There's no other way to put it: cycling is expensive. If you add up everything you need to be a serious cyclist, you're looking at thousands of dollars spent right from the jump. The problem is...it just shouldn't be that way.
Cycling should be for the masses — it should be a gateway to adventure for anyone, whether they just want a nice bike to commute on or are looking to tackle trails, roads and gravel all over the country.
State Bicycle is one brand that works to make bikes accessible to everyone. The brand started out making quality single-speed bikes, most of which come in well under $500. Since then it has expanded its lineup, making some of the most affordable cyclocross and gravel bikes you can buy.
Now, State has taken this to the next level by upgrading its popular 4130 All-Road drop-bar adventure bike with SRAM's stellar Rival XPLR AXS electronic drivetrain. Best part is? The brand was able to keep the price under $2,000. You will absolutely not find a bike this affordable with electronic shifting anywhere else.
When I first heard of a sub-$2,000 gravel bike with SRAM components, disc brakes and electronic shifting, I had my doubts. I've ridden State bikes in the past, and I always loved them for their ease of use, rideability and affordable price point — but this just seemed like a bridge too far.
Then I had the chance to test it and find out for myself.
What's Good About the State 4130 All-Road XPLR AXS Bike
It Can Go Anywhere
When you visit State's website, you'll be surprised by just how many options you have — and how versatile the 4130 can be. The bike comes with a standard 1x drivetrain with a 42t chainring; maybe that's not the best for climbing mountains in the Tour de France, but the rear cassette has a huge range (44t maximum) that makes going up steep hills a breeze.
You can opt for tubeless-ready 700c or 650b wheels, or you can go for maximum versatility by buying both sets of wheels for a few hundred dollars extra. Both sets of wheels come standard with Vittoria gravel tires, and the 700c wheels specifically come with tires that are also very capable on the road. Essentially, you can take this thing for road rides without dragging behind your friends on true road bikes, and you can easily grind any type of gravel — or even hit flowy single-track in the mountains.
Also standard are the SRAM hydraulic disc brakes, which work like a charm on or off-road and hardly ever need maintenance. No matter where you like to ride, the 4130 has an option that makes it possible.
It Has Electronic Shifting
Normally reserved for bikes ridden by the pros, electronic shifting is a relatively new technology — one previously unheard-of on a bike not made of carbon, or costing south of five grand. State changed all this when it gave the 4130 All-Road the SRAM Rival XPLR AXS eTap setup.
Rival has been SRAM's go-to groupset for affordable bikes for years and now you can finally get an electronic version. Essentially, this means that there are no cables to fuss with; all of the shifting happens via electronic signals sent from the shifters to the rear derailleur, making for seamless, exacting movement each and every time you shift.
The bike comes with a USB charger, so you won't have to go searching for one; one full charge (which only takes an hour) will last for 60 riding hours, which is plenty to get you through multi-day bike camping trips. The shifters are powered by ubiquitous CR2032 batteries and will last two years, if you ride roughly 15 hours per week.
The Ride Is Uber-Comfortable
I tested the 4130 across a number of surfaces: pothole-laden streets in Brooklyn, trails in multiple parks and on gravely, mixed pavement. In every situation, I felt completely comfortable. The version I tested had 700c tires, which roll faster in the city and on gravel roads, though if I were to ride exclusively on heavy gravel and light mountain bike trails, the 650b version would be the better option. For most people, though, I'd opt for the 700c just for its practical versatility and comfort.
My test bike was also equipped with State's carbon, thru-axle Monster Fork ($300), which I would probably deem the only mandatory upgrade when you first buy the bike. The steel fork is fine, with a bunch of points to mount racks or extra gear — but the Monster Fork has that and more. It's much lighter and can absorb more of the chatter you find on gravel roads, which in turn helps you go faster. It still has six mounting points and can hold a load of up to 55 pounds — perfect for a rack, camping gear, extra water bottle holders and more.
What's Not Ideal About the State 4130 All-Road XPLR AXS Bike
It Is, Understandably, a Bit Complicated
Where the carbon fork and electronic shifting make for excellent upgrades you won't usually find at this price point, they do come with challenges. Bikes with gears are generally complicated machines, but this one will take a bit of extra care. By no means do you have to baby the fork, but carbon can be tricky to deal with; you have to be conscious of the tension you use on the mounting points, and carbon can crack in extreme situations, rendering the fork useless. Thankfully, $300 isn't a huge price to pay should you ever need to replace it (which you probably won't).
The big thing to get used to is electronic shifting. If you've never used it before, you'll have to adapt to charging the battery, checking battery levels before your rides and testing the components to make sure they're working before you head out. (The second time I rode the bike, I didn't check the battery, and it died, turning the bike into a single-speed.)
Plus, maintenance isn't as easy to do at home. With normal cable-actuated gearing, you can sometimes fiddle with it at home and get it dialed in (or at least close). With the electronic shifting, if anything big comes up, you'll likely want to take it to a shop to get it worked on by an expert.
Additionally, as I said before, the hydraulic brakes do work like a charm — but if they stop working, fixing them from home is a huge pain in the ass, if not impossible. The process requires a bleeding kit, which is not only expensive, but fairly difficult to master. So, again, you'll want to stop by your local bike shop for help.
None of these things are unique to higher-end bicycles, but if this is your first bike with serious components, the upkeep can take some getting used to. As I said, cycling is expensive.
The State 4130 All-Road XPLR AXS Bike: The Verdict
I'll just say this: after I tested this bike, I bought it.
I've ridden and owned dozens of bikes in my life, many of them which cost upwards of $5,000. This bike, at $2,000 (plus the $300 for a monster fork), is up there with one of the best I've ever ridden, especially for one right out of the box.
Between the seamless shifting, its capability across multiple surfaces and its inherent fun factor, it was a no-brainer purchase. It's actually the only bike I own right now and I'm ecstatic to have it as my daily driver. I can commute on it, I can take it for 100-mile rides or I can take it camping.
I'm not saying it's a cheap bike; for most people, $2,000 isn't really that affordable. But if you're looking to get a bike to give some relief to your full-carbon race bike or want to get a gravel bike that does a whole lot more than the other entry-level options out there, this is for you.