You can now run a 1 x 11 setup with hydraulic brakes using SRAM’s Apex 1 groupset and choose whether or not you want flat- or drop-bar shifting.
The long-cage rear derailleur ($74) will accept a 10- or 11-speed cassette with up to 42 teeth. The crankset offers ring sizes with 38, 40, 42 or 44 teeth, and 170, 172.5, and 175 mm crankarm lengths. The crankset is compatible with 130mm, 135mm and 142mm OLD frames. The GXP version is $116 and the BB30 version is $151.
Snag flat-bar shifers for $27 each or hydraulic brake levers with intergrated SRAM double-tap shifters for $199 (left) and $249 (right). The PG-1130, 11-speed, 11-42 tooth cassette retails for $79. The PC-1110 chain rounds out the kit at $14.
SRAM Apex 1 should be available by June.
More information: sram.com
Gevenalle, a Portland-based company, began with a focus on cyclocross but has expended to offer drop-bar shifting solutions for both road and mountain bike drivetrains, including drop-bar friction shifting.
Gevenalle expanded its offerings with a new 1x version of the GX shifter—the GX1, compatible with 10- and 11-speed systems. The GX1 is designed specifically for those running a single chainring, and is compatible only with short pull brakes.
Both the GX1 and GX2 work with Shimano Dyna-Sys mountain bike components, offering drop bar shifting and braking with mountain bike gearing. With the release of 11 Speed Dyna-Sys and increased customer demand, the GX1 now gives the option to shave weight while maintaining a large selection of gearing for the ride. Price $169-$219.
Gevenalle also launched the UX1 shifters, compatible with Shimano’s Alfine SG-S501 8sp internal hub. Shimano only makes shifters for flat bars for this hub. Based around Gevenalle’s proven cyclocross platform, UX1 shifters are short pull only while the UX2 offers both long or short cable pull. Price: $169-$229.
All Gevenalle shifters come with a no questions asked crash/rebuild policy, getting you back on the road for only $34.00.
More information: gevenalle.com
Photos by Justin Steiner
Rival sits above SRAM’s entry level Apex group and below the better-known Force and Red groups. After a painful recall of the first generation hydraulic disc groups, SRAM is back on track and has expanded the hydraulic disc option (and the 11 speeds) to Rival level.
Rival is all about options. Cranks come in 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175 and 177.5 mm lengths, making this a great way to fine tune fit at an affordable price. Chainring options are 52/36, 50/34 and 46/36. Pair those up with a cassette in 11-26, 11-28 or 11-32 for plenty of range, though I was hoping for a 46/34 option for a more off-road oriented adventure bike.
I suppose the 34 be could paired with the 46, but shifting may suffer. The crank is a basic forged design and is far from svelte compared to the hollow-forged or carbon cranks from Force and Red. The cassettes carry the largest three cogs on an aluminum carrier; the rest are individual and may bite into softer aluminum cassette bodies.
The Yaw front derailleur has a built-in chain keeper to prevent derailment to the inside. Yaw derailleurs move at an angle in relation to the chainrings, eliminating the need to trim and giving you access to all 22 gear combos. Once set up properly the front shifting was acceptable, but took awhile to tune out a tendency to shift past the big ring. The rear derailleur is a workhorse, setting up easily and firing off shifts without complaint.
The integrated shift and brake levers are chunky, but comfortable. There are small reach adjust bolts for the brake and shift levers; care must be taken to adjust both properly or the shift lever can hang up on the brake lever. I’ve adapted to SRAM’s DoubleTap single lever shifting, but still find Shimano’s two levers to be more intuitive. While the shifting performs well, the tactile feel at the levers isn’t as precise as I’d like, with a feel of plastic and bushings rather than metal and bearings.
The real stars of the show are the brakes. Much like SRAM’s newly released Guide mountain bike brakes, the Rival discs have an stellar feel at the lever, with excellent modulation building up to very controllable power. The caliper mounting surfaces are nicely machined and the brakes set up easily on the two bikes used for testing. Other than an odd vibration on the rear of one bike that I was never able to track down, the brakes were quiet and fade free, even after some sketchy and fast fire road descents under a bikepacking load.
While electronic shifting gets all the attention lately, personally I think hydro discs are a bigger upgrade to performance than adding batteries and servo motors to shifting. The Rival group is hugely versatile, with enough options to keep everyone except fully-loaded touring cyclists happy with the gear range and fit options. With performance that rivals (HA!) more expensive groups, particularly the brakes, Rival parts are a less expensive replacement option for the high-end groups. For rough and tumble adventure bikes, the Rival group is right at home, particularly for riders used to the power and control of modern mountain bike brakes.
- Hydraulic brakeset and shifters: $384 per wheel
- Front derailleur: $38
- Rear derailleur: $72
- Crankset: $218 BB30/$192 GXP
- Cassette: $69-$76
- Chain: $29
- Centerline rotors: $44-$55
In 1998, a small group of California engineers developed bicycle components and called the company TruVativ. Six years later, the mighty SRAM purchased the San Luis Obispo company, followed by the company’s introduction of its Rival, then Force, then Red road group sets. We were in the area for a Zipp 30 Course wheel introduction, so on the way out of town we toured the new SRAM lab, a brand-new 20,000-square foot facility across from the SLO airport, about a mile down the road from the original 8,600-square foot building. Thirty employees—engineers, lab technicians, marketing, public relations and machine shop wizards—share a custom work space which might be the envy of the industry.
The SRAM SLO lab is where drivetrain components, seat posts, cranksets, handlebars and stems are developed, prototyped, and tested until failure. It’s in the early stages of development, and we weren’t able to take photos of the early development stuff, but one thing stood out: engineers have the equipment necessary to create a carbon prototype crankset in-house and have it on the stress test machines the next day, a process that just a few years ago would take months.
And yes, SRAM breaks a lot of stuff. They break stuff so you don’t have to!
And with the recent introduction of its expanded 1x drivetrain platform, it was cool to watch their chainline test, which took cross chaining to the extreme.
Shifting and all it encompasses includes too many variables for a feeble-minded journalist to count, but SRAM built its own test mule to cover all possibilities.
Zipp brand manager Declan Doyle—based in Indianapolis—hails from the Emerald Isle, and was pleased to see a conference room named in his honor.
This man gets to build prototypes, and has the world-class equipment to play with every day. Can’t wait to see how his workspace evolves over the next few months.
Click the magnifying glass to enlarge photos: