SRAM has unveiled their all-new road group called APEX, and it’s aimed squarely at Shimano’s 105 group.
The new Apex group has lots of trickle down tech from the Tour de France winning RED gruppo, including DoubleTap (one lever, two shifts), Reach Adjust (for custom lever fit), Exact Actuation (for consistent, precise shifts), and Zero-Loss shifting (for immediate shift engagement).Ã‚Â In fact, the concept was born from a modded wide range cassette used by Alberto Contador at the 2008 Giro d’Italia for the uphill time trial on stage 16.
The Apex group is designed and priced to take over the entry-level and touring bikes that tend to spec triple cranksets, and SRAM says the range provided by this group makes the extra weight and hassle of the triple obsolete.
How?Ã‚Â For starters, there the new wide-range 11-32 cassette, with looks resembling the fully machined RED and new XG999 X-Dome cassettes, though it’s construction is standard steel rings on an alloy spider to keep costs down.Ã‚Â I know, you’re already thinking about how this bad boy is going to work great on your cyclocross bike.
Full features, specs, weights and details after the break, plus lots more photos…
Weight weenies scroll all the way down, full weights lists at bottom of post.
The cogs are chrome-plated, heat treated steel affixed to a forged alloy carrier.Ã‚Â It’ll be available in 11-23 / 11-26 / 11-28 / 11-32 configurations with weights ranging from 250g to 299g.Ã‚Â In the 11-32, the tooth count ramps up pretty quickly on the tall half of the cassette, with the range at 11-12-13-15-17-19-22-25-28-32.
The largest size is basically in mountain bike range, suggesting the Apex derailleur can stretch to fit their 10-speed 11-36 XX MTB cassette, too.Ã‚Â Indeed, SRAM road marketing manager Michael Zellman confirmed to us that the Apex rear derailleur will work with any of their 10-speed MTB cassettes (which at this time are limited to XX products…an 11-32 that’s 185g and 11-36 that’s 208g).Ã‚Â This should make cyclocrossers happy…they can have a mid-priced, presumably well performing group and add some bling with the XX cassettes.
The Apex rear derailleur (click these or any other image here to enlarge) features Exact Actuation with what SRAM’s calling WiFLi technology.Ã‚Â What’s WiFLi?Ã‚Â Glad you asked:
Building on the concept behind the XX mountain bike 2×10 that says a wide range cassette and well planned chainring sizes eliminates the redundancies found in triple chainring setups while simplifying and lightening the drivetrain, the rear derailleurs contribute to the cause with a long cage capable of spanning the bigger cassettes. (There are also Short and Medium cage options with max cog sizes of 28T and 32T respectively)
Up front, the WiFLi tech is handled by a double crankset. Because there’s only two rings, they offer a narrower Q-factor (roughly 7.5mm narrower) than a triple, giving your road bike a racier feel even if it is only used for touring and “B” rides.
The Apex components get a Jet Black finish, shown well on the forged AL-6061 T6 alloy crank arms.Ã‚Â The chainrings are SRAM’s PowerGlide design made of AL-7075-T6 hard anodized with alloy chainring bolts.Ã‚Â They’re available in 165 to 180mm arm lengths with both 130mm BCD and 110 BCD (compact) bolt patterns, with 53-39 / 52-38 / 52-36 / 50-36 / 50-34 / 46-38 chainring combos available.
They’ll spin through SRAM’s standard GXP bottom bracket, no BB30 option mentioned at this time.
The front derailleur uses SRAM’s ZeroLoss trim and is available in both braze-on and clamp-on (31.8mm and 34.9mm) formats.Ã‚Â It can handle a maximum 16-tooth difference between the chainrings.Ã‚Â Construction is aluminum and steel.
The Apex brakes use a dual pivot design and will show up both with Apex branding and non-series SRAM branding (likely only on OEM applications).Ã‚Â The calipers are forged alloy and come with SRAM-designed Swiss Stop pads.
They have an easily accessed centering adjust screw at the top and have a barrel adjuster, quick release and convex washers.Ã‚Â They’re compatible with up to 28c tires.
The shifters / brake levers are where SRAM fans are going to find the most trickle down tech.Ã‚Â They use DoubleTap shifting, meaning only the inner lever is used for shifting both up and down.Ã‚Â They have SRAM’s Reach Adjust (shown below) and the hoods are available in four color options.
The reach adjust feature accommodates smaller hands, perfect for women and younger riders…or our friend Evan.Ã‚Â The levers are aluminum, but all internals are identical to Rival…you just don’t get the carbon levers.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!
SRAM also has a flat bar setup in the works, with different shifter pods and brake levers.
The group is largely interchangeable with Red, Force and Rival components, allowing budget riders to pick and choose and, more likely, for bike manufacturers to spec a mix of components to help their bikes hit certain price points while flashing some high end bits in the mix.
PRICING AND WEIGHTS:
The entire group will retail for $799, including their PowerLock 10 speed chain (not shown here), and it should start popping up in April on complete bikes and available separately by mid-Summer.Ã‚Â Weights are:
- Front derailleur: 89g braze-on / 103g clamp-on
- Rear derailleur: 200g short cage / 210g medium cage
- Crankset: 890g with BB
- GXP bottom bracket: N/A
- Brakes: 308g each
- Shifter/Levers: 344g
- Cassette: 250g (11-23) / 299g (11-32)
- Chain: 277g