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Nino’s World Champ Bike & prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS

Nino Schurter is definitely the only most frequent topic of our Professional Bike Checks, however we have now loads of causes… like that he simply received a file tenth UCI MTB XC World Championship on this Scott Spark RC… or that it’s constructed up with a Blackbox prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain with a brand new direct mount derailleur that ditches the derailleur hanger (and some extra further bolts), plus a brand new cassette and a series lighter than SRAM Crimson.

Yeah, Nino retains successful, and SRAM retains giving him prototypes to check out, too.

So what do we all know?

Nino’s Scott Spark with SRAM prototypes

c. Scott

The very first thing you may discover is that there aren’t a ton of close-up bike photographs of Nino’s daring Scott Spark RC bike floating round on the web after his record-setting tenth UCI XCO Elite World Championship win over the weekend. It wasn’t so lengthy since we profiles his particular 9x World Champ rig for a Professional Bike Test in the beginning of the season. Often, manufacturers bounce to indicate off the bike that simply received Worlds, however with an unreleased prototype drivetrain from staff title sponsor SRAM, everyone seems to be protecting tighter management over these hi-res promo photographs.

However Scott couldn’t resist sharing a couple of to have a good time N1N0’s tenth World Champion title…

SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS prototype particulars

Prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain detail, photo by Michal Červený

c. Scott, photograph by Michal Červený

And between digging via social media and a few extra of the staff’s personal photographs, we discovered loads of public area photographs to get an excellent sense of what’s coming…

Earlier than trying on the prototype AXS derailleur itself, that FlatTop chain is one thing new – on or off-road. First debuted with highway SRAM Crimson eTap AXS again in 2019, the flat-topped chain promised elevated final energy, improved sturdiness, and even much less noise from the narrower plates of the 12-speed chain that lowered contact with the opposite cogs on the cassette.

That cassette can be all-new. Present top-tier Eagle cassettes get 11 cogs machined from one X-Dome block of metal & a single alloy huge cog. However this new Eagle SL cassette seems to have 9 smaller X-Dome machined cogs from a single block, and on high of that 3 huge alloy cogs pinned along with the center of the three serving because the light-weight provider.

Prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain detail, photo by Remi Fabregue

c. Scott, photograph by Remi Fabregue

Now all these enhancements lastly will make it to 12-speed Eagle drivetrains,  too. In actual fact, this new SRAM XX1 Eagle mountain bike FlatTop chain additionally will get hollowed-out facet plates to save lots of extra weight, possible ending up even lighter than 11sp or 12sp Crimson highway bike chains! Apparently when SRAM debuted FlatTop, they stated it was particular to 2x drivetrains. That appears prefer it has modified now.

Peeking out behind Nino’s foot right here throughout the race, the highest of the prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur seems to be rather more sturdy than what you have got now with the present Eagle derailleurs.

That’s as a result of this new BlackBox SRAM Eagle AXS derailleur prototype ditches the derailleur hanger in favor of a design straight mounted to the body. The direct mount interface seems to be to reap the benefits of patented tech that we noticed all the way in which again in 2018, and might even work with each present 12mm thru-axles or stiffer next-gen 15mm rear axles. It’s a subject our pal at WheelBased dive into once more a yr and a half in the past in one other SRAM patent replace.

Direct-mount prototype SRAM Eagle AXS derailleur – Execs & Cons

prototype sram direct mount linear rear derailleur with thru axle mounting b-knuckle

As we noticed in a couple of totally different views, the direct-mount derailleur clamps on each side of the carbon body’s dropout, connected to the tip of the rear thru-axle.

Little question, it will present a stiffer connection between derailleur and body. That’s a welcome enchancment because the lengthy cages, tightly-spaced 12sp cogs, and big variation from a ten to a 52T Eagle cog have meant excellent derailleur alignment is essential for good shifting. Even a barely bent hanger will imply a noticeable loss in efficiency and leaping or a minimum of rubbing gears.

What’s lacking?

Fairly attention-grabbing of be aware is one thing that’s lacking right here…

Beneath the usual AXS battery, there are not any mechanical hello/lo restrict screws of their typical location. With the horizontal place of the derailleur fastened relative to the within face of the dropout because it bolts straight between the body & axle, the relative place of the Eagle cassette is fastened, and perhaps no mechanical restrict is required? Or maybe the shift motor is simply now restricted electronically, and can be managed wirelessly via an AXS app replace?

What else we will’t actually see from the skin is that acquainted Torx bolt of SRAM’s mechanical Sort 3 Curler Bearing Clutch. Present Eagle AXS derailleurs cover it a bit, nevertheless it’s nonetheless there. These prototypes have a very totally different P-knuckle profile, although.

And if we needed to enterprise a guess, we wouldn’t be shocked to seek out that lower-drag hydraulically-damped clutch tech we uncovered again in 2018, not hiding inside this next-gen Blackbox derailleur.


A stiffer and extra sturdy derailleur-frame interface will certainly enhance shifting. However the apparent draw back in eliminating the sacrificial derailleur hanger is that once you crash, that affect goes into your body and derailleur, and never a low-cost hanger.

If you happen to break a SRAM UDH, that’s an 18€ substitute price. Changing a present XX1 Eagle AXS would price 831€ and a Scott Spark RC HMX frameset could be 5200€ (though hopefully, Scott would a minimum of simply get you a brand new rear finish for much less, if not coated by guarantee.)

Prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain detail, photo by Michal Červený

c. Scott, photograph by Michal Červený

With that stated, Nino Schurter pushed the bike fairly onerous and appears to have gone down fairly onerous proper onto that new prototype BlackBox SRAM Eagle AXS derailleur throughout the race (test that Insta-video above) and nothing was broken sufficient to stop him from successful his tenth World Championship.

UDH compatibility means SRAM direct-mount derailleur compatibility

SRAM UDH Universal Derailleur Hanger concept means direct-mount derailleur compatibility

The opposite draw back in any new proprietary “normal” like a direct mount derailleur is restricted backward compatibility. And right here we may be lastly seeing the brilliance of why SRAM has actually been hyping their UDH standardized Common Derailleur Hanger.

We beloved the precise common match idea of the UDH when it debuted at Eurobike in 2019 (curiously 10 months after we first noticed the direct mount derailleur). Nevertheless it solely took us every week to put two and two collectively to comprehend that the Common Derailleur Hanger idea might imply UDH direct-mount derailleur compatibility, as properly.

Now that appears to be the case. We’ve spied different present bikes from Trek & BMC fitted with this new Prototype SRAM Eagle AXS rear derailleur, suggesting all you’ll need is a UDH-ready body to make it work.

Prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS on 10x World Champion Nino Schurter Scott Spark RC, racing

c. Swiss Biking

So how lengthy till these new prototype SRAM Eagle AXS parts make it into manufacturing and out to shoppers? We are able to’t actually ensure. After we met with SRAM’s MTB staff at Eurobike only a month in the past, they stated they didn’t have something new to indicate us in the meanwhile. We had heard rumors of this new derailleur peeking out in race follow since a minimum of the beginning of this XC season, although.

Prototype SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain detail, photo by Michal Červený

c. Scott, photograph by Michal Červený

The UCI MTB World Championship appears to be the primary time it got here out to race on multiple bike suggesting two issues. One, there’s sufficient of a perceived efficiency enchancment that the very best riders on the earth determined they wished that edge over a number of the competitors. And two, if these execs are keen to be guinea pigs with rainbow jerseys on the road, the kinks have been ironed out and these parts are possible very near manufacturing, if not already prepared.

It received’t be lengthy now.

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