Unknown to many of us, the current crop of SRAM 1x cranksets were actually capable of direct-mount chainrings for quite some time — well, sorta. Whether SRAM is responding to the popularity of the RaceFace Cinch system or if direct-mount chainrings were in the works long ago is unknown. Regardless, we can all appreciate the simplicity and performance advantages of going direct-mount.
The popular sizes (30, 32, 34) of the new chainrings will be available starting now at your local retailer with other sizes (26, 28, 36, 38, 40) becoming available in April 2015.
Some will cry foul with yet another “standard,” but that’s the way things go in the bike industry. There is absolutely no need to ditch your current chainring setup, but if you are upgrading or purchasing a larger or smaller chainring to go with your current XX1, X01 or X1 crankset, you will now have more options.
Additionally, the chainring size limitations in place with the current designs may become a thing of the past with the additional frame clearance available with direct-mount rings versus the standard spider/chainring setup.
Do I need to upgrade?
Nope. No need to upgrade. But, if you are changing chainring sizes or replacing a worn one, you may consider it.
What’s the weight savings?
We’re told that you’ll shave between 25-50 grams off the standard spider version by going direct-mount.
What’s the downside?
The only real downside is that you must remove the crankset to replace the chainring when worn or if another gear ratio is desired. If you find yourself swapping chainrings regularly, then the direct-mount is not for you. But, for most of us, the only hassle will come when the chainrings need replacing.
SRAM X-Sync Direct Mount Rings Features
- Genuine SRAM chainrings will fit on current XX1, X01 and X1-1400 cranksets
- Current chainline is maintained
- X-Sync narrow/wide chainring teeth for drop-free performance in all conditions
- Fully CNC’d aluminum rings
- Sizes: 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40
- Popular sizes available December 2014 with others coming in April 2015
- Price: $99 (30-34t)
The Bottom Line
As always, the innovation train continues in the bike world. For those using SRAM cranksets who have been jealous of direct-mount chainrings, these new chainrings should scratch that itch. I’d expect the direct-mount designs to become more commonplace — if not standard — across the board. It’s simpler, stronger and more efficient.