2025 SRAM RED AXS: Now the Lightest Group on the Market

2025 SRAM AXS RED – Like Unwrapping a Holiday Package in June!

On May 15th, SRAM unveiled the latest version of their flagship road group, RED AXS. This update brings performance enhancements in two key areas, braking and front shifting. By meticulously engineering every component in the group, SRAM has succeeded in creating the lightest electronic groupset on the market.

SRAM RED AXS Braking System Improvements

The braking system on the latest SRAM RED AXS group has undergone significant changes. The main alteration involved relocating the piston from the top of the shifter to the body of the shifter. This adjustment made it possible to redesign the hoods and the leverage point of the brake lever to improve feel and strength. Additionally, the caliper was changed to a two-piece design. According to SRAM, these modifications have resulted in an 80% reduction in the effort required to stop the bike when the rider’s hands are on the hoods and a 33% reduction when their hands are on the drops.

SRAM RED AXS Brake Lever Ergonomics

The new SRAM RED AXS brake levers are designed with an ergonomic flare to maximize their compatibility and function with different shapes of road bars. This design also positions the fingers to provide greater leverage and power when squeezing the lever. Additionally, the new shape enables the brake levers to be adjusted closer to the bars without interference from the bar or the rider’s fingers. This helps riders, particularly those with smaller hands, who have historically struggled with balancing lever location and pull.

The redesign of the hoods is noticeable as the old RED AXS ETAP hoods are silhouetted behind the new RED AXS hoods in the video above. The ergonomic changes have added comfort for the rider. The top “bulb” has been lowered and smoothed out, which spreads the pressure on the rider’s hands. The change in shape also affects fitting. The new SRAM RED AXS hoods measure a little over 7mm longer than the previous generation. While time will tell whether this ergonomic change should be taken into account if the rider is upgrading an existing bike, initial indications are that the new lever ergonomics account for much of this difference on their own.

In addition to the ergonomic and leverage changes, SRAM added “Bonus Buttons” to the upper section of the hoods (the Pommel). The default setup of these buttons is as additional shift actuators. However, they can also be programmed to control Ant+ devices, such as a cycling computer.

SRAM Red AXS Two-Piece Brake Caliper

The redesigned SRAM RED AXS brake caliper features a two-piece design that enhances stiffness, facilitating the transfer of increased power from the lever to the brake rotors. Furthermore, this design increases pad clearance, reducing the likelihood of rotors rubbing on the pads. The 4mm claimed improvement in pad clearance should prove a very welcome change by mechanics as road bike pad clearance has had very tight tolerances to date.

SRAM RED Front Derailleur Improvements

The front derailleur of this new generation of SRAM RED is the other part of the system that received focus. The new RED AXS front derailleur was specifically designed for use on frames with disc brakes. SRAM engineers created a narrower cage and an automatic trim feature for the front derailleur, allowing it to align accurately with the chain as it moves across the cassette.

While this change will not benefit those using the impressive Classified System for front shifting or those who are riding 1x, it will continue to improve what is already arguably the best shifting chainring and derailleur combination in the business.

Evolutionary Change that is Reverse Compatible

Even though it is not revolutionary, the updated SRAM RED AXS group is a significant improvement to braking, while improving shifting, and reducing weight. The new version is now the lightest road bike group available, weighing 2496 grams, which is 153 grams lighter than the previous generation. The improved braking system addresses common concerns about braking power and the comfort of the hoods/levers. This new system is also compatible with prior versions of the SRAM AXS family, allowing riders to change individual parts if they wish.


There’s no major price increase for the new Red AXS. Contact us to learn more about what a complete or partial upgrade will run for your bike.

What Do Riders Say about the Latest SRAM RED Performance?

We recently upgraded one of our riders from a Shimano mechanical shift system to the new RED AXS. After a shakedown ride, she was impressed with the improved ease and accuracy of shifting with the electronic system compared to the mechanical one. This is not surprising as electronic shifting has offered a notable improvement in this capacity for years. However, she noticed a significant decrease in effort needed to operate the brakes, which is saying something coming off a Shimano system.

She found the “Bonus Buttons” to be positioned too high for regular use, such as shifting gears, but felt they would be suitable for controlling their computer. We’ve noticed the same issue in the shop and feel that the current button location makes it difficult to easily use it for shifting. Our concern is that if the button were positioned lower, it could be inadvertently activated. The current location is well suited to occasional use, such as changing a screen on a cycling computer.

Is SRAM RED’s Changes Worth the Upgrade?

SRAM RED AXS is their top-tier road product and it is priced accordingly. SRAM updated their most advanced group without a significant price increase, which is good news for everyone. Is SRAM Red AXS worth ditching your current SRAM components? Offering true improvements in ergonomics, function, and set-up, the brake system is worth considering upgrading. As mentioned, if you have a SRAM 12 speed AXS group now (regardless of model), you can get just the new RED brake levers and calipers and receive the most functional parts of the upgrades without the need to buy an entirely new group. While the front derailleur improvements are welcome, they aren’t as game-changing as the brake upgrades. This leaves us recommending that many rides consider at least a partial upgrade if they already own a bike with a SRAM 12 speed group.

For those considering a new bike, RED’s changes now give it some true differentiating function over Force. The D2 upgrades that graced SRAM’s Force group last season brought RED level front-shifting performance and virtually identical braking ergonomics and power. This had made Force a great choice for many riders who wanted RED-like performance and were okay with a few extra grams of weight in exchange for a notably lower price. SRAM Force remains a great value for many riders. However, Red now offers some tangible ergonomic and functional differences in terms of some of the most important parts of the group – levers and brakes. These changes are hard to ignore and will make RED worth the extra price of admission for some riders.

Learn More about SRAM RED AXS

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