Like kids at Christmas, we opened up a box of SRAM X0 Trail goodies for our testers to put through the wringer over the next months. Caleb shot a few pics before we wrestled to see who gets to ride them first. Dammit, Mark wanted them bad and laid down his signature Greco Roman moves to get the maiden ride on the weekend.

We’re particularly taken with the Trail brakes. At only 340g for the lot (with 160 rotor/front post mount) it’s got to be good.

Four-pot goodness in a minimal package; the X0 Trail caliper ups the ante for light, powerful trail stoppers, with four pistons providing some extra ‘Code-esque’ power to the pads (which are a new, larger shape, so don’t try wedging your old Elixir pads in there).

The alloy lever body and reservoir has been slimmed down too. The reach and contact point adjusters are easier to use with gloved hands and the understated graphics look sweet. New sealed pivot bearings should keep any lever slop at bay.

When you purchase the Trail brakes, you get everything you need to set up your bike in any number of configurations. There are post and tab mounts, single clamp or Matchmaker for the levers, and all the bolts and washers to run the combo you choose. No more searching for the extras you need to get up and running. There is also a new 170mm rotor size for Inbetweeners, or maybe those who are riding 650b. SRAM claims you can get more power with a smaller rotor and save some weight at the same time.

Mark has the brakes on his rig, and fired through these first impressions:

The XO trail certainly come together as a well thought-through pack. They come with everything you need to put them on your bike, including IS or post mounts and even additional parts if you need to cut down the hose length (they come long enough for a downhill bike). They include a couple of different brackets for the bars, which include matchmakers and work well with my shifter and  reverb. All very nice and tidy. For the actual mounting, It’s all torx and ironically that’s the only thing it doesn’t come with – a torx key. Even the caliper mounts are torx so you may need to invest in a new multi-tool.

Early impressions from out on the trail are all about modulation. I’ve been impressed with the power of some of SRAM’s competitors in recent months and although the power is obviously evident with the XOs,  it’s the control that speaks to you. The way the XO Trails manage their power, it never feels aggressive or catches you by surprise.  In some atrocious conditions—stream crossings, slick clay, wet roots and deep mudthey held up admirably and traction could be pushed to its variable limit whilst braking through the improved moderation available.  And even with the slightly small disc size of 180mm (down from 185) there was never a question having the power on tap.

The Type 2 rear mech has Cage Lock and the roller bearing clutch mechanism to keep things bounce free out back, and can be run with your existing SRAM 10 speed components, either triggers or the new 10 speed GripShift. Cage Lock means getting your rear wheel in and out is much easier on the bike and your knuckles. The Type 2 also comes in at X9 level.

Rod has the derailleur on his rig, and sent through his inimitable ramblings on his first impressions:

“I knew the cage lock feature would help with wheel removal and installation, but I was surprised at how much so, not to mention how easy it made feeding the chain through it when it went on my bike. Holy smoke, what’s all that noise? All of a sudden I could hear birds pooping, worms squirming and moose in Canada bellowing. Why? Because my chain wasn’t slapping my frame or rings, what a revelation!”

Keep your eye on the Spoke website for more impressions as we put some trail time on the X0 bits.

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