SRAM GX AXS Wireless Drivetrain Review



Review by Drew Rohde

Several months ago, we released a first ride report on the newly released SRAM GX AXS system. Working to capitalize on the incredible ride experience, love, and ease of use of their higher-end X01 and XX1 AXS wireless drivetrains, SRAM trickled down the tech to a more attainable price point. While $600 is certainly more than some people would spend on a complete bicycle, the relative bargain price for the Bluetooth technology and performance found in the GX AXS drivetrain is going to have more riders clicking buttons instead of pulling cables to control their rear derailleur. Since mounting our GX AXS system on our Specialized Levo SL, we’ve put in over a thousand miles with great results under a number of riders. We even gave the bike to one of our tester’s wife and she was instantly hooked with the ease of use and light actuation. Here’s our review of the SRAM GX AXS Drivetrain:

Retailing for $600, SRAM’s GX AXS kit includes a derailleur, shifter, battery and charging base. Installation is beyond easy, and any 12-speed SRAM Eagle drivetrain will readily accept the upgrade. GX AXS features a steel-caged derailleur compared to the aluminum X01 and carbon XX1 versions, which retail for quite a bit more. The GX AXS derailleur weighs in just over 450grams, which is roughly 65 grams more than the X01 AXS version.

Since there are no cables or wires, maintenance and tuning are beyond simple. In fact, over the last six months of testing, we only had to adjust the shifting one time. Simply push the trim adjust button under the shifter and do a couple clips of the shifter up and down for a recalibration.

If you’re real techy, you’ll also enjoy the connectivity between your new drivetrain and your smart phone, as long as you can connect the two. Connecting via SRAM’s app seems to have some mixed reviews based on comments but overall, it seems more riders are able to get in and do what they need to do. Customization options are plentiful, and you can get the paddle to do just what you want, although it will take some getting used to compared to traditional cable-actuated shifters.

Without a doubt the SRAM GX AXS wireless upgrade kit has been one of the coolest bits of gear we’ve tested in 2021. We have passed this bike around for months, driven it around the PNW in terrible weather, ridden it through moondust, swampy mud and snow. No matter who’s on board or are what we’re doing to the bike, the GX AXS stuff just works. The durability, performance and simplicity of use all make this stuff easy to recommend, if you’re willing to drop the coin.

The GX AXS derailleur is just as water and dust proof as the higher end X01 and XX1 units. We don’t think it shifted any slower than other units and still held up to impacts and abuse, all thanks to SRAM’s Overload impact technology. As long as your derailleur hanger is straight, your chain isn’t bent and you’ve got all the teeth on your cassette in good shape, this system will shift without worry mile after mile. The battery life was noticeably reliable on this unit and we’re still running the original battery in the shifter. Cold temps and long road trips with the battery installed could affect battery range a bit. Since the system is motion activated, you may want to pull the battery out for long road trips to save all that battery power for shifting instead of bouncing down the highway. This of course presents the problem of losing your battery or forgetting it somewhere. When there’s nothing to forget, or discharge on a mechanical system, it could certainly be something to consider, but we’d risk it for how well this stuff works and how much easier it makes shifting and tuning.

There is a slight learning curve with the shift paddles, as they’re a bit different than mechanical versions, but we wouldn’t say it was anything major, or that we couldn’t get over. Plus, with the app, you can customize which shift paddle does what, so you can easily set it up to work the way your brain thinks it should.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Mountain biking is a passion pursuit for people of varying incomes and abilities. For many it’s a hobby, maybe even a lifestyle or even an addiction for some. For that reason, there will never be an agreeance on what exactly “budget” is, but when SRAM set out to create the GX AXS system, the goal was to bring World Cup-level athlete performance to a price point that more people could enjoy. Here’s our summary of our SRAM GX AXS Drivetrain review: It’s still far from cheap, but the fact you can have a top-tier wireless mountain bike shifting system for $600 is pretty damn cool. We are huge fans of the SRAM GX AXS wireless system and think it’s a very worthwhile upgrade if you’re looking to enhance your ride. This bike is far from necessary, but absolutely welcome. Maintenance is reduced, performance is increased and so is ease of use, comfort, and the tidiness of your bike’s cockpit. We’re stoked to keep using this wireless shifter and hope to see a lot more mid-tier bikes coming spec’d with GX AXS in the future.

Be sure to check out our other reviews to stay up-to-date on all things mountain bike, along with our videos that provide more insight into how these bikes perform.

Price: $600 – Kit
Weight: 450g – Derailleur

We Dig

Ease of mounting and use
No more derailleur tuning/cable tension adjustments!
Clean cockpit
Easy shifting anywhere

We Don’t

$600 ain’t cheap
We’ve had some AXS batteries not last


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