Today is a good day to be a gravel rider (whatever that is, but we’ll get on to that…) as SRAM is launching ‘XPLR’ – a gravel groupset with a pretty comprehensive range and depth of components.
Included under the SRAM XPLR umbrella is a SRAM AXS wireless shifting system (coming in three levels of Red, Force and Rival), chainset and a single 10-44T cassette, along with a Rockshox short travel suspension fork, ZIPP Moto tubeless carbon wheels and a Rockshox AXS short travel wireless dropper post.
That’s a lot to take in, so we’ll try to break it down a little:
SRAM XPLR – What’s in it?
As mentioned, there are three levels of components, but the basic group shares the same numbers. The combined hydraulic brake levers have wireless AXS paddles on each. These are the same RED/Force/Rival shifters used in SRAM’s recent road groups. A press of the left one for easier gears, the right one for harder and both at once for… the dropper post? Yep. Each group features a single chainring (38-46T), a 10-44T cassette (on an XDR cassette body). The dedicated XPLR AXS rear mech will only work with the new XPLR 10-44T cassette or 10-36T cassettes. You can only use a SRAM road Flat-Top chain with XPLR cassettes.
Brakes and wheels:
There are flat-mount hydraulic brakes for each groupset. 160mm rotors as standard, with the option of 180mm rotors. The wheels are ZIPP’s Moto wheels – a single skin, low profile carbon rim (in 650B or 700C) with a 27mm internal profile and 66 point hub engagement. This low profile rim is designed to flex with the tyre to give a more supple, less tiring ride.
RockShox Rudy Suspension Fork:
Suspension? Yep, the groupset features the Rockshox Rudy suspension fork. This is a 30 or 40mm air sprung fork with a manual (or optional cable) full lockout. There’s a Charger Race Day damper option, with rebound damping adjustment, a ‘lockout or not’ knob and provision for short or long bolt-on mudguards. The Rudy fork features magnesium lower legs, 30mm stanchions and a hollow, anodised crown with alloy steerer and room for up to 50mm tyres. It’ll take flat mount brakes only.
XPLR Reverb AXS dropper:
Yes, the XPLR group features a wireless, air-sprung AXS Reverb dropper post. It comes in 50mm or 75mm drops and (importantly for many!) a 27.2mm diameter for compliance and great compatibility with frames. There are 30.9 and 31.6mm shims available. And, when not fully extended (or compressed) it features something Rockshox is calling ‘Activeride’ – which allows the seatpost to ‘bounce’ on the compressed air column, acting like a suspension seatpost for more riding comfort. The post comes in 350 and 400mm lengths for the 50mm and 75mm drops respectively. There are saddle clamps for round and oval saddle rails too. And being SRAM AXS, the dropper will work with any bike that has AXS, so your steel, 27.2mm seat tube retro cruiser can have a wireless dropper if you want…
ZIPP Service Course handlebars
And there’s even a handlebar from ZIPP. The Service Course handlebar comes in 40, 42, 44 and 46cm widths that then flare out below the levers for greater control. They’re 70mm shallow drop too.
SRAM RockShox XPLR Prices:
Of course it won’t be cheap. It’s pioneering stuff and you’ll be the first on the block. It’s worth noting, though that SRAM isn’t planning on doing a cheaper cable-operated shifting and cable-operated brakes version in the future, so if you like it, get and order in. It’s more likely that it’ll appear complete on a bike you’re shopping for – and for the OE, there’s a lot of options to mix and match throughout SRAM’s range to come to the ideal XPLR-based spec. The shifters and cranks will even work with AXS Eagle for some proper wide ranging gravel… We’ll be interested to see how it ends up being specced. How would you run it?
- XPLR – Rear Mech: Red £610, Force £415, Rival £236
- XPLR Cassette 10-44T: XG-1271 £200, XG-1251 £145
- XPLR Chainset (no BB): Red £625, Force £390
- RockShox Rudy Fork: Ultimate/RaceDay £779
- Rockshox Reverb AXS XPLR: £500 (remote sold separately – or run SRAM AXS road levers)
- ZIPP Service Course SL 70 XPLR bars: £109
- ZIPP G40 tyres: 700 x 40C only £64
- ZIPP AM 101 XPLR Wheels: £780 front, £866 rear
That should give you a taster. Now tune in to see how we got on with our own preview groupset of SRAM’s XPLR, built into a custom steel, modern geometry, gravel machine from Ra Bikes.
There’ll be more details on the groupset and all things XPLR over at sram.com