SRAM GX Eagle Review – Infinite High Performance

Rating
/10

SRAM launched the GX Eagle as a step-up, 12 speed, model drivetrain, from the standard GX drivetrain. From my test, I’m certain that the GX Eagle is a gear-set that will get you pumped to ride.

The GX Eagle immediately stood out to me as a superior all-round trail group-set. And the best part is, it comes at a really competitive price! I mean, on my test bike, the Giant Anthem Advanced PRO 1, it only shoved the price of the bike up by about R9000.

So as I mentioned above, I rode the Giant Anthem Advanced PRO 1 where the SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain faced-off any element of the trail. The bike itself, was a cross-country racing machine.  In a sense then, I experienced the GX Eagle from a MTB cross-country specialist’s perspective. However, the GX Eagle is so much more than just a cross-country race drivetrain. It can be executed over the trail on Enduro, or longer suspension travel, Trail bikes.

Crank-set: 

  • Truvativ Stylo 6K Eagle Cranks
  • Machined from Lightweight Aluminium.
  • 622-657 grams.
  • Narrow q-factor.
  • X-Sync 2 Eagle Chain-ring

The crank-set that tags along with most GX Eagle drivetrains, exercises some brilliant chain retention. SRAM have done a lot of research in making sure your chain won’t bounce-off the chain-ring, and based newer chain-ring technologies on having sharper, more evident teeth.

On the crank-arm side of things; I counted no apparent flexing on the arm itself, despite being subject to immense force. Although being constructed from aluminium, the material itself will not be as efficient as carbon. It’s something I’m willing to live with though, because of its affordability to performance ratio. You could always upgrade the crank-set to carbon at a later stage, if it suits your needs.

Rear Derailleur:

  • SRAM GX Eagle
  • 12 speed
  • Aluminium and Steel Composition
  • Built-in X-Horizon Technology – Less shifting force, with constant chain alignment.
  • Features X-Actuation – Accurate shifting across entire cassette.
  • X-Sync Rollers – Tall squared-out teeth with a narrow profile keeps the chain free of mud.
  • Loaded with SRAM’s Roller Clutch Bearing – Keeps the chain stable over gruelling terrain, and minimizes chain slap.

Cassette:      

  • 450gram weight.
  • Optimized 12 speed gearing.
  • 10-50T gear ratio. (On my test bike)

Shifter:

  • 122gram weight.
  • 12 speed trigger.
  • Features SRAM’s Zeroloss technology for instant cable engagement.

The Ride:

Some would argue that it’s hard to find distinctions in performance for MTB drivetrains. I’d, in fact present a different case all-together. With the SRAM GX Eagle, it was very easy to see why it’s a class leader. And yes, there were some major performance differences.

The first test perk I took note of, was the accuracy of the shifting. SRAM’s well-crafted, rear, derailleur technology created a crisp shift from one gear to the other. There was no hesitation from the derailleur’s side, when nudging the chain up and down the cassette.

This brought me to the blended flavour of the gear ratio. The 10-50T cassette on the 1×12 GX Eagle, got me up hills without too much of a sweat. Now, on a 12spd cassette there is a lot of pressure on the chain, and I’ve even found the chain to wear-out a lot faster in some instances. However, I can live with that. The crux of the situation is, that occasionally when the chain makes the shift to the larger sprocket on the cassette, the tension can snap the chain. So, while I didn’t experience this; I was more delicate and aware when shifting onto that larger chain-ring. I’ve heard many riders talk about this, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.

Despite the scenario described above, I did find the chain retention spot-on. Not too strenuous, and not too weak either. That being said, when I found myself thrashing down single-track and over rock gardens, the chain hoped gracefully from one gear to the other. No annoying chain slap here!

“Which MTB discipline should you use the SRAM GX Eagle for?”

Let me just say, that the GX Eagle is a reliable group set, and that personally I’d use it for XC Marathon or even trail riding and Enduro charging. Since it doesn’t contain fragile carbon pieces, the drivetrain is cheaper to replace. Making it ideal if you find yourself in a lot of crashes. The only thing you sacrifice is adding more weight to your bike.

Let’s face it, the GX Eagle isn’t the ultimatum of all drivetrains. However, it’s in SRAM’s Eagle class for a reason. It stands as the cheaper 1×12 gear set in the series, but it will sure do some damage on the race track.

Verdict:

The superb ride quality and performance of the SRAM GX Eagle certainly come at a competitive price! It’s a simple step-up from the SRAM GX range, and offers you the option to own a 1×12 drivetrain over a 1×11. But overall, I’d say the GX Eagle is living proof that you don’t have to pay the earth for a performance-level, MTB gear set.

SRAM GX Eagle Review – Infinite High Performance

RRP: R9 000.00

 



Joel Meintjes

Joel Meintjes

Joel's goal is to help you become an expert in the field of cycling. He has helped many riders decide on buying new bikes and coached a handful of young aspiring riders. He's been on the bike and on the roll since 2013, and has gained bucket's full of knowledge from his tinkering with bicycles.

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