We've Added SRAM AXS To Marin Mountain Bikes
Some exciting news: we've brought top-end, wireless electronic shifting to some of Marin's 2024 mountain bike models. But what makes SRAM AXS worth it, and why are we so stoked? Read on to find out all about AXS.
So What Is SRAM AXS?
SRAM's AXS is a system that does away with cables, and lets you operate parts of your bike like your gears and your dropper post remotely.
Instead of being connected by a long steel wire running inside a housing, AXS components have a tiny battery-operated servo motor that makes them do their thing and are activated by a shifter-style control on your handlebars.
Chances are you’ve already gone wireless with lots of other items you use daily - like your headphones, for example. Now it’s your bike’s turn.
Is SRAM AXS Good And Is It Worth It?
There’s nothing wrong with cable-operated gears or seatposts. They’ve been refined over the years to work super-reliably, in all sorts of conditions.
But wireless operation offers a step-up in feel. Instead of pushing a lever and waiting for the derailleur to pull the chain across, you just tap a button on a controller and the system takes care of the rest. Because there’s no “throw” like a lever, it’s instant, there’s no drag or friction, and it’s incredibly intuitive. Lots of riders who try it just don’t want to go back to mechanical components.
It’s not just a superior feel where wireless wins. Cables on mountain bikes get exposed to mud, grime and moisture, which over time works its way into the cable housing and makes your shifter sticky and your dropper post drag. If you’ve ever shifted gears on a bike, then had to wait a couple of seconds before it reluctantly changed, a sticky cable was probably the culprit. Wireless controls banish this forever. It’s also a lot easier to service on a bike with wireless components as there’s no need to fit a bunch of cables inside the frame.
You’ll need to remember to charge the battery in your SRAM AXS components, but this lasts for 20 hours or more of riding - more than enough for most folks to get a week’s life out of it.
You can carry a spare if you’re planning to head out on an epic, and batteries can be swapped in a few seconds. Setup and tweaks are easy too - AXS is renowned for being one of the most user-friendly systems out there, and it takes just a couple of button presses to get all the components talking to each other.
That’s not all - you can program your AXS to do some clever things. Want to shift more than one gear at a time with a longer press of the controller, or assign different actions to different controls?
You can do all that via an easy-to-use app - the SRAM AXS app. It’s very clever stuff and it’s been designed by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers.
Introducing The SRAM AXS drivetrain
SRAM AXS rear derailleurs are featured on two of our bikes for 2024, the Rift Zone 29” XR AXS and the Rift Zone E XR. The AXS derailleur uses a small motor to move the chain up and down the cassette. If you’re used to mechanical shifting, the controls will still feel familiar - they’re in the same place you’d expect your shifter to be and can be set up to work just the same.
We all know that we’re supposed to back off on the pedals when we change gear, but that’s not always possible. AXS is designed to shift better under load than cable drivetrains, and users of the system say it’s really hard to make it miss a change.
You might think that, being near ground level, which in mountain bike terms often means a bunch of big ugly rocks, a wireless rear derailleur would be vulnerable to damage. But the folks at SRAM have thought of this, and included a secondary clutch (along with the regular one which keeps your chain tensioned). In the event of an impact, this clutch lets the derailleur move up and back out of harm’s way.
The T-Type derailleur used on our 2024 bikes also features SRAM’s ultra solid direct mount system, where the derailleur literally bolts straight on to your frame. This is much stronger than a traditional frame design with a separate derailleur hanger and is also stiffer, meaning your shifts stay crisper.
And The SRAM AXS Dropper Post
The Rift Zone E XR also features a wireless AXS Reverb dropper post. This works just like the dropper posts you may have already used: just press the controller button, sit down, and your saddle will lower ready for a downhill section, a set of jumps, or whatever else happens to be coming up.
Traditional dropper posts tend to be operated with a lever, which can be awkward to activate in the middle of a technical trail. The AXS pod controller is small enough to mount within easy thumb reach, and the action is ultra-light, meaning that even if you’re trying to steer and brake at the same time, you’ll be able to drop your seatpost.
As a bonus, the post is super easy to service thanks to the lack of any cable, and has an integrated vent valve, which makes squishy seat posts a thing of the past. You can even swap it between bikes if you like!
Speaking of bikes, it’s time to take a look at the 2024 models with AXS upgrades.
The Rift Zone 29” XR AXS
The Marin Rift Zone range embodies what we think the ideal trail bike should be. Fun but fast, playful but capable, and up for taking on anything. For the rider who wants a trail bike that can tackle any trail, the Marin Rift Zone 29” XR (eXtra Rad) boasts a longer 150mm fork, SRAM Code Bronze 4-piston brakes, and chunky Maxxis Assegai Maxxterra tires.
Our Multitrac suspension will keep the rear wheel stuck to the floor on technical climbs but won’t suck the fun out of the trail. And of course there’s SRAM’s latest T-Type GX AXS drivetrain, featuring precise electronic shifting paired with a neat, ultra-adjustable pod controller.
The Rift Zone E XR
The Marin Rift Zone E has won praise as an ebike that’s capable of tackling all kinds of trails while remaining fun to ride. The Rift Zone E XR pushes the boat out further, with a dream spec and a harder-hitting build. Shimano’s EP801 drive unit delivers an extra 100W of peak power over the previous generation of motors, matched with a 630Wh internal battery for all-day rides with no range anxiety.
Up front there’s a 150mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork, paired with a Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock that gives 140mm of suspension travel. SRAM Code Bronze 4-piston brakes deliver stopping power on tap. Cushcore tire inserts add control and mean you can hit rough sections of trail with no worries.
And you’ll enjoy precise control on the trail thanks to the wireless AXS drivetrain and dropper post.
Meet the Marin Rift Zone E 29 XR here.
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