you keep as close an eye on pro cycling as much as we do, you’ll have seen the
spy shots of SRAM’s latest wireless electronic road and mountain
SRAM’s eTap road
bike groupsets have been out for a while, mountain bikers have been
waiting patiently for wireless to hit their world for years. The lure of
simpler set up, no gear cables and cleaner looking bikes sure is a strong one,
even if the cost can be pretty eye watering.
the wait is over as SRAM have finally
delivered, with the all-new 12-speed Red
eTap AXS road groupsets and Eagle
AXS mountain bike groupsets. We’ve taken a look at the new
groupsets, so here’s our low-down on the details behind these incredible bits
SRAM Red & Force eTap AXS
11-speed eTap groupsets are top-sellers here at Tweeks and for good reason;
it’s pretty damn good! Installation is a breeze compared to mechanical or other
electronic groupsets. With no gear cables and simple derailleur setup you can on
the road before you know it.
would have been easy for SRAM to tag a 12th cog onto the cassette
and call it good, but that’s not their style. SRAM have taken inspiration from
their mountain bike groupsets to completely re-write the rulebook on what is
expected from a road bike drivetrain.
anything, the fact the groupsets are wireless is almost a moot point. The real
highlight here is the revised gearing made possible by a new cassette design
and all-new chainring ratios. The 12-speed cassettes all feature a tiny
10-tooth bottom gear. This provides a bottom gear that is 10% bigger than a
regular 11-tooth gear, so for an equivalent gear ratio, you can use a smaller
as one example, a 50-tooth chainring with the new Red & Force 12-speed
cassette has the equivalent gear ratio of a 55-tooth chainring when using a
regular cassette and because of this, SRAM has been able to produce cranksets
with smaller chainrings to improve the overall gear range at both ends of the
cassette. This means that you get higher gears for descending and lower gears
for climbing so you really can have your cake and eat it with Red & Force eTap
rear derailleur also features a new fluid-friction clutch mechanism to help
chain retention, inspired by the clutch mechanisms on their mountain bike
derailleurs. Speaking of chains, the new FlatTop chains have been given a
seriously radical new profile. The tops of both the inner and outer links are
completely flat and work together with the ramps on the cassette to provide
effortlessly smooth shifting. It’s all pretty radical stuff and we can’t wait
to get it out on the road and see what all the fuss is about!
SRAM Eagle AXS & Rockshox Reverb AXS
their roadie cousins have experienced the joys of wireless shifting before,
mountain bikers have had to wait until now to get their hands on this
cutting-edge technology. Not content with the new wireless Eagle AXS
drivetrains, SRAM-owned Rockshox have
also debuted the wireless Reverb
AXS dropper seatpost!
bikes have been using some of the most technologically advanced kit available
in the cycle industry for a number of years, and the number of cables and hoses
in front of the bike has been steadily growing. While SRAM’s Eagle groupsets
pretty much killed off the need for a front derailleur, that rats’ nest of
cables and hoses is still there to rattle around and just look like a bit of an
first thing that strikes you about bikes equipped with Eagle AXS is just how
damn clean they look. With just two brake hoses gracing the front of the bike,
the bikes look so much neater and those with sensitive ears will be pleased by
the lack of cable rattle.
wireless design is about much more than looks though. Fitting of both the Eagle
AXS derailleurs and control unit takes mere minutes rather than half an hour
(at best!), while the Reverb AXS is no more difficult to install than a regular
seatpost and can be quickly swapped between bikes if required.
the derailleur and control unit takes only a handful of seconds and the
derailleur setup is straight forward, all using the AXS app. The beauty of AXS
is that it can be customised to suit your preferences. Want the shift paddles
to the opposite of the stock configuration? No problem!
the chains, cassettes and cranksets are carried over from the mechanical XX1
and X01 Eagle groupsets, the Eagle AXS rear derailleurs feature all-new
technology to improve performance and longevity. Both derailleurs feature 10mm
shorter cages to improve ground clearance and chain wrap, sitting closer to the
cassette and further inboard. They also feature the all-new Overload Clutch. In
the event of an impact, the Overload Clutch disengages the clever motor gearbox
inside the derailleur, giving the derailleur freedom to move. It then instantly
returns back to position for a seamless riding experience.
Rockshox Reverb has been at the top of the game since its introduction in 2011
and the new Reverb AXS takes it up to the next level. The wireless design means
no more bleeding, no more hoses to squeeze through the frame, easing
installation and maintenance. The Reverb AXS post also debuts Rockshox’ new
Vent Valve Technology. Ever had the dreaded dropper seatpost squish? That’s the
result of air mixing with oil inside the post. Vent Valve allows you to quickly
remove any air from places it should be, restoring the post to full working
order in seconds.
The start of a new age?
this technology is pretty cutting-edge. It comes at a price. We’ll be sure to
see this technology trickle down the line in years to come and we can’t wait to
see what SRAM has in store next! In the meantime, we hope to get some saddle
time on the new groupsets soon and we’ll report back with our findings as soon
as we do, so stay tuned for more!