SRAM has launched an updated version of its popular road and gravel groupset, Force AXS.
Changes to the wireless 12-speed system include redesigned shifters and chainrings alongside a new logo and finish.
You can make a compelling argument that it’s a brand’s second and third-tier groupsets that really matter most. After all, they are the ones that the majority of us use due to their lower price. In recent years this saving hasn’t felt like it came as much of a compromise, with trickle down technology making shifting differences between the flagship offering and its more affordable brethren negligible.
SRAM’s Force eTap AXS is a case in point. It shifts like the more expensive Red groupset, with the difference between the two largely found in material choice and, as a result, weight. However, with SRAM’s latest update has the gap grown less pronounced still?
Perhaps the first thing of note is that the latest iteration shares much with the outgoing groupset. SRAM appears to have taken an ‘if it ain’t broke’ approach and perhaps with good reason. There was far more to like than not about Force AXS, and some of the minor gripes, such as the aesthetics and the shape of the hoods have been addressed.
The 12-speed Force is designed as a do-it-all groupset, applicable to road, gravel and time trials. As a result it comes with a an extensive range of chainset offerings: both 1x and 2x with various chainring sizes as well as SRAM’s patented ‘wide’ offering, which, unsurprisingly, features a wider chainline to accommodate wider tyres, with the 2x option requiring a ‘wide’ front mech to match.
It’s the 2x chainsets where one of the more significant changes takes place. Gone are the individual chainrings, replaced with the same one- piece construction favoured by the Red groupset that SRAM says allows for “faster, smoother, more secure shifting”.
It arguably makes for a more visually appealing chainset too but also one that requires you to replace both chainrings even if only one is worn out. Worse still, if you’re running the power meter version, which integrates the Quarq D-Zero device into the chainrings it means discarding a perfectly good bit of tech, too. In an age where we’re encouraged to reuse, recycle and repair when possible, it’s at best a questionable decision by SRAM.
Power meter upgrades are also offered as a crank arm, with the technology integrated into…
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