The launch of the new SRAM eTap AXS and Eagle AXS wireless shifting road and mountain bike groups have ushered in fully customizable, electronically controlled components. And for the road, they’ve changed the way we think about gearing, offering distinctly new chainring and cassette combos that promise a more useable range that’ll work better for more riders in more conditions. We covered the deep tech behind each group, and the new AXS app in great detail in our launch posts, but now it’s time to take a closer look at how they work. Three videos below run through the why and what, with the last video showing what you can do inside the AXS app and how those new Sequential and Multi-shift patterns work. Enjoy!

SRAM eTap AXS road video

For the full tech post on the new 2019 SRAM RED eTap AXS, click here. And check this post to see all of the new 2019 road, gravel and triathlon bikes that launched with the new parts.

SRAM Eagle AXS mountain bike video

In this video, I refer to the Eagle AXS group as Eagle eTap AXS, but in fact, there’s no “eTap” in the MTB group’s naming. For the full tech details, check this post, and to see more about the Reverb’s inner workings, click here.

SRAM AXS shift patterns & app functions

For a broader overview of the entire AXS system and what it means for the future of SRAM’s drivetrains and other components, check out this post.


  1. mud+rock on

    Methinks Tyler is a Sram convert now. I have been ever since the original Grip Shift ads. Sram would show an exploded view of their shifter disassembled, next to Shimano’s. 1/4 number of parts.

    I personally think the “greater strength” rationale for the flat top design is BS: they just wanted to differentiate the 12 sp. chain from others. It’s ok to say that their new group works best with their chain.

    • wimmy on

      Increase in cross-sectional area for a given material generally equals an increase in part strength (due to a decrease in stress in the part). So, the flat-top chain links should definitely be stronger since they have more material between the pins. They just put the material where it doesn’t interface with any cogs during shifting – pretty slick!

  2. Bmx on

    Na, sorry ya took a simple design mechanism and made it unserviceable, complicated and require batteries. Total fail. Keep it simple and serviceable. Also multiple day trips on mtbs are a big thing now.

    • Andrew on

      Old man yells at cloud.
      …How about you don’t buy it and consider one of the other products they offer if this one doesn’t suit you.

      • roadstain on

        BMX is correct. When I am out on a ride there by and large is one goal…’make it home’. I can rest assured that if something nutty happens any shop will have a shift cable, spoke and or tube. Same can not be said for many of the boutique things out there. I have ridden enough electric shifting systems to know, they are not for my daily driver. Simply, no reason.

        This will be for shop staff who get things at EP and dentists for a long time.

        I do have a suspicion that if I break a chain I am screwed because of the pesky Campy 12 speed chain….

  3. MaraudingWalrus on

    I think SRAM is going to have a lot of people calling each of these products the wrong name.

    It doesn’t appear to have a consistent naming language, and I think that’ll be a minor problem for them going forward with product identity and recognition by the consumer.

    I suspect we’re all going to call all of SRAM’s electronic shifting groups “eTap” ..because that’s what they trained us to do with Red eTap – “eTap” was what differentiated the electronic Red from mechanical Red.

    And the fact that the mountain and road naming system is inconsistent will make it confusing. If they don’t want us all to call it all “eTap” they should have dropped eTap from the naming system.

    Especially since Eagle itself is a family of products (12sp mtb stuff). This doesn’t appear to be officially called XX1 Eagle AXS – which is a whole bunch of word salad, so I understand that, to some extent – despite it presumably being as to XX1 Eagle what Red eTap AXS is to Red 22 mechanical.

  4. Velo Kitty on

    I’m really turned off by SRAM’s whole new system. They have made it very closed, and so you have to buy new everything. If they had opened up their system allowing user-programmable banks of rear derailleur offsets so we could program it to work with all brands and speeds of cassettes out there, I’d be lining up to buy multiple shifters. Instead I’m going to buy none of it.

    • Alex on

      So, the gearing is new, the 12th cog is new, the cassette spacing is new, the chain width is new. Hard to make this cross compatible with old groups. This happens every time a new cog is added. No Shimano or Sram 11 speed components are compatible with 10 sp., for example.

      • Velo Kitty on

        > Hard to make this cross compatible with old groups.

        You lack imagination. They would just need to make several different width pulleys available: 1 for SRAM 12-speed, 1 for 10 and 11-speed, etc.

      • Velo Kitty on

        > No Shimano or Sram 11 speed components are compatible with 10 sp., for example.

        Try again.
        10-speed and 11-speed chainrings are interchangeable.
        11-speed hubs support 10-speed cassettes.
        SRAM’s Force 1 Rear Derailleur supports 10 and 11-speed.

        And with electronics, you can make things much more compatible *if* you want to.

        • rob on

          it’s about legal and liability. if someone tried to mix the groupset to something that’s not completely compatible, and they got hurt. there would be a serious problem on their hands, even if it wasnt SRAM’s fault. just because they allowed the software to do it someone could potentially sue, and cause a class action suit. America is far too sue happy. i work for a large company that produces consumer products. as much as i hate that companies like sram and shiman0 don’t let you mix stuff (or mix stuff officially), i get it. hate to say it, it makes sense. it’s just unfortunate. its not the manufacturer’s fault. they are just trying to protect themselves and the consumer. if you were in their shoes, you would do the same.

          the only reason mechanical works, is because it can easily be altered mechanically. but firmware is far too difficult for the average joe to alter. that being said, again they will state till the cows come home that groupsets are not cross-compatible.

          • Velo Kitty on

            > if you were in their shoes, you would do the same.

            Ummmm… no, I would not.

            > the only reason mechanical works, is because it
            > can easily be altered mechanically. but firmware
            > is far too difficult for the average joe to alter.

            The average joe wouldn’t have to modify the firmware. You enter custom values whenever you place on order on the internet (your name, address, etc.). Do you have to modify the firmware of the web server?

            • rob on

              i agree it would be rather easy from an execution standpoint. that’s not what i was saying.
              again, it goes back to the first part of the comment “legal, and liability.”

              it’s not worth the potential disaster that can occur because someone decides to try something that’s ‘good enough’ and gets hurt, due to some non-approved mash up of chain and indexing etc.

              if you owned a multi-million dollar business, you would not put your neck on the line for that.

              ill give you an actual example of what happened locally years ago: a club rider wanted lower gearing, so they had a shop install a 11/34 cassette on their road bike with a 9sp xt rear der on a 10sp ultegra system. pulley wheels were swapped between cages for correct spacing. long story short, the hanger broke due to a claimed “road hangers werent designed to support MTB RDs (from the bike manufacturer – BS IMO)” and the rider got severely injured, the whole thing went to court. i didnt really hear much after all that, but long story short, just because it ‘can’ be done, and it works/cross compatible doesnt always mean it should be done.

              unfortunately, its just not worth it.

  5. David W on

    You could argue that, since SRAM had the first 12 speed system out there, Campy and Shimano should have adopted the SRAM spacing. But they each chose to go different, incompatible, ways. SRAM is at least internally consistent in that both road and MTB have the same spacing. And why did Shimano come up with MicroSpline and then limit the licensing (making upgrading wheels difficult) when there were already 12 speed drivers out there (XD and XD-R) that worked perfectly fine? And if you want to argue about systems being reprogrammable for different spacing then why aren’t Shimano and Campy either? All of these companies have chosen to go their own ways when they didn’t need to.

    • Speed565 on

      In what way is XD workign perfectly? Show me a cheap casette for XD or XDR. GX is more expensive then XT and NX is 11-50 (normal shimano 9 speed hub) and not 10-50.
      MicroSpline should allow for separate sprockets and there for be a lot cheaper.
      As for Campy i think they didn’t change the freehub when going to 12 speed!

    • Velo Kitty on

      > You could argue that, since SRAM had the first 12 speed system out
      > there, Campy and Shimano should have adopted the SRAM spacing

      I’m going to argue that everyone and her dog knew that 12 speed was coming and they should have worked together to create a standard. 5 speed… 6 speed… 7 speed… 8 speed… 9 speed… 10 speed… 11 speed… duh… I wonder what is coming next???

      Same thing with the post mount vs. flat mount vs. standard dropouts vs. 12 mm vs 15 mm thru axes. Road bike manufactures knew for 15 years that disc brakes were coming to road bikes. Yet they just appear to be greedy and incompetent.

      • rob on

        i wish it were that simple. although, i dont disagree with you that they could have possibly worked together to figure out freehub bodies and spacing. that would have been nice

        from project kickoff to product in the showroom floor takes about 3+ years, in which time, a lot of things can change. on a showroom floor, it’s easy to cycle through inventory, react to consumer demand, and follow trends, when you’re developing a product, that’s a lot more difficult. it’s really kind of a guessing game and a gamble as to what the market is going to be after 3 years out, and course correction 1.5 years in is extremely difficult. (because you have to design, test, tool up, build in real live, test, rework/multiple iterations over and over to get it perfect, then there’s the whole production rollout process)
        if a shop turns inventory 4 times in a year. technically that shop can course correct to consumer demand 12 times in the same amount of time it takes to develop one bike. so three iterations of chasing consumer demands can easily take up to 9 years. again, those are just some rough ideas, but hopefully it draws out a really simple idea as to what’s going on.

        post mount to FM, QR to 12mm. lets be honest, it’s just made bikes lighter, better, faster.

        • John on

          Flat mount may be lighter, but it’s also far more fiddley and a total PITA to adjust compared to post mount that came before it. One step forward, two steps back. L

      • Padrote on

        I agree that it would be convenient to for more parts to be interchangeable. But consumers have unrealistic expectations. You want the hot new technology, want them to be work on every bike made since 2002, want everything to last 20 years, and expect the products to be supported for just as long. It’s not possible, no industry works this way.

  6. Innovateordie on

    And you think that making backwards compatible would make this cheaper? Think of all the combinations that would need to be validated to work with each other. Make sure the permutations that one would put together are safe. Not to mention the performance sacrifice that older technologies (groups) would require. Evolution people.

  7. Heffe on

    I just watched the SRAM Eagle AXS mountain bike video and was quite impressed. I thought it would be a lame video of someone riding the bike along with some voiceover, but instead it was very lucid and informative. Kudos!

  8. John on

    Pretty funny to see David W claim that Shimano or Campy should’ve conformed to the original SRAM 12 speed “standard” when SRAM’s new eTap/Road 12 speed design is mechanically incompatible with SRAM’s Eagle/MTB 12 speed, right down to chain/chainring pitch.


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