Mountain Gear

Tech Update: SRAM adds another 2×10 group to the mix

Using technologies pioneered in SRAM's first 10-speed MTB group XX, X7 is designed to bring 2x10 to mid-level cross-country riders, entry-level downhillers and freeriders.

By Singletrack.com

[album id=6 template=extend]

SRAM X7
Pricing on X7 will be announced in April, with availability in August.

Just when you thought the 2-by-10 revolution might not be televised, and you might get away with sticking to your triple chainring guns, SRAM has introduced a second two-chainring, 10-cog component group.

Machine work on the new X7 10-speed cogset looks nearly as fine as that found on the XX piece that pioneered 10 cogs for off-road use.
Machine work on the new X7 10-speed cogset looks nearly as fine as that found on the XX piece that pioneered 10 cogs for off-road use.

Dubbed X7, it’s a complete kit with a dedicated crankset, cogset, shifters and derailleurs, and matched with Avid Elixir R brakes and an X7 hubset. The entire X7 kit wears the same storm gray X7 graphics package.

SRAM says that X7 is designed to bring 2×10 to the masses, since pricing and technology are aimed to please both mid-level cross country riders and entry level downhillers and freeriders. Technologies pioneered in SRAM’s first 10-speed group XX (Read the XX Singletrack.com review) trickle down to the new group, including X-Glide front shifting, Exact Actuation cable pull in the shifters, a carbon cage rear derailleur, and a heavily machined 11-36 10-speed cogset.

No word as yet on pricing or availability. But we’re hoping this XX technology trickle down will be available soon and won’t cost nearly as much.

Rear Derailleur

The X7 rear derailleur looks a lot like its XX cousin, with a 3K carbon fiber pulley cage, and 36-tooth capacity. Additionally, it will be available in three cage lengths (short, medium, and long), relies on a 10-speed Exact Actuation 1-to-1 cable pull ratio, and features what SRAM calls “high-end” materials, with aluminum bolts and a blend of alloy and Grilon Composite in the body. SRAM says a long cage X7 derailleur weighs 239 grams.

Front Derailleur

The X7 front derailleur features a narrow cage and wide parallelogram for fast, accurate shifting.
X7 promises fast, accurate shifting.

Likewise, SRAM’s new front derailleur bears passing resemblance to its higher-end XX relative. The slim body is designed for 2×10 X-Glide shifting, and comes in both high and low direct mount options in addition to a full range of standard clamp sizes and configurations. The mechanism is designed for dual-pull cable routing, to accommodate either top and bottom pull cables. A low-clamp version weighs 137 grams.

X7 Shifters

Except for the storm gray graphics, the X7 shifters look almost identical to the XX 2×10 trigger shifters we’ve come to know and love. The front shifter comes in either a dedicated 2-position shifter for double cranks, or a 3x version for triple cranks. The rear shifter has only 10-speed capacity. The handlebar clamps are removable and compatible with Match Maker component integration. A pair of X7 shifters is 232 grams, according to SRAM.

Crankset

SRAM’s X7 crankset looks sharp, and again similar to XX, but rendered in hollow forged aluminum rather than carbon fiber. The chainring size combinations, shift ramp placement and mounting are all derived directly from XX, using the same X-Glide technologies. Chainring size options include 42/28 or 39/26, and the cranks will be made to fit both threaded GXP bottom brackets as well as press fit GXP. The cranks weigh 871 grams in 175mm length, with a GXP bottom bracket.

The new XR GXP bottom bracket promises long life with Gutter Seal technology to keep the bearings free of contaminants. A new cup forging gives the BB a new look, and it will be available in three trim levels: Ceramic, with ceramic bearings and red anodization; Team, with steel bearings and tungsten finish; and XR, with steel bearings and black finish.

Brakes

The same two-piece caliper design as found in most Avid brakes appears here in X7 trim.
X7 has a two-piece caliper design.

Avid’s Elixir R brakeset finds a home in the X7 group with matched graphics. All of Avid’s technologies remain, including the Taper Bore master cylinder, tool free reach adjust, two-piece calipers, and matchmaker compatibility. Expect a front post mount brake system to weigh about 375 grams (10 grams less if you get the carbon lever blade option).

PG-1050 cassette

From the looks of the new cogset, SRAM brought their newly perfected billet steel CNC machining prowess to bear on the 10-speed PG-1050. The largest four cogs have the same hollowed look as the XX cogset, a design that SRAM calls “semi-spidered.” Shift ramps and cog sizes are the same as in XX to bring maximum shifting efficiency and a wide spread of usable gears. It comes in 11-32 and 12-36 combinations, with the smaller set weighing 302 grams.

X7 Hubset

SRAM says the X7 hub set is the first to offer cartridge bearings at this price level. The X7 graphics deviate to anodized aluminum, but the hubs offer the option for SRAM consistency at the group level. They have 32-spoke asymmetric flanges and 6-bolt rotor attachment.