Top-Of-The-Line, But Is It Worth It? Our Review Of SRAM XX1 AXS

Top-Of-The-Line, But Is It Worth It? Our Review Of SRAM XX1 AXS - Thunder Mountain Bikes

Weighing the differences can make for a tough decision when getting your next mountain bike drivetrain. But, if weight is your primary concern, the choice is easy with SRAM XX1 AXS!

Yes, it's going to cost more, but that has been the going rate with all high-end, lightweight mountain bike components for decades.

SRAM XX1 AXS is currently the pinnacle of high-end, having been developed on the World Cup cross country circuit by the world's best riders and mechanics.

When these athletes are putting their results and careers on the line and from our experience with the early versions of wireless XX1 AXS years ago, we can fully trust that SRAM XX1 AXS is not only light but can perform at a high level without compromise. 

When Nothing But The Best Will Do

The wait is over to trim your bike of excess weight… And cables! SRAM XX1 AXS is not only the most durable XX1 version ever, but the overall weight is slightly lighter than mechanical XX1 and XTR drivetrains, and that includes the batteries!

Despite XX1 needing to be light enough for hardcore cross country racers, its robustness goes beyond just XC racing; it's perfect for that lightweight trail bike or, shall we say it - "down country" - bike build.

If you're fixated on getting your trail bike down to the 27 lb range - while still having tough tires, wheels, worthy suspension, and dropper post - then SRAM XX1 AXS is going to be your ticket! 

It's In The Details

SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Groupset image including cassette derailleur cranks

Why SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Groupset Leads The Pack

Okay, we get it; the weight savings are very close compared to mechanical XX1.

How close?

Only about 5 - 10 grams!

Certainly not enough to feel that weight while riding, and not enough to justify the cost per gram ratio to get XX1 AXS.

What you're really paying for is the amazing performance and robustness of wireless AXS shifting, all while miraculously coming out about even in the weight game.

As we've gone over in our previous AXS article - SRAM's AXS wireless system is super well-thought-out and executed, delivering the best shifting performance we've ever experienced. It's trail-proven! 

The full XX1 AXS groupset includes the XX1 AXS derailleur, XX1 carbon crankset, XX1 chain, AXS controller, AXS battery, and charger.

For riders who already have mechanical XX1 or X01 drivetrains, SRAM offers an XX1 AXS Upgrade Kit, giving you a quick solution to upgrade to XX1 wireless shifting without purchasing all new cranks, cassette, and chain.

SRAM XX1 Upgrade Kits in Oil Slick and Gold

While the upgrade kit helps you ditch the shift cable and housing - saving about 25 grams - this same 25 grams will come back in the AXS derailleur battery. Having the full XX1 groupset, with its updated carbon cranks, is needed to slightly tip the scale in favor of XX1 AXS.

Luckily, all of these components are also available as separate units, so these upgrades can be made over time if needed.

Let's look at the finer details of the SRAM XX1 AXS components.  

The XX1 Eagle AXS Derailleur

What materials come to mind when trying to shave every gram possible?

Of course, carbon fiber and titanium!

The SRAM XX1 derailleur has always utilized a lightweight carbon fiber cage and titanium hardware.

The AXS version continues to use these materials, which is even more necessary to offset the weight from the battery and shift motor.

For comparison, the XX1 AXS derailleur weighs about 375 grams with battery included, while the old mechanical XX1 derailleur weighs about 265 grams.

That's a significant difference in the race bike world, but here, it's about the whole rather than this individual part! 

SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Derailleur and Cassette Closeup

Our previous AXS article praised the AXS's durability and clever technology. It's worth mentioning that again, as the AXS XX1 derailleur offers the best-of-the-best of all features:

  • Overload clutch to absorb impacts
  • Extra chain wrap and positioning to provide 10mm more ground clearance than before
  • Super-high torque but tiny motor
  • Absolutely weather-proof battery and motor housing
  • Plus that crisp-accurate shifting that just clicks into place better than a shift cable ever could!

XX1 Controller And Paddle Options

The AXS shifter, now called the "controller," is the same as the X01 controller, just a different finish.

There are no carbon or titanium bits found here, as the unit already weighs in at a scant 82 grams with its tiny watch-style battery included.

Comparatively, the mechanical XX1 shifter comes in at 124 grams with shift cable included. 

Compatible XX1 Eagle AXS Cranksets

SRAM XX1 Cranks and Chainring showing 3 color options

These cranks may look the same as the previous XX1 cranks - but under the hood, or shall we say, under the carbon - shows some weight-saving updates.

The XX1 AXS cranks are built from SRAM's updated "tuned" carbon fiber lay-up process, which increases wall thickness in high load areas and reduces wall thickness in low-stress areas. In other words, this new crankset is strength-to-weight optimized as much as freakin' possible!

Comparing weights, the XX1 AXS crankset comes in at about 438 grams with chainring included, while the previous XX1 crankset came in at about 493 grams with chainring included.

Both cranks also include boots over the crank ends to protect the carbon from rock strikes.

SRAM XX1 Cassette & Chain

Titanium cassette?!

Nope, not yet!

The SRAM XX1 cassette and chain is the same as the previous XX1 version. Maybe someday, SRAM can figure out a way to use carbon or titanium materials, but we can only imagine for now.

The XX1 Eagle cassette is still a masterpiece through, having been machined out of a single block of steel.

SRAM XX1 Cassette in Oil Slick color closeup

Just look at it... 🤤

It's as light as possible while still being strong enough to last a credible amount of time (depending on your conditions, maintenance, and replacing the chain when needed) and stiff enough to help give a premium level of shifting.

The chain is also optimized with hollow pins and ultra-smooth edges to help glide through the gears with less friction. 

The Ultimate SRAM XX1 AXS Groupset

Hopefully, our breakdown helps you see the whole picture with the entire groupset.

While there is a little bit of weight added with the batteries and motor, the optimization of the cranks and ditching the shift cable + housing gets the groupset back down to being the overall lightest groupset on the market.

Combine that with the robust features of AXS AND the crisp, accurate shifting of wireless technology = this is the ultimate groupset. 

Bottom line: When It's Worth It (And When It's Not)

If you're in the market, or already have mechanical XX1 or XTR level components, we'd definitely give the nod to XX1 AXS.

At that point, the mechanical XX1 groupset comes in at $1,500, putting the XX1 AXS groupset at just $500 more.

Doesn't sound so bad considering all the technology and extra durability you get with AXS XX1. Especially for those lightweight trail and down country bikes that take more of a beating compared to cross country bikes, the XX1 AXS is perfect.

Outside of racing and gram-counting enthusiasts, we'd say it's worth saving that extra money and going with the X01 or GX AXS options.

When it's all about the weight, go for XX1! 

      thumbs up for pros of sram axs upgrade

      thumbs down for cons of sram axs upgrade

      thumbs up for pros of sram axs upgrade


      • Lightest groupset on the market
      • Offers the highest-end in durability and performance features of AXS
      • Accurate and effortless shifting in all conditions
      • Clean aesthetic and top-notch finish

      thumbs down for cons of sram axs upgrade


      • Most expensive (as expected though) 
      • Requires the entire groupset to be the lightest
      • Reliance on batteries