microShift's new Sword drivetrain is a fully mechanical budget gravel groupset

microShift drivetrain fitted to a gravel bike
(Image credit: microShift)

While the two big drivetrain players take technological swings at each other, microShift has found a niche in the affordable drivetrain market. They have now released a new affordable 10-speed gravel groupset called Sword, the completely mechanical groupset is available in 1x and 2x setups and is likely to be the gravel groupset featured on a lot of future budget gravel bikes

The new Sword drivetrain is a dedicated gravel groupset, unlike the microShift Advent X which is often used on affordable gravel bikes but is actually a mountain bike groupset that has compatible dropbar levers.

Although there are some similarities between Sword and Advent X drivetrains, microShift has been able to focus on gravel-specific features when designing Sword including completely redesigned levers, a new derailleur, and a 1x and 2x compatible chainset. There are a lot of cross-compatibility too and modular designs to make it easier to customize your drivetrain.

microShift Sword 1X fitted to a bike

Sword comes in 1x or 2x configurations (Image credit: microShift)

The Sword groupset includes the main drivetrain components like levers, cranks, derailleurs, and cassette, however, customers will need to provide their own mechanical brake calipers, rotors, 10-speed chain, and bottom bracket. The crankset is compatible with any 24mm spindle Shimano compatible bottom bracket and most 10sp chains will work (excluding Campagnolo) with microShift recommending KMC’s X10 chain.

The drivetrain comes in either 1x or 2x options with the 1x10 option recommended for “adventure, bikepacking and rowdy days” and a 2x10 for “fast gravel, group rides and long days”.

There are a complete of features that make it easier to switch between the two drivetrain setups too. The crankset is compatible with both chainring setups (100/80mm asymmetric BCD) and rather than replace the rear derailleur, the cage can be switched between long and medium to cater to different cassette sizes.

microShift Sword rear derailleur

The new Sword derailleur looks very refined (Image credit: microShift)

The 10-speed rear derailleur has a sleek aesthetic and features a ratchet and pawl clutch that can be switched on and off (via the integrated switch on the cage pivot) so removing the rear wheel is easier.

The Sword rear derailleur has a feature that they call an Orbital barrel adjuster. This allows the cable entry point to rotate by up to 15 degrees whilst still giving cable tension adjustment. The rotation allows smoother cable routing from internal routing exits to the derailleur, which helps reduce cable friction and gives smoother shifting. 

microShift Advent X cassette

Both cassette sizes come with two price points (Image credit: microShift)

microShift has two cassette sizes, a black 11-48t Advent X cassette for 1x drivetrains and a new 2x Sword 11-38t with a satin nickel finish. Both cassette sizes come at two price points, the more affordable but heavier steel H-Series or the part alloy G-Series. All the cassettes fit onto a standard HG freehub body.

For those that are picky about their gear ratios, the Advent X cassette has 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-34-40-48 sprockets, while the Sword has 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32-38 sprockets.

The front derailleur is available in braze-on or 34.9mm band-on options, will work with a minimum 46t outer chainring and is compatible with up to a 52t, and features cable tension adjustment using a 3mm hex bolt on the top of the derailleur. While clearance might vary between different bike designs, microShift says the front derailleur should clear up to a 700x48mm gravel tire.

microShift Sword lever

The Sword levers have a complete design with a new high pivot point (Image credit: microShift)

The shifter/levers have received a massive overhaul, new braking pivot point, new ergonomics, and adjustable reach. 

A new sleek shape that has been designed to give better ergonomics when used with flared bars and the high pivot lever is said to give more leverage and reduce lever reach. microShift has also designed the lever to pull a little more cable than a standard lever to enhance power.

There are a number of lever configurations. Obviously, there is a 10sp right-hand shifter but the left shifter comes in either a 1X, 2X, or with a dropper lever. Shifting is handled by two small paddles positioned behind the lever and the left dropper remote has a single paddle to control your seatpost.

Sword is a fully mechanical groupset, that includes the brakes as well and microShift isn't currently offering a hydraulic lever with this groupset.

For full details, head over to microshift.com

microShift Sword pricing and specs

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ComponentClaimed WightPrice
Sword drop bar shifter right 10sp256g$94.99 / £tbc
Sword drop bar shifter left double256g$94.99 / £tbc
Sword drop bar shifter left170g $64.99 / £tbc
Sword drop bar shifter dropper remote left250g$89.99 / £tbc
Sword drop bar shifter pair 2x10spn/a$189.99 / £tbc
Sword drop bar shifter pair 1x10spn/a$159.99 / £tbc
Sword rear derailleur 1x medium cage308g$79.99 / £tbc
Sword rear derailleur 2x long cage329g$79.99 / £tbc
Sword front derailleur braze-on108g$28.99 / £tbc
Sword front derailleur band clamp 34.9tbc $28.99 / £tbc
Sword Crankset 1x (40t, 172.5mm)790g$114.99 / £tbc
Sword Crankset 2x (46t/29t, 172.5mm)925g$114.99 / £tbc
Sword G-Series cassette336g$69.99 / £tbc
Sword H-Series cassette453g$44.99 / £tbc
Advent X G-Series cassette424g$64.99 / £tbc
Advent X H-Series cassette575g$44.99 / £tbc

microShift Sword drivetrain

microShift Sword drivetrain options (Image credit: microShift)
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road, based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg