(Cyclingnews) – Everything you need to know about SRAM road groupsets for 2019
SRAM is an acronym for Scott, Ray and Sam, the three founders of the American-based firm that started out producing grip shifters for road bikes in 1987. While these shifters didn’t sell particularly well, SRAM adapted the technology for off-road use and it became an instant hit among the mountain biking fraternity.
Since then the company has made significant strides as far as technological developments and world-firsts go, having introduced wireless shifting as well as pioneered the 1x and 12-speed drivetrain revolution. Nowadays, you’ll find riders from Canyon-SRAM, Katusha-Alpecin, Trek-Segafredo, and Boels-Dolmans clicking through their gears with SRAM’s DoubleTap paddles.
SRAM road groupset range explained
While SRAM and its house brands, Zipp and Quarq, produce components and gear for all disciplines including mountain bikers and commuters, this buyer’s guide will focus on the company’s road groupsets which can be divided into four technologies: eTap AXS, eTap, 22 and 1x.
eTap AXS: SRAM’s newest offering comprises 12-speed and wireless technologies, and is cross-compatible with Eagle AXS components from the brand’s mountain bike groupsets range. (It’s unfortunately not backwards compatible with eTap).
eTap: The first wireless road groupset.
22: SRAM’s estemeed 11-speed mechanical groupset.
1x: Single front chainring road groupsets with a clutch-equipped rear derailleur.
SRAM road groupsets you can buy today
SRAM RED eTap AXS
The ultimate in wireless shifting, but it’s going to cost you
Price: £3,159 / $3,488 / AU$3142 (no chainset) 2x rim / £3,349 / $3,648 / AU$3929 (no chainset) 2x disc | Shifting: Wireless | Braking: Disc, dual pivot rim | Speeds: 1×12, 2×12 | Weight: 2101g 2x rim / 2,518g 2x disc | Cranks: 165mm – 177.5mm | Chainrings: 46/33, 48/35, 50/37 / 36t, 38t, 40t, 42t, 44t, 46t, 48t, 50t | Cassette: 10-26t, 10-28t, 10-33t
Wireless shifting, cross compatibility, simple swap from 1x to 2xPricePower meter and chainrings are a one-piece inseparable unit
RED eTap AXS is the second generation of SRAM’s wireless groupset which saw the entire system overhauled from the ground up. Available in both rim- and disc-brake varieties, the addition of a 12th cog to the rear cassette has spawned a new XDR driver body and chain standard.
The new groupset is integrated into SRAM’s AXS ecosystem, meaning it will play nice with the Eagle AXS derailleur should you want to use the 12-speed MTB cassette on your gravel bike, or the RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post should you feel the need to get extra rowdy. AXS can also talk to a companion app and allows you to customise the shifting controls, including the Blip remotes as well as monitor the battery life and firmware updates.
At the back, the rear mech features Orbit – a speed-sensitive fluid damper which does the same job as a roller-bearing clutch. The fluid damper allows the derailleur cage to rotate forward smoothly during shifting so as not to overtax the motors or battery. This new system also eliminates chain slap and improves security; meaning the same derailleur can be used with both 1x and 2x front chainrings.
If you are running a 2x setup, the front derailleur has been reshaped to make more room for gravel wheels and is claimed to clear up to 42mm tyres. At both ends, the derailleurs have new chips and motors which provides faster shifting.
The cranks will accept both single and double chainrings, which are all single piece in construction – some even possess a built-in Quarq power meter. While this creates a stiffer and lighter unit, if you wear out or damage one of the double rings, you’ll need to replace the entire unit, including the power meter.
SRAM is offering three one-piece cassettes; 10-26t, 10-28t, and 10-33t which combine with 1x and 2x chainrings — the jumps between the 2x chainrings are 13-teeth in every combo. Even if you opt for a smaller chainring at the front, the 12-speed cassette offers an extensive spread of ratios and, in some cases, offers a broader range than traditional road gearing.
To make room for that extra cog at the back, the gear spacing has once again got smaller resulting in a narrower chain. SRAM has bolstered the chain by introducing a new flat-top construction, which is claimed to add strength and shift performance.