SRAM EAGLE AXS X01 DRIVETRAIN
IS IT WORTH IT?
Words by Drew Rohde
Over the last eight months we’ve logged hundreds of miles and over one hundred thousand feet of vert on our SRAM Eagle AXS X01 drivetrain. The system came stock on our Trek Rail 9.9, one of our top picks for the 2020 eMTB Bike of the Year. During the course of our testing we made lots of changes to the cockpit, swapped bars, brakes and riders to get a wide variety of riders on the products. The wireless, electronic 12-speed drivetrain is certainly an impressive bit of technology and leading the industry in terms of functionality and features, but the AXS kit’s price point makes it prohibitively expensive for a large section of riders. SRAM makes no apologies for the group’s price. It is the cutting-edge tech that will no doubt influence future groups, and we’re really excited to see the technology trickle down.
Built to be SRAM’s enduro-specific drivetrain, the Eagle AXS boasts many of the feature’s riders have come to know from big red. The 1x drivetrain features a 500% gear range, a longer wearing X-Sync 2 chainring, and a forged aluminum cage with stainless hardware. If you are looking to update your drivetrain, the shifter and derailleur are compatible with existing SRAM Eagle components. So whether you’re looking to get an entirely new drivetrain or just want to add a Bluetooth and ANT + wireless shifter to your bike, SRAM Eagle has you covered. SRAM’s AXS app also allows you to customize the shifter’s actions or perform firmware updates on your own. We chose to set and forget as we’re pretty low-tech in our riding preferences. SRAM also noted, riders who already have AXS can upgrade to the 52t cassette as the AXS rear derailleur is already compatible.
There is no denying these are luxury items that will certainly give most riders some sticker shock. A Complete kit runs about $1,900, with a major portion of that price being the $700 rear derailleur. The $200 shifter/controller can be programmed to your preference and can also be used on SRAM’s AXS Reverb dropper post. If you’re updating your Eagle equipped bike then you’ll save significantly by not having to purchase a $449 cassette, $485 cranks or the $85 chain and can get into the wireless game for close to $1,000. Yes, still crazy expensive.
A beautiful piece of equipment, the AXS derailleur sits inboard further and is 10mm shorter than mechanical derailleurs, offering a little bit extra clearance from the dangerous elements trying to rob you of another $700. The upper jockey wheel is also positioned forward a bit, which create more chain wrap around the cassette. SRAM packs some neat features into the derailleur like Overload Clutch protection. If you hit the derailleur it will quickly move out of the way while simultaneously disengaging the motor gearbox. The derailleur instantly returns to its position so you can keep pedaling in the same gear you were in before the hit.