SRAM to go 11-speed and new magnetic chain ring?

Now we’ve had a little more time to digest the news from SRAM of their new XX1 groupset, announced this morning, we are a little clearer about what is actually on offer.

Closer inspection at the photo above reveals there are 11 sprockets on that cassette. So the new groupset is going to be 1×11, wow we didn’t see that coming.

Campaganolo is the first groupset manufacturer to go 11-speed, and they did that a couple of years ago. That was a pure road groupset. It’s widely anticipated that Shimano will follow suit on their new Dura-Ace groupset. The tide is turning towards 11-speed then.

So it seems odd that SRAM is going to release its first 11-speed offering on the mountain bike side, rather than on the road. Having just released the new RED top-end road groupset, with 10 sprockets, it’s clear there’s nothing in the pipeline for our roadie friends. So SRAM is stepping into the 11-speed game with its new XX1 mountain bike groupset.

And this makes a lot of sense. 1×10 is hugely popular with racers and trail riders alike, and is perfect for the way mountain biking is currently evolving. Riding styles are constantly shifting and things are leaning towards the enduro style of riding, where single ring groupset with a wide range cassette work well. It’s simple, offers plenty of gears and there isn’t the risk of dropping the chain to ruin your ride.

Look at the teeth on the chainring in the photo above. Looks a little odd doesn’t it? A very astute comment from Daniel Zoppellini on our Facebook page is a pretty good guess as to what the enlarged tooth profiles are all about:

“Looking at the teeth on the chainring, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had designed magnetic chainring teeth which ‘held onto’ the chain to prevent chain drop.”

We think he’s hit the nail on the head there. Combined with the new clutch-style rear mechs that SRAM released a while back, we can see the perfect setup removing the chance of dropped chains, but without the weight and complexity of a chain device.

So SRAM’s XX1 will be a 1×11 groupset with a magnetic chainring teeth eliminating a conventional chain device, with a Type 2 rear mech. Interesting stuff.

More details on this story when we get them.

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