In the race for drivetrain domination, more = better. More cogs, more standards, more complexity. Bucking those trends, however, is microSHIFT’s ADVENT X group. Opting for only ten gears, ADVENT X takes on the competition not with more cogs, but with lighter weight, improved simplicity, and one very unexpected quality–availability.
Truth be told, microSHIFT’s ADVENT X wasn’t originally on GRAVELBIKE’s 2021 editorial calendar. When it came time to replace my mountain bike’s worn-out drivetrain, I hadn’t planned on a worldwide component shortage. Like countless other riders, my options were now limited to those parts one could actually purchase. Learning that microSHIFT’s ADVENT X 10-speed group was: (A) in stock; and (B) offered a wider gear range than my current (11-speed) setup, I snatched up the necessary bits faster than you can say, Add to Cart.
|ADVENT X Trail Trigger Pro Shifter
|ADVENT X Rear Derailleur
|ADVENT X G-Series 10-Speed Cassette
Boasting zero new standards, the sub-$180 ADVENT X group is compatible with standard HG-type freehubs and a host of readily available 10-speed chains. Like the company’s 9-speed ADVENT group, ADVENT X derailleurs and shifters are not cross-compatible with Shimano or SRAM units. Rounding out my setup were KMC’s X10 chain, an absoluteBLACK oval chainring, and Jagwire’s sealed cable housing. Although I opted for a trigger-style shifter, microSHIFT also offers ADVENT-compatible 1×10 levers for drop bar use.
Setting up the ADVENT X group was exactly what I had hoped for–uneventful. Aside from a chain breaker and cable cutters, installation required only 4 mm and 5 mm hex keys. And in contrast to competitors’ tiny, hard-to-reach limit screws, adjusting the ADVENT X derailleur was quick and easy via a 3 mm hex key. For DIY’ers, tech docs and videos are available on microSHIFT’s website. If you’re comfortable setting up Shimano or SRAM 1x drivetrains, you’ll find the ADVENT X components reassuringly familiar.
Running through the ADVENT’s ten gears for the first time revealed a system with distinct, tactile feedback. Downshifting (to larger cogs) ADVENT X required effort similar to the Shimano SLX (7000-series) components they replaced. Where the 10-speed microSHIFT setup really stood out, though, was during upshifts (to smaller cogs). Pressing the smaller paddle produced resounding click, followed immediately by the chain moving to the next cog. Disengaging the derailleur’s clutch had little effect on downshifts, but upshifts felt more solid with the clutch engaged.
By now you’re probably wondering, are ten cogs enough? After three months’ testing, I’d say, yes. ADVENT X’s 11-48 spread works great for my local trails. With slightly wider gaps between gears (18% average), double-shifts were rarely needed. As far overall performance is concerned, it’s a tough call. Shimano and SRAM’s 11- and 12-speed systems have a slight edge with their marginally quicker shifts, but the 10-speed microSHIFT drivetrain’s reduced maintenance resulted in more consistent performance overall.