Are these new SRAM Red AXS levers? 

Shaped like Rival, looks like Red, ridden by pros with an intriguing comment from SRAM.

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Speculation is mounting that new groupsets are on the way from SRAM. It’s almost four years since the American component manufacturer unveiled its 12-speed Red eTap AXS groupsets and patents uncovered this week suggest some “wild ideas“, even an Apex AXS groupset could be on the way. But SRAM has offered no official details or confirmation of what might be in the works. 

Perhaps, that is, until now. We spotted Shirin Van Anrooij, Lucinda Brand, and Lars van der Haar of the Baloise-Trek Lions all riding with new unidentified SRAM AXS levers over the past weekend. 

The shifters seem almost identical to those from SRAM’s Rival AXS groupset released just last year. Those levers are noticeably smaller and narrower than the current Red and Force shifters and have already garnered many fans. 

The shifters spotted over the weekend are similar in size and shape to the Rival AXS shifters, but feature SRAM’s pro-only glossy and chrome finish and the hoods seemingly feature a different texture.

While the shifters spotted over the weekend seemingly match the shape and size of the Rival AXS offering, the high gloss, chrome finish, and seemingly different hood texture does not match the matt finish found on Rival. That is hardly definitive evidence, given SRAM regularly supplies its pro teams and riders with this flash lever finish and decals not available to us mere mortals. 

So while these could be blinged-up Rival AXS shifters, it seems unlikely three of the world’s best cyclocross racers, sponsored by SRAM, would race with Rival shifters in World Cup events. 

With only a few less-than-ideal photos of the levers and almost none of the other components, we emailed SRAM: “Hey, these levers used in the World Cup look like Rival….are these from a new SRAM groupset?”

It’ll come as no surprise that SRAM neither confirmed nor denied the existence of a new groupset, simply saying, “these are SRAM’s newest shifter architecture featuring a custom carbon lever and pro race graphics.” 

Take from that what you will, but I am pretty sure SRAM would want to shout from the rooftops if three of the best CX racers on the planet were using its current entry-level levers at the very highest level of competition. 

Watch this space. 

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