Electronic component groups just keep getting better.
Most of us grew up on derailleurs with cables, which are still the most common parts found on bikes, and today’s mechanical components work better than ever. But while we still love the familiar feel of a shift lever clicking through the ratchet mechanism, for long-term livability we were quickly converted into big fans of the low maintenance, high accuracy electronic shifting systems.
Over the past few years Shimano Di2 has become our go-to for both the proven durability and the versatility of mixing and matching components for a rider-specific build. In particular the 1x drop bar Di2 configuration has been dreamy, and the ability to use a wide range cassette and a clutch derailleur with drop bars is what has given Shimano the edge over Sram’s road-only but otherwise fantastic eTap electronic group, which has the added benefit of being wireless.
All REN frames have been compatible with internal electronic wire routing for several years to accommodate Shimano Di2, Campagnolo EPS, and FSA WE group sets. We have had great experiences with all three component brands, and when Sram dropped their 12-speed generation eTap updates and brought cross-platform compatibility between drop bar shifters and a longer cage 1x capable Eagle mountain rear derailleur, we were hecka excited.
The first round of components in Sram’s new AXS 12-speed eTap systems do offer a 1x drop bar option, but are limited by a short cage rear derailleur and a 10-33T cassette. Even with a 40T chainring the gearing isn’t quite low enough for riding the backroads of Oregon. We. Need. Lower. Gearing.
The internet has taken to calling this setup a Mullet build, with the stereotypically less rowdy drop bar brifters up in the cockpit and the long cage Eagle mountain derailleur in the rear. Business in front, party in back, as they say.
R U N 2 it? Yes, we sure are!
The ability to set up a 12-speed eTap system without the proprietary AXS chain and cassette is made possible by the e*thirteen TRS+ cassette, a non-AXS 12-speed part that is compatible with XD and XDR freehubs. The TRS+ gear cluster is unique in that it has a 9-46T cog stack, giving it an impressive 511% gear range, and provides for using a standard Sram GX 12-speed chain and aftermarket 1x chainring. Stick a 40T or 42T chainring up front and voila!, you’ve got a truly wide range drivetrain with all the perks of an electronic setup.
None of the electronic groupsets on the market are difficult to configure and install, and setting up this Ivan with an AXS Mullet was easy enough to put a smile on our faces. To ice this fun custom build we did a subtle but beautiful custom finish with anodized bling and a couple of contrasting matte textures for depth. After all, there’s nothing better than a bike that rides as good as it looks, and vise-versa.
Look for more customized eTap AXS builds in the near future… Bangs, anyone?