SRAM has a new off road components group called “XX”. Rumors abound, but James Huang of Bike Radar/Cycling News is reporting that a major change is going to be a 2×10 drivetrain. Ever since road grouppo’s started coming out with a 10-cog cassette, it was inevitable that this change would occur on the mountain side.
If you take the group’s moniker as Roman numerals, XX looks likely to have not only the first ten-speed off-road transmission, but a dedicated 2×10 system specifically aimed at fit racer-types.
The rear cassette will likely be based on the innovative PowerDome design of the road-going Red group but modified for better performance in muddy conditions with a more open architecture. The 11-34 tooth range is unlikely to change much but the additional ratio in the middle will mean smaller jumps between gears, something racers always like.
I’ve got a couple of concerns:
1. With 10 speeds, does that mean my current 9 speed drivetrain will be a thing of the past? My single speed friends would have me believe that 9 speeds IS already a thing of the past. haha. Will 9 speeds bikes then be regulated to the Walmart’s of the world? We can only wait and see.
2. I remember when the industry moved from 7 to 8, then to 9 speed cassettes. The outcry with each additional cog was that all the cogs would be thinner and wear faster causing more trouble than the weight savings and cost were worth. Now we’re seeing 10 speed cassettes without increasing the rear spacing. Will this be the point where the durability of the cassette is compromised?
Interesting stuff going on over there at SRAM. I love how they’ve improved just about every brand they’ve touched. And I’m definitely looking forward to the new potential carbon goodies especially since all the engineers have been saying for years that carbon fiber can be made stronger and lighter than aluminum. 10 speed cassettes though? I’m tempering my enthusiasm and taking a wait and see approach.
For James Huang’s article, click here.