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Benefits of cycling

New SRAM RED eTap AXS – Detailed & Demoed


(rumbling) – Just over three years ago STRAM shook up the cycling world when it launched it’s Red eTap Wireless Groupset. Now, they’re looking to
make a similar impact with this next generation Red eTap Access. If looks are anything to go by they will definitely do it but there is a lot more going on here
than just the aesthetics. We’re going to start by running through some of the highlights. (upbeat music) Firstly it builds on the established wireless eTap technology. You can now connect it up to the new Access smart phone app via Bluetooth to customize the functionality. It promises wider gear ratios and smaller jumps between the gears, something they have called X range. To do that, SRAM have added an extra 12th sprocket at the back and also changed the chain ring sizes up front. They’ve redesigned the chain by adding a flat top which SRAM say makes it quieter and stronger, despite
being slightly narrower. The rear derailleur has a hydraulic damper on the arm to reduce chain slap and allow you to run it two by or for the first time at eTap, one by. There is an integrated power meter option. There is a rim brake version as well as this disk version and it’s launched on the same day as a mountain bike Eagle Access version,
including dropper post, which all uses the same wireless protocol. Wireless RockShox reverb Access dropper post on your gravel bike, if you like. (upbeat music) Clearly there is a lot going on, so let’s go back to the beginning. When eTap was first launched, people raved about the performance, the simplicity, the intuitive shifting. Wanted to be more inevitable a little bit cautious about the wireless elements, both from a hacking perspective
and also reliability but now three years down
the line we know that both of those worries
are completely unfounded. It seems super reliable. My own set has worked
faultlessly for three years. Now, the way it functions is that the rear derailleur acts as the
master in this system, you then pair it up to the shifters and the front derailleur using
SRAM’s own wireless protocol. So it’s not AMP Plus
and it’s not Bluetooth. Now that much has remained the same in that it is still wireless and it still uses the same protocol,
but why is it so different? Well, I mean you look at
it for a start, don’t you? And it screams I am
different but why does it look the way it looks? Ultimately, gear ratios,
that’s what it comes down to. It doesn’t sound sexy, it’s probably not but they are super important. You get your gear ratios
right and it allows you to peddle comfortably
both up super steep climbs and when tearing
down the other side. So what SRAM have done
is broaden the range of the cassette at the
back and then reduced the chain ring sizes up front and reduced the gap between them. They’ve kept it consistent to 13 teeth across all the options, so now instead of 53, 39; 52, 36 or 50, 34, you have 50, 37; 48, 35 or 46, 33. Now, for a die hard cyclist like myself that sounds kind of weird. It is certainly smaller
but because the range at the cassette is bigger, you still have a higher top gear than you would have on a traditional cassette
because you now have a smaller sprocket with just 10 teeth as opposed to 11. Look, I told you it wasn’t sexy but it is still kind of cool. Ultimately, what you need to remember is that you have an easier bottom gear because the chain ring
is smaller up front. You have a higher top
gear, because you have a 10 tooth sprocket at the back and because you have a
12th sprocket in there you actually have smaller jumps between the gears at the back than a traditional cassette. Now there are three
options available to you in terms of sizes, you’ve got a 10 to 26, a 10 to 28 and a 10 to 33 which is the largest cassette that this road derailleur will accommodation. The cassette still fits in the same space as an 11 speed cassette, so in order to get that extra 12th sprocket in there then the gaps between them
have been made narrower. What that means is that
there is no new hub spacing but in order to get that 10 tooth sprocket on there, an old school free hub body will not work. So you need to use an XDR Driver. That in itself is not new, so there are plenty of options available out there when it comes to hub choices. Now because those gaps
between the sprockets have been made narrower, you therefore of course need that redesigned chain, but SRAM have said that rather than thinking of it as an after thought, they’ve actually designed it at the heart of the system then gone out from there. The idea being that a holistic approach means that you can improve the shifting quality, you can improve the durability and also you can make the
drivetrain even quieter. And one of the ways they’ve done that is by actually making the plates on the chain narrower and so despite the smaller gaps on the cassette there is still more space, they say, either side of the chain and that’s one of the most significant factors in reducing the noise. And they’ve also added
a hard chrome finish to the inside plates of the chain which they say boosts the durability. Because it’s narrower,
SRAM have then added that extra material on
the top of the chain. So as well as looking cool, and I think it really does look
cool, it also, they say, makes the chain stronger. Now, having started with that chain they then move out to look at the teeth and they have been sculpted and shaped to improve durability and
also efficiency, they say. It’s most obvious on
the one by chain rings which are now a road version of the ones on the Eagle mountain bike group sets. Having read up about those, it seems like improved durability has been one of the big advantages there and apparently the design helps to spread the load from the chain more evenly
around the chain ring. Now as well as the one by chain rings getting a total redesign, the two by chain rings have as well. The first point is that
there is a complete absence of chain ring
bolts and that’s because the big ring and the little ring are both machined out of the
same piece of material. Now before we think, well crikey, that might be quite tough to replace do bare in mind that SRAM are boasting 50% improvement in it’s durability. And when it is time to replace, if you get in touch with them, they will give you one at half price as well as recycling your old one. The idea behind the design is that, firstly it sheds weight and also boosts stiffness which is another factor you think in the improved shifting quality at the front derailleur. Chain with stiffness has
a massive baring on that. Now in total, that new design sheds about 80 grams over the previous chain set. This one, as you can
see, has that integrated power meter and I really
do mean integrated because it too is machined from
the same piece of material. The strain gauges are
based here in the spider which doesn’t really look
like a spider anymore but in total that adds just 36 grams. Now there are two options available, one with a power meter and one without but SRAM have designed it so that the one without is easily upgradable to that Quarq power meter should you wish. Because it’s on the spider it means that you have an accurate
measurement of your total power output as well as it being able to extrapolate your left
and right legs as well. Let’s move on to the rear derailleur now which, surprise, surprise,
has had an almost total redesign as well. That faster shifting, remember, and also the Orbit’s chain management system. But if you don’t mind, when we are talking about it, can we go for a spin? (upbeat music) Lovely roads but a little bit colder up in the mountains than
it was by the coast. Anyway, clutches are not
new on rear derailleurs. SRAM launched their
first on a mountain bike group set back in 2012 when
they also debuted one by. Now, the idea is that they keep your chain under control and give you a near silent ride on bumpy ground and they do that by resisting forward motion
of the derailleur arm when it’s responding to bumps, but without loading the drive train with loads of extra resistance, so it’s
not actually pulling back. So SRAM only ever intended it for use with one by grip sets because you can feel a little bit extra resistance when you’re shifting chain rings
with a clutch derailleur. But this one, the Orbit, is different because it doesn’t have
a roller baring clutch. It’s got a fluid damp system which allows the derailleur arm to move unimpeded in slower velocity, so like when you’re changing gears, but when it’s moving faster, I.E responding to bumps, then it loads it up with extra resistance thereby keeping your chain under control. Now, a lot of you, I’m
sure, probably never thought you needed a clutch on a road bike but I suspect it’s probably a little bit like disk brakes in that if you try it you won’t really want to go back. And let’s face it, with
many, many road bikes these days having gravel tendencies, not to mention the gazillion gravel bikes out there anyway, for which this group set was designed for both,
it of course makes sense to therefore end up with some kind of chain management system. It will allow you to ride away from tarmac in near silence, not to mention saving your paint work. Very cool too. Now, as I mentioned earlier, with a one by specific chain ring on you can use the same rear derailleur and run a single chain ring set up without any fear of your chain coming off. Now long time viewers will know, I’m a big fan of a one by set up so
I’m quite excited about that. Now in use you do get a sense that the Orbit is contributing to the feeling of silence you get from this drive train, not on smooth tarmac like this of course but any time you hit a pot hole or a section of bumps, there is a definite absence of a
quite familiar noise. Now, as I mentioned earlier, the Orbit isn’t the only thing that SRAM have done to the rear derailleur, they say they’ve spead up the shifting. Now that’s not something I ever felt was particularly lacking from the first generation but also not something that I’d say no to either. Apparently they’ve done it by changing the chips in the shifters as well as in the rear derailleur and also changing the motor too. And actually, it’s not just the rear derailleur, the front derailleur
gets the same treatment. So one of just several ways in which they’ve sped that shifting up. Of course remember, we’ve got the stiffer chain rings and we’ve also got that smaller gap between the chain ring sizes, so down from
16 teeth to just 13 teeth. And one last tweak to
that front derailleur is to the actual shape of it. So because you’ve got this Orbit chain management system,
SRAM have designed a front derailleur to be able to be used on a gravel bike, so with fatter tires. You can actually squeeze a 42 millimeter wide tire in there so you can run a two by gravel bike with
a silent drive chain. (upbeat music) I’m conscious that we spent a lot of time talking about the hard wear but we’ve yet to touch on one of the other big stories, the Access app that
lives on a smart phone. Basically, you connect
up all the different components on your bike to your phone, really easily by pressing
the Access button and it connects via Bluetooth. You then authorize
communication with the master in the system, the rear
derailleur remember, and hey presto, it’s then on your phone. Now what do you do with it? Well a bunch of things actually. Firstly you can change how it shifts, so there is a sequential button meaning you can hand over control of your front derailleur to Access, so all you need to think about is shifting into easier or harder gears and it handles what it shifts and when. Or if you still want control of your front derailleur but you want to delegate those little compensation shifts you need to make every time you change chain rings then you can tell this to do exactly that and you can choose whether you want one or
two compensation shifts. And it’s really quite
clever because you need to tell it exactly what
cassette you’re using and it will then tailor
exactly how it operates with it’s sequential shifting. You can also configure the controls, so changing what each
button actually does. So on your road bike, for example, you might want to shift using your right lever into easier gears
instead of harder gears. Now, you might not use that function terribly much but remember that the new mountain bike Access platform has also launched and that shares the same protocol opening up a whole world of quite intriguing opportunities,
perfect for the new breed of road, drop handle bar bikes. So you can pair an Access
Eagle rear mech cassette ring and chain on and
you’ve got super low gears. And bear in mind as well there is also a Rockshox reverb Access dropper post and you can choose which button on your handle bars operates that one. It is a brave new world,
I’m not going to lie. SRAM are calling these
new breed of mongrel bikes mullet bikes because it’s
business at the front and party at the back, something that I personally am down with. Well, what else is there to tell you then? Yeah, more, would you believe. The SRAM DUB bottom bracket standard that they launched for mountain bikes has now transferred onto the road as well. The idea behind that, firstly, so SRAM have got control over barings and so forth to improve
durability, they say, but also to simplify things. So one axle standard should fit threaded, BB30, PF30, PF86, BB
Right, BB386, probably more although would you believe it, there are that many standards that they’re still producing the old GXP diameter in order to fit treks BB90 and also
Italian threaded bottom brackets. One other point to mention is that your old eTap is not compatible with the new eTap, so you can’t use your old shifters with the new rear derailleur or vice versa. I haven’t talked about the brakes yet, and that’s for good reason
because they haven’t really changed at all with the exception of these new disk rotors
that look pretty rude. The shifters have also
remained essentially unchanged internally, there’s a little bit of extra texture added
to the shifter panel and also onto the rubber lever hood. Then the only things left to mention are the weights and the prices. So SRAM are quoting 2553 grams for the disk brake version with a power meter and 2139 grams for the rim brake version with a power meter. Remember, the power meter
option only adds 36 grams which is frankly quite astonishing. Now, the price. This is definitely a premium product, it retails for $4158 for the disk brake version with a power meter, without the power meter it’s $510 cheaper and the rim brake version, it’s $3488. Now, that is clearly a big investment in a group set but I’ve got to say I really like that no expenses spared approach to product development. Really pushing the boundaries
irrespective of the price. And I really like it
because in the cycling industry it’s been proven time and again that we benefit from
trickle down technology. So technology that’s been launched at the very top price point then reaches more affordable price points too. And SRAM have said that
they are developing a Force eTap Access group set. Now they haven’t said when but I believe we’re going to get more
information in April. So stay tuned for that one. In the mean time, please, if you’ve got any questions about this, get involved in the comment section down below. I will do my best to answer them. And of course, please make sure you give this video a big thumbs up. If you like what you see
with this new group set I will certainly be
giving it a big thumbs up. If you want a bit more information about the brakes which, I say, we haven’t really touched on yet then they are the same as when they were launched in 2016 and we’ve got a video about that group set so why not click straight
through to it now.

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