SRAM SX vs NX: A Full-Fledged Comparison

Looking for a 12-speed drivetrain upgrade but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a detailed breakdown of the two best drivetrains on the market.

While the SRAM NX generally takes the lead, you might find the SX more suitable for your needs in certain situations.

In this article, we’ll provide an objective assessment of each drivetrain based on our team’s extensive testing across various terrains. Our analysis will help you pick the right drivetrain for your riding style. 

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SRAM SX: A Brief Overview

SRAM SX vs NX: A Full-Fledged Comparison

The SRAM SX drivetrain is a cost-effective option for those looking to upgrade their mountain bike. It includes a complete set of components, such as a cassette, rear derailleur, shifter, chain, and crankset, making it easy to install and use.

This reliable and efficient drivetrain delivers a smooth and consistent ride, allowing you to focus on the terrain ahead.

Additionally, it offers a range of customization options to fit your riding style and terrain preferences.

SRAM NX: A Brief Overview

The SRAM NX drivetrain is a great choice for experienced mountain bikers. With its 12-speed drivetrain, it offers great shifting performance and durability, making it suitable for all kinds of terrain, from steep climbs to fast descents. 

It can help riders tackle any terrain with confidence, whether they’re pushing their limits on challenging trails or cruising through scenic routes.

The SRAM NX also includes a complete set of components, such as a cassette, rear derailleur, shifter, chain, and crankset, all designed to seamlessly work together.

SRAM SX Vs NX: Quick Comparison Table

Before we dive in deep, here’s a brief overview of the main differences between the two drivesets.

Ideal Use Scenario
Casual use.
More extensive use in different terrains.
1×12-speed Eagle .
1×12-speed Eagle and 11-speed non-Eagle.
Approximately 2.35 kg.
Approximately 2.06kg.
Aftermarket Availability
Not generally available as an all-in-one groupset.
All-in-one groupset available.
450% on 11-50T
450% on 11-50T
Upgrade Compatibility
Compatible even with the more expensive Eagle range.
Compatible even with the more expensive Eagle range.
Single-click trigger shifter.
Single-click trigger shifter.
Rear Derailleur Material
Stamped steel and injection-molded plastic, rivet-held.
Stamped steel and injection-molded plastic, pin-held.
Self-threaded Adjustment
Simple self-threaded adjustment screws (SX A1 only.)
No self-threaded adjustment screws.
Around $350.
Around $400.

SRAM SX vs NX: Detailed Comparison

The table doesn’t show that there are not many significant differences, right?

Well, you need to dig deeper to pick the best choice – that’s where this detailed comparison comes in. 


Winner: Tie

In terms of compatibility, both the SRAM SX and NX drivetrains are similar to each other. 

They can work with a wide range of cassettes and are backward-compatible. They’re also compatible with several of the more costly Eagle line components.

Additionally, the cassettes for both drivetrains are compatible with a normal Shimano HG freehub body, allowing you to change your groupset from ordinary 9, 10, or 11-speed configurations to 12-speed without replacing your wheels.

To top that off, the SRAM Eagle family components are interchangeable. It means you can easily modify any portion of your SX or NX Eagle groupset in the future without having to replace your whole bike.


Winner: Tie

The SRAM SX and NX drivetrains are both available in different variants for entirely different needs, so it’s not possible to say what’s a clear winner.

The lower-end SX Eagle groupset is not commonly available as a complete aftermarket groupset, but individual components can be obtained separately if needed. Its SX A1 model is a further step down with fewer features, such as no pulley entry for the cable and basic self-threaded adjustment screws in the plastic body.

The NX drivetrain, on the other hand, is available in both 11-speed non-Eagle and 12-speed Eagle variants, giving users greater gearing flexibility.

The SX and NX Eagle models each contain a single-click trigger shifter intended for e-bikes where shifting across numerous gears at once can put too much strain on the powertrain.


Winner: SRAM NX

The SX and NX drivetrains have two crankset variations: a two-piece DUB version and a three-piece Powerspline version. Bikes with the NX drivetrain usually have the lighter and more expensive DUB version.

The SX chainring is stamped steel for toughness but weighty, while the NX chainring is stamped alloy for lightness and durability.

The NX crankset uses a better 6000-series alloy.

Choosing the NX DUB crankset, means you’ll get a lighter and better performance, since it uses a better alloy and a lighter two-piece design. For sheer toughness though, the SX crankset is a better choice.

Both SX and NX drivetrains also use SRAM’s direct mount chainrings, so you can switch between 30, 32, and 34 teeth for a custom gear range that suits your riding style and terrain.


Winner: Tie

Both the SRAM SX and NX drivetrains use trigger shifters with X-Actuation technology, which provide smooth and consistent gear changes. This means you can trust your bike to shift seamlessly, even when you’re pedaling hard.

The shifters are also compatible with MatchMaker, which allows riders to combine their brake and shifter levers onto one clamp for a cleaner handlebar setup. 

Another thing worth noting is that the shifters are made of different materials. The SX shifter has a plastic cover, while the NX shifter has an aluminum cover. The aluminum cover is known for its durability, but some riders may prefer the plastic cover since it’s lighter.

So overall, both the SX and NX shifters are good parts and they can provide reliable and efficient shifting.


Winner: Tie

Both of these high-quality derailleurs feature the innovative X-Horizon design, which helps to prevent ghost shifting and chain slap by limiting vertical movement.

This design ensures that your shifts are precise and your chain stays in place, even on rough terrain.

The derailleurs also come with a Roller Bearing Clutch mechanism that keeps the chain securely in place and reduces chain bounce. This means you can ride with confidence, knowing that your drivetrain will perform smoothly and reliably, even on bumpy terrain. 

With both of these derailleurs featuring the same technology and design, it’s hard to declare a clear winner.  You can trust either of these top-notch options to provide a great riding experience and keep your drivetrain running smoothly for miles.

Cassettes and Chains

Winner: Tie

The cassettes and chains for the SRAM SX and NX drivetrains are made with high-quality materials, resulting in reliable and durable performance. 

The SX and NX drivetrains max out at 11-50, providing a range of over 450 percent. That’s narrower than the SRAM GX or higher, a driveset that offers 10-52 and a range of over 500 percent. 

However, the narrower extremes in the SX and NX drivetrains create more natural steps between the gears. You can always swap to a smaller front chainring as they go down to 30T if you want a lower low gear on SX or NX. 

Since both drivetrains have the same cassette and chain specifications, there is no clear winner here.

Gear Ratios

Winner: SRAM NX

As a rider, you know the importance of having the right gear range to tackle challenging terrain. That’s why both the SRAM SX and NX groupsets offer 12-speed gears and an 11-50t cassette, providing a range of over 450 percent. 

However, the SRAM NX takes the win if you’re an advanced rider looking for high performance and precision gear changes. Its wider gear range and more refined gear spacing provide smoother shifts and more accurate gear changes. 

With the SRAM NX, you can confidently tackle even the toughest terrain.


Winner: SRAM NX

As weight is a crucial factor in bike performance, both the SRAM SX and NX groupsets prioritize lightweight design by using high-quality materials like aluminum and steel for their components.

However, the SRAM NX is 30 grams lighter than the SX. Don’t let the small reduction fool you – though if you’re an experienced rider, you probably don’t need to hear that.

This lighter weight provides benefits such as faster acceleration and easier handling, especially in challenging terrain. 

With the SRAM NX, you can achieve faster speeds and maneuver more easily.


Winner: SRAM NX

Between both drivetrains, we’d say that the SRAM NX easily outdoes its more affordable counterpart. 

While both the SRAM SX and NX groupsets are well-known for their toughness and durability, the SRAM NX takes the lead due to higher-quality parts and an advanced manufacturing process.

It can handle even the toughest terrain and conditions with ease. So, with the SRAM NX, you can enjoy years of consistent performance without worrying about breakdowns or maintenance headaches. 

SRAM SX vs NX: Which Is Right For You?

SRAM SX components are a great option for those who are new to mountain biking or those who want to upgrade their bike without spending too much. They offer reliable shifting performance and durability at an affordable price.

For riders who are more experienced and demand top-notch performance, SRAM NX components may be the better choice. They provide faster and more precise shifting, improved durability, and a wider gear range to tackle any terrain.

To make the best pick, consider your level of experience and your budget before choosing between SRAM SX and NX components. 


Objectively speaking, SRAM NX Eagle is the best drivetrain you can get. However, both the SRAM SX and NX drivetrains are great options that offer reliable performance and durability. Both of them can easily handle most terrains. 

So in the end, the decision comes down to your personal preferences, skill level, and budget.


What is the difference between SRAM GX and NX derailleur weight?

The SRAM GX derailleur weighs about 290 grams, while the NX derailleur weighs around 340 grams.

Is SX better than NX?

It depends on your needs and preferences. The SX is a lower-end option, while the NX offers more flexibility in terms of gearing options.

What level is SRAM SX Eagle?

The SRAM SX Eagle is an entry-level groupset.

Is SRAM SX compatible with Shimano?

No, SRAM SX is not compatible with Shimano.

Does the SRAM SX derailleur have a clutch?

No, the SRAM SX derailleur does not have a clutch.

What is SRAM NX equivalent to in Shimano?

The SRAM NX is equivalent to Shimano Deore.

Is NX Eagle better than SLX?

The NX Eagle and SLX offer similar performance, but the NX Eagle has a wider gear range.

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