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SRAM announces Apex 1 single chainring system

Component giant extends 1x system to its most affordablel road range

SRAM has announced the introduction of Apex 1, a single chainring version of its entry-level groupset with hydraulic braking. It brings the cost of a 1x system down to much lower levels than previously.

SRAM first introduced 1x (pronounced ‘one by’) groupsets for the road last year; SRAM Force 1 and SRAM Rival 1 are already in the range. The single chainring chainsets are paired up with wide-ranging cassettes.

Check out our SRAM 1x First Ride from last May. 

What’s the point of switching to a 1x setup? When we reviewed the SRAM Rival 1 groupset we said that it offered shifting simplicity, a useable range of gears, secure chain retention, plus SRAM’s powerful hydraulic disc brakes.

SRAM doesn’t suggest that a 1x setup is the best choice for everyone, but that it’s a sensible option for many people. 1x is particularly popular in cyclocross, although that’s by no means the only application. SRAM certainly sees it as a product for the road too.

SR_Apex1_RD_Black_Front_M (1).jpg

The Apex 1 rear mech (£58) uses SRAM’s existing 1x technology, including the Roller Bearing Clutch that’s designed to avoid derailleur bounce and chain slap. It’s built to SRAM’s X-Horizon geometry. 

“The X-Horizon rear derailleur’s ‘straight parallelogram’ design limits all movement to the horizontal axis, which makes ghost shifting impossible while also reducing shift force,” says SRAM. “For quicker, more exact shifting, the large upper pulley offset design maintains a constant chain gap across all gears.”

With the Cage Lock design you push the derailleur cage forward and lock it in place, as the name suggests, to make wheel removal and installation easier.

SR_S350-1_Crank_24mm_40t_Black_Front_M (1).jpg

SRAM’s S350 chainset uses what SRAM calls X-Sync tooth profiles designed to engage the chain earlier than standard teeth, avoid chain deflection, and clear mud. It’s available with 38, 40, 42 and 44 tooth chainrings, and in 170, 172.5 and 175mm lengths. The cranks are forged aluminium. 

SR_Apex1_Crank_24mm_44t_Front_M (1).jpg

SRAM haven’t told us about an asymmetric chainring spider but there is a picture of one with a 24mm axle in the info they provided so it looks like the US brand is following Shimano and Campagnolo down that route. There’s also a version with a chainguard.

SR_Apex1_Flatmount_Caliper_Black_Front_M (1).jpg

The Apex 1 HRD Shift-Brake Control uses SRAM’s existing HydroR system. The brake is a forged aluminium disc calliper that uses steel-backed organic pads and steel hardware. It’s a two piston hydraulic design.

You can convert the brakes between 160mm and 140mm rotors with adaptor brackets.

SR_Apex1_HRD_Shifter_Right_Black_3Q_M (1).jpg

The right hand hand lever uses SRAM’s usual DoubleTap design where the distance you push the shifting paddle determines the direction of rear mech movement. It’s 11-speed compatible.

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If you prefer a flat handlebar, the relevant 11-speed flat bar shifter will be available.

SR_Apex1_Bike_FlatBar (1).jpg

The cassette is SRAM’s existing 11-speed PG-1130 – it’s used in the Rival 1 groupset – in an 11-42-tooth range. It’s compatible with standard Shimano/SRAM hubs whereas more expensive 10-42-tooth 1x cassettes require a mountain bike-style XD cassette driver body. It uses heat-treated steel sprockets on an aluminium spider.

SRAM PG-1130 Cassette (1).jpg

The PG-1130 cassette isn’t light at 538g. That compares with 315g for the 10-42-tooth XG-1180 mini cluster cassette used in SRAM’s Force 1 groupset, for example. On the other hand, it’s a helluva lot cheaper at £68. The high cost of the cassette has previously been a big hurdle for many with SRAM’s 1x groupsets. This lower pricing opens up 1x to many more people

The PC-1130 chain is the same one SRAM uses for its Rival 1 groupset too.

Weights and prices

Here are SRAM’s official weights and prices for the Apex 1 components.

Rear derailleur 314g, £58
S350 chainset 762g (24mm axle, 42-tooth, 172.5mm cranks), £92 (GXP), £120 (BB30)
11-speed flat bar shifter 142g, £22
HRD shift-brake control left 344g (inc hoses and calliper), £179
HRD shift-brake control right 360g (inc hoses and calliper), £226
Chain 259g (114 links), £11
Cassette 538g, £68

Assuming you go for a drop handlebar rather than a flat handlebar system, that lot will cost you from £634 at RRP. 

A SRAM Rival 1 groupset with hydraulic braking is priced from £916 at RRP while a Force 1 groupset with hydraulic braking is priced from £1,180, so Apex 1 represents a considerable saving over both.

SR_Apex1_Bike_DropBar (1).jpg

Apex 1 is a 2017 model year groupset. The components that aren’t yet available will be in the shops from June.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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CharlesMagne | 8 years ago

Any ideas about cable pull on the derailleur? Might it be compatible with other Sram/Shimano shifters for example?

bendertherobot replied to CharlesMagne | 8 years ago

CharlesMagne wrote:

Any ideas about cable pull on the derailleur? Might it be compatible with other Sram/Shimano shifters for example?

Can't see any reason for them to depart from exact actuation. 

Meaning the rear mech will work with all 10/11 speed SRAM road and MTB shifters. But probably not Shimano.

WashoutWheeler | 8 years ago

I have no doubt some will fall for it.

60kg lean keen ... | 8 years ago

how about a  Cotic Escapade (Gloss Gunmetal) This new Apex 1 - 27.5 Sram roam 30 wheels (xd driver) and on the the same page some new WTB Horizon 650b 37c tyre, now thats looks like it could be fun!!!!

kil0ran | 8 years ago

Pretty good price for a hydraulic disc groupset, good to see.

Although for almost same price you could upgrade to an 11x2 Ultegra Di2 group...

Lungsofa74yearold | 8 years ago

Less is definitely more(£). Have Shimano opted of this area of the market? Proper competition = sensible prices. 

Luv2ride | 8 years ago
1 like

Really happy about this.  The SRAM Apex 10 sp groupset on my winter bike has been faultless, and I've been thinking of upgrading my Arkose singlespeed to a 1x10/11 set up.  As I already have Hylex hydro brakes this looks like I'm only in for:

RD £58

Chainset (GXP) £92

Cassette £68

and a SRAM TT bar end shifter for the RD, say £45

So, a SRAM OneBy system for £260 before the inevitable discounts.  Sounds ok to me!

BrokenBootneck | 8 years ago

Let me get this right, we have all spent years and £s upgrading over the years to have more gears. Now we all fork out more money to get what we had in the first place?

bendertherobot | 8 years ago

Brilliant. About time. I suspect those shifters will be a good price when we take discounting into account. Might even bring down Rival etc.

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