The all new SRAM Force AXS 43-30 wide range drivetrain combines lower front gearing with a wider range 10-36 cassette for a mix-and-match group that’ll make any climb easier. Both require new derailleurs, which bring other improvements with them, too.

It’ll also improve tire clearance, letting us run bigger, wider tires. It’s not technically a “gravel” group, it’s just another option for, um, gravel. But also adventure and touring bikes. And even regular road bikes if you live somewhere steep.

Really, it’s like two separate systems, one for the front, and one for the rear, and you can blend either one into existing AXS drivetrains to create your perfect setup. Here’s the complete tech breakdown, specs & pricing, along with a visual comparison of prior eTap and AXS derailleurs…

Force AXS 43/30 crankset and front derailleur

sram force axs wide range compact 43-30 chainrings and carbon cranks for gravel bikes and road bikes

Let’s just go ahead and rip this Band-Aid off: If you want to use this new ultra-compact crank-and-chainring set, you’ll have to buy the complete crankset and the new 43/30 front derailleur. Here’s why:

The new cranks have a 5mm wider DUB spindle. That pushes the Q-Factor out 2.5mm per side, and pushes the chainline out 2.5mm to 47.5mm. And that’s not all.

sram force axs wide range compact 43-30 chainrings and carbon cranks for gravel bikes and road bikes

The new 43/30 chainring combo uses a smaller 94mm BCD, down from 107mm on the other AXS groups.

Buuuuut, it still uses their newer 8-bolt direct mount spline pattern, though. And they share the same 13-tooth gap between big and small chainrings. Which means…

sram force axs wide range compact 43-30 chainrings and carbon cranks for gravel bikes and road bikes

You could put these chainrings and spider on an existing SRAM crankset for use with a standard AXS front derailleur, however you’d give up the increased tire clearance. That also means you could mount the standard SRAM 12-speed chainrings (on their 107bcd spiders) to this spindle to use with the Wide front derailleur!

Nutshell version: Mix and match spindles and derailleurs as desired, just make sure you’re pairing Wide/Wide or Standard/Standard up front.

Additionally, by using the same 13-tooth jump, you can mix and match this crankset with any of their 12-speed AXS rear derailleurs and cassettes and maintain the same “gap” compatibility on the rear derailleur (more on that in a minute).

Basically, you can mix and match most everything in the AXS universe now to create the exact setup you want, with the few caveats mentioned here. Aren’t you glad you didn’t jump straight to the comments section?

sram force axs wide range compact 43-30 chainrings and carbon cranks for gravel bikes and road bikes

One limitation with the 94BCD is a lack of spider-based power meters. The Quarq power meter won’t fit inside that smaller BCD, but now that they own PowerTap, they recommend the PowerTap P2 pedal power meters.

What’s impressive is the range of lengths offered: They come in 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175, and 177.5 mm lengths. They also get a new gloss finish to differentiate them from the standard Force 12-speed cranks, and that carries over with hits of gloss on the derailleurs, too.

And yes, if you really like a wider Q-factor, you could mount their 1x chainrings to these cranks, just note that it’ll also push your chainline out and may not offer the smoothest, quietest performance on the tall end of your cassette.

sram force axs wide front derailleur adds more tire clearance

The “Wide” part of this derailleur doesn’t mean “wide range”. It simply refers to the fact that it sits out wider from the frame.

Now that everything is pushed out farther, you’ll want to order the correct DUB bottom bracket to go with it, which basically gets you a wider spacer kit with the BB (Our guess is you can simply add a 2.5mm spacer to each side if you already have a DUB BB installed). They make options to fit virtually every frame standard except Trek’s BB90.

How do Regular & Wide eTap AXS front derailleurs compare?

sram red axs and force axs 43-30 wide front derailleur comparison

From the side, the new Force AXS wide front derailleur (above, right) looks the same as the non-wide version (Red AXS FD shown on left).

sram red axs and force axs 43-30 wide front derailleur comparison
Red eTap AXS front derailleur on left, new Force AXS 43-30 front derailleur on the right.

It’s their offset from the frame that’s different. Shown above, you can see the wider body and offset mounting point for the Force AXS Wide front derailleur. This pushes it 2.5mm farther from the seat tube.

sram red axs and force axs 43-30 wide front derailleur comparison
Left to right: 1st generation Red eTap, current Red AXS, new Force AXS wide front derailleurs.

Just for fun, here’s what every generation of SRAM eTap front derailleur looks like. The important thing is how they differ in tire clearance:

tire clearance comparison for all sram etap axs front derailleurs

The original eTap FD placed the battery far inward (above, left), which limited its use for anything other than a road bike with narrower road tires. Which is all that group was ever really designed for in 2015…”gravel” wasn’t quite a thing.

In 2019, the AXS groups moved the battery farther out (center), which opened up clearance for 700×40 tires, depending on the rim and tire. Now, the new Force AXS Wide (right) moves the whole thing out 2.5mm for clearance up to 700×45 or 650B x 2.1″ tires.

tire clearance comparison for all sram etap axs front derailleurs

Shown mounted to a Niner RLT 9 RDO with Bontrager gravel wheels and 700×40 tires, I measured 1mm, 3.5mm and 5mm clearance respectively.

Yes, theoretically, there should be a 2.5mm difference between AXS and AXS Wide, but it’ll vary based on how the derailleur is angled, and I may have simply had it angled slightly differently since I wasn’t actually setting the Red AXS FD up for riding on this bike. You get the point.

SRAM Force 36T wide range cassette & rear derailleur

sram force axs wide range 36t max rear derailleur

Moving to the back, you have a more modular system. The new Force AXS Max 36T rear derailleur gets a longer B-knuckle than the original, which maxed out at 33T. This pushes the parallelogram, pulleys and everything else just a bit lower to clear the larger 36T cog on the new 10-36 cassette. It’ll also work with their 10-33 and 10-28 cassettes.

It keeps their not-quite-a-clutch hydraulically damped Orbit chain management system that keeps the cage, and thus chain slap, under control.

sram force wide range 10-36 cassette for gravel bikes and road bikes

All AXS rear derailleurs will now ship with their maximum tooth capacity printed on them, helping you identify the largest cassette you can use with it.

This one has a maximum gap of 39 teeth, which is determined as such:

(big cog – small cog) + (big ring – small ring) = tooth gap

So, in this case, 26+13 = 39 teeth.

As luck would have it, all of SRAM’s new 12 speed cranks use a 13-tooth difference between chainrings, so you can match this new rear derailleur and the 10-36 cassette with any of their 12-speed chainring combos, all the way up to 50/37.

sram force wide range 10-36 cassette for gravel bikes and road bikes

The 10-36 cassette is a one-piece cluster using pinned construction. It mates to their XDR freehub body.

sram force wide range 10-36 cassette for gravel bikes and road bikes

It’s more than just a larger 36-tooth cog slapped on the end of the prior 10-33, the gear steps have all been adjusted for smoother shifts up and down the cassette.

Any questions? What does it all mean?

pricing and specs for sram force axs 43-30 wide range road and gravel bike group

The real question is why. Why make so many changes that require different parts when you could just throw an Eagle rear derailleur and cassette on a 1x set up and get massive range?

Well, you could. But you’d lose the finer gear steps, and still not have quite as much range:

gear ratios and gear range comparison for sram axs cassettes and chainrings versus shimano grx

The new “Wide” combo nets you a 516% range with all parts used. Note the use of their previously smallest crankset, the 46/33, still gets you more than the 500% range offered by a 1x setup running their Eagle AXS mountain bike cassette and rear derailleur. Just barely, but remember kids, gear steps. But also weight and less tire clearance. Pick your poison.

sram 12-speed cassette gear steps and size options including new force axs wide range 10-36

This brings SRAM’s 12-speed cassette options to four. The chart above shows the gear steps and tooth counts for all of them, along with Shimano’s current road and GRX gravel cassette options.

Check out this post if you want to see how these compare to traditional road gearing.

Back to why? It’s also about tire clearance. We’re running wider tires, and want the option to run the widest tires we can. It’s tough to justify buying expensive parts if you know they’ll limit your options down the gravel road.

Which AXS parts work together?

component compatibility chart for sram force axs 43-30 wide range road and gravel bike groupCan I mix SRAM eTap AXS road shifters with an Eagle AXS rear derailleur? What about a Reverb dropper post? Yes, and yes. And you can mix mountain bike shifters with road parts if you’re building a flat bar speed bike.

The chart above shows all possible combinations and which cassette sizes work with which rear derailleurs, etc. Click to enlarge. And remember, their AXS app helps you customize the controls to do what you want, turn on sequential shifting, and other party tricks.

The important thing to remember about the new Force “Wide” parts is that you need to pair the front together if you want the 43/30 compact gearing, but you can use the rear derailleur with all but the smallest of their 12-speed road cassettes.

SRAM Force “Wide” pricing & availability

price list for new sram force axs wide range 43-30 group

The complete group will set you back $1,450, plus two batteries (around $55 each). All parts are available now.

Stay tuned for our first ride impressions, video and actual weights, coming soon!

SRAM.com

 

55 COMMENTS

    • I’d have loved a 10-42 (or 10-45) for myself, but most of our customers prefer a 2x setup as they use their gravel bikes both on and off road and prefer smaller steps between cogs. Wide-range Force22 should be an appealing alternative to GRX Di2 for a lot of customers.

      • I wish they made it possible to get chainrings with more than 13T between them for a ‘1x plus granny’ setup. This would probably mean yet another FD though.

    • Garbaruk is releasing a 10-42t 12 speed cassette. They already released a cage/pulley system for the Force AXS derailleur that allows up to 42t without the included extender and 52t with the extender.

      • It’s Parlee’s carbon fiber “clamp” mount, which is my FD mount of choice. But being a) Parlee and b) carbon, it’s exacting in its precision, so I had to sand some (most) of the paint off the seat tube for it to fit. I literally took 1mm+ of paint off.

  1. Or you could just install Shimano GRX Di2 and their 11-40T cassette – yeah that perfectly works as installed on many of our customers’ bikes – and enjoy an even wider range (563%) with a cassette featuring steps that are really ideally suited for use in mountainous regions, be it on tarmac or on gravel.
    The 10T-11T-12T-13T which that new Sram cassette features is just a waste of sprockets. Who cares for 1T gearing steps in those gears he rarely uses for anything else than the descends?
    1T gearing steps make a lot of sense for road (racing) cassettes up to maybe a 11-30T cassette but for gravel bikes?

    SRAM’s best department has always been marketing. And this seems to be even more true today than it ever was.

  2. Okay, I swear I re-read this multiple times but I just want to make sure I’m clear… if I wanted to run the new wide range RD and 10-36t cassette with an existing 46/33t crank/chainring set-up, do I need to purchase the new wide range FD or will the older one still suffice for this set-up? Thanks, all.

    • Or the alternate question would be, would it be advisable to run the new wide range FD with a 46/33t crank/ring set-up to allow for wider tire clearance? That seems to make sense.

      • Yeah, it’s not clear if the Wide FD is a MUST for the wider chainline, or just there to facilitate more tire clearance.

        Put more simply, is there enough limit adjustment on a standard Force AXS FD to shift a chainset with the 47.5mm chainline, assuming I don’t need the extra tire clearance?

    • You can use your current FD. If you decide to change your chainrings, you can still use your current FD, you just won’t have the wider tire clearance from the FD.

    • Scott, correct. Here’s the short of it:

      – Run any of the gear combos with the standard spindle and front derailleur, or…
      – Run any of the gear combos with the WIDE spindle and WIDE front derailleur…

      …and it should work. The only real difference is the additional 2.5mm drive side/5mm total spacing/width, so as long as you have wide/wide or standard/standard, they *should* work together just fine. The only thing worth reiterating is that you gain more tire clearance when you run the Wide setup.

    • $675 for 3 more teeth? I have force ASX on my road bike and wouldn’t mind a bigger cassette for longer mountain days but the cost for the minor change is not worth it to me.

    • Agreed. We can’t wait for these wider-but-not-MTB-wide cassette options either, and for SRAM’s mechanical groups to go 12-speed. Personally, I like the new gearing combos and ratios, they work well for me and my local terrain, so it’ll be nice when they make them more accessible and affordable.

      • Sounds like Sram has discontinued their mechanical drive trains alltogether, just quietly. Would love to see a narrower version of eagle though.

  3. Maybe don’t call it a “complete group” if that price excludes the shifters and brakes 🙂

    +1 on the 12sp mech groups. Reckon there’s more appetite for that in the coronavirus economy than $3000 wifi groups.

  4. Yes, there are quite a few cranksets that accommodate larger gaps. The problem is that you need to use dedicated AXS chainrings (apparently) and also that the FD may not be designed to work with larger gaps.

  5. It’s a bit more than aesthetic. I travel with my bike and I separate my bike, so being wireless is a major plus. I fully realize that I may not be in the majority here and I’m sure the Shimano stuff is very good.

  6. di2 Is NOTmore reliable than AXS wireless. In fact I have found quite the opposite, even though I still use di2.

  7. I want the Eagle XX equivalent 1 x 12 Red mechanical drivetrain that can use anything from a 10-36 to a 10-52 cassette, something like that. They obviously could pump out those parts at will, given what is already in the marketplace.

  8. It would be weird if third party make an upgrade kit for right 11 speed shifter internal to have 12 speed before Sram release their 12s mech shifters.

  9. Not sure what sort of business model SRAM is attempting here. They are going to go the way of Campy in the dropbar space at this rate. All new products are hyper expensive AND we are moving into a recession, so they are in a pretty bad position in drop bar. They knocked out 12 speed MTB mechanical immediately, so the delay in drop bar really makes no sense at all. MTB Eagle goes all the way down to the lowest group level, so why have we seen nothing new here for YEARS from SRAM. How old is Apex now? Like 6 years since the last update?
    $490 rear derailleur…get f**ked…That’s not going to make my ride better in a real way. AXS sales are what, like, 0.2% of the market?

  10. +2: AXS might be nice if you a day rider that doesn’t venture far off the beaten path, but for bikepacking or longer rides these battery powered group sets are complexity I don’t want or need. I have a hard enough time keeping my GPS and phone charged and running my lights with a dynamo hub, don’t need another mouth to feed!

    • ^ Exactamundo! I’m sure AXS is nice for one day events that don’t venture too far away from bitumen, but no way for bikepacking or remote area use. And then there’s the price, and 30×36 isn’t much of a low gear for offroad or touring use. 🙁

    • Lael Wilcox uses AXS with no issues, as does Neil Beltchienko. I have as well (not quite the big name as Lael, but also going long on a regular basis). Any motorized rear derailleur slaps the isht out of a mechanical one for shift quality in adverse conditions. It’s also convenient to have one less housing that can interfere with bags & whatnot. The battery life is great, even in really cold conditions, and they charge very quickly. You just carry a spare and swap them out for charging if you’re out for a few days/weeks.

  11. @Marc L: Shimano’s XT 10-45 1x is sublime. Shifts are fantastic up and down the cassette. A 12-speed GRX 1x based on that 12-speed XT 10-45 cassette and rear derailleur would be the real deal, but Shimano can’t deliver that until Dura-Ace goes 12-speed, so we wait…

  12. Clearly your experience can be generalized to every user. Better yet your exprience is enough to claim that the consensus is that Di2 is not more reliable than AXS.

    Thank you! The industry and millions of riders were waiting your judgment.

  13. So are all brakes. Your point? Wireless is not a feature unless you do something with it. SRAM have not shown that wireless offers any discrete advantages over wired. It’s not a big deal for frame manufacturers to accommodate Di2 or dropper posts, but many are lazy about it. Shimano hides the battery, SRAM hides the wires. But also, decent frames hide the wires.

    The big sell on AXS over anything else is actually a small one. It’s easy to mount it on frames that would otherwise have awkward shift housing routing. That’s really it. This means it can be more appealing to product managers picking parts.

    Remember guys, frame manufacturers are SRAM’s customers, not us. That’s who they’re designing for. Also, has everyone forgot SRAM’s marketing about the death of the(ir) front derailleur already?

    • The death of the FD was an MTB thing, not road. SRAM came out with RED eTap right around the same time as that video. If they were killing all FDs, why make your flagship group available only with an FD. Fast forward 4 years later to today and you’ve already forgotten that this launch includes… yes, a new FD to compliment the other FDs they already make. If SRAM really wanted to kill the FD, why didn’t they make the 1×12-speed 10-42 everyone is begging for in comments sections (btw, those commenters aren’t frame manufacturers).

      Why wireless? Why redundant and removable batteries? Why built in BLE and ANT+ for head units and phones? Why free AXS App control customization? Dude, really? No benefit? Don’t trip over that Di2 charger cord as you walk past your bike leaned up against the wall outlet.

  14. Quarq powermeters won’t fit the new, smaller 94BCD spider.
    SPD-based PowerTap powermeters still don’t exist.
    PowerTap G4 hub-based powermeters shown at Eurobike two years ago never saw the light of day.
    What is going on at Quarq? Did they just stop R&D after taking over PowerTap?

  15. But, but pro riders use them so of course they’re great….When pro riders break down there is usually a crash truck or support network to help them out. When I break down it’s either troubleshooting It myself in the middle of nowhere or a really long walk.

    I’ve seen 20 hrs listed for the rear derailleur battery life. That’s at most two days of bikepacking for me. So I either need to carry four batteries for a weeklong trip or carry a charger and then somewhere/how to charge it. Or I can just go with a mechanical unit that doesn’t need power or me to carry extra crap. If I’m really worried about it on a long trip, a spare cable is lightweight.

    • I use AXS for my mountain and fat bike. I was able to get approximately 26 hrs of use out of it in the winter months on one battery. I just had to see how long it could go without a recharge. Obviously it’s going to depend on how often you shift. I absolutely love it. Spare batteries are light and easy to carry. The battery on the derailleur lasted longer than my gps did.

      With your situation and how you ride however I certainly can see why you’d want a mechanical and I’d agree I’d want one as well. I still use mechanical on my road bike. Not sure why they didn’t also drop a mechanical as well.

  16. this is small potatoes compared to everything else mentioned, but their aesthetics are starting to concern me, especially these chunky chainsets. high-end SRAM users can be a flamboyant bunch. SRAM need to not let their aesthetics go full-nerd, or their customerbase will shrink. This stuff is downright ugly.

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