SRAM and RockShox – Interbike 2011

by Brian Mullin on September 22, 2011

SRAM had a bunch of changes to their line up, including new gearing, an addition to their 2×10 group, a 10 speed Gripshift and a sweet color option for X.0. The Silver coloration on the X.0 (shown above), is actually a metal filament, and I think it looks really trick, and the new color scheme comes on the groups shifters, rear derailer and cranks.

SRAM – New Gearing
The most interesting addition to me, was the new lower gearing for their 2×10 series. The current 2x chainrings of 42×28 and 39×26, is being joined by 38×24 and the micro granny 36×22. Although it was predominately designed for a 29er, which require a lower gearing for the big wheels, it appealed to me on my 26er, because a enjoy having an uber granny gear for long grinds up steep and unrelenting hills in Colorado. Their current lowest ratio of which uses a 26 front and 36 rear, was .72, and it was still not as low as the older 2×9 or 3×9, which had a 22×34 setup with a ratio of .65. By switching to 22×36 or 24×36, you get .61 and .67 ratio’s respectively. I ride lots of terrain that has decent traction, and long grunt climbs, and the lowest granny gear possible will facilitate less energy output, and maximize enjoyment! I recall riding many moons ago with a 20×32 setup, back when everything was 7 or 8 speeds. The new gearing will be available on everything but the XX group, so X.0, X.9, X.7 and X.5 will have the new gearing options.

All SRAM’s cranks have interchangeable or removable spiders, and since their current 120 BCD won’t fit a 38 nor 36 tooth chainring, they have a new 104 BCD spider carrier for the smaller setup, whether it’s the 38×24 or 36×22 option, and it was engineered to keep the same chainline as the larger gearing. They will also sell a kit, so that existing owners of the SRAM 2×10 cranks, could retrofit on the new gearing. The system will have an option for an All Mountain bashguard, for additional protection purposes. For the front shifting purposes for the smaller drivetrain, the X.0 and X.7 series will have a 38t and 36t dedicated derailer. I can’t wait to try out the new system on some of my local sick terrain.

SRAM X.5
The other big SRAM news, are they brought the X.5 group into the 10 speed fold, which will be a nice addition to lower priced bikes and the budget-conscious buyer. It gets a lot of trickle down technology from the fancier and more expensive groups, albeit at a significantly lower price point, but still retaining good performance. The nicest addition is the trick cassette, which uses the same spider system as the expensive brethren, with attached steel cogs, and forgoes the usual stamped steel method of manufacturing. It will have the same gearing selection as the other groups, including the new low gearing 36×22 and 38×24. It will include a short, medium and large-cage rear derailer, which will make it a cost-effective replacement for those that break derailers regularly, like downhill and freeride users. The X.5 group includes, trigger shifters, rear and front derailer, cassette and a crank, and will come in silver or back finish.

SRAM Gripshift
SRAM had World Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy Specialized S-Works Epic 29er bike on display, and it was sporting the 10 speed BlackBox GripShift shifter that he has been racing on. The prototype Griftshift’s inner mechanism are all very top secret, and no release date or pricing was mentioned, but they are at least in the queue to be available. We can assume some additional refinements and tweaks, and of course they will feature some carbon bits and pieces. Since next year is the 25th anniversary of the original DB1 shifter, we can only hope some will trickle out? I didn’t test the shifting on his bike, as it seemed sort of sacred, well ok, I did click it a couple of time.

RockShox Reverb
The Reverb adjustable seatpost gets a couple of minor changes. They have added a 100mm travel option for more cross-country oriented riding, a new Enduro collar and an updated compression fitting for better hose/head connection durability at the seatpost junction. During my testing and usage of the Reverb, that exact issue was a great concern, and this more robust upgrade should help with longevity, and lessen any damage issues, especially when working in a bike stand. The latest incarnation comes in 100mm and 125mm travel, 30.9mm and 31.6mm post diameters, and 355mm, 380mm and 420mm lengths, and black or silver collar options.

They introduced the Reverb Stealth, which routs internally through a frame into the bottom of the seatpost. Currently the system is only available OE on selected Scott and Trek bikes for a one year time frame, and after that we can hope to see it on a plethora of frames. This nice tweak to the Reverb, makes for clean lines, a lack of complex routing and interference issues.

RockShox

Rear Shocks
The Monarch and Monarch+ get a new white color option, and there is a Monarch Carbon, which gets a carbon air can to save 15 grams over the normal aluminum version. You can set it up with the XX hydraulic remote, which will blend nicely with the XX SID for the ultimate in cross-country racing purposes. The Monarch Carbon will certainly be coveted by the weight weenie crowd. The Kage is a nice entry-level coil shock for the longer travel market, and it being used on everything from a Nomad to World Cup racing, and it comes in at a good price point.

Forks
They moved their Dual Position Air technology into the Lyric and Totem lines, and it offers a climbing mode around 30mm below the maximum travel. They delved deeply into the 29er market, and now have a SID (80/100) , Reba (80/100), Recon (80/100), XC (80/100) and Revelation (120/130/140). Each of the fork lines has specific models under them, to cover the gamut of colors, dampers, features and steerers. I think the most interesting 29er fork line is the Revelation, and having a 120, 130, and a whopping 140mm travel will be ideal for the new longer travel big wheeled bikes. In addition to having the Dual Position Air feature, it has the Motion Control DNA system which has four models, the XX, RCT3, RLT and RL. The very trick RCT3 damper is the highlight of the bunch, and its three distinct positions, open, threshold and lock, is easy to use and offers usable compression, for on the fly terrain adjustments, and it blends nicely with the Monrach+ rear shock.

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