SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

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thelawnet
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SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby thelawnet » 6 Feb 2019, 9:47pm

MTB points

* there's a wireless remote control seat post. Perhaps a good practical joke to play during rides?
* the MTB shifters are no longer a pair of levers, but instead buttons. Three buttons, effectively. Basically two for gear shifting, one for your seat post. I don't know if you can do anything else with them, but there's an app, which is the important thing.
* the MTB derailleur (no front, you luddite), has a second clutch, because one clutch is never enough. It's designed to allow the derailleur sideways under impact. This might save your derailleur hanger. Because who needs a £10 derailleur hanger when you can have a £500 derailleur instead?
* it's wireless, using bluetooth.
* there are lots of small, low capacity (25g) batteries to please the same weight weenies who buy this sort of stuff. If they run out during a ride, er, carry a spare? Or take it out of your seat post?
* it's 1x12-speed, like the previous stuff.

The wireless seatpost is around £700 and the MTB drivetrain (shifters, cranks, derailleurs, chain, cassette) is £2000.

https://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/cate ... iew-52443/

On the road:

* it's basically the same as the existing SRAM Red Etap wireless stuff. But a new name. Oh and 12 speeds and a 10t smallest cog.
* Because of the 10t cog, you aren't allowed a chainring bigger than 50t. If you don't want a 10t cog? Well, tough.
* you'll obviously need a XDR freehub to use the 10t cassette
* the 10t cassettes are all machined as a single piece. And they'll cost a fortune. And if you wear out your 10t cog, or break a tooth off, you'll need to throw it away and get a new one.
* there's a chain damper on the rear derailleur, which is designed to cope with chain retention issues on 1x systems.
* the double chainrings are machined as a single piece. This means bigger repair bills and more waste! Hurray!
* even more hilariously, SRAM's solution for power metering (you wouldn't really buy such gubbins without a power meter, let's be honest) is to incorporate the power meter into the chain ring. So when you wear out one chain ring you not only replace your unworn chain ring but also your power meter
* there's a new chain, no doubt also hideously expensive. It has some sort of innovation to cope with the fact that it's a poor engineering solution being unreasonably thin. There's probably some explanation amongst the shilling here: https://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/cat ... iew-52441/

A setup is around £2500 for a 1x with rim brake, or £3350 for a 2x with hydraulic discs. £450 more for power meter.

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/sram12

Perhaps the 2020 version will be SRAM AXS Lemmings edition, with wireless brakes, for those who like to cycle off cliffs unexpectedly, when the pairing or the Bluetooth or the battery is not working.

For the rest of us, well I'm sure we can find something for a tiny fraction of the cost that doesn't require an app & spare batteries just to cycle up the road. Or just get a bike with actually useful motors in, i.e an ebike.

Valbrona
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Valbrona » 6 Feb 2019, 11:04pm

even more hilariously, SRAM's solution for power metering (you wouldn't really buy such gubbins without a power meter, let's be honest) is to incorporate the power meter into the chain ring. So when you wear out one chain ring you not only replace your unworn chain ring but also your power meter

That kind of sums up SRAM.

There's a certain psychology running through SRAM people I can't quite put my finger on. I think perhaps they are people highly focused on engineering without knowing that much about cycling.
I should coco.

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fossala
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby fossala » 7 Feb 2019, 7:43am

$800 for the chainring/powermeter. Don't worry though SRAM have you covered. If you give them back your powermeter they'll sell you another for only $400.

Samuel D
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Samuel D » 7 Feb 2019, 9:18am

thelawnet wrote:* the MTB derailleur (no front, you luddite), has a second clutch, because one clutch is never enough. It's designed to allow the derailleur sideways under impact. This might save your derailleur hanger. Because who needs a £10 derailleur hanger when you can have a £500 derailleur instead?

The gears are probably plastic and would strip in minor impacts without that clutch.

thelawnet wrote:* it's wireless, using bluetooth.

Bluetooth is used for pairing to the phone for use with the app, but I’ve read that SRAM is using a proprietary protocol for the on-bike communication.

thelawnet wrote:* there are lots of small, low capacity (25g) batteries to please the same weight weenies who buy this sort of stuff.

The 25-hour (claimed, when new, for some representative shifting frequency) battery life of this small battery on the rear derailleur is going to be a nuisance. Especially in combination with all the other batteries that bicycles are sprouting.

thelawnet wrote:* it's basically the same as the existing SRAM Red Etap wireless stuff. But a new name. Oh and 12 speeds and a 10t smallest cog.

And, as is becoming the norm, no backward compatibility. You can throw out your old shifters because they won’t shift the new derailleurs, even though the ease of making that possible is a key benefit of electronic over cable-actuated shifting that must retain the same shift ratios, etc. to work.

thelawnet wrote:* Because of the 10t cog, you aren't allowed a chainring bigger than 50t. If you don't want a 10t cog? Well, tough.

This is altogether a bad idea. 11T sprockets already caused high frictional losses and chordal action that was felt as vibration when pedalling. 10T makes that worse while introducing a larger gap between your highest and second-highest gear, just where you want a close gap if you’re using these gears sensibly (for high-intensity efforts). But the top gear is so high – even higher than before – that most people will not have a sensible use for it, and yet the chainrings are smaller than before so frictional losses in most gears (and the most-used gears) go up. The only clear upside is the smaller jump between the front chainrings.

thelawnet wrote:* there's a chain damper on the rear derailleur, which is designed to cope with chain retention issues on 1x systems.

But this is rather clever. It’s no longer a clutch but a fluid damper with high resistance to fast movements (bumps that cause chain slap) and low resistance to slow movements (changing gear whether at the front or rear, removing the wheel). That presumably solves the power-consumption problem of Shimano’s clutches that made them unattractive to efficiency-minded road riders.

thelawnet wrote:* there's a new chain, no doubt also hideously expensive. It has some sort of innovation to cope with the fact that it's a poor engineering solution being unreasonably thin. There's probably some explanation amongst the shilling here: https://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/cat ... iew-52441/

I see no explanation there and would not expect one from Warren Rossiter. Elsewhere I’ve read that SRAM added material at the top of the flat-top chain for strength. It’s as if they think we don’t know why chain plates have had their characteristic waisted design for centuries. Adding material to the waist is pointless if there isn’t also material added at the ends where the holes for the pins reduce the cross-sectional area. The plate will break wherever it is most stressed. The new material on these flat-top plates is dead-weight.

This is typical of present-day SRAM and why I disagree with Valbrona that the company is focused on engineering. They’re focused on making whatever looks good to tech-hounds with a shallow understanding of mechanical matters and the practical problems of cycling. SRAM’s comparative expertise is in reading market shifts, jumping on trends first, and coming up with crowd-pleasing gimmicks that solve plausible-looking problems that in reality don’t exist or are more nuanced than they appear. No doubt they have decent engineering capability to make these gimmicks work after a fashion, but this is not an engineering-led company. Then again, no successful company is any more. With the blind (bad reviewers) leading the blind (customers), a key basis for sound discrimination of quality has been eroded.

thelawnet wrote:A setup is around £2500 for a 1x with rim brake, or £3350 for a 2x with hydraulic discs. £450 more for power meter.

And I see no sign that the price experimentation is slowing down. A sizeable portion of people appear willing to spend any amount on the latest stuff if it appears novel and works as a status symbol. Functional economy doesn’t come into it.

Samuel D
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Samuel D » 7 Feb 2019, 3:04pm

James Huang at CyclingTips says SRAM increased the chain’s roller diameter. It does sort of look like that in this advertising video.

If so, that may explain why SRAM says you cannot use the new chain on the X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain nor a conventional chain on the new Red eTap AXS. The sprocket teeth would have to be taller than usual to match the new chain.

So that’s another de facto standard thrown out the window. The new chain apparently requires new chain tools, too. Third-party chains won’t work and the SRAM chain you’re locked into buying is eye-wateringly expensive. Wheel changes at races are going to be even slower if disc brakes haven’t already killed them. Third-party makers of chainrings and cassettes will have another costly barrier to jump.

But this launch is impressive from an organisational and marketing perspective. The AXS system will integrate with other electronic devices on the bicycle such as the dropper seatpost. And the components are available to buy right now. I can see SRAM continuing to take market share from Shimano with this slick launch. Contrast with Shimano’s ongoing XTR debacle.

Of course I also think it’s a minor tragedy that components like this are replacing ones designed for economy and to solve the most pressing practical problems of cycling.

thelawnet
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby thelawnet » 7 Feb 2019, 3:53pm

Samuel D wrote:This is typical of present-day SRAM and why I disagree with Valbrona that the company is focused on engineering. They’re focused on making whatever looks good to tech-hounds with a shallow understanding of mechanical matters and the practical problems of cycling. SRAM’s comparative expertise is in reading market shifts, jumping on trends first, and coming up with crowd-pleasing gimmicks that solve plausible-looking problems that in reality don’t exist or are more nuanced than they appear. No doubt they have decent engineering capability to make these gimmicks work after a fashion, but this is not an engineering-led company. Then again, no successful company is any more. With the blind (bad reviewers) leading the blind (customers), a key basis for sound discrimination of quality has been eroded.


I like the idea of the business of selling stuff being seen as a form of financial product. A financial product is something that's typically designed to generate a regular income stream and increase in value over time.

Thus for example, creating products that work well, are durable, and continuing to make them for many years is a complete disaster.

There are companies in different fields that go for that approach, but it's increasingly rare, and in cycling in particular it's a non-starter as a large part of it is fat blokes playing at being elite athletes - it's aspirational.

There's the side of it where you get something artisanally welded by a bloke called Dave and it also costs £3000 and people will tell you how much better that is, and of course in many ways it is, but it doesn't address the idea of making cheap, durable & high quality goods that are appealing to consumers.

There are lots of Chinese companies making, say, mobile phones, and they are most of an Iphone for 20% of the price. But there doesn't seem to be the same interest in cycling from a value perspective, there's constant upsell from punters & journalists alike. And it's not normally based on anything solid.
Last edited by thelawnet on 7 Feb 2019, 6:32pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Brucey » 7 Feb 2019, 4:20pm

probably there are enough naïve souls who will buy this stuff to make it worthwhile.

The other thing is that even if they don't sell many (or indeed any) this sort of thing is still a vital ingredient in the old bait and switch selling routine. You have to have a 'ridiculously expensive' option available else the mid-price option (which actually makes most money for everyone) doesn't seem like good value.

New chains? This smacks of shimano's abortive attempt to have us all using 10mm pitch chains, about forty years ago. They were -by the mostly well-seasoned cyclists they were trying to sell to- roundly told to 'sod off' with their stupid chains. Today's market is different of course so it might not pan out quite the same way. We shall see....

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

scottg
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby scottg » 7 Feb 2019, 6:03pm

The good bit, some cross compatibility between road and mtb parts,
you can mix match like in the old 9 speed days, hooray.

The kit is way too expensive for CTC users, notice no 7 speed wireless option.
No AA batteries for battery packs, SRAM appears not to pay attention
to CTC preferences.

Neat bit, as local bike shops disappear, kit gets even more complicated
and difficult for punters to service.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why not the best, buy Cyclo-Benelux.

NickJP
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby NickJP » 8 Feb 2019, 4:37am

Samuel D wrote:The 25-hour (claimed, when new, for some representative shifting frequency) battery life of this small battery on the rear derailleur is going to be a nuisance. Especially in combination with all the other batteries that bicycles are sprouting.

Where do you get that 25 hour nonsense figure from? The AXS batteries are identical to the existing etap batteries, and I get about 15,000 shifts on the RD before the battery drops below 50% charge, at which point I charge it. I get those figures from my Garmin head unit, which interfaces to etap and shows me the battery level, plus how many shifts on the front and the rear during a ride. For a three hour ride over rolling country I seem to average around 20 shifts on the FD and 500 shifts on the RD, so that's about 90 hours of riding to get to the point where I charge the battery.

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fossala
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby fossala » 8 Feb 2019, 5:44am

NickJP wrote:
Samuel D wrote:The 25-hour (claimed, when new, for some representative shifting frequency) battery life of this small battery on the rear derailleur is going to be a nuisance. Especially in combination with all the other batteries that bicycles are sprouting.

Where do you get that 25 hour nonsense figure from? The AXS batteries are identical to the existing etap batteries, and I get about 15,000 shifts on the RD before the battery drops below 50% charge, at which point I charge it. I get those figures from my Garmin head unit, which interfaces to etap and shows me the battery level, plus how many shifts on the front and the rear during a ride. For a three hour ride over rolling country I seem to average around 20 shifts on the FD and 500 shifts on the RD, so that's about 90 hours of riding to get to the point where I charge the battery.

In my neck of the woods I'd shift 20 times in 10 minutes easy. 3, times to get out my estate (council,not manor...), I'd shift a few times before I get to the train track, 2/3 more times before a big hill, drop 7/8 gears to get up Penpillick and then shift another 12 (if that's how many gears there are) down the next. Maybe 3 up the next, then three down, 5 or 6 up the next hill, a few down. 5 up the next and them I'm at the top of my commute.

Around 12 minutes cycling. and around 40 shifts.

NickJP
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby NickJP » 8 Feb 2019, 6:25am

fossala wrote:Around 12 minutes cycling. and around 40 shifts.

If you extrapolate that out to three hours, that's 600 shifts, so not so different to what I see over that timeframe.

Samuel D
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Samuel D » 8 Feb 2019, 6:40am

NickJP wrote:
Samuel D wrote:The 25-hour (claimed, when new, for some representative shifting frequency) battery life of this small battery on the rear derailleur is going to be a nuisance. Especially in combination with all the other batteries that bicycles are sprouting.

Where do you get that 25 hour nonsense figure from?

From the BikeRadar article in thelawnet’s post. Whatever the battery life is new, it will be something else a few years down the line. Li-ion chemistry ages badly.

NickJP
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby NickJP » 8 Feb 2019, 7:13am

Samuel D wrote:
NickJP wrote:
Samuel D wrote:The 25-hour (claimed, when new, for some representative shifting frequency) battery life of this small battery on the rear derailleur is going to be a nuisance. Especially in combination with all the other batteries that bicycles are sprouting.

Where do you get that 25 hour nonsense figure from?

From the BikeRadar article in thelawnet’s post. Whatever the battery life is new, it will be something else a few years down the line. Li-ion chemistry ages badly.

Battery life is measured in charge/discharge cycles, usually several hundred cycles before a noticeable reduction in capacity occurs. The battery in my Sony Z5C phone hasn't noticeably degraded in four years of use, and that's with charging every second day or so. I'm charging the etap batteries once every few weeks - say ten times per year - which means some forty or fifty years of useful battery life.

Samuel D
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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Samuel D » 8 Feb 2019, 8:13am

Here’s a concise and simple description of li-ion ageing by a battery scientist. It explains calendar ageing and the impossibility of optimising the battery design for both high and low temperatures, which is a problem for bicycle batteries that have to sit in the sun outside a Mediterranean café on a windless day and struggle though a Scandinavian winter, and, unlike phones, without contact with the moderating heat sink of the human body.

Ageing is the major problem of li-ion chemistry that is otherwise attractive for its energy density. If you think your SRAM battery will last half a century you should offer it to Tesla or Panasonic to reverse engineer. They’ll cover you in gold if you’re right.

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Re: SRAM new 'AXS' for MTB/road

Postby Bmblbzzz » 8 Feb 2019, 9:17am

I can think of people who would benefit from the wireless dropper post. And wireless shifting generally is obviously good for bikes which are transported on trains etc a lot, especially if folded. Apart from that, I'm not sure about it.