FIRST RIDE: SRAM’S ALL NEW GX TRANSMISSION – TOUGH AND AFFORDABLE
SRAM brings their newest technology into affordability with their new GX Transmission and Bronze Stealth brakes.
SRAM GX EAGLE TRANSMISSION
A few months ago SRAM invited us out to test out their new GX Transmission line in the hills of Santa Cruz, California. We hopped on some e-bikes equipped with the new derailleur, cassette, cranks, and chain and went on our way. Our information and previews were limited before the ride, so we didn’t know what to expect except to hope it was as good as the XO Transmission we’d been riding up until then. Check out our full review on the XX and XO Transmission.
GX has finally made its entrance into the axle-mounted Transmission line up with XO and XX. SRAM has worked hard to make this one of the most robust systems in existence. The derailleur features the Hangerless Interface, protective skid plates, a steel inner cage, and an updated battery placement to be better protected from impacts. The skid plates and outer links are also replaceable. It also features a tool-free cage assembly so it’s removable and upgradeable. This whole system is being marketed to “riders of the real world” to carry on the legacy of the current GX systems.
The all-new GX Eagle cranksets are equally as robust as the derailleur. They’re made of forged aluminum with an all-new shape and contain the option to put two independently removable bashguards on for protection.
The E-MTB cranks come in 160, 165, and 170mm lengths with an ISIS interface for use on ISIS motor systems. Another new development is the “Gap Cap” which brings an integrated look to Bosch and Brose systems and acts as kind of a bash guard for the chainring.
There are also several direct-mount chainrings available from 30T-34T, each with a 3mm offset for a 55mm chainline.
The GX T-Type cassette is one of the main contributors to the system’s excellent shifting qualities. It features the same X-SYNC design first scene on the XX and XO systems which allows for shifting under heavy load. Durability is the name of the game in the GX lineup with the cassette coated in a nickel plating for the best longevity. It’s optimized for a 55mm chainline which is claimed to offer a more moderate chain angle, longer wear, and greater precision. It has a 520% gear range with optimized gear steps on the low end.
All of the previous devices are connected and made a functioning system with the all-new flattop GX Eagle Transmission chain. It features solid pins and is approved for E-MTB use.
If you have a bike that is SRAM Transmission compatible and have been holding out for this exact groupset, then fear not, there are options to buy it for your existing bike. There are any number of options easily marked for purchase with instructions to install it whether you ride an E-MTB or not.
FIRST RIDE IMPRESSION
Being that we didn’t know what we were facing on the trail, there were many times when we found an unexpected hill needing conquering. On any drivetrain before now we would pause and shift before these hills losing all our momentum. With the GX Transmission, there was no hesitation with each shift being as smooth as if there were no tension on the chain. SRAM doesn’t exaggerate when they say it shifts better under load and it was proved excellently on this ride.
We only had one ride on this system before we had to move on to our next adventure, but when thinking back and comparing the GX to the XO we’d been riding, there was practically no difference. Shifting isn’t as quick as previous Eagle drivetrains but it’s undoubtedly smoother and more precise. There were times we felt the delay hurt our momentum, but it wasn’t enough to bring frustration or annoyance. We enjoyed our first ride using the GX Transmission drivetrain and are eager to get more time on the system in the future.
GX TRANSMISSION PRICING AND WEIGHTS
Derailleur (no battery): $400; 488 grams (W/battery)
Crankset (no BB): $140-$200; 723 grams (165mm, 32T)
Cassette: $250; 444 grams
Chain: $50 284 grams
GX Transmission (non-e-bike full set): $1,099
GX Transmission (Bosch/Brose full set): $1,049
GX Transmission (104BCD e-bike full set): $949
SRAM BRONZE STEALTH BRAKES
With the release of the GX Eagle Transmission, SRAM is releasing a new line of affordable Stealth brakes categorized as the Bronze collection. In this collection, we have the Code Bronze Stealth designed for heavier braking needs like enduro and downhill and featuring a quad-piston design similar to the Stealth brakes already in existence.
They’ve also released Level Bronze Stealth 2-piston and 4-piston brakes for use on XC and Trail bikes. Both sets are meant to complement the GX Eagle Transmission groupset as affordable options to the Stealth brakes previously offered.
BRONZE STEALTH BRAKE PRICING
Code Bronze Stealth: Front – $185, Rear – $185
Level Bronze Stealth 4 Piston: Front – $165, Rear – $165
Level Bronze Stealth 2 Piston: Front – $108, Rear – $108