Choosing SRAM MTB Sprockets: Compatibility and Key Considerations

Posted at: Mar 20, 2023

SRAM components are being increasingly adopted in entry-grade MTB. In this issue, we summarize SRAM's sprockets for MTB and points to consider when choosing one.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on cyclabo. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Sponsored Link

SRAM’s MTB Sprocket List

SRAM’s MTB sprockets include 12-speed sprockets, which are Eagle series sprockets, and sprockets that are also used for road use.

The following sprockets are graded as MTB components. HG Spline M" is a conventional Shimano free body.

Product Grade Shift number Compatible free body Tooth number configuration
XG-1299 XX1 12 speed XD Driver 10-50T、10-52T
XG-1295 X01 12 speed XD Driver 10-50T、10-52T
XG-1275 GX1 12 speed XD Driver 10-50T、10-52T
PG-1230 NX 12 speed HG spline M 11-50T
PG-1210 SX 12 speed HG spline M 11-50T
XG-1199 XX1 11 speed XD Driver 10-42T
XG-1195 X01 11 speed XD Driver 10-42T
PG-1130 NX 11 speed HG spline M 11-26T、11-28T、11-32T、11-36T、11-42t
PG-1050 GX 10 speed HG spline M 11-23T、11-26T、11-28T、11-32T、11-36T、12-25T、12-26T、12-27T、12-28T、12-32T、12-36t

Since SRAM’s components for MTB are based on the 12-speed Eagle series (XX1, X01, GX, NX, SX), SRAM’s sprockets for MTB are also mainly 12-speed.

Many sprockets are dedicated to SRAM’s proprietary freebody standard, XD Driver, but SRAM also sells sprockets that are compatible with conventional Shimano freebodies, so that SRAM sprockets can be used on wheels up to 11 speeds on hand.

However, the lineup of sprockets with a top minimum of 10T is only available for XD driver-specific sprockets.

SRAM’s Sprocket Compatibility for MTB and Points to Consider When Selecting a Sprocket

The main points of compatibility of SRAM’s sprockets for MTB are as follows

  1. the XD driver is not compatible with Shimano Free
  2. the top smallest 10T is only available in the XD driver model lineup
  3. sprockets compatible with conventional Shimano Free
  4. drivetrain is basically SRAM compatible
  5. up to 10 speeds may be compatible with Shimano

Whether the compatible freehub is an “XD screwdriver” or not

In the past, SRAM manufactured sprockets for Shimano’s HG spline standard (so-called “Shimano Free”), but since the release of SRAM’s own freebody standard, “XD Driver,” SRAM has manufactured sprockets for XD Driver, mainly for 12-speed models.

Sprockets for the “XD Driver” are compatible only with the XD Driver freebody, and are not compatible with Shimano freebodies.

XD drivers and XDR drivers are not interchangeable.

SRAM sprockets have two standards: the “XD screwdriver” standard for MTB and the “XDR screwdriver” standard for road.

The XD driver was originally designed for MTB, but the height of the XD driver was increased by 1.8mm to accommodate road use, and because of the difference in free body height, the XD and XDR drivers are not interchangeable.

Therefore, among SRAM’s sprockets for road use, XDR Driver sprockets cannot be used on MTB wheels with XD Driver free bodies.

Top minimum 10T is only available on XD driver models

The advantage of the XD Driver sprocket is that it has a low minimum 10T in the lineup, which is not available on SRAM’s Shimano free sprockets.

Whether the low minimum is 10T or 11T only changes by 1T in terms of the number of teeth, but when considering the gear ratio of the entire sprocket, if the front is 32T, the gear ratio is 3.2 times higher with 10T and 2.9 times higher with 11T, so the difference is actually considerable.

The ability to set a higher top gear ratio means that the front chainring can be made that much smaller, which means that the overall gear ratio can be reduced, which is quite important when using a single front operation.

Note, however, that there are not many MTB wheels with XD Driver free bodies yet, so if you purchase sprockets for XD Driver, your wheel choices will be limited.

SRAM components can be used with conventional Shimano free wheels.

While SRAM’s main product is its own XD driver standard, the company also offers sprockets for conventional Shimano Free wheels.

Although MTB sprockets for Shimano Free are lower grade products, the ability to switch to SRAM components while keeping the wheels you have on hand is a big advantage.

In particular, SRAM’s MTB components are often used in entry grade MTB, and when considering a component or wheel upgrade, the ability to support Shimano-free wheels, which are widely distributed worldwide, is a major point.

Basically, they are “SRAM compatible.”

Of course, SRAM sprockets are not made to work with Shimano drivetrains, but are designed to perform best within SRAM’s drivetrain system.

Generally speaking, “chainring, sprocket, and chain compatibility is not that strict,” so it may be unlikely that they will not work at all, but a reduction in shifting performance can occur, so when choosing SRAM sprockets, it is best to use them with SRAM drivetrain components Therefore, it is best to use SRAM drivetrain components when choosing SRAM sprockets.

However, for 8-10 speeds, it may be possible to use them with Shimano components, as SRAM is said to have placed great importance on compatibility with Shimano.

Sponsored Link

Mechanics New Posts