Charge Plug Ti Part 2: A new groupset

After a good 6 years on my Campagnolo Athena groupset, I started to feel I needed a change.  It had served me well, however the hassle I went through with chainsuck and chainrings as well as lack of low gearing options suitable for off-road had me wanting something more.  Also the allure of hydraulic brakes was somewhat appealing.

Making the decision

  Although the TRP Spyres I had served me well, cable discs are only going to be so good.  There were several choices, either stay with a 2x11 setup or go 1x11.  To get low gearing a 1x setup with a SRAM 10-42t cassette would be as simple as changing the chainring.  A compact road double would be harder to do this with, there was no easy off-the-shelf way to get super low gearing without changing the crankset.  In the end I decided to go with a 1x11 setup, the SRAM Force 1 groupset. This features carbon cranks, hydraulic discs, a clutch rear derailleur and a 10-42t cassette.  It was a bit of a jump in the dark as I had never ridden a 1x setup before, my biggest fear was finding that the gear jumps would be too big, on average they are about 16% change between each gear with a big 20% jump to the smallest 10t sprocket.  Compared with the 11-32t cassette which has gaps 7-14% which are much smaller.

The new Force

After ordering it from Germany, it was now a waiting game until I received a nice parcel at work.  The first thing I did, like any bike nerd was weigh everything!  Overall the groupset was about 2.1kg not including rotors which is a little bit lighter than the old setup I had.. I was pretty impressed by the sleek black/grey finish of everything was very slick.  The full carbon cranks were pretty slick, the chainring has a the narrow-wide pattern on it which helps to keep the chain stay put.

The rear derailleur has a clutch mechanism, in effect this is a damper which slows down the movement of the pulley cage and stops the chain bouncing around reducing chainslap and the chance of a dropped chain over bumpy terrain.  The pulley wheels also feature the narrow-wide pattern which holds the chain on more securely.

The XG-1180 cassette is somewhat jewel-like in its intricacy.  I hope this lasts a while as the replacement is quite pricy...


The installation was pretty straightforward with the only difficult part being the brake bleeding.  I was impressed with the SRAM GXP crank, these are really easy to install/uninstall as it has a self-extracting bolt on the non-drive side which only needs an 8mm allen key.   Compared to the Shimano and Campagnolo Hollowtech and Ultratorque systems, this is even simpler and quicker.  The derailleur and drivetrain went on very easily with no issues, apart from a bit of confusion about the cable routing on the rear derailleur which was quite different to what I was used to.

 Brake bleeding was the most difficult part, as this was my first time I had to watch the same instructional video over and over again about ten times!  They came bled from the factory, but as I bought it from Germany it was setup as right lever rear instead of the right lever front I am used to, thus to swap from left to right you have to detach the olives and bleed it.  I have bled car brakes in the past many times, however the SRAM system needs two syringes which you use to push/pull fluid in and out of the system.  After an hour or two I had some nice firm brakes.


Now there was the question of how I install the lights, I had this idea from my Brompton where they used heatshrink tubing to clean up bunches of cable.  The plan was the run the dynamo to front lamp run as normal up the fork blade, then for the front lamp to rear lamp run it along the downtube with the rear brake hose, then run it up a hole in the BB and up the seat tube then out the seat post.  First this would require drilling a small hole in the BB, right next to the one meant for the cable guide.

I then drilled a hole in the rear of the seatpost and ran the light wire through...

Luckily the SRAM GXP bottom bracket has a plastic sleeve which protects the light cable from the spinning crank spindle

With the rear brake hose and rear light cable heatshrinked together it looks pretty neat.  The only other cable will be the rear derailleur cable which keeps it pretty tidy.

Job done, I also bought a Schmidt SON rear light, these are quite pricy but they are super minimal and very nicely made.  You can just see the hole in the back of the seatpost coming around, otherwise the cable is mostly concealed.

First impressions

Back to the groupset, I had a quick go on a mix of terrain and it's a huge change.  The hydraulic brakes are a godsend, much better modulation and lever feel with less hand effort.  The shifting is very crisp, the Double-tap shifting comes pretty intuitively although I probably need a bit more practice.  So far I haven't found the gaps between the gears all that irritating, in fact the simplicity of the 1x system has a lot of advantages.  The clutch derailleur keeps the drivetrain super quiet over really rough terrain, I never dropped a chain, not even once.  It was nice to not have to worry about shifting the front, particularly as with the old setup I suffered from chainsuck and dropped chains.  I didn't think I would appreciate the simplicity so much, but to have such a wide gear range with only the right shifter is fantastic.  Anyway that's all for now, thanks for reading.


  1. You're a brave soul. I go back and forth about leaving my triple, can't even think of going 1x!

    The final build looks amazing, looking forward to seeing pics of it grinding some gravel.

    May the Force be with you :) (sorry, I had to)