SRAM Eagle Groupset Buying Guide

by Kevin Flynn on November 19, 2019
SRAM Eagle groupsets have all but taken over in the mountain bike world since their inception in 2017. This is not only one of our top-selling items, but also one that prompts the most questions about topics such as fitment and performance differences. Here you will find answers to many questions regarding SRAM Eagle and (hopefully) an easy guide to selecting your next mountain bike drivetrain groupset.

SRAM Eagle Models

Currently, SRAM offers Eagle at five different levels ranging from the most budget-friendly Eagle SX to their top-shelf Eagle XX1. The models that range in between are the bread and butter of the Eagle line, each with some distinct differences in their offerings.

sram eagle lineup - sx, nx, gx, x01, xx1

Shop all Eagle Groupsets

sram xx1 eagle cassette

sram xd driver body

Does your bike have an XD driver cassette?

You need to determine that you have (or don’t have) an XD driver cassette. An XD Driver is a freehub body design that SRAM introduced at the inception of 11-speed 1X Drivetrain’s that set the standard for current 1X systems.

The difference in an XD driver is simple vs a standard (now referred to as Shimano) in that the XD driver is threaded for the SRAM Cassette to essentially just screw on (similar to older freewheels). If you still have a lock ring holding your cassette on, it’s a sure-fire sign of not being an XD.

If you decided you do have an XD Driver, your compatible Eagle Cassettes include GX, X01, And XX1 models. Alternatively, those of you who do not have an XD Driver, that will leave you with NX and SX options.


Yes, I have (or plan to get) an XD Driver.

Our top-selling groupset is the SRAM GX Eagle 4-piece kit. This includes the shifter, derailleur, cassette, and chain. This kit has proven to be the workhorse of the bunch and packs a lot of value and performance in. It is a fraction of the cost of an X01 kit and is the most common kit sold on new bike models making it a popular option for those upgrading or replacing.

How does GX performance stack up against X01?

To start, you take a 250-gram weight penalty, not much to quiver over. The derailleur performance stacks up fairly close between X01 and GX, but the shifter is where you start to see huge gains from the X01 kit. Each click on X01 is quick and precise, while GX can leave you wishing for a bit more accuracy. The GX Eagle cassette does perform admirably against X01, but the X01 cassette will sport a far longer lifespan along with being nearly 100 grams lighter.

sram x01 derailuer

Which kit is right for you?

SRAM X01 Eagle Drivetrain Groupset

X01 Eagle

If you are accustomed to higher-level drivetrains, looking to save weight, or flat out want an upgrade over GX, this is the kit for you. It provides every bit of performance that XX1 does (although, it does not come in that trick gold) and will perform at its best through its lifespan. X01 will not leave you disappointed.

Shop X01 Eagle Groupset
SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain Groupset

GX Eagle

If you are interested in swapping to 1X and the costs are adding up with cranks/chainrings, bottom brackets, XD Drivers, this is the kit for you. You won’t have to break the bank going to X01 and will get a flat-out killer drivetrain in comparison to anything in the past.

Shop GX Eagle Groupset

No, I do not have an XD driver.

No XD driver? No problem. Clearly SRAM knew they had an ace with Eagle, and they set out to ensure there is a kit that fits not only every bike but every budget.

NX and SX Eagle utilizes a standard Shimano style freehub body for those of you not choosing to go XD. We have mounted these cassettes on a wide variety of hubs thus far with minimal fitment issues found. If your wheel is within the last 10 years, that should fit on with no issues. Older wheels can start to encounter issues where the lock ring of the cassette rubs on the frame. We have only found this on one wheel from the late ’90s, but it is worth noting if you are fitting these to that old of a bike.

NX Eagle

NX Eagle has many of the same characteristics of GX but offers this Shimano freehub capability. If you are looking to jump into 2019 mountain bike drivetrain tech, this will be the kit for you. The shifter offers comparable performance to GX while the derailleur, despite having a few downgrades in quality, also performs well for a more budget-friendly option than GX. This is an easy bolt-on kit that fits a wide array of bikes dating back to the 90s, an easy win for anyone looking for a good 1x12 option.

Shop NX Eagle Groupset

SX Eagle

SX Eagle is new for 2020 is set out to fill the entry-level price point need for bike manufacturers. We do not anticipate this to be a huge upgrade or replacement item for many customers, but it is worth noting that is now available to those of you looking for the most affordable 12-speed drivetrain.

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