SRAM ESP 9.0SL ‘Betsy’

SRAM ESP 9.0SL 'Betsy' derailleur main image

After the disastrous recall of every single one of its first model of derailleur (the SRAM ESP 900), SRAM boldly stuck with its dream, slightly redesigning the gear and sorting out the manufacturing process - and the 1996 SRAM ESP 9.0 and then the 1997 SRAM ESP 9.0SL were the results.

The design of the 9.0SL 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 and that 'almost' 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 an extremely light and very capable gear. However, I personally still found it hard to believe that a plastic gear had the integrity of an aluminium design, and I found it hard to shake the unfair notion that this gear was a sophisticated toy.

A simplistic, but OK, way of dating the SRAM 9.0 SL is to look at the logos:

  • 1997 saw the first of the logos on the outer parallelogram plate, a black, speedy, oval shape with the words 'ESP 9.0SL' within it, accompanied by red flashes.
  • The second logo appeared in late 1997. It also has a black oval shape and red flashes, but sports the words 'SRAM 9.0SL'.
  • 1999 (?) saw the third logo variant. This has no black oval shape but has the words 'SRAM 9.0SL' in rather elegant script.

This example is SRAM's famous 10th Anniversary ‘Betsy’ version. It is named for Betsy Ross, who supposedly sewed the first ‘Stars and Stripes’ flag for George Washington. This ‘Betsy’ is the lightest of my SRAM 9.0SL’s.

Some key features include:

  • The alluringly patriotic 'Betsy' colour scheme discussed above.
  • The second generation logo (also discussed above), but with blue replacing black and, perhaps, a brighter shade of red.
  • A guide pulley that is offset from the p-pivot.
  • A composite inner pulley cage plate.
  • Allen head pulley bolts.

The perfect derailleur for a leisurely spin through Sadr City.

Browse associated documents.

SRAM ESP Betsy - sticker

SRAM ESP Betsy - sticker

SRAM ESP Betsy - sticker thumbnail

SRAM - Spare Parts List 2000

SRAM - Spare Parts List 2000

  • Publisher: SRAM
  • Date: December 1999
  • Derailleur brands: SRAM, Sachs
  • Derailleurs: too many to list
SRAM - Spare Parts List 2000 front cover thumbnail