price:$1,900 (X01 complete group), $2,000 (XX1 complete group)
The main purpose:Mountain Bike
shift gears:electronic, wireless
Eagle AXS is the name of SRAM's new 1x12-speed wireless electronic mountain bike derailleur and shifter, part of a larger rollout from SRAMAXS Component EcosystemThese include the new Red eTap AXS drivetrain andRockShox Reverb AXS Dropper Post. All AXS parts can communicate with each other, which enables many interesting bike builds.
Simplified to the most basic level, the Eagle AXS rear derailleur uses only motors (not cables) to move the derailleur.
SRAM built many different prototypes during the Eagle AXS's six-year development process.
Of course, there's more to it. SRAM's wireless electronic mountain bike drivetrains have been in development for over six years. SRAM's engineers started the project at the same time they started developing the Eagle, prioritizing the latter, putting electronic drivetrain development on the sidelines. Once they brought Eagle to market, they put electronics back at the top of their to-do list.
SRAM mountain bike product manager Chris Hilton says that while Eagle's AXS is sexy and new, it's not a replacement for mechanical shifting. It's just another option for the rider. "SRAM's mechanical shifting development will continue," Hilton said.
Development of the mountain bike front derailleur did not continue, Hilton said, and the company closed the project around 2014.
Wireless shifting and a wireless dropper seat complete the clean look of the bike.
While mountain bike teams do benefit from the knowledge gained from developing and launchingSRAM's Red eTap electronic road drivetrainFor 2015, the Eagle AXS rear derailleur is not a road clone. The bladders used on the Red eTap road rear derailleurs proved not strong enough, so the Eagle AXS rear derailleur has a dedicated bladder for mountain bikes.
Eagle AXS rear derailleurs also incorporate an overload clutch (road derailleurs don't have this feature), which can move inwards in the event of a side impact, protecting the transmission (the derailleur will automatically return to its original position).
However, the Eagle AXS rear derailleur uses the same battery as all Red eTap derailleurs, as well as the RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post. Claimed transmission battery life is 20 hours.
If water and grit are your concern, the Eagle AXS derailleur is IP69K rated (meaning it can withstand high pressure water and high temperature steam). According to the transmission's product information: "The IP69K standard was originally developed for construction vehicle and food sanitation, and it validates systems that require periodic pressurized cleaning." So go ahead and set your pressure washer to "jet."
Eagle AXS pulley cages are 10mm shorter than Eagle Mechanical.
While the wireless system is undoubtedly big news, there are a few differences between Eagle AXS and mechanical-shifting Eagle rear derailleurs. The Eagle AXS rear derailleur features more chain wrap for increased safety and better shifting, and a 10mm shorter pulley cage.
Those changes aside, the Eagle AXS rear derailleur is largely the Eagle rear derailleur you know. They use the same type 3 pulley cage clutch and are compatible with all of SRAM's existing Eagle cassettes, chains and chainrings.
The AXS flat bar controller can be mounted to its own discrete clamps, or paired with SRAM's Match Maker X clamp integration system, and features two buttons (one for upshift and one for downshift).
The rear derailleur controller has two buttons (shown here without the cover).
To operate the buttons, you don't have to press them directly, but rather through a shaped and textured cover that sits above the controller. Push the top of the lid to change one direction, push the bottom edge to change the other (customizable button functions using the AXS app).
The shifter cover extends forward and can be tapped with a knuckle.
The top of the cover also extends forward, below the brake lever, which can be pressed down with your index finger or knuckle, and can be replaced if damaged. SRAM or another company (Wolf Tooth comes to mind) also has the opportunity to create different covers.
SRAM's product team experimented with many different cap shapes.
The biggest difference between the Eagle AXS controller and the left-hand controller included with the Reverb AXS dropper post is the number of buttons: the left-hand Reverb controller has 1, while the right-hand Eagle has 2. SRAM reps said there will be a two-button left controller that can be customized through the AXS app to control an Eagle AXS rear derailleur.
This custom shifter cover was made for Scott-SRAM mountain bike racer Nino Schurter.
With the interoperability and customization of AXS components, this left shifter opens up possibilities such as left rear derailleur shifting; shift paddles (left for downshifts, right for upshifts, and vice versa as well); and dual-sided Reverb AXS lift stand drive.
The controller uses a 2032 coin cell battery and has a claimed battery life of two years.
Eagle AXS transmissions are currently available in two grades: XX1 and X01. Both use the same electronics, so shifting performance should be the same. The difference is some higher-end materials in the XX1 (carbon pulley cage and titanium hardware) compared to the X01's aluminum cage and stainless steel hardware. This adds some style to the XX1 while saving weight.
Eagle XX1 parts feature a new rainbow finish.
SRAM didn't provide derailleur-only pricing or weight, in part because the Eagle AXS will initially only be offered as a complete drivetrain kit, with individual components to be sold later.
Whatever the difference in weight, it's likely to be small. A good reference is to compare the mechanical XX1 Eagle rear derailleur (265 grams, $300) with the mechanical X01 Eagle rear derailleur (276 grams, $225). Assuming similar weight and price differences, that equates to a 9g weight reduction and a 28% (or so) price increase.
First adopters will pay a high price
If you want to be an early adopter of the Eagle AXS, be prepared to pay the price.
Eagle AXS components will be available in April. However, only complete drivetrain kits can be purchased initially. The XX1 kit is $2,000 and the X01 kit is $1,900. The kit includes rear derailleur with battery, shifter with clamp, crankset with DUB axle and chainring, chain, cassette and battery charger. Bottom bracket not included.
Alex Rafferty, SRAM's European MTB PR and Media Coordinator, said: "Individual components will be available for purchase at a later date, but for now the aim is to deliver the complete drivetrain as quickly as possible."
For riders with existing Eagle equipped bikes to switch to the Eagle AXS, the only components needed are shifters and derailleurs. Since SRAM has the right product at the right time, there are plenty of Eagle-equipped bikes running that can be converted to AXS with just two parts.
A complete group or complete bike will be the only way to purchase an Eagle AXS in the first place.
The initial full sale will also discourage riders from trying to mix Eagle AXS parts with Red eTap AXS parts. Part of this big story that SRAM was driving when it launched the AXS ecosystem was component interoperability, which made the decision to only sell a complete Eagle AXS drivetrain at launch all the more frustrating.
Sales of the individual components will come a month after the full kit hits the market, but SRAM has yet to provide individual component prices or weights.
Bikes equipped with the Eagle AXS will also start hitting stores in April. So if you're interested in Eagle AXS and bike shopping, it's worth the wait to see what your favorite brand might have to offer.
The Eagle AXS is SRAM's best shifting mountain bike drivetrain.
Shifts are precise, smooth, and surprisingly quick. It shifts more efficiently, more consistently and better in demanding situations (rough terrain, high torque) than a mechanical shifting Eagle.
AXS controller/shifters are very different from SRAM's mechanical shifters. Enough to take a while of experimentation to find your preferred shift position and adjust to the new shift pattern. I tried the stock button functionality and its inverse (you can use the AXS app to change what the button does), but didn't develop a strong preference for either in my limited time with the panel.
My first time riding an Eagle AXS was in Tucson, Arizona.
The ergonomics of the gear lever are excellent: the paddles are large enough without being obtrusive. Travel and spring tension are well balanced; I can do technical climbing with my thumb on the paddle without triggering unwanted shifts. There is a reassuring "click" sound with each shift change.
The gear lever is well designed.
Another benefit is the elimination of cables and housings, resulting in a cleaner bike look and less noise and maintenance. It also makes it easier to pack a bike for travel.
You can hate the price, and you can debate whether electronic shifting is necessary or "worth it," but there's no denying the Eagle AXS' performance.
Senior Test Editor, Cycling
Matt has been an equipment editor his entire career, and he started in 1995 as a leading bike tech reporter, and he's been at it ever since. Cycling along the way probably has more gear than anyone else on the planet. before he andCyclingAfterwards, Matt worked as a service manager, mechanic and salesperson in bike shops. He lives in Durango, Colorado and loves to ride and test any type of bike, so you'll likely see him on a Lycra road bike at the Tuesday Night Ride of the World just as much as you'll find him on a Lycra bike . Ride an enduro bike with a full face helmet and pads at the bike park. He doesn't play very often, but he has a passion for anything. Competed in road races, criteriums, trials, slalom, downhill, enduro, stage, short track, time trial and grandos. Next on his to-do list: multi-day bike tours and e-bike races.