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SRAM brings 12-speed wireless shifting to Rival, starting at $1,190

SRAM eliminates rim-brake and mechanical shifting options — but adds a power meter — with new Rival group.

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SRAM is bringing 12-speed wireless shifting to the masses with the new Rival eTap AXS drop-bar component group.

Red and Force are SRAM’s first- and second-tier road groups, and both have been 12-speed wireless since 2019. Now the third-tier Rival offers most of the same technologies, at a lesser cost and a slightly greater weight.

Also read: SRAM Rival eTap AXS review — solid electronic group

As with its siblings, Rival eTap AXS uses rechargeable and interchangeable batteries on each derailleur, and coin cell batteries at each shifter. The system communicates with Garmin, Wahoo, and other computers to display gear information and battery life.

A spindle-based power meter option is available, and complete groupsets start at $1,190 for a 1x configuration and go to $1,639 for a 2x set-up with a power meter.

Complete bikes built with Rival eTap AXS will be available starting at about $3,500 to $4,000 — a notably low price for a bike with an electronic group.

The Rival eTap lever features a shorter hood top than Red or Force, but it doesn’t have a pad-contact adjustment or a port for a satellite shifter.

So long, cables

The new Rival eTap AXS comes in one flavor: wireless shifting with hydraulic disc brakes. There is no mechanical shifting, nor a mechanical rim-brake option.

The hydraulic braking is similar to the Red and Force models, but there is no pad-contact adjustment, which allows for a reduction in the size of the top of the hoods.

Also, the Rival group uses a threaded bleed port instead of the new Bleeding Edge snap-fit port. But otherwise, the braking internals are the same on Rival as on Red and Force, including the reach adjustment on the levers.

A wide range of gearing options

There are three chainring combinations (48/35, 46/33, 43/30 Wide) and two cassette options (10-30 and 10-36).

Rival comes in 2x and 1x options, but only with a single rear derailleur option. Unlike Red and Force, you don’t get an Orbit fluid damper with Rival. Instead, there is a spring clutch. The Rival derailleur can handle cassettes with a large cog of 28 to 36t.

Rival has two cassette options: 10-30 and 10-36,

There are two front derailleurs, though: a standard and a Wide that is required for the 43/30 chainring combo.

If you want to run a single ring, then your options are 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46t rings.

SRAM Rival eTap AXS, with 12-speed cassettes, offers a comparatively wide range of gearing compared to traditional offerings.

Power to the people

Notably, for a third-tier group, the Rival eTap AXS has a power-meter option. While not the spider-based Quarq option available for Red and Force, the Rival’s spindle-based meter only adds about 50g plus the weight of a AAA battery.

The spindle-based Quarq power meter adds 50g to the metal crankset weight, SRAM claims.

The Rival power meter will also be available separately for $250, which will include the left crank arm and the power-meter spindle.

The Rival eTap AXS group will come with the power on a number of complete bikes this year.

A difference in materials, weight, and price

As if often the case with component groups, the tradeoff for cheaper prices is primarily heavier materials. That is the case here with Rival as compared to Force and Red, and there are also a few design differences.

The cranks are metal instead of composite, as is the rear derailleur cage. The material differences make a Rival group about 150-200g heavier than a comparable Force group, according to SRAM.

The metal Rival crank comes in three 2x options.

The Rival group doesn’t have as many gearing options as Red. For example, only Red has the largest 50/37 crank. The Rival group doesn’t have pad-contact adjustment for the hydraulic brakes, no port to connect satellite shifters. And the Rival group has a spring clutch instead of the Orbit fluid damper on the top groups.

But the fundamental functionality of a 12-speed wireless group with hydraulic shifting remains consistent across SRAM’s three top groups. Shift logic is the same: the right shifter moves the rear derailleur into a harder gear, the left shifter moves it into an easier gear, pressing both shifts the front derailleur. Shift speed is the same. AXS interchangeability with batteries and components from other AXS groups is the same.

A complete Rival eTap AXS group is available in the following configurations and prices. A group includes shifters, rotors, crankset, bottom bracket, chain, cassette, derailleur(s), battery or batteries, and charger.

  • 1x group: $1,190
  • 1x group with power meter: $1,409
  • 2x group: $1,420
  • 2x group with power meter: $1,639