Love for bikes

Microshift Sword: GRX competitor at a fair price?

Microshift is not so well known to most, though is a sweetheart for Decathlon, time to time. My first Microshift groupset was a 8×3 with brifters that originally came with a Decathlon road bike. Am I impressed? Somewhat: at the time, you couldn’t get a road bike with brifters, at that price point. Basically, Microshift was the original challenger to big boys, Shimano and SRam, before, say, LTwoo even existed. So, Microshift Sword is actually big news, because it could help enable production of legit gravel and cyclocross bikes at a fair price.

Microshift, along with other Taiwanese / Chinese groupset makers, trying to establish themselves, in this duopoly. Though we see promising moves from Ltwoo, like itselectronic eRX groupset, Microshift is here for quite some time, and more established brand. They started polishing up and adding new products to their portfolio, like the Advent X.

What is Microshift Sword is all about?

Sword brifters look lean, nice and brake / shift levers are seperately adjustable.

Microshift Sword is a 1x or 2x, 10 speed gravel / adventure / cyclocross groupset. This groupset includes derailleurs, cranksets, shifters, and cassettes from AdventX series; but does not include some elements like chains or brakes. (I’ve never seen a Microshift chain in my life).

It’s mechanical, does not have hydraulic disc brake option and some interesting features I’ll talk about.

Microshift Sword derailleurs

First, the front derailleur: it doesn’t seem to have anything fancy to talk about, and resembles the ones that comes with Decathlon bikes a decade ago. There is one interesting feature though: it has a cable tensioner that is operated by a 3mm Allen key, which is interesting.

Microshift SWORD front derailleur looks simple and utilitarian, but has 17T range!

Yet the rear derailleur is much more interesting: there are two different rear derailleurs for 1x and 2x options, their cages are a single unit and replaceable. That means, by just swapping the cage, you can use the same derailleur on 1x or 2x chainrings. This is a nice-to-have feature.

Clutch mechanism seem to be working as it should; operated by a knob rather than a flimsy switch. Looks somewhat cool too, albeit not that premium compared to Shimano, Sram or Campagnolo. I don’t know you, but doesn’t bother me a bit.

Microshift SWORD rear derailleur has an interchangeable cage, obviously a clutch, and nice looks…

Microshift Sword brifters

Not surprisingly, they resemble the ergonomics of the Shimano GRX, which started the fire. However, Sword brifters looks to have a shorter pull, slimmer, which leads me to think they are much better for smaller hands.

One interesting feature is, shifter and brake levers are seperate items, unlike any other brifters I’ve seen. This means, their reach can be setup seperately. Nice to have feature, if you have big hands, and riding with puffy gloves in winter.

They look nice, and I guess the levers are made from plastic coated aluminium – this doesn’t look like a carbon-infused plastic, which leads me to think this is just a coating, not a structural part made from plastic. Obviously, this is a good thing.

Microshift Sword cranksets

You have 4 choices with cranksets. They fit on Hollowtech bottom brackets, which Microshift does not seem to have any, but it’s pretty much industry standard right now so you can buy them anywhere, from exotic to cheap.

Another interesting feature is, 17T chainring difference. Almost road doubles have 16T.

Microshift sword FC G7000. This resembles me..Sram X5?

For singles, you have 40T (FC-G7000-40 – 790 grams) and 42T (FC-G7000-40 – 810 grams). They are not super light, but they look solid and nice. If you wish to go double, you’ll have to choose between 46/29 (FC-G7000-46 – 925 grams), or 48/31 if you have stronger legs or flatter terrain. Big rings are aluminium, and smaller ones are steel; pretty conservative here too.

With 110/80 BCD becoming standard, you may choose to fit Shimano, or even maybe Rotor chainrings, but the edges are different for Shimano: you’ll have to file them a bit to fit. Dealbreaker ? No. It’s nice to have options, though it may require some elbow grease. Besides, AliExpress is flooded with cheap and nice 110×80 chainrings, so you’ll obviously not left outside in the dark, for example unlike in the older XTR crank chainrings, which were crazy expensive and without any other option.

165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm arm lengths are available.

Microshift Sword cassettes

You have 2 options or 1x (actually one!), which are AdventX cassettes, and other 2 (actually one!) for 2x. These are branded as Sword, and new.

All cassettes are Shimano HG hub compatible.

These are all-steel cassettes.

If you look to the details, both Advent X cassettes are 11-48, and have exact same ratios, so you may wonder why there are 2 models? On G serie model, which is,CS-G104 11-48T to be precise, biggest two cogs are fitted to a spider. Don’t ask me why; MicroShift says it’s more durable…

Microshift sword cassette CS H105 11-38

For 2x drivetrain, you’ re stuck with 11-38T only, but you don’t need to use a MicsroShift cassette anyway. As in AdventX, same ratios, but the higher end one, if this is the right word, has aluminium spider and big cog.

Departing words

I think it’s nice to see Microshift challenging GRX (or Ekar!) with a viable option. There are lots of emerging Chinese brands, but Microshift is a tested and true alternative, serving millions on some Decathlon bikes. I wish they have more presence on retail, but obviously a better choice than some vaporware, dubious Chinese items.

It looks good, 2×10 is nice to have while almost every manufacturer tries to ditch them.

Price is 550$-ish, but you need to add a chain to it, too.

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