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Upgrading your drivetrain can be a bit tricky and confusing with compatibility. Especially if you're wanting to change speeds. But SRAM has you covered, the 12spd NX cassette is still compatible with the HG drivers. Our friend just slapped a new drivetrain on their bike. See what they think!
This "1 x SRAM NX/GX Eagle Groupset w/ GX Shifter, Derailleur, Chain & NX 11-50t Cassette" for a budget-savvy $303 includes all necessary rear drivetrain components + chain, NOT chainring/cranks/pedals/bottom bracket, which was perfect for me as my front drivetrain was working fine, where I only changed out the stock chainring for a Race Face 26T, which with the dinner plate special 50T Big Grrrl gear in the rear makes for a nice wall-climbing ratio of 0.52:1!
Can definitely recommend this groupset as a good deal for the money.
All parts proved compatible & worked well together in performance, which only yesterday I had the opportunity to seriously test at Santa Teresa Park in Santa Clara County, CA, over ~30 mi. with ~3000 ft. elevation gain, a fair proportion of which was over technical singletrack. The huge advantage of the NX Eagle Cassette featured is that it's compatible with the stock freehub driver body still being widely used, even as new on my 2018 Specialized Camber Comp Carbon 29-er FSR 1x, namely the legacy but versatile "10/9/8" warhorse, in other words NOT SRAM's proprietary XD or XDR driver body, something I was able to confirm by looking up the *stock* cassette spec for that bike in the bowels of SRAM's online archives, in their helpful .pdf doc "SRAM 2017 MTB Drivetrain Compatibility Map":
On the ride, the drivetrain did what was asked of it, never failing to shift where directed, even jumping 2 gears at a time or through a whole series of cogs rapidly. I had had a professional bike shop install it. Occasionally it felt a little clunky when shifting under load, but always smooth when letting up somewhat on power just long enough to shift. No problems encountered, such as chain coming off.
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