Is SRAM developing a cyclocross 1x11 groupset?

Photos from US cyclocross race show prototype groupset being put through its paces

by David Arthur   November 14, 2013  

A couple of years ago, SRAM launched a new 1x11 mountain bike groupset. It binned the front mech and used a single chainring combined with a huge range 11-tooth cassette. From this photo of US cyclocross racer Ryan Trebon, it looks like they’ve adapting it for the cyclocross market.

SRAM hasn’t revealed any official information on this groupset yet so we don’t exactly have many details to share with you. We do know SRAM likes to use its sponsored racers to test new developments; we first spotted its hydro disc brakes on a US cyclocross racing bikes back along. However, we know plenty about the mountain bike version this new groupset is based on, and it doesn’t look from the photos to stray too far from it.

The really interesting aspect about the new groupset is the lack of a front mech or chainguide. SRAM developed a chainring with alternating wide and narrow teeth that fit inside a chain with corresponding alternating inner and outer links. This essentially means the chain fits more securely on the chainring than a regular setup. Meanwhile, the rear derailleur has an internal roller bearing clutch that increases tension on the chain, and stops it bouncing around - which can lead to derailed chains. It's been well proven with many top flight mountain bike world cup and enduro victories to its name already. 

The groupset offers a simplicity of shifting - you only have the rear shifter to play with - and much less chance of the chain dropping over rough terrain. I’ve ridden the mountain bike groupset and it does work astonishing well. Shifting is quick and precise and there’s no shortage of ratios at either end of the cassette. It does look like Ryan has been using a regular RED road cassette, probably an 11-26, but we image there'll be a greater selection if, when, it comes to market.

This sort of groupset, with all its benefits, is ideal for cyclocross racing. But we reckon it's ideal too for the new breed of versatile utility cyclocross bikes that are becoming more popular. 

Thanks to Bikerumour of use of the photos.

17 user comments

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Typical - just after a spent a small fortune on a carbon forks for my crosser UCI legalised disc brakes. I've just upgraded my drivetrain only to learn that SRAM are developing a CX version of 1X11 Crying

posted by Peter B [6 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:18

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Absolute Black make a SRAM style single chainring for converting Shimano 10 speed to single chain ring configuration.

http://absoluteblack.cc/cx-rings.html

But the clutch mechanism in the SRAM system looks a good enhancement.

38 chain ring with an 11 speed 11-28 ish range is perfect for cyclo-cross, and versatile, covers most other riding on and off the road.

posted by seanbolton [110 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:39

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Excuse the ignorant MTB'r but couldn't you just run a 10spd MTB cassette with a 11-36 ratios and a clutch rear mech and one of the any number of aftermarket thick-n-thin chainrings that are already out there to get nearly the same effect?

posted by northerntrainee [1 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:53

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seanbolton wrote:
38 chain ring with an 11 speed 11-28 ish range is perfect for cyclo-cross, and versatile, covers most other riding on and off the road.

I have thought the same for a while. Multiple national champ cyclo-crossers Isla Rowntree and Louise Robinson have been racing on a single chainring for years, you don't need a special SRAM one.

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posted by Simon E [1790 posts]
14th November 2013 - 13:07

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whats your next upgrade I can see a pattern emerging ?

Castelli Cafe The UK home of Castelli Cycle Clothing

posted by Castelli Cafe [5 posts]
14th November 2013 - 13:53

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I run an Alfine 11 hub on my commuter,a Kinesis pro6 with bb7's and a hub dynamo. It heavy and i am considerably slower, some 3-4 on average on it than my slpro planet x. That might be in part about the stop start nature of london cycling and not building up momentum but i am sure wheels and hub make a huge difference. I like not having a front derailleur though and had begun researching swapping out the hub for an equivalent 10 spd or 11 spd alternative so this sounds great.

bobinski

posted by bobinski [94 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:02

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"the rear derailleur has an internal roller bearing clutch that increases tension on the chain, and stops it bouncing around "

Can't wait for that to fail part way through a race....

posted by geargrinderbeard [25 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:53

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geargrinderbeard wrote:
"the rear derailleur has an internal roller bearing clutch that increases tension on the chain, and stops it bouncing around "

Can't wait for that to fail part way through a race....

it won't. They've been used in mountain biking for the past couple of years and they've been just fine, so can't see any reason why the CX version won't be just as reliable.

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posted by David Arthur [1231 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:17

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Solution to a problem that isn't really there.
But it will sell so good luck to them.

posted by mattsccm [221 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:25

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I have a 1x10 mtb and the enviable thing about the sram xx1 is that 42t cassette.
In this case though, with a lower range being used anyway, a wolf tooth chainring and normal 10sp setup would be fine.

posted by nukebat [5 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:28

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A 1x11 system seems like it would be pretty useful to me especially with a wide range cassette. I mean it wouldn't revolutionize anything but it does seem like a solid option at worst an most likely an improvement over 2x11 for cyclocross

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:52

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mattsccm wrote:
Solution to a problem that isn't really there.
But it will sell so good luck to them.

Admire your open-minded approach there

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posted by David Arthur [1231 posts]
14th November 2013 - 16:38

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Stuff cyclo cross, I want this on my commute bike, since the front chain ring is quite large I assume top speed would be good. I dont spend much time using the lower gears anyway Smile

posted by kie7077 [359 posts]
14th November 2013 - 19:03

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with 13-speed rear mechs having been spotted in the wild, could we road racing set ups, especially for flatter races, stages, terrain, got to single chain ring?

posted by Al__S [423 posts]
15th November 2013 - 10:03

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Al__S wrote:
with 13-speed rear mechs having been spotted in the wild...

Tell me more!

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posted by William Black [196 posts]
15th November 2013 - 14:33

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"Excuse the ignorant MTB'r but couldn't you just run a 10spd MTB cassette with a 11-36 ratios and a clutch rear mech and one of the any number of aftermarket thick-n-thin chainrings that are already out there to get nearly the same effect?"

Yup, I run an X0 rear mech with a Force crank running 38/46 rings, and a mate runs the X0 rear and XO crank with a single ring.

posted by 853rider [15 posts]
17th February 2014 - 12:58

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853rider wrote:
"Excuse the ignorant MTB'r but couldn't you just run a 10spd MTB cassette with a 11-36 ratios and a clutch rear mech and one of the any number of aftermarket thick-n-thin chainrings that are already out there to get nearly the same effect?"

Yup, I run an X0 rear mech with a Force crank running 38/46 rings, and a mate runs the X0 rear and XO crank with a single ring.

Yes I'm sure you could, though can't say for certain without actually trying it. That isn't what SRAM is developing here though is it

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posted by David Arthur [1231 posts]
17th February 2014 - 13:11

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