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Dura-Ace 9000 and SRAM XX1- both go to 11

Mountain Bike, Road Bike 4 1028

So I guess I should mention Shimano’s “official” release of the Dura Ace 9000 11-speed groups (electronic and mechanical) , though it seems a bit anticlimactic considering the fact that we have all seen the “unofficially” leaked photos that appeared on the web months ago. As suspected from those early pics, the crankset has a new bolt circle diameter which allows an inner chainring as small as 34 and an outer up to 55. As I mentioned in my previous post, I like the idea of a standard BCD for compact and standard gearing. As my knees age, I want lower gears for climbing but I also still want to go fast on the flats, so I am increasingly becoming a fan of mid-compact (52/36) cranksets.  I am glad to see that Shimano will offer that configuration as a standard option, along with many (maybe too many) others- 50/34, 52/38, 53/39, 54/42, and 55/42.

For more information about the new Dura-Ace group check out CyclingNews, Bike Radar, Red Kite Prayer, VeloNews, Bike Rumor,, or pretty much any other site that covers bikes or cycling.

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DA 9000 was old news by the time it was officially announced, so the 11 speed system that really got my attention this week was the “official sneak preview” of a prototype XX1 mountain bike group from SRAM. This is not just an 11 speed cog added to the 2×10 XX group as you might first assume. The XX1 prototype uses a single chainring system with a wide range, 10 to 42 tooth, cassette to get a 420 percent range without any front shifting. Personally, I am running a cobbled together 2×9 XTR setup on my mountain bike, but I like the idea of eliminating front shifting altogether for off road riding. I’ll be very interested to see how SRAM continues to develop this…and if it is accepted by the market once released.

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  1. Andy June 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm -  Reply

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes before we ditch external gears altogether. I can’t imagine this increase can continue and still have reasonable parts. 12sp? maybe. 15? 20? I doubt parts can get that thin and have any durability.

    It’s about time to get major development on things like the NuVinci (continuously variable). It sounds like that particular one is heavy, requires a bit too much movement to shift it far enough, and isn’t built for performance – but it’s only a matter of time before these get built much better.

    I recently upgraded to 10sp on a bike and am not impressed. Frankly, I don’t notice the extra gear. I keep a reasonable cog on the back (11-28) but use a compact crank (34/50). That combo means that this commuter/touring bike has gearing good enough for road racing when needed, but also dirt road exploring in the hills. I’d prefer durability and easy maintenance over more intermediate gears, but I do understand the racers want that 1t difference for their special cadences.

  2. Stu Cox June 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm -  Reply

    This is a technological race between brands and will have very little benefit or relevance for the vast majority of riders in the short term.

    This seems to add to the move to create ever more specialised and niche bikes and ancillary components. Every type of cycling is being sub divided and new markets are being created. These transmissions will fall into a niche, but 11 speed simply won’t have the longevity or be economical for the average user.

    I love innovation and mechanical craftsmanship so maybe 11 speed will appear in my cycle stable at some point, maybe teamed with a Schlumpf or Hammerschmidt!

  3. Bubba Nicholson June 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm -  Reply

    Cogs and cranks, they stain my jeans and make me feel stupid.
    Muscles move like caboose-anchored maglev trains pulling track, then letting the movable track go, it being pulled back by another maglev train tethered and dragging the track in the opposite direction. Clearly, we be the battery, so why not run a rear-wheel motor from muscle electricity directly (the same energy that moves the muscle), getting rid of the bio-mechanical as well as the mechanical intermediaries? Until then, belts stare us in the face and dare designers to hunt for the hidden efficiencies. Might belts move upon command like chains to “change gears”?

  4. LU July 22, 2012 at 9:42 am -  Reply

    No front deraileur or shifter for the front either… like single speed but with gears… Ilike the idea. 2×10 has grown in popularity this 1x stuff should too.

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