SRAM will announce a safety recall of aftermarket eTap AXS Red, Force, Rival, and Apex shift-brake levers produced before July this year, because of excess threadlock on the clamp bolt having the potential to mean the clamp isn’t tightened sufficiently despite reaching the recommended torque. The potential issue is that the shift-brake lever could move on the handlebar while riding, leading to a crash.
This recall is the second from a major groupset manufacturer in recent weeks, Shimano having announced a voluntary inspection and replacement recall notice for 760,000 Dura-Ace and Ultegra bonded 11-speed road cranksets in North America, and a ‘safety inspection’ in Europe.
One big difference here, though, is that the SRAM recall applies only to aftermarket products. In other words, shift-brake levers specced as original equipment on complete bikes are unaffected. The recall also covers only the USA and Canada – for the time being, at least.
Oh, and one more big difference: this isn’t an issue that has been well-documented by consumers over several years.
A SRAM Service Information Bulletin sent to retailers says, “All aftermarket 12-speed SRAM eTap AXS RED, Force, Rival, and Apex shift-brake levers produced prior to July 1, 2023 are involved [a list of involved part numbers is below]… Shift levers on bicycles either assembled/checked prior to delivery or installed by the retailer are not involved in this action.”
You can find the production date on the package barcode label. Products with a date of “WK 26 2023” or earlier are the ones that are affected.
“Excess threadlock on the shift-brake lever clamp bolt may result in the clamp not being tightened despite reaching recommended bolt torque,” says SRAM. “This may result in a shifter-brake lever which moves on the handlebar. If it moves during riding, it can cause a crash due to loss of control.”
SRAM advises that retailers should “conduct a stock sweep and quarantine all involved products for rework prior to sale”.
A shifter clamp bolt kit is available free of charge “to rework any involved in-stock products”. A single kit covers two levers.
Essentially, the existing shift-brake lever clamp bolt needs to be replaced with a bolt from the kit.
What’s the deal for consumers (as opposed to SRAM retailers) who have already bought relevant shift-brake levers? Although the Service Information Bulletin has been widely shared online, SRAM has yet to make an official public announcement.
“Further information regarding aftermarket products already sold will come prior to the recall announcement,” SRAM says to retailers.
As mentioned, the recall covers only the USA and Canada. We contacted SRAM’s European operation and were told that this remains the case. We have no information on whether products in Europe and the rest of the world will eventually be affected by a similar recall but that's certainly not the situation at the moment.
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 road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. 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.