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SRAM Range Rundown - 1x vs 2x

SRAM Range Rundown – 1x vs 2x
sram banner

Who are SRAM?

SRAM are the stars and stripes waving arm of ‘The Big 3’ groupset manufacturers alongside Japan’s Shimano and Italy’s Campagnolo. The SRAM family has be quietly manoeuvring itself to become a major player in the component industry as a whole, with marquee brands including RockShok, Quarq and Zipp all coming under the Chicagoans umbrella.

The Range

The SRAM road groupset offering closely follow the trickle-down structure of Shimano, and offer a directly comparable range of performance options across a host of price points. Broadly speaking you can sit SRAM next to their Shimano counterparts, with Apex/Tiagra, Rival/105, Force/Ultegra and Red/Dura-Ace making up the respective ranges.

With the explosion of 1x, or ‘One By’ groupsets over the last few years, SRAM were exceptionally quick to adopt versions of this new standard throughout the whole range, with 1x systems available alongside their 10, 11 and 12 speed counterparts at every level. The name ‘One by’ refers to the total number of gears, one by 11, one by 12 and so on, depending on cassette size.

 The ranges are shown either with with or without a ‘1’, to show gearing structure, for example Rival1 is the 1x groupset, alongside its more traditional double chainring Rival22 counterpart. The naming difference describes the number of gears, so Rival1 is ‘One by’ 11 speed cassette, Rival22 has a double chainring, meaning the ‘Two by’ gearing has 22 gears in total (2x11=22). Easy peasy!
sram 2x 22 crank

What is 1x?

Flying in the face of years of industry trends towards ‘more’ gears, more rings, more speeds, the 1x groupset swings the other way. Removing both the front derailleur and one of the front chainrings leaving a single ring up front whilst broadening the useable range of the rear cassette. There is no right or wrong system particularly, but some riders, for example cyclocross racers looking for simplified setups, may benefit from the 1x system.

The upsides to this setup is reduced weight for the overall group as there is no front mech or second chainring, simplified shifting as you now only have ‘harder’ or ‘easier’, no front mech alignment issues, flexibility for frame designers and for the TT or triathlon racer, a teeeeeny aerodynamic advantage.

Nothing comes for free though and there are draw backs to the 1x system. Whilst you do eliminate duplicated gears, the total span of gears available will be slightly reduced. You’ll also notice the ‘jumps’ between gears are bigger to facilitate the broadest range possible. For example where you may previously have had single gear jumps, 13-14-15, you may now have 2 or even 3 jumps between gearing, 17-19-21-24 and so on. You may also find that chains and cassettes wear a little more quickly due to the extreme chain angles necessitated by the width of the cassette.
1x rival sram crank

Classic 2x or upstart 1x?

It very much depends on what you are looking for as to which system is right for you. 2x offers the classic look and feel of a drop bar road bike with a wide range of close ratio, useable gearing. 1x gives a lighter build weight, a clean, streamlined, unfussy look and simple and intuitive operation. Whichever system you opt for, Planet X have got you covered, with both 1x and 2x systems available across the majority of road and gravel bikes. Head to www.planetx.co.uk to view the whole range

6 July 2020

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