When SRAM launched its Apex AXS groupsets earlier this year I was very keen to see how the market would respond. Not only did the groupset perform remarkably well, SRAM Apex XPLR AXS features wireless electronic shifting and hydraulic braking for just $1195 / £1227.
With this groupset, SRAM isn’t necessarily serving those looking for an after-market upgrade, but rather, the OEM channel — bike brands spec'ing the groupset on its complete builds. At time of the launch, we were already hearing of brands like Ventum offering full carbon, race-ready frameset and wireless, electronic shifting courtesy of the new Apex AXS at the $3,000 / £2,600 mark. And it’s here, in the cost-lowering of complete builds, where the true value of this Apex AXS groupset lies. In a market that’s been promoting bikes for as much as $14,000 / £13,000, this is certainly a welcomed turn.
Arizona's State Bicycle Co, known for their wallet-friendly yet reliable offerings, was quick to add SRAM Apex XPLR AXS to its build upgrade offerings. Many of State’s bikes are build-to-order, allowing customers to select the wheels, forks, accessories and, now, drivetrains of their choice during the buying process.
While State’s roots are firmly in the single-speed and Klunker-bike scene, since branching out to geared bikes, their collections of all-road steeds and full carbon road racers have been quite impressive - packing a lot of style and function in affordable packages.
But their latest 6061 ALL-ROAD - APEX XPLR AXS offering may just be the best value gravel bike on the market today.
Meet State Bicycle's 6061 ALL-ROAD - APEX XPLR AXS
The frameset: State's 6061 All-Road frame is made of 6061 aluminum and features thru-axle dropouts with 142mm spacing and tire clearance for 700 x 47mm or 650b x 2.1" mm
Fork: State’s own carbon fork with 100mm dropouts. (A bikepacking-oriented “Monster” fork upgrade available for $189.99.
Groupset: SRAM Apex XPLR AXS drivetrain and hydraulic brakes
Cockpit, seatpost and saddle: all State-branded
I have ridden the frameset (though not in this upgraded configuration) and can attest that the frame is a fun, lively ride that's stable and a great ticket of entry to the world of gravel cycling.
Personally, I’d upgrade the wheels and finishing kit for better performance and preference, but that’s something one could do over time. As it stands, this frameset paired with the excellent SRAM Apex XPLR AXS drivetrain makes for a killer package and I haven’t seen anything better on the market yet.
If you’re new to gravel riding or you’re simply looking for a highly capable all-rounder that won't break the bank, this is it.
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