To SRAM Force eTap AXS users

The SRAM Force eTap groupset has been on the market for almost a year. I wanted to ask users with this groupset to share their opinions. Are popular problems found on the internet confirmed? If they were buying a bike for the second time, would they also choose SRAM Force? e.t.c.

My questions are connected with the dilemma that I have. I am a longtime Shimano user and now I want to try something new. I really like how this groupset looks and works (looking at the videos). I plan to buy a new bike on SRAM and want to make sure that it is well spent money.

Links to photos of your bikes are welcome :slight_smile:

This is a long video, but it’s the most comprehensive and close-to-unbiased one I’ve ever seen:

My personal, overall takeaway after watching it all, as well as what I’ve heard from friends who have DI2 and the 2 people I know who have AXS? I’d get Ultegra DI2 and call it a day.

Any particular problems? Didnt now there were any.

I have this grouoset on my new bike. I’ve ridden Dura-Ace Di2 before and they are quite comparable. The customizable shifting options and wireless set up give it the upper hand in my opinion.

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chain dropping, chain noise

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Thanks! I know this video :slight_smile:

I’ve got three bikes with Red eTap, or Red eTap AXS. I would absolutely buy a bike with Force eTap AXS. Personally, I’ve not had any problems.

Things I like about eTap:

  • Super simple to set up. (No wires!)
  • The single big paddle shifting is clear, simple and hard to screw up, even for a spaz like me, even when wearing full-finger gloves in winter.
  • Shifting is super smooth and reliable. (They say Di2 is quicker, but honestly I can barely tell the difference.)
  • It’s easy to carry a spare battery if you’re at all worried about running out of juice. (Though I’ve never had to use one.)

Things I don’t like about eTap

  • It’s spendy.
  • The 12sp cassette on AXS is nice, but it means it needs an XDR hub. Thus I’ve got to swap hubs if I want to move a wheel between my AXS and non AXS bikes. This also applies to my direct-drive trainer.
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I have been using it since it hit the market. I was a long time Shimano cable and di2 user. I prefer the SRAM. Now, Im completely converted and absolutely love it. The initial move to XD-R was a PITA, but worth it in the end. It shift and brakes well, and Im really happy with the ratios.

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I’ve heard about problems with chain dropping and chain noise (Force groupset).

I rode Shimano for 30 years and was looking to give SRAM a chance since I like the idea of less cables and the interchangeable batteries. I bought the new Specialzed Venge Force eTap model April of last year and I am very happy. I have had zero issues with it and now have 7,000 miles on it so for what its worth I give it a 5 Star. I have heard of chain drops by some, and I have had that happen twice, but both times I was shifting like a fool (cross chained at low cadence). I had way more issues with Shimano dropping chains so this is a non issue for me. Hope this helps!

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I’ll have to take your word for it. Never had a problem with mine.

Don’t want to derail the thread too much, but how do you like the new Venge? I’m about to pull the trigger on that same model.

I’ve got AXS on my new cross bike. So far I love it. Super easy to shift, and the shifting is still reliable when my hands are frozen and the whole bike is caked in two pounds of mud. This is my first electronic set-up, and I have always avoided Di2 because the thought of wires and junction boxes turns me off. I agree that the whole XD vs XDR thing is stupid.

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I will start with all modern groupsets are really good. And electronic ones from either SRAM or Shimano are awesome and both will make it difficult to consider mechanical ones after you have spent a lot of time on it’s electronic equivalent

Having had Di2, I moved onto the new eTap last year. I currently have Red eTap AXS on my road bike and Force eTap AXS (1x) on my CX bike. Both are very good. I don’t think you can go wrong with either shimano or Sram. Just to mention: Quarq PMs are really nice and I would absolutely purchase another one.

The only thing I would point out as have others is just in regards to the XDR freehub. Not sure what your status is with wheels, but you would need to factor in getting new freehub bodies for existing wheels and your direct drive trainer (if you have one).

Love it! These comments are me comparing the Venge to my last bike a Tarmac SL5, Shimano Ultegra (mechanical) with Roval 40 wheels so take it for what it’s worth. I had it for three years and put over 20,000 miles on it so I got to know the bike well. I know it sounds silly as it may be in my head but the new Venge just holds speed way better, climbs just as well and is more comfortable…IMHO. Add the eTap shifting, disc brakes and it was eye opening for me. I would highly recommend the Venge!

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Have on my new Trek Domane SL that I built out for gravel. Have 1x. Put about 2000 miles on it. Did have to have the left shifter replaced as it stopped transmitting a couple of times. SRAM replaced without incident, but was in the winter so I didn’t miss rides with it.

Works perfect. Used a rented Specilized with DI2 to go up Haleakala and like the clean and simple shifting of the SRAM better. Use 105 and Ultegra on my current and previous bikes.

No noise issues. No dropping of the chain. Did have trouble with shift from 8th to 9th (not 10th to 9th) but that is now fixed when to in to replace shifter.

If you don’t have 12 speed cassette it’s a stretch to go 1x. I wouldn’t want fewer gears to choose from, especially really steep hills on gravel.

Love the Quarc PM I got with it.

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One thing I’d like to chime in with here about Force AXS specifically - there are two generations of Force AXS cassettes. A lot of new stock bikes come from the factory with the first-gen ones. They’re loud. SRAM will send a damper kit to your shop free of charge that can be fitted to effectively update to a gen2 cassette, and that quiets everything down dramatically. The noise was the only complaint I had about Force AXS, otherwise I’ve never seen issues with dropped chains on customer bikes (though admittedly I don’t ride it myself, I’m a mechanic and make mechanic money) and battery life had been very good.

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I think such videos are missing the point. Sure, both SRAM and Shimano are putting out competitive products, and you shouldn’t recommend one over the other because one groupset is 20 g lighter.

From a neutral point of view, it seems clear to me that the future is wireless, but Shimano is just a superconservative company. (How many of your computers still use network cables? What about your cell phone?) Ditto for Bluetooth connectivity, with Shimano you need an extra dongle. The battery story could go both ways: some people claim, they forget charging their eTap batteries. But they are so small that I would just put a spare in my back pocket or when I have a race. Shimano’s Di2 battery lasts longer, but if something goes wrong, you could DNS at a race. (Almost happened to a team mate, where for some inexplicable reason the Di2 battery drained itself over night and he had to scramble to find someone with a charging cable.)

Two clear advantages for SRAM are the clutch mechanism and the power meter: according to the usual suspects, the Quark DZero just works, accurately and reliably. Whereas Shimano’s right-side power meters are inaccurate “by design”. Also, every SRAM AXS rear derailleur comes with a clutch, which I think is great.

And lastly, ergonomics. Personally, I always found SRAM’s ergonomics vastly superior to Shimano’s when it comes to drop bar shifters (mechanical and electronic). I really prefer how SRAM’s shift levers work and I prefer the horns to the thick humps. (I really, really dislike how Shimano’s STI levers work.) IMHO I think it is fair to base your decision entirely on ergonomics at this point.

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About “things I don’t like”
I know about XDR hub. I plan to buy bike ready to ride. The only thing I will have to buy is XDR hub for my Elite Direto.