After the disastrous recall of every single one of its first model of derailleur (the SRAM ESP 900), SRAM boldly stuck with it, slightly redesigning the gear and sorting out the manufacturing process - and the SRAM ESP 9.0 was the result.
The design of the 9.0 includes all SRAM’s signature features; the one-to-one actuation, the steeply angled slant parallelogram, the lack of float in the guide pulley and the single sprung pivot design with the top pulley wheel concentric (or, later, almost concentric) with the sprung pivot (all except one-to-one actuation follow the basic design of the SunTour V GT).
When manufactured using ‘carbon composites’, with sealed bearing pulleys and an aluminium attachment bolt, the result was a very capable gear.
A moderately decent way of dating this generation of SRAM 9.0 models is by looking at the logos:
- 1996 saw the first logo, which was black on raw aluminium, with an overall oval shape including the letter ESP and with '9.0' in a circle as part of the oval.
- The second logo, possibly appearing in 1997, was peanut shape with a red outline and had the text 'ESP 9.0', in white, within the peanut shape.
- The third logo, possibly appearing in 1998, again uses the peanut shape, but has 'SRAM 9.0' written within the peanut and both the outline and writing are silver.
This, early, example of a SRAM ESP 9.0 displays the following features (amongst others):
- A camouflage finish, perfect for fun day out mountain biking with the casts of Duck Dynasty and Swamp People.
- A first style of logo (see above) with the '9.0' in a circle
- A b-pivot adjustment screw that screws into an 'add-on' piece on the b-knuckle.
- An aluminium inner pulley cage plate.
- An guide pulley that is concentric with the p-pivot.
It weighs in at a chunky 231g, a full 40g heavier than my lightest SRAM ESP 9.0SL - so the 'SL' moniker really meant something.
- Derailleur brands: SRAM
- Categories: SRAM - ESP and all that
- Themes: A riot of colour
- Country: USA, manufactured in Taiwan
- Date of introduction: 1996
- Date of this example: unknown
- Model no.: ESP 900-81
- Weight: 231g
- Maximum cog: 32 teeth
- Total capacity: 33 teeth
- Pulley centre to centre: 85mm
- Index compatibility: 8 speed
- Chain width: 3/32”
- Logic: top normal
- B pivot: unsprung
- P pivot: sprung
- Materials: carbon composite (plastic) knuckles, aluminium parallelogram plates and pulley cage plates.