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SRAM eTap AXS Groupset

First Look

If SRAM's wireless eTap was a bold step forward in terms of delivering clutter-free, intuitive and consistent shifting, then the new SRAM eTap AXS platform (pronounced ‘access’) could well be one giant leap that sets a whole new benchmark in ride experience, customisation and performance. We've taken a closer look at the components that make up this 12-speed groupset.

SRAM eTap AXS Groupset App

The App

AXS is the collective name for the all-new wirelessly connected SRAM components, which all link together through a proprietary encrypted network. Central to everything, and much like a brain or control centre to the whole setup, is the AXS app that’s compatible with both iOS and Android systems. Within here you can personalise, customise, monitor and control precisely how the groupset functions in order to suit your ride style or terrain. Specifically, dial in the behaviour of the individual components - from shift paddle functions to eTap Blips or Clics - so that each element of the bike is working intuitively with you, to enhance the experience if riding casually and also further your performance when competing. As well as battery status, you will also get maintenance prompts and firmware updates through Bluetooth mobile connectivity.

A Closer Look at The SRAM AXS App

SRAM RED Crankset and AXS Power Meter

The SRAM RED AXS Power Meter's unique and elegant design not only contributes to the overall aesthetic but also delivers improvements to weight, stiffness and durability. By redefining the range at both the front and rear of the drivetrain, SRAM has essentially smoothed out the jumps between gears creating a more precise shifting platform and calmer gear progression. In short, the cadence sweet spot is always easier to find. By making the tooth count closer at the front it causes less of a change in cadence when shifting between chainrings and requires less shifting at the rear to relocate the perfect cadence.

SRAM RED eTap AXS Front Derailleur

SRAM RED eTap AXS Front Derailleur

The new SRAM RED eTap AXS Front Derailleur system has been completely overhauled and upgraded. With a thought to modern standards and all-road capability, the front derailleur allows more space for a wider tyre so you are well equipped for gravel or the road less travelled. An optimised cage profile for the new SRAM RED chainring ensures that shifting is sharper and more precise than ever, and it is also compatible with existing eTap batteries.

Furthermore, by using the app you can also set your shifting mode options to automatically move the rear derailleur in order to offset any sudden jump in cadence caused by changes at the front.

The smoother performance of the X-Range gearing technology and closer front tooth spread also benefits the accuracy and reliability of the Quarq DZero power readings since your cadence and wattage will be more consistent regardless of how many gear changes.

SRAM RED eTap AXS Rear Derailleur

SRAM RED eTap AXS Rear Derailleur

New Orbit derailleur motion control technology uses silicone fluid as part of an innovative damper system. Rather than a conventional clutch which applies additional resistance on the derailleur spring, the Orbit technology ensures lighter movement that also reduces chain bounce. As well as significantly improving the quality of gear shifting it also makes the rear derailleur easier to pull back and clear the cassette when removing the wheel.

Thanks to faster pulleys, bearings, motors and signals this is the fastest rear derailleur yet, and if you choose to run a 1X setup, without a front derailleur, then the system naturally speeds up again making it phenomenally sharp through the smallest block of sprockets so your pedalling is always efficient.

The drivetrain also prevents you from inadvertently cross-chaining and placing additional strain on the chain by locking out the small chainring/smallest sprocket combination.


Undoubtedly the most obvious and striking change at a glance is the redesigned Flattop SRAM RED Chain. The innovative shape enables the chain to be lighter and narrower for a 12-speed system yet without compromising strength, and with additional space between the outer plates, it also runs quieter and faster, saving you watts.

Looking at the chain running around the big chainring, it also creates a uniquely sleek look that benefits the overall aesthetic of the drivetrain. The chain is thinner, yet by adding material to the top of each plate, creating the flat top, and by using Hard Chrome surface treatment, it is able to maintain strength and durability.

SRAM RED XG-1290 Cassette

A lightweight machined one-piece design with a 10-tooth starting sprocket, the SRAM RED® XG-1290 cassette progresses smoothly and quickly through a wider, more useful, range of gears. With at least five 1-tooth increments, gear progression is fast, so whether dropping through the smaller sprockets as you accelerate hard or responding to a rolling road, the shifting is precise and you won’t skip a beat.

SRAM RED eTap AXS HRD Shift Brake System

SRAM RED eTap AXS HRD Shift Brake System

Whether you ride disc or rim brakes, the new components range has got you covered. If discs are your preferred option, then the all-new eTap AXS HRD Shift Brake System is fully wireless and fully hydraulic for the ultimate combination of braking power and modulation with the customisable progressive X-Range shifting performance. The positive feel of the HydroHC brake platform will inspire confidence in the most technical conditions and steepest descents and with Contact Point Adjustment and Reach Adjustment you can tailor the fit perfectly to your needs for maximum control over braking.

Cyclist on Trek Madone Road Bike Riding With SRAM RED eTap AXS Groupset


SRAM say that typically you can expect up to 60 hours of riding on a single charge from a one-hour full-charge time, so even on your longest rides or toughest training days, you will have plenty of juice to get you through.

With modern riding well catered for thanks to the features like reduced chain bounce and space for wider tyres around the front derailleur, another major benefit comes from your ability to mix and match road and mountain bike components. So for really loose gravel and technical trails you could pair the Rockshox Reverb Dropper Post with a drop bar groupset and benefit from total customisation of the whole setup through the AXS app.

Offering state of the art technology, pairing 12-speed capabilities with an app that pushes the boundaries when it comes to personalising your shifting habits, the SRAM AXS range is a real game changer. Available in both Force and RED models and compatible with both 1X and 2X systems, the next generation of groupsets is definitely here.

Browse The SRAM AXS Groupsets


About the Author

  • About Ross: Bikepacking journeys, Ironman, solo 24-hour mountain bike events, epic stage races, Everesting or long days with plenty of Alpine cols; if it involves adventures on two wheels then Ross will have a go. He can usually be found riding remote lanes on Dartmoor, whatever the weather.
  • Article Published On: 06 February 2019

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