Latest News 48 – Check out new Mspeedwax / 12spd AXS road compatibility

Mspeedwax – Hey good lookin what cookin…

After over a decade of pellets in a bag, to celebrate the awesomeness of mspeedwax’s new formula, they have been working hard to switch to a mighty fine looking new form factor to go with it!

Frankly they look so good I think some will find it hard to actually take the step to melt them!

This is an exciting part one of new packaging change, they were hoping to have them shipping out in their new (brilliant) fully recycled packaging, but supply chain stuff (does that ever happen these days) had led to delays so for the time being will be mostly shipping out in previous packaging or little bubble wrap packets.

You get two pucks per “bag” of msw so for those who liked to do their bags by halfsies, it is now much easier, no faffing with zip tying up half a bag of pellets.

Good news – mspeedwax is selling like hot cakes after a hard ride on a cold day. Every year many more drivetrains look forward to a long and happy life.

Bad news – mspeedwax is selling like hot cakes after a hard ride on a cold day. Supply vs demand is rather exciting. I am running at about 5 weeks behind filling back orders vs the hoped 2 weeks – hence having to move msw to out of stock vs back order.

I do however now have back in stock notification working woohoo, so if you want some, as soon as I have filled back orders and have actual stock – get ready to order fast when you get the notification (if you have registered. If you haven’t, getting msw in aus in the near ish future is going to be a challenge).

If you were thinking you may need to replace you msw anytime soon, get on and register for back in stock notification.

ZFC truly ruly is a priority customer for MSW as we look after all of Australia, and they are working madly (like they really are working super hard) to fill my back orders as well as rest of USA and the world. I expect we will be back on top of stocks by sometime in June – but again – these days for lots of bike stuff it really really is best to plan ahead vs find you need something urgently and it is out of stock everywhere.


SRAM AXS ROAD chain compatibility & chain wear measuring.

Okey dokey I just have to cover this off again as it comes up more and more with KMC claiming their 12spd is compatible with AXS road, and this worries me.

Quick re cap.

  • 5 to 8spd chains are 3/32 standard chains = their internal width is 3/32 of an inch.
  • 9 to 12spd chains EXCEPT AXS ROAD are 11/128 standard chains. So a sram eagle or campy record 12 or shimano xtr 12 chain has same internal width as a 9spd chain – just the plates have become ever thinner and pins shorter as they have needed to fit between narrower cog spacing.
  • AXS road chains are a completely different standard (it isn’t named with a measurement). But it is notably thinner externally and internally as well as having oversize rollers.

General understanding is that SRAM AXS ROAD is its own standard, there is zero cross compatibility with any other 12 spd components. You cannot run any other 12spd chain, or cassette, or rings etc. You must run axs road.

KMC however are claiming their 12spd chain is compatible with AXS road, as part of being compatible with all 12spd drivetrains.

I do not see how this is possible to be compatible across two completely different standards without issues.

Aside from the width difference, the oversize rollers of AXS road chains mean the cassette & ring teeth are machined to run these oversize rollers.

Running a chain with standard size rollers would be like putting a new chain onto very worn drivetrain components. I fear the chance of chain jumping under power is high. If chain jumps off chain rings under stand up power, that can easily have one go over the bars for a hot date with asphalt. Not a fun date.

I have had some people write in to say they are running kmc 12spd on axs road and things are fine, but I am not sure how this would be so. Im not testing this, I just think it is very dangerous, and rife to deliver a pretty rough running drivetrain.

Worryingly & disappointingly YBN – a stalwart of brilliant chains – has recently just joined in claiming that their new 12spd chains (should be filtering their way to ZFC soon) are also compatible with axs road.

I think they are just keeping up with the Jones’s. Again, they are simply completely different standards. YBN importer has written to them re this, but no decent detail re how they can be compatible has been received yet, but will stay on it.



Information has been published and talked about on podcasts from industry titans like ZFC (hahahahahaha) that sram AXS road chains are comparatively pretty slow vs other systems chains (shimano, campy, ybn etc).

This was tested by Ceramic Speed as part of the “Best chain” collaborative project between ZFC and Cycling tips where we were looking any link between chains speed and durability.

AXS road chains are slower vs its competitors. (Remember CS do not make a chain, they do not want to report a sram chain is slow, they would much prefer keeping sram happy and say yay omg that chain is so fast!! – It isn’t).

There have been no official AXS road aftermarket chains (chains produced by say KMC  / YBN / Wippermann  that are same standard). The general consensus / guess is that sram has sewn this standard up in a bit of patent minefield to navigate – or YBN / KMC would have put an AXS road specific chain out by now for sure.

Not being able to do so, disappointingly it looks like it is being ok to just call the existing 11/128 standard 12spd chains compatible with axs road.

ZFC advice – don’t do it unless you are really curious and ok with maybe going over the handle bars in a stand up sprint. Try not take anyone else out with you…

This is far from the first time in cycling that marketing vs reality is possibly being stretched somewhat. I would feel better if I could get ANY information from the brands re how the chains are compatible across two completely different standards – until I can get that, and it makes actual sense how this has been achieved – I can only suggest, strongly, that you don’t fall for this claim, or you may literally fall for that claim, and it may be a very hard landing.



The oversize rollers on AXS road chains also fudge around with chain wear check tools.

There are a myriad of tools out there, but at the end of the day, one end is inserted into the chain, and other end needs to drop into the chain. If the other end does drop in at the 0.5% wear mark = time for a new chain. If the end of the tool hits some roller and wont drop in = chain is ok.

Now, if the rollers are bigger, then the end of the tool that needs to drop in has more chance of hitting roller and not going in.

Imagine that you removed that  roller – the checker would very easily drop in. Imagine if the roller was as large a diameter as a coin – chain would have to be extraordinarily worn for end of the tool to be able to drop in.

In short – larger rollers will give a falsely low wear measure for the same elongation wear amount for the chain vs same chain with standard size rollers.

So you cannot have a tool that uses the same 0.5% graduation mark that provides an accurate reading for chains with standard size rollers and oversize rollers.

And yet that is becoming more common, really lead by park tool cc3.4 chain check tool.

At this time I am not aware of an accurate chain check tool for AXS road, nor am I aware of a chain check tool that is accurate for both AXS road standard and all other. The larger roller size means we need a specific wear limit mark for axs road, and wear limit mark for all others, and no tool I know of has that.

The only chain checker that will work for both is the kmc / feedback sports digital chain wear checker, because it simply gives you are 0.X mm reading.

For normal chains across the short span measured by this tool, replacement mark is 0.4mm.

As axs road chains rollers are 0.2mm larger diameter, this is 0.1mm larger on each insertion point (back to 0.2mm total), the replacement mark would be 0.2mm.

Sans spending a fortune on a digital chain wear checker, for axs road chain wear tracking, get a $30 set of digital calipers and;

  • With chain around mid cassette to put some tension in to bottom span of chain, measure from the START of one pin to the START of the 10th pin (10 links).
  • Each link is 12.7mm (axs road is still a ½ inch pitch chain). 10 links = 127mm,
  • Your wear limit is 0.5%, so that is 127+ (127*0.005) = 127.635mm – I round that down to 127.5mm to be a) save and b) easy.

If anyone knows of a chain wear checker that is designed just for axs road, or has separate graduation marks for axs road and other – pls let me know I will need to buy one to check.