This is a post I have been looking forward to making since April. First, a disclaimer. Yes, Team Topeak-Ergon is sponsored by SRAM with product. However, this doesn't not effect what I am about to lay out here on the blog.
As a new revolution to the mountain bike industry, the 2x10 drivetrain system gets a lot of haters....and a lot of lovers. I'll be honest, I was wondering how this rider labeled 'limited gearing' was going to effect my riding here in Colorado. Honestly, it hasn't. The 2x10 gives as much as the 3x9. In fact, the 2x10 removes a lot of the repeated gear ratios found on 3x9. With the XX I find myself not shifting as often as I need to on the 3x9 systems....because the gear ratios are more thought out. Every click of the shifter gives you a gear that is different. Each gear is unique.
The cassette and chain appear to have a good lifespan. The team riders have been running the hollow pin chains with virtually no issues. Chain wear has been spot on with other non-SRAM chains I have used during previous seasons. The 10sp cassette also is shifting crisp and smooth as the day out of the box with no signs of excessive wear and tear. Keep in mind, all the images I am posting in this post are on my hardtail. This bike has seen all my racing and 90% of my mtb specific training this year.....7 races and over 1000 miles of racing and training!
The rear derailleur is still ticking along just fine. I have had rocks fly up off the trail and hit it and it just keeps ticking right along. The pulleys are smooth as butter! As with all the other XX parts, installation and tuning is easy.
The 39-26T crankset is ideal for most riding and racing applications. Personally, I haven't found any limitations to this gear ratio setup. Anything steep that couldn't climb in this gear....was probably best to hike-a-biking anyway. For those familiar with the Little French climb in Breckenridge....I was able to clean the climb both laps in the Firecracker 50 and in the B68. The gear was perfect....no granny gear needed. One item to note that I have heard from all the team USA riders is how smooth and easy the cranks spin. Ceramic bearing are what they are cracked up to be. I can't describe it....you need to experience it! Only negative note I have about the crankset is that the chainring bolts did work a little loose. A little loc-tite was a quick fix and it hasn't been an issue since.
The crank arms are showing some wear and tear, but that is expected. There is nothing out of the norm here. Riding and racing is going to cause scratches, gashes, and other cosmetic issues. Some people might find this an issue. However, I do not.
Shifting is super crisp...very road bike-like. The trigger 'throw' is short and to-the-point resulting is super fast shifting. I have yet to mis-shift while training and racing on SRAM XX. Being able to shift under full pedal load is awesome and a advantage on the race course!
Overall, I have and will continue to recommend the 2x10 to riders. Do you need the super light race oriented XX? No. But now with the release of X0, X9, and X7 10sp systems this brings this system down to a happier price point for the rest of the mountain bike world. Seriously, don't count out 2x10 on the trail. It is the future not only for XC but also for general all-mountain riding. I have full confidence in the system and will push it to the limit at CTR starting on Aug 2.