For a while, we've had a pretty good inkling that a 12 speed road groupset is coming soon from SRAM after spotting a 12 cog cassette on a number of pro bikes... and now our eagle eyes have noticed this PDF, that suggests the new road groupset could be both the first to go electronic, and the the first to be 1x and 2x compatible.
The manual (you can read it here) is dated 2018 and there’s no mention of 'eTap' or 12 speed anywhere that we can see so far after leafing through the 82 pages – but skip to the cassette installation on page 28 (pic above) and you’ll clearly see the example cassette has 12 sprockets. The name given is 'Road AXS Systems' - we don't know if this is a whole new line, or an expansion of the eTap product family.
Obviously it’s pretty heavy on info as this is an installation guide intended mostly for mechanics, but there are a couple of nuggets we’ve managed to pull out – the most interesting, we think, being that it looks like this will work for 1x and 2x systems. There are set-up instructions for 1x and 2x - which would make this a world first. It's explained that an extra chain link is needed to work for 1x.
The freehub is SRAM’s XDR - which has been around since 2016, so we think this indicates that the freehub body will be the same width as their 11 speed groupsets. There is also reference to an app that allows customisation of how the system behaves, and something about ‘Enhanced Shifting’.
As far as the electronics are concerned, it all looks quite similar to how the current eTap works. Coin cell batteries power the shifters for up to two years, with both derailleurs and shifters displaying green, flashing red and solid red lights to denote if your battery status is good, middling or flat respectively.
We'll be noseying around for more possible leaks over the coming weeks, keep your eyes peeled...
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.