It’s tempting for anyone not living, eating, and breathing bicycle components to regard the news of a fresh SRAM groupset with a lackadaisical shrug. But the brand’s update to its Apex groupset is worth paying attention to, especially if you are an entry-level rider looking to expand your gravel options affordably.
In our SRAM groupset explainer, we classified the Apex as an “entry-level groupset made for riding on pavement. It features a 10-speed, 11- to 32-tooth gear range on the cassette and a two-speed chainring. It also is available in the Apex 1 model, which drops a chainring for a 1×11 setup. SRAM’s Apex drivetrain is not available with electronic components.”
SRAM threw all that out the window with this latest update. The Apex is now a modern 1x, 12-speed, wide-ranging groupset with shifting options, both electronic (June 2023) and mechanical (September 2023).
No longer just for pavement, the updated Apex sports an “intuitive ride experience and wide-range 1×12 gearing options for gravel riders, no matter how they define gravel,” SRAM wrote in a press release. “Apex is about simplicity, versatility, and ease of use, keeping the focus on what matters most — finding the fun.”
An affordable (as far as these things go) 1x groupset with electronic shifting is worthy of note. So let’s dig in and see what SRAM’s updates are all about.
SRAM Apex Details
The AXS is SRAM’s electronic shifting Apex offering. The groupset includes hydraulic disc breaks and an “optimized” shifter hood shape that “fits a wide range of hand sizes,” per SRAM. The Apex XPLR AXS rear derailleur accommodates up to 44-tooth cogs.
If you’ve got bikepacking or super-steep mountain passes in mind, consider the Apex X1 Eagle AXS derailleur. It’s made for 50-tooth or 52-tooth Eagle drivetrain cassettes.
Numbers nerds might be interested in the optional Apex AXS Crankarm power meter upgrade. The component offers 400-plus hours of battery life (claimed) on a replaceable AAA lithium battery. SRAM claims it is “less than 40 g heavier than [a] standard crankset.”
The mechanical side of things is pretty much the same (a shift-brake system, hydraulic disc brakes, and two derailleurs with either 44- or 50/52-tooth capability).
Here’s a handy graphic provided by SRAM to keep it all straight:
The big takeaway is the availability of a 52-tooth drop bar-friendly groupset with electronic shifting, all bundled together in a package for less money than ever.
SRAM Apex Prices and Weights
SRAM claims the following groupset weights:
- Apex XPLR AXS: 2,976 g
- Apex Eagle AXS: 3,267 g
- Apex XPLR Mechanical: 2,882 g
- Apex Eagle Mechanical: 3,072 g
These include the left and right shifter and brake system, crankset, derailleur, cassette, chain, rotors, and bottom bracket. The battery is included in the claimed weights of the AXS systems.
The SRAM Apex XPLR AXS groupset will cost you $1,195 MSRP, while the higher-range Eagle AXS comes in at $1,292 MSRP. The SRAM Apex XPLR system runs $947 MSRP for the mechanical options, while the Eagle version costs $929 MSRP.
SRAM will even offer flat-bar versions of the groupsets. The flat-bar Apex XPLR AXS will run $1,063 MSRP, while the flat-bar Eagle AXS will be $1,160.
These are much more affordable groupset prices, potentially lowering the barrier to entry for electronic shifting for many — especially when SRAM Apex graces OEM bikes. And for those looking to update current rides to the wonders of electronic shifting, that just got significantly easier on your wallet.
Learn more about the Apex updates at SRAM’s website.