SRAM Force AXS - Are parts/wheels/power meters more expensive

I’m eyeing up my next steed and am deciding between Ultegra Di2 and SRAM Force AXS. I know that the initial outlay is around £300 more, but once that’s out the way…
The SRAM seems to have quite a few benefits in terms of operation (wireless, programmable buttons, 12 speed), but from what I can see:

  1. Cassettes are more expensive
  2. Wheels need to have a different 12 speed hub so are either limited in choice or more expensive
  3. Power meters are more limited. It seems that I can’t use left crank arm ones, so it’s either crank hub or pedals (which are around double the price, but you do get double sided power.)
    What are people’s thoughts? Am I right in having the above concerns? Does real world performance of the SRAM outweigh the extra cost?
    As background, I don’t race and would be looking to put this on a new bike (Izalco Max or Orbea OMX).
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With regards to wheels - most brands have a compatible XDR freehub body available now that can be retrofitted. You are looking at £50-100 for that usually.

Also, not sure where you are based but this caught my eye the other day…

Seems a bargain if you are going for rim brakes but the 172.5mm cranks have all gone now.


You can also program buttons with di2 FYI. Personally would never leave Shimano road for SRAM even if it comes with an extra gear.

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Hmm. I went with Ultegra Di2 for my gravel/road bike due to the initial cost. I have Chris King hubs and the freehub and axle switch was $300 USD a piece and I have two wheel sets so it made it way more expensive to go with SRAM. If you don’t have that issue the price isn’t too different. I will say that an Ultegra cassette can be had for $60 bucks and you’re looking at $185 for a Force AXS version I believe. That is a wear part so adds cost. The other thing is you’ll want to buy 1-2 extra batteries at I think $55 USD a piece. You don’t want to have just one battery or you’ll be screwed at some point.

I have AXS on my new MTB and I actually bought an extra battery and charger so I can keep the charger in my truck camper so it is impossible to forget it when going to a race or riding vacation. With di2 I’m not as worried since the battery lasts so much longer than the SRAM one does.

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Thanks for the responses so far, @Bikeguy0, @Cleanneon98 and @kevstraining.
It sounds like Di2 is the thinking man (or woman’s) choice. Also, once you’ve started in the SRAM direction, you kind of have to stick with it.
My other bike is a Shimano rim brake, so effectively, I’d be coming to the table without any existing wheels etc.
Is there anyone on the SRAM side of the argument who can convince me that Force AXS opens up to the new world?

I’m running a 2x11 Dura-Ace Di2 set up on my road bike (Trek Emonda) and then SRAM Force AXS 1x with Eagle cassette on my gravel bike (Trek Checkpoint) and Eagle AXS on several mountain bikes. I have Quarq PM’s on all the bikes.

Both systems are very good. I do find the Dura-Ace Di2 the absolute slickest in terms of shifting performance. It’s also my only 2x set up, and it handles the front derailleur incredible well. I use the extra buttons to control my Garmin screens and this is something I find I use on pretty much every ride.

The Force AXS on the gravel bike is solid and I haven’t had any issues. With the Eagle cassette there are some big jumps at times, but overall shifting performance is very solid. Its just not quite the same as the ultrasmooth Di2 performance, but still really good. The introduction of the new 10-52 cassette is also interesting. At some point I will likely switch to it and then move to 2T larger chain ring up front. There are times, even on gravel rides, where I spin out the 40T. The other nice thing with the Force AXS is I just had to buy the spider from Quarq to add the power meter. This saved a bunch of money versus having to buy a whole new crank.

You do have to remember to charge the AXS battery a little more frequently but it still lasts a very long time. I worry a little more about the shifter batteries, mainly since they aren’t recharged but need to be replaced periodically. They are supposed to be changed out about once a year.


Also - this is on at the moment:

OP - Thank you for posting your observations about the two popular e drivetrains. My new build with Force AXS 2x Road is almost complete. I’ve ridden the bike on two 3.5hr rides to this point. Still need to get seat and bar position dialed in, but the drivetrain has been pretty much flawless with shifting, response actuation, and noise level. I did a few fine tunes with paddle button for rasping sounds during the rides and they disappeared immediately. I spent a lot of time during setup with the bike still on the stand getting the front derailleur lined up just right for optimal shifts - smooth shifts with no chain rub on inner cage, or the dreaded chain drop. Same with rear derailleur. The Sram AXS set up video was immensely helpful! Followed it every step as I’m new to the e world on bikes. I have never tried Di2, but I know it’s the standard for smooth shifts and reliability. I just like the idea of wireless. Plus I was running Sram Force mechanical on my previous road bike and love it, so I stuck with the brand. At this beginning stage I’m very pleased with my decision to go with Force AXS despite some horror stories (frozen RD’s) I’ve read on different forums like weightweenies and Bikeforum.

I like AXS a lot in many ways, but I always felt chain drop/throw was always a possibility - and it was never predictable, either. I think there’s a certain knack to setting it up, and I suspect the FD needs to be aligned perfectly (which may be down to the braze on).

I really want to give and AXS 1x an extended run on the road, but it’s an expensive experiment if it goes wrong.