XPLR gravel equip launched by SRAM, RockShox & Zipp

I’m 193cm and although I don’t really ride road these days, I’ve done a couple long fast road descents on the MTB and it felt less stable with the saddle down :man_shrugging:.

I’m big into the Lee Likes Bikes doctrine and have really improved my descending by focusing on getting low. It doesn’t feel right on the tarseal though without locking my hips into the saddle.

As you say, maybe the trick is just the 50mm mark.

ETA: I can absolutely see the benefit on gravel where you want to let the bike float under you (like on a MTB) to maintain traction.

2 Likes

I’ve bene riding mullet this year (10-50). Took me a while to get used to it but so far it’s been great. the 50 saved my ass in a race a couple weeks ago. It allowed me to stay seated up a steep sandy hill and not lose traction. But I agree, I like the 44 option. When I put on the 50 I moved to a 42 up front, but a 40-44 low gear should be sufficient for almost everything.

The thing I don’t understand here is the post. Who is going to bomb into a rough stretch of road, realize the need suspension, and then work to drop the post 1mm so they can still pedal? Weird.

Ooh, we have very different gravel experiences… :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Yeah, totally agreed. There is likely a good and bad height to a point. I have this unfounded, and untested theory that most decent cornering takes place with our hands and hips at roughly the same elevation from the wheels. It’s about weight distribution to a point, and still relies a TON on body placement (fore-aft) over the BB and bars.

  • Hips over hands feels “downhill” like we do on a roadie since the typical position is hands below the saddle. We need weight on the front, but the differential we often see seems a bit off what I think would be “ideal”.

  • Hips way below doesn’t work well usually either. Super dropper on MTB or like picturing a BMX corner seated is just odd. Hands too high relative to hips is not a great position either.

That’s where a dropper like this might work, considering the typical road/gravel setup, to get the rider just a tad lower in the hips, closer to a “level” position with the hands for a “balanced” level of control.

1 Like

Pure speculation but… I would not be surprised if the suspension aspect of the seatpost is a case of “sell a defect as a feature” as happens all over the place in various industries…

1 Like

27mm internal vs 23/25 for the 303 is one reason

Only thing I might worry about there is ‘squaring off’ the tires, as in the cornering knobs kind of migrating up so they get engaged too early because the tire is sitting so wide on the rim. But maybe that’s not really a thing.

1 Like

Probably depending on how wide you go. If over 40mm I think 27mm is fine or if going 650b

1 Like

I just talked with my LBS and it looks like a straight swap out from my current Force AXS that came running 10-32 to the new new derailer and cassette. He’s calling SRAM just to make sure and get some in order.

1 Like

As far as the dropper weight, sure it’s a factor, but I think weight is largely overrated in the bike world and having used my AXS dropper for about a year on the MTB I would never ever use anything else. It’s fast and it’s reliable and it’s perfect and infinitely adjustable. The performance of the AXS dropper more than makes up for the weight savings of any other dropper post I can think of.

I like what SRAM is doing for the most part. I dislike that they brought yet another rear derailleur to market. Not that I want to put a 10-44 cassette on my 1x aero road bike, but it is a bit of a bummer for customers that they have to navigate the which rear derailleur for which cassette maze. For something like a 3T Exploro, having a 10-36 cassette on a road wheel set and a 10-44 on a gravel wheelset seems like a great solution, though.

I hope SRAM at least discontinues the SRAM Force eTap AXS “normal” rear derailleur, because very few people seem to opt for the 10-26 cassette anyway. IMHO the WIDE rear derailleur should have become the new normal and then the WIDE version should cover the 10–36 and 10–44 cassettes.

Agree to disagree: giving people more options is good. I remember that a few years back some curious fellow named Ted King won Dirty Kanza on a gravel bike with front suspension. :wink:

IMHO it is great that now we truly have a spectrum of drop bar bikes that covers aero road racers to people doing trails you ought to use a mountain bike for. A front suspension will not just be a boon for people who like to challenge themselves with what would be easy-ish trails if you were on a mountain bike, but cater to the large number of people who want some comfort.

3 Likes

I find SRAM naming conventions/terminology to be extremely confusing, but admittedly I do not use their groupsets on my bikes. Perhaps the various shimano range names are not much better, but atleast they are distinct IMO vs. trying to figure out the mumbo jumbo of “XX1 X1 X0 GX NX AXS SX EAGLE etc”

Also the use of DOT fluids instead of oil for brakes always turned me off.

1 Like

Ted King also was using a 650b setup? In the current state of “gravel” I think a top competitor going that way instead of 700c would raise a few eyebrows.

He also won it with the exact opposite bike in a superx so wouldn’t take to much from that

3 Likes

And he is no longer using that set-up….or even their Topstone frame very often.

A bunch of guys also won Paris-Roubaix with suspension forks….and they are nowhere to be found today.

I’m not saying there isn’t a role for suspension in gravel (I think there is for some routes / trails / races, but I’m not relying on what Pro’s get paid to ride too much.

3 Likes

I’m not saying people won’t buy it, It just muddies the line too much IMO. If I want front suspension, why not just run a Hardtail XC rig with gravel tires?

4 Likes

Aerodynamics……you’ll be in a much more aero position on a gravel bike.

2 Likes

Eagle is an MTB groupset and there are levels within: EX,SX,NX,GX,X01,XX1. It seems confusing but i find some of the lower end Shimano stuff harder to remember: Claris, Altus, Tiagra, I’m pretty sure I’m missing one.

NX = Rival = 105
GX = Force = Ultegra
X01/XX1 = Red = DA

X01 and XX1 are too similar IMO to be considered different tiers, both Dura Ace level with slightly different coatings and materials to slightly differentiate one as XC and one as Enduro but not the differences you get Ultegra → DA IMO

4 Likes

Sora :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

Also, the best groupset of them all Shimano XT :call_me_hand: (and Deore, SLX, XTR)

2 Likes

Tiagra & Apex in the corner crying :stuck_out_tongue:

3 Likes

:rofl:

My first road bike had Shimano something something, with shifters on the down tube. I remember when I first got 105, it was like something straight out of NASA with its precision and efficiency :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

4 Likes