"Gravel” can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s using farm tracks to link together stretches of asphalt. For others it’s long stretches of packed dirt at altitude. For others, clattering down rugged and technical trails that might be easier, but less fun, on a mountain bike is the ultimate gravel experience. Either way, it's fun.
If you identify the type of gravel you like to ride, you can optimize the experience with different geometry, body position, tire width, and, yes, gearing. Fortunately, SRAM offers something for every gravel bike. Let’s dive in:
Adventure 1x Eagle
Sometimes we want low, looooooow gears. Mountain bike gears. If you’re loading down your bike with equipment, or clawing your way up a long, loose and rocky climb, or saving your legs as you race across a continent, a drop bar bike with the absolute maximum gear range available is the ticket.
Enter the mullet build. An Eagle AXS rear derailleur paired to road eTap AXS shift/brake levers allows the use of an Eagle drivetrain with a 10-50 or 10-52 cassette. Pair with a road chainring in the 38-42T range for your biggest adventures. SRAMbassador Chas Christiansen has ridden 1x and 2x AXS, but sticks with his mullet build for the gnarly stuff. “I am based on the west coast [of the United States] and most of our gravel events lean more towards MTB than road. This is where the mullet group really won me over. A 50T rear paired with a 46T front means that almost no hill is unclimbable, either in a fast paced gravel race where others have to dismount, or in an ultra-endurance race where you are crawling up very long steep dirt climbs fully loaded.”
All-Around 1x XPLR
A racer may choose a 10-33 or 10-36 cassette for short and intense racing, but with versatility the name of the game for a gravel bike, an XPLR drivetrain with a 10-44 cassette is the gearing sweet spot for a bike that needs to do anything.
The 10-44 uses tight jumps at the lower end of the cassette to give you the exact ratio you want when you're pedaling hard, but expands to cover a whopping 440% range, guaranteeing you have the gears you need no matter how tough the day gets. It's the do-everything range.
Who doesn’t want a bike that can do it all? OK, maybe not all, but we’re lucky to be living in a time with many choices for bikes that are fast and fun on pavement, while still plenty capable on technical gravel trails. A bike that can handle a huge range of activities needs an equally versatile drivetrain, and a 2x eTap AXS build with a 46-33 or 43-30 chainring combo mated to a 10-36 or 10-33 cassette covers it all. Gearing that will let you mix it up on spicy road rides and spin up steep dirt climbs? The future is here.
The definition of road cycling is changing, but regardless of how a bike will be used, there’s a SRAM gearing option to suit it. For more on how our 2x drivetrains compare to traditional gearing, experience our story on X-Range gearing. For more on the benefits of wide-range 1x, there’s our mullet build story and our XPLR collection. And you can browse complete bikes with eTap AXS in our bike finder.