Our "Rider Review" article series features honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
When SRAM first came out with the Eagle drivetrain groups it was a game-changer. The next thing was the wireless electric AXS Eagle group. Now you can upgrade without replacing everything in your existing Eagle group and now just buy the SRAM X01 Eagle AXS Upgrade Kit. One of our friends shares his experience. Check it out!
I now have a month and a number of good rides on my SRAM X01 AXS Upgrade Kit and despite the shell out of $$ to get into the gear, I could not be more pleased. I was fortunate to have already had an XO1 drive-train, so I was at least able to jump in the game for $900 less than if I had to commit to the entire group-set. The setup was extremely simple (I would say simpler than a conventional derailleur). The initial setup process is identical to a standard kit. Following bolt up I paired the controller (super simple), set the travel limits, cycling back and forth between the high and low settings a few times, adjusting the chain gap along the way (don't use the gap tool from your old drive-train. They are not the same). Once satisfied, I cycled up and down through the cassette a few times, made some fine adjustments at the controller. The fine-tune adjustments of the SRAM AXS, managed through the controller, are way easier and precise than the cable adjustments of its mechanical cousins. After about a half an hour setup I was ready to ride.
My first impression is how fast the shifts come. The automotive comparison would be that a cheap drivetrain is like a manual transmission truck. A high-end setup is like a sports car with a short-throw manual. The AXS, an exotic car with an electronic double-clutch paddle-shift gearbox. Very precise, very quick-shifting!
For my initial session, I stuck to the default setup. Very shortly I decided that it felt unnatural. The default has the downshift down and the upshift up. It is the opposite of the orientation of the cable controls that I am accustomed to and it didn’t feel right to me. Luckily, with the components paired to the SRAM AXS app, it was as easy as selecting a swap feature and the control orientation is reversed. Much better! Additionally, a default set is for the derailleur to cycle completely through the gearing. Handy if you get into trouble but not so much if you are on top of your cadence. I changed the setting to two-shift on hold. I just feel that it is more precise and if you need to zip through the cassette a few holds and you’ve run through the disk in a much more deliberate and less grindy manner.
With time and rides, I am sold. The shifts are clean and crisp even under power. It feels funny to say, but the shifting action is much simpler and less hand fatiguing than a standard cable shifter. That sounds soft, but it does make a difference at the end of the day. It might be particularly helpful with someone with grip or hand mobility issues. Normally I ride with earbuds and tunes. Sometimes I find myself pulling my buds to appreciate the whistling hum of the AXS as it takes direction from the controller. It makes its own tune in symphony with what you are encountering on the trail in front of you. I have no regrets other than the stress of pushing the purchase button and dispensing of a grand. One more small one I guess, I’ll have to do it again on my next main ride bike if it doesn’t come with AXS.