|SRAM Eagle AXS e-Tap. Yes, that's an "oil slick" finish on the chain and cassette. Image courtesy of SRAM|
So, on the mtb side, it basically was about getting in the game where Shimano has had the playground to itself with regard to electronic shifting. Of course, everyone was making a big deal out of the lack of cables on the bike now and how that was going to make things "so much quieter". Hmm...... I think that claim is a bit over-hyped, SRAM. There may be a modicum of "less noise", but really now..... The lack of having to route cables? Now that is definitely a bigger deal than any noise reduction. You may say, yeah, but cables inside frames make rattles. Well, you'll probably still have a rear brake cable running through there, and that is an issue with the frame manufacturing, nothing to do with a "better drive train".
But this is a cool, if not super expensive, new entry. SRAM also did the aesthetics up with an addition of the "oil slick" look to the entire chain and cassette, (optional- if you don't like it, there is an alternative) which was only previously seen on the connector links for Eagle chains.
|The Eagle e-Tap AXS rear derailleur will likely be seen on many high end gravel rigs. Image courtesy of SRAM|
I thought it was sort of interesting how the new Eagle rear derailleur will "give" a bit inwards if it is hit by a rock, or something. That's cool, but the rear hangars are where your leverage is focused on, and shearing off of derailleurs generally happens in a completely different plane than inward, toward the wheel. I'm not buying this claim either.
Finally, the road stuff- I see SRAM is pushing the "one jump shifts" thing to make us think they have closer ratio cassettes than Shimano. Well, there are some tricksy-tricks going on with their cyphering. First, they do have many one cog jumps, but these come with big jumps on the last few cogs of there cassettes- 3 and sometimes four teeth. Then they ding Shimano on one cassette for having no single cog jumps. However, that particular cassette they pick on has 2 cog jumps the entire way through the cassette. SRAM? Not so much. So, you have to be careful how you interpret the marketing.
But this is a cool development on several levels. Time will tell how it works in the field and how riders adapt it to their rigs.