SRAM is a premium bicycle component manufacturer based in the US. They’re is the brainchild behind the introduction of the Grip Shift/Twist shift gear-change method and technology to the road bike market. SRAM is an acronym comprising the names of its founders, Scott, Ray, and Sam.
WHAT IS A GROUPSET?
A groupset is essentially all the parts of a bicycle that make up its drivetrain and brakes. The groupset enables you to transfer power from your legs to the rear wheel to move and also slow down. Groupsets vary significantly with discipline, with road and mountain bikes requiring different features from their respective groupsets. Road groupsets and mountain bike groupsets have significant differences, catering to their riding styles, with strength, weight and gear ratios varying in between the two.
Pricing can vary enormously between groupsets and reflects the performance gains to be made. The greater the price, the more features, lighter weight, and better materials.
COMPONENTS IN A GROUPSET
- Bottom Bracket
- Brake levers/ shifters
SRAM does not have as many road groupset models – however, the top tier Red groupset has different variations. Red is available in a wireless electronic version called eTap, Force, Rival, and Apex. These variants have hydraulic rims and disc brakes as options, as well as mechanical rim brakes.
SRAM essentially has four road groupsets, Red eTap being the lightest and most expensive – the one used by SRAM’s professional road racers – followed by Force, Rival, and finally Apex at the mid-range to entry-level variants.
SRAM ROAD GROUPSET HIERARCHY
Apex – The Apex is SRAMs entry-level groupset offering – It’s a 10-speed system. Another great feature included on the base groupset is WiFLi. Like all the other SRAM road groupsets, Apex is available in a WiFLi configuration meaning that you can fit a wide range cassette (12-32 tooth) with a long cage rear derailleur. This allows for tailor-made customization of your groupset.
Rival – The rival groupset shares a lot of technology with Red and Force, including hydraulic brake options, and the comfortable ErgoFit shift/brake lever design. Rather than carbon fiber cranks, levers, and rear mech cages, Rival has aluminum and it’s a little heavier than its more expensive stablemates, but it works in exactly the same way. Ergonomics with the ErgoFit levers are excellent and provides all-day comfort even on the harshest road conditions.
The Rival 1 is the only SRAM groupset that has no direct rival from Shimano or Campagnolo. The rear derailleur is the most important feature of this groupset. Inside its bulky exterior is a clutch that arrests any unwanted chain slap on rough roads
Force – Going up the price range to something similar to a Shimano Ultegra groupset is the SRAM Force groupset. The Force uses lightweight materials such as high-grade alloys and carbon fiber to be a very competitive setup. Like the Rival, it’s an 11-speed groupset with dual and single chainring configurations.
More recently, SRAM added the Force eTap AXS to its range. It’s a Shimano Ultegra Di2 competitor with a similar 12-speed wireless groupset.
RED – SRAM’s RED groupset has proved its mettle by supporting multiple victories in the Tour De France. Of all the top-of-the-range groupsets in the market, the SRAM RED is the lightest in the market at 1,747g.
RED eTap AXS – The RED eTap AXS is a more refined version of the RED eTap that was launched way back in 2015. The RED eTap AXS is the top-of-the-line 12-speed road groupset by SRAM that is also SRAM’s first 12-speed road groupset.
SRAM MTB GROUPSET HIERARCHY
SRAM X5 – An entry-level model in SRAM’s drivetrain selection is the X5. By no means is this one to ignore. It’s inspired by the SRAM’s more race-ready offerings and delivers smooth and precise shifting.
SRAM has effectively trickled down most of its latest key technologies to their entire line up. We feel that it’s a great 2×9 groupset at its price point.
SRAM X7 – Things start getting more serious once you get to the X7. A Type 2 rear derailleur boasts SRAM’s Roller Bearing Clutch and Cage Lock, all complemented by SRAM’s X-Glide shifting. All this translates to a new level of control and precision out on the trails.
SRAM X9 – A more lightweight and stiff offering from SRAM for those looking to upgrade their drivetrains from an entry-level drivetrain. The X9 is built to last and will perform on thigh-busting climbs and technical descents.
SRAM NX – The NX brings 11-speed shifting to the masses at an affordable price. Sharp and dependable shift every time. Trickle-down technology at its finest. What differentiates the NX from the groupsets above is the fact that it mounts onto a standard splined freehub body rather than a dedicated XD driver. The XD driver is basically an alternative freehub design came about from SRAM that lets you mount a cassette cog smaller than an 11T
SRAM GX – Tested and proven to deliver the lightest, highest-performing, most durable shifts for all riders on any trail A successor to SRAM’s X9 groupset, the SRAM GX brings 1×11 and 2×11 (11-speed) shifting at an affordable price point.
SRAM XO – At the higher-end of SRAM’s MTB drivetrains, the X0 offers dependable performance and maintains accurate smooth shifting for hundreds of trouble-free kilometers. The subtle use of carbon and lightweight metals here and there have helped keep the weight at a minimum.
SRAM XO1 – The XO1 also adopts the 1×11 gearing setup. The XO1 is incredibly strong and reliable. It’s perfect for all riders of different Offroad disciplines.
SRAM XX – The ideal XC groupset for those weight conscious XC riders who want fast, crisp and reliable shifting even in the most challenging conditions. The XX is feature-filled and incredibly lightweight. SRAMS’s X-Glide technology is flawless – a mix of carbon fiber and CNC-machined lightweight aluminum gives the groupset a premium touch.
SRAM XX1 – The XX1 comes in the flavor of a 1×11 setup. Simpler, lighter and more durable than anything before, XX1 is driven by a cutting-edge, single-ring carbon crank – the XX1 being the top-of-the-line MTB groupset by SRAM has all the bells and whistles that you’ll ever need.
The XX1 also comes with the race-proven X-Horizon rear mech with Type 2 technology alongside a super wide range cassette.
Above this lineup lies the NX Eagle, GX Eagle, X01 Eagle, XX1 Eagle, XX1 Eagle AXS and the X01 Eagle AXS.
WHAT IS SRAM EAGLE?
SRAM Eagle groupsets offer 12/12-speeds and 50 teeth, providing a 500% gear ratio matching the capabilities of a double chainring in the front without the hassle or weight disadvantages of one. Another cool feature on the SRAM Eagle groupsets is the new FLOWLINK chain. The 12 speed Eagle chain now features rounded inner plates and totally flush pins that dramatically quieten the drivetrain.
Apart from that, the Eagle cassettes and chains are gold. They are coated in titanium nitride (the same as used on drill bits) and have proven extremely hard-wearing in other applications as well. A cheaper, black cassette is also available for those who want a dialed down version. The Eagle has a new “Type 3” clutch mechanism induces a greater force on the chain which helps retain it.
WHAT IS SRAM AXS?
AXS (pronounced ack-cess) is SRAM’s bike component integration system that connects electronic bicycle components and software. AXS lets you control, personalize and measure your bike’s components and performance.
The AXS groupsets by SRAM are the electronic series of groupsets that are used for performance riding by professionals. The AXS wireless system sends communication signals between the controls and the derailleur or whatever AXS component you are using across SRAM’s own proprietary network.
AXS is not Bluetooth, although you’ll be using Bluetooth to customize your setup through your smartphone. Every AXS component is waterproof to an IPX7 rating. IPX8 is the highest on the IP scale, meaning IPX7-rated devices can survive reasonable pressure-washing and even periods of total submersion. Great news isn’t it? You can wash your pride and joy without worrying about the electronics going kaput.
Each of the AXS powered controllers uses a replaceable and common CR2032 watch battery. SRAM claims that they will stay powered for as long as two years. The AXS derailleurs use the same proprietary battery SRAM has been using on its eTap road derailleurs since they were launched.
SRAM has always been at the top of their game, constantly innovating. They were the first to introduce electronic shifting and have also introduced a 12-speed road groupset before anyone else in the market. SRAM has always been targetting the performance segment of riders as a core focus. They’ve dominated the MTB segment and have a considerable foothold in the performance road segment as well. SRAM’s X5 and X7 groupsets have been a favorite, especially in the Indian MTB market. SRAM doesn’t have much of a presence in the Indian road bike market mainly because of their entry-level groupset pricing.
SRAM manufactures some of the smoothest and sharpest performing groupsets in the world. We’d highly recommend SRAM groupsets for riders looking for a crisp, smooth and enjoyable ride experience.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: RockRider 5.3 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010