Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
The SRAM Eagle drivetrain system is one of the most highly refined and regarded systems in mountain biking...better yet, cycling altogether. An incredibly cool feature is that all parts are cross-compatible so you can run any combination you'd like. Which is exactly what rider, Ryan Moffet, recently did on his bike. Check out his review below!
Crisp shifting, lightweight, and some serious bling are a couple of the ways that I would describe the SRAM Eagle XX1 rear derailleur and all this coming from a long time Shimano supporter. My decision to purchase the XX1 was in the works for a long time, I felt that they were too expensive and that I would get similar performance from their lesser counterparts, hence why none of my previous builds had the particular part on the build list. When it came down to it, I purchased the XX1 for three reasons: (1) Durability and Quality, (2) Functionality, and of course (3) GOLD. To set the stage for all of this it is important to understand the build, my platform was a 2018 Yeti SB5.5. My goal was to build a bike that was both lightweight and durable. Now onto my thoughts.
Upon receiving the derailleur, I was immediately impressed with how well made it was. I had been bouncing back and forth between getting the X01 or the XX1 but decided that the extra $75ish dollars would be worth it in the long run. After pulling the derailleur out of the box I was very impressed with how everything was put together. The quality of the machining was astounding, the carbon features looked incredible, and of course, the gold looked great. Another factor that you immediately notice when pulling the derailleur out of the box is just how light it is. I didn’t have another derailleur to compare it too, however, my last one was a Box One 11-Speed X-Wide and the XX1 felt around 2/3 lighter than the Box. I’m not a weight weenie, but for those who are, you will be impressed with just how light this derailleur is.
To tee up the feel of the derailleur, I think it’s important to understand my drivetrain as a whole. The rear set up is the following: Nukeproof Horizon rims, Eagle NX PG-1230 cassette (as this fits onto Shimano freehub bodies), Eagle GX shifter, and KMC X11SL Ti Nitride 11-speed chain. The derailleur comes with the b-screw limit set tool so should you want to set the gears yourself, you should be able to. The bike shop was able to get everything dialed within 15 minutes and the feel of the shifting was crisp, firm, and clean even with the lower quality shifter and cassette.
I’ve ridden several different drivetrains most of which have been 11- or 12-speed. The extra gearing ratio on the SRAM Eagle system for a biker like me is very helpful. It gives me plenty of options going both down and up no matter the terrain type. One thing I noticed right off the bat when riding the XX1 was its shifting under load. It seemed to move the chain from one gear to the next with ease and when you mash the gears, it caught up very quickly. This is distinct from other drivetrains that seemed to be sluggish when mashing the gears (i.e. specifically Eagle GX, Shimano XTR (11-speed), and Box One (11-speed)).
It may sound stupid, but I do feel that the carbon derailleur cage helps in terms of the feel of shifting. To me, it felt a lot less harsh and a lot snappier, and this is comparing it to its X01 counterpart. Overall, I felt that the XX1 did its job exceptionally well and will last a significantly longer time than other options on the market.
Let’s all be honest we all care about the steeze factor of our bikes. It’s what drives us to put a crazy set of colored parts on them. The Eagle XX1 delivers here as well. The gold pops and does give the bike a high-end look. Pairing this with the gold 11-speed chain, Kashima coated fork and shock, and the copper/bronze hubs created a cohesive look for my Yeti. It’s a bike that makes me feel proud to own it.
If you are looking for a derailleur that is going to perform well, look cool, and stand up to heavy and aggressive riding, this SRAM Eagle XX1 rear derailleur is the way to go. SRAM has done an excellent job enabling riders to pick and choose from a wide variety of components that work together for a crisp feel. The XX1 is lightweight, strong, durable, and most important to me reliable, which is in the end why I chose to go with this derailleur. If you are in the market for one of these, in the words of Nike “Just Do It!” you won’t regret it.