The Next “Big” Thing? SRAM Launches Boost 148 Drivetrains

Trek Remedy with Boost 148 Technology

Alas, the bike industry is full of the next “big” thing. We’ve seen OnePointFive, 29ers, 650b, electronic shifting, oversize 35mm stem/bars, thru axles in all their varieties, bottom brackets galore, 1x drivetrains and more. Each advancement has brought cheers and jeers at the same time, so the new Boost 148 standard will certainly be met in such the same manner.

What is Boost 148?

As 29 and 27.5″ wheels have taken off, some aggressive riders have pushed wheelsets and frames to their limits. While good wheel manufacturers have compensated for the increased diameter and have pumped out high-quality hoops, it’s taken time and requires considerable effort. Now, imagine if rear hubs were 6mm wider and front hubs were 10mm wider. Wheel builders everywhere would rejoice.

You see, even small increases in widths can pay huge dividends in performance and stiffness. Wheel makers can then produce lighter wheels with lower spoke counts while remaining as stiff as old-school 26″ hoops.

So, what is Boost 148? Well, for SRAM that means an entire system — hubs, thru-axles and cranksets that are all built on these new widths. And, Trek has led the charge with the new 2015 Remedy 29ers.

SRAM Boost 148 Drivetrain Diagram

What’s cool about Boost 148?

So, hear me out… yes, the ever-changing “standards” can become tiresome, but Boost 148 has promise — I promise. Here are a few key take-aways to consider:

  • Stronger, stiffer, better-performing wheels
  • Increased BB width gives frame manufacturers more flexibility
  • Wider BB’s mean stiffer and more efficient frames
  • Shorter chainstays are now a reality
  • Eliminating that pesky front derailleur for good
  • Cranks will feature the same Q-factor
  • Wider chainline frees up tire clearance
  • Increased chainring compatibility
  • Boost is an open standard — anyone can build on the new spec

What’s uncool about Boost 148?

Yeah, some things are still not cool, but we’ll learn to live with it.

  • New wheels and frames that are incompatible with existing standards
  • Adapters are all now worthless
  • Limited availability so far

SRAM Boost Drivetrain Options

SRAM announced today their full suite of XX1, X01 and X1 drivetrains for Boost 148. They will also offer a host of RockShox forks and Rise wheels that will accommodate the new standard. Prices are inline with current models and availability is looking like May 2015 with some trickling in later this summer.

Yes, progress is sometimes a double-edged sword. Boost 148 will catch on — particularly with 29ers of the long-travel variety. Keep an open mind and check it out at your local shop.