Under Test: SRAM Apex 1 Components

If you’ve been itching to try SRAM’s 1x road components but were put off by the price, the Apex 1 group may just get you to ditch your front derailleur. Available in drop- and flat-bar versions, Apex 1 boasts a whopping 380% gear range. How does SRAM’s value-priced group stack up against the company’s costlier Rival 1 and Force 1 components?

Stay tuned…

16 thoughts on “Under Test: SRAM Apex 1 Components

  1. Ed Ng

    Just a tip for testing, in case you find the 380% range is not enough: the long-cage Apex 1 derailleur is more than happy to work with a Shimano XT 11-46 cassette! I run a similar setup now with a long-case Rival 1 derailleur, that cassette and a 44T absoluteBLACK narrow-wide oval ring.

    -Ed

    Reply
    1. gravelbike Post author

      That’s good to know. Did you have to use a longer b-tension bolt or other mods/tweaks to clear the 46t cog?

      Reply
          1. Ed Ng

            Correct. All of the SRAM 1X road groupsets (Apex 1, Rival 1 and Force (CX)1) are 1×11. Technically, because the 11-speed and 10-speed road shifters are all Exact-Actuation, you can combine any of the road 1X derailleurs with an old 10-speed shifter, but you must use a 10-speed cassette, in which case you will likely be limited to 11-42 (SunRace) or if you have an XD driver body on your rear hub, you could consider a 9-42 from e*Thirteen, but that’s awfully expensive, and you may as well just upgrade to 11-speed shifters and use one of the 11-4X cassettes from SunRace or Shimano.

          2. Ed Ng

            Take a look at the gear spread on the CS-M8000 11-46 and compare it to the gear spread on the SunRace CSMX8 11-46 before deciding which one of the two to use. I personally find that I would prefer the flatter curve on the SunRace for trail riding, but for road/pavement riding, I actually prefer the Shimano’s curve because I can enjoy a tighter spread in the upper rage on the open road (much higher speed) but still have the huge bailout in case of the occasional really steep hill. Meanwhile, the SunRace has a more even spread on the big end of the cog to keep cadence more consistent at lower speeds. I use the CS-M8000 cassette on my dedicated road bike, so I treat it like a 10-speed 11-37 cassette with a bonus 46T bailout. If it were a mountain bike or if it were my gravel bike and I rode more offroad than on pavement, I probably would fare better on the SunRace. Right horse for the course!

          3. Ed Ng

            Dig it; you’re gonna love it! I run an 11-42 with a 38 on my gravel bike and the 11-46 with a 44 on my road bike. So much fun in both cases! I run singles because I have to use oval chainrings, and dislike the way my bike loses cross-chain combinations with the double ovals (Yaw FD should not have chain rub, and doesn’t with circular rings, but does with ovals).

  2. Flinty

    Tried Shimano 11-46 11 speed cassette with my new Cannondale Slate Apex bike, the apex rear mech does not shift down from the 46t sprocket. Tried all sorts of things, longer chain, shorter chain, all sorts of adjustments to B tension bolt, took all the tension out of the gear cable. I cannot get the apex rear mech to pull the chain from the 46t across onto the next sprocket. Am I missing something obvious here? Note the original post had a rival rear mech.
    Perhaps the rear mech hanger is not low enough?

    Reply
  3. Flinty

    Hi Ed, SRAM apex 1 I think only comes as long cage, and the original cassette is 11-42. I did try adjusting limit screws but no luck. Wonder if the derailleur hanger position affects the shifting as I know there are aftermarket hangers which allow some rear mechs to increase their capacity. (Eg wolf tooth).

    Reply
    1. Ed Ng

      I see; well I guess that may be the issue, then. It seems odd that you’re stuck in the 46, though. Never seen that before! Most of the time, a person can’t get into the largest cog, not have problems getting off the largest cog. I’m pretty baffled, honestly.

      -Ed

      Reply
    2. gravelbike Post author

      If you disconnect the cable and shift the chain onto the 46t cog by hand, does it drop down?

      Reply
      1. Flinty

        Hi and thanks for the tips, not tried without the gear cable, will give it a go when I have some time and let you know how I get on.

        Reply

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