Anyone wax a 12 speed SRAM AXS chain yet? Difference between Force AXS and Red AXS Chain?

Has anyone in this topic have experience with and SRAM chain and KMC for example? Since all the complains in this topic are about the SRAM 12 speed.

I’m just curious if the a waxed KMC chain is less noisy then a waxed SRAM chain.

Good info about AXS and Eagle chains in this article. I don’t know if the tight tolerances in SRAM 12 speed chains are causing the noise though. Interesting read https://cyclingtips.com/2019/12/the-best-bicycle-chain-durability-and-efficiency-tested/

Does anyone know anything about the factory lube/grease that comes on the new AXS chains? The guy in the shop when I got my new bike told me that it was supposed to last 1000 miles (obviously not in the conditions I subject it to in CX) and be very very fast. Sounds like a bunch of marketing hype to me.

According to the article on Cyclingtips it is horrible

I find the answer to the question of limited value because you would normally be washing your bike and degreasing your chain substantially more frequently than any factory applied lube could last in ideal conditions (e.g. on an indoor track).

FWIW: I have the SRAM Red AXS on my S-Works Tarmac. During the dry summer here in Northern California, I washed my bike and degreased the chain approximately every 2 weeks (~350mi) and now during the wetter winter after 1 or 2 bike rides.

I’m still struggling with lots of noise from the force drivetrain. Have anyone been able to find a solution yet? Currently the bike is on the trainer due to Norwegian winter, but no matter what type of lube or how much I apply there’s still a high pitched noise coming from the drivetrain. Several mechanics has looked at it and adjusted everything back and forth to no prevail.

Hi Henrik, what you and Nico describe are exactly the same issues I am experiencing with my SRAM Force AXS. I bought a new Specialized Venge Pro with SRAM Force AXS 12 speed groupset in September 2019. From the start, the chain was noisy, but a lot worse in some sprockets than others. It was loud enough that I was getting comments in group rides about it!

I read that the chain would quieten down after a 500kms but it did not, so I took it back to the shop where I bought it several times. They spent ages trying to fix it and getting suggestions from SRAM. We made some improvements but the issue is still there. I don’t blame the shop at all, they spent a lot of time on it and are as frustrated as I am. I’m not sure it’s going to help you but this is what we’ve found.

  • The noise was much worse under load, compared to on the workstand.
  • No amount of micro-adjustment of the rear mech seemed to make any real difference.
  • We swapped the rear mech and hanger to brand new ones to check there wasn’t an alignment issue.
  • SRAM recommended fitting a ‘damping kit’ which are 3 flat o-rings that sit in-between the smallest 4 sprockets. This made some difference to those sprockets, which were the quietest already, but not to the rest of the cassette. SRAM supplied this at no cost.
    *SRAM then suggested it was a ‘dry chain from the factory’ which needed more lube, so we drenched the chain in lube and left it to penetrate.

Soaking the chain in lube does make the noise go away for a ride, but it needs a ridiculous amount of lube to work. As an example, I put the bike on my wheel-on trainer for a couple of rides after getting it back from the shop, and the lube was dripping onto the floor, which is clearly not right.

I’m now having to wipe down and apply a lot of lube prior to every ride, which keeps the noise down for about 50km on a ride, but then it comes back. I believe that the amount of lube isn’t actually lubricating the chain to reduce friction, but instead acting as a sound damper, which is why it doesn’t last very long.

It’s very frustrating as my previous Campagnolo Chorus 11 speed drivetrain was almost silent. I would wipe it down once every week with a rag and apply a little bit of lube to the rollers, let it penetrate and wipe off any excess.

My next steps are to try a new Force chain to see if that fixes the issue.
If that doesn’t work, I was planning to try a KMC chain, but I’m not 100% sure if their 12-speed is compatible with the AXS ‘Flat-top’ design. Nico said he had tried that without any luck.

I’d be interested if you have solved the issue, or had any feedback from SRAM or others?

Good luck Andy

This basically sums up my experience as well!
3 days ago I told my LBS to have them call the nordic distributor and have them send a SRAM RED Axs cassette I could test; first they wanted to send the dampening kit as it would fix the lower end of the cassette, but that wasn’t my issue, so anyway, they sent the new cassette that I fitted yesterday and the noise difference is remarkable.

Force cassette: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4y4Kgfsk4Q
Red cassetet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNISmvPT5_M

The only thing I’m noticing now is the loud rumbling noise coming from what seems is the crankset or chainrings (noticable in the RED video). Hopefully this is just because of the new cassette and chain not being worn in, but if you have any tips regarding that please let me know.

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Wow! The Force cassette sounds exactly like mine. It’s got the same high-pitched rasping noise across the cassette. The Red cassette is a lot better.

Did you use the same chain for both? Is it the original Force chain?

Thanks, Andy

No joke, this thread has opened me up to Shimano on my next bike

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Yes, it’s the same chain on both videos. I might check if any local stores has a red/ force chain in stock. The old chain has been ran for about 700-800 km, so some what worn. The difference is indeed huge, and honestly SRAM should replace all faulty Force cassettes with a RED cassette.

Has anyone tried the wax of OZ cycling?

Maybe it helps…

I’ve waxed on and off for several years and a waxed chain has always been louder than a chain with oil. I’ve tried a bunch of different formulations, including ones with PTFE. Waxing will not silence the gatling gun sounds.

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Hi Bobmac! Mind posting those videos again?

So same issue here. Waxing works like a charm on all my 11 speed bikes. I get about 150-200 miles before it gets louder. AXS about 30-50. Switching from Force to Red Cassette made it quieter for sure but it still gets noisy. I wonder if something is up with the chain that prevents the wax from sticking. Maybe is has different coating… super annoying… Has anyone tried a non-flattop chain with the AXS cassette? They claim it doesn’t work but does it?

Hi Henrik, I finally made some progress with the noisy Force cassette. Over the last month SRAM have tried to fix the issue with the following;

  • They first gave me a new replacement Force cassette to try. This didn’t fix the issue and it still sounded the same.
  • Then they gave me a new replacement Force chain. This also didn’t fix the issue.
  • Finally this week they gave me a new replacement Red cassette. This immediately fixed the issue!!

The difference in noise is amazing. The Red cassette is almost silent and performs as I would expect a normal cassette. The only noise now is the normal low hum of a cassette. The high-pitched rattling noise that I experienced with the Force cassettes has completely dissapeared.

Thanks very much for your videos and comments. It really helped me convince SRAM Australia that my issues were not an isolated case. Andy

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I heard on a podcast that the SRAM chains have very little space between the parts of the chain. Especially when you compare them to KMC or Shimano. It’s probably the reason why waxing a SRAM AXS chain is not as efficient or quiet. Because very little wax can penetrate the chain well. And the wax that penetrate it is grinded out of the chain pretty quickly.’

This is just my theory.

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Interesting… that makes sense. I’m running Shimano on my Gravel bike and SRAM on my 11spd road bike and Shimano seems to last longer. None are as bad as the flattop chain though. However the Red cassette made it better and it also seems to wear in more.

I hate to wake up this thread, but my experience is completely different than most of what I read above. I replaced my entire drivetrain with Sram eTap Red AXS in February. I completely stripped it of all factory grease and have run it waxed only (Molten Speed Wax and my own paraffin and additives from the published recipe). It is BY FAR the quietest drivetrain I have ever heard. My wife runs DA 9170 and I can hear her chain much more than I can hear mine, and hers is waxed also. Most of my friends are running DA or Ultegra, also MSW, and they all admit that mine is amazingly silent. I have 6k miles on two chains and they aren’t even close to the 0.5 mark on the chain measurement tool for wear.
My advise is to make sure your chains are completely stripped of grease before waxing, always clean with a heated ultrasonic bath (62C to completely melt the wax) and dip in a crock pot. It’s really easy once your bike and chains are stripped. I’ve run wax for 3 years now, but there is no drivetrain out there that comes close to the silky silence I’ve experienced with AXS Red. Btw, I run a Force AXS chain because they seem identical, but I’m probably wrong about that.

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Glad to hear this. I just got my first Force AXS eTap bike over the weekend. I’ll probably just go through the factory chain, but when I switch to indoors I’ll wax with MSW. Do you follow the full procedure on the MSW website?