At first glance, what you’re about to read may appear that SRAM is trying to replace Strava, TrainingPeaks, or some other platform you use today. But in reality, they’re trying to sit adjacent to it. Thus, in order to minimize confusion, I figured I’d start with what Jim Meyer, founder of Quarq and SRAM’s category manager for digital integration had to say on how it fits. It helps explain what this is, and isn’t. He gave the following comparisons at the start of a tech deep-dive on the platform, about how they (and most people) view the different platform goals:
Strava: This is about you and your friends
TrainingPeaks: This is about you and your training, your training plan, or your coach/coaching
SRAM AXS Web: This is about helping someone understand them and their bike
He went onto say that “We want to play as perfectly nicely with Strava as we can”, citing the same for TrainingPeaks. They don’t see this as overlap, but rather trying to fill a gap that exists for people to understand what their bike is doing on these rides – and what their bike needs.
So with that – what the heck is it?
SRAM AXS Web is essentially a platform that includes both a website and an app that gets data both directly and indirectly from SRAM, Quarq, and (eventually) ShockWiz components. That actually includes non-AXS things too. In fact, I own *no* AXS labeled hardware. I’ve got regular 1st gen SRAM eTAP with a regular Quarq DZero. Yet everything you see in this post works just fine with that.
That data includes everything from the number of shifts you take each ride to the optimal gearing, as well as reminders to charge your eTAP batteries. It even includes tire pressure data, all pulled together and cohesively overlaid.
The platform has been in beta since last fall, but as of today SRAM is removing the beta label, and discussing some of their plans for the future. Of note is that the company says some 50,000 people used it during the arc of the beta, with a few thousand uploading regularly.
How it all works:
The entire platform has essentially three pieces as part of it, you mostly only need to use two of them, and once you set up the activity sync, you’ll never see it again. These pieces are as follows:
1) The SRAM AXS Website: This is where you can dive into all the stats
2) The SRAM AXS App: You can double-check the same stats as online, but also update firmware on AXS/DZero/PowerTap gear
3) Garmin Connect Sync: This is just like Strava or TrainingPeaks sync, and sends your completed ride files to SRAM AXS
At this moment, many of you just yelled ‘What about Wahoo?!?’. Fear not, that’s coming. SRAM says Wahoo was in the middle of a backend connectivity/API conversion, and thus wanted to finish that before onboarding SRAM to the newer backend connectivity platform. Once it’s done though, everything you see here will work the same whether it’s from Garmin or Wahoo. The data that sits in the files is stored in the same manner, whether it be from a Garmin or Wahoo GPS device. See, the magic of companies supporting standards!
Ok, now it doesn’t really matter whether you start with the smartphone app or the website. First up will be creating a bike. Again, you can do this on the smartphone or website. The advantage to doing this initially on the smartphone though is that if you have AXS components, you’ve probably already done this. If not and have Quarq components (DZero or TyreWiz), then this too will also take care of it for you via simple Bluetooth Smart pairing:
In my case, I have a Quarq DZero power meter and TyreWiz on my bike that are both pairable. But I also have SRAM eTAP. However, mine is the original non-AXS variant, so you can’t pair that with Bluetooth Smart to my phone. As such, I can’t add it here. Fear not, we’ll still get data from it in a second. But first, it’s probably worthwhile to edit the bike a bit more on the drivetrain side. For example, over on the website I can do that:
It’s there that I can go into a giant list of chainrings and cassettes and define what’s configured on my bike:
And this also includes custom things too:
Once that’s done, we’ll want to hookup Garmin Connect. Again, down the road you’ll be able to hook-up Wahoo too, and maybe others (more on that in a moment).
The reason we *need* to hook-up Garmin Connect is that’s how the data gets to AXS. The app by itself doesn’t record any rides. Again, it’s not Strava or MapMyRide or something. Its only goal in life is analyzing data. Instead, it’s your existing Garmin (and eventually Wahoo) device that captures all that data and sends it to SRAM.
Once that’s done, you’ll get your rides sent over to SRAM AXS Web automatically, just like you do for Strava, TrainingPeaks, and countless other sites today. Now, when I first open up the website, you’ll see your feed, which is basically just your rides. However, they do have filtering at the top for other activities. Not because SRAM intends on going in that direction, but because this removes incorrectly recorded things or runs or such from your feed easily (or makes them findable easily too).
As you can see above, I’ve been doing a bunch of inside rides lately. So instead, I’ll filter to rides with some distance on it:
So, once we click on a ride in the feed we’ll get a huge long singular page with all sorts of stats. I’ll chunk it up to make it digestible.
The first part is some basics. The left side shows my start/stop times, but also each black line is when I stopped (in this case, to take photos for a product review). The right side is stats as you’d expect. Note this is all changeable from Metric/KM to Statute/Miles. There’s also a map too.
Next is where we get into the good stuff. It’s kinda like Di2Stats.com, except not quite as geeky. I can toggle between time or distance for the gear usage. Also, love the fact that I did this entire ride in the big ring. Welcome to the Netherlands!
I can then go to the right, and see another set of stats, this time power in gear, both as wattage (left) as well as energy (right). And then again to get a gear ratio chart. This, of course, is pulling in my power meter data.
Next, in my case is my tire pressure sensor data from TyreWiz. Now, you can see some of the data is a bit funky here. It’s a pattern I’ve seen on a bunch of rides recently. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with SRAM AXS Web, but rather the Garmin Connect IQ data field that collects the data dropping out occasionally.
Finally, down below there’s a boatload of power, cadence, and heart rate data tabs for the entire ride. Elevation too. Basically, all the things you’d expect from any normal training platform.
Note that all of this stuff is accessible from the smartphone app too, it’s just faster for me to get more easily sized screenshots on the website from a desktop computer.
So at this point, you’re probably like: Fine, that’s fun geekery – but how’s it useful for most people day to day?
And that’s a variable answer. The most simplistic answer is probably just low-battery reminders. See when your GPS bike computer captures the workout/ride, it’s also capturing the battery level of your eTAP/AXS batteries. Sure, your Garmin/Wahoo/whatever undoubtedly reminded you mid-ride that your batteries were low. But if you’re like me, you forgot about that 7 seconds later.
It’s not till you start your next ride that you’re like: “Ahww fudge, I forgot to charge, next time!”. And then you repeat that process for another week or two until you can’t shift anymore mid-ride. I mean, just speaking on behalf of a fictitious friend of course.
So the SRAM AXS App arguably has one overt purpose in life right now (aside from firmware updates and settings tweaks), which is to remind you to charge your batteries. It does this by reading the file sent to it from Garmin, and then at the same time you get your Strava notification of an uploaded ride, you’ll get a SRAM AXS App notification of your battery level. This is useful because it’s generally after you’ve gotten off the bike, probably even home, where you can grab the batteries then and stick them on the charger:
Also, it’s got some neat little stats too about your ride. Sorta a quick summary for power meter geeks. But ultimately, they see the battery smartphone notification as a simple ‘Hey, we got your ride, and your bike’s all good!’.
Ok, but now what?
I know, I hear ya. Sure, that’s useful – but not life-changing. And SRAM largely seems to agree.
In talking with them, they see themselves as being on Step 2 of 10 in terms of where they want to take this platform. Their ideal roadmap is that they want to be that riding buddy that’s more skilled than you. In other words, that friendly dude or dudette you ride with that’s like “Hey buddy, you should be shifting more often for this ride, I’m seeing you in the wrong gear a lot.” or “Hey girl, that’s the wrong gearing for this type of terrain/ride, consider getting a different chainring/cassette setup”.
And that gets into the future of what they want. Right now, it’s largely just a pile of data. Their goal is to start trending the data and providing recommendations based on everything they know about shifting or tire pressure (and eventually with ShockWiz too). While certainly there’s probably an element that might drive people to purchase a different cassette or chainring from SRAM, it sounds their goals are largely centered around trying to help people optimize their rides.
Which gets to why they built this entire thing versus just using a platform like Strava or TrainingPeaks. They said that over time it was tough to convince those types of platforms to keep up and be on the bleeding edge of sensor tech like this, or to provide these sorts of recommendations. And certainly, that’s true. There’s no gear shifting data in Strava, despite your Garmin/Wahoo/etc device recording and sending it to them (and has been for years). Strava has all that data in those billions of activities, they’ve just never exposed it.
The same is true for TrainingPeaks and others. Those companies have other priorities that might not align with a SRAM product launch. If SRAM launches a new product and NEEDS it to support their sensors, they might not be able to accommodate that. In fact, SRAM says some 20-30 different product teams at SRAM are already using data from SRAM AXS Web to test upcoming products and theories. It allows product teams to gather data not just from themselves, but also beta testers and pro teams.
The company says they expect to see pro team integration increase, and right now are starting to work on the mountain bike side of the equation, primarily around course recons and gearing. But they could easily see demand from pro cycling to be able to quickly manage an entire team of bikes and ensure all the components are not only working correctly (e.g. batteries), but also look for ways to optimize gearing on individual riders within the team.
Now – the one piece missing here (beyond Wahoo) is ironically indoor providers. Many of us are spending more time than we’d like indoors riding our bikes right now. However, a lot of people don’t dual-record with their Garmin/Wahoo device. As such, it could be mid-Zwift race when their eTAP battery dies. The challenge is that none of the indoor training apps pair to the shifting systems of bikes (despite being an open standard). SRAM says they’d love to get to the point of having the Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc’s of the world pairing to the shifting system, if only to be able to send over the battery state/status.
That way you don’t get that surprise mid indoor race, or the day you take your bike outside and realize the batteries have been dead for weeks because you use the same gearing in ERG mode on TrainerRoad and never shift.
Finally, for lack of anywhere else to stick this tech tidbit – the platform is built wholly within SRAM, but rides atop much of the work that Quarq did for Qollector years ago around file ingest and data handling.
This is cool stuff, and it’s good to see companies both spending time and resources on not just the software platforms around their hardware – but also the beta testing process. This thing has been out there since last fall, complete with a site dedicated to the top feature requests, which SRAM has said is basically how they decide what to add next (save things they need for upcoming product launches/etc). And sure enough, I’ve seen some of those items checked off the list and marked as complete.
At this point, by SRAM’s own admission, they’ve only completed baby-steps in probably most consumers’ minds here. Behind the scenes, getting to this piece is pretty substantial, and lays the groundwork for where they envision the platform going in terms of being your trusted riding buddy that can give you life-lesson type recommendations on getting more from your bike hardware. But today, it’s not there yet. On the flip-side, the battery alerts by themselves are worth the price (free) of admission. Plus of course, once you’ve got the app you can update not just SRAM/Quarq products, but also now the PowerTap products too – which is pretty cool, especially for Android users (where there wasn’t a good option before the Quarq acquisition of PowerTap, which was almost exactly a year ago).
I’m looking forward to seeing where this tech ends up down the road. And perhaps we’ll start to see interest from other training platforms in this area as well. If SRAM and other companies can make better informed athletes without data overload, that’s a good thing. It’s threading the needle through that route that can sometimes be tricky.
With that – thanks for reading!
It’s interesting that in this new release news vacuum you’re managing to post so many things that may never have made it to publishing. It’d be nice to see more of these kinds of random posts, but I guess there’s usually a bottleneck in how much you can do 🙂 Keep up the great work and thanks for the entertainment while we’re all locked up!
Being stuck at home, I also enjoy your frequent posts.
Being primarly a runner, I end up reading also cycling posts ?
Please correct “to update your batteries”… unless I missed something and we need to perform firmare updates on batteries as well.
All the best, stay healthy with Girl and Peanuts!
Thanks – fixed!
And fear not, I got some running stuff coming later this week. Assuming lock-down measures don’t preclude that anyway.
Very interesting and thanks for DI2Stats, I didn’t know it existed and was OK-ish checking gear shifting data on Wahoo App after each ride.
Ray, as a person, who has both Di2 and eTap (though, I assume, you use eTap way more than Di2) – is the full wireless setup worth it?
It depends. I’d say if you’re buying a new completely built bike, where someone else did all the work of building it up, and you have no plans of getting creative with swapping components – then mostly shrug.
If however, if you’re building up a bike on you’re own – then god eTap is so easy to install. I did eTap that way on my road bike, and then on my tri bike I worked with my LBS at the time as we figured out all the parts and got it working. Things are a bit easier these days for a variety of reasons, namely frames are better designed for it, plus, some of the bits are built into components that used to be seperate then (like the ANT+ transmitter). Not to mention tri bike vs road bike.
Either way, I’m super happy with my regular eTap, but would see exactly zero reasons to spend out cash for a new full AXS system at those price points. Just not where i want to spend my money. I realize though that when buying an OEM bike, it’s a fair bit cheaper.
I could see myself eventually going eTap on my new MTB bike, since the cost isn’t huge there comparatively.
Etap is easy to install, but how many times have you had a battery fall out of your DI2 solution? I seem to recall a post from SA all about battery woes on Etap?
ah yes…link to dcrainmaker.com
On the gear usage pages it appears that the chainring and cassette teeth labels down the left hand side are in the wrong order. For the chainring sizes, should 50T be above 34T, and should the cassette numbers be 11T at the top running down to 28T? As you said, the entire ride was completed in the big ring in Amsterdam but the gear usage looks like it’s for a mountain climb.
I actually don’t think the big ring data is working correctly at all. The few rides I’ve recorded looked exactly like Ray’s, all time recorded on the small ring.
Ben here from SRAM! There is a known bug with the Garmin 1030, 530, 830 head units that record shift events incorrectly in their fit files.
(Our UserVoice Feedback portal issue: link to sram.uservoice.com)
Garmin has fixed the issue in their latest FW releases:
530: link to www8.garmin.com
830: link to forums.garmin.com
1030: link to forums.garmin.com
There are newer beta versions available — DC blog has a link on the week in review to this page where the beta pages are linked: link to gpsinformation.net
For example, the 830 latest beta is here: link to www8.garmin.com
I haven’t tried it because I’m waiting for a proper release version.
That’s really helpful. Thank you
same for me
If there is a Garmin person on this thread I would love to know why they haven’t pushed any of these updates out of Beta? The current production version is 5.0 and that came out in October. The Beta versions have made some huge improvements, but nothing pushed in 5 months!
If you need a complicated app to remind you to charge your battery and use your gears more effectively, maybe cycling isn’t really for you. Maybe going to tractor pulling competitions would be a better hobby, or collecting empty beer cans.
I agree, we should remove fuel gauges on cars and battery levels on phone. Otherwise, technology isn’t really for those people either.
Great contribution, can’t wait to hear more…
Nobody is forcing you use electronic shifting, Nik. Or any shifting, for that matter. Nor should you have to sully yourself with a freewheel. Have you considered going brakeless fixed-gear singlespeed, so you can relish in the purity of your virtuous cycling chasteness?
Sheesh, I will never understand why people who hate sports tech spend their time posting on sports tech review websites. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I guess the update of the iOS app is not yet fully available. I can see the functionality on the web, synced with Garmin connect, but I get not update proposed to v1.6.4, which does not show any rides.
How did you manage to change your avatar on the sram site. I’ve not been able to find it.
Also worth note, if you’re running a garmin 1030 you’ll need the beta firmware if you want the gear changes to be recorded correctly. version 9.0 doesn’t know about the front chain ring changes.
Huh, I don’t remember ever changing/setting an avatar – but good point, it’s got a pic. My guess is either:
A) I did it so long ago that either I don’t remember or that the feature is gone
B) They use Gravatar, which is the profile pic I have associated with that e-mail.
If it’s Gravatar, you can set the profile pic there and it works across gazillions of sites (including DCR). 🙂
As for Garmin, I’m running an Edge 830 – though, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the same problem. Either way, I virtually never shift my front chainring given the terrain here. :-/
Since the Quarq founder may be reading this thread: Where is the Quarq/PowerTap G4 powermeter?
Have SRAM indicated if this is going to stay a closed SRAM system, or are they considering 3rd party hardware somewhere down the line, DI2, other PMs etc?
Di2 data gets reported out. Both of my Di2 bikes and my AXS mountain bike all feed great shift data into the platform. You may need to use custom gear choices to select the correct the chainring sizes and cassette ratios.
Hi Ray – Can the Edge Explore computer pair with SRAM Force AXS? I just got a new bike and couldn’t figure out how to pair the two. Any guidance?
The Edge Explore doesn’t support ANT+ Gear shifting. From the DCR product comparison calculator:
link to dcrainmaker.com
Go to sensors. From the current Edge devices you’d need at least a Garmin Edge 530.
Looks like the charts of your ride had the same issue as my ride. It shows me in the small ring up front 98% of the time instead of the big ring being the 98%. I didn’t see a way to report errors in the app or website.
In all your Component Summary screengrabs, it suggests you rode almost exclusively on the small ring at the front. Can that be true? I only noticed because it gave me the same info today, and I KNOW I switched between both regularly. Firmware update needed maybe?
Big ring / little ring data
Couple of comments on issues with chainring data showing incorrectly on SRAM (and within the Component Summary on screen grab within review above). I’ve also suffered with this and looking back through comments #9 from Ben has has links to known issue with various Garmin head units / SRAM including links to beta update on Garmin website.
I have just dowloaded beta update for my Garmin 1030 and done short test and it seems to have recited this issue. Been annoying me for a while! Thanks Ben and DC.
I’ve been using the AXS site since I installed my Eagle AXS in January. I have two Di2 equipped bikes, one AXS equipped mountain bike, and collect all of my dats with an up-to-date Edge 1030. I have configured both the Edge and the AXS website with my proper gear information. I do not ever have any issues with the proper gear/front and rear deraillure information being reported and shown on the AXS website. This picture is from my ride yesterday, that includes a hilly section in the middle. I used my watch to keep track of the time in the small chainring, and it is almost spot on with time in gear.
When I create a bike and want to put an AXS rear derailleur AND the Seatdropper, the app says that this is not possible, you can only put one to a bike… what am I doing wrong? Can you help?
maybe you know, when wahoo support will be?
Is there a way that I only sync my rides and no other sports? I don’t wanna have a notification after every swim/run/sup/hike session and keep this place solely for bike stats
“It does this by reading the file sent to it from Garmin, and then at the same time you get your Strava notification of an uploaded ride, you’ll get a SRAM AXS App notification of your battery level.”
Are these limited to only AXS components? I’m not getting low battery notifications from the sram app, although I do see the low battery indication when reviewing activities in the AXS feed.
Thanks for the review, still now Wahoo integration it seems ? Have you heard when that might be ? In the meantime I upload the .fit file. It would be nice to have some kind of summary over a period of time too ! Need to look into these TyreWiz gizmos now 😉