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After running the drive train on my Surly Wednesday into the ground last winter, I decided to go 12 speed for the coming season, and while fat bikes are a smaller market relative to the mountain bike industry (less so here in the Midwest), I do think fat bikes are one of the most underrated applications of SRAM Eagle; I’ve no doubt that a 50t cog will be a lifesaver when grinding through 6”+ of fresh snow on “powder” days. What’s more, this NX Eagle kit is perfect for fat bikes because it does not include a crankset. Hub-width standards and Q-factors vary in the fat bike world, and crankset choice can be tricky. This NX Eagle kit allows you to run whatever crankset you like. For reference, I’m running this kit with a SRAM GX 100mm crankset and the chainline seems fine (this bike came with a 2x setup, so I wasn't sure if there'd be any issues there).
Installation of this drivetrain kit is completely painless—provided you have two key things sorted out: Your derailleur hanger must be completely good and straight and you need to have a SRAM b-gap adjustment tool at your disposal. I know this because after installing the cassette, shifter, and chain, I had a fair amount of trouble getting the shifting in order.
My first solution was to check the hanger alignment and it was indeed slightly out of whack. After straightening the hanger and reinstalling and adjusting the derailleur, I still had some skipping issues in the middle of the cassette, so I turned my attention to the b gap issue. It so happens that the neat cutout in the NX derailleur box meant to hold the b gap adjustment tool was empty when I received my order. I had tried to measure the appropriate distance between the upper jockey wheel and 50t cog with a set of calipers and thought I had it right, but after receiving a b gap tool in the mail, I discovered I was way off. This measurement tool is really essential for setting up any Eagle drivetrain and once I had one it was smooth sailing from there.
After pedaling around the neighborhood while bedding in some new pads and rotors, I can say the NX Eagle setup shifts fantastically. It’s got a nice light, positive action to the shifter, and it feels identical to GX 11 or 12-speed setups. Shifting multiple gears in a single throw of the lever is light and smooth--even trying to crunch gears while shifter under pedal pressure resulted in a dignified shift. I'm thoroughly impressed by the quality here, given that this is a lower-spec groupset. I'm not sure why you'd run anything more expensive, aside from weight. And yes the cassette is quite hefty, but beyond the weight, the build quality seems quite good. All in all, I'm impressed by the NX Eagle kit, especially at this price point and I'm eager to get it out in the snow to see how it holds up.
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