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SRAM's AXS components are as fancy as can be. Do they work better though? What's rad and what could be improved? Join Vital MTB Product Editor, Brandon Turman, in the video below for a deep dive into the world of wireless shifting, dropper posts, and his long-term impressions:

Strengths 

Weaknesses

  • Two fewer cables to deal with
  • Ease of installation
  • Battery life in warm temps
  • Minimal effort to shift or actuate dropper (can be very nice on long rides/races)
  • No perceivable lag
  • Dropper actuation is incredibly quick and accurate
  • Can fully weight dropper and still actuate it effortlessly
  • Vent Valve restores dropper
  • Convenient maintenance; eliminates cable swaps and remote bleeds
  • Overload Clutch disengages on impact to avoid damage
  • Long-term durability
  • AXS Web is awesome for data lovers
  • Adds complexity in new ways but is so simple in others
  • Battery life in cold temperatures
  • Inconsistent connectivity to phone app for some
  • Shifter layout may never feel "normal" to you
  • Slower shifts up the cassette when arriving at unexpected climbs
  • Roller Bearing Clutch may wear before the rest of the derailleur
  • Ease of Reverb AXS theft
  • Your bank account balance
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Eagle AXS Highlights

  • Wireless electronic shifter and derailleur
  • XX1 and X01 versions
  • Removable battery weighs 25g and is hot-swappable from derailleur to Reverb AXS
  • Overload Clutch
  • Trimmed and adjusted electronically
  • “Secret Sprint” paddle for quick shifts
  • Water and dustproof to IP69K international standard (can withstand pressure washing and immersion)
  • Weighs 5 to 15g less than mechanical Eagle
  • MSRP: $700 USD derailleur, $200 controller

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Reverb AXS Highlights

  • Wireless electronic dropper post and controller
  • Post stays activated/open while holding the controller paddle
  • System goes to power save mode when the bike is stationary
  • Check battery life by pressing AXS button
  • Single rail-retention bolt for quick saddle install and quick tilt adjust 
  • Updated internals for faster (non-adjustable) return speed
  • Vent Valve Technology to reset post
  • Waterproof to the IPX7 international standard (systems that require regular pressurized cleaning)
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
  • Travel: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 170mm
  • Length: 340mm, 390mm, 440mm, 480mm (same as regular Reverb)
  • Weighs within a few grams of traditional Reverb
  • MSRP: $800 USD, includes controller

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When I go back to mechanical drivetrains there is not a next-level, game-changing difference. 
When I go back to a standard post, though, I miss the Reverb AXS for its precision and ease. The application of instant wireless technology makes a noticeable performance difference compared to cable or hydraulic remotes.
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What's The Bottom Line?

There is no denying that these are luxury components and completely unnecessary to have fun on your bike, but man are they cool.

Overall, SRAM AXS works well as a system, combining wireless technology that is both reliable and nearly instantaneous to make things easier, faster, and a more natural extension of your body in many ways. You barely tap the controllers and the result is a more accurate shift or dropper adjustment. There are also fewer cables, which is sweet, and the potential for trickle-down is exciting.

For those who love data and devices, AXS is a dream thanks to AXS Web and various integration abilities. For those who don't, it's possible to use the system without thinking twice about it. While there are many conveniences when it comes to AXS, there are tradeoffs when it comes to dealing with batteries and apps.

After this test, the full AXS setup is going onto a new trail bike. I find that rides on the Transition Patrol are most often straight up, straight down, and after a year of riding it, I think the precision the AXS system offers – whether it's shifting under load or finding that perfect seat height – is much more fitting for a trail or cross-country bike where you see a lot of rolling terrain.

As for the Reverb AXS, is this the dropper perfected? It definitely seems like it.

Head to www.sram.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Brandon Turman - Age: 33 // Years Riding: 18 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 170-pounds (77.1kg)

"I like to have fun, pop off the bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when I feel in tune with a bike, and really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill." Formerly a mechanical engineer and Pro downhill racer, Brandon brings a unique perspective to the testing game as Vital MTB's resident product guy. He has on-trail familiarity with nearly every innovation in our sport from the past several years and a really good feel for what’s what.

Video by Brandon Turman and John Reynolds

bturman bturman 4/27/2020 11:34 PM

24 comments newest first

The only issue between Eagle and perfection are the cassettes. Narrow wide profiles in the two easiest gears makes perfect setup nearly impossible because eventually the chain won’t sync up. Running AXS with an XTR cassette and chain is a massive upgrade...

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I've literally just ordered an XTR cassette and chain for exactly that reason. I really miss the quality of HG+ shifting, but also don't want to give up the wireless.
It's good to hear another positive opinion about the setup

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Kinda off-topic. I can't comment on AXS but I have been using di2 Xt and XTR for 2 years on my Enduro and I believe it's the most underrated upgrade for a bike. It really improves the performance and experience. Shifting is just easier because there is no need for timing. Most mountain biker do that naturally but with "classic wired shifting" you need to time when/where to shift and you need to push a bit further with your thumbs then wait for the chain to engage...not so easy.. It's not ideal when you have to deathgrip the bars or brake or just when you are gassed so you might not shift as often than you should (especially in a racing scenario). With di2 I can shift whenever with less efforts. I can also pre-shift and then focus on holding my bar per example before a compression that would be followed by a climb. I actually don't understand why di2 is not used more for gravity racing. It blew my mind that there isn't a Saint di2! There is much more benefit for gravity than for XC. It looks like in this instance the gravity crowd is just too conservationist. The cons about battery and reliability are nonsense, I charged my di2 every 2 months or so and its flawless. As full disclaimer i did not pay full price for my transmission and Shimano has been above and beyond with their customer support. (it's actually a big reason for me to use shimano instead of sram because I know that they offer great race support to any shmock when Sram only care for their top athletes). I really hope Shimano will step up with their di2 line because i can't imagine going back to cable or ride on Sram.

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I have been using the AXS Derailleur & shifter for 4 months (400 mile on them so far) and a couple of weeks on the AXS dropper. it took like two rides to get used to the interaction, I had to reverse shifter setting from the stock setting, as it is more natural for me. i really like the ease of activation of the shifter, i really like it now. So far i have only charged my battery twice and about to do a third. I really didnt notice any issues in the cold (used it northeast USA temps from 20 F - 40 F in the winter), however my bike is stored in room Temperature. I was incredulous at how much better the AXS dropper could be than my PNW Rainer, yes both go up and down but the AXS dropper is much better. IMHO it is the best dropper on the market, my friends that have tried it have been equally impressed.

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SRAM how do I get to see my reverb activation on your AXS web ride report? Could never get this to work as well as the 10T cog which appears to never be used according to the app ride report!

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I have been running AXS shifting for a few months and I am still struggling with the shifter. No matter what I end up hitting the wrong button several times per ride, especially when I am gassed. Have tried reversing (still happens) and the front button feels unnatural as well. Seriously considering taking it off and moving back to a wired system. Not sure why they felt the need to change the thumb motion that has been ingrained in all of us for so many years, but it kills the experience for me.

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This was my experience with di2. I remember consciously trying to figure out which button to hit, then hitting the wrong button anyway. After 3 months I gave up.

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Failure to communicate will be the downfall of you robots. My fax and my printer have the same issue, it make me scream bloody murder.

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Its been perfect for me. Ive torn the ligaments and dislocated my thumb and can barely shift on a cold morning with a regular shifter.
I dont understand why its so hard to figure it out, especially when you can switch it to your preference

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FWIW I was talking about road bike di2. The buttons felt identical and I could never remember which was which. No idea for MTB di2.

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That is one of the advantages of Di2. You can make each button to do whatever you want. AXS is a bit more restrictive because the trigger and thumb paddle is one unit so the options are very limited. I'd love for the trigger and paddle to be seperate.

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The first time I tried it, reversing the button functions was my first thought..Seems like it would be more intuitive to me..

Additional benefit, it could be a setup that can last through several bikes... Buy a bike with say GX, add AXS shifter, oooops, I mean controller, derailleur and seatpost... When time to sell bike, put brand new parts back on bike...

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I've been using it as a thumb and index finger shifter (clicking it over the bar) and am so used to it regular shifting feels foreign

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I've been riding the AXS reverb for almost a year and it has been flawless. It's so good that I removed the normal "wired" dropper from my hardtail and I swap the AXS Reverb between my 2 mountain bikes which only takes about 3 minutes. Is it expensive? Of course, but I've been riding for over 20 years and I like high end equipment so it's worth it to me.

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To each their own. I would much rather buy two BIke Yokes for the same price and never have to swap a dropper or charge a battery.

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I've never ridden a Bike Yoke (heard good things) but like Brandon mentioned in the review, the ability to "feather" the height of the seat while on rolling terrain is amazing. I would have never thought this until experiencing it myself. So to me, there is also a performance factor. And in almost 1 year of ownership I've only charged the battery twice, so it's not a bother at all.

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Maybe I need to experience it myself to see what you guys are talking about, but I've never had a problem getting my dropper to the height I want it at. It's not even something I really have to think about. I can feather my droppers just fine without unweighting the saddle. I can't see how there's much room for improvement there.

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You won't think there's an improvement until you try it.

For me, swapping an AXS post and shifter between bikes is much more preferable to changing a dropper cable (or bleeding a standard reverb).

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Additional weakness: when your $800 derailleur takes a shit and just STOPS WORKING and not only cant you get it fixed because you bought it as a take-off, but SRAM WONT EVEN LOOK AT IT. Yes, an electronic derailleur that one day, decides to just stop...Sram will not fix it, even if you offer to pay for it

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The issue I see with the reverb is that the battery housing is on the wrong side limiting fit with post height and full compression of the rear suspension. Had it be mounted facing forward that would remove the problem.

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Depends on frame and wheel size. Extreme example, but Isabeau Courdurier mentioned in one interview that the above mentioned clearance issues is the reason why she cannot run the AXS post.

//edit: https://youtu.be/bdZwwDZh8Gw?t=369

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