The weight penalty of disc brakes is lessened by the single chainring set-up with no front derailleur.
Editor's Note: This article is part of our Cyclocross Race Bike Shootout series, which also includes reviews of top competition steeds from Trek, Jamis, Specialized, and Van Dessel, as well as tests of several wheelsets and 'cross tires.
The Lowdown: SRAM Force CX1 drivetrain with HydroR disc brakes
I was skeptical at the outset of my test time aboard SRAM's Force CX1 single-ring drivetrain paired with the company's hydraulic road disc brakeset, wondering if a 1x set-up would provide a wide enough gear range for cyclocross racing, and questioning how well SRAM could overcome the problems that befell its first iteration hydraulic brakes, which were recalled due to cold weather failure issues. But those worries have been eased. While not perfect, both drivetrain and brakes have proven to deliver reliable race day performance. Indeed, SRAM's CX1 drivetrain paired with HydroR disc brakes would be my top choice for competitive 'cross racing - and could well be capably used for other applications such as gravel grinders, triathlon and even some criteriums. Check out the full review below to learn more about this dynamic modular system that's convinced me to drop the front derailleur for good. And read about what improvements SRAM may have in store for both the drivetrain and brakes on page 2.