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SRAM SX Eagle shifting - fix or upgrade?

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SRAM SX Eagle shifting - fix or upgrade?

Old 01-09-22, 06:31 PM
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geo8086
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SRAM SX Eagle shifting - fix or upgrade?

Hi. I recently purchased a 2021 Specialized Rockhopper Expert from Craigslist. It has an SRAM SX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain. It is barely ridden and basically new. I am disappointed in the quality of the shifting. Using the barrel adjuster on the shifter, I can get it shifting well in the high gears or (with a different adjustment) in the low gears, but not both high and low gears at the same time. I have read that the SX derailleur & shifter are problematic and seen recommendations to upgrade to the NX or GX derailleur & shifter. But at the same time, I'm surprised that Specialized would sell a bike at this price that wouldn't shift well out-of-the-box.

Does anyone have any opinion on whether it is worth paying a shop to work on the SX derailleur & shifter? Or, should I just give up on the SX and order an NX or GX derailleur & shifter, which are supposed to be compatible with my cassette. I suspect getting a shop to work on the SX would be a large fraction of the cost of just upgrading to an NX or GX. Appreciate any advice. Thanks.
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Old 01-09-22, 07:01 PM
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I would at least have a shop check it out. Could easily be something as simple as a misaligned hanger or kinked/damaged cable.
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Old 01-09-22, 07:19 PM
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In addition to reply above, the limit screws may need to be adjusted properly. It also could be and may sound strange, the derailleur cable was pulled through too tightly.

I had installed a SRAM Apex system on my hybrid bike. I like others pulled the cable too tightly and could only shift properly within a few gears.

I would first suggest checking out many YouTube video's on how to adjust this derailleur before spending money on a new one.

If the bike was sold to you with the bike shop sticker still on it, it's possible the LBS may provide a free adjustment for you. Some shops I know of provide this free of charge for a few years, some for life, as long as that sticker is still on bike and may not matter if you are the original owner. If it's still on, check with the shop to see if they offer the service.
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Old 01-09-22, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
In addition to reply above, the limit screws may need to be adjusted properly. It also could be and may sound strange, the derailleur cable was pulled through too tightly.

I had installed a SRAM Apex system on my hybrid bike. I like others pulled the cable too tightly and could only shift properly within a few gears.

I would first suggest checking out many YouTube video's on how to adjust this derailleur before spending money on a new one.

If the bike was sold to you with the bike shop sticker still on it, it's possible the LBS may provide a free adjustment for you. Some shops I know of provide this free of charge for a few years, some for life, as long as that sticker is still on bike and may not matter if you are the original owner. If it's still on, check with the shop to see if they offer the service.
I don't know of any shops that will provide free service for anyone just because of a sticker? My last shop did it for the original owner and now they are closed (though that wasn't the whole story and they had many other issues unrelated to the bikes). We do two free tune ups and certainly help out our regulars for small stuff but it is rare for anyone to go beyond original purchaser.

Like others have said I would at the very least have someone professional look it over. SX isn't great but it is a modern drivetrain and decently built. It should be able to be fixed and work just fine and if not then you look at replacement stuff but I doubt it is that screwed up that it is unfixable for a reasonable amount.
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Old 01-09-22, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I don't know of any shops that will provide free service for anyone just because of a sticker? My last shop did it for the original owner and now they are closed (though that wasn't the whole story and they had many other issues unrelated to the bikes). We do two free tune ups and certainly help out our regulars for small stuff but it is rare for anyone to go beyond original purchaser.

Like others have said I would at the very least have someone professional look it over. SX isn't great but it is a modern drivetrain and decently built. It should be able to be fixed and work just fine and if not then you look at replacement stuff but I doubt it is that screwed up that it is unfixable for a reasonable amount.
Germantown Cycles in MD had offered this when I owned my Specialized bike and it was transferable. Not to say they still do this today, but as long as that decal was on, they gave free adjustments.

OP, like I said, check with your LBS on what they do offer. With the way the market is, it's doubtful anyone is offering much of anything for free anymore.
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Old 01-10-22, 06:00 AM
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I had the same setup on a new Trek Marlin. Didnt much care for the Sram Shifting.
Simple solution. Replaced the Rear Der and shifter with Shimano Deore. Pricing for both was about 100$
I did the install. Easy. You can do it, The end result is perfectly smooth & quiet shifting.
Dave
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Old 01-10-22, 09:00 AM
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The SRAM Eagle system shifting is clunky and fnicky. I have it on 2 of my 3 mountain bikes and I'm not a fan. The one bike with the Shimano is way better. Smooth as butter. When the SRAM stuff wears out, I'll be replacing it with Shimano XT.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
The SRAM Eagle system shifting is clunky and fnicky. I have it on 2 of my 3 mountain bikes and I'm not a fan. The one bike with the Shimano is way better. Smooth as butter. When the SRAM stuff wears out, I'll be replacing it with Shimano XT.

Yes --- Have XX1 with Gripshift on my recent "Grail bike" build (love Gripshift from an intuitive shifting standpoint ) --- but as much as i prefer that style of shifter, the rest of the SRAM stuff that comes with it is getting annoying.

Everytime i ride it i keep thinking "How much is it going to cost me to get a Microspline setup and XTR?" LOL My backup bike (an old Santa Cruz Superlight 26" ) has a combination of Shimano Zee and Deore and shifts far smoother
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Old 01-10-22, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
Germantown Cycles in MD had offered this when I owned my Specialized bike and it was transferable. Not to say they still do this today, but as long as that decal was on, they gave free adjustments.

OP, like I said, check with your LBS on what they do offer. With the way the market is, it's doubtful anyone is offering much of anything for free anymore.
How long ago was that? I have doubts they would still do it and transfer it to someone else. That just seems insane. A shop should offer some free tune ups or at least a check up after purchase just not free tune ups over a sticker.
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Old 01-11-22, 01:51 AM
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OP, what you describe is exactly what we deal with at work. The problem is just the Sram ****. We struggle to get it to work well half the time on brand new bikes. Pull the cables, put some "cable magic" or light grease on them, put them back in the housings, check your derailleur alignment(everything has to be Perfect for that sram crap to work worth a damn), and when you put the cable back on and tighten the derailleur bolt, click the shifter through the first 3-4 gears without pedaling or actually shifting the gears. Basically you're tensioning the cable. Then shift it back down. Do that a few times. Then start using the barrel adjusters to dial in your shifting. You might be able to get it to work through the full cassette range.

Ultimately the answer is to put on a Shimano shifter/derailleur so that your bike will work well.

My shop offers free basic shift and brake adjustments for bikes with our sticker on them. *shrug* Basically it includes barrel adjuster adjustments. If we have to loosen a bolt to adjust a cable then it starts counting as a labor charge. Though really if we have a bike in the stand working on something else anyway, and the bike is from our shop, and it just needs a quick adjustment that requires undoing a bolt, we'll likely go ahead and just do it real quick and not even mention it. The shop has been in business for years, and has grown to 4 locations over the years, so it must work out alright.
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Old 01-11-22, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
How long ago was that? I have doubts they would still do it and transfer it to someone else. That just seems insane. A shop should offer some free tune ups or at least a check up after purchase just not free tune ups over a sticker.
Honestly, it has been nearly 5 years since I last went to the store for any adjustments. Especially since I moved away from that area and now do my own adjustments.

BUT, was curious and did call them. They still do offer lifetime adjustments to their bikes, although, they told me to only the original owner. So not sure if they used to with second owners, nor did I care to ask.

Performance Bikes in the region "used" to offer lifetime adjustments.....BUT....we did see how that ended...... Maybe they should have charged.

You all do have me worried though, my teenage son put a new FS mtn bike on Layaway and it has the SRAM SX groupset. Wondering if I should try to change his mind on that......

Last edited by travbikeman; 01-11-22 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 01-11-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
Honestly, it has been nearly 5 years since I last went to the store for any adjustments. Especially since I moved away from that area and now do my own adjustments.

BUT, was curious and did call them. They still do offer lifetime adjustments to their bikes, although, they told me to only the original owner. So not sure if they used to with second owners, nor did I care to ask.

Performance Bikes in the region "used" to offer lifetime adjustments.....BUT....we did see how that ended...... Maybe they should have charged.

You all do have me worried though, my teenage son put a new FS mtn bike on Layaway and it has the SRAM SX groupset. Wondering if I should try to change his mind on that......
Yeah it is not a great business model, certainly more reasonable for original purchasers but not sustainable.

What shocks does the bike have? What sort of other parts are on it? If those parts are good quality the bike will be fine but if the SRAM SX gruppo is the nicest part of it, I might skip but if the other parts are of good quality I wouldn't worry so much about it. Ideally I would want NX or GX ideally but SX is passable and could be upgraded.
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Old 01-11-22, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Yeah it is not a great business model, certainly more reasonable for original purchasers but not sustainable.

What shocks does the bike have? What sort of other parts are on it? If those parts are good quality the bike will be fine but if the SRAM SX gruppo is the nicest part of it, I might skip but if the other parts are of good quality I wouldn't worry so much about it. Ideally I would want NX or GX ideally but SX is passable and could be upgraded.
I wonder if the shop since it is in the DC region receives enough business that they put this as a perk for people to buy from them. dunno...but I do remember when I typically went in for these, I usually walked out with other purchases, where it was tubes at time, gloves or other stuff. But the guys there were super friendly and it made for a great atmosphere, so I'm hopeful they will continue on unlike other shops.

My 17yr old son went with me when I purchased my Giant Trance, so he test rode a Stance 1 and he is totally in love with it. Even though I warned him, it has quick release rear wheels rather thru axle.....on a $2200 bike.....

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/stance-29-1

But he does make a good point that it will help him with taking wheels on and off since he puts his bike in the trunk of his big car.
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Old 01-11-22, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
I wonder if the shop since it is in the DC region receives enough business that they put this as a perk for people to buy from them. dunno...but I do remember when I typically went in for these, I usually walked out with other purchases, where it was tubes at time, gloves or other stuff. But the guys there were super friendly and it made for a great atmosphere, so I'm hopeful they will continue on unlike other shops.

My 17yr old son went with me when I purchased my Giant Trance, so he test rode a Stance 1 and he is totally in love with it. Even though I warned him, it has quick release rear wheels rather thru axle.....on a $2200 bike.....

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/stance-29-1

But he does make a good point that it will help him with taking wheels on and off since he puts his bike in the trunk of his big car.
I would skip for sure if it is still QR nothing against QR but modern MTB is far beyond that and the benefits of thru-axles are well proven. I can still remove a wheel pretty quickly and honestly I would want to carry a tool with me anyway and would keep one in my car as well just in case. If I was really desperate I would just take the Bosch Electric Screwdriver and the right bits and be fine. That thing is quite awesome and certainly a boon for removing 6b rotors and stem face plates quickly.

I would go with a Specialized Stumpjumper or maybe something a little more exotic like an Ibis Ripley AF or Santa Cruz Tallboy which will cost a bit more but are really great bikes. There is probably some other stuff out there that would be a good bet but that odd QR "boost" spacing thing is just silly and makes it useless for upgrades and with a cheap loose ball hub I would want to upgrade. If it were 135 QR it is at least easier to find wheels but I would rather have boost so I can upgrade wheels or at least 142 spacing at the rear though a lot of stuff has gone boost and honestly when building my hardtail didn't matter in the end I don't need cross compatibility with anything and if I have it cool good stuff.
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Old 01-11-22, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I would skip for sure if it is still QR nothing against QR but modern MTB is far beyond that and the benefits of thru-axles are well proven. I can still remove a wheel pretty quickly and honestly I would want to carry a tool with me anyway and would keep one in my car as well just in case. If I was really desperate I would just take the Bosch Electric Screwdriver and the right bits and be fine. That thing is quite awesome and certainly a boon for removing 6b rotors and stem face plates quickly.

I would go with a Specialized Stumpjumper or maybe something a little more exotic like an Ibis Ripley AF or Santa Cruz Tallboy which will cost a bit more but are really great bikes. There is probably some other stuff out there that would be a good bet but that odd QR "boost" spacing thing is just silly and makes it useless for upgrades and with a cheap loose ball hub I would want to upgrade. If it were 135 QR it is at least easier to find wheels but I would rather have boost so I can upgrade wheels or at least 142 spacing at the rear though a lot of stuff has gone boost and honestly when building my hardtail didn't matter in the end I don't need cross compatibility with anything and if I have it cool good stuff.
I'm trying to get him to see the value of spending $300 more for this instead:

https://www.bikesonline.com/2022-pol...on-mountain-bi

Stumpjumpers are difficult to find at moment. There is a Trek Fuel EX located over an hours drive away.

I need to just take him to some more shops so he can actually see the bikes. It's difficult to get the boy to understand when he doesn't see it.

Anything above this price range is not something he will be able to afford, especially since his Dad is loaning some of the money to assist.
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Old 01-11-22, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
I'm trying to get him to see the value of spending $300 more for this instead:

https://www.bikesonline.com/2022-pol...on-mountain-bi

Stumpjumpers are difficult to find at moment. There is a Trek Fuel EX located over an hours drive away.

I need to just take him to some more shops so he can actually see the bikes. It's difficult to get the boy to understand when he doesn't see it.

Anything above this price range is not something he will be able to afford, especially since his Dad is loaning some of the money to assist.
That looks like a better deal minus warranty but the parts are better in many places. Love the color though.

Most bikes are hard to get these days.
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Old 01-11-22, 07:42 PM
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OP here. Thanks for all of the advice. I took the bike in to a shop today. They recommended trying a new derailleur hanger but didn't have one in stock (they were not a Specialized dealer). The hanger is also sold out on the Specialized site, so I ordered an aftermarket derailleur hanger from Amazon. I'll let you know how it goes. It seemed like a pretty soft recommendation. When I install the new hanger, I'll also pull the cable, lubricate & stretch it per 3speed's advice. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 01-14-22, 09:27 AM
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OP here with an update on my progress:

1. I installed a new derailleur hanger. This did not help. I still can't find a barrel adjuster setting that lets me shift smoothly through all 12 speeds. I basically have to choose if I want high gears or low gears to work.
2. I stretched the cable using 3speed's technique. This also did not do much for my problem.
3. I haven't lubed the cable yet, but the lube I ordered should arrive today, so I'll try that tonight and report.

In anticipation of #3 also not working, I have also taken Daniel 62's advice and ordered a Shimano Deore SLX derailleur and shifter (RD-M7100-SGS & SL-M7100). I would have preferred to upgrade with higher-end SRAM Eagle components (NX or GX) so the components in my drive train would be maximally compatible, but this experience with SRAM SX Eagle has made me skeptical about investing in more SRAM drivetrain components. I'll report back with my lube and Shimano experience later.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:31 AM
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I would definitely get it check out. Since its new you should see if it can fix it, but if not you could upgrade
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Old 01-16-22, 09:16 AM
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FWIW, my wife's Salsa fat bike came with an SX Eagle RD that never shifted well, so I swapped the RD as well as the shifter out for the GX models and it made a significant improvement.
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Old 01-16-22, 12:38 PM
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I haven't heard anything nice about SX, while NX is solid if not special. I knew SX had some plastic but didn't realize there was no clutch. The clutch usually makes shifting harder... it's not for that, it's for chain slap and retention, and if you have one that can be turned on or off, you can feel the difference.

I found this on "bikeperfect.com"

SRAM SX Eagle and NX Eagle rear derailleurs compared

The SX Eagle rear derailleur is made out of stamped steel and injection moulded plastic, and it’s held together with rivets as opposed to the pins and clips of more expensive models. Like NX, its ‘cage lock’ feature can click the mech into a forward position to make wheel removal easier, and like NX Eagle it can handle ranges of 11-50 and 10-50.

Confusingly there are actually two versions of the SX Eagle mech: a lower-spec ‘A1’ version which tends to be fitted to cheaper bikes as an OE part, and a ‘B1’ version, which tends to be available aftermarket, but it’s worth checking what you’re getting.

The SX B1 version is quite close to the NX mech, with a pulley entry point for the cable to make shifting smoother, and ball-bearing jockey wheels. The main differences are that the NX Eagle mech has a built-in clutch mechanism, to help keep the chain stable and minimize dropped chains, and features higher-grade alloys in places.

The SX A1 version is a bigger step-down, with no pulley entry for the cable, and simple self-threaded adjustment screws in the plastic body. Earlier models also had simple bushings on the jockey wheels rather than bearings.
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Old 01-16-22, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I haven't heard anything nice about SX, while NX is solid if not special. I knew SX had some plastic but didn't realize there was no clutch. The clutch usually makes shifting harder... it's not for that, it's for chain slap and retention, and if you have one that can be turned on or off, you can feel the difference.

I found this on "bikeperfect.com"
WOW! So many new mountain bikes over $2000 has the SX drivetrain and it doesn't even have a clutch to it! I had no idea! Heh, my son and I had gone to several bike shops this past few days and the SX is on many bikes from Giant, Trek and few others.

I even had to check on Sram's website and sure enough, they don't put any information for the SX as having a clutch mech. Strange that an inexpensive Sram Apex 1 I put on my hybrid does have a clutch and metal material, but Sram cheaped out so badly on the SX.

The Giant LBS was straight up with us that this is the most likely first upgrade to replace the SX right away. The LBS was suggesting to spend a few dollars more and get the GX over the NX.

I feel fortunate to have shown my son to skip some of these bikes and get something better.

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Old 01-16-22, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
WOW! So many new mountain bikes over $2000 has the SX drivetrain and it doesn't even have a clutch to it! I had no idea! Heh, my son and I had gone to several bike shops this past few days and the SX is on many bikes from Giant, Trek and few others.

I even had to check on Sram's website and sure enough, they don't put any information for the SX as having a clutch mech. Strange that an inexpensive Sram Apex 1 I put on hybrid does have a clutch and metal material, but Sram cheaped out so badly on the SX.

The Giant LBS was straight up with us that this is the most likely first upgrade to replace the SX right away. The LBS was suggesting to spend a few dollars more and get the GX over the NX.

I feel fortunate to have shown my son to skip some of these bikes and get something better.
Yeah, in the case of my wife's bike as noted above - a carbon Salsa Beargrease - it came stock with SX components with the intention of keeping a carbon-framed bike more affordable for entry-level riders. Compared to the GX I replaced it with, the SX was absolutely horrible.
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Old 01-16-22, 08:01 PM
  #24  
travbikeman
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Originally Posted by jim_pridx View Post
Yeah, in the case of my wife's bike as noted above - a carbon Salsa Beargrease - it came stock with SX components with the intention of keeping a carbon-framed bike more affordable for entry-level riders. Compared to the GX I replaced it with, the SX was absolutely horrible.
Yea, this is kind of blowing my mind at moment.....We found a Stumpjumper alloy being built at a LBS. It comes with the SX and Specialized wants $2650 for this bike.....
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Old 01-16-22, 10:26 PM
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Yeah, the steel parts on carbon frames lately is a head scratcher!

For high volume models there's usually a 2nd level alloy bike that has way better components all around. IF you can find it for sale
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