“If you bought a car and found that you had two stick shifts and were told, ‘You get more gears this way!’ no one would accept this.” – Kevin Wesling: SRAM Director of Advanced Development

November 30, 2015 – Simplify. That single word seems to sum up everything SRAM has done of late – from removing trim at the front derailleur to removing wires from electronic drivetrains and of course, removing the front derailleur with its 1x groups. Initially SRAM claimed 1x was a ‘cross only group but with the launch of Rival 1, SRAM is delivering on the promise of 1x as a real solution for gravel and adventure riders too. After all, there is no place that simplification is more sought after than hours deep in the back country while the sun is setting.

peloton/images: Jeff Clark

The initial concern with 1x for adventure riding was a lack of gear range but SRAM has solved this thanks to its ability to control the whole package from drive train to wheels. The new Rival 1 rear derailleur in long cage can shift a massive 10-42 cassette, but unfortunately a standard SRAM hub can’t run a 10tooth cog since it is a smaller diameter than the free hub itself. Enter the XD driver, initially created for SRAM’s 1x MTB groups, which allows for the massive 42tooth cog and the diminutive 10tooth cog. The result is a gear range to rival any 2X transmission. Of course, there will be bigger gaps between gears so a little pedaling efficiency can be lost, but the shifting experience is so much better it’s a small price to pay.


Like SRAM’s other 1x groups, what makes Rival 1 special is the magical interplay between the clutched Rival 1 rear derailleur and the X-Sync chainring. The clutch provides enormous tension to the chain to prevent bouncing or slapping and the X-Sync ring’s painstakingly sculpted teeth do the rest. Much more than simply wide and narrow, the teeth are designed to engage the chain more quickly, more securely, at any angle, while limiting wear and expelling mud. Together, the two components create a secure and silent ride, quickly and confidently shifting up and down the massive 10-42 cassette like it was an 11-25.


SRAM offers both mechanical and hydraulic braking with the new Rival 1 group and a huge array of gear options – 7 chain rings from 38 to 42 and all the SRAM cassettes including the 10-42. That 10-42 is a true work of art, with 123 stainless steel pins holding it together at 394grams. Between that cassette and the easily swapped front rings, Rival 1 is proving 1x technology has much more to offer than 60minutes on the ‘cross course and at a price that makes adding an adventure bike to the stable a real possibility.

SRAM Rival 1 Mechanical Brakes: $688 Hydraulic Brakes: $1153
Weight: Rear Derailleur, 10-42 Casette, BB30 Crank – 1467grams