[First Look] SRAM GX Drivetrain / Guide Ultimates


Our Giant Reign Advanced 1 has undergone a bit of a transformation. We bolted up a bit of baller and a bit of budget. Specifically, GX1 – SRAM’s entry level 1X drivetrain, and their Guide Ultimate – a no holds barred, super lightweight, highly refined 4 piston brake. We’ve already had a fair amount of time on these bits and our first impressions are good. We’ll get to a long term test once we’ve really put them all through the paces. For now, here are some details.



28.5 pounds with pedals. Not bad.


GX1 is a full dedicated system. Everything from Cranks to Spider to Chainring to Chain up front. No front derailleur or shifter obviously.


The GX1 11 speed derailleur. The design has had a few changes from the XX1, X01, and X1 body. The upper knuckle and b-tension plate are a bit different. Some parts are pinned and riveted together differently at an attempt to reduce manufacturing costs. Mainly it’s just a touch heavier and less refined than the flagship stuff, but performance feels on par so far. Yes, we know – we haven’t gotten a chance to get a cable end yet 😉


This is what really brought the price of the group down. The new Cassette is fully pinned and only comes in at 80 grams heavier than an X1, but only comes in at $144. For comparison’s sake, an XX1 cassette is about triple that.



So far we’re loving the ergonomics crisp feel of the new shifter. For $564 for a whole 1X package we have to tip the hat to SRAM. It may have taken a couple years to get these bits down to the masses, but they’re getting there and a whole group is now available for around 1/3rd of the cost of the first group that was introduced. We’ll keep you posted on our long term impressions. Now for the baller bits, the brakes…


The new lever doesn’t look a whole lot different but it received some subtle refinements. Titanium hardware and a Carbon Fiber lever have been added to bring the weight down and give it a sleek look and feel.


This is what’s seen most of the changes : the caliper. The new caliper has been opened up a bit where the pads drop in. This, helps dissipate heat and clear mud and grime. Also, SRAM has added “heat shield” – stainless steel heat shields breaks the thermal connection between the pad and caliper body, thus preventing heat buildup on long descents.


The Guide Ultimates also feature aluminum pistons with a phenolic insert at their core to reduce heat build up…The new SRAM brakes still use the same pads, but note that the hose is different due to an updated caliper fitting.

Last but not least, “bleeding edge” technology is perhaps the coolest update to the new Guide Ultimate brakes. The brakes utilize a super easy quick connect syringe. No more fussing with a grub screw at the caliper.

We’ll keep you posted on how these treat us…Our first impressions is that they are definitely a cut above the standard guides – just a bit more refined.

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