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SRAM RED eTAP AXS Hands-on: Everything To Know About The Smart Tech

SRAM-RED-ETAP-AXS-Overview

Today SRAM announces their latest RED groupset lineup, SRAM RED eTAP AXS for road and off-road. This groupset shifts from a more traditional 11-speed cassette arrangement to a 12-speed cassette configuration. It also eschews any mechanical only version of the setup, going with only their wireless eTAP shifting option. Along the way, the company switches to an XD/XDR driver body (which has serious implications for trainers), and last but not least they revamped their power meters. Got all that? Good.

In fact, this announcement is just as much gearhead as it is smart tech. But obviously, if you’re here you know you’re going to get a significant deep-dive on the smart tech parts especially; but fear not, I also cover the other road-focused elements a bit as well.

And of course, I’ll talk a bit about how it all works out on the road with some actual riding time on an AXS equipped bike.  But, if you prefer pretty videos over words, then whack that play button below:

With that, onto the tech details and photos.

The Connected Basics:

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Of course, by now you know that the most talked about change is the shift from 11-speed cassettes to 12-speed cassettes. But it’s also beyond that too, this new groupset is *only* offered in an eTAP wireless shifting configuration. There’s no ‘mechanical’ shifting version of RED anymore.

The shift is more towards a cohesive ecosystem where all the parts work together, even if you want to build something funky. By that, I mean you can actually blend road bike parts and mountain bike parts together from an electronics standpoint. Why’d you want to do that though? Well, gravel. It’s all about gravel bikes these days.

In a nutshell, you’ve basically got four Monty Python style choices to make:

1) Bars: Drop or Tri/TT (this dictates which shifters)
2) Brakes: Disc or traditional rim (this also dictates shifters/brakes)
3) Drivetrain: 1x or 2x (1x would be common for off-road, whereas 2x is more common on-road), and also if you want it aero or not
4) Power meter: Integrated or later upgradeable

Seriously, that’s the only four core choices you’re getting here. The idea being that no matter what you choose for those four choices, everything is mix and match if you want it to be. Note in particular that the only groupset options are with a power meter, or with a crankset designed to add a power meter to it later.

And actually, if off-road there are two more things you can add:

5) Do you want a dropper post?
6) And do you want the dedicated Reverb AXS controller for the dropper

All of those components listed above are connected via Bluetooth Smart now. From the shifters to the derailleurs, the power meter to the dropper post. Whereas in the past eTAP wasn’t actually enabled over Bluetooth Smart. It was only accessible externally via ANT+ with the ANT+ Gear Shifting protocol. That meant there wasn’t any viable way for you as a consumer to change settings within the system using a smart app, something that competitor Shimano offered in their setups.  But more on that in a second.

Now to be fair, there are a few more nuanced choices you need to make. For example, you’ll need to decide on crank length as normal as well as which of the three chainring sizes you want. On the 2x chainrings they are:

  • 50/37
  • 48/35
  • 46/33

And the corresponding cassettes are:

  • 10-26
  • 10-28
  • 10-33

Now you can dive into the new SRAM AXS app, which allows you to add each of these components into the app and manage them in bike arrangements. That may sound like an obvious thing to do, but it wasn’t there previously.

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But the real big ticket item here for having a smartphone app at all, is the configuration of eTAP. Previously there was no smartphone app, again, putting them at a disadvantage compared to Shimano which allowed customization of shifting. With AXS though you can start to do some customization akin to what Shimano offers with Syncro Shift.

Within the app there are two basic ‘enhanced’ shifting modes, sequential and compensating:

Sequential: In this mode your shifters change to simply increasing or decreasing how hard your gears are, and eTAP will *automatically* shift the front derailleur as it makes sense from a math standpoint. This gives you easier access to more gears sequentially. Again, same thing Shimano has had.  In this mode you can always hold both shifters at once to front-shift like normal (effectively overriding it). Somewhat interesting here is that when shifting up versus down, it actually makes the jump in slightly different spots depending on the direction you’re going up/down the cassette.

Compensating: In this configuration, when you manually shift the front derailleur, the unit will automatically compensate by shifting one or two additional cogs in the back, depending on how you have it configured. The idea here is to ‘soften’ the blow between big and small ring shifts up front.

Here’s how this looks in the app:

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Now – to be really clear: These are *optional* modes. You can turn this all off and just shift like you always have. Simple as that.

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Next, as part of the ability to tweak eTAP configuration, you can also re-assign any of the buttons to different features. For example, you can instantly swap if you want the left paddle to make it harder instead of easier. Or you can tweak what happens when you dual-paddle hold. The world is your oyster. Well, sorta.

It’s not the same oyster yet as Shimano. Burger King this is not. As of today there is no ability, for example, to use some of the extra buttons as controls for your Garmin device, as there is on Shimano already. It does sound like this is in the works though, but SRAM is focused on getting AXS out the door first, and then will circle back on that.

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Within the app is where you’ll be able to configure exactly what type of cassette you’ve got. That’s key of course for SRAM to be able to do the math for the compensating and sequential shifts correctly. If one had inputted their cassette wrong, it would likely result in a non-smooth shifting situation.

Finally, the same ‘security’ rules that were in place for the original eTAP apply here with the addition of Bluetooth Smart. Previously, all components could only be connected to one other set of components. Meaning, the derailleurs would only talk to a single set of shifters at a time, thus preventing someone from pairing up an extra set and overriding someone mid-race. In order to complete that setup you had to press the physical button on the shifter/derailleur itself to start the pairing process. This forced someone to have physical access to the bike.

The same is true with the phone app as well. The Bluetooth side of SRAM eTAP components only allows a single phone to be paired at a time. To wipe that pairing and add a new phone you’ve got to press the button on your components. One twist to this though is that SRAM stores the information in an online platform account you create. That doesn’t however have any bearing on the requirement to re-pair any new physical phone to the bike, as the online account is just saving settings information at this point.

So, to recap things a bit before moving on, there are technically three networks at play within this version of eTAP:

Airea: This is used for all control messages (SRAM component to SRAM component command messages), for things like shifting. In other words, anything that’s a command to do something from a control (like shift or dropper post) standpoint exclusively uses this protocol.

BLE (Bluetooth Smart): This is used for all smartphone app communication, including configuration and firmware. BLE is never used to actually command a component action (shift nor dropper), it’s purely for configuration and firmware updates of SRAM components.  For example when Quarq rolls out DZero firmware updates, it’ll happen via BLE.

ANT: This is for head units to talk to SRAM components, but specifically on the rear derailleurs and Reverb only. So your Garmin for example won’t actually talk to SRAM over BLE or Airea, but only ANT+ (using the ANT+ Gear Shifting protocol). And specifically for shifting, it only discusses things with the rear derailleur, which knows the state of both front and rear. This is a notable design decision because in cases like a mountain 1x setup where you have no front derailleur, it’ll continue to work well from a design standpoint. If on a 2x setup you lose the battery on the rear, you’ll cease receiving ANT+ updates to your Garmin for shifting. Again, *no control* or configuration occurs over ANT+.

Here you can see the pairing process in the app:

image image

Finally, before we dive too much further, this is as good a place as any to drop the full price list:

image

And speaking of dropping things, I know some of you would love to see the full press deck that was handed out. In actuality there was like 1.8GB of stuff given to press. Most of it things like high-resolution imagery, but also a number of really interesting decks.

There’s basically three documents/presentations that I found interesting out of all of them. The first two are the super technical FAQ ones. One for road, and one for mountain. If you’re looking for a nuanced answer that I might not have covered in this post (especially for gearing/selections), it’s probably in these.

First, here’s the road FAQ (the technical one), uploaded in easy imagery for quick browsing:

Then here’s the Eagle (off-road) technical FAQ:

And then finally the main SRAM RED AXS presentation. Obviously it’s a finely tuned piece of marketing material, but sometimes there are nuggets in there that aren’t seen elsewhere. There’s also things like weights in there and a bit more on the gearing side that’s slightly outside the realm here. So here’s all those slides for road:

And last but not least, the same for Eagle:

Got all that? Good, let’s keep on chugging.

Impacts to Trainer Compatibility:

DSC_5011

One of the interesting ramifications of this new groupset is the change to the XD (off-road) and XDR (on-road) driver body, which is the piece the cassette attaches to. With that change you’ll likely find that your existing direct drive trainer won’t be compatible with your new bike/groupset.  If you have a wheel-on trainer, then there’s no impact. Remember a direct drive trainer is one where you remove your wheel, like a Wahoo KICKR.

That’s because the spacing and alignment on this new 12-speed cassette means that all trainers produced today are compatible with Shimano and SRAM 9/10/11 speed cassettes, with a handful also compatible with certain Campagnolo configurations. But out of the box 12-speed configuration? Nope-de-nope.

But fear not, there’s a solution for that. I checked with all of the trainer companies and here’s what you can do:

CycleOps: $69 adapter available for Hammer series for both XD and XDR
Elite: $60 adapter planned to be available in the next month for both XD and XDR
Kinetic: $60 adapter available for the R1 (super limited stock of adapter right now though). XDR adapter coming shortly.
Tacx: $71 adapter for XD already, compatible with all FLUX/NEO trainers. XDR adapter expected shortly.
Wahoo: Adapter coming in Q2 2019, price TBD.

(Note: I’ve only focused on direct drive trainers here, since wheel-on trainers don’t matter)

So, all is not lost, but you will have to plunk out just a bit more cash for an adapter. But given how much you’re already throwing down for this new groupset, you probably won’t notice.  But, just don’t forget to order the adapter from your trainer company at the same time. Also, remember to order an extra 12-speed cassette too, so you can put that on your trainer. Otherwise you’ll have a sad panda moment when you go to connect your bike to your trainer.

New Quarq Power Meter:

SRAM-RED-eTAP-AXS-Quarq-Dzero

As part of the change-up to RED AXS, Quarq is pushing out a new power meter as well. Though rather than be a completely new design, this is considered part of the DZero family, and thus all existing DZero power meters will receive the same pile of software features updates. In other words – at the end of the day whether your DZero power meter is 18 months old or bought as part of a new AXS groupset, it’ll have the exact same set of features.

The new RED AXS road power meter comes in three chainring sizes, plus two aero sizes (these are pre-bolted/integrated for more ‘aeroness’). In addition, there’s the 1x variants.

As noted, the unit is exactly the same as the DZero from an electronics standpoint, though of course the physical aspects are slightly different to accommodate the new RED AXS cranksets.

Meanwhile, on the software front the new RED AXS units (and soon all DZero units) will receive the following new features:

– Adding fully automatic zero: Right now you can manually zero your DZero, but Quarq wants to get to the point of, in their words “never touch it, never think about it” calibration type zeroing. Remember they already do the temperature modeling within their ovens during manufacturing.

– Adding ‘rev count’: This counts revolutions of the crank. The idea behind this is to start to do some logic on chainring wear, though it won’t be enabled immediately, likely later this spring. There’s a bit more environmental aspects they want to get right first (i.e. account for poor weather riding meaning more wear than sunny riding). But ultimately, rev count for drivetrain related functions is a better indicator than straight hours/kilometers.

– Adding voltage output for battery: This is primarily a service related item, but can be useful for better determining actual battery life left.

In addition to these features, Quarq will sunset their existing Quarq Qalvin smartphone app and roll everything into the AXS app (even ‘German Compatibility Mode’). This app will carry forward all the exact same features, but add in the ability to manage multiple bikes and the entire electronic existence from a SRAM standpoint (so other devices such as ShockWiz and such).

You can see some of this already in the beta app I tried:

image image image

This has the benefits for shops as well, who are trying to prep bikes with multiple power meters and groupsets around, to keep track of what bike is what. So it’s more than just a consumer-focused thing.  And of course, it’ll allow you to do firmware updates from the app as well.

Note that you should expect this set of features to roll out to both AXS and existing DZero power meters between now and April. There’s a few more things up Quarq’s sleeve for April that I think will really gel together what they’re doing on/in the electronic space. It could be really fascinating if they execute it right – potentially one of the more exciting things I’ve seen hinted at for 2019.

Now, there is one big downside here: With the new chainring and DZero design for AXS, it comes as a single cohesive unit. This means you can’t swap the chainrings anymore. One could posit that means throwing away your power meter when you have to swap chainrings.

But in reality, it’s more of a swap program. SRAM is going to offer swaps for 50% off, so the actual price for a new power meter/chainring in that scenario is $410. Which is expensive, definitely. But not terribly much more than the cost of the dual chainrings anyway, which for AXS is $300 by itself. In other words, you’re paying a $110 tax for what Quarq says is higher accuracy over time because the solidified chainring connection wouldn’t drift any.

Test Ride:

Back to early January while in town for CES 2019, I headed out to the desert (again) to meet up with the Jim Meyer, founder of Quarq (now part of SRAM), and spend the day riding around the warmed asphalt and rocks near the Hoover Dam.  We spent some time going through all of the new features, and then simply riding them.

While I brought my own extra power meter to do some comparisons against, the reality is that with just two power meters you wouldn’t really know who was right or wrong. But, you would be able to spot extreme oddities.  So, to start things off on the power meter front – there were no extreme oddities (data here):

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And the easier to see mean/max graph:

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The two were offset slightly here, but given I only had two units and hadn’t done any settling of the Vector 3 (at all) on this bike, I wouldn’t overthink it.

And here’s the cadence data:

image

In fact, the only thing I’d classify as an extreme oddity on this ride was this herd of bighorn rams grazing in suburbia on the grass of a hotel of some sort:

2019-01-11 13.10.26 2019-01-11 13.10.38

Also in the extreme oddity department on this ride, this is a legitimate department of transportation road-sign in the great state of Arizona, only a few hundred meters from the Hoover Dam near our turnaround point. #NotKidding

2019-01-11 12.00.18 HDR

So what about the shifting side of things? My main interest was the sequential shifting, which meant that it would automatically shift front and back derailleurs by me merely saying I wanted gearing easier or harder. It does the math and then automatically finds the correct next gear.

DSC_4995

Now, this isn’t terribly different from Shimano’s Syncro Shift.  It’s actually sort of a blend of Shimano’s two full and semi modes, since it can be configured to jump either one, or two gears as part of the shift. Whereas in Shimano’s case they offer two distinct modes for that piece. Frankly rather subtle differences.

During my riding with it, it worked exactly as I expected, though it was oddly quite loud between shifts, which you can hear in the video. Since there were only two bikes (mine and Jim’s), it’s unclear if this was just an issue specific to these two bikes or not, but it was definitely noticeable. Way rougher sounding than just normal shifts.

SRAM-RED-AXS-ETAP-12-Speed

Trying out the normal mode where you simply shift using the two shifters like you would have on eTAP previously was exactly as expected (I run eTAP on my primary road bike, so this was totally normal to me).

Note that in either mode you can still manually shift the front ring by just dual-holding the two shifters. This is useful if you’re thinking far enough ahead of the bike to know what you’ll need before the bike knows what you’ll need.  For example, coming into a sprint or something and you just want to be in the big ring now, versus it doing it mid-sprint.

One interesting quirk here was that the Edge 1030 I was using wasn’t correctly understanding the 12-speed nature of the bike. It would only allow me to select 11 rear gears when I had two chainrings in the front. In talking with both Garmin and SRAM about this, they believe the gap is on the Garmin Edge side, and Garmin confirmed they’ve already got the ball rolling to correct it. [Update Mar 3rd, 2019: Garmin has issued a firmware update fix that solves this.]

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Finally, I did play around with the app a bit to see how you could start customizing some of the different functions and mixing various SRAM components together. Because everything is now connected via Bluetooth Smart you can blend different SRAM components from the road and mountain families.  For example, you can take a road groupset and then customize one of the shift functions to control a dropper post, which could be interesting on a gravel setup.  SRAM officially calls that the ‘mullet’ configuration. You can see this in my video as well.

Remember that all of these components are locked to a single master. So you can’t just take-over a buddy’s bike and start pairing parts to yours, unless you’ve physically held down the pairing buttons on his bike while he’s not looking. Which of course, is totally legit. Nothing like popping his dropper post from yours.

The only challenge is that if you were to pair his shifting to your controllers, you’d be SOL on shifting – since you can’t control more than one set of derailleurs from one set of shifters. It’s purposefully 1:1 only.  Of course, none of this has really changed very much from the first generation of eTAP, it’s just that now they’ve added the BLE app pairing for setup/config purposes.

Ultimately I don’t have a ton of rides on it, so this isn’t some sort of full review. Instead, once I’ve had a bike for a longer period I’d be able to dig into longer term impressions.

But for me coming from an eTAP bike as my primary bike, this felt like the relatively perfect incremental update for me from a tech standpoint. It wasn’t a drastic change. And while the terrain on our ride was hilly enough to lend itself well to the 12-speed setup and increased shifting range, I honestly didn’t notice a significant difference in terms of available gears. Perhaps if I were to have ridden an 11-speed setup on the exact same route as part of a weekly ride or something I’d have noticed it, but it’s less likely when the terrain is somewhat foreign to you.

Wrap Up:

SRAM-RED-ETAP-AXS-App

Like any major groupset changes, this one will likely take some time to sink in. There’s a ton of pieces changing here, both on the physical aspects (in terms of cassettes, chains, chainrings, etc…), but also in the smart realm as well when it comes to apps and integration. Obviously, from my standpoint I’m most excited about the electronics side of things, whereas some of you may be more interested in the hardware/gearing aspects.

Still, what’s almost more noticeable is how SRAM is changing their delivery plan here. Unlike with the initial eTAP announcement where availability (or lack thereof) dragged on for many many many months, SRAM has distributors stocked as of today. The same goes for a pile of bike manufactures that have bikes ready to go today with SRAM AXS built into the bikes.  In theory, you should be able to phone up your local bike shop or online retailer and find the SRAM AXS parts you want with immediate availability.

Of course, the best laid plans don’t always pan out – but that’s the theory. I suspect we’ll still see some stock shortages in the near-term, but even if that is the case it’s a significant departure from not only how SRAM has handled in the past, but also Shimano – which can see availability backlogs and delays stretching upwards of a year.  An oft-discussed pain point of many in the bike industry.

As for my full in-depth review of the new AXS system, that’ll probably come later this spring, perhaps tied to some of the planned updates/announcements around the Sea Otter timeframe in April, as that might illuminate a bit more of the entire digital side of the ecosystem.

With that – thanks for reading!

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162 Comments

  1. Shai

    Will there be a firmware update to the 11 speed etap that will allow use of the app and configuration?

  2. Jamie

    Will they discount the price on the original eTap? I’ve been waiting for this announcement to jump on the first version if it was cheaper, I don’t really need 12 cogs.

  3. Shai

    I just saw the price list. They totally lost it…

    • jf

      No bike groupset should cost more than putting an actual motor on the bike.

    • scott g.

      Shimano Esteps motor does talk to Di2 derailers, great building TdF bikes.

    • Chris Garwood

      But just remember that the RRP (which these prices are) for Dura Ace, without power, rim brakes is £3025, you’d be a fool to pay that much as it RRP not a “actual price that you will pay in the shops” (which is > 40% off in real life)

    • If there was a way to +1 you, I would do it. But I could not agree more. The pricing of these groupsets is simply ridiculous. I will stick to my old mechanical shifting.

      The industry has realized that some people will spend crazy sums of money on bike related stuff and have charged accordingly. I mean, check out the cost of the Trek Madone line.. It’s insane ! I won’t be buying any of this.

    • Sebastian

      True, prices are just too ridiculous. Comparing modern bicycle prices to modern e-Scooters such as NIU N or M I feel kind of betrayed …you will easily get TWO fully connected Scooters for the price of just ONE a electrified Groupset… unbelievable, isn‘t it?!?

  4. John

    46/33?

    Fail.

    A gravel subcompact needs to support 46/30 at the bare minimum. The groupset may be all new, but SRAM’s inability to manufacture a decent front derailleur is as sucktacular as ever.

    • Dr_LHA

      Isn’t the answer to use a mountain crankset for a gravel bike to get that 30T front cog? Seems like this new system allows you to mix and match mountain and road components, so you could use a mountain crankset and FD.

      I guess there could be chain line issues?

    • Jim

      And only a 33 tooth cassette, so unless you go 1x, only a 1:1 ratio. No way my legs are doing a gravel race like Crusher in the Tushar with a 1:1. And then those chainrings are part of the powermeter if you go the Quarq route, so disposable PM (granted they’ll replace them for half price, but not sure half of which price) and gritty / conditions chewing through them fast. Absolute non-starter for me.

    • jf

      The bigger crime is the 10t gear. You don’t need 35mph of gearing for gravel. With 12 gears, what do you need 2x for on a bike that can’t use the top end speed and aren’t worried about .5lb of weight? You’re better off in that scenario using a 1×12 with a 10-42 cassette. You’ll have more reliability, less bouncy chain, better shifting, etc. I get 6mph to 28mph on 10sp 42t x 12-34 in nice steps. Weight is the same as 2×10 11-28 and wheel weight near the hub is no big deal.

    • youpmelone

      I need the 10t, and the 46/30 I already have. With DI2 dura ace I ride 46/30 (rotor) 10/42 without adapters. This better get me to 10/46 else no SRAM.

      (yes no one needs the big range.. like no one needs a bike. I do long offroad climbs consistenly over 15% for hours. range is nice..)

  5. Ian

    Nobody has been mentioning the throw away nature of the power meter on the most expensive version of the Red ETAP AXS crankset. The rings and power meter are one non-separable unit that bolts to the crank using the standard Quark spline pattern. That is going to be one hell of an expensive chainring replacement.

    Pic of the back side of the Power Meter here: link to imagizer.imageshack.com

    • Technically it’d be a swap of the whole power meter. SRAM is offering a 50% discount for swaps of the unit, so the price is $410, or ‘only’ about $100 more than the SRAM AXS chainring would cost solo (non power meter users).

      Still nuts though.

    • Ian

      Cycling tips covered it: link to cyclingtips.com

      Power meter/chainring unit is $820, Sram offers a replacement program where you send in the old one and you get a replacement for half off, so $410. Kinda steep for anyone looking to keep the bike long term-ish. Maybe/probably fine for racers that are flipping bikes every or every other season.

    • Keith Wakeham

      Okay. So I’m not the only one who thinks this is crazy. But with how the groupset market works doesn’t surprise me. In the EU I never see anyone with a groupset older than 3 years. It’s very strange. Anecdotal but on hundreds of rides it’s strange.

    • Keith, that’s cause you’re in Italy. 😉 Go to France and try and find anyone with a group younger than 3 years. 🤣

    • mike

      Agree, also what about using a bike for CX and gravel? That requires very different gearing for myself personally. That becomes quite expensive with this system. I do hope Quarq continues to make power meters that are non integrated in this fashion. I want to be able to make different gearing choices before races.

    • Lee Sutton

      Making a power meter consumable is ridiculous!

      The 50% trade in is all well and good but a) by my calculations you’re adding $100 to each chain ring change which is absurd and b) you’re essentially gambling on the replacement power meter not being more expensive. Plus that is a hideous looking chainset!

    • Eli

      Besides hoping they keep the trade in program going (They aren’t clear that this is permanent) there is the other issue where you want to keep your bike running and see you’re close to needing new rings. Close but not there yet. With normal rings you just get the rings when its convenient and maybe a good price to stick somewhere. Then when you do think its time you just swap them then. With a trade in you don’t really have that ability to wait. If the rings look like they are worn but you really can get a good amount of mileage out of them you just wasted money changing too early.

    • Lee Sutton

      Yep, it’s the most stupid idea I’ve ever heard of!

    • Robert

      I’m one of the weirdos keeping bikes forever (in the process of finally doing a 7-sp to 10-sp upgrade on my 30 yr-old antique that I use on my trainer), and I can just see 5-10 years down the line where “we don’t make that part anymore” means you either have to run with worn-out rings or turn the whole thing into a boat anchor. Cassettes, chains and rings are consumables. Making any of these non-replaceable is about as smart as requiring a brake caliper swap to change pads.

      Simple question: what do you do with your bike during the power meter swap? I assume they don’t advance-ship?

  6. Gareth

    Can you program this so it will be 11 speed compatible? Instantly solves the trainer problem and is also compatible with old 11 speed equipment as well as the 12 speed stuff.

    • At present the app only allows you to select one of three 12s cassettes.

    • Gareth

      I see from James Huang’s review that even if it could be programmed, the different chain size and teeth profile mean this wouldnt work anyway. Seems like a lot of money for something which isnt compatible for anything else…

    • Mark

      Ray,

      I assume it only limits you to those three cassettes when in a 2x setup. Otherwise you can do the two mountain cassettes too with a 1x.

      Or would it not want to deal with the 11×50 NX Eagle cassette? That seems to be the only way to get into SRAM 12 speed with a Shimano cassette body.

  7. Keith Wakeham

    I think it’s worth noting that when the chainrings wear out you throw out the pm. Really? We’re to disposable PMs now?

  8. Ali Engin

    I stopped reading after the price list.

  9. Guy

    $4000 RRP for the disk brake version with a disposable power meter sounds utterly obscene. I fail to see how the benefits justify the cost of upgrading.

  10. Alex N

    Thanks for the Info.

    I have one question in regards to people who already have a high end powermeter crank, like I have a THM M3 and a SRM Origin one that are setup with the current Etap- Will these work with the new groupset?

    In a sense do I just need to swap over the chainrings (praxisworks) to the correct gearing such as 48/35 to make them compatible with the new chain and groupset? Question of course is if praxisworks makes them in that sizing, or if I have to buy the full groupset and take the Chainrings of it and install it on my current powermeter to make it compatible?

    Does that make any sense?

    • H.A.

      No, won’t work unless you get chainrings specific to the new ETAP (which at the moment are only available from SRAM). Reason is different chain with new spacing, tooth length etc.

  11. Jomo

    Hi DC, do you know if the road AXS brifters will be compatible with the Eagle AXS rear derailleur? Could make for an excellent 1x gravel setup. Thanks.

  12. Peter

    I know the cassette is incompatible but is the chain also incompatible with all existing cassettes. If not you can use existing cassette in ERG mode and never shift gears. Which is what many of us do now.

  13. Henry Harper

    Yes, the disposable PM and pricing are nuts. No incentive to upgrade my 3 Quarq/Shimano mechanical 10/11s bikes. But I also think you mean Monty Hall and not Monty Python 🙂

  14. I didn’t see any mentions for TT clics and blimps? Is it compatible with current model?
    So, if I want to upgrade a TT bike I just need to buy the new bimpbox, front/rear derailleurs, cassette (is it compatible with normal freewheels?) and chain?

    • DaMaDo

      I’m curous about this also, because if it’s compatible with current blips, it should be compatible with current shifters right? I would love to be able to upgrade just the RD and FD. The shifters just send a simple signal. It doesn’t need the upgraded comm that the FD has. I don’t want to buy shifters and have to redo the brake lines. The whole purpose of this for me is just swapping out the FD and RD without running any lines. If I have to run brake lines every time I want to upgrade, I might as well just get Di2….then again upgrades there won’t have to run any lines again.

    • Charles Rush

      They said in one of the reveals somewhere that the shifters have been improved for better braking and modulation. I say who has complained, and who really cares because the current levers work just fine. I don’t believe that one. They are using the same hydraulic calipers. I say we demand satisfaction and Sram be held to a higher standard which would mean loyalty to the customer base. They included a USB Dongle in the group package for upgrades, what, now they are just saying screw that idea? I am currious to see what parts of the AXS group can ultimately wind up being compatible. Only time will tell once home mechanics and tinkerers get their hands on it. Obviously Sram isn’t going to tell the truth.

  15. Ty

    If I’m not mistaken it looks like the weight of Sram’s new 2x disc system is 2,520g where as Shimano’s DA disc system weighs around 2385g. I know there is an additional cog at on the cassette, but I’m surprised that Sram’s groupset now weighs more than Shimano’s. I wonder if that will influence any purchasing decisions despite Sram having an extra cog?

    • Tim Parker

      I would imagine the 135g difference between two 2x hydraulic disc groupsets will have the same purchasing effect it normally has.

  16. dave campbell

    So, will one be able to buy the cassette, and use it on a new bike build with a mechanical setup? I have yet to hear a person say their electronic stuff, which costs lots of money, has made them faster, unless you consider they weigh less since they have less in their wallet. Currently buying a new QRfour disc with my first 11 speed setup. So reading there is now 12 speed, well, sure would love to make this mechanical setup a 12 speed 10-33 setup mechanical if this was technically possible.

  17. JKozachek

    Hi Ray Great summary. It appears that most of the 12 speed hardware is not backward compatible with any of the 11 speed etap…. but can you clarify if the AXS software will work with the 11 speed etap or etap wifli? may have missed it but cant seem to find an answer…. also… dont see the software on the IOS app store yet. Doesn’t look like it based on the chain ring and cassette choices…

    • No, unfortunately not as there’s no Bluetooth in existing eTAP.

    • Charles Rush

      The etap app may be cool for some people but not me. I like the shifting of my etap just the way it is. I have enough buttons to push and things to remember to tweak before I go out for a ride as it is. Apps most of the time are just bloatware anyway IMO.

  18. JKozachek

    update:

    App just populated in the IOS app store in the US….but appears only to search for AXS components….bummer. Sequential shifting on the 11 speed system would have been nice.

  19. NG

    One of the big factors between Di2 and Etap (as I’ve been told) is how responsive the shifting is, with Etap having a noticeable lag. Did you notice any difference in shift latency?

    • I know some talk about that, but I personally don’t notice it. I have both a Di2 bike and an eTAP bike of my own, and both are more than fast enough for me.

    • Arnaud L'Hôte

      Hi, I just received mine and from the first rides I see no issue at the back but I am very disappointed with the front. The shifting is worse than on my manual SRAM Red.There definitely is a big lag.
      Plus I seem to have a problem with shiting from small to big ring every other time.
      I am using sequential shift at the moment.
      Next I will take it back to a mech for checking.

      Any similar experience ?

    • Charles Rush

      I don’t have the AXS group and won’t buy it, but I do have the Road Red eTap WiFli and yup, shifting is slow with that group too. I hit the lever to shift and I’d say to myself “well, when are you going to shift”. I notice the teeth on Sram’s big ring are cut down lower instead of peaking at the point or top. Compared to Campagnolo which has more material for teeth. I know this is done by Sram to aide the shifting because I installed a Tune chainring which had sharp teeth and it wouldn’t shift properly at all. I used my dremmel tool to grind down the points to match Sram’s and the shifting was just as good as the Sram. Ultimately I see this as a downside because the life of the Sram chainring can no way match the life of the Campy rings. I like the electronic shifting but I doubt I would buy Sram again. It will be Shimano or Campy my next groupset.

  20. Jesper

    I watched in GCN video first, and got worried about the max speed/gear ratio, with only a 50T as the biggest ring. They didn’t show the ratio chart. But that 10T on the cass is really magic…

    Next is the low gear. Can you mix and match as you like. So have 50/37 rings with the 10-33 cassette??

  21. rob

    Shimano must be jumping for joy at this. I get system integration but the rest is just nuts. First the cost, second having to bin the powermeter when you need to chainge the chainrings, third the requirement for an XDR driver for wheelset, so you’ll have to update any wheels you have or accept you can’t switch. At least with 11sp all cassettes were compatible. Lastly in the world of marginal gains on the road why an earth would you want to go with a 50 for the largest chainring and a 10 on the cassette which would be less efficient than running a 53/11, are people then going to add on ceramic speed jockey wheels.

  22. Rai

    Typo or am I just not getting it… end of the power meter section…
    “because the chainring connection wind drift any.”

  23. I was looking forward to this release though that excitement just dwindled with the lack of backwards compatibility with current ETap setups which I have on several bikes.

    Specifically I was hoping to get happy with a “clutch” 1x etap setup for cross. Been running the now old Etap 1x with decent luck but it gets wonky on gravel.

  24. Alex

    Ray, is there a possibility of re-programming the current eTap shifters to go from 11s to 12s?

  25. Eli

    Is it compatible with Proshift?
    link to dcrainmaker.com
    link to proshiftracing.com

    (Wish there was a connect iq app for this which would require the electronic shifters to support some way of doing ant+ input)

  26. Martin

    “4) Power meter: Integrated or later upgradeable?” – how works this later upgrade?

    “The new RED AXS road power meter comes in three chainring sizes, plus two aero sizes (these are pre-bolted/integrated for more ‘aeroness’)” – only aero PM has integrated rings?

    • Robert

      You change the chainrings, and you get a powermeter with it 😉

      All kidding aside, as far as I understand all configs have “integrated” (i.e. impossible to replace) chainrings. This is for the market that changes bikes when things get worn out.

    • Robert

      Reading the SRAM FAQ, the 1x cranksets appear to allow chainring replacement (using Torx T30 bolts), it’s the 2x that is non-swappable.

  27. Justin

    So, SRAM shipped a USB dongle in a box with thousands of etap groups for it never to be used for upgrading on the last generation etap. Are they just going to ignore that whole part in the “it’s hard without bluetooth” to make backwards compatibility a thing? indexing died on mechanical groups, electronic should easily be upgradable.

    • Charles Rush

      Justin, glad you noticed that and posted it here. This is why I’m bitching so much about the new group. I don’t see why the ETap shift levers I have couldn’t shift 12 increments verses 11 since it’s just a electronic switch sending an input to the derailleurs to make a movement.

  28. Martin A Hannon

    So when is Shimano due for a big announcement and improvements? Surely their power meter units need the next revisions released after their first stab?

  29. Richard Coleman

    I downloaded the SRAM AXS app for my iPhone and pointed it at my Quarq Zero. I was able to create an account, add a bike profile, and see the device. Although the app looks slick, the human factors of the app are not good.

    1. It’s not clear whether the slider showing a particular color means that feature (autozero, cadence direction, etc) is turned on or off. I figured out that red means “on”, but was counterintuitive.
    2. One of the features (cadence direction) seems to indicate the opposite value that I see on Calvin.

    Just seeing simple text “on/off” or “forward/reverse” is much nicer. But it probably wasn’t sexy enough looking for the product manager.

    I assume all this will be cleaned up in time though. And I look forward to the new features coming to my DZero.

    Richard

  30. Jonathan

    Where’s the video that I can hear the loud shifts?

  31. Hayden

    I’m interested to know if they have done anything special to the front derailleur to allow their 46t & 48t front chainrings to work with the braze on mount for most frames. Currently the lowest that you can get a front mech is to a 50t chainring. Hope there is something been thought of otherwise it’s going to be an epic fail!

  32. Pete Hanson

    Thanks. Useful comparisons with Shimano Di2/E-tube.

  33. Patrick

    Any info/thoughts on the Force version, they mentioned April?

  34. Sim

    The pricing is an absolute joke. Not so much because it is high, but because they’ve seemingly not looked at current exchange rates. It’s $650 more basically in the UK.

    • While I agree on pricing being high, one thing to keep in mind when comparing regional prices is the warranty periods and in some cases VAT/taxes inclusions. The EU mandates 2 years, whereas the US typically sees only one year of warranty on products and doesn’t include any taxes.

    • Eli

      SRAM has a two year from purchase date warranty policy on all products

      link to sram.zendesk.com

      So pretty sure the warranty is the same

    • Graham

      I’ve been considering eTap HRD as an upgrade to my 105/Ultegra mechanical mix. I can get eTap wifli for £1400 (granted keeping my current chainset and cassette) or spend £3400 on AXS. That’s crazy. I wanted sequential but right now this pricing is pushing me towards either Wifli or Ultegra DI2.

  35. Paul S.

    This is not the power meter I’m looking for…
    I was surprised by the announcement today, and for a moment worried that I had made a mistake ordering an Easton PM, but then I read the press… the power meter is going to need to come down an additional $2-300 before being disposable is justifiable. I had assumed this was a DM power meter from the photos, and I guess the crankset is DM, but not how I thought the power meter would work. I know Quarq’s expertise is focused on spider-based PMs, so less surprising in hindsight.

    I’m honestly 10x as interested in the mountain bike version, where I can still upgrade a non AXS Eagle bike to AXS for just a new derailleur and shift button. The road version just doesn’t offer a gearing combo that is an improvement over anything readily available, and the prices are eye watering.

  36. BH

    Ray – in the video, it seemed like you were suggesting that there was some adjustment it could do to the seat post on the stumpjumper. Did I misunderstand that?

  37. max

    It would be interesting how the etap axs will work with other 12 speed cassettes. What happens when you use a shimano 12 speed cassette? Is the cog spacing different? And cheaper cassettes like Sun Race could be a solution for freehub incompatibilities.
    If everything is digital the owner should get all the advantages and not have a limited system. If it is only software wise, it should be possible to dial in the exact tooth layouts of other cassettes.
    Also for races and neutral service cars it would help if there is also cross conpatibility or even a 11-speed fallback mode. A puncture at the rear and they need half a docen different spare wheel brands. Just Campa vs. Shimano was a lot easier.

  38. t

    Aside from the absolutely obscene pricing, what volume are they going to have to sell to make up for the free units used by Trek and Katusha? There is a price after all.

    This has lots of “golly gee whiz” features that really do not contribute to making a ride more fun or better or easier. Does anyone really need to be able to reconfigure how their shifting works?

    Last, what will parts availability be like in say 5 years when the stuff is worn out but they have something newer and “better”? Good luck getting stuff to keep it running.

    I like Sram stuff a lot but they really missed the boat on this IMO.

    • Dave Lusty

      “Does anyone really need to be able to reconfigure how their shifting works?”

      It’s not always about needs. Nobody needs a car. We didn’t need to fly to the moon. I didn’t need a carbon frame. There are lots of things we do just because they are nicer/better/fun and there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂

    • Charles Rush

      Parts availability is a concern of mine too, because I bought the Sram ETap HRD WiFli group a year ago. Is Sram continuing to produce those parts or when whichever part wears out first will I have to trash everything and spend $4000 for a new group so I can ride my bike again. At my age and after spending the amount I spent on my group I really don’t plan on ever buying a whole group set again.

    • Charles Rush

      Parts availability is a concern of mine too, because I bought the Sram ETap HRD WiFli group a year ago. Is Sram continuing to produce those parts or when whichever part wears out first will I have to trash everything and spend $4000 for a new group so I can ride my bike again. At my age and after spending the amount I spent on my group I really don’t plan on ever buying a whole group set again.

  39. Peter

    Excel Sports has their 11 speed eTap groups discounted.

    link to excelsports.com

    • Charles Rush

      Look at Excel Sports Sram Group offerings, what’s included in the box, you see a USB Dongle for upgrades? That’s something that added cost and we never got to use. They totally dropped the ball there and screwed their own customer base.

    • A firmware update don’t add Bluetooth hardware. So that piece isn’t going to happen.

      However, a firmware update could have added some sort of ANT+ configuration via desktop or even a Garmin Connect IQ app.

      And to be fair also, the point of the USB adapter was in case there was partially a need to address bugs, which turns out there wasn’t.

  40. Neo.e92

    Even if i have been wanting to support American companies by buying their products, it is stuff like this that forces me and many that i know of to look the other way.

    Most recently was Wahoo with those trainer failures, then now this from Sram. They may succeed with this kind of pricing model, but i for one ain’t buying it.

  41. andrejs

    These prices are insane!

    Cost of gear like this is what made me drop cycling and stick to running alone. Not worth it, even as an occasional upgrade and much less a new setup.

    • Robert

      Well, the Cannondale SystemSix is $11,500 with Dura-Ace Di2 and $10,000 with eTap AXS, so maybe not quite as insane as it’s made out to be.

      And to be clear, I have 4 Di2 bikes and a SystemSix Di2 on order, so I’m not biased toward SRAM. But the numbers are the numbers, at least in this case.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Happy to take one of your Di2 bikes off your hands when your SystemSix arrives!

      🙂

    • MacroPhotoFly

      I have a funny feeling Cannondale have their launch numbers wrong or are getting a cheaper stream from SRAM. Their SystemSix with eTap AXS is $2,000 cheaper than the equivalent Trek and Specialised models (models that have nearly identical ticket prices when D-A Di2 is spec’d).
      So whilst I don’t think insanity is ruled out by your evidence vs evidence from other bike manufacturers, I do think the Cannondale seems to be a way you could get into this groupset with only selling one kidney rather than two 🙂

    • MacroPhotoFly

      …and its taken me a while to spot it but you are not comparing like for like. The SuperSix with eTap AXS doesn’t come with a Power meter – that’s the non-PM eTap groupset it has on the left bike, compared to the D-A Di2 with PM
      $10k for bike without a PM. hmmmmm

    • Robert

      Good eye! I missed that. However the “PM” that comes on the Di2 bike is an inactive P2Max NG Eco – you have to pay ~$400 to activate it. Until you do that, it’s just a really heavy crankset spider.

  42. Jim Grant

    Thanks so much for the above review. I can always count on you to give me realistic and honest feedback re: new products in cycling. I will watch out for on-going updates of this new system. I am currently looking to purchase a new endurance bike, and this system looks particularly attractive in the 46/33, 10/33 configuration. You see, I am an old guy (age 63) who tried out Phil’s Fondo last October with my grown son and literally got stopped in my tracks on the steeper climbs because I just couldn’t turn the crank any more with a 50/34, 11/28 setup. Again, thank you. jimg

    • dave campbell

      I am 62 and have used on all my bike a 50/34 11/32 for every one of them. Crank length also impacts gearing.

    • This 12 speed is a lot of hype with relatively little practicality. @Dave of course you are correct. A combo of 34 small ring and a cassette (available in Shimano 105) that goes to 34 offers a 1:1 gear ratio. The 46/33 crank with a 10/33 cassette offers the same 1:1 ratio. It will not be any easier to turn the cranks! The 12 speed seems like it’s fixing a problem that doesn’t exist… the spacing between gears needing to be closer? If it were offered in a road Eagle (50t cassette) option, or even 42t or 46t, then maybe there’d be an argument.

      @Jim another option for easier peddaling on tough climbs, use a 650b wheelset instead of 700c. People are afraid of running out of gears (and looking “uncool”), but at 110rpm (should be the high end of sustainable cadence at least for a couple minutes) top speed with a 650b and 50-11 combo is 36.9mph. Compared to a 700c wheel, which is 39.2mph, there is not a huge top end loss (especially for non-competitive rides).You are also getting a lighter wheel (smaller) that should provide faster acceleration, easier climbing, and more durability (shorter spokes).

      You can play with gear ratios, wheel/tire size and bike speed calculations here: link to bikecalc.com

    • Youpmelone

      Though I am European I know every street of that fondo. I’d recommend to go shimano dura ace di2, with a rotor crank 46/30 and 11 40 cassette. Di2 shifts this flawless without adapters.

  43. Kevin

    Is there a big enough difference between the AXS and DZERO power meters to justify one over the other? Chainring compatibility seems like the big one, just curious if there’s more.

  44. Leonardo

    What about the aero version on 1x ?!

    I am wondering how much gear the average triathlete will lose on that (i am worried since i tend to use very light gear uphill) any thoughts on that ?!

  45. Tom Eschenbrenner

    Like your reviews

  46. Dommelsch

    I would like to use Eagle AXS on my MTB, but the 10-50T cassette is rediculous where I ride (Netherlands). My current setup uses a 1x 11 speed using a 11-32 cassette (because of the much smaller differences (tooth gaps) between de gears.
    Question: is the XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur compatible with the Red AXS 10-33 cassette?

  47. Markus Lang

    Hi, would 6ou recommend to buy the version with the powermeter included, oder the standard version and to include the powermeter aftereards,?

    How long, or how many km do

    • Would depend on whether you wanted a power meter. But I’d think that if I was planning on getting a power meter in a few months time (or really, anytime soon), I’d just get it over with and start benefiting from the power meter.

  48. Thomas

    My SRAM Rival 1×11 has a 10-42 cassette on a XD Driver. Is this driver body compatible to this new groupset? So I could just change rear mech, cassette and brifter and make it work?

  49. John Withrow

    Thanks Ray, always love your reviews, and always go through your site to get on Amazon to try to support what you do!

    I have a brand new DZero PM that I literally bought a month ago in 162.5mm. Given that none of the new AXS options are short enough for me, will there be a set of chainrings I can put on my DZero to make it compatible with the AXS?

    I think the answer is no, but will the new Blip box be compatible with the old 11-spd eTap (would love the smaller size if I end up keeping my old 11-spd stuff).

    How long do you think it will be until there is a compatible 10-40 Cassette or similar. I want to run 1x, but the current 33 bail-out gear on the biggest cassette isn’t big enough and going with a 10-50 just seems silly big (and extra heavy).

    So you know the difference in weight between the road version RD and the Mountain bike version RD (to actually be able to use the 10-50 Cassette)?

  50. Alistair Adams

    50/34 with 11-28 11-speed cassette => range 32.8″ to 122.7″
    46/33 with 10-28 12-speed cassette => range 31.8″ to 124.2″

    That’s almost a negligible improvement in range. Ray, next time you meet someone from SRAM, ask them why they made the difference in big/little chainrings smaller. The overlap is such that there are really only 16 different gear sizes which is the same as for an 11-speed setup.

  51. MacroPhotoFly

    Can I please confirm that in order to have an XDR Driver, you are going to need new wheels?
    No one seems to be mentioning this and I am unclear if road wheels that currently use an XD Driver can just have the driver swapped over to an XDR (I suspect not as I read some where the XDR is wider)?

    • OS

      You will just need an XDR driver, most brands will have something suitable available.

      Lots of brands use DT swiss internals on their hubs, Zipp wheels from ~2012, Mavic, White Indusctries, Chris King etc all have options.

  52. brian

    So much wrong with this picture, mixed in with some good stuff. One question (everyone has already covered everything pretty well): I thought that there were efficiency gains in using larger chainrings so (regardless of the change to 12 spd), isn’t there a large loss of efficiency here? There is data (forget where, maybe the old FrictionFacts site) that shows the difference in efficiency between 53 and 39; it would be interesting to see some data on such a thing, although I don’t know who would take the time to do such lab based testing.

  53. slowslowman

    Track cycling and BMX applicant told us bigger ring+cog is more efficient than smaller ring+cog.
    For 4X gear ratio, 56x14T better than 52x13T, 48x12T.
    Nobody will use 11T Cog in track racing.

    Friction facts quantify the difference between ring sizes by lab tests in 2015.

    With AXS gear ratio, 2Watts will be expected to lose.

    Sram is brave, clever and willing to take risk. They are confident in their marketing team.

  54. Charles Rush

    Not that I’m expecting to buy the AXS group because everything about it is disturbing to me, but trainer compatibility. DCR, I know you gave a list of the companies that said they will offer the XDR driver body, but question is when. I have a Neo and have been waiting more than a year for a better axle adapter from Tacx. The one I want is already being shipped with the new Neo 2 but when I inquired about it @ Tacx before Christmas they said it would be available on their website soon. It is still not available. Seems like the bike industry is developing stuff faster than we can keep up sort of like electronics and computers. By the time you collect what you need it’s obsolete. I finally was able to get the ETap HRD WiFli group a year ago and it’s obsolete already.

    • “DCR, I know you gave a list of the companies that said they will offer the XDR driver body, but question is when.”

      I’m not sure I follow? It lists the dates/times in that same section for everyone.

      For Tacx, the tiny bit of extra information I’ve got on their XDR is that they noted last week that they shipped out the first batch of XDR to their sponsored teams the week prior, and then expect to list the XDR driver bodies on the site in the next week or two for everyone else to purchase.

      Cheers.

  55. Don

    Any reason you can mix-match ring/cassette combinations, so instead of 35/48 with 10/28, running a 33/46 with the 10-28?

    I run a 34/50 11/28 combination now and the latter (33/46 10/28) gives me a tiny bit more top and bottom gear.

    Thanks,
    Don

  56. Jim H.

    I read something on the SRAM website (although I can find it now) that implied the AXS front derailleur did micro-adjustments based on which cog you’re on in the rear cassette (like Di2). Did you notice if that was the case on you’re test ride? Also do you have any insight as to how this group would work with Rotor Q-Rings? I have Q-Rings with the original etap and have struggled to set it up so the yaw derailleur doesn’t rub. Looking forward to the in-depth review in a few months.

  57. Ray,

    I’m not really seeing any discussion of this anywhere else so I figure I’ll ask here. Is AXS still compatible with 10/11 speed cranksets?

    SRAM’s support page looks like they are actively avoiding any backward compatibility discussion other than pitch of the 1x and 2x cranksets. link to sram.zendesk.com

    Or Q-factor which is the same – link to sram.zendesk.com

    Many of your readers will have NO need to upgrade their cranksets, as they’re already rocking a power meter, and those upgrade kits that are available NOW without the cassette still look mighty tasty. Granted, I’d rather spend force money, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

    Their descriptions of the teeth of the chainrings and the new chain lead me to believe that some tweaking may be required, so if there are any 3rd party chainring manufacturers with plans on releasing aftermarket AXS-compatible rings, please speak up as well. I just asked praxisworks and they haven’t tested their chainrings yet.

    All the best.

  58. William Dove

    With the new AXS chain having a different roller diameter to that of existing 12 speed chains, I understand the AXS chain rings and cassette cogs will have a slightly different tooth profile to current cassettes/chain rings that are available. My question is whether or not the gap, or horizontal distance, between the two chainrings on the new AXS crankset/chainring, is the same as that of the current Red crankset/chainring. If aftermarket chainrings of 110/5 BCD with 48/35 teeth combination and a tooth profile to match the AXS chain became available, would I be able to use an existing SRAM or aftermarket crankset, with the AXS groupset?

    • Charles Rush

      If you are like me, talented and a master with a dremel tool you can make it work. I use Tune chainrings on my Sram Red crankset and to get them to shift smoothly I have to grind away material so that they match the tooth profile of the Sram dinner plate. I’m fairly certain I could make the new Sram Red crankset work with common 11 speed chains but I still can’t get around that price tag. I won’t buy any of the AXS group.

  59. Wayne buckley

    Can you run the rear deralieur and new blip box with TT shifters as an 11Speed 1x groupset?

  60. Johan

    Is the only Power Meter option the Integrated Quarq with the AXS? If I am currently running a Power2Max 5 bolts Spider, are there any way I can still use that?

  61. Will

    Hey man, I contacted wahoo about compatibility problem you listed above and they recommend getting a sunlite 12s cassette that is an 11-50. They don’t have one with the same gearing available, but I use erg mode and the bike works great on the trainer.

  62. Alexander Polizzi

    Would I need to change my wheel hubs? or get all new wheels. OR does the 12speed cassette fit on 11speed wheels.

    If you need to replace a whole wheel range life gets VERY expensive.

  63. Jeff

    With the release of Force level AXS came another new quarq version. Interestingly this new version is listed as spider only for $599. The identical (as best I can tell) in function old DZero spider has been selling for $679. Should I expect a small price reduction across the quarq lineup? Or is this just a weird quirk (like what I did there?) in the product line?

  64. Mike

    Is there any update on Garmin function.

    Can blips be added to scroll through the screen in same way as the hidden di2 ones?
    Or do you have to press the buttons on the unit?

    Will miss not checking maps while needing to hold the bars on bumpy gravel.

  65. Mark Richter

    Hi Ray. You mention you use etap as standard. Could you please test something for me? I’d love to know if the new blipbox is compatible with the old kit. I want to swap my old blipbox for the new one if it will work.

  66. Aaron

    Great article! Maybe this is a dumb question, but does anyone know if you need a longer chain length for a larger rear cassette? I have the 10-28 but want to add the 10-33 and wondering if the chain length will be an issue.

  67. Jhonny Ringo

    Would I be able to use an XO1 AXS rear derailleur with my 11 speed Sram Red etap shifters?

  68. Daymon Shack

    As always it’s a solid info packed description. One question if you don’t mind please, is the AXS power meter crankset usable on a Shimano drivetrain?
    Thanks for any help with this.

  69. Carlos Petricioli

    Any updates on the Trainer compatibility? I am about to buy a new trainer and my bike has etap AXS so I need the trainer to be compatible with xdr.

    Also, does the Tacx Neo 2 or the Kickr 2018 supports a 12*142mm Thru axle without a thru axle adapter? I am a bit worried that the adapter might damage the frame by sitting directly into the carbon in the drive side.

  70. Martin Hillbrand

    According to trainer compability: can you run the road-system (AXS with new 12x chain) with a 12x NX Eagle cassette which does not require XD body? Shifting limited to 33 or sth…

  71. Howe

    SRAM webside says RED AXS power meter is “Power balance measures left and right legs separately”. How is this achieved?

  72. Flo

    Hi everyone, I’ve updated my Sram Red Etap axs derailleurs and shifters several times now. First from 2.3.2 to 2.3.5 and today to 2.3.7 (shifters to 2.3.6), I believe. Does anyone know what these updates fixed/improved. I couldn’t find a changelog anywhere online.

    Cheers, Flo

    • Charles Rush

      Wait, let me get this straight. You update your firmware/ software and you don’t know why? Makes sense now why you spent that kind of money on a groupset to begin with.

    • Aaron Bush

      Rather than berate you for not knowing this I’ll make an actual suggestion. I wasn’t able to find details on the firmware updates either. I have had to call SRAM before for technical questions and they were super helpful. Their number is 1-800-346-2928. Hope this helps!

    • Flo

      Charles, when you connect to your Etap using the AXS app on your smartphone, e.g. to change shifting modes, it sort of automatically updates the firmware of the groupset components. You don’t have to download firmware updates manually.

    • Flo

      Aaron, thanks for the helpful reply!

  73. Søren Kofoed

    Hi DCrianmaker,

    Can I use my Sram Red E-tap Quarq D-zero 11-speed crankset with the new 12-speed AXS system?

    • No, unfortunately no blending between the systems – at least that’s my understanding due to the differences in the chain design.

      Though, the batteries are compatible. I’m using some AXS batteries on my 11sp system now, simply because that’s what the bike shop had.

  74. Ard

    Hi DC…

    Does the new red etap axs work with a rotor inpower cranck with oval chains ?

  75. Ray, where is the video showing the shifting noise? The video above is just you talking, no riding.

  76. Flo

    Hi Ray,
    I am not 100% happy with the shifting performance of the rear derailleur of my ETAP AXS. I am running a 48/35 chainring with a 10/33 cassette. Using sequential mode when shifting into smaller gears, the ETAP AXS moves the chain up to the 28th tooth sprocket (2nd biggest sprocket) before it shifts the front chain ring from 48 to 35, which means that chain line is rather skewed, but according to SRAM corresponding drivetrain friction should still be acceptable and lower than losses when using smaller chainrings and sprockets for the same gear ratio.
    However, with me drivetrain noise significantly increases using this gear combination. It should be noted that the noise doesn’t come from the chain touching or grinding on the front derailleur. It is rather a clicking noise coming from the cassette as if the rear derailleur wasn’t aligned properly with the 28th tooth sprocket.
    Adjusting the rear derailleur by moving it 1-2 0.2 mm steps further inwards using the AXS button on the shifter significantly reduces the clicking noise. This however then induces problems shifting downwards from the 19th to the 17th or from the 17th to the 15th tooth sprocket. Here, shifting is slow and it takes a while until the chain jumps onto the smaller sprocket.
    Potential causes for this behavior (rear derailleur cannot be adjusted correctly over the entire range of gears) could be a) a bent mech hanger, b) a damaged rear derailleur, c) a loose cassette d) am I missing something?
    a) I checked the mech hanger with a mech hanger alignment tool and it was not bent
    b) the bike is completely new and there is no visual damage on the rear derailleur
    c) the cassette is properly fitted (checked with a torque wrench 40 nm)
    Has anyone had similar issues with the ETAP AXS, in particular with a 10-33 cassette? Is it possibly normal behavior of the ETAP AXS considering the tight tolerances (smaller sprocket clearance of the 12 speed system)?

    Cheers, Flo

    • Sacha

      Hi Flo
      Same here bwith same configuration and a brand new Trek Madone Disc 🙂
      For the moment I’m not fully satisfied with the SRAM Red comparing with Shimano Di2 I had. My mechanic said that it is normal and that there is a “burn-in” period of 500km necessary. Let’s see…

    • Damon

      Same here with a 2020 S-Works Roubaix with SRAM Red AXS. It seems my Ultegra Di2 performed much better. I’ve got 425 miles on the bike, and it hasn’t resolved. I have had the bike mechanic adjust, but I wasn’t able to give the same level of detail as the original poster. It just didn’t react as quickly, and was “noisy” in certain combinations. I’m curious what you find out. Perhaps I need to bring the same level of detail to my mechanic (whom is great) and see if they can provide any additional feedback. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, but everyone raved about the new SRAM AXS, so when I upgraded, I expected more.

    • Florian

      Sacha and Damon, thanks for sharing your experiences. It seems as if I am not the only one with this problem.
      Providing the above described issue is “normal”, a solution could be a firmware update that makes the rear derailleur move about 0.4 mm further inwards when switching from the 25th to the 28th tooth sprocket on a 10-33 cassette.
      @Ray: Do you have a SRAM guy on “quick dial” you could ask if the described issue is known and if they are working on a fix?
      Thanks, Flo

  77. chup

    link to quarq.com

    Hi Ray, have you tried it out yet? Is it that promising?

    • I haven’t tried it yet, mostly as I don’t currently have my DZero on any of my bikes. It’s about to get put back on a bike, because I’m sick of one crank-set unit I’m currently testing not being accurate…

  78. Robert Bogart

    I purchased a Specialized Roubaix 2020(?) with SRAM AXS Force (46-33 / 11-33) in early May. I have about 1100 miles on it since. Several things. First, I have had both overshift and undershift issues. Bike has been back to dealer 4 times. Last time they installed a shim that SRAM said should help with Overshift. (SRAM won’t “talk” direct with users, only bike shops, so I had to masquerade as the bike shop to get them to tell me about the shim and have it shipped to the shop, who installed it). It goes between the front derailleur and the seat tube. This really helped with OS, none since then. Now I struggle with undershifts. I get one or two on a given ride then none for 2 or 3 rides. I check and adjust the front derailleur per the SRAM documentation and it gets better, then undershifs again. I have the AXS setup to compensating 1 gear. (Bike shop is 60 miles away so constant trips back are not a good option.) All firmware up to date. 98% of the time it works great, shifts are crisp, it is quiet, love the gear range. Due to the OS and US the chain scratched up the crank and the chain stay. Very frustrated with being unable to dialog with SRAM or Specialized. (Had to have the shock replaced when the top cap came off also which was an acknowledged issue.) Wrote a critical review on Specialized website which they refused to publish. SRAM has nowhere to comment or post. I really enjoy the bike but I think it should work better than what I have experienced. And I think SRAM / Specialized should be more interested in customer feedback than what I have experienced as well. My Bianchi Infinito EPS was rock solid on shifts once adjusted. I expected more from SRAM and Specialized. Any suggestions appreciated.

  79. Jon Williams

    Question – I am considering swapping from EPS to AXS. I do not believe there is an XD drive shell adapter for my Meilenstein wheels. Can I presume that I can run a q21-speed Campy cassette, which I believe is the same ‘size’ as an 11-speed and not have any compatibility issues? I would, of course, use a 12 speed chain…

  80. Clive Woakes

    SRAM now offer an “Upgrade Kit” for AXS. This kit includes both shifters and derailleurs.
    Not sure what it is supposed to upgrade. You will need an AXS crankset. cassette, chain and compatible wheels.
    This $2,000 update???? now will cost in excess of $3,000 even if your rear hub will accept the XDR driver. I had a complete Red Wifly setup and nothing but the brakes will work with AXS.
    It would be nice if they let potential UPGRADE customers know the full story.

  81. Charles Rush

    My SRAM eTap Red WiFli group, which seemed so promising for the bike I built about 18 months ago, is sitting in a box and not even those fancy boxes it came packaged in, just A box. I took all of it off my bike and replaced it with the Dura_Ace 9170 group. No more shift issues. The Shimano group shifts fantastic, the brakes were a Hell of a lot easier to bleed and work smoother. And the coolest thing is how the Di2 syncs with my Garmin 830. SRAM can kiss my Opps! I won’t be recommending SRAM to anyone.

    • youpmelone

      Have had 100% sram for 11 years on all bikes (except the chains)
      Eagle really sucked shockingly.
      I now moved all my bikes to di2, Dura ace and some grx. Flawless AND the Garmin connection, flipping through screens without touching the screen..

      No chance I go back anytime soon

      @ray

  82. David

    Just got 2020 giant defy. ETap force with 12 speed in the rear cassette. When operating in enhanced mode with 1 cog max compensating , my chain keeps dropping when shifting from big ring to small. Am I doing something wrong or asking to much from this electronic shifting. Mech has checked alignment and limiting screw and All is a OK. THOUGHTS

  83. Robert Bogart

    Ok. I had problems with both over and under shifts. For overshift, SRAM provide a shim to go between FD and seat post. For under shift I adjusted FD to be very close to the chain, less than 1mm. And I added a SRAM chain keeper to the FD. SRAM Front Derailleur Chain Spotter. Search Amazon. Since adjustments and chain keeper and shim, no problems.

  84. Jason Pope

    What are the compatibility options with this Groupset ? As in would it be possible to run an 11 speed chain on this instead of the sram flattop? Also could another chainring be used instead of the SRAM specific ones (ie Companies like Praxis offer a better range of gearing and crank lengths at a more competitive price)

    Thanks