Now that I have some time on the Force AXS group I wanted to share my thoughts.
My setup is full Force, 10-33 cassette and 175mm power meter crank with custom 33/48 chain rings. It’s installed on a 2017 61cm S-Works Roubaix.
I absolutely love the range! 33-33 makes climbing steep hills a joy. There is no noise at either end of the cassette and the 48-10 helps blasting down the same hill. Shifting is fast and for the most part seamless. Having the gear indicator on my Garmin is super nice as I never need to look down and see gear changes I didn’t feel. Synchro shift works perfectly and is easy to toggle on or off with the press of a button. The front change + 2 rear shifts are a little clunky as you would expect, but it is exactly the shifts you want/need for the next gear. It’s easy to keep track of when it will shift so you can plan for it. I turn it off for small ring 1 hour long climbs and turn it back on at the top.
Front shifts are a 2 stage affair with a push-push motion that guides the chain up or down more than forces it. Seems to work fast enough and I haven’t had any problems. There is no feel at the lever like mechanical systems. It’s taken a little bit to get used to that.
Rear shifter is fast and unremarkable. It just shifts and does it when you push the buttons. Click-shift, no fuss. The clutch seems to work as desinged too, no chain slap or noise on rough roads.
Shifters have a great feel with tactile feedback and I really like the single button on each side arrangement. 1 go faster and 1 go slower. Very elegant. Ergonomics are very good with comfortable hand positions and no annoying pinch points or sharp edges. I have set the max number of shifts from a button hold to 3. It’s nice to dump 3 gears and know that it is exactly 3 when you are slowing for a corner at high speed. Shifting and braking are taking some new techniques. With Shimano mechanical I could dump gears with my right hand while braking and it was a smooth transition. This is more of a shift, then brake, but I’m getting better at it.
Garmin integration has gear, battery, power and cadence. All work as they should. Gear front/rear is my favorite feature. It’s nice to know that I have 1 or 2 shifts left up or down and it makes the auto front shift easy to keep track of.
Installation was so easy it was comical. Push the button to pair and bolt it on. Setup guides where well written and all adjustments work exactly how they are supposed to.
Hydro brakes came pre-bleed, but my frame need internal routing and cut for size. Running stock 160/160mm. Bleed was easy with the pro kit. Took my time and only had to bleed the levers. Feel and modulation was okay with no free play. I adjusted them to about the same free play as my old brakes and feel improved dramatically. Still getting used to the extra power and lighter force required. They make me giggle with how fast they slow me down. Every time I test them, I can’t help smiling that they have so much more to offer as soon as I learn their limits. You want to slow down yesterday, well okay then.
There is some very slight noise on a couple of gear combo in the middle of the cassette and I am still fine tuning the system to get that sorted. It’s really nothing, but if I’m trying to find any little things this would be something.
Big thumps up from me. 8 out of 10 with -1 for price and -1 for weight.