SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Upgrade Kit [Rider Review]

Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.

Mountain bikers across the globe celebrated when SRAM introduced their SRAM AXS upgrade kit. Now, instead of having to buy the entire AXS drivetrain, riders could upgrade to wireless shifting with just a derailleur and controller. As soon as our customer Leo saw this was an option, he knew it was time to pull the trigger. Check out what he had to say about the SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS upgrade kit!

SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Upgrade Kit Rider Review


I’m a gear guy. (I control the temperature of my coffee cup with an app on my phone, FFS.) So as soon as SRAM introduced the lower price XX1 Eagle AXS Upgrade Kit, I was sold. (The upgrade kit includes only the derailleur and controller, instead of the full set with cranks, cassette, chainring, and chain).


The installation was straightforward. The hardest part was removing the old parts and pulling the cable out through the frame. (I was hoping I had made the right decision.) I used a derailleur hanger alignment tool to check my hanger before installing the new derailleur. SRAM and Worldwide Cyclery both have install videos. And the written manual, from the SRAM website, is very detailed, including torque settings. The Upgrade Kit also comes with a new style B-gap tool that is so much easier to use than the old style. It works with the old 50 tooth and the new 52 tooth cassettes.

Instead of using the included separate mounting clamp, I used a SRAM Matchmaker mounting bracket to connect the controller to my Matchmaker clamp. I wish SRAM had included the brackets. The controller and Matchmaker are both SRAM parts but you can’t connect the two with the parts included in the Upgrade Kit. I had both left and right brackets from fitting up a dropper post lever, so I got the fit I wanted. (Get some brackets when you buy the Upgrade Kit. They’re cheap.) The setup was easy and I really like the micro-adjustment for each gear. With my old traditional setup, I could get most of the gears to shift cleanly, but not all of them.

SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Upgrade Kit Rider Review


The controller was easy to adapt to. I’ve ridden Grip-shift for 25 years and I was worried about getting used to the new controller. (I’ve always struggled early on when I rent bikes with trigger shifters.) But the movements to activate the spoon-shaped paddle were similar to the Grip-shift: pressing down to shift down; pressing up to shift up. On my first ride, I was good to go after a couple of miles. (SRAM does offer an alternate “rocker paddle” for $20 that emulates the traditional trigger shifter movements.) If you choose to connect the derailleur to your phone using the SRAM AXS app, you can program a long press to shift more than a single gear. I’ve programmed mine to drop/raise 3 gears with a single long press. A benefit of moving away from Grip-shift is having more fun options for grips.

The shifting was very smooth but there is no “tactile” feedback. Minimal effort gets a clean shift. There’s no effort required to shift. It’s not a big deal, just an odd sensation. I got good, quiet, shifting, even under load.

I was concerned about relying on electronics and batteries, instead of a cable, to move the derailleur. The controller uses a CR2032 “coin” battery rated for 12 months, with a light on the controller that lights up when the derailleur is activated indicating the battery level: green: 3-12 months; red: 1-3 months; flashing red: less than one month. The derailleur battery should last 25 hours and the derailleur has its own light to check the level: green: 5-25 hours; red: 1.5-5 hours; flashing red: less than 1.5 hours. But, just to be safe, I keep an extra battery for both elements in my pack.


I love the tech involved in this new derailleur. The adjustments are easy. And the shifts are always clean and quiet.

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February 04, 2021

AXS › Rider Review › SRAM › Upgrade Kit › XX1 AXS ›

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