Channeling a bit of last spring’s Force Wide, now SRAM Red eTap AXS gets wider gearing capability thanks to a new Max 36T cog-capable rear derailleur. The details are simple, a new medium cage option for Red AXS means you can now get lower than 1:1 gearing for the lung-busting climbs on your road and all-road bikes.

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur

SRAM’s website refers to the new Max 36T derailleur as a ‘Medium’ cage vs. the original Max 33T ‘Short’ cage, but it’s more than just lengthening the cage, like derailleurs of old.

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur, wider range gearing, new WiFiLi

new Max 36T (left) vs. original Max 33T (right)

Instead, the difference is in the geometry of the B-knuckle (the upper body where the derailleur attaches to your bike’s hanger). This allows the greater max gear size, while retaining the close tracking of derailleur-to-cassette for optimized shifting.

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur, wider range gearing, new marking

All the other derailleur tech is unchanged from the original AXS road debut – just all new derailleurs will say Max 33T or Max 36T next to the B-tension screw. (Any derailleur without a marking is Max 33T.)

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur, wider range gearing, Catskills riding

c. SRAM, photos by Donalrey Nieva

That revised Wide derailleur geometry does mean that you shouldn’t just use the new Red AXS Max 36T with the tighter-spaced cassettes. SRAM doesn’t recommend pairing the new Max 36T with the 10-26T option for the best shift performance. But you can use it with either 1x or 2x drivetrains, meaning it will give you similar 360% gearing spread like an old 11-40T cassette would have… cyclocross, maybe? Or pair it with the 46/33T cranks for 502% gear range.

What cassettes are compatible?

SRAM wide range XG-1270 Force cassette

Interestingly SRAM doesn’t offer a Red 10-36T cassette (it still comes in 10-26T, 10-28T & 10-33T variants), so you’ll want to pair it with the wider Force XG-1270 10-36T.

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur, wider range Force cassette

new shiny 10-36T Force XG1270 cassette

SRAM has also changed the look of that Force cassette, going to a shiny new nickel-chrome finish with a dark alloy backplate/big cog, replacing the old all-black cassettes. SRAM says the new shinier version looks better as it wears. The new color move also is part of a phase-out of the Force 10-26T option. Once the current black stock is gone, you’ll need to go Red for the tighter road gearing.

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T – Pricing, options & availability

SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur, wider range gearing, riding

The new SRAM Red eTap AXS Max 36T medium cage rear derailleur is available now for the same $710 / 685€. And the original Max 33T sort cage derailleur carries over for those looking for the more tightly-spaced gearing option. The new dark gray Force cassette sells for $185 / 190€, and comes in 10-28T, 10-33T & 10-36T options.

SRAM.com

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Andrew
Andrew
11 months ago

Saw this coming. Interesting thing though for anyone (like me) who has the ‘old’ Red Axs RD…. a 36T seems to work just fine (both 1x and 2x).

BennyG
BennyG
11 months ago

Seems like a 13s 10-40 or 10-42 is only a matter of time and will be the true death of the road 2x. I’m honestly surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

Eneas Freyre
11 months ago
Reply to  BennyG

Campy Ekar 1×13

Czechmate
Czechmate
11 months ago
Reply to  BennyG

It hasn’t happened yet because peeps like me keep road 2X, that poor, diseased and dying breed, on constant life support.

ibex
ibex
11 months ago

I have both Force 36T RD and Red original RD. They are the same in all dimensions. And both works well with 10-36T cassette.

Marketing!

Ed
Ed
11 months ago

I need it for my mtb. Is it compatible?

Stephen
Stephen
11 months ago
Reply to  Ed

Right?! Around me I rarely touch the 42t ring on my Eagle. I’ve been waiting for a 10-42t MTB cassette but maybe it’ll come from road instead?

mateo
mateo
11 months ago
Reply to  Ed

Sure, as long as your freehub is XD-R (not “regular” XD). Just have to match cassette/derailleur/chain (all Eagle or all Road).

Tim
Tim
11 months ago

I have no doubt a large part of why they’re dropping the black Force cassettes is the horrible noise issue. Yeah, the gray one may look better as it wears, but I bet it’s a lot quieter from day one, and won’t generate warantee claims nearly as often.

Dinger
Dinger
11 months ago

I wish they’d drop the 10T cog. It isn’t useful.

mateo
mateo
11 months ago
Reply to  Dinger

Use a smaller chainring. Ratios are what matter, not the absolute number of teeth.

Richard
Richard
10 months ago

Can I use my old RD (max 33t) with the new 10-36 cassette?

Daniel
Daniel
6 months ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

what if I have longer cage, such as the OSPW from Ceramicpeed?

David
David
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel

I’m also interested to know whether the max 33t derailleur coupled with the Ceramicspeed OPSW can actually run the 10-36 cassette. I suspect it could.

James H
James H
8 months ago

I’ve been using 10:36 cassette with the standard red derailleur. It just worked with about 3mm clearance fully screwed in. Purchased a wolf roadlink and now can set to the recommend 5mm gap with the adjustment screw half out. Changes gears perfectly.

Martin
Martin
6 months ago

I’ve just been ‘found out’ on a real steep climb with a 46 1x front and 33 rear.
Can I just put a force 36T on instead and use it

Kai
Kai
3 months ago

I just baught the 36T casette, as I only looked on the model numbers of what I got, and what SRAM says is compatible; and as I just found out, they are the same for both 33T and 36T models.. So far, without any modifications, the rear deraillue is rubbing agains the cassette on the lowest, at the same time the front deraillure is rubbing when on the 46T ring…. Both derailleurs are Red AXS, not buying a new one..