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SRAM makes what we like to consider some of the best performing drivetrains you can put on your mountain bike, and first to market with not only 1x drivetrains but also 12 speed. SRAM Eagle takes this to another level with a 500% gear range, here we look at the Sram X01 Shifter, a great all-around shifter to work on your lightweight xc bike or the workhorse enduro bike. Chris just installed his X01 Shifter on a new Santa Cruz Hightower, let's see how Chris liked the SRAM X01 Eagle Shifter below.
Having had positive experiences with various versions and combinations of SRAM Eagle drivetrain components in the past, I chose the Sram X01 Eagle shifter for the frame-up build of my Santa Cruz Hightower. Out of the box, the high build quality was evident and installation was a breeze. With the shifter cable already installed in the shifter, just route the cable through the housing, through the derailleur, bolt the cable to the derailleur, and mount the shifter to the handlebar. Then you’ll have to dial in the cable tension and clip and crimp the excess cable.
All options in the SRAM Eagle lineup provide clean and dependable shifting, with the main difference between tiers for most components being decreased weight as you move up from tier to tier. I believe this to be generally true for the cassettes derailleurs, and cranksets, but the shifters are the exception to the rule. When you go from the SRAM GX Shifter to the X01 shifter, you actually gain a gram or two in weight, but that is more than offset by the improved build quality, trigger feel, and adjustability. Being the interface between the rider and the drivetrain, it is really important that the shifter functions properly and consistently, without requiring much thought or effort. The SRAM X01 shifter does just that; the smooth trigger feel during the free part of the throw on downshifts feels effortless, while the reassuring “click” lets you know for sure that you are about to meet less resistance at the pedals. If you need to suddenly drop a few gears, you can just extend the lever throw for a few extra clicks. I notice this is significantly easier to do on the X01 shifter compared to the GX shifter, which feels like you really have to push hard to get it to multishift. On upshifts, the smaller trigger feels more like a button than a lever, but still provides that same reassuring click. Although you can’t multishift to smaller cogs, a few quick taps of the trigger will easily get you to where you need to be.
The adjustability of probably my favorite thing about this shifter, I am very picky about all of the angles and relative positions of my cockpit controls. It’s great that the shifter can be mounted with a traditional bar-clamping mount, or with the matchmaker mount if you are using SRAM brakes (I prefer this option as it really cleans up the cockpit with less clutter). There are also two holes in the shifter that allow you to mount it either slightly inboard or outboard depending on your preference; it’s nice to be able to get the relative positions of your brake lever and shifter trigger dialed in just right while still using a single clamp. Where the X01 Eagle shifter shines over the GX Eagle shifter is the adjustability of the downshift trigger angle. I really like the up and down shifting triggers to be in just the right place where they are as close to my thumb as possible without rubbing on it when I am not shifting, and as close to each other as possible without allowing the downshift trigger to impede the path of my thumb when reaching for the upshift lever. This allows my wrist to always sit at the perfect comfortable position, never requiring excessive bending to reach either of the triggers. For me, this perfect balance of trigger positions is only achievable with the angle adjustment on the X01 shifter.
Overall, the SRAM X01 Eagle shifter does its job quietly in the background, allowing you to concentrate on all aspects of your ride while putting minimal effort into actuating your gear changes. This may sound really picky and niche, but for me, it really makes a difference when every ounce of energy counts (like a long, intense ride, or during a race). I definitely recommend this shifter and drivetrain to anyone, especially people who may be looking to seek out a bit more performance out of their SRAM NX or SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain.