The New SRAM Force AXS “Wide” Group: A Comprehensive Overview
The new SRAM Force AXS “Wide” group offers a range of features and benefits for cyclists. From a compact chainring combo for hilly terrain to improved tire clearance and a wider range cassette, this group is designed to enhance your riding experience. In this article, we will provide an overview of the group, discuss compatibility, and explore the actual weights of the components. We will also cover installation notes and provide our first ride impressions.
Compatibility: Chainrings and Front Derailleur
The new “Wide” crankset utilizes a 5mm wider spindle, allowing for a 2.5mm wider chainline. All of SRAM’s 12-speed chainring sets are cross compatible with this wider spindle. However, the Force Wide front derailleur sits 2.5mm farther out from the seat tube, necessitating its use with the wider spindle. This means that you can use any of SRAM’s 12-speed chainring combos on the wider crank spindle, but you will need to get the appropriate spider for each combo. For example, the 43/30 compact chainring combo that comes with the wider spindle uses a smaller 94bcd spider, while the 50/37, 48/35, and 46/33 chainring combos require the 107bcd spider. The wider spindle currently comes with the new 43/30 chainring combo pre-installed and is not sold separately at this time.
Tire Clearance and Gearing Options
By utilizing the wider spindle and compatible chainring combos, you can add tire clearance up to 700×45 or 650Bx2.1″. This allows you to ride on wider tires or add taller gearing to your bike. Additionally, the new 10-36 wide range cassette is compatible with any of the front chainring combos and spindle widths. It mounts to the XDR freehub body, just like SRAM’s other 12-speed cassettes. To run the new cassette, you will need the 36T Max AXS rear derailleur, which has a longer and lower B-knuckle to clear the 36T cog. However, this rear derailleur also works with the 10-33 and 10-28 12-speed cassettes, providing flexibility in gear selection.
Actual Weights of SRAM Force AXS “Wide” Components
The actual weights of the new SRAM Force AXS Wide components are as follows:
- Crankset with 43/30 chainrings: 418g + 278g = 696g
- Wide front derailleur: 156g
- Chain (full length with quick link): 259g
- Rear derailleur: 302g
- 10-36 Cassette: 302g
- Battery: 24g
- HRD eTap AXS levers with brake calipers: 406g + 422g = 828g
- 160mm Centerline XR Centerlock Rotor: 131g
- PFBB30 DUB bottom bracket with Wide spacers: 89g
Notes: Subtract a few grams for the brake spacers. Derailleurs were weighed without batteries, so you’ll need to double the battery weight. The complete weight for the group with all parts adds up to 2,942g. This is only 16g less than the standard Force AXS group tested with 46/33 cranks and a different bottom bracket and rotor setup.
Installation of the SRAM Force AXS Wide group is straightforward, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to align the front derailleur with the large chainring using the lines and indents on the cage. This step is important for optimal performance. SRAM provides a complete PDF installation guide for reference. Second, you’ll need to choose the appropriate wedge to fit between your frame and the front derailleur, bolting it onto the inside of the derailleur. This wedge provides additional support to ensure precise and strong outboard shifts. For frames with carbon fiber FD clamps, like those from Parlee, additional modifications may be required to ensure a proper fit.
Ride Impressions and Conclusion
SRAM’s electronic front shifting has always been impressive, and the Wide version of the Force AXS group is no exception. Shifting is quick, powerful, and precise, with no chain loss or hesitation. The wider chainline does not seem to impact shifting performance at the tall end of the cassette, nor does it increase noise or friction. The levers retain the deep nubs on the shift paddles, offering excellent tactile feedback. The wider Q-Factor may not be noticeable for larger riders or those accustomed to riding different types of bikes. Overall, the SRAM Force AXS Wide group is a modular system that allows you to customize your bike and offers improved tire clearance and gearing options. If you’re in the market for these features, it’s definitely worth a Review ride.
For more technical details and a visual comparison of tire clearance and shape changes for every generation of eTap/AXS front derailleurs, be sure to check out our launch post.