While we've been hearing about Shimano's greatest and latest up and coming groupset (we're still excited by the way), SRAM's been busy! Aside from an AXS version of the GX Eagle, us roadies have gotten a present from them as well. RIVAL! RIVAL! RIVAL! RIVAL!
Yes, SRAM has released a Rival eTap AXS groupset!
SRAM Rival eTap AXS
For those of you who didn't know, Rival is SRAM's mid-tier groupset. For those more familiar with Shimano's groupset hierarchy, it is similar to Shimano 105 in its standing in between its own siblings. We dislike comparing tiers of groupsets across brands because people might make direct comparisons when the products can be vastly different in terms of performance, feel, and intended design and purpose. That said, SRAM has 4 tiers of groupsets in its line-up. It starts with the entry level Apex, followed by the Rival, and then the performance focused Force and the professional standard Red. The Rival has been known in the past few years for its versatility, having been used on gravel bikes, road bikes and even touring bikes.
We can start discussing the new Rival eTap AXS but we'll do you a one up! We'll summarise what we have for you for a faster read.
1) 12-speed, hydraulic only! No rim brake options.
2) 1x and 2x setups!
3) Spring actuated clutch, not the Orbit Hydraulic Pulley Clutch. But it's the same as the ever-reliable mechanical version
4) No contact point adjustments and no blip ports
5) Essentially same eTap & AXS design blueprint with Red and Force, but with.....
6) Heavier Materials
7) Force is 430g heavier than Red. Rival is 230g heavier than Force. Around 2800g to 3200g.
8) AXS cross-compatibility
9) Power Meter available!
10) Price point: 1.2 - 1.7 USD
So what does this mean for SRAM? Will they be phasing out mechanical groupsets? We doubt it. In fact, we don't think there will be an eTap AXS version of the Apex anytime soon. Although we do think that this could possibly be a display of the general shift towards electronic groupsets, we think that it will be a long time before more advancements in technology can fully convince the mechanical die-hards that they'll get essentially the same thing. Perhaps we won't even reach that state in this lifetime! Because mechanical groupsets do have their strengths.
What this means for you!
Well, this certainly opens up a lot of doors. If you're looking for a top spec bike with Force or Red, then this news won't be too exciting for you. Red and Force are obviously superior groupsets and if you're buying those groupsets, it is more likely that you care about the marginal differences and you won't be able to look past the 230g on the Rival. However, if you've been looking at a mid-tier bike spec-ed with Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival, you now have a chance to dabble with wireless electronic groupsets. For some, this would be a no-brainer. For others, a mechanical groupset might be sufficient, or more reliable or more suitable for the kind of riding you do.
Wait... You've decided already?
Alright, we'll help you out with that. Here are some bikes that are spec-ed with the new Rival eTap AXS.
1) Specialized: Tarmac SL7 Comp, Roubaix Comp, Aethos Comp
2) Trek: Domane SL6, Emonda SL6, Domane SLR6, Emonda SLR6, Madone SLR6
3) Boardman SLR 9.4
4) BMC Roadmachine 4, Timemachine Road 01 Three, Teammachine SLR4
5) 3T Explore Team
6) Ridley Fenix
7) Orbea Orca M31e Team
8) Storck: Aerfast3 Comp, GRIX
We heard the SRAM Rival is reaching our shores some time this 4th quarter. We'll update you if we manage to get our hands on some!
In the meantime, have fun!!!!!
Note: We'll be closed on Labour Day (01/05/21) and will reopen on Monday (03/05/21). Happy Labour Day!