SRAM’s X-7 and x-9 trigger shifters have become well-established – there’s tons of the stuff coming on 2005 bikes and the all-thumbs shifters have a lot of fans, ourselves included. What there hasn’t been is a top-of-the-line SRAM X.0 shifter. But for 2006 there will be, and it’s part of a no-holds-barred, super-high-end system. The goal here was light weight and performance, and it’ll just cost what it costs…
A few features are immediately apparent. The bar clamp is super-narrow, and SRAM say that the shifters can be mounted on either side of the brake lever clamp for more ergonomic options. The body is aluminium, with a carbon fibre (and it is carbon fibre, not carbon-look plastic or anything) cover. All the internals are stainless steel, and SRAM’s making a big noise about the “zero loss travel” mechanism. We’re told that there’s no slack in the shifter, so rather than the lever floating a bit before it actually starts to pull cable, you get instant take-up. Assuming that it works that should make for super-quick shifts.
Continuing the adjustability theme, the downshift lever on the X.0 shifter will be adjustable for angle. By loosening a pinch bolt and rotating the thumb lever you can set its rest position in and out. Whether you park it under your natural thumb position for fast shifts or bring it back a bit for easier multiple shifts is up to you.
There won’t be a Shimano-compatible version of the high-end trigger (slots that the Rocket and Attack units cover lower down the range), so you’ll need to use a SRAM rear mech. As luck would have it, you can look forward to a revised X.0 mech too, complete with carbon fibre cage (on the short and medium length versions – the long one sticks with aluminium). The cage uses carbon/epoxy sheet for stiffness with a layer of carbon-impregnated polyamid composite to protect the sheet carbon from the chain. The new mech is very light, with the short-cage version coming in at a claimed 225g.
There’s also a new 990 cassette (pic), complete with an aluminium spider rather than the old nylon one. It’s stiffer for more positive shifting, and it’s red anodised for a distinctive look. There’ll also be an 11-34 option to go with the existing 11-32.
Final piece of the high-end transmission jigsaw comes from recent SRAM acquisition Truvativ. The new Stylo GXP Carbon crankset uses the now standard external bearing system with a chromoly spindle and high-modulus carbon fibre crank arms. Chainrings are ramped and hooked for smooth shifting and the whole lot weighs a claimed 848g.
It all looks very smart indeed – we’ll let you know how it performs as soon as we get our hands on it. In the meantime, you can see more (including some funky animations) at www.sram.com/xo.