Will SRAM Eagle Work On Your Bike? (What's Needed to Upgrade) [Video]

Words by: Liam Woods


Earlier this year SRAM introduced its newest drivetrain creation: Eagle 12-speed. This new drivetrain builds off its already popular and highly functional design with a 10t cassette cog paired to a massive 50t cog. A 10-50t spread is an insanely massive gear range, so why change the game? The reason is that Eagle is designed for everyone - from the everyday rider who is looking to get a bit more gear for the local trails, or the world cup racer looking to have the most efficient gearing combo without any compromise on chainring selection. Having a 500% gear range with 12 speeds provides smooth and even spaced gears with a larger overall range than the now outdated 2x10 drivetrain system. SRAM Eagle is offered in two levels: XX1 with bright gold accents, or X01 with the classic stealth black look. Both are going to make your friends and significant other jealous.

Will Sram Eagle Work On Your Bike?

What You Need

A question we often receive is: Will this new 12 speed drivetrain fit on my bike? Here is what you need to get fully dialed in with the new SRAM Eagle drivetrain:

  • You MUST have a hub with an XD driver body
  • You MUST use an Eagle derailleur, shifter, cassette, and chain

If you currently have a SRAM 1x11 system and are using an XD driver (a specific freehub body to work with the SRAM cassettes that use a 10t high cog) then the answer is yes, Eagle will fit on your bike. The XD freehub is the main issue when looking to upgrade to the Eagle 12 speed; it is the necessary part that will allow you to run the massive 10-50t cassette. The Eagle drivetrain is made up of four specific and mandatory parts to make it work: shifter, rear derailleur, cassette and chain.

So if you only need those 4 items to make the switch, here are the rest of the components that are compatible with SRAM Eagle:

    • You don’t necessarily need an Eagle crankset or chainring
    • You can use any of the common narrow wide chainrings on the market that work for Sram’s 1x11 drivetrains, be it a Sram N/W ring, WolfTooth, RaceFace, Absolute black, etc.

Will Sram Eagle Work On Your Bike?

The Eagle drivetrain does have a crankset as well, but it is not mandatory to install with the Eagle drivetrain. The Eagle cranks do however have two different chainring options if using the GXP model: Boost or non-Boost. The Boost chainring has a 3mm offset while the non-Boost has a 6mm offset. Although the cranks are very nice just like the rest of the Eagle parts, we have used Raceface cranks and even Shimano cranks with a 1x chainring that is compatible with 1x10 or 1x11 drivetrains without any issues.   

Will SRAM Eagle Work On Your Bike?

If your bike is currently not using the XD driver, then purchasing an XD driver body will be your first step. Depending on your hub manufacturer, many hubs are now offering both XD and Shimano 10/11 speed driver bodies. There is a good chance you can easily find the correct XD driver body for your hub and then be on your way to running Eagle 12 speed. If your hub does not offer the ability to use an XD driver, then a new hub or wheel might be in your future. If your rim is of good quality, there are many good hubs out there that can fit the budget - SRAM 900 or DT Swiss 350 are two great hubs that won't set you back an entire paycheck.

Installing the Eagle 12 speed drivetrain is not a demanding task as it only requires a minimal number of tools. The tools needed are t25 torques, 5mm hex, 3mm hex and a chain breaker. A hefty pair of dikes will also be your friend to cut cable housing, cables and ends. The Eagle rear derailleur even comes with a little nifty guide to help you set the correct b-tension for the 50t cog. You can click here to see how to install the SRAM Eagle drivetrain.

Ride Review

Jumping on Eagle for the first time I expected to be blown away and notice the insane range, crisp shifting, and quiet pedaling. All of these are true, but the real awesome part to me was half way through my ride I completely forgot I was not riding the now-average 1x11 system. Is this good or bad? Shifting is just second nature and Eagle makes this more relevant. The most accurate shifting, the quietest chain, and the best gear range I have ever ridden and within 20 minutes on the trail I forgot that it was on my bike. That is my favorite part. When you need to drop two gears for the descent, it works. When you grab a couple shifts at a bad time for the abrupt steep section, it shifts without complaints. No extra noise or making sure you are in the right gear. When you're at the top of the steep pile of rocks you call a trail waiting for all your riding buds that you just smoked is when you realize how awesome Eagle really is.

Will SRAM Eagle Work On Your Bike?

So what’s stopping you from upgrading?  Along with the four mandatory Eagle drivetrain components (shifter, rear derailleur, cassette, chain) you will also need to purchase an XD driver and 1x chainring, if you don’t already have these. But what’s really most important about Eagle is your friends will be drooling over the gold bling of the XX1 or they won’t even notice you now have 12 speeds because your bike is so stealth with the X01 Eagle. It may or may not be guaranteed to make you 500% faster as well….

Will Sram Eagle Work On Your Bike?

Employee Spotlight: Liam Woods
This article was written / authored by Liam Woods. Liam has been in the bicycle industry for over 10 years as a racer, professional mechanic, service manager and as of late, media and content creator. Liam has ridden thousands of different bikes, ridden countless components, tested endless MTB apparel of all kinds and written reviews on it all. He's a key piece to the Worldwide Cyclery "All Things MTB" content creation puzzle. He also makes consistent appearances on the Worldwide Cyclery YouTube channel and Instagram.

May 09, 2019

Bike Knowledge › Eagle › SRAM › Video ›

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