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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-12-11, 07:50 AM   #1
adrien
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Dream bike build -- update and question on SRAM

Been a while...

I've been riding steel (I have a Kona Kapu which is my main ride) for a couple of years, and last year got on a wait list for a build from Ira Ryan, who specializes in lugged steel and builds some wonderful bicycles.

Well, build time is coming. I've done the fit session, chosen colors and design (dark grey with some metallic, on Ira's suggestion brushed stainless lugs) and have settled on a number of the components: deep Vs with Chris King hubs, FSA wing bars, and SRAM Force and / or Red.

I don't especially care much about weight, and would err on the side of durability given the choice, but this is a dream bike for me, and I want what's best for me.

I ride about 2,500 miles a year, pretty much all year round. A short ride is 30, long is 120 miles. I run 220-240 depending on season, and am comfortable at that weight given my fitness level (I ran 3 miles on the treadmill yesterday in 27 minutes, with no problems at all). I do tend to stand to climb, and like to spint out of the saddle every so often. But mostly I like to lock in and ride for hours at about 15 mph. I don't race, but do sometimes join group and charity rides, usually holding pace with the second or third groups.

Any Clydes have experience with SRAM Force Vs. Red? Are the Red brifters / rear derailleur really any better for my application? Does durability suffer?

Last edited by adrien; 02-13-11 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 02-12-11, 09:15 PM   #2
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Function wise, there's not much to choose from between Force and Red. Even Rival functionally is pretty much equivalent - the biggest upgrade with SRAM as you move up in groups is weight. My Rival group is 3 years old now, so I haven't had a chance to try the zero loss shifting, and I'm not sure which groups have that (I know Red does, but I'm not sure if Force or Rival do). That might make a pretty big difference.

As for weight, well, as long as I'm north of 200 pounds I'm personally not going to worry too much about it with my components.

JB
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Old 02-12-11, 09:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by adrien View Post
Any Clydes have experience with SRAM Force Vs. Red? Are the Red brifters / rear derailleur really any better for my application? Does durability suffer?
I've been using SRAM Red on my Cervelo RS for the past couple of years. Honestly, I don't think there's a huge difference between Force and Red. In theory, Red offers ZeroLoss shifting of both the front and rear derailleurs, while Froce only has ZeroLoss shifting on the front. Rear shifting with SRAM is so fast and the lever throws so short, that you likely won't notice a difference. I certainly haven't when I've test-ridden Force- and Rival-equipped bikes.

In my experience, the Red chain rings wear faster than I would expect. I replaced my first set after about a year of riding (~4000-5000mi). I've tried to cross-chain a bit less, so my second set is in slightly better shape. I've seen a few other complaints about excessive wear with Red chain rings. Personally, I like the look of the Force crank better than Red, so I wouldn't hesitate to ditch the Red crank in favor of Force.

I'm also using a Force front derailleur on my bike. At the time I purchased, there were more than a few reports suggesting that the heavier, stiffer Force FD shifted better than the Red FD. Dunno if there's any truth to that, but I've got no complaints with the Force FD.
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Old 02-12-11, 11:25 PM   #4
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I'm also using a Force front derailleur on my bike. At the time I purchased, there were more than a few reports suggesting that the heavier, stiffer Force FD shifted better than the Red FD. Dunno if there's any truth to that, but I've got no complaints with the Force FD.
There's a lot of truth to that. The titanium cage on the Red FD has a reputation for being very flexy. If you look at most of the teams running SRAM in the pro peloton, most have a Force FD. It's added strength with minimal weight penalty. Front Derailleur is one place where I would definitely stick with Force.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...ook-595/145225
http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...hushovd/129538
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Old 02-13-11, 08:29 AM   #5
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I definitely prefer the look of the Force crank, especially for a lugged steel bike.

I think it comes down to brifters / RD...whether the zero loss is worth the expense. I'm coming from Ultegra 6700, and don't think I'll notice. Anyone else make that transition?
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Old 02-13-11, 11:39 AM   #6
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All I know about SRAM is that the founder of the company says it's pronounced just like it's spelled, and not "SHRAM" like so many people want to say it.
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Old 02-13-11, 01:58 PM   #7
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I think it comes down to brifters / RD...whether the zero loss is worth the expense. I'm coming from Ultegra 6700, and don't think I'll notice. Anyone else make that transition?
Remember: ZeroLoss is all in the shifters. So you can always buy Red shifters and marry them to Force derailleurs, cranks, etc.

I had Ultegra 6600 before purchasing SRAM Red. I haven't spent a whole lot of time riding Rival or Force, but I've done enough to know that I wouldn't pay a whole lot extra for ZeroLoss shifting on the rear derailleur.

BTW, if you haven't ridden a SRAM-equipped bike I would encourage you to do so before buying any components. The shifting feels and sounds very different from Shimano... and some people just can't stand it. Shifts, especially at the rear, are: lightening-fast, noisy, and rather abrupt. If you're in love with Shimano's ultra-smooth, near-silent shifts chances are that you won't be a fan of SRAM.
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Old 02-13-11, 05:15 PM   #8
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1) If you use top of the line on your first iteration, your dream build is finished. End of story.

2) If you want to save a little money and pay a small weight penalty, you can build with something a step down. Then, your bike isn't finished. You have the pleasure of extending the build by upgrading it, piece by piece for a couple of years.

#1 has the "WOW" factor. Other bikophiles will drool over your bike for 1 year, maybe 18 months. You could also have a couple parts of the lesser group for specific reasons. (Titanium cage on FD, or not)

#2 is less expensive, but kind of like kissing your sister.

I think I'd go with #1.
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Old 02-13-11, 05:16 PM   #9
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Remember: ZeroLoss is all in the shifters. So you can always buy Red shifters and marry them to Force derailleurs, cranks, etc.

I had Ultegra 6600 before purchasing SRAM Red. I haven't spent a whole lot of time riding Rival or Force, but I've done enough to know that I wouldn't pay a whole lot extra for ZeroLoss shifting on the rear derailleur.

BTW, if you haven't ridden a SRAM-equipped bike I would encourage you to do so before buying any components. The shifting feels and sounds very different from Shimano... and some people just can't stand it. Shifts, especially at the rear, are: lightening-fast, noisy, and rather abrupt. If you're in love with Shimano's ultra-smooth, near-silent shifts chances are that you won't be a fan of SRAM.
That's a great summary. My previous bike had ultegra - I go back and forth on which I prefer. The other thing that some people find tough to adjust to is the whole double-tap thing. I actually find it easy to go back and forth between Shimano and SRAM - a couple of shifts and I figure it out. However, I've ridden with people on a SRAM bike for the first time and they couldn't quite figure it out - they were shifting up when they wanted down. YMMV.

JB
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Old 02-13-11, 07:17 PM   #10
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The other thing that some people find tough to adjust to is the whole double-tap thing. I actually find it easy to go back and forth between Shimano and SRAM - a couple of shifts and I figure it out. However, I've ridden with people on a SRAM bike for the first time and they couldn't quite figure it out - they were shifting up when they wanted down. YMMV.
I think that people who have trouble with DoubleTap are thinking about it too much. I can jump back and forth between my Ultegra 6600 bike and my SRAM Red bike and never miss a shift.

DoubleTap uses, essentially, the same physical movements as Shimano STI they just do it with a single lever rather than two separate levers. Want to go from a (physically) larger gear to a smaller gear? With STI you give a small tap to the black lever, while with DoubleTap you give a small tap to the DoubleTap shift lever. Want to move from a (physically) smaller gear to a larger one? With STI you give a big push to the brake lever, while with DoubleTap you give a big push to the DoubleTap shift lever.
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