When John Loudon McAdam pioneered the development of modern gravel roads in Scotland around 1820, he had no idea how much joy he would bring to riders like us. While gravel road technology is old, and people have been riding chain-driven bikes on it since the 1880’s, we thought it was time to more fully enjoy riding McAdam’s creation. So we developed SRAM eTap AXS.
Engineering a groupset that excels on gravel isn’t easy. Gravel riding requires some unique demands from drivetrains—demands that are often mutually exclusive of one another. They have to deliver exceptionally wide gear ranges, but also have small steps between the gears. Chains have to smoothly transition from one chainring to another, but never fall off. Optimizing for one meant sacrificing the other. That’s why we started with a blank slate when we designed eTap AXS—doing it any other way would mean compromise, and when you set out to develop the best gravel riding groupset in the world, compromise isn’t an option.