SRAM Apex AXS Mullet review: Budget electronic shifting with huge range

Is a popular option for budget minded gravel bikes a good fit for you?

SRAM Apex AXS side view of controls
(Image: © Josh Ross)

Cyclingnews Verdict

In retail channels the price difference between Rival AXS and Apex AXS is so incredibly small it makes sense to choose the upgradability of the Rival groupset. For most people though, the decision will come when looking at a full bike build. In that case, Apex AXS is an excellent groupset for the price and a mullet build means having plenty of gearing no matter what you decide to do with your bike.


  • +

    Adding a power meter is simple and inexpensive

  • +

    Gearing works for whatever you want to do with a gravel bike

  • +

    Comfortable hoods

  • +

    Excellent brakes

  • +

    Adjustable reach


  • -

    Mullet build means slower shifting

  • -

    XPLR cassettes require a different rear derailleur

  • -

    No simple upgrade path for 2x

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

SRAM Apex is the latest in the SRAM lineup to get a refresh and it's a big one. After years of being relatively unchanged, the fourth tier in the SRAM lineup brings electronic and 12-speed shifting to even more people. Until now if you were looking for electronic shifting that meant Rival was your least expensive option. Meanwhile if you wanted a 12-speed groupset for a gravel bike there wasn't a mechanical option.  

Tech Specs: SRAM Apex AXS Mullet

Price: $1292 / £1299

Speeds: 1x12

Chainrings: 40T, 42T

Cassettes: 11-50T, 10-50T, 10-52T

Brakes: Disc only 140mm or 160mm rotor options

Function: Full wireless

Weight: 3137g weighed with a 42T power meter crank, 11-50T cassette, and dual 160mm rotors 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Component weights as measured
Front derailleurx
Front controls plus hydraulic line and brake calliper381g per side (total of two)
Rear derailleur431g
Cassette (11-50)596g
160mm rotor160g per unit (total of two)
Row 9 - Cell 0 Row 9 - Cell 1
SRAM Apex AXS XPLR (w/power meter)2850g
SRAM Rival AXS XPLR (w/power meter)2833g
Shimano GRX 12 Speed2786.5g
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Testing scorecard and notes
WeightThis is a heavy groupset and there’s no getting around that. It makes sense for the price though.7/10
Gearing optionsIt’s nice to have options for both XDR and HG compatible freehubs but there’s not actually much choice.7/10
ErgonomicsI love SRAM ergonomics. FSA is perhaps nicer but for a budget system, this is incredible.9/10
Shift QualitySeems on par with what you’d expect at this price range.8/10
ValueElectronic system at the price you’d expect to pay for mechanical. Best pricing out right now. 10/10
OverallRow 5 - Cell 1 82%

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Josh Ross

Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes. Height: 5'9" Weight: 140 lb. Rides: Salsa Warbird, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx