SRAM Apex 1 single ring groupset released, and it only comes with hydraulic disc brakes

No rim brake option on new budget single ring groupset

cannondale sram apex 1

After launching the single chainring versions of Force and Rival last year, SRAM has unveiled its most affordable single ring groupset yet. SRAM Apex 1 will be available form just £634, but is sure to ruffle a few feathers as it will only come with hydraulic disc brakes, with no rim brake options available.

>>> Review: SRAM Red eTap (video)

Despite the single chainring, SRAM Apex 1 is promised to offer a gear range that will be able to cope with all terrains. This means an 11-42t cassette which can be combined with a 38t, 40t, 42t, or 44t chainring, giving a biggest possible gear that is the equivalent of a 52x13, and a smallest possible gear that is the same as a 34x38 - certainly small enough for even the steepest climbs.

sram apex 1 chainset

There are four chainring sizes available from 38t to 44t

At the front, the persistent worry with single ring setups is that you'll drop your chain, but SRAM Apex 1 shares the same X-Sync technology that has meant that we've never experienced that problem with either Force 1 or Rival 1. In a sentence, this means that every other tooth is wider and looks like a cross when viewed from above, which gives more positive engagement with the chain to prevent it from coming off.

>>> Road bike groupsets: a complete buyer's guide (video)

The rear derailleur of SRAM Apex 1 has much more of the look of a mountain bike rear derailleur, than the standard SRAM Apex derailleur, and features additional features to make it work as part of a single ring setup. Of course it's got a long cage to cope with that 42t sprocket, but it also has X-Horizon technology to maintain a consistent chain gap wherever you are on the cassette, and Roller Bearing Clutch that has made its way over from SRAM's mountain bike groupsets to keep the chain taught and to prevent chain slap even over rough terrain.

sram apex 1 rear derailleur

The rear derailleur carries over a number of technologies from SRAM's mountain bike groupsets

However, possibly the biggest story with SRAM Apex 1 is SRAM's decision not to give you the option of going with rim brakes. Both Force 1 and Rival 1 are available with either hydraulic disc brakes or rim brakes, but there will be no such option on Apex 1, even though a rim brake version would bring costs down even further.

>>> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

The hydraulic brakes are largely similar to those on the higher level groupsets, with the calipers being compatible in either post mount or flat mount versions, with the possibility to simply switch the calipers 180º to move between 140mm and 160mm rotors.

sram apex 1 cassette

The whopping 11-42t cassette offers a huge range of gears

As you'd expect, the shifting on SRAM Apex 1 uses DoubleTap, so you push the right shift lever in one tap to shift up, and two taps to shift down, while of course you don't have to worry about the left lever with a single ring setup. There is also an option to use a flat bar shifter, with SRAM obviously seeing an opening for Apex 1 in the hybrid market.

>>> Patent reveals what the new Shimano Dura-Ace groupset might look like

Availbility is set for June 2016, so we can expect to see SRAM Apex 1 making its way into a few new bike ranges over the next couple of months.

SRAM Apex 1 Prices

Pricing is dependent on which bottom bracket you have, with the total price for the groupset being £634 with a GXP bottom bracket or £662 with a BB30 bottom bracket (both excluding the flat bar shifter).

Rear derailleur - £58

Crankset - £95 (GXP), £110 (BB30)

Flat bar shifter - £24

Shifter and brake caliper (left) - £197

Shifter and brake caliper (right) - £248

Chain - £12

Cassette - £73

SRAM Apex 1 Weights

The total claimed weight of the groupset, with a 42t chainring, is 2,719g, which means that its no featherweight coming in more than 300g heavier than Shimano 105 with rim brake calipers.

Rear derailleur - 314g

Crankset - 807g (42t)

Flat bar shifter - 142g

Shifter and brake caliper (left) - 344g

Shifter and brake caliper (right) - 360g

Chain - 259g

Cassette - 538g

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.