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Sensah SRX Pro 1x11 shifter/derailleur review

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Sensah SRX Pro 1x11 shifter/derailleur review

Old 07-06-20, 03:18 PM
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dsaul
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Sensah SRX Pro 1x11 shifter/derailleur review

I recently built up a super budget gravel bike and decided to try out the Sensah SRX Pro 1x11 levers and rear derailleur for $130 delivered from China. As expected, there was some good and some bad, so I thought i would post a review to help others decide of its worth using for their budget builds.

The levers and derailleur appear to be well constructed and it comes with a shifter cable installed, but no brake cables. Since I don't use cables for brakes on any of my other bikes, I had to make a trip to the LBS to get some.

The rear derailleur looks like it has a clutch mechanism, but its really just an adjustable tension spring. It will shift up to a 50t cog, but I'm only using it with an 11/42 cassette.

Initial setup was easy and it shifted well on the stand. The shifting works exactly like SRAM double tap shifters, except the whole lever moves instead of a separate shifter paddle. A short push on the lever(one click) executes an upshift and and long push(two clicks) executes a downshift. Pushing further(three clicks) allows a 2 gear downshift. I'm used to SRAM shifting, so that is no problem, but I'm not a fan of using the brake lever for shifting. The right lever has a lockout mechanism that prevents the shifter from rotating when you pull back to brake, which is a great idea.(more on that later) The levers also have a brake reach adjustment that can be accessed by pulling back the rubber hood. The reach adjustment works well and the levers are designed so that there is not an open gap when you shorten the reach.

The first real world ride revealed a few issues with the levers and the derailleur. My version of Gravel riding includes some technical singletrack and some rocky doubletrack roads, so there is a lot of bumps and vibration involved. About 6-7 miles in to the ride, the shifting started going out of adjustment. I thought maybe it was cable housing ends getting settled and made an adjustment of the rear derailleur cable adjuster and everything was working fine again. After the next singletrack section, the shifting was off again and I found that it was a whole cog off and wouldn't go into the large cog. I adjusted it again and noticed that there were no detents on the adjuster, it just turned with no stops. At this point I realized that the bumpy trails were causing the adjuster to rotate on its own, loosening the cable tension. I had to adjust it one more time before the 35 mile ride was over.

There were a couple of issues with the levers. The first one being the levers are a bit too slick for one finger braking. I found my finger slipping off the side of the lever when I tried to keep a finger on the lever for braking. A bit annoying, but nothing that I couldn't fix with a bit of rubber grip tape. The more annoying flaw with the right shifter was the mechanism that is supposed to lock out the shifting when you pull the brake. I found that nudging the lever sideways would bypass the lockout and allow the shifter to work while pulling the brake. This resulted in an unintentional upshift every time I hit a bump while braking. I had to focus on pulling outward on the lever before pulling back to prevent the unintentional shifts. I don't know if there is any way to remedy this problem, other than just making sure to pull outward before pulling back on the lever.

I was able to modify the rear derailleur with a dremel(see pics) to fix the problem with the cable adjuster losing tension, but this is a serious design flaw. I did another 35 mile ride after fixing the adjuster and the shifting stayed in adjustment and worked great through the whole ride. Overall, I'm happy with how it works. It shifts as cleanly as any other system that I've used, from Microshift to Dura Ace and SRAM Red.


Side view of the lever.

Lever reach adjustment.

Front view of the lever with grip tape added.

After modification, no more unintentional movement of the adjuster.

I used a Dremel to cut away material and leave some raised areas for the detents on the adjuster.

There were no detents to prevent the adjuster from rotating on its own.

This is not a clutch. It is an adjustable tension spring.
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Old 07-06-20, 11:00 PM
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Good fix on the rear derailleur, maybe a longer cable adjuster with locknut might be a go if people dont wanna mod ?
but yeah major design flaw on Sensahs part, as for build quality time will tell I suppose, But good review
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Old 07-08-20, 05:58 AM
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Great review, I commend you for getting brave with the dremel.

The price for a rear derailer and two levers is pretty great. Any idea if the shifter cable pull is compatible with any other derailers (sram, shimano)?
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Old 07-08-20, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelsmcgee View Post
Great review, I commend you for getting brave with the dremel.

The price for a rear derailer and two levers is pretty great. Any idea if the shifter cable pull is compatible with any other derailers (sram, shimano)?
I'm fairly sure they are SRAM compatible, but I don't know if it is Exact Actuation or X-actuation. I may test that if I get time.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
I'm fairly sure they are SRAM compatible, but I don't know if it is Exact Actuation or X-actuation. I may test that if I get time.
I thought Shimano compatible. I have 9s Ignite shifters "that work with 10s" running Shimano derailleurs. It would be strange to have one group work with one system then another group work with another system in the same brand.
They work fantastic btw.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jbchybridrider View Post
I thought Shimano compatible. I have 9s Ignite shifters "that work with 10s" running Shimano derailleurs. It would be strange to have one group work with one system then another group work with another system in the same brand.
They work fantastic btw.
I measured the total cable pulled at the rear derailleur and averaged it over 10 shifts(11 cogs) and came up with roughly 3.1mm per shift, which is the same as SRAM Exact Actuation. I haven't had time to check this with a SRAM derailleur.
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Old 07-10-20, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
I measured the total cable pulled at the rear derailleur and averaged it over 10 shifts(11 cogs) and came up with roughly 3.1mm per shift, which is the same as SRAM Exact Actuation. I haven't had time to check this with a SRAM derailleur.
This would not surprise me as Sensah's drivetrain components are designed by former SRAM engineers. Any similarity to DoubleTap and EAS is likely very intentional.
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Old 11-14-20, 05:33 PM
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Is the Sensah unit still holding up? Are the internals plastic like the original sense empire? On the empire pro 2x12 carbon it looks like they changed a main internal part from plastic to metal.
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Old 11-17-20, 08:52 AM
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dsaul
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Originally Posted by chrislee130 View Post
Is the Sensah unit still holding up? Are the internals plastic like the original sense empire? On the empire pro 2x12 carbon it looks like they changed a main internal part from plastic to metal.
It's still working fine in terms of shifting performance. I have not had to make any adjustments since fixing the problem with having no detents on the cable adjuster. The shift lockout when braking is still an issue that I'm not sure the end user could fix. If you are just riding gravel roads, its probably not much of an issue. On bumpy trails, the lockout only works if you don't move the lever sideways(not even a tiny bit) before pulling the brake lever back. If you even nudge the lever by resting your finger on it, it will not lock out and you will upshift every time you hit a bump while braking. I have to consciously pull outward with my finger before I pull back on the lever, to ensure that the shifting is locked out, and sometimes that doesn't even work.
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Old 11-24-20, 03:59 AM
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Would the levers work with v brakes?
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Old 11-24-20, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jaydinho View Post
Would the levers work with v brakes?
They are designed for use with road brakes, so I would not expect them to work well with normal V-brakes that require a longer cable pull. They would work fine with a short pull V-brake like the Tektro Mini-V's.
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Old 01-17-21, 02:54 AM
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Clutch adjustment

Hi. How to adjust the clutch and why would you want to? I bought a 1x11 rd and I am intrigued by the min /med / max setting on the rs but can't work out how to change it or if I should.

Thanks in advance
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Old 01-17-21, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuihiggins View Post
Hi. How to adjust the clutch and why would you want to? I bought a 1x11 rd and I am intrigued by the min /med / max setting on the rs but can't work out how to change it or if I should.

Thanks in advance
They don't have a clutch. The thing that looks like a clutch is just a spring tension adjustment. There is a part that bumps out in front of the dial that points to the "min, med, max" lettering. On the bottom of that bump out is a hex bolt that you tighten to increase the spring tension. You want it tight enough to keep the lower run of chain from bouncing around too much, when you hit bumps, but not so tight that it affects the shifting. It doesn't work nearly as good as a clutch and is probably not necessary, if you have a narrow/wide 1x chainring.
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Old 01-22-21, 09:54 PM
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That is strange. I'm using the much cheaper Sensah Ignite shifters (9-speed) and derailleurs and never had problems with the barrel adjuster. They were last adjusted a few months or 800 miles ago and never got out of adjustment and I ride gravel and some of the paths are severely washboarded and potholed.

The cheap lower model is surprisingly adequate on gravel and the drivetrain remains smooth even when pedaling at high speed over very bumpy sections. Shimano Tourneys at the same price point perform worse on bumpy gravel and it randomly shift up or down on the RD if encountering severe bumps at high speed.
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Old 04-09-21, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
They don't have a clutch. The thing that looks like a clutch is just a spring tension adjustment. There is a part that bumps out in front of the dial that points to the "min, med, max" lettering. On the bottom of that bump out is a hex bolt that you tighten to increase the spring tension. You want it tight enough to keep the lower run of chain from bouncing around too much, when you hit bumps, but not so tight that it affects the shifting. It doesn't work nearly as good as a clutch and is probably not necessary, if you have a narrow/wide 1x chainring.
Hi, how much tensión is required for road bike use only? or how much tension is too much tensión.
Thanks.
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Old 04-11-21, 10:56 AM
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I've been watching reviews on Youtube on the Sensah SRX Pro. While not perfect it seems perfectly useable. Also I believe this is the same derailleur State bikes use on their State Off-Road gravel bike, but just rebranded. Thanks for the review!
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Old 04-17-21, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for the great review. Do you perhaps have a thread of the bike build? Details about the frame and other components. Thanks
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Old 04-18-21, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mobilebike View Post
Thanks for the great review. Do you perhaps have a thread of the bike build? Details about the frame and other components. Thanks
I don't have a thread on the build, but I may do one in the Framebuilders section on building the frame, since it was the first aluminum frame I've built.

The rest of the bike was built from some parts that I already had and others that were purchased as inexpensively as possible without sacrificing too much on quality and durability. The Wheelset is one that I built for a 29er MTB and I ended up using 27.5+ wheels on it. The crankset is a SRAM Apex double that I had, because it was cheaper to buy a whole new crankset that to replace the chainrings. I replaced the chainrings with a 40t 1x narrow/wide ring that I bought on Amazon for $30. The carbon flat mount fork came from Kinesis UK for around $200. Flat mount brakes are Tektro MD-C550, which are the OEM version of the TRP Spyre and can be found on Ebay for around $80 for both brakes and rotors.
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Old 04-18-21, 11:12 PM
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Thanks for replying. Can you give more detail on the frame you used?
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Old 04-19-21, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Mobilebike View Post
Thanks for replying. Can you give more detail on the frame you used?
This the frame that I used. I built it myself from 7005 aluminum.
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Old 04-19-21, 07:48 AM
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That frame is pretty neat, I'd love to see a build thread.

Have you thought of home hydroforming
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Old 04-20-21, 02:45 AM
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Nice work, impressive.
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Old 05-01-21, 06:59 AM
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I posted some info about sensah shifters in this post:
Brake calipers for Sensah shifters
and my conclusion was that the brake cable pull of Sensah shifters is longer than traditional Shimano (or SRAM or Campy) shifters and is similar to new 105/Ultegra/Durace. This means they "might" be OK to use with V-brakes as these also need a longer cable pull than road, cantilevers or mini-v brakes. Anyone upgrading an old v-bake equipped hybrid or mtb bike to drop bars might want to give them a try before concluding the brakes will need upgrading.
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Old 05-04-21, 06:55 PM
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That looks impressive. Do you make frames for folks? I’m by Philly.
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Old 05-05-21, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bgymr View Post
That looks impressive. Do you make frames for folks? I’m by Philly.
Only for close friends.
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