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Through its many brands, SRAM has a foot in making just about every kind of component, whether it’s for road, MTB gravel or more. Now, the brand is putting together the expertise of its own drivetrain components, RockShox’s suspension and Zipp’s wheels to create an XPLR line (pronounced “explore”) of gravel components that expand the where you can bring a gravel bike and open up new ways to ride. With a suspension fork and dropper post, wider gear ranges and a gravel-specific wheelset, there’s a lot of new gear in the XPLR line.
RockShox RUDY XPLR Fork
We’ve seen suspension in gravel from a couple different bikes, like the Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty and the Niner MCR 9 RDO. However, the likes of RockShox putting its weight behind the concept could mean we’re about to see quite a few more bike brands give front suspension a try. Like other gravel forks, the RockShox model, called Rudy XPLR, is tuned to the high frequency, low amplitude bumps that define gravel—meaning it’s good for gravel grinders, not so much for bombing singletrack and hitting jumps. Over the course of hours, dealing with reduced roads bumps could be a lifesaver for some. The RUDY XPLR also resists bottom-outs for maximum comfort. And there’s the added benefit of more control from reducing bumps that have a tendency to knock you off your line. RockShox says the benefit to maintaining a line is especially pronounced when climbing on gravel roads.
Clearing 700x50c tires, this fork can take on just about any gravel tire you could want to run. For riding on muddy days, break out the included RockShox premium short fender, or opt for full coverage with a full fender attached via hidden custom stealth stay bosses.
The alloy fork comes in both 30mm and 40mm travel options as well as two colors: Jet Black and a tan color called Kwiqsand.
Each version costs $799 and is available starting this month.
Reverb AXS XPLR Gravel Dropper Post
When it came time to design a dropper post for gravel, RockShox went well beyond just making a shorter travel dropper for the 27.2mm size. The Reverb AXS XPLR features something called ActiveRide. Relying on air only internals, the post has a fully rigid top-out position. But drop it just a little and ActiveRide provides additional compliance and comfort, actively countering the bumps of gravel roads. Because this is an AXS product, the compliance can be customized via the AXS app, and it shares the same AXS battery as SRAM AXS derailleurs. Multiple saddle clamp options—7mm round rails, 7x9mm oval rails and 7x10mm oval rails—accommodate just about any saddle.
It comes in two lengths, 350mm and 400mm. The 350mm version offers 50mm and 75mm of travel, while the 350mm version keeps it to just 50mm.
Each Dropper post costs $600 and will be available starting in September.
SRAM XPLR Drivetrain
Tapping into the existing SRAM AXS ecosystem, the new XPLR drivetrains feature new cranks, cassettes and rear derailleurs for more gear options. The XPLR components take a 1x-only approach for simpler shifting.
The XPLR eTap AXS rear derailleurs are made to handle the new 10-44T XPLR 12-speed cassettes, as well as work with the existing wider range 10-36T cassettes. The larger derailleur cages have the added bonus of larger X-SYNC pulleys for increased efficiency as well as durability.
The Red version costs $710, the Force version costs $490 and the Rival version costs $255. Without batteries, the Red version weighs 293 grams, the Force version weighs 308 grams and the Rival version weighs 327 grams.
The XPLR drivetrain features two cassettes, both of which are 10-44T and feature 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 28, 32, 38 and 44 tooth cogs for plenty of range. Tighter gaps on the high end help when things get faster on the flats.
The XG-1251 version weighs 412 grams and costs $150, while the XG-1271 version weighs 373 grams and costs $210.
Red/Force Direct Mount 1x Cranksets
As part of the new groupsets, SRAM is also introducing direct mount versions of the Red 1x, Force 1x and Force 1x Wide cranks, which all shed weight over versions with a traditional spider. All versions feature X-SYNC narrow-wide chainrings and come in 38T-46T sizes, in 2mm increments. Available crank arm lengths include 165mm, 167.5mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm, and 177.5mm. A Red 1x direct mount crank in size 172.5mm and a 40T chainring weighs 462 grams, while the same setup weighs 598 grams in the Force version, and 604 grams in the Force Wide version. The Red cranks cost $690, and the Force versions cost $420.
Availability for these components will be August to September, depending on the part.
Zipp 101 XPLR Wheelset
Zipp’s first gravel-specific wheelset, the 101 XPLR, uses Zipp MOTO Technology, a single wall-approach to rim design. The big advantage of this approach, as opposed to a double wall rim, is that it builds further compliance into the wheel by allowing the rim to “pivot,” moving slightly left or right of the spoke bed to contour to the road and absorb impacts. The single wall approach also creates a much more bombproof wheel design. Couple this single-wall rim with a 27mm rim width, and you can run lower tire pressures and have a lower chance of pinch flats.
The wheels use Zipp’s ZR1 hubs found in its Firecrest level of wheels, offering 66 points of engagement for quick acceleration. It’s available in both 700c and 650b, weighing 1,665 grams and 1,590 grams respectively. A full set costs $1,800. It comes with Zipp’s lifetime warranty covering any product issues encountered while riding for the original owner. There is also a TyreWiz add on option.
The 101 XPLR wheelset joins the existing Service Course SL-7070 XPLR handlebar, as well as the G40 XPLR tire, which is a rebadged version of the brand’s existing gravel tire. Initial availability for the wheels will be this month.