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SRAM X5 upgrade

Old 12-01-17, 10:03 AM
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aquaBike
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SRAM X5 upgrade

i got a new bike, that came with x5 derailleur x4 shifter, 9 Speed 11-34T, 1x with 32T Ring.

It works ok, but eventually I will be upgrading to something better, that will shift smoother.
I am not familiar with SRAM line, and its compatibility, but I want to stay with SRAM, like the shiftier setup.

1) Can i switch to 11 speed without modifying the freehub, or wheel. Just change the cassette, derailleur, shifter, chain.
2) From what I understand, switching to 10 speed does not require any adjustments, just change the cassette, derailleur, shifter, chain. The only reason to change to more speeds is to get a wide T range, like 11-36. The budget is up to X9. What are my options?
3) or should i stay with 9 speed, and change just the derailleur and the shifter to x9?

thanks!
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Old 12-01-17, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by aquaBike View Post
i got a new bike, that came with x5 derailleur x4 shifter, 9 Speed 11-34T, 1x with 32T Ring.

It works ok, but eventually I will be upgrading to something better, that will shift smoother.
I am not familiar with SRAM line, and its compatibility, but I want to stay with SRAM, like the shiftier setup.

1) Can i switch to 11 speed without modifying the freehub, or wheel. Just change the cassette, derailleur, shifter, chain.
2) From what I understand, switching to 10 speed does not require any adjustments, just change the cassette, derailleur, shifter, chain. The only reason to change to more speeds is to get a wide T range, like 11-36. The budget is up to X9. What are my options?
3) or should i stay with 9 speed, and change just the derailleur and the shifter to x9?

thanks!
You have to see if your freehub can do 11-speed or replace it. 10-speed should work 100%.

"Upgrading" to the same number of speeds is pointless. The X9 9-speed is just a bit blinkier and lighter than X5. ..... I used to have a 1x9 (converted from 3x9) and the range is very limited. Go 11-speed if you can, that may enable you to use a 36T chainring to be faster and still give you more climbing force.
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Old 12-01-17, 10:03 PM
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Sram has 2 different kinds of 11 speed cassettes. One uses the standard freehub body I think is in their NX? line, not going to look, all that matters is it is a 11-42 the ELEVEN being the important part. They also sell 10-42 11 speed cassette that because of the TEN use their funky XD Driver freehub body. Of coarse you can also just run a shimano or sunrace 11 speed cassette both of which just use the standard freehub, a cassette is a cassette as far as the rest of the drivetrain is concerned as long as it has the right number of cogs. You can also go 12 speed if you want now that Sunrance makes an 11-50 12 speed cassette that still just uses the standard free hub body. Or just go 1x9 and get a wide range 11-40 sunrance 9 speed cassette if you really want too, yes they make them.

As far as your current setup it should shift fine already and I would just tune it up but if you want to upgrade just get a x9 shifter and forget the RD. The shifter is what really matters for shift quality. Despite being outdated crap nobody wants they still aren't cheap. Think it is still cheaper to upgrade both shifters to X0 9 speed grip shifters. Ran those on my old bike for years and loved them.
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Old 12-01-17, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
Sram has 2 different kinds of 11 speed cassettes. One uses the standard freehub body I think is in their NX? line, not going to look, all that matters is it is a 11-42 the ELEVEN being the important part. They also sell 10-42 11 speed cassette that because of the TEN use their funky XD Driver freehub body. Of coarse you can also just run a shimano or sunrace 11 speed cassette both of which just use the standard freehub, a cassette is a cassette as far as the rest of the drivetrain is concerned as long as it has the right number of cogs. You can also go 12 speed if you want now that Sunrance makes an 11-50 12 speed cassette that still just uses the standard free hub body. Or just go 1x9 and get a wide range 11-40 sunrance 9 speed cassette if you really want too, yes they make them.

As far as your current setup it should shift fine already and I would just tune it up but if you want to upgrade just get a x9 shifter and forget the RD. The shifter is what really matters for shift quality. Despite being outdated crap nobody wants they still aren't cheap. Think it is still cheaper to upgrade both shifters to X0 9 speed grip shifters. Ran those on my old bike for years and loved them.
I meant to suggest installing and XD hub and use a 1x12. But I'm not sure what bike that is and assumed if it came with 1x9 the whole bike may be worth less than the 1x12 drivetrain.

I would recommend not widening the 9-speed. I had the 1x9 with a 11-32 cassette and the steps between shifts were not too bad, but still on the large side. it made me think going to 10 or 11 -speed if I ever upgraded (which I never did and sold that bike). But I watched my riding a lot to think about potential upgrades but shift gaps were relatively large already. The RD may also not be able to make the 40 teeth. I had an X7 RD and think it was only listed for 32.... not sure, but it wasn't even 36 teeth.
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Old 12-01-17, 10:26 PM
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I don't care about steps between the gears on my mountain bike, road bike yes mtn no. I'm jumping 2-4 gears at a time way more often than 1, if anything bigger jumps would be more use full to me so I didn't have to shift so many gears at a time. Of coarse if you live in a flatter area that would be different. I still have a 1x9 setup on my beater rigid mtn bike with an 11-36 cassette, works fine. I don' t know about 9 speed but in the 10 speed world Sram usually works fine with wide range cassettes without any hacks despite what they are speced for, shimano is a bit more iffy. My 9 speed is a shimano setup for now, have some sram bits in my parts bin that I may swap on.

Like I said you no longer need an XD hub to run 1x12 thanks to Sunrace but yeah I agree not really worth the cost.

If I did anything I'd probably hop on a local facebook group and see if anybody with a decent 10 speed setup caught the upgrade bug and went 11 or 12 speed and will sell their 10 speed stuff CHEAP.

Last edited by Canker; 12-01-17 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 12-02-17, 08:59 AM
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thanks all for your great advises! now thinks look more clear to me.

So looks like Sram NX series https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/f...huxj0afb73txeq should fit my current freehub. It is 11-42 cassette. This would be all i need.

1x12 would be nice, but too much for me. I have a DB Altoz, so there are other things that I will upgraded first.

1x10 is another option, just have to look for prices vs 1x11. I will come back with the parts.

1x9 makes sense what you are saying. It runs ok now, sometimes the shifting is not crisp. Probably the shifter is the cause, since i already adjusted everything i could (derailler hanger included).

Looking for second hand groupset is a great idea too!
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Old 12-02-17, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
I don't care about steps between the gears on my mountain bike, road bike yes mtn no. I'm jumping 2-4 gears at a time way more often than 1, if anything bigger jumps would be more use full to me so I didn't have to shift so many gears at a time.
you are correct the steps no mattering on the trail since the change speed usually is large necessitating multiple shifts at once. But for normal riding around on the street or the path (on the way to the trails etc.) the large steps will be annoying. Most MTB ride on pavement most of the time, obviously not an issue if it is off-road 99%.

Originally Posted by aquaBike View Post

1x10 is another option, just have to look for prices vs 1x11. I will come back with the parts.

1x9 makes sense what you are saying. It runs ok now, sometimes the shifting is not crisp. Probably the shifter is the cause, since i already adjusted everything i could (derailler hanger included).

Looking for second hand groupset is a great idea too!
Did you compare crispness to other bikes? Maybe this is the way it is. Did you replace your shifter cables or at least clean them? Or the shifter is gummed up. On shifting up (faster gear) SRAM is inherently slower than shimano since the shift actually happens when you release the shifter. Try it out, just push it in without releasing and nothing will happen. shimano has the patent to shift at the pushing moment already, so it will feel milliseconds faster since it is faster.

If possible go to 1x11. Spending all that time and money to just add one gear isn't wise, just spend a bit more and add 2 gears and much much more range. 11-speed is not that expensive anymore. I recently bought a $14 11-speed KCM chain and only could find $20 chains for my 10-speed. Also for potential resale, no one wants 1x10.. everyone with 1x10 is selling or upgrading (obviously your chance to buy used!).
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Old 12-02-17, 11:00 AM
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thanks HerrKaLeun!

first time when i deal with SRAM x5, but i know how shimano line works, and have them on my other bikes, from low end to XT that I tried on friends bike. I also road SRAM X9 for some time. The X5 i have now, with X4 shifter, goes down (to lower gears) ok, but going up is noisy, and on several gears gives that "snap-bang" sound. lowering the cable tension will help somewhat, but then the up shifting is not ok. I checked the cable, lubed it, and played around with everything I would normally do, although everything is new. I will play with it more.

I agree with 1x11. Just checked the prices and the difference between 1x11 NX series with 1x10 GX is minimal - 150 vs 160 (for cassette, derailler, shifter).

Now I am almost sure that I will go with 1x11, and down the road maybe I will change the front ring too, as suggested, to get high speed.

Last edited by aquaBike; 12-02-17 at 11:24 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-04-17, 09:03 PM
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Ok, now since I decided to go with 11 speed, I am thinking what are the possibilities to upgrade the front Ring to something larger than 32.

Manufacture Specs
Cranks: Alloy Arm w/ 32T Alloy Single Ring
Front Derailleur: Full ISCG-05 Chain Guide w/ Roller

What are my simplest options. Can I change only the ring, and which one would fit?

thanks!
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Old 12-04-17, 09:37 PM
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I would convert to 11-speed in rear first and then try how it goes before chain the chainring size.
You estimate possible speed here.. but with a cadence of 100 depending on tire size you can go almost 40 km/h.
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Old 12-05-17, 07:18 AM
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Thanks HerrKaLeun.
that's the plan, first rear. I start looking for parts. I know the speed of 32x11 now, and sometimes (rarely) i wish to have more.
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Old 12-11-17, 06:16 AM
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Hi I just upgraded my sram x5 rear derailleur and shifters, and Alivio triple cranks to the new Shimano 1x11. Originally I had a 42-32-22 triple and 11-34 cassette. I went almost all m7000 slx with an 11-40 cassette and 34t front ring. This is on a giant 29er.

I spent some time using a gear inches calculator to spec my current setup then really payed attention to how I was using my original drivetrain (only ever used the middle 32). Now the system I have is great and the 34t ring gives me plenty of high end speed, while the 34t-40 combo provides for really the only GI combo I used the 22t low ring.

In retrospect, the shifting is almost the same as my old x5(!?), no kidding! But I have an XT shifter now, and love the ability to do two upshifts with one click. I love my new slx cranks and hollow tech 2 system, but never had issues with my old Alivio cranks and square taper BB. I almost put on a race face narrow wide 104bcd chain ring on the middle, then a bashguard on the outer ring. I still kind of wish I had done that instead. The Shimano m7000,m8000 cranks use proprietary spacing for the rings, so I'd say stay away from that (even though I bought them lol).

One last thing is reliability. I've had some chain failures in the first 50 miles on my new setup (bad link from factory, then replacement link pulling through). Never had an issue with my used and abused 9 speed setup. I've heard the more gears get squeezed on a cassette the weaker the chain.

I guess what I'm saying is after upgrading I have a ton of respect for the 9 speed stuff in mtb'ing, and would suggest spending your money on something other then a drive train upgrade. Good luck!
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Old 12-11-17, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by aquaBike View Post
Ok, now since I decided to go with 11 speed, I am thinking what are the possibilities to upgrade the front Ring to something larger than 32.

Manufacture Specs
Cranks: Alloy Arm w/ 32T Alloy Single Ring
Front Derailleur: Full ISCG-05 Chain Guide w/ Roller

What are my simplest options. Can I change only the ring, and which one would fit?

thanks!
Not sure what your bcd is on that, but if it's a 32 already it doesn't look like you could go much smaller. Here's a link to Jenson USA's Race Face rings.

http://www.jensonusa.com/Race-Face-Single-Narrow-Wide-Chainring/

Oh yeah and like I said I went with an 11-40t rear cassette but I'd highly recommend the 11-46t. Kinda wish I had gone that route for heavy trail days but the 40t still gets me up all the hills, just takes more leg umph!
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Old 12-11-17, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
One last thing is reliability. I've had some chain failures in the first 50 miles on my new setup (bad link from factory, then replacement link pulling through). Never had an issue with my used and abused 9 speed setup. I've heard the more gears get squeezed on a cassette the weaker the chain.
I assume it was a shimano chain with the pin? Are you sure it was chain failure, and not just the link not put in properly? Because the same thing happened to me and I never ever will use a chain that doesn't use a quick-link. I know it maybe user error, but is a design flaw since the quick-link makes it fool-proof. My tuition cost to come to this conclusion was a RD, a hanger and a chain and a 5 mile walk of shame.
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Old 12-11-17, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by aquaBike View Post
thanks HerrKaLeun!

first time when i deal with SRAM x5, but i know how shimano line works, and have them on my other bikes, from low end to XT that I tried on friends bike. I also road SRAM X9 for some time. The X5 i have now, with X4 shifter, goes down (to lower gears) ok, but going up is noisy, and on several gears gives that "snap-bang" sound. lowering the cable tension will help somewhat, but then the up shifting is not ok. I checked the cable, lubed it, and played around with everything I would normally do, although everything is new. I will play with it more.

I agree with 1x11. Just checked the prices and the difference between 1x11 NX series with 1x10 GX is minimal - 150 vs 160 (for cassette, derailler, shifter).

Now I am almost sure that I will go with 1x11, and down the road maybe I will change the front ring too, as suggested, to get high speed.
You can get a Shimano XT 11spd cassette for about the same price as a SRAM NX. The Shimano XT will be lighter -about 130grams (1/4lb). The shifting will be fine. Going Shimano also gives you the option of getting an 11-46 cassette. Which SRAM doesn't offer on the NX group.
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Old 12-11-17, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
I assume it was a shimano chain with the pin? Are you sure it was chain failure, and not just the link not put in properly? Because the same thing happened to me and I never ever will use a chain that doesn't use a quick-link. I know it maybe user error, but is a design flaw since the quick-link makes it fool-proof. My tuition cost to come to this conclusion was a RD, a hanger and a chain and a 5 mile walk of shame.
I wouldn't doubt it was user error, but my lbs was the one who fixed it. I was worried about it then sure enough, pop! I completely agree about pins vs quick links - my friend struggled to keep the pins in on his 10s mtb setup before he went to the quick links, then never really had a problem (the quick link did fail for him but after many miles of mtb use and 3 years!)

My friends explanation of it was it's hard to mimic a factory set pin strength. What happens (as he told me) was it gets crud in the links and pushes apart, which is what mine looked like.
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Old 12-14-17, 08:22 PM
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thanks all. the reason i prefer sram to shimano is the shifting with the thumb up and down. rather than that, you are right, shimano will give more for the money, probably.
In the front I wanted to go larger, like 34T, to get more speed on 11T being the smallest.

I will keep you updated, once I make the move.
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Old 12-14-17, 11:35 PM
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I don't have a preference one way or the other but Shimano since the move to 10 speed does both thumb up and down and their regular thumb finger deal, the lever works both ways now.
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Old 12-15-17, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
I don't have a preference one way or the other but Shimano since the move to 10 speed does both thumb up and down and their regular thumb finger deal, the lever works both ways now.
Yeah, I didn't want to make the same comment since I wasn't sure and don't own a newer shimano. But you sound right in that Shimano can be used like SRAM, plus the index finger shifting. So even if you like the SRAM way, you still can do that (or do it the Shimano way with index finger).

I recently saw this (or another) sick biker Video comparing them:
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Old 12-15-17, 03:34 PM
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Canker, thanks. that's interesting! did not know that Shimano has that feature. that does change the game, with more options now.
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