SRAM RED eTAP AXS Hands-on: Everything To Know About The Smart Tech
Today SRAM proclaims their newest RED groupset lineup, SRAM RED eTAP AXS for street and off-road. This groupset shifts from a extra conventional 11-speed cassette association to a 12-speed cassette configuration. It additionally eschews any mechanical best model of the setup, going with best their wi-fi eTAP transferring choice. Along the best way, the corporate switches to an XD/XDR driving force frame (which has critical implications for running shoes), and ultimate however no longer least they made over their energy meters. Got all that? Good.
In truth, this announcement is solely as a lot gearhead as it’s sensible tech. But clearly, if you happen to’re right here you realize you’re going to get a vital deep-dive at the sensible tech portions particularly; however worry no longer, I additionally quilt the opposite road-focused parts a little as neatly.
And in fact, I’ll communicate a little about the way it all works out at the street with some precise using time on an AXS provided motorcycle. But, if you happen to favor beautiful movies over phrases, then whack that play button underneath:
With that, onto the tech main points and pictures.
The Connected Basics:
Of direction, by way of now you realize that probably the most mentioned substitute is the shift from 11-speed cassettes to 12-speed cassettes. But it’s additionally past that too, this new groupset is *best* introduced in an eTAP wi-fi transferring configuration. There’s no ‘mechanical’ transferring model of RED anymore.
The shift is extra in opposition to a cohesive ecosystem the place the entire portions paintings in combination, even if you wish to construct one thing funky. By that, I imply you’ll in reality mix street motorcycle portions and mountain motorcycle portions in combination from an electronics perspective. Why’d you need to try this regardless that? Well, gravel. It’s all about gravel motorcycles at the present time.
In a nutshell, you’ve mainly were given 4 Monty Python taste possible choices to make:
1) Bars: Drop or Tri/TT (this dictates which shifters)
2) Brakes: Disc or conventional rim (this additionally dictates shifters/brakes)
three) Drivetrain: 1x or 2x (1x could be commonplace for off-road, while 2x is extra commonplace on-road), and likewise if you need it aero or no longer
four) Power meter: Integrated or later upgradeable
Seriously, that’s the one 4 core possible choices you’re getting right here. The concept being that it doesn’t matter what you select for the ones 4 possible choices, the entirety is mix’n’match if you need it to be. Note specifically that the one groupset choices are with an influence meter, or with a crankset designed so as to add an influence meter to it later.
And in reality, if off-road there are two extra issues you’ll upload:
five) Do you need a dropper put up?
6) And do you need the devoted Reverb AXS controller for the dropper
All of the ones elements indexed above are hooked up by means of Bluetooth Smart now. From the shifters to the derailleurs, the ability meter to the dropper put up. Whereas up to now eTAP wasn’t in reality enabled over Bluetooth Smart. It was once best out there externally by means of ANT+ with the ANT+ Gear Shifting protocol. That intended there wasn’t any viable approach for you as a client to switch settings throughout the device the use of a wise app, one thing that competitor Shimano introduced of their setups. But extra on that during a 2nd.
Now to be honest, there are a couple of extra nuanced possible choices you want to make. For instance, you’ll wish to come to a decision on crank period as customary in addition to which of the 3 chainring sizes you need. On the 2x chainrings they’re:
And the corresponding cassettes are:
Now you’ll dive into the brand new SRAM AXS app, which lets you upload each and every of those elements into the app and set up them in motorcycle preparations. That might sound like an glaring factor to do, but it surely wasn’t there up to now.
But the true giant price tag merchandise right here for having a smartphone app in any respect, is the configuration of eTAP. Previously there was once no smartphone app, once more, hanging them at an obstacle in comparison to Shimano which allowed customization of transferring. With AXS regardless that you’ll begin to perform a little customization comparable to what Shimano provides with Syncro Shift.
Within the app there are two fundamental ‘enhanced’ transferring modes, sequential and compensating:
Sequential: In this mode your shifters substitute to easily expanding or lowering how arduous your gears are, and eTAP will *mechanically* shift the entrance derailleur because it is sensible from a math perspective. This provides you with more straightforward get admission to to extra gears sequentially. Again, similar factor Shimano has had. In this mode you’ll all the time grasp each shifters without delay to front-shift like customary (successfully overriding it). Somewhat attention-grabbing here’s that once transferring up as opposed to down, it in reality makes the bounce in somewhat other spots relying at the path you’re going up/down the cassette.
Compensating: In this configuration, whilst you manually shift the entrance derailleur, the unit will mechanically compensate by way of transferring one or two further cogs within the again, relying on how you’ve it configured. The concept here’s to ‘soften’ the blow between giant and small ring shifts up entrance.
Here’s how this appears within the app:
Now – to be in reality transparent: These are *not obligatory* modes. You can flip this all off and simply shift such as you all the time have. Simple as that.
Next, as a part of the power to tweak eTAP configuration, you’ll additionally re-assign any of the buttons to other options. For instance, you’ll in an instant switch if you need the left paddle to make it tougher as a substitute of more straightforward. Or you’ll tweak what occurs whilst you dual-paddle grasp. The international is your oyster. Well, sorta.
It’s no longer the similar oyster but as Shimano. Burger King this isn’t. As of nowadays there’s no talent, as an example, to make use of one of the most additional buttons as controls on your Garmin instrument, as there may be on Shimano already. It does sound like that is within the works regardless that, however SRAM is occupied with getting AXS out the door first, after which will circle again on that.
Within the app is the place you’ll be capable of configure precisely what form of cassette you’ve were given. That’s key in fact for SRAM so to do the mathematics for the compensating and sequential shifts accurately. If one had inputted their cassette unsuitable, it will most likely lead to a non-smooth transferring scenario.
Finally, the similar ‘security’ laws that had been in position for the unique eTAP practice right here with the addition of Bluetooth Smart. Previously, all elements may best be hooked up to 1 different set of elements. Meaning, the derailleurs would best communicate to a unmarried set of shifters at a time, thus fighting any individual from pairing up an additional set and overriding any individual mid-race. In order to finish that setup you needed to press the bodily button at the shifter/derailleur itself to start out the pairing procedure. This pressured any individual to have bodily get admission to to the motorcycle.
The similar is right with the telephone app as neatly. The Bluetooth aspect of SRAM eTAP elements best permits a unmarried telephone to be paired at a time. To wipe that pairing and upload a brand new telephone you’ve were given to press the button to your elements. One twist to this regardless that is that SRAM retail outlets the tips in a web based platform account you create. That doesn’t alternatively have any bearing at the requirement to re-pair any new bodily telephone to the motorcycle, as the net account is solely saving settings data at this level.
Finally, prior to we dive an excessive amount of additional, that is as excellent a spot as any to drop the whole value checklist:
And talking of shedding issues, I do know a few of you would like to peer the whole press deck that was once passed out. In reality there was once like 1.8GB of stuff given to press. Most of it such things as high-resolution imagery, but in addition plenty of in reality attention-grabbing decks.
There’s mainly 3 paperwork/displays that I discovered attention-grabbing out of them all. The first two are the tremendous technical FAQ ones. One for street, and one for mountain. If you’re searching for a nuanced solution that I would possibly no longer have lined on this put up (particularly for gearing/alternatives), it’s almost certainly in those.
First, right here’s the street FAQ (the technical one), uploaded in simple imagery for fast surfing:
Then right here’s the Eagle (off-road) technical FAQ:
And then after all the primary SRAM RED AXS presentation. Obviously it’s a finely tuned piece of promoting subject material, however from time to time there are nuggets in there that aren’t observed in other places. There’s additionally such things as weights in there and a little extra at the gearing aspect that’s somewhat outdoor the area right here. So right here’s all the ones slides for street:
And ultimate however no longer least, the similar for Eagle:
Got all that? Good, let’s stay on chugging.
Impacts to Trainer Compatibility:
One of the attention-grabbing ramifications of this new groupset is the substitute to the XD (off-road) and XDR (on-road) driving force frame, which is the piece the cassette attaches to. With that adjust you’ll most likely in finding that your present direct force instructor received’t be suitable along with your new motorcycle/groupset. If you’ve a wheel-on instructor, then there’s no have an effect on. Remember an immediate force instructor is one the place you take away your wheel, like a Wahoo KICKR.
That’s for the reason that spacing and alignment in this new 12-speed cassette method that every one running shoes produced nowadays have compatibility with Shimano and SRAM nine/10/11 velocity cassettes, with a handful additionally suitable with sure Campagnolo configurations. But out of the field 12-speed configuration? Nope-de-nope.
But worry no longer, there’s an answer for that. I checked with all the instructor firms and right here’s what you’ll do:
CycleOps: $69 adapter to be had for Hammer collection for each XD and XDR
Elite: $60 adapter deliberate to be to be had within the subsequent month for each XD and XDR
Kinetic: $60 adapter to be had for the R1 (tremendous restricted inventory of adapter presently regardless that). XDR adapter coming in a while.
Tacx: $71 adapter for XD already, suitable with all FLUX/NEO running shoes. XDR adapter anticipated in a while.
Wahoo: Adapter coming in Q2 2019, value TBD.
(Note: I’ve best occupied with direct force running shoes right here, since wheel-on running shoes don’t topic)
So, all isn’t misplaced, however you’ll have to plunk out just a little extra money for an adapter. But given how a lot you’re already throwing down for this new groupset, you most likely received’t realize. But, simply don’t omit to reserve the adapter out of your instructor corporate on the similar time. Also, consider to reserve an additional 12-speed cassette too, so you’ll put that to your instructor. Otherwise you’ll have a tragic panda second whilst you cross to attach your motorcycle in your instructor.
New Quarq Power Meter:
As a part of the change-up to RED AXS, Quarq is pushing out a brand new energy meter as neatly. Though quite than be a fully new design, this is thought of as a part of the DZero circle of relatives, and thus all present DZero energy meters will obtain the similar pile of tool options updates. In different phrases – on the finish of the day whether or not your DZero energy meter is 18 months outdated or purchased as a part of a brand new AXS groupset, it’ll have the very same set of options.
The new RED AXS street energy meter is available in 3 chainring sizes, plus two aero sizes (those are pre-bolted/built-in for extra ‘aeroness’). In addition, there’s the 1x variants.
As famous, the unit is precisely the similar because the DZero from an electronics perspective, regardless that in fact the bodily facets are somewhat other to house the brand new RED AXS cranksets.
Meanwhile, at the tool entrance the brand new RED AXS devices (and shortly all DZero devices) will obtain the next new options:
– Adding absolutely computerized 0: Right now you’ll manually 0 your DZero, however Quarq desires to get to the purpose of, of their phrases “never touch it, never think about it” calibration sort zeroing. Remember they already do the temperature modeling inside of their ovens all the way through production.
– Adding ‘rev count’: This counts revolutions of the crank. The concept in the back of that is to begin to perform a little good judgment on chainring put on, regardless that it received’t be enabled in an instant, most likely later this spring. There’s a little extra environmental facets they need to get proper first (i.e. account for deficient climate using which means extra put on than sunny using). But in the long run, rev depend for drivetrain comparable purposes is a greater indicator than immediately hours/kilometers.
– Adding voltage output for battery: This is basically a provider comparable merchandise, however may also be helpful for higher figuring out precise battery lifestyles left.
In addition to those options, Quarq will sundown their present Quarq Qalvin smartphone app and roll the entirety into the AXS app (even ‘German Compatibility Mode’). This app will lift ahead the entire very same options, however upload within the talent to regulate a couple of motorcycles and all of the digital lifestyles from a SRAM perspective (so different units comparable to ShockWiz and such).
You can see a few of this already within the beta app I attempted:
This has the advantages for retail outlets as neatly, who’re seeking to prep motorcycles with a couple of energy meters and groupsets round, to stay monitor of what motorcycle is what. So it’s greater than only a consumer-focused factor. And in fact, it’ll help you do firmware updates from the app as neatly.
Note that you just will have to be expecting this set of options to roll out to each AXS and present DZero energy meters between now and April. There’s a couple of extra issues up Quarq’s sleeve for April that I feel will in reality gel in combination what they’re doing on/within the digital house. It might be in reality interesting in the event that they execute it proper – probably probably the most extra thrilling issues I’ve observed hinted at for 2019.
Now, there may be one giant problem right here: With the brand new chainring and DZero design for AXS, it comes as a unmarried cohesive unit. This method you’ll’t switch the chainrings anymore. One may posit that implies throwing away your energy meter when it’s important to switch chainrings.
But in fact, it’s extra of a switch program. SRAM goes to provide swaps for 50% off, so the real value for a brand new energy meter/chainring in that state of affairs is $410. Which is pricey, indubitably. But no longer extraordinarily a lot more than the price of the twin chainrings anyway, which for AXS is $300 on its own. In different phrases, you’re paying a $110 tax for what Quarq says is upper accuracy over the years for the reason that solidified chainring connection wouldn’t go with the flow any.
Back to early January whilst on the town for CES 2019, I headed out to the wilderness (once more) to catch up with the Jim Meyer, founding father of Quarq (now a part of SRAM), and spend the day using across the warmed asphalt and rocks close to the Hoover Dam. We spent a while going thru all the new options, after which merely using them.
While I introduced my very own additional energy meter to perform a little comparisons in opposition to, the truth is that with simply two energy meters you wouldn’t in reality know who was once proper or unsuitable. But, you might be capable of spot excessive oddities. So, to start out issues off at the energy meter entrance – there have been no excessive oddities (information right here):
And the better to peer imply/max graph:
The two had been offset somewhat right here, however given I best had two devices and hadn’t finished any settling of the Vector three (in any respect) in this motorcycle, I wouldn’t overthink it.
And right here’s the cadence information:
In truth, the one factor I’d classify as an excessive oddity in this experience was once this herd of bighorn rams grazing in suburbia at the grass of a resort of a few type:
Also within the excessive oddity division in this experience, it is a reliable division of transportation road-sign within the nice state of Arizona, just a few hundred meters from the Hoover Dam close to our turnaround level. #NotKidding
So what concerning the transferring aspect of items? My major hobby was once the sequential transferring, which intended that it will mechanically shift back and front derailleurs by way of me simply announcing I sought after gearing more straightforward or tougher. It does the mathematics after which mechanically reveals the proper subsequent tools.
Now, this isn’t extraordinarily other from Shimano’s Syncro Shift. It’s in reality kind of a mix of Shimano’s two complete and semi modes, since it may be configured to leap both one, or two gears as a part of the shift. Whereas in Shimano’s case they provide two distinct modes for that piece. Frankly quite refined variations.
During my using with it, it labored precisely as I anticipated, regardless that it was once oddly somewhat loud between shifts, which you’ll pay attention within the video. Since there have been best two motorcycles (mine and Jim’s), it’s unclear if this was once simply a topic particular to those two motorcycles or no longer, but it surely was once indubitably noticeable. Way rougher sounding than simply customary shifts.
Trying out the traditional mode the place you merely shift the use of the 2 shifters like you might have on eTAP up to now was once precisely as anticipated (I run eTAP on my number one street motorcycle, so this was once utterly customary to me).
Note that during both mode you’ll nonetheless manually shift the entrance ring by way of simply dual-holding the 2 shifters. This comes in handy if you happen to’re considering some distance sufficient forward of the motorcycle to understand what you’ll want prior to the motorcycle is aware of what you’ll want. For instance, entering a dash or one thing and also you simply need to be within the giant ring now, as opposed to it doing it mid-sprint.
One attention-grabbing quirk right here was once that the Edge 1030 I used to be the use of wasn’t accurately working out the 12-speed nature of the motorcycle. It would best permit me to choose 11 rear gears after I had two chainrings within the entrance. In speaking with each Garmin and SRAM about this, they consider the space is at the Garmin Edge aspect, and Garmin showed they’ve already were given the ball rolling to proper it.
Finally, I did mess around with the app a little to peer how it’s good to get started customizing one of the most other purposes and combining more than a few SRAM elements in combination. Because the entirety is now hooked up by means of Bluetooth Smart you’ll mix other SRAM elements from the street and mountain households. For instance, you’ll take a street groupset after which customise probably the most shift purposes to keep watch over a dropper put up, which might be attention-grabbing on a gravel setup. SRAM formally calls that the ‘mullet’ configuration. You can see this in my video as neatly.
Remember that every one of those elements are locked to a unmarried grasp. So you’ll’t simply take-over a pal’s motorcycle and get started pairing portions to yours, until you’ve bodily held down the pairing buttons on his motorcycle whilst he’s no longer having a look. Which in fact, is completely reputable. Nothing like popping his dropper put up from yours.
The best problem is that if you happen to had been to pair his transferring in your controllers, you’d be SOL on transferring – since you’ll’t keep watch over a couple of set of derailleurs from one set of shifters. It’s purposefully 1:1 best. Of direction, none of this has in reality modified very a lot from the primary era of eTAP, it’s simply that now they’ve added the BLE app pairing for setup/config functions.
Ultimately I don’t have a ton of rides on it, so this isn’t some kind of complete assessment. Instead, after I’ve had a motorbike for an extended duration I’d be capable of dig into long run impressions.
But for me coming from an eTAP motorcycle as my number one motorcycle, this felt just like the fairly easiest incremental replace for me from a tech perspective. It wasn’t a drastic substitute. And whilst the terrain on our experience was once hilly sufficient to lend itself neatly to the 12-speed setup and greater transferring vary, I in truth didn’t realize a vital distinction when it comes to to be had gears. Perhaps if I had been to have ridden an 11-speed setup on the very same course as a part of a weekly experience or one thing I’d have spotted it, but it surely’s much less most likely when the terrain is quite overseas to you.
Like any main groupset adjustments, this one will most likely take a little time to sink in. There’s a ton of items converting right here, each at the bodily facets (when it comes to cassettes, chains, chainrings, and so on…), but in addition within the sensible realm as neatly in terms of apps and integration. Obviously, from my perspective I’m maximum fascinated by the electronics aspect of items, while a few of you’ll be extra within the /gearing facets.
Still, what’s virtually extra noticeable is how SRAM is converting their supply plan right here. Unlike with the preliminary eTAP announcement the place availability (or lack thereof) dragged on for plenty of many many months, SRAM has vendors stocked as of nowadays. The similar is going for a pile of motorbike manufactures that experience motorcycles able to head nowadays with SRAM AXS constructed into the motorcycles. In idea, you will have to be capable of telephone up your native motorcycle store or on-line store and in finding the SRAM AXS portions you need with rapid availability.
Of direction, the most efficient laid plans don’t all the time pan out – however that’s the idea. I think we’ll nonetheless see some inventory shortages within the near-term, however even though that’s the case it’s a vital departure from no longer best how SRAM has treated up to now, but in addition Shimano – which will see availability backlogs and delays stretching upwards of a yr. An oft-discussed ache level of many within the motorcycle trade.
As for my complete in-depth assessment of the brand new AXS device, that’ll almost certainly come later this spring, in all probability tied to one of the most deliberate updates/bulletins across the Sea Otter time-frame in April, as that would possibly remove darkness from a little extra of all of the virtual aspect of the ecosystem.
With that – thank you for studying!