The first thing that sets Apex apart is the option of a wide ratio 11-32 rear cassette, the widest range offered by Shimano 105 is an 11-28. Match the 11-32 up to a choice of six different double chainsets (the classic 53-39 plus: 52-38, 52-36, 50-36, 50-34, and 46-38) and say SRAM you get all the benefits of a triple – without the extra weight.
In their release (see below) SRAM claim a total saving of up to 284g over a Shimano 105 triple when using the new 11-32. That weight is for Apex in what we would guess is it's optimum form mated to the 50-34 compact with 172.5mm cranks. SRAM don't say which version 105 set up they are comparing it to, or what bottom bracket standard the weight is for.
However weight savings are only part of the benefits that Apex has to offer. Another is the option to mix and match components with SRAM's top end Red, Force and Rival gruppos - all the shifters in those groups will work with the new Apex rear derailleur and cassette. Apex also benefits from some of the same technologies employed on its higher end stable mates including Double Tap shifting, and Zero-Loss shifting for immediate shifting engagement. The levers are also reach adjustable.
We've compared the weights for SRAM Apex and new Shimano 105 and put together this handy comparison table:
SRAM Apex New Shimano 105 Shifter 344g 490g Rear derailleur 200g(s cage, 210g m-cage) 221g Crankset+ int BB 890g 845g(53-39 int BB, 805g 50-34) Front derailleur 89g 95g Brakeset 308g 358g Cassette (11-23) 299g (11-32 299g) 245g(11-25) Chain 277g 267g Total 2358g (2407g 11-32) 2521g(2481g 50-34)
A note on our weight totals, I've assumed that the weight listed for the Apex Chainset is for the standard 53-39 double, SRAM only list one weight for the Apex chainset but given the wide range of sizes there should also be a wide range of weights. I've matched that up to the 11-23 cassette as being the fairest comparison with Shimano's 11-25, but it could be that the chainset weight listed is for one of the smaller ring sizes.
SRAM are expecting Apex to retail at around the €700 mark (£617) and it should be available in the UK in May or June.
SRAM Apex Press release
"SRAM Apex - Wherever the Road Takes You!
Feel the beneﬁts of the ﬁrst 11-32 road cassette and challenge your limits.
You work forty plus hours a week, take your kids to soccer games every weekend, enjoy good food and wine, love the game of tennis, watch the Tour de France on TV, and consider cycling a fun way to stay ﬁt. Your bike is equipped with SRAM Apex because it’s the best choice. The compact (50/34) crankset and the new expanded (11- 32) cassette always have the perfect gear for you.
Your SRAM Apex equipped bike will take you anywhere you want to ride,
even if that’s the hilly route back home..
SRAM Apex is the latest road componentry groupset from SRAM that borrows technologies from SRAM’s Tour de France conquer- ing RED gruppo, including DoubleTap (one lever two shifts), Reach Adjust (for custom lever ﬁt), Exact Actuation (for consistent and precise shifts), and Zero-Loss shifting (for immediate shift engagement).
The double compact chainrings (50/34) are only the beginning, the innovation that went into making Apex the perfect gruppo for every challenge includes the new long cage rear derailleur (RD) matched perfectly to SRAM’s new PG 1050 11-32 tooth cassette, we call it WiFLi technology…
WiFLi is all you need to know:
a wider range of gears for every climb and any descent
two chainrings shift much faster and easier than three
as much as 284 grams (11%) less than the most popular road triple (Shimano® 105)
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.