SRAM’s Blackbox XX1 AXS prototype integrated one-piece power meter chainring has been floating around on the race circuit for almost a year, so far. Although we’d only spotted it on the Scott bikes of Kate & Nino at the start of 2020, by the middle of the year Ghost was racing it on their prototype Lector FS, as were a few other champions. And now it’s started popping up on Specialized’s training camp bikes too…
Prototype Blackbox SRAM XX1 AXS integrated power meter chainring
What we know of the new direct mount SRAM XX1 AXS power meter is that just like the Red AXS power meters debuted almost two years ago, these integrate the power meter electronics directly into the chaining. A lighter, stiffer, and easier to upgrade system… it also means that if you want to change gearing you will need to buy another power meter. And when you wear the teeth off your chainring, you are going to need to buy a new power meter.
Luckily, at least on that last front, SRAM has said that Red version chainrings last up to 50% longer than their previous generation. SRAM said previously that the silver look (at least of the teeth) is designed to keep the rings looking new longer vs. wearing off black anodizing. And when they do eventually wear out, the original owner can trade the worn ring in to be recycled & replaced with a 50% off discount buying a new replacement chainring power meter.
The integrated power rings – or what SRAM calls a SRAM AXS Power Meter Kit – currently sell for $820 / 800€ for either the 2x or 1x Red AXS configurations. So it’s a safe bet that’s what a SRAM XX1 AXS Power Meter kit will cost as well.
The rings use SRAM’s standard DM 8-bolt direct mount interface, and tuck all of the familiar +/- 1.5% accuracy Quarq power meter sensors & tech inside the virtual spider. They communicate with Bluetooth LE & ANT+, syncing up with all other AXS tech, and are powered by a 200hr replaceable CR2032 battery behind that round Blackbox cover.
So far, we spotted most of the two-tooth increment range from Courtney’s 32T at the small end up to Schurter’s 38T at the top, with them only attached to current spec XX1 Eagle carbon crank arms. It’s possible that SRAM could offer them one step smaller or bigger, but as an XC race-focused component it’s not likely to go much beyond that for the time being.
For time trial and single ring road 48, 50 & 52T versions of the Red rings are already offered, making gravel racing the only real gap between Nino’s 38T & Red’s 48T.
XC Pro racing on Blackbox prototypes
No longer limited to one or two rider, let’s have a look at who’s been racing & training with the Blackbox prototype SRAM XX1 AXS power meter:
Former World & US national champion Kate Courtney’s sparkly custom painted Scott Spark RC.
Former World Champion and current Swiss & European champ Nino Schurter’s custom purple fade Scott Spark RC.
Former World & current Danish champion Annika Langvad on her S-Works Epic.
Multiple time, current World, French & European champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot on last year’s Canyon Lux.
Dutch national champion Anne Terpstra’s custom hand-painted prototype Ghost Lector FS.
Barbara Benko’s stealthy raw unpainted prototype Ghost Lector FS. As well, as all of their teammates including former U23 World & European Champ Sina Frei who now has moved over to the Specialized Factory Racing Team of…
Current World Champion Jordan Sarrou’s custom rainbow painted Specialized S-Works Epic.
What do all those pro bikes tell us?
Up until now it seemed like even the pros had mostly reserved the integrated power meter rings for race bike only use, the newly crowned World Champ Jordan Sarrou seems to be having fun at the team’s Stellenbosch training camp.
Could this mean that SRAM now has a bigger supply of the new SRAM XX1 AXS integrated power meter chainring, and it set to official release it? SRAM haven’t provided an official release date, but as 2021 becomes an Olympic year again (probably?) we’d expect to see them become official if all these current & former champions expect to race with this power meter in Tokyo this summer.