to beat that really kicks most other drivetrains’ ass when you compare price, durability, and weight. 

        SRAM XX1 Eagle Unno Dash

        Final Thoughts:

        SRAM Eagle is an entire drivetrain ecosystem, as all levels can interact with each other, but there are also five levels to this ecosystem. From SRAM SX Eagle to SRAM XX1 Eagle, there is an option for every rider in every price range. Looking for the most expensive option to flex on your buddies? Look no further than SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS, wireless shifting, with dreamy colors; it's the top shelf option. If you just want to get the best performing SRAM option without taking out a loan, SRAM GX Eagle really is a great choice as price and performance are spot on and I would be fine using this on my personal bikes, day in and day out. First to the 1x game, first to the 12-speed game, SRAM is constantly innovating, which is one of many reasons why we love and choose SRAM Eagle on our bikes.

        Liam Woods - Rider Bio

        This article was written / authored by Liam Woods. Liam has been in the bicycle industry for over 10 years as a racer, professional mechanic, service manager and as of late, media and content creator. Liam has ridden thousands of different bikes, ridden countless components, tested endless MTB apparel of all kinds and written reviews on it all. He's a key piece to the Worldwide Cyclery "All Things MTB" content creation puzzle. He also makes consistent appearances on the Worldwide Cyclery YouTube channel and Instagram.

        September 04, 2020

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