Groupset choice for new gravel build

My frame builder is going to be done with my custom gravel bike soon. And now he’s asking me for a final answer on a groupset…

I’m looking at the new Campagnolo Chorus 12 speed with a 48/32 crankset and the new SRAM Force AXS. I was very intrigued with the new Shimano GRX options, but he’s telling me he won’t be able to get them for up to 12 weeks.

Of course all these sets are new which is what makes me nervous. I was hoping to read/watch/hear some reviews to help make a decision. But even though we’re 2 months on from reveal of the Shimano and Campy groups, there’s still nothing out there.

What would you guys consider? The 12-speed options seem to provide a huge range which would be great for all-road riding. But maybe that’s getting too complex for something that’s going to get dirty.

Personally the etap batteries worry me for a gravel bike if you’re planning to be out for a long time. At least a few reports of riders running out of juice during DK. With a 2x setup 12 speed isn’t necessary. You could build up a di2 set now with the rd rd currently available and whatever crankset you want. Then upgrade to the grx shifters when available if you like the ergonomics better

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So a couple of things. I have a custom Mosaic GT-1 being built now and I went with an Easton 1X 40T front, XTR 11-40 Cassette, and Shimano Di2 GRX RD and shifters. Obviously lots of ways to go but here are a few comments. Not completely sure on shipping times but looks like 2-3 weeks out in the US so not sure why he is saying 12 weeks even if you’re in another country.

  • AXS is 12 speed and no one makes a cassette for it except SRAM at $185 USD
  • So…if you have multiple wheelsets or use the bike on a trainer you’re looking at $$$ to set them up
  • I don’t think the 10T cog is worth it in any instance. The jump from a 10T to 12T is huge and I really only think it’s okay on my MTB. I have an XX1 11 speed 10-42 on my current gravel/cx bike and that 10T is almost useless because the jump is so huge to get down to it
  • I like the idea of AXS with easy set up but I don’t like the idea of having 4 batteries (3 for 1x) that have the potential to fail and 2 of them require constant charging. The di2 can go for months where the AXS is going to be like every week or two.
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Ultegra Di2 w/ an RX clutch rear derailleur

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Awesome, thanks guys. It’s given me some good discussion points to bring back to my builder. I’m doing this in Italy so I’ll have to ask more questions about the wait for Shimano GRX. Maybe it’s his supplier or something. I was digging deeper through the Campagnolo Chorus 2x12 documents last night and found out that it’s recommended to not exceed a 32mm tire. That probably takes it out of the running right there since I had the bike built to handle up to 42mm.

So I’ll look harder at current generation Shimano, ask for more clarity on when GRX will be available, and take a look at SRAM Force. It’s tough to not want the newest stuff coming out but maybe it’s not the best fit at this moment.