By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan published
SRAM has utilised its extensive brand catalogue to bring the XPLR ecosystem to gravel bikes. The selection includes SRAM XPLR 1x drivetrains, with the 12-speed cassette and 44T range created to meet the needs of the discipline, a RockShox Rudy suspension fork, RockShox Reverb dropper seatpost and Zipp 101 wheels.
Limited component availability has been one of the major obstructions holding up stock for manufacturers, causing the perfect storm of supply and demand imbalance the cycling industry has experienced during the Covid pandemic. Therefore, every new drop of kit represents an opportunity to get another line of bikes out the door and into the waiting arms of consumers.
However. And, it's quite a big, however: the SRAM XPLR AXS components are available 'in limited quantities' immediately, with 'wider availability' in September.
The RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR fork shares the same time frame, whilst the dropper post will be available in limited quantities in September, with availability said to increase in the coming months.
We've had a scout around for the first bikes featuring the components from SRAM and RockShox.
Boardman ADV 9.4
Boardman was fast on the scene when SRAM launched its Rival eTap groupset, and that's no different with the XPLR version.
The brand has interestingly opted to pair the 10-44 cassette with a 42 front chainring, as opposed to the 40T elsewhere - suggesting at a slightly more versatile on/off road machine. That hypothesis is backed up by the use of a narrower-than-most 38mm Panaracer GravelKing SK tyre.
The claimed weight is lighter than the likes of the fully loaded Canyon Grizl, at 9kg. Unfortunately, there will be a wait for availability, Boardman says: "the ADV is due to go on sale in October 2021 due to delayed component deliveries."
The Boardman ADV has scored well with Cycling Weekly testers in the past, earning a place in the 2019 Editor's Choice awards.
Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 eTap Suspension
Fully loaded: XPLR drivetrain, front suspension
Canyon gave is a hint at the tech incoming with the launch of its new Grizl - the bike was rated for a suspension fork and SRAM builds were noticeably absent from the line up. Now that XPLR is with us, the brand has introduced three bikes - the SLX 8 being the highest spec.
Coming in at £5,099/$6,499, the Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 eTap Suspension features a SRAM Force XPLR eTap drivetrain, making full use of the 10-44 cassette and 40T chainring configuration.
The front end offers 30mm of suspension, and there's space for a 50mm tyre, on a 700c wheel.
Canyon specs its Grizl bikes with its own VCLS 2.0 CF suspension seatpost, so, the brand hasn't opted to add in the RockShox Reverb seatpost. This does seem a bit of a shame, as a bike with suspension at the front feels like it's designed to be ridden on terrain where a dropper will come in handy. The frame is compatible with a dropper post if you wish to make the swap yourself.
The claimed weight on this model is 9.42kg, with availability from autumn.
Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 Suspension
Front suspension, 2x GRX drivetrain
Canyon is also offering the Grizl CF SL 8 Suspension. This comes in the standard (unisex/men's) build as well as a women's version. In the past Canyon has created a revised geometry for women based on its customer data, but the stack and reach figures for the two options match up so the alteration appears to be down to touchpoints.
The SL 8 model, which isn't available in the US, comes in at £3,249 with a 9.98kg claimed weight. The build comes with the RockShox suspension but opts for a 2x GRX810 drivetrain, with a 48-31 chainring and 11-34 cassette. The build is completed with DT Swiss's G1800 Spline db wheels.
Ribble Gravel SL SRAM Force XPLR AXS
Force XPLR drivetrain, rigid fork
Ribble's has gone all-in on the drivetrain, with five of its 'does what it says on the tin' Gravel builds featuring the XPLR AXS drivetrain. It hasn't opted for either the RockShox Reverb seatpost, instead choosing to stick with its own brand creation, or the RockShox Rudy fork - perhaps explaining the immediate availability vs Canyon's autumn wait.
The 'Hero' model is the carbon Ribble Gravel SL Hero, with SRAM Force XPLR AXS eTap, at £5,599/$6,468. This comes specced with 650b wheels, wearing WTB Sendero 47mm tyres. The titanium model comes with the same set up, at £5,699/$6,538.
Ribble Gravel AL SRAM Rival XPLR AXS
Rival XPLR drivetrain, rigid fork
If your budget doesn't stretch to the Force models, then Ribble has also launched three versions wearing SRAM Rival XPLR AXS. The entry-level to this is the aluminium chassis, coming in at £2,699/$3,118 with Mavic Allroad 650b Alloy Disc wheels and the same tyres as the top of the line versions.
Opt for a carbon frame, and this build costs £3,199/$3,695, or, push the boat out with titanium at £3,399/$3,926.
Cube NuRoad C62:SLT
Cube's NuRoad C62:SLT comes equipped with SRAM Force, utilising a 40T chainring and the 10-44 cassette. The wheelset on offer here is a set of Newmen Advanced SL X.R.25 Carbon hoops, and pairing these with relatively narrow 40mm Schwalbe G-One tyres brings the claimed weight down to 7.8kg. There is clearance for a 45mm tyre, if you want some more volume in there.
Cérvelo Áspero 5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1
Aerodynamically optimised, the Áspero is all about hidden cables and low weight. One of its additional party tricks is adjustable trial, allowing for replicated handling across a 700c and 650b wheel size.
The brand is offering XPLR on the Áspero 5 and Áspero, both builds utilise SRAM Force eTap AXS with a 40T chainring and 10-44 cassette, alongside Reserve 32mm wheels. The bigger brother costs $7,500 whilst the Áspero comes in at $5,300 (UK pricing TBC).
3T Exploro Team Rival AXS 1x
Well, the Exploro and XPLR do seem to go hand in hand. 3T has long been passionately behind 1x drivetrains - for better or worse - and that dedication is bearing fruit off-road.
This carbon team build features the 40T chainring and 10-44 cassette, with Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 650b wheels - for £4,699/$4,299. The brand says that selected products are available from stock - eg - there are bikes ready to buy, now.
The components are available to buy individually, if you're looking to build up a bike - and we'll keep adding to this list as more built bikes come to our attention.
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.