When SRAM launched its 12 speed Eagle drivetrain, it may have shocked the industry because for most riders, 12 speeds didn't seem all that necessary! It will only take one ride to feel the benefits of the 500% range 10-50 tooth cassette, the redesigned smooth shifting action derailleur, and the all new Eagle chain. Whenever SRAM launches a new drivetrain line, they usually first start with their top-of-the line groupset. When SRAM Eagle was launched, we first saw the XX1 Eagle groupset and eventually that technology trickles its way down into more pricepoint friendly models. SRAM now has four different levels of Eagle drivetrain: XX1, X01, GX, and NX. Each of the different groupsets vary in price, weight, material, construction, and performance.
Here in this Ultimate Review Guide, we are diving into the SRAM GX Eagle groupset, SRAM's mid range line that packages affordability and performance like we have never seen before. Here you will find all of kinds of credible reviews, technical information on everything GX Eagle, and some of our custom bikes we have built at the shop with SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain.
The SRAM GX Eagle groupset consists of the GX Eagle derailleur, shifter, cassette, chain, crankset, and chainring. Each component shares Eagle technology that is seen across the other Eagle groupsets. The combination of using different manufacturing techniques and cost effective materials is what brings the price point of GX Eagle down from XX1 and X01, all while still delivering the performance benefits of a 12 speed 500% range smooth action drivetrain system.
GX Eagle is more than half the price of X01, although the shifting performance with GX Eagle almost matches exactly to what you find with the higher pricepoint models. The simplest way to describe GX Eagle is that it just flat out works with a small weight penalty. The majority of the added weight between models is found in the cassette and crankset. The GX Eagle cassette uses individual stamped cogs that are each pinned together where as the bottom 11 cogs on the X01 and XX1 Eagle cassettes are machined from a single piece of chromoly. Both cassettes use a 50 tooth aluminum cog mounted to the lower cluster, and both GX Eagle cassette and crankset add approximately 100 grams each compared to X01 Eagle.
The GX Eagle drivetrain opened up doors for bike manufacturers to spec a high performance 1X drivetrain on their bikes right out of the box. This has changed so many different riding experiences for riders all over the world. Now everyone can afford a high performing drivetrain on their bike. To top that off, all Eagle drivetrain components are compatible across the entire lineup. So feel free to mix and match across the board to come up with your ideal kit. One of our most popular combinations is the GX Eagle shifter, derailleur, and chain, paired with the NX Eagle cassette to bring the cost down a little bit.
Check out the thoughts of one of our customers after riding his new GX Eagle kit - "After putting some miles on the groupset, I found that all my concerns about the gains being less than marginal were WRONG. It’s great to jump into the 50t on long climbs, which lets me save a ton of energy for the rowdy parts of the ride. It has also been the difference between hitting a few extra loops versus heading home early. The tough climbs seem, well, about 11% less tough. There are still times I’m sure that walking would be faster than spinning my granny gear, but I’ll take the feeling of accomplishment at the top of a mountain over the 30 seconds saved any day (that isn’t a race day)."
Read the full Worldwide Cyclery Customer Review
Pinkbike's take - "The fact that a more affordable Eagle drivetrain came sooner than expected will be welcome news for anyone who was on the fence about purchasing a new drivetrain. It also means that we'll be seeing more 12-speed, single ring setups on relatively affordable bikes, pushing the front derailleur another step closer to extinction."
Read the full Pinkbike First Ride
Sram GX Eagle 2017 Component of the year winner - "Eagle GX was brought to market right on the heels of SRAM's high-end Eagle XX1 and X01 groups. The quick and decisive launch of GX at less than half the cost of its premier wide-range 12-speed transmissions was a dramatic reversal of the wait-for-it ploy that both Shimano and SRAM have historically used to maximize their profits. GX Eagle could not have come at a better time. Trail-bike development had peaked, and high-performance models were being priced out of reach of enthusiast riders. SRAM's introduction of GX seems to have inspired an influx of more affordable, kick-ass trail bikes - which is why we chose it for the 2017 Component of the Year."
Read about the 2017 Pinkbike awards component of the year winner
Vital MTB's bottom line - "Though our initial impressions didn't wow us the same way XX1 and X01 Eagle did, SRAM's new 12-speed GX Eagle drivetrain offers riders the chance to mix and match affordable components thanks to 100% compatibility with other Eagle systems. That means substantial added gear range, the ability to once again spin up hills, vastly improved wear traits, and SRAM's many other improvements are much more attainable for all. At less than half the cost of the X01 version, it'll be interesting to see if the introduction of GX Eagle will encourage more bike brands to evolve their frames to 1X-only configurations to capitalize on the many associated benefits."
Read the full Vital MTB first ride
Aaron Chamberlain at Singletracks final thoughts - "After riding Eagle drivetrains on numerous test bikes and now conducting my own long-term test, I can tell you — definitively — it’s better than 11-speed. The difference between SRAM’s 11-speed and 12-speed groups isn’t “game changing” like swapping from rim to disc brakes, but it’s also more than a marginal improvement. Whether or not you need Eagle is a personal choice, but I certainly want it on all my bikes now."
Read the full Singletracks review
Bike Radar's verdict - "SRAM's GX Eagle is a cost effective groupset that'll make you wonder why spend more."
Highs: Great shifting, low cost, wide gear range, chain retention
Lows: Not super flashy if that's your thing; shifter is not as smooth and crisp
Buy if: You want one of the best drivetrain bargains for your mountain bike
Read the full Bike Radar review
Bicycling overall thoughts - "Overall (and despite squeezing in another gear), the shifting provided by 1x12 Eagle is better, more refined, more stable, and has better chain retention than SRAM’s 1x11 groups. With great range and excellent performance, GX Eagle is SRAM’s best mountain bike drivetrain. It's the one I’d choose for my own bikes because the gear range, simplicity, retention, performance (overall), and value is so good."
Read the full Bicycling review