1×12 Eagle GX Upgrade / Install, Ride Impressions

Hey everyone, exciting times here. I finally got all the parts to do an upgrade on my drivetrain. I’m upgrading to a GX Eagle 12 speed from SRAM, you can see the cassette here, the rear
derailleur. I’m going to be using this with the 32T oval from OneUp. An X01 shifter, and the chain happened to be X01 as well since I couldn’t get a GX. What I’m upgrading from is an 11 speed drivetrain. This Trek came with SRAM X1 11 speed, the only think that I change was the
chainring, this is an oval from absoluteBlack, it is a 30 tooth, so right
now I have a 30T to 10-42T cassette which is a great drivetrain for most of my
riding. However for my failing knees, I felt the need to add a climbing gear, a granny
gear and if you’ve checked my video on this specific cassette, the Eagle
cassette, you know already that what it is is pretty much that cassette you see
behind over there, with the added 50 tooth sprocket. While you can still get
extended range with an 11 speed drivetrain today, just by replacing your
cassette, adding extended cogs to it and things like that, this is still 1x
drivetrain version 1.0. Eagle promises to be a system that was built from the
ground up to be a 1x drivetrain and all components should be optimized. Going
to the chain this is optimized for low friction and smooth shifting and it
doesn’t take into account the use of a front derailleur anymore. If SRAM sold me
on the promise of a quieter drivetrain that lasts longer, an extended range, my
current champion when it comes to performance it’s gotta be this XTR
shifter, 32 oval from OneUp coupled with an 11-42 cassette from Shimano and an XT GS rear mech. This is butter smooth I
absolutely love this drivetrain, it’s quiet, it works perfectly fine and if you
don’t need more range I would strongly recommend something like this.
Even though I had the GX shifter as well I decided to go with the X01 and if
you watch my video comparison you know that I preferred the feel of the X01
plus I use this recipe in the past with success. I’m gonna be replacing the
shifter housing and cable with the Shimano MTB, this is the SP41 housing
that is one of the best out there. This is also a perfect time to analyze the
chainring size, my 30 tooth with 10-42t is a very good match, you can see very little
wear here on the 10 and 12 tooth sprockets only because most of the time
my chain is right here in the middle of the cassette and that’s what you want to
see. However for an upgrade like this is not uncommon to recommend going up a
couple of teeth on the chainring. In my case I’m gonna go up to a 32 tooth chainring.
Without getting into too many details the reason why I can use this
regular chainring with the 12 speed chain is because this is just a bit
narrower compared to a 10 or 11 speed chain otherwise the internal
dimensions between the links is the same so this would work just fine with
10-11-12 speed drivetrains. First thing in this upgrade I’m gonna remove the 11
speed chain which I cannot reuse and replace the housing like I mentioned,
also I’m gonna install the 32 tooth chainring. I’ve already done a video on
how to service these cranks, just use the link on the screen to see the details on
how to do that. I just plainly cut the cable at the end and then replace all
the housing so I have good housing going through my frame right now which is
great, have the new chainring already installed and I removed the derailleur, the
X1. I wish I could say that at this point if you’re shifting was nice and smooth
before, you didn’t have any indexing problems, your derailleur hanger is
fine but I would be wrong if I said that! If you were to do any work on the rear
derailleur I would highly recommend getting one of these tools, either buy one for yourself or rent one from your
a local bike shop. This just helps you align your derailleur hanger with the
frame and I thought in mine was perfect but guess what, after using this, and to
use it’s fairly simple, you just use it
up-down left-right. I noticed that mine was off by a mile on the vertical plane.
Now with my derailleur hanger perfectly fine next thing I’m gonna do is replace
the cassette with a 12 speed Eagle. You pretty much need two tools, one is a
chain whip, one is a cassette tool. In this case I need both… this was really
really tight. With the XD driver nicely cleaned up, apply a bit of grease, I
applied here on the bearing right up top also down there on the spline and yes
there is a little bit of grease that I’ve already applied on the threads
but if you look at the cassette you’re gonna see that there is already grease
on the threads and right up top there where it touches the bearing. So just put
it on by hand and all you need to tighten this up is gonna be your
cassette tool and the torque for this one is 40 Nm. Next I’m gonna install the rear derailleur, by the way this is a 5 mm Hex. So
you have this tab that has to sit right against that stop over there. It
already has some sort of a Loctite over here, they specifically recommend
not to put grease on that bolt. Start to tighten it up, just push it down to
make sure that your tab is right against the stop and this is a 10 to 12 Nm. torque. I did read a little bit about this derailleur having a tiny bit of play in it, there is a bit of a left-to-right swing, we’ll see how it goes Next thing I’m gonna do with the 3mm Allen key. I’m just going to adjust the stops for the derailleur. Right now
you can see it here, is way out of whack. So the one on the inside, towards the
cassette that’s the high. The trick here looking from behind, you’re trying to align the middle of your top jockey wheel which is right
there with the outer edge of your 10 tooth cog.
Now using the other adjustment screw which is the low limit screw I’m gonna
try to roughly get an idea of how far up… See this is almost going into the spokes
so I got to give it some, few turns at least. Measuring the chain should be fairly
simple, so put the chain on your chain ring, wrap it around your largest cog and
then you add 4 links if you have a hardtail. This is a full suspension, in
this case I should add 2 links, one inner one outer, however there’s a catch:
I got to make sure that the suspension is at the point where I have the longest
distance between my bottom bracket (BB) and my real axle. I just picked two solid
points. That’s my thru axle in the rear. This is my crank axle so I have 16 1/2 inches or exactly 42 cm. Suspension fully compressed,
I have over 17 inches or about 44 cm. If you didn’t know about the
dimensions, the chain would look just like a normal chain however what’s different here is the PowerLock. You can see them here with
that kidney shape and they do have an arrow on them as well. Remember if you have an oval you have to have this crank at one o’clock. Doesn’t make a huge
difference but it does stretch your chain a little bit. And then you do end to end,
would be right here at this link plus one outer, one inner link, so I bring it all
the way down here and I have to make sure that that’s an inner link, this is
an inner link because they will be interconnected by the PowerLock . Just out of curiosity with my suspension fully extended if you look here at my
chain, if I’ve picked end-to-end plus 4 links 1 2 3 4, I would have ended up
with pretty much the same chain length so you might want to use that as a shortcut. Time to route it through the rear derailleur remember there is no tension
here so this is aligned with the 10t cog, so put the chain over there, grab the end of it and push it here between that tab
and the top jockey, just around the bottom one and here it is. Working here below the chainstay, this is the orientation of your kidney-shaped PowerLock. Connect the two parts together and as you pull on the two ends you will
probably get it only halfway engaged. To fully engage it, move the chain or the
PowerLock above the chainstay, and with a rear brake engaged just push
hard on your crank. You know that the PowerLock is installed correctly if
the arrow points to the chainring in the direction of the movement for normal
pedaling. One day later finally getting to install the shifter. And this is the
bar clamp that it comes with which seems to be identical to what I have right now
for the X1 11 speed. I’m gonna reuse that one because this being one piece I have
to remove my brake and my grips and this is foam so I can’t really remove that
easily. That’s a 4 mm Allen key Definitely put a little bit of Loctite on the thread before you install it And the barrel adjuster, screw it in all the way and then go back 2 full turns so
three four five six seven, so eight clicks that gives you a bit of
flexibility in adjusting the indexing afterwards. Push the inner cable
through your housing and as it feeds right here at the back of the rear
derailleur it’s gonna have to come down and then here on that little channel. There is a loop over there make sure you feed your cable through it. And I
found that locking the cage was the easiest way to do that anyway.
Then you have a 4 mm here undo that and you have this pinch bolt,
it’s actually pretty neat there is a channel in there that would
allow you to run your cable underneath. So put a bit of tension on this just to
make sure they pick up all the slack from the cable, and as you keep that a
little bit of tension on it just tighten it. This is about 4 Nm. Let’s see it. It needs a bit more tension in that housing not too too bad. So with the chain on the
biggest cog, the 12 speed derailleurs provide this, just a tool that will help you
to set up that 15 millimeter distance here between the top pulley and the
bottom of the cassette. SRAM recommends to adjust this under sag. Clockwise to give
you bigger distance between the top jockey and the cassette and
counterclockwise if you want to bring it closer. On the stand here what I’m gonna
do, I’m just gonna bring this a bit closer up because what happens is, as
you’re sitting on the bike and the suspension compresses, look at that
bottom jockey, you see, it just goes further away from your big cog. If you have to adjust your indexing, your gear indexing, it’s easily done here using the
barrel adjuster. So lazy up shifts do this, so counter clockwise. Don’t do more
than a couple of clicks at a time. Lazy down shifts, so smaller cogs just turn it clockwise. Again a couple of clicks would be good enough. Now that I know that my cable is fine, long enough, I’m just gonna put a fancy cable tip over here. I’ll double-check the indexing on the gears and this baby should be good to go for a
ride. One thing I can tell you right away is that I really like the shifter. Some of you ask me about this, the chain getting out of sync with a narrow-wide profile
of the 50 tooth, actually 42 is the same you can see it right here. After riding
this a little bit and trying things out it has to be just B-gap or B-screw
adjustment specific You see it here working better…you
still get this occasional situation. Keep in mind this is on the stand and that’s
the clank when it just goes the way it was supposed to. I first took the bike out to the local trails, I did about an hour and a half of riding, really liked it. Today I took it to an Enduro, that was a 40k race and man, did I use that
range! I didn’t think about having 12 gears instead of 11, I did use the whole cassette. Derailleur, even though I showed you that it has a little bit of play here behaved very nicely so no miss shifts, no issue with the
chain floating on top of the cassette over here, no issue whatsoever, so I think
this is a really sensitive to that B-gap so make sure you adjust it like SRAM
suggests, under sag. Clearance here is about 5 1/2 inches (14cm) in my case for 29er, derailleur is nicely tucked in so hopefully I’m not gonna replace too
many of them or too often and other than that, the shifter worked really
well. I think this is getting very close to a Shimano type of shifting so very
smooth, this wasn’t too slippery, I ride with gloves so this was good for me,
didn’t have issues with that. But really smooth shifting precise, aside from the
fact that I can’t really shift up two gears at once, this comes very close to an XT or XTR. I really love this bike with that type of range. I think I’m gonna stick with this drivetrain for a while. And that’s all the story about upgrading to 12 speed guys, if you have any questions let me know in the
section below, don’t forget to like the video, keep an eye on my channel and
social media. If you want to purchase any one of these or the tools that I’ve used
use the links below and until next time I will see you on the trails guys, cheers!

About the Author: Michael Flood

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