SRAM has unveiled wider gearing for its Force eTap AXS groupset with a lineup that now includes a 43/30-tooth chainset, a 10-36-tooth cassette, and new derailleurs to work with them. The idea is that you'll never run out of gears and will always be able to find a comfortable cadence whatever terrain comes your way. The new chainset and front derailleur also offer increased tyre clearance.
SRAM says that it is responding to road riders pushing beyond existing boundaries in terms of the terrain being tackled – heading off asphalt and on to gravel, tracks, and byways. You know, off the beaten track, the road less travelled, all-road, adventure... that kind of stuff. Of course, this sector has always existed but it has grown massively recently. These changes in the market were also referenced at the launch of the 303 S wheels from SRAM's stablemate Zipp last week.
Okay, so let's first get to grips with the gearing that's on offer here...
The new SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide 43/30-tooth chainset and 12-speed 10-36-tooth cassette gives you a gear range (with a 700c wheel and 40mm tyre, rounded to the nearest whole number) of:
• High gear 119in
• Low gear 23in
The range (the high gear as a percentage of the low gear) is 518%.
For comparison, SRAM already offers a 46/33-tooth Force eTap AXS chainset, and the widest ranging cassette that works with the existing Force eTap AXS rear derailleur is 10-33-tooth. Using the same 700c wheel and 40mm tyre, the figures here (rounded to the nearest whole number) are:
• High gear 127in
• Low gear 28in
The range is 460%.
SRAM is also keen to point out that a Shimano GRX set up with a 48/31-tooth chainset and an 11-34 cassette gives you a 479% range and a 46/30-tooth chainset and an 11-34-tooth cassette gives you a 474% range.
Of course, you're going to have a few sizeable jumps on a cassette that wide-ranging, although there are three one-tooth steps between the smaller sprockets.
The number of teeth on the 10-36-tooth cassette goes:
10 11 12 13 15 17 19 21 24 28 32 36
The chainrings on the 43/30-tooth chainset are spaced wider than previously by 2.5mm and the crank arms have also been moved outwards by 2.5mm on each side to allow for use with frames that take wide tyres. This means that the chainset requires a specific SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide front derailleur.
The new SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide rear derailleur, which can handle the 10-36-tooth cassette, is also compatible with existing 10-28-tooth and 10-33-tooth cassettes (but not with 10-26-tooth cassettes).
Here's the info on each SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide component in turn:
• Compatible with all 2x and 1x eTap AXS chainsetset, chainring, and front derailleur options.
• Must be used with 36-tooth max Force eTap AXS rear derailleur (see below)
• Designed for XDR driver bodies
• For use with 36-tooth maximum sprocket size
• Compatible with all 2x and 1x eTap AXS chainset and chainring options
• Compatible with 10-36, 10-33, and 10-28-tooth cassettes
• Designed specifically for wide-spaced chainsets with 43/30-tooth chainrings
• Clearance for 700c x 45mm and 650b x 2.1in tyres
• Compatible with any frame designed for 2x drivetrains
• Wider stance of chainrings provides clearance for tyres up to 700c x 45mm or 650b x 2.1in
• Requires Force eTap Wide front derailleur (see above)
• Fits a nominal 68mm BB shell or a nominal 73mm BB shell
• Available in 165mm, 167.5mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm, and 177.5mm crank lengths.
If you'd rather run a 1x (single chainring) system, you can have a Force 1 Hydraulic disc brake with a seatpost remote operated from your left hand paddle.
The SRAM Force 1 HRD with seatpost remote is made for cable-actuated dropper seatposts and is priced £273.
There's also a SRAM Rival version at £231 and an Apex model priced £202.
Get more info at www.sram.com.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.