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SRAM's 12 speed Eagle drivetrain is a great upgrade for any bike, whether its an entry level XC hardtail or a carbon fiber full suspension enduro bike. Our friend Daniel recently refreshed his drivetrain with the NX/GX groupset and got that new bike feeling back. Read on for more!
About three years ago I purchased my first full-suspension bike. I was in heaven. I basked in the smell of the new rubber tires and that feeling you get when shifting effortlessly through a brand new, crisp drivetrain. Fast-forward to today and unfortunately, that new bike feeling has fully worn off. Those fresh new tires have been replaced several times and that once smooth drive 11-speed SRAM drivetrain was now riddled with clunks, skips, and other wretched sounds that had it begging to be replaced. Overall, my bike was still in good shape and did not need to be replaced. Even if it did, my budget would not allow for a new bike. So, I started looking at drivetrain replacement options. I noticed several “complete” groupset options from both SRAM and Shimano. One thing I kept noticing was that they typically included a new crankset—which I both didn’t need and didn’t really want to replace. My BB and crankset were really solid and had plenty of miles left in them. I then came upon the SRAM NX/GX Eagle 12-speed groupset at WC. It had the four main parts that I needed which were the shifter, chain, derailleur, and cassette. Plus, since I already had a compatible SRAM crankset, I could just grab a $20 SRAM Eagle steel chainring and I’d be all set…and all this for just about $320.
As always, I received the shipment extremely quickly from WWC. I watched a few installation videos and really took my time to mount up everything correctly. This was my first Eagle drivetrain and I had heard the b-tension setting was sometimes a challenge to set up correctly. Fortunately, the derailleur came with the new version of the b-tension alignment tool which made setup a breeze. For good measure and to eliminate any other performance issues, I replaced the shifter cable housing as well. One thing I noticed during installation was just how robust the groupset is. The jockey wheels were larger than my old ones and the whole system felt solid. This groupset did come with the newest GX derailleur which is optimized for use with the new 10-52T cassettes. My current hub uses the older HG driver so I was glad I could get the NX 11-50T cassette and not have to change the driver. The new groupset indexed perfectly on the bike stand so I was excited to try it out!
I must say, as I rolled out of the garage on that initial test ride, that new bike sensation I experienced three years ago came back. It felt like a new bike day!
The new shifter was so smooth and needed very little input from my thumb. The derailleur was quiet and moved instantly up and down the cassette. I knew immediately that I had made the right choice to upgrade. I just wish I would have done it sooner!
All in all, I would highly recommend this groupset to anyone who needs a drivetrain refresh or if you are looking to upgrade to a 1x12 drivetrain. It represents good value and high quality which is hard to come by these days.