Last year’s review of the 9-speed microSHIFT ADVENT drivetrain quickly became one of GRAVELBIKE’s most popular articles. With Shimano and SRAM dominating the market, many riders–myself included–were naturally curious to learn more about the budget-priced drivetrain that boasted improved reliability and durability. My initial impressions of the ADVENT components were certainly positive, but how would the microSHIFT drivetrain fare over the longer haul?
Summary: Slicks? For gravel? YES.
I labored over my opening line because I was anxious to establish cred right away–that I’m an experienced, observant rider and gravel influencer… um, what? I’m totally not! I realized that, as a newer gravel rider and gear geek myself, I’d rather read a review from someone who was like me. And maybe others would, too.
Two years ago I never would have imagined that my SunRace cassette review would eventually become GRAVELBIKE’s most popular article of all time. Since that first review, SunRace has expanded their lineup to include 11-46 and 11-50 versions of the company’s popular CSMX8 ($70-$85) eleven-speed cassette. So when it came time to build up my Jones 29-plus bike, I decided to give SunRace’s 11-46 cassette a try.
When SRAM released their CX1 components in 2014, the purpose-built group delighted gearing-nerds (including yours truly) who had previously cobbled together road and MTB parts to come up with road-worthy 1x drivetrains. The Chicago-based company followed up with the 1x™ Wonder (11-36) cassette, and in April of 2015, SRAM announced the Force 1 and Rival 1 component groups which offered even more gearing options.
Over the past nine months, I’ve logged nearly 2,000 miles on SRAM’s 1x (pronounced one-by) road components. Starting with the CX1 group in late 2014, I added the aforementioned 1x Wonder cassette to the mix, and then in May of 2015, I upgraded to the new Force 1 components. During this period, I tested four different X-SYNC™ chainrings (38t, 40t, 42t, 44t), three different cassettes (11-32t, 11-36t, 10-40t), and two X-Horizon™ rear derailleurs (medium- and long-cage). Braking duties were handled by Force hydraulic discs. Wheelsets tested included Rolf Prima’s VCX Disc and Zipp’s new 30 Course tubeless hoops.
When we reviewed the New Albion Cycles Privateer frameset last summer, the bike’s SOMA C-Line 700×38 tires really stood out–and not just because of the terracotta-colored tread. The tires’ mild tread and supple casings made it easy to transition between paved and unpaved surfaces. To help test the new Zipp 30 Course wheelset, we decided to give the C-Line tires a dedicated second look.