SRAM has arguably been the best drivetrain manufacturer on the planet while sitting on the Iron Throne as the shifter of chains, the mother of 1x drivetrains, the... You get the point. Many challengers have come to claim the throne for themselves but none have been as successful as they would have hoped. SRAM leads the competition for many reasons but the biggest would be their dedication to literally creating the best components on the planet. With huge backings in engineering, development through racing, and a pure love for the sport of Mountain Biking, SRAM has finally presented us with a revamped installment of their 7-Speed Downhill Drivetrain which can now be purchased in a cheaper GX group for those of us not able to cough up enough gold coins for their beloved X01 group which you can see kitted on a majority of World Cup rigs.
You might be thinking, “What did they change? The X01 drivetrain I’ve been running for years is still working fine.” and that is a good question! SRAM is totally aware that they do not need to change anything with their products but when everything works well, why not kick out any minor flaws and make it the best drivetrain anyone will ever buy?
The X01 DH Drivetrain will feature quicker shifting through smarter gear steps and a more precise chain line. Designed with the racer in mind, the X01 drivetrain will lead riders to the podium providing a quick, durable, lightweight set up proven for any rider.
"I’ve been riding the first generation of Sram’s DH specific XO1 7 speed drivetrain for a while on my V10 29 but just recently I’ve been lucky enough to get to test out the new iteration of this 7 speed drivetrain (insert name here) and my initial first impressions are as follows. When comparing between this and the first generation of the drive train the differences are subtle but definitely noticeable and once you get a little bit of time put on the new one you will pick that the shifting just seems somehow slightly more crisp although its hard to put your finger on exactly why this is so. I do also like the new protection that comes pre installed on the XO1 DH crank arms. It looks almost like a smooth sandpaper of some sort and has honestly spawned more interest from fellow riders than anything else when they see the new setup. It does almost look like an after market ad on and the function seems to be to illuminate any rub on the arms from your shoes. If you are a rider who runs there feet close to the crank arms and always ends up with that horrible looking crank where all the details and paint have started to rub off then you will love this new feature. The trigger shifter feels much the same and for me personally most of the difference seems to come from the X-HORIZON™ 7 speed rear derailleur as mentioned above. After I have spent more time on the bike I'll come back with some longer term points on how it holds up to real world abuse as well as any additional things I notice that are worth talking about. For now, I’m gonna head back out and jump on those chairlifts as bike park season is about to kick in. Thank you sram for what appears to be a solid update to an already proven DH specific drive train." - Troydon Murison
Starting with the X01 DH Crank which was “engineered for the most ultimate, most aggressive downhill rides.” We can see that this thought motivated the engineers to build something really rugged yet race ready. At first glance, you can see a big black… abrasion guard that resembled a smoother bed liner to prevent rub marks and can certainly take a rock hit or two without ripping off your crank arm. The second noticeable feature is the DUB Bottom Bracket System which was designed to create a more durable and reliable BB by using a large aluminum spindle that wasn’t too big so bearings and seals could be optimized for peak performance and longevity. To learn more about DUB click here.
Next in line is the SRAM XG-795 Cassette. This cassette was engineered to provide a quicker smoother shift so you can easily move into your desired gear. SRAM eliminated the need for double or triple shifts by allowing a 2-tooth step. This 10-24t cassette is very compact and leaves the rider with a lightweight drivetrain. It will continue to be compatible with only an XD driver body so Shimano fans, it is time to change teams.
SRAM’s Derailleur has been proven to provide some of the best if not the best shifting throughout all the gears and with the X01 DH Derailleur built around the X-Horizon Design, Riders will experience a consistent chain gap across all gears while also experiencing a faster shift that requires less force. vertical movement and ghost shifting have been eliminated altogether. The Derailleur will also feature the proven Type-3 Roller Bearing Clutch for a quiet, consistent and long-lasting derailleur for both Park and Tracks.
“The X01 DH™ trigger shifter is built for two things: precision and dependability. ZERO LOSS™ engages the cables instantly, for nanosecond shifts. An adjustable thumb paddle allows for personalization, so you can dial your trigger positioning. And the aluminum cover and forged aluminum pull lever create the strength and durability to conquer the toughest terrain.” – SRAM MTB
Riders have quite a battle to fight when it comes to buying new parts. Spend a little and buy a sh*t part or spend a lot and get a great part? SRAM made the battle easy by offering a cost-effective line of components under the name GX that was designed around the same technology as their higher end X01 and XX1 Components. The difference is really weight and material but there is a handful of minor difference mechanically. For 2020, Sram is introducing a new run of GX DH Drivetrains with Dependability and Durability in mind.
“We focused on what matters most and cut zero corners, so this workhorse won’t slow down your ride or lighten your wallet.” – SRAM MTB
Built around an aluminum crank arm and spindle, the Descendant DH crank may not be the best looking crank out there but it sure does outperform the most of them. This alloy crank is built to take a beating and although it is burly, it has been paired with a strategic weight-saving design.
The GX DH Cassette was built with the same motivation behind the X01 cassette. Quality. Although it may be available at the fraction of the price and does weigh quite a bit more, the GX Cassette is focused on the quality of gravity riding. This cassette will not require an XD driver body and a standard Shimano 10/11speed freehub body will pair perfectly with this cassette. The GX DH Cassette also holds the title as the most affordable 1x DH cassette on the market at $31, €37*, £33.
Reliability, precision, ease of use. The GX DH Derailleur focuses on providing riders with the closest feeling performance you can get to an X01 Drivetrain for a fraction of the cost and a little more weight overall. The derailleur offers a quick and crisp shift that will keep you on pace in your races or cruising at the speeds you need for the park. Costs are fairly low and run for MSRP: $112, €126*, £113.
“Designed and engineered by SRAM in Germany, the GX DH™ Trigger Shifter is the epitome of accuracy. Each click signals a precise shift — to sprint out of the corner, approach the next table or power to the finish line. Make the shift to building confidence.” – SRAM MTB
The GX DH Shifter is Matchmaker compatible so you are left with a nice and tidy cockpit that only has 2 clamps. The Shifter only costs $46, €50*, £45.