SRAM Rival eTap AXS is here. Surprise? It didn’t take a crystal ball to figure out what might be next in the eTap AXS pipeline, but it seems like SRAM’s newest road group will be worth the wait.

But why add wireless shifting to what’s essentially SRAM’s entry point for performance road and gravel groups? SRAM says that it’s all about bringing the latest innovations to riders of all levels while reducing complexity and removing barriers – essentially they just want to make a better ride for all.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS 2x road group

When it comes to drivetrains, in SRAM’s opinion, cable actuated shifting just doesn’t offer a riding experience on the same level as modern bike frames. To address that, they’ve just announced Rival eTap AXS which offers a similar riding experience to RED and Force including wireless shifting, eTap shift logic, an integrated Power Meter option, AXS connectivity & insights, and hydraulic disc brakes.

SRAM AXS Web Wahoo data connection update, analytics
photo c. SRAM

Being ‘AXS enabled’ gives riders the ability to display Gear indication on their GPS head units while also recording the time in gear that goes into the FIT file from each ride. From there, you can use AXS web to see individual gear metrics.

SRAM AXS UserVoice_wireless end user AXS access platform feedback mobile app web functions

The SRAM AXS app also provides Low battery alerts, alternative shift modes, control customization, power and gearing insights, and easy firmware updates, all straight from your phone.

End of Rival Rim Brakes?

SRAM Rival eTap AXS disc brake caliper

Notably, Rival will now be wireless and hydraulic disc brake only. That’s right, no more mechanical Rival 2x groups, and no more rim brakes. However, SRAM will still offer RED and Force eTap AXS with a mechanical rim brake option – you just won’t find it at the Rival level.

SRAM also states that Rival eTap AXS 1×12 effectively cannibalizes Force 1×11 mechanical. But, Rival 1×11 mechanical and Apex 1×11 mechanical will still be offered, having recently had their best years yet.

Still Fully Wireless

SRAM Rival eTap AXS group side profile

Unlike some of the competition, SRAM Rival eTap AXS is fully wireless. Which means like other eTap wireless groups, each component must have its own battery. Thankfully, SRAM Rival eTap AXS will use the same batteries and chargers as RED and Force eTap AXS.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS battery on rear derailleur

SRAM Rival eTap AXS battery on charger

The rechargeable battery packs disconnect from the front and rear derailleur, and are charged in their own USB dock. Complete bikes and groups will include a single charger, but if you want to charge multiple batteries at once, you can pick up an additional charger for $40. And if you manage to lose a battery, or want a spare, those are $55 each.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS coin cell battery in shifter

Since the battery packs would be too big to fit in the shifter and they don’t need as much juice, each hood includes a CR2032 coin cell battery stored in a compartment under the lever. Battery life on these will depend on how often you shift, and ride, but on my Force eTap AXS test group, I’m going on two years now with the first batteries.

Smaller Hoods for Smaller Hands

SRAM Rival eTap AXS shifter hood lineup

SRAM Rival eTap AXS shifter hood size comparison with force
SRAM Force eTap AXS shifter on the left, Rival eTap AXS on the right

While we’re on the topic of shifters, the shape of new Rival eTap AXS hood is one of the most noticeable changes for the entire group. Compared to the hoods of RED and Force, the Rival hoods are a bit shorter, and about 10mm smaller in diameter at the narrowest point. The result is a hood with increased finger wrap and improved reach to the lever for those with small hands.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS shifter with hood up

Part of making the hoods smaller is the removal of the port for Blip or Clics. If you want those, you’ll have to use Force or RED shifters. The shifters also lose the pad contact point adjustment of RED and Force, but keep the lever reach adjustment. The levers themselves make the move from carbon to more affordable aluminum for Rival.

Brakes

SRAM Rival eTap AXS front brake

SRAM Rival eTap AXS rear brake

Rival’s braking design is identical to Force and RED at the lever, but RED and Force calipers include SRAM’s Bleeding Edge snap fit bleeding port. Rival keeps the cost down with a traditional threaded port, but still uses Bleeding Edge bleed process.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS brake rotor
There are no Rival-specific brake rotors, so our test bike came equipped with the Paceline Centerlock rotors from SRAM.

As mentioned, Rival eTap AXS will only be offered with hydraulic disc brakes, with flat mount calipers. Don’t have a frame with flat mounts? SRAM will still offer a post mount disc caliper and hose kit at the RED level. You can also use SRAM Level disc brake calipers with the Rival eTap AXS shift levers.

The brake pads are held in place by the usual threaded pin with a c-clip, and the pads appear to be a different shape than those used for Force eTap AXS (we’re in the process of confirming any inter-compatibility between the pads). Brake pads will be offered in both organic and sintered compounds.

Inter-compatibility

Speaking of inter-compatibility, you might be wondering whether SRAM Rival, Force, and RED eTap AXS share any compatibility between groups. The answer is yes, but not for everything. Differences in derailleur capacity, and gearing may make some parts incompatible, but “12-speed Flattop chains, 12-speed cassettes from 10-28T all the way up to 10-36T, 1x cranksets, 2x cranksets (be sure to use the correct wide spindle crankset with the wide version front derailleur), shifter controls, and power meters” are all compatible through the different groups.

Road? Gravel? Wide Crank & FD options allow for either

SRAM Rival eTap AXS gravel image

SRAM doesn’t have a gravel-specific groupset, and that continues with Rival eTap AXS. What they do have though, is a Wide version of the front derailleur and cranksets based around a wider chainline and wider stanced arms to clear bigger frames and tires.

Front Derailleur

SRAM Rival eTap AXS front derailleurs

If you opt for one of the Wide cranksets, you’ll need to match it with the Wide front derailleur as well. Because of this, there will be two different front derailleurs offered – the FD-RIV-E-D1, and the FD-RIV-EW-D1 (Wide). Functionally, they’re the same, but the standard FD is meant for the 46/33t or 48/35t chainring combinations. The Wide FD is meant for the 43/30t Wide chainring combo, and should offer clearance for up to 700c x 45mm or 27.5 x 2.1″ tires.

Cranksets

SRAM Rival eTap AXS cranksets

There are quite a few options for cranksets, but they boil down to 1x or 2x, standard or wide, and with or without power meter. All of the cranksets are designed with polished aluminum arms, and run on the DUB bottom bracket system. All of the cranksets also use a 13t gap between the two rings to maintain their X-Range gearing progression.

Standard cranks will be offered in 48/35t and 46/33t double configurations only. The Wide cranksets will come in a 43/30t double, or the new Rival 1 Wide crankset with 38, 40, or 42t chainrings. Note that the Wide cranks are compatible with 135, 142, and 148mm Boost rear spacing which is important when you consider the Rival/GX Eagle mullet build options which are now possible (and in the works).

SRAM Rival eTap AXS crankset double

 

The 2x cranksets use a 107mm BCD for the standard spindle cranks, and a 94mm BCD for the 43/30 Wide spindle crankset, each with specific chainrings that match the profile of the crank.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS 1x crankset

The 1x cranksets on the other hand use a direct mount chainring. Standard cranksets use a 145.5mm q-factor and 45mm chainline, and the wide spindle cranks bump up to 150.5mm and 47.5mm.

Since Rival cranks will only be offered with DUB spindles, they’re not compatible with BB90 bottom brackets. In that case, you’ll need to use one of the SRAM Force or RED cranks which are available with GXP spindles.

Single Sided Power Meter

SRAM Rival eTap AXS power meter

Cranksets will also have the option for an integrated power meter – made possible by the new single sided design. The spindle-based option is a new design from Quarq that is quite light, adding just 40g to the bike. The single sided nature means it only measures the left leg only, so it’s probably not as accurate as the Force or RED power meters, but it’s less expensive and powered by a single replaceable AAA battery. Both BLE and ANT+ compatible, the power meter has an IPX7 waterproof rating and can be updated by removing the internal ‘sled’ from the bike.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS power meter

All of the cranksets will be offered with a power meter option, and there will also be the option of upgrading to the power meter in the future. Say you bought a bike with a Rival crankset that doesn’t have power? You can upgrade to power by replacing the non-drive arm and spindle assembly with the pre-installed power meter for $250.

One Rear Derailleur

SRAM Rival eTap AXS rear derailleur

Thankfully, there’s only one rear derailleur to choose from. Both 1x and 2x groups will use the new RD-RIV-E-D1 rear derailleur. Built with a 36t maximum cog capacity, the derailleur is compatible with cassettes ranging from 10-28 through 10-36, SRAM points out that the derailleur is not compatible with the 10-26t cassette (which is unlike to be used anyway).

SRAM Rival eTap AXS rear derailleur

To keep tabs on the chain, the derailleur features mechanical spring clutch. That’s compared to the Force and RED derailleurs which use the more compact and lighter Orbit Fluid Damper. Constructed with all aluminum plates, the cage houses X-SYNC pulleys.

Gearing Options

SRAM Rival eTap AXS gearing spread

SRAM Rival eTap AXS cassette options

Back at the cassette, SRAM’s X-Range gearing concept offers greater range with what they claim to be better steps, using super wide cassettes and narrowing difference between chainrings. That means SRAM kept Rival 12-speed cassette options to just two choices, the 10-30t, and 10-36t. The 10-30t cassette has 300% range – more than an 11-32t, and 6 consecutive cogs at the small end of the cassette. The 10-36 is the most widely speced so far though, with 360% range compared to an 11-34 which is only 309%.

The point is that SRAM says their 2×12 or 1×12 Rival eTap AXS set up can be used for anything – Race, Endurance, and even Gravel. They point out that it offers lower gearing than GRX, without the need for a dedicated group.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS XDR cassette

Like the rest of the eTap AXS cassettes, the Rival cassettes uses SRAM’s XDR freehub body.

Flattop Rival Chain

SRAM Rival eTap AXS chain

The last piece of the puzzle is the chain. Like Force and RED, Rival eTap AXS requires a Flattop 12 speed chain. The CN-RIV-D1 uses the same Flattop design that has an asymmetric design with a flat top and round bottom, as well as a directional Flattop PowerLock. Differences for the Rival chain are found in the construction with RED and Force chains getting hard-chromed pins, rollers, and inner chain plates while Rival chains only use hard-chromed pins and rollers.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS compatible chain tools

Like Force and RED chains, you’ll need a Flattop compatible chain tool to install it (along with compatible master link pliers, and chain wear tools). SRAM has a list of compatible tools on their site, but it’s not an exhaustive list. Case in point, the Wolf Tooth Components 8-Bit and standard Pack Pliers are now both compatible with SRAM Flattop chain links (both will also store spare Flattop links as well).

Pricing & Availability

At a time with limited availability of just about everything, SRAM has the new Rival eTap AXS available today. They also expect that Rival eTap AXS will more than double the number of AXS bikes currently in the market.

As expected, this is the most approachable eTap AXS group yet, with the lowest price tag. Key single component prices include $30 for the chain, $125 for the cassettes, $255 for the rear derailleur, $175 for the front derailleur, and $349 for a crankset with power meter.

Group Pricing

  • $1639 for 2x group with power
  • $1420 for 2x without power
  • $1409 for 1x with power
  • $1190 for 1x without power

A groupset includes: Shift-brake system, rotors, crankset, bottom bracket, chain, cassette, derailleur (front and rear for 2x, rear only for 1x), batteries, charger.

Specifications

SRAM Rival eTap AXS specifications SRAM Rival eTap AXS specifications

SRAM.com

50 COMMENTS

  1. Why does Sram position the battery on the backside of the front derailleur? Why don’t they have it protrude out the front side, this will allow for better tire clearance.

    • I never understood the benefit of making the derailleurs independently powered and wireless. Connect them to an inboard battery and radio. It’s not as though either of those parts ever change positions. 1 less battery (and a larger one), one less radio.

  2. Do they still not offer a 10-42 12s 1x option? Like wtf is even the point of this? 10-36 is not enough for 1x in the mountains, eagle is mega overkill.

  3. Definitely not a fan of SRAM at all but this would be on my radar if I had a disc frame right now. Replacement costs are somewhat reasonable for me to race on this group (huge issue with the Red for me). Shimano better come out all guns blazing on the new Dura-Ace, Ultegra, and 105 lines (specifically getting di2 105). Think I’d still go r8070 but the closest I’ve looked at SRAM in years so an absolute tip of the cap. Has sram improved the shift delay with the new Axs stuff? I know on the original etap there was actually a pretty long delay between clicking the button and the derailleur actuating. It really annoyed me on the few hundred miles I rode it when I borrowed a wealthy mates spare bike while mine was being warrantied.

    • I run AXS on all my bikes and while it doesn’t shift as fast as Di2, I never noticed any significant delay in shifting after pushing the shifter.

    • What is there to beat? Wireless offers no performance advantage. Sure, the lack of wires lowers CdA ever so slightly, so slightly you’re unlikely to ever see measurable difference in performance on the road, gravel, or wherever. Easier to install? Sure, but installation is not something done every day. Aesthetics? Well, that’s opinion based, so no objective advantage there. You do get to mind more batteries, but I’m not sure that’s an advantage. So with all that tolled, the only advantage to wireless is that it looks different.

      • It depends on if you think Shimano is still the manufacturer to beat. They definitely have the most presence when entering a bike shop due to OEM contracts, but technology-wise does Shimano do anything better than anyone else? You could look at wires as something to fail by getting caught on something or getting worn out so it doesn’t plug in well after a while. Most of the issues I encountered with DI2 came down to wires that were faulty or worn. Wireless doesn’t have that issue and coming from a bike shop that built a ton of custom bikes, yes the ease of installation and maintenance is worth it to me. I see no noticeable delay with the shifting on AXS, I use it as a 1x on my gravel bike. However, I have built and ridden many 2x eTap bikes and the front shifting is super quick, especially with AXS. There was a bit of a delay on the first gen before AXS, but nothing that would have bothered me. I would strongly suggest looking at what Shimano offers and then looking at SRAM and Campagnolo and really looking at the difference. Shimano in my opinion is behind both in a lot of crucial categories, plus as a business they are pretty miserable to work with in my experience. Maybe they have gotten better though, I haven’t worked at a shop in about 2 years, but the automatic Shimano bias that people have doesn’t make sense to me. But hey, whatever gets folks out there is cool.

      • Compared to Di2, AXS is a notable advantage due to the lack of junction points on all the wires. Not having to pull your cranks and BB just to get to a junction box is a major improvement for any mechanic. Not to mention the ease of setup and customization thanks to the nature of AXS compatibility across component groups. Want to run Red AXS shifters and a GX AXS derailleur? Go ahead.

      • The two batteries is actually an advantage. I forgot to charge the batteries for the first ride after the winter – so when I took the bike off the wall and my Red groupset connected with my Garmin, it told me that the Battery of the fd was empty but on the rd it was fine. So I could still go for an 2 hour ride. With Di2, I wouldn’t have been able to change gears at all.

      • What is there to beat, really? I am a Shimano guy with all my bike being 100% Shimano, but looking objectively, Shimano does not offer 12 speed and electronic as a start, then put it in an affordable 105 package and offer it across the full range of price points for both MTB and Road. Shimano has not even done the high end comparable 12-speed yet, By the time they do, everyone will have already moved on to 13 or 14 speed. I am so tired of Shimano playing catch up and saying its because they spent more time to “perfect the shifting”. That’s marketing bs people are getting tired of. Both Sram and Shimano already shift great, but Shimano is clearly on their heals the past 5 years or more

    • I hear this a lot but Shimano is more an engineering company and SRAM is more of a bicycle/marketing company. Campag is a bit of both but largely irrelevant in my area, All have their benefits Shimano has always been conservative yet when they bring a product to the market it is pretty much bang on from day one and made very well (crank arms being a weird outlier). SRAM tends to be open to different stuff but there are often compromises in function and build quality. Pick your poison.

  4. Haven’t seen the note about Level calipers working with AXS levers before – is that specific to Rival levers? Given the large number of post-mount bikes out there, having this option available would be better than forcing rivers to go with the first required for RED levers/calipers

    • Pretty much all SRAM calipers are compatible with all SRAM levers, across the board. IIRC Code isn’t perfectly compatible but it will work unofficially. Same with Shimano if memory serves.

      • To clarify Seraph’s point about unofficial and anecdotal compatibility, all Shimano hydraulic levers are compatible with all Shimano calipers – but Shimano aren’t compatible with Sram.

  5. The best thing SRAM can bring out after this is a dual battery charger! Come on what’s the hold up on this bottle neck!

  6. IMHO, best part of this is it pressures Shimano. I don’t like SRAM brakes for various reasons. But I like the 43/30-10/36 setup possibility. Though at $1400+ I will stick with what’s on my bike now which shifts and brakes great. As for the wire of DI2, that doesn’t bother me in the least. Bottom line is the cost for either system in 2X will need to be half of this for even consider it. After all your just shifting gears, and my current setup does a fantastic job of that.

  7. I’ve been proven wrong time after time about what folks are willing to pay for groupsets, so this will probably be no exception. Still, $1400 for a 2x groupset without the bling factor of the upper tiers that weighs 7 lbs seems nutty.

  8. Why, as a consumer would you ever want to find an outlet to roll your bike next to, or want to deal with wires on the inside of a frame? This solves every problem to an increasingly direct to consumer world. Way way way easier to deal with.

  9. No wires to run anywhere is a pretty obvious benefit. You could retrofit this on a frame with fully external cable routing, and not have to think about where you would stick the inboard battery.
    If only they sold it with post-mount brake calipers as an out-of-the-box option it would be perfect.

  10. Agreed, it would be great if it were still possible to buy a road group with post-mount calipers out of the box rather than having to swap them after-market.

    • No mechanical 12 speed anything actually, except for some Campagnolo. Also Leonardi makes 12-speed 9-46 cassettes for all your “XC” needs.

  11. That’s a NO!!! Not going to run some cobbled together crap like that to begin with, and certainly not paying the over-priced for a AXS anything, and then SRAM cassettes are some of the highest prices too. All for no real benefit. Again, what I have works fantastic at shifting gears for much less cost, with ZERO maintenance outside of chain clean/lube, not even a twist of a barrel adjuster. HARD PASS!!!

    • The Rival AXS cassette is $125 MSRP. Considering the construction that’s a pretty good price. And I wouldn’t consider anything the AXS lineup “cobbled together”. It’s all cross-compatible, like anything mechanical with the same number of speeds from any other manufacturer (except Shimano because Tiagra 10-speed is only compatible with itself).

      • My reply didn’t post where it was supposed to post. I replied to “Mike April 15, 2021 At 5:44 pm
        Just need to get GRX shifters and brakes shifting and Eagle AXS rear derailleur haha”

        And that is cobbled together. Not doing that. All electronic or all not.

  12. Well you can mix and match between groups this way for one. And if one battery dies you can swap the other on into that position to get you home. There are advantages I can see.

  13. They scooped Shimano, which is rumored to release their updated Dura Ace soon. Rumor is 12 sp, semi wireless (like FSA WE) or wireless. I know they don’t compete directly, but by having riders jump on Rival AXS first, that dries up some purchasing dollars ahead of DA.

  14. The amount of people I see dropping off because their batteries are dead is always increasing. I’ll keep my mechanical groupset, thanks…and my rim brakes…and my external cable routing.

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