More component news coming from the 2016 North American Handmade Bicycle Show is a new Apex kit from component maker SRAM.
Apex is SRAM's value-oriented groupset, which just got simpler and more ‘secure,’ as SRAM likes to put it, with it’s single chainring configuration it labels “1.”
Key to SRAM’s single ring road systems is the rear derailleur’s X-Horizon geometry and roller bearing clutch, along with SRAM’s X-Sync chainring tooth profile.
The Apex derailleur eliminates the ‘slant parallelogram’ design and increases pulley cage spring tension just as those found in the Force and Rival groups, and the Apex X-Sync ring has the wide-narrow tooth profile that we see not only in the other SRAM 1 groups, but in some other single-chainring designs as well. Both combine to decrease the risk of unshipping the chain when on rough terrain and when shifting, adding the security SRAM eludes to.
Apex as a component group is fourth in SRAM’s lineup and hits a price point for many entry level bikes. It is being offered only with a hydraulic brake option. This move brings hydraulic disc braking to a lower price point either on complete bikes or as an upgrade option, making it more attainable for more riders.
Apex also has the additional option of flat bar controls, and like all SRAM components, aims to provide the same drivetrain performance and cross-compatibility with other, higher level components. The Apex components have a black finish and feature some cast components and a slightly lower finish quality than its big siblings Rival and Force.
Apex is a great option for SRAM riders looking to outfit a b-bike or training rig, or for those looking to save their cyclocross bike for race season and invest in a dedicated gravel or all-road ride without breaking the bank.
Apex S 350-1 crank: forged aluminum arm and spider, 762 grams for a crank with a 42t ring, 172.5mm arms and a 24mm GXP spindle. Available with 38 all the way to 44 tooth rings in 2 tooth steps, and a BB30 spindle is an option as well. $115.00 to $151.00 usd, depending on configuration.
Apex 1 rear derailleur: Same X-horizon design, roller bearing clutch and Cage-Lock features as the other SRAM 1 rear derailleurs. It also has the large upper pulley with sealed cartridge bearings and comes only in a long cage version weighing in at 314 grams and can handle up to an 11-42 cassette. $74.00 usd.
Apex PG 1130 cassette: The 11-42 11 speed cassette fits on 10 or 11 speed cassette bodies (non-XD driver), the latter with a 1.85mm spacer, and is compatible with a regular 11-speed chain. The heat treated steel cogs are mounted on an aluminum spider to save weight. 538 grams. $79.00 usd.
Apex PC1110 chain: XX-1 link geometry is compatible with the X-sync chainrings and optimized to work with the SRAM 1 systems. It comes with a SRAM Powerlock link and costs a mere $14.00 usd.
Apex 1 HRD: Hydraulic brake shift levers 11 speed. There is only the hydraulic drop bar option available at the Apex level with only the graphics to distinguish the Apex and Rival levers with aluminum blades. The calipers themselves are available in standard or flat mount versions. Materials of the composite body differ slightly according SRAM representatives. 344 grams, not including the caliper or hose. $250.00 usd.
Apex 1 Flat Bar shifter: Was not available to view when we spoke with SRAM staffers at NAHBS, but the option gives SRAM 1 to flat bar users. We were told it is a plastic body construction and is $27.00 usd.
The cassette and chain will be available around April (by Sea Otter), with the remainder of the new Apex 1 components coming in June 2016.