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SRAM Force1

SRAM Force1 Groupset
5 Nov 2015

With the SRAM Force1 groupset, cyclocross has never been so simple.

One of the latest trends for cyclocross bikes is to use a single chainring drivetrain – referred to as 1x11 (‘one by eleven’). Sram has led the way with this technology, building on the huge success it enjoyed using the same know-how in its mountain biking groupsets. The idea is to simultaneously simplify the gearing and clean up the drivetrain by removing the need for any front shifting, whilst maintaining a suitable spread of gears.

With no front derailleur or second chainring this part of the drivetrain has substantially less opportunities for mud to gather and clog – a big plus for a CX bike. Plus, with no front gear shifter and cable required, there are significantly fewer moving parts to keep clean and maintain, as well as saving a good chunk of weight. In use, a single front ring also means there’s no need to worry about cross-chaining (where the chain runs diagonally between the largest cassette sprocket and big chainring) and front mech rub is consigned to history, too.

There are other less obvious benefits. On multiple chainring systems the profile of the teeth is designed primarily for unloading/shifting the chain. But here, Sram brings its patented ‘X-Sync’ technology to the chainring design, a specific tooth profile designed to engage with the chain more securely. This substantially reduces the chances of chain drop on bumpy terrain, helped significantly by the ‘clutch’ system in the rear derailleur arm that keeps the chain taught at all times, with the added benefit that the whole drivetrain runs more quietly, with the chain no longer slapping the frame when you hit the rough stuff.

Spread the love

Eleven speed is the norm to allow a wide spread of gears on the cassette to cover the variety of surfaces and inclines commonly encountered in a cyclocross race. However, should you need to alter your gearing it’s a cinch, as swapping a chainring requires the removal of just five allen bolts, taking only a few minutes even for the tool-shy rider.

As disc brakes become the predominant choice in cross, there’s potential to combine a hydraulic brake system (such as that pictured here) and dramatically reduce the amount of maintenance required, with only one single gear cable left to be affected by any dirt ingress. But with more frame designs using internal cable routing, the days of having to strip and clean cables every other race are on their way out, too. The result, then, is cross bikes have never been slicker, and more suited to task. All the more reason to get involved.

£888 (mechanical brake) £1180 (hydraulic brake),

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