Technical question: Wolftooth roadlink/goatlink vs. upgrade to AXS XPLR

I wanted the SRAM force power meter for my gravel bike, which required me to increase the size of the chainrings. I think I would benefit from having a little more on the low-end gear-wise, but I’m limited to the current 36T cassette with the regular Force RD.

I was thinking about upgrading to AXS XPLR to allow for more range, but it also occurred to me that I might be able to use one of the RD extender products like the Wolftooth roadlink or goatlink.

I emailed wolftooth to see if they would work despite advertising use with 10/11 spd RDs, and I got a kind of generic response that they are designed for 10/11 spd.

Could this work?

Currently running an OG Force AXS rear mech (33t max cog rated) with a 1x 36t/10-44t XPLR via Roadlink. Shifting at the top end of the gear range (10t-13t) is a little sluggish, but I don’t use those cogs much anyway.

1 Like

Your gravel bike came with 1x but not XPLR? That’s not awesome. I can’t help with your question. But XPLR RD can take e13s 9-45 gravel cassette, which is amazing for range. Or the stock 10-44 is good as long as you’re running a 42-44 chainring and don’t need a super easy gear.

Sorry, wasn’t clear on this. It came 2x with 43/30x36T. I had to bump up the chain rings to 46/33 to accommodate the force PM.

Yeah, I’m thinking I might just buy it and try it out.

I’ve just put AXS XPLR on my gravel/audax bike (a Mason Bokeh). I’ve got a 42t upfront. For z2 road riding and moderate gravel it’s great. I’d say I’m a reasonably strong rider at ~4w/kg, but not super strong, and most of my gravel rides are fairly low intensity, so I think that combo would work for quite a few people. Like all jack-of-all-trades solutions, though, it’s limited at both ends (not enough of a high end and rather large jumps for genuinely fast road work, not enough of a low end for more demanding off-road).

Having said that, I’m really enjoying it. Simple, intuitive, effective, and at Rival level, not that expensive. You’ve already got the app so I won’t wax lyrical about that, but the ability to see your gear use at different points on the map in your ride is a game-changer IMO, and I think the simple sprung clutch on the Rival RD actually works better than Force or Red.

Ah, I see. Pretty sure you can’t use 2x with XPLR RD unfortunately.

I have 4 bikes that would argue otherwise. I run 46/33 front with a XPLR 10-44 rear on all. All are designed to run as a 1x in essence, but allow the use of the small chainring for the final 4-5 gears, in a bailout situation. This gives me the benefit of 46-10 for top end (downhill!) speed, coupled with a 33-44 for climbing. I am 120+ kg however, so that is why this is needed .


That’s great to know! Thanks.

Wide FD, or standard?

This is good to know! I have definitely locked up the drive train a few times while accidentally completely crosschaining it. 95 kg here so I’m not the usual feather/welterweight either :wink:

I think you’re right on this:

Just wonder if it will still work pretty well since my 2x is still within the 1x chainring max range (46/33 vs. 48T max). Would just have to be careful about crosschaining I guess. Maybe if I ran an eagle chain I would have more wiggle room with this?

I looked into it more after reading that it works for @easilydistracte

Good info here:

This person uses 46/33 rings and 10-36 cassette. Makes me happy to know that if I ever decide to go with 2x I can make it work without buying a new RD. It appears @easilydistracte does 2x with the 10-44 cassette and lives with the limitations of that (only being able to use some cogs in the small ring, if I’m reading that right).

1 Like

Ok that link might not help you much, since it’s about running the exact same setup you are currently using but with the XPLR RD instead of the normal Force Wide RD.

If you get the XPLR RD and the 10-44 cassette you will only be able to use your little ring with the larger cassette cogs, as @easilydistracte mentioned. This is because you need a long enough chain to be able to use big/big without snapping something, but the RD doesn’t have the capacity to take up enough of that length when you’re in the little ring to keep chain tension in smaller cogs.

With 1x, you only need an RD capacity to match the cassette (44-10= 34). But with 2x you need chainring difference plus cassette ((46-33)+(44-10)= 47).

1 Like

The above are the four bikes with the 2x XPLR setup on them. They are all running normal cranksets, no wide option needed. It isn’t that they kind of work, they just all work, and work really well.

I’ve got chain catchers as insurance against - y’know - SRAM - but they really aren’t needed. That’s hopefully the point of insurance anyway.

It has got to the point that I’m so used to having this enormous range that I ended up kludging together a similar range on my Shimano Di2 aero road bike. That is a 50-34 front chainrings with a Dura Ace front mech, matched to a GRX rear mech with SGS inner/outer plates allowing for a 11-46 cassette to be used. Now that setup is kludgey and noisy, not like the 2x XPLR setup on the others.


Wow, this is exactly what I’m looking for. Is there any way to PM me with all of the details on how you set this up and how it works for you? I’ve spent quite a bit of coin on the Red 46/33 chainrings and PM up front, so anything I can do on the back end with a “mullet” build is encouraging. Thanks for the post and any help you can provide.

I asked a post all the way at the bottom of this thread. I would love to do this and would appreciate any help you can provide.