SRAM Apex is the latest in the SRAM lineup to get a refresh and it’s a big one. After years of being relatively unchanged, the fourth tier in the SRAM lineup brings electronic and 12-speed shifting to even more people. Until now if you were looking for electronic shifting that meant Rival was your least expensive option. Meanwhile if you wanted a 12-speed groupset for a gravel bike there wasn’t a mechanical option.
Tech Specs: SRAM Apex AXS Mullet
Price: $1292 / £1299
Chainrings: 40T, 42T
Cassettes: 11-50T, 10-50T, 10-52T
Brakes: Disc only 140mm or 160mm rotor options
Function: Full wireless
Weight: 3137g weighed with a 42T power meter crank, 11-50T cassette, and dual 160mm rotors
Apex changes all of that by offering both 12-speed mechanical and a new lower cost electronic option in the first gravel only groupset from SRAM, by which I mean 1x only. Obviously if you ride it on tarmac it will still continue to function. Now as you browse our list of the best road bike groupsets, and the gravel bike options included, there’s yet another budget focused consideration. While Shimano recently brought 12-speed mechanical to the party with both a new 105 mechanical and a 12sp GRX mechanical, SRAM is offering not only mechanical and electronic shifting but also an official mullet build.
All that choice is something that is going to turn the market on its head. Not so much as an aftermarket option but definitely in the OEM market. After years of rising prices, all of a sudden frame manufacturers have a way to push the price of quality builds down. You can expect to see a whole new range of less expensive gravel bike builds hit the market soon with SRAM Apex on board. When you do, one of the options you might find yourself considering is a SRAM Apex AXS mullet build.
A mullet build is the common name given to systems with drop bar controls and a mountain bike rear cassette. This is the option you’ll find on bikes targeting adventure cycling and bikepacking, and now there’s an option with electronic shifting and a budget price. As you ponder if it’s right for you, you’ll have to not only decide if the mullet design will fit your needs but also if Apex AXS is right for you. Should you go for the extra price of a more expensive Force AXS system, or the upmarket and mechanical GRX, or is SRAM AXS the right choice for your new frame? To test it, I’ve put a Salsa Warbird together and stuck to an HG cassette along with a SRAM Apex AXS in a mullet…