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SRAM Force eTap AXS FD chain drop

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SRAM Force eTap AXS FD chain drop

Old 03-14-22, 04:25 PM
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PeteHski
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SRAM Force eTap AXS FD chain drop

Sooo.... I'm wondering when I can expect this to start happening on my new bike? Everything I've read on the internet strongly suggests that SRAM eTap AXS front mechs are garbage, guaranteed to drop the chain on every ride. Now it's very early days for me, but it's not happening yet. Front shifting is actually very smooth both up and down. Not even the slightest hint of throwing the chain off in either direction. Am I being lulled into a false sense of security or is it just the usual internet amplification of problems? Or have SRAM sorted out previous issues through hardware or firmware tweaks? So far I'm impressed with it. It's not even noisy like they are supposed to be!
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Old 03-14-22, 04:30 PM
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I have never dropped a chain with SRAM AXS FD using 53-39 crank. Very rarely dropped with 11 Speed eTap but I was also shifting 56 down to a 39 with a very old crank. The 10 year old mechanical 11 speed SRAM FD was less good for sure.

My AXS upright bike is currently 1 X with 48T and no problems.
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Old 03-14-22, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Sooo.... I'm wondering when I can expect this to start happening on my new bike?
Next Thursday, mid afternoon.
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Old 03-14-22, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Next Thursday, mid afternoon.
Cheers, I will put that in my diary and report back.
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Old 03-14-22, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I have never dropped a chain with SRAM AXS FD using 53-39 crank. Very rarely dropped with 11 Speed eTap but I was also shifting 56 down to a 39 with a very old crank. The 10 year old mechanical 11 speed SRAM FD was less good for sure.

My AXS upright bike is currently 1 X with 48T and no problems.
This one is a 48-35 chainset
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Old 03-14-22, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
This one is a 48-35 chainset
That should be less a challenge. I noted my chainrings to show even using non-recommended rings, the AXS and eTap handled it.

I still have the old mechanical 11 speed on two bikes, the FD is just ok. The newer ones are better. I was using barcon to shift a Shimano ultegra in place of the old SRAM FD at one point but eventually just lived with just fair front FD shifting, the newer stuff is def much better. Is it as good as Shimano? I do not know
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Old 03-14-22, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
That should be less a challenge. I noted my chainrings to show even using non-recommended rings, the AXS and eTap handled it.

I still have the old mechanical 11 speed on two bikes, the FD is just ok. The newer ones are better. I was using barcon to shift a Shimano ultegra in place of the old SRAM FD at one point but eventually just lived with just fair front FD shifting, the newer stuff is def much better. Is it as good as Shimano? I do not know
I haven't ridden with Di2, so can't make that direct comparison. But the front shifting is smoother and probably quicker than mechanical Shimano 11-speed. I don't see how it could get any better to be honest within the mechanical limitations of pushing a chain across 2 chainrings. Rear shifting is slick too. Everything I expected from electronic shifting. I was just a bit nervous about SRAM road groups, even though I've been using their 1x mtb mechanical group sets for years. Just the internet talk spooked me a bit!
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Old 03-14-22, 05:38 PM
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I’m running 48/35 SRAM under the Force AXS Wide FD on my rig and have never had chain drop. I guess with the proliferation of 1x, I should add that I actually use the thing, too. I can clean a lot of my local terrain with the 10-33 cassette x 48t, but there are definitely some climbs that go by better in the 35t, so yeah, I shift gears.
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Old 03-14-22, 05:54 PM
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The most common problem is improper FD setup. It's easy to set the alignment marks parallel to the big ring, then fail to notice that the FD rotated a bit when the clamp bolt was fully tightened. Sram shifting ramps may not be the best either. I check the space between the FD cage and crankarm accurately, before and after tightening the clamp bolt.
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Old 03-14-22, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Next Thursday, mid afternoon.
We're gonna need something more specific.
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Old 03-14-22, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I’m running 48/35 SRAM under the Force AXS Wide FD on my rig and have never had chain drop.
I guess with the proliferation of 1x, I should add that I actually use the thing, too. I can clean a lot of my local terrain with the 10-33 cassette x 48t, but there are definitely some climbs that go by better in the 35t, so yeah, I shift gears.
I have the same setup as well as two bikes with mechanical 10 speed - one Red, one Force. I must have deficient sensors, but all of my Sram FD's have always shifted perfectly. My Shimano mechanical FDs have always done the same too. Shift the button or lever, and before you can say "uh" it shifts and doesn't drop.

Between my wife's bike and mine, we've ridden probably 2,000 miles and no problems. So my guess is that OP will experience the issue exactly on...never.

That AXS FD is easier to set up than most: the marks on the FD cage greatly assist in alignment IMHO. I tried the plastic installation jig, but found it was easier to do it the old way of setting the alignment (with the marks) and the clearance with some sort of feeler, or even eyeball.

I do like the Force Etap AXS Wide HRD group. It was a splurge for this Senior Citizen thinking "if not now, when?" and it's fun. Comfortable hoods, easy installation, lots of lever adjustment available. Not enough to swap over my other bikes because they're perfect too.

Last edited by Camilo; 03-14-22 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 03-15-22, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
I have the same setup as well as two bikes with mechanical 10 speed - one Red, one Force. I must have deficient sensors, but all of my Sram FD's have always shifted perfectly. My Shimano mechanical FDs have always done the same too. Shift the button or lever, and before you can say "uh" it shifts and doesn't drop.

Between my wife's bike and mine, we've ridden probably 2,000 miles and no problems. So my guess is that OP will experience the issue exactly on...never.

That AXS FD is easier to set up than most: the marks on the FD cage greatly assist in alignment IMHO. I tried the plastic installation jig, but found it was easier to do it the old way of setting the alignment (with the marks) and the clearance with some sort of feeler, or even eyeball.

I do like the Force Etap AXS Wide HRD group. It was a splurge for this Senior Citizen thinking "if not now, when?" and it's fun. Comfortable hoods, easy installation, lots of lever adjustment available. Not enough to swap over my other bikes because they're perfect too.
In all my years, I’ve never had FD troubles with any of my other kit either, be it Shimano, Campagnolo, or Suntour, road or MTB, so like you, I don’t get all the consternation over FDs, and tend to think the whole thing is a “false flag” issue; 1x people try to blame FDs to disguise their own inability to understand and operate a 2x drivetrain, maybe. I dunno, I don’t get it. For road riding, really, I don’t get it, but all that’s another discussion.

The interesting thing about my Wide FD setup is that I’m not using the Wide crankset, but it still works fine. I think maybe it’s not as fast as it would be in a properly matched system, probably because of the longer derailleur throw, but it”s one touch effortless, so it’s nice.
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Old 03-15-22, 05:40 AM
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So it looks like I don't need to worry too much then. After reading a few SRAM AXS horror stories (especially Force) I honestly thought it was going to be a pain to set up and that chain drop was almost inevitable, lol. I now get the impression issues are blown out of proportion and then fuelled by Shimano diehards. Can't say I"ve had any issues with either brand over the years. My other road bike has 105 R7000 and that works flawlessly too. My last 2 mtbs had mechanical SRAM X01, which has been great too. I have to say my first impression of electronic shifting is excellent. Even better than I expected.

Now I just need to get past Thursday pm....
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Old 03-15-22, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post

That AXS FD is easier to set up than most: the marks on the FD cage greatly assist in alignment IMHO.
Yes I thought so too. Mine was factory built by Canyon and alignment was spot on when I checked. Only fine adjustment I made was to close down the chain gaps on both sides of the front cage to the 0.5 mm limit as recommended by SRAM. Shifting was perfect in the stand and on my first 25 km road test. Didn't need to trim the rear mech either. So far so good.
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Old 03-15-22, 04:42 PM
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Hopefully it’s no longer an issue.
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Old 03-15-22, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nicke71 View Post
Hopefully it’s no longer an issue.
Was it ever a real issue? Did something change along the way? Genuine questions btw.
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Old 03-15-22, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Was it ever a real issue? Did something change along the way? Genuine questions btw.
I’d be interested to find out too.
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Old 03-15-22, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Was it ever a real issue? Did something change along the way? Genuine questions btw.
Yea, same here. The limits are set like any other FD, so I just can't see there's anything special about avoiding chain drop. That said, I do have a chain catcher on my carbon fiber frame - but it came integral to the FD. I have no shame using a chain catcher on a CF frame even though I fancy myself an excellent FD adjuster. I don't do it on a metal frame though.

Last edited by Camilo; 03-15-22 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 03-16-22, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
Yea, same here. The limits are set like any other FD, so I just can't see there's anything special about avoiding chain drop. That said, I do have a chain catcher on my carbon fiber frame - but it came integral to the FD. I have no shame using a chain catcher on a CF frame even though I fancy myself an excellent FD adjuster. I don't do it on a metal frame though.
Yeah, I did fit a chain catcher as a precaution. First time I've ever used one, but seems like a good idea. I have had the odd chain drop on other bikes. It happened once last year when I downshifted coming way too fast into the base of a sudden steep climb, so I'm sure it will be of use at some point.
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