We mentioned SRAM’s exciting new cross groupset, Force CX1, when talking about Quarq power meters.
It’s exciting because, as SRAM are keen to point out, Force CX1 is the only groupset built specifically for cyclocross that also mirrors the current thinking by many of the top protagonists, by having just one chainring, thereby ditching the front derailleur. Here at CycleTechReview.com, Tim has been advocating this ever since using the Wolf Tooth chainring last season, and Rob was quick to follow. Others including myself and Paul are still sat firmly on that fence, though you know how it goes: if the pros are doing it, it must be good and we won’t be too far behind…
SRAM Force CX1 is the evolution of SRAM’s 1×11 (one chainring times an eleven speed cassette), single chainring drivetrain which they developed for off-road use in mountain bike racing. Though it may upset the traditionalists, it will be a popular set-up with the riders.
The system relies on the X-Horizon clutch rear derailleur. SRAM claim that the Force CX1 rear derailleur’s unique clutch system eliminates chain slack, providing for smoother, quieter, and more secure chain travel. It uses Exact Actuation which equates to a 1:1 actuation ratio in terms of shifter cable travel to derailleur movemen, is 10 and 11 speed compatible and weighs in at 261g.
Other features include X-SYNC pulley, which features a 12-tooth design that helps control the chain’s lateral movement; X-HORIZON, which limits all movement to the horizontal axis to make ‘ghost shifting impossible while also reducing shift force’; ROLLER BEARING CLUTCH, a one-way roller clutch controlling chain tension for consistent shifting; and CAGE LOCK, for faster wheel changes or chain installation. That’s a lot of tech in there…
The derailleur is paired with SRAM’s X-SYNC chainring. Having only one chainring upfront gives you less to worry about when racing and the 11-speed rear cassette should still offer more than enough gearing options.
The X-SYNC chainrings use wide-tooth, narrow-tooth technology to keep the chain under control, with the sharp and narrow tooth profile, combined with rounded chamfer edges, helping to manage chain deflection. Designed by SRAM in Germany, there are even mud-clearing recesses for the inner chain links and rollers. The weight is 75g for a 42 tooth chainring.
To complete the modern cross groupset there’s SRAM’s new, improved HydroR hydraulic disc brakes which, with the improvements to provide more power, better modulation and less hand effort, promise to deliver better control and confidence, allowing later braking into corners and more aggressive racing all-round. The hoods are claimed to be more comfortable, and the whole system is lighter; more refined than before SRAM reckon.
The combination of CX1 and HydroR should allow riders to concentrate more on their racing with less to think about and less go wrong.
Needless to say that all the SRAM sponsored cyclocross riders will have the new SRAM Force CX1 groupsets for 2014/15 and some will be using HydroR brakes as well.
They have World Champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step), US Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus Racing), and all of the Telenet-Fidea team including former British National Champion, Nikki Harris, Bart Wellens and Tom Meeussen.
“This year will be the first time I will ride a production groupset that is purpose built for cyclocross. SRAM continues to innovate in new ways, even subtle ways, and develop product that is exactly what I need. Even better, it’s super quiet,” stated Jeremy Powers.
There’s also U23 World Champion Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace Cycling Team), Elle Anderson (KDL Cycling Team), Danny Summerhill (Edge/Felt) and US U23 Champion Logan Owen (California Giant/Specialized).
U23 World Champion Wout Van Aert said, “My first impression is that CX1 awesome! The derailleur is really strong and stable, the new set-up of the cassette takes a little bit to get used to, but it works in every circumstance. It will change your way of riding and you no longer have to decide if you need the big or the small chainring.”
Jason Phillips, SRAM’s European Road Sport Marketing Manager said, “We feel as though cyclocross is our home turf and sponsorship is in our DNA. The combination allows us to showcase a list of cyclocross stars like we have for 2014/15. With the addition of SRAM CX1, as well as the hydraulic brake options, we can further cater to their specific riding preferences.”
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