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Ever since SRAM unveiled its XX1 mountain bike group, cyclocross riders and mechanics have been licking their lips at the thought of applying the concept to ’cross, yearning for a single-ring specific drivetrain that wouldn’t require guide rings or a chain spotter. After this weekend, it looks like the wait is nearly over, as Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) was riding a complete prototype 1×11 drivetrain.
We spotted Trebon riding a prototype chainring at the Bend Oregon round of the USGP of cyclocross last year, paired with a typical Red rear derailleur.
This past Sunday at the Toyota Cincy3 Cyclocross Festival, Trebon was riding a completely new 1×11 drivetrain. The group, which sources have referred to as CX1, shares its key technologies with the XX1 and XO1 mountain bike drivetrains. The crankset is unbranded, but we expect the arms are no different than the current Red 22 crankset and the chainring uses SRAM’s wide-tooth, narrow-tooth pattern. The rear derailleur uses SRAM’s Roller Bearing Clutch and Cage Lock to keep the chain taught, while allowing for quick wheel removal.
SRAM’s planned chainring options are still unknown, but Trebon appears to have ridden a 42-tooth and we expect that ring to be popular in the elite ranks. Smaller 38 and 40-tooth rings will are likely to be made available as well, providing a better gearing fit for the average amateur rider.
The new rear derailleur is expected to come in two cage lengths, a short and mid. The short cage will be compatible with up to a 28-tooth cassette, and the long cage will fit a 32-tooth. Unlike its mountain bike cousins, the CX1 group will rely on road cassettes that are currently available, and will not use the special XD cassette body — at least not yet. That means the smallest cassette cog will be an 11 and not a 10, as on the XO1 and XX1 cassettes.
SRAM marketing manager Michael Zellmann declined to provide any additional information, offering only that “SRAM’s top athletes test products as part of the brand’s Black Box program.” Sources expect the SRAM CX1 group to be available ahead of the 2014-2015 cyclocross season.