SRAM Components


fullpage SRAM groupset BikeExchange  2016 1

SRAM has four road specific groupsets available and is considered the lightest groupset at any price point.

As well as being lightweight, SRAM is well known for its 'YAW' angle technology. In this, SRAM's front derailleur cage has the ability to rotate as the gears change to maintain a 'consistent angular relationship with the chain'. This optimizes chain alignment and is said to improve shifting performance while reducing chain rub.

Shifting with SRAM is controlled by 'Double Tap' technology, utilizing only one lever to change up and down, which is separate from the brake lever. Double Tap features throughout SRAM's road range and incorporates 'ZeroLoss' resulting in 'instant and precise' gear changes. It's a bit odd to explain, but a single shift of the lever actuates the derailleur in one direction, continue to push the lever and the derailleur is actuated in an opposite direction.

Below is a brief description SRAM's groupsets.

  • Apex: Apex is the entry level groupset from SRAM featuring a 10-speed rear cassette, two chainrings up front and a five-arm alloy crankset. The front chainrings are a traditional compact set-up featuring a 50 tooth large chainring and 34 tooth small chainring, perfectly suited for touring or recreational riding. Apex comes with an 11-32 cassette, perfect for beginners who are after easy pedaling gear ratios. The large cassette range offers more coverage than a standard triple crankset, eliminating the need for a triple crankset at all according to SRAM (who were first to bring the idea to road bikes). To accommodate the wider gear range the rear derailleur has a longer cage and slight variation in geometry.

  • Apex x1: As the name suggests, Apex x1 features only one front chain ring, creating a single derailleur drivetrain. The technology is simple, easy to use and removes potential mechanical issues by having less moving parts. The 1x is available for drop or flat bar road bikes, and features an enormous 11-42T cassette. There are four options for the chain rings; 38, 40, 42 and 44T, all of which feature 'X-SYNC' tooth profiles that are 'tall and square' to 'engage the chain earlier than traditional triangle shaped teeth'. Crank arms are only available in 170, 172.5, and 175mm. The 1x setup is ideal for commuters or those into adventure and/or off-road riding like cyclocross.

  • Rival: Rival is SRAM's answer to Shimano's 105 groupset aimed at the entry level rider with a lot of technology trickling down from the Force and Red groupsets. A step up to Rival gives you an extra gear on the rear cassette (11), providing 22 gears in total and a huge range with up to an 11-36T cassette available. Rival weighs less than Apex, has hydraulic disc options and a greater range of crankset lengths; 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5 and 175 mm. The chainrings are available in 52/36, 50/34, or 46/36, the traditional 53/39 set up saved for Force and Red. Rival still features aluminium crank arms and machined alloy ring and spiders.

  • Rival x1: Rival x1 is similar to Apex but extends its chain ring options (38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50T), sheds a little weight, and has an even larger rear cassette available (10-42T).

  • Force: Force is similar to Rival in a lot of ways but at this price point carbon replaces aluminium, making an appearance in the rear derailleur and crank arms. The crank arm utilizes unidirectional carbon, which is matched to a forged alloy spider, creating a lighter and stiffer crankset available in 165, 170, 172.5, 175 and 177.5mm. A traditional 53/39 set up is available along with 52/36, 50/34 and 46/36 options. Force is for intermediate to elite level racers looking for a lightweight, high performing groupset. Force too is hydraulic disc compatible and available in a 1x version. The rear cassette option extends to an 11-32 option but requires a longer cage version of the rear derailleur.

  • Force x1: Force x1 had been predominantly used for Cyclocross at an elite level as Red is currently only available in a double crankset option. The performance and reliability of 1x makes it perfectly suited to the demands of cyclocross, but it has started to be seen more on crit specific and triathlon bikes that don't require an extensive gear range. The chain ring choice is impressive; 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52 and 54 enabling you to customise your drivetrain to any style of riding.

  • Red: Red is at the top of SRAM's tree in terms of performance, featuring on professional teams and international level triathletes. SRAM describe Red as the 'pinnacle of road racing technology' and it's the lightest groupset on the market. Carbon fibre features more heavily on Red, and the introduction of ceramic bearings further improves performance. The shifters feature 'ErgoFit' technology, which SRAM say 'improves grip and finger wrap with reduced diameter, providing better control and a better transition to the bar'. The crankset features a 'completely hollow construction all the way to the spider' to further improve stiffness and save weight over Force. The mechanical Red 22 can cater for a large cassette sprocket up to 32T.

  • Red eTap: SRAM eTap is the first wireless groupset using a proprietary protocol called 'Airea' to communicate between the shifters and derailleurs, via tiny removable and interchangeable batteries located on each derailleur. The technology mirrors Formula 1 race cars by having left and right side shifting paddles. The right shift paddle produces an up-shift, the left shift paddle produced a down-shift, and hitting both paddles together shifts the front derailleur up and down. The total weight for the groupset is a still slightly heavier than mechanical Red, despite there being no cables required. Remote satellite shifters in the form of 'blips' can be placed anywhere on the handlebars to suit the rider's preference and potentially improve aerodynamics. The 'Ergoblade' levers also come equipped with larger paddles to ensure the rider has complete control and doesn't miss a shift. Despite the tiny size of the batteries they have a 1,000km range and can be re-charged in 45 minutes according to SRAM. eTap can only currently fit a 28T sprocket but look out for a wider cassette range, hydraulic option and 1x alternative in the future.