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We've all been there, grinding slowly up a never-ending climb as our cadence slows to a high-torque, barely moving crawl, fruitlessly clicking the shift lever in hopes that an ethereal body will drop out of the sky and deliver an extra cog to lighten the pressure. Airborne deities notwithstanding, SRAM swoops in with its Eagle one-by 12-speed drivetrain. Eagle's gear range rivals that of a two-by system without the extra weight and worry of a finicky front derailleur. The SRAM XX1 Eagle 12-Speed Rear Derailleur brings the system together, driving precise gear changes across the entire cassette with a titanium spring and carbon fiber outer cage.
Similar to SRAM's one-by 11-speed offerings, this little derailleur holds a heap of technology bent on creating a pleasant riding experience with clean shifts and no unnecessary noise distracting from the outdoor ambiance. The Roller Bearing Clutch, long revered for its nearly unbeatable chain stabilization, gets an update with a repositioned upper pulley and larger lower pulley to accommodate the extra chain length needed to run such a wide range of cogs. Paired with a strengthened clutch, it efficiently manages chain tension to eliminate derailleur bounce and chain slap for a solid, noise-free ride. X-Horizon further boosts this stability by limiting movement across the horizontal axis, with its large upper pulley design maintaining a constant chain gap across the cassette. This effectively reduces shift initiation force and eliminates pesky ghost shifting, so you'll drop into the right gear with minimal effort the second you want it.
Last, but by far not the least, is SRAM's Exact Actuation technology. Exact Actuation addresses the issue of different gears requiring different amounts of cable pull to shift, which in turn leads to loud cassettes and inefficient shifting. With Exact Actuation, each gear shift requires the same amount of cable pull, resulting in a predictable click and shift no matter where the chain sits in the cassette. This also means an overall quieter, better adjusted drivetrain for predictable shifting in any situation.
Shredding trails comes with its fair share of mechanicals, and the SRAM XX1 Eagle 12-Speed Rear Derailleur makes wheel swaps and maintenance a breeze with a slight update to SRAM's Cage Lock design that sees the lock pin tucked a bit more out of the way and more protected from trail debris than previous iterations. Functionally, it remains the same—just push the derailleur forward and it locks into place for quick and easy rear wheel removal or installation to get back out on the course in a snap.
- The sole derailleur in SRAM's Eagle drivetrain
- Updated pulley design accommodates extra chain length
- Exact Actuation guides precise shifts
- Impeccable chain stability
- Cage Lock makes wheel swaps a breeze
- Item #SRM00AC
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
XX1 eagle has changed the game. You will no longer be wishing you had one more easier gear going up a long steep climb. It is here. You have the bail out gear. Same reliability and functionality. This derailleur is quite a bit lighter than a X01, as the cage is carbon instead of aluminum. The clutch has been redesigned for smoother shifting and better chain tension.
The best of the best
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've been riding XX1 eagle for about 1 season now and I have to say it is the best of the best. The dinner plate 50T cog in the back allows you to up your chainring by a couple teeth which makes the gearing that much better on the lower end of the cassette. Some people have had some issues with getting the derailluer dialed in to make the jump from the 42T cog to the 50T but after I played with the b-screw on the derailluer for about 5 minutes, it was running quite smooth. Performance is identical to XX1 1x11 but now you can have blinged out gold in 1x12.
Performance not as expected
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
The perfomance isn't as I expected, the drivetrain is not that precise in the higher plate (50t)
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Riders from the Sram pro teams have been testing the Eagle drivetrain in a variety of conditions. A lot of blood, sweat, and gears have gone into its development and what has come out is nothing short of impressive. The engineering of each piece of the drive train has allowed riders to benefit in a number of ways and it is no surprise to see the signature gold Ti-nitride gracing podiums from the US to Nove Mesto.
If the pros can use a bail out gear, so can the rest of us. The Eagle 12-speed cassette allows for a massive range and can be paired with a variety of different Eagle Chain rings to optimized gear ratios based on your chosen terrain. Shifting is as silky smooth and exact as ever and the new Eagle chain is manufactured through an exhaustive 37-step process to ensure precision. When you put this group on your bike, be ready to blow the doors off your competition, even if its just yourself.
Feel free to contact me directly for your next build or to upgrade your existing drivetrain.
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I can be reached at email@example.com, on Chat as Sean Z, or by phone at 801-736-6396 x 4739