I have a 1 x 11 drivetrain setup on my mountain bike. This is stock from the factory, it wasn't a conversion. When I'm in the low gear climbing, there is a lot of chain/derailleur noise. It gets more noticeable when the drive is under more tension. Being in the low gear, the chain angle is fairly minimal, so I am really perplexed. The sound almost mimics when the chain rubs against a front derailleur when the chain is at a drastic angle rubbing against the side.

I'm afraid I am wearing out my drive train too quickly because something is not adjusted correctly. My old 2 x 10 was virtually silent.

Addition, when going downhill and pedaling, the chain was slipping teeth quite often.

Does anyone have any ideas?


After replacing the bottom bracket and spending the rest of the season fighting the noise, I have decided it's coming from the SRAM X style teeth on the front chain ring. When the drive train is squeaky clean the noise is minimal. However after a ride or two the noise starts to come back. It's only there when the drive train is under heavy load. It sounds awful, like my chain and teeth are grinding together. I can only assume it's the X teeth, anyone else confirm this on their 1 X 11?

  • My first guess would be that the derailleur isn't adjusted properly.
    – PeteH
    Feb 20, 2015 at 20:56
  • Thanks PeteH, That was my guess to. Any points on where I could check for adjustments? The High and Low seem to be set fine.
    – TreK
    Feb 20, 2015 at 22:20
  • I found a good discussion (that I can't seem to locate again) regarding the XX1 Drive Train noise. One suggestion is that it's the front chain ring causing the noise. I rotated my front chain ring 1/2 turn so the the majority of the tension was on newer less worn teeth. So far it seems to have solved the problem. I need a few more rides on it to confirm.
    – TreK
    Jun 17, 2015 at 13:58
  • Is there a front chain thingy -- a one-position derailer? If so, that certainly could be rubbing. Oct 12, 2015 at 11:50
  • 1
    I have a sram 1x10 setup with a an aftermarket race face narrow wide chainring and I'm very happy with it, maybe an option to try. I always get some noise when cross chaining no matter what.
    – ebrohman
    Sep 16, 2017 at 0:25

5 Answers 5


Even though you mentioned in a comment that the high and low seemed to be adjusted properly, it still sounds to me like the 'L' limit of the rear derailleur is improperly set and does not allow the upper guide pulley to fully move the chain onto your largest cog.

If this is indeed the case, shift into the largest cog and adjust the 'L' limit screw (the outermost 3mm adjusting screw) until the center of the upper guide pulley is aligned with the center of the largest cog.

Another possibility is the chain gap is not properly set. The chain gap for the XX1 groupset should be between 12 and 16mm and should be set while the chain is shifted onto the largest cog. You adjust this with the single 3mm adjusting screw located by the derailleur mounting point. Make sure the limit screws are properly adjusted before checking or changing this setting.

The chain gap is the distance between the top of the teeth on the upper guide pulley and the top of the teeth of the largest cog as shown in the following illustration from the User Manual for SRAM 1x11 rear derailleurs:

Setting the chain gap on a Sram 1x11 derailleur

In the picture above 15 is High set screw and 14 is Low set screw

If these adjustments do not resolve the issue, bring the bike to the bike shop you purchased it from and have them check it out. My LBS has had several customers (including me) experience issues with the 1x11 cassettes for which the ultimate solution was SRAM sending out replacement cassettes and chains. (Although I think in all of these cases the issue was the chain unexpectedly derailing onto smaller cogs while back pedaling on the largest couple of cogs.)

  • Can you explain where the chain gap is measured ?
    – Nik
    Mar 24, 2015 at 5:17
  • @Nik I added the illustration from the Sram manual that shows where the chain gap is measured to my answer. Mar 24, 2015 at 18:23
  • thank you, it is very helpful to have this all in one place in your answer.
    – Nik
    Mar 24, 2015 at 19:49
  • @Glen, this was a great answer and ultimately helped me diagnose the problem. My issue was actually a bad bottom bracket, it was resonating through the entire drivetrain which lead me to believe it was in derailleur. Additionally, I wrote off the bottom bracket as being an issue because it only had a few hundred miles on it. It's replaces and much quieter now, however I'm still not completely satisfied even with a new SRAM BB, on high stress pedals I'm already getting some of the same noise returning.
    – TreK
    Jun 4, 2015 at 19:02
  • Ugh, bottom bracket issues like that are such a pain to puzzle out. Jun 5, 2015 at 16:53

The SRAM 1X11 cassettes rivets can start to make noise under tension. I know I have that issue. Change the cassette and it may go away. (I know expensive)

This post explains what I means. Sometimes it's improper installation of the cassette. https://www.pinkbike.com/u/Nate-at-BikeCo-com/blog/xx1-cassette-install--creak-check.html

To summarise the link, "The number one issue for creaks on these cassettes is FALSE TORQUE. The XD driver interface has substantial contact friction in the system, which leads riders to feel that they have torqued the assembly correctly when in fact the cassette is still loose on the driver. The lube and grease steps shown here are not to mask creaks - they are to reduce contact friction during assembly to allow a proper torque of your system."

  • BTW - welcome to SE and thank you for your answer. Consider browsing the tour because its quite informative.
    – Criggie
    Sep 10, 2017 at 10:27
  • 1
    This post explains what I means. Sometimes it's improper installation of the cassette. Sep 15, 2017 at 20:35
  • I have edited your comment into your answer, and included a precis in case the link goes away someday.
    – Criggie
    Sep 15, 2017 at 23:35

Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. The rear derailleur is maladjusted and is hitting the cassette/freewheel when it's in the lowest gear. Also, the chain could be too short, causing this.
  2. How old is your drivetrain? Maybe some of the parts are worn out.
  3. The front chainring could be flexing. I don't think this is it, but it's worth checking to make sure the bolts are tight.
  4. See if the rear derailleur parts are spinning freely.

I had a similar noise issue with my Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon with a SRAM XX1 drive train. I was getting the terrible noise going up hills and found after replacing both bottom bracket and top pivot bearings the noise went away. In the meantime I replace the derailleur, cable, bearings, X-dome in the rear (1 X 11)and front 32 tooth sprocket.

  • Hello Jeff, welcome to bicycles.SE. The second part sounds like a question in its own right. In particular as the slipping was only of secondary interest in the original question. If you would like answers for that issue, it might be a good idea to split this off, write a question, and cross reference it with this answer.
    – gschenk
    Mar 24, 2017 at 16:55
  • Yes - please browse the SE tour and learn how this site varies from common chat forums. When you ask your question, include the bike's mileage, age and how long/far since the last cassette and chain change. Measure your chain for wear and post a clear and well lit photo of the cassette in your question.
    – Criggie
    Mar 24, 2017 at 17:49
  • Jeff - this has been flagged as a "not an answer" because the second half was a new question. I have deleted that portion of the post. If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. In addition, you may want to take the tour which explains how our Q/A format works.
    – Gary.Ray
    Mar 29, 2017 at 13:01

Main noise issues I have had with Rival 1x are

  • worn Chainring - replace
  • using a Decathlon (KMC) chain, must be a tad wider, went back to SRAM, quiet again.
  • Though not SRAM, my Easton Cinch system crankset has play in the chainring interface, wrapped male part in alu foil to take up play, no more clicking.
  • Welcome to Bicycles SE. Worn chainrings are a more common problem than one would think. Even with meticulous maintenance of a drivetrain, chainrings eventually will wear and create noise, especially under load. It just usually is the last item to look to for a noise.
    – Ted Hohl
    Jun 23, 2023 at 14:50

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