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  1. #1
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    Anyone Consider SRAM?

    With Shimano slipping the "we're buttheads" incompatibilities between groups in the DI2 lines, but with the considerations of double front ring setups DI2 has led many of us to, has anyone considered a SRAM drivetrain? They (SRAM) touts setups like Apex with a compact double as a replacement for a triple crank, and with the 1:1 direct pull derailleurs someone could run a variety of SRAM mtb RDs with road shifters which seems to give similar gearing choices... Any opinions on why a SRAM road groupset wouldn't work? How about the "***-22" (11spd) lines?

    Secondly, while I understand the revised HydroR hydraulic brakes are not expected until 2015 (or are at least 2015 models), any thoughts on either the road disc or rim hydraulic brakes on a tandem? Has anyone herein used the earlier versions either on a tandem or a single, and how did they work (the recall not withstanding)and might the revised models be tandem suitable?

    Have been researching SRAM mtb groups and these questions came to mind...just curious.
    (Plus the Burley may lose the DI2)

  2. #2
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    I am in the process of moving our tandems over to a largely SRAM 11 speed setup, though I guess in reality they are a more of a mishmash. On both bikes, I'm using a right 11 speed SRAM brake/shifter and a left brake-only lever with a barend shifter to shift the front. The rear derailleurs are SRAM Red long cage for one and a XX mtb derailleur for other. Cranks in both cases are FSA carbon, one with a double chainring set up and one with a triple. Front derailleurs are both Dura Ace. Brake calipers are Dura Ace from a couple of years ago on one, and I haven't decided what I'm putting on the other, possibly the Cane Creek SL or maybe another DA if I can find them. Cassettes are Shimano 11x28 and 11x32, mainly because I like the Shimano ratios better than the SRAM.

    Some of these parts choices are simply because I had them around, some purposeful. I had the SRAM hydraulic rim brakes pre-recall installed on a single with every intention of putting them post-recall on the tandems as they did work very well, but the cable DA calipers with compressionless housing have worked so well that I am loathe to go through the hassle of hydraulics for what seems to me to be relatively little benefit. If I were comfortable working on hydraulics, I probably would get them, but will stick with what I know for now. I really like the SRAM doubletap shifting for the rear, but have no great love for any sort of indexing on the front, hence the barend shifter for the front. I am using the 10 speed mtb derailleur with the 11 speed shifter/chain and it works fine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chojn1's Avatar
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    We got caught in a torrential downpour coming home yesterday from morning coffee. The TRP Spyre on our tandem was very loud when they're that wet, but they still stopped well. I will say that I am a lot more confident with the braking surface of the disks around the hubs versus the rims tracking through water and mud. Not sure what hydraulics will add.
    As for SRAM, I am waiting to see what their wireless electronic group has to offer.

    CJ

  4. #4
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    I have a Force 22 setup on our Cannondale. In the rear I'm using the long cage Force derailleur with an 11-28 cassette and the option to fit an 11-32. Up front it's a Yaw FD, SRAM 34/50 rings, and DaVinci cranks on a 103mm bottom bracket. For brakes I'm using the TRP Hy/Rd calipers and SRAM 203mm G3 rotors. My cables are the Jagwire Pro XL set with compressionless housing.

    So far, shifting has been flawless. Braking is very good, though noisy when wet and there's a bit more lever travel before engagement than I'd prefer. I'd love to go hydraulic, but cost was a factor.

    Pics here: This Cannondale goes to 11

  5. #5
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    We have a mixed (mostly) SRAM setup on our Calfee. Everything was bought part by part as I was building it up to balance price and weight so we ended up with the following (all 10speed, as 11 (or 22 if you want) wasn't available at the time:

    Shifters: Red (new bike takeoff)
    FD: Rival (Nearly identical to Force... Red w/ the Ti cage is known to be a bit flexy)
    RD: Rival WiFli (medium cage)
    Chainrings: Praxis 34/50
    Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 12/30
    Chain: KMC x10SL drive + crossover
    Cranks: Davinci w/ crossover timing chain
    Brakes: Planet X CNC calipers
    Cables: Jagwire Racer XL

    So far over the past year and a half everything has performed spotlessly. Originally bought a chain catcher for it that needs to be modified because of the Calfee flared seat tube, but I never got around to dremeling it, and haven't needed it as we've never dropped the chain. No missed shifts front or rear. Pretty good range in both rings with no chain rub (at some point I should put .6mm chainring bolt spacers between the rings to avoid rub when in the small chainring, but we rarely end up in the small ring at all, much less in the couple gears that rub. In the big ring we can ride the full cassette, even into the big-big crossover without any problem.

    Braking for us has been wonderful as well. The Planet X brakes (on alloy Spinergy rims) feel plenty powerful and modulate well. I'd rate them a small step below Force calipers in firmness, but we've had no problem stopping. We don't have any long hills around here, and we are a light team (260 lbs combined).

    Since I have SRAM (Force) on my road bike, it is nice to have the same hood shape and same shifter dynamics on both rather than having to think about it. While I haven't ridden recent Shimano levers, I never found the hoods comfortable for my hands while SRAM and Campy have always felt perfect.

    Honestly, if you are going with a double and like SRAM, I'd definitely go with it without question. With the WiFli RD, you might find that you don't need any mountain parts or the triple.
    Last edited by budhaslug; 09-02-14 at 12:26 PM.

  6. #6
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    We also have a very mixed drivetrain on our tandem, but the right-hand shifter is a SRAM Red 10-speed and the rear derailleur is a SRAM X9 10-speed. Due to the increased cable pull per shift, I've been able to get this working far better on the tandem than the Ultegra / XT setup that we had before. The cassette is a Shimano XT 11-34 10-speed, with an SLX 10-speed chain.

    I'm still not a fan of the ergonomics of SRAM road levers (one double-tap lever to control two operations - up and down), but I've learned to live with it because it works better than the other options. SRAM never made it that way because the ergonomics are ideal; they only made it that way to avoid all of the patents owned by Shimano and Campagnolo.

    Shimano have increased the cable pull ratio for their 11-speed groups, so I would consider upgrading to that, but unfortunately our hub won't take an 11-speed cassette, so we'd have to mount only 10 of the 11 cogs and block off one position on the derailleur, so I don't think that it's worth it. But I now have Ultegra Di2 11-speed on my single bike with a 32-tooth cassette, and if we take the tandem away on any long tours then I'll be moving that system over to the tandem because it works flawlessly (even with a super-compact double setup in front: 28-42 rings, or 30-46).

    From what I've heard of SRAM's wireless electronic group, the shifting ergonomics seem even more bizarre, requiring two hands to make a front shift (press both buttons at once), and one hand does a rear upshift while the other does the downshift. Try doing that while holding a water bottle and the gradient suddenly kicks up! No thanks. They're like Apple - trying to simplify things by removing buttons but in the end they're just removing functionality for the sake of style.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
    I'm still not a fan of the ergonomics of SRAM road levers (one double-tap lever to control two operations - up and down), but I've learned to live with it because it works better than the other options. SRAM never made it that way because the ergonomics are ideal; they only made it that way to avoid all of the patents owned by Shimano and Campagnolo.
    I'm willing to argue with you on the ergonomics of the SRAM mechanical groups. I think the single paddle actually works very well and makes it easer t shift in the drops than Shimano or Campy. Also the fixed brake lever is one of the reasons why SRAM is so popular for cyclocross since it spares you the Shimano problem of accidentally braking while shifting and shifting while braking.
    I will agree with your criticism of SRAM's electronic group, I think a push-push system replicating their mechanical shifters or 2 buttons like everybody else would have been been better than the "push both sides for a front shift" setup.
    Regarding your 10 to 11 speed hub issue, can you get a Campagnolo freehub body? Apparently Shimano/Sram and Campagnolo 11 speed cassettes have compatible cog spacing so Campy 11 is an option for wheels that won't take Shimano 11 but have an available Campy part.

  8. #8
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    A lot of this is preference, but I found SRAM to be cheap feeling, not intuitive and less durable than other options. I was also not a fan of the lever/hood design.

    I'd look into Camapgnolo.

  9. #9
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    We've used SRAM 10 speed on our tandem for 4 years now, no problems at all. The nice thing about SRAM is that you can use their mountain derailleurs with the shifters, and they're actually engineered to have the same pull ratios. Neither Campy nor Shimano have this feature, though it seems that SRAM RDs work with 10 speed campy shifters... it's more of accidental compatibility. Shifting has been perfect with the SRAM combo, and you can pick up used SRAM 10 speed parts cheap. And, if you decide to upgrade to 11 speed, the RD will still work! You just need a new cassette, chain, and shifters.

  10. #10
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    The previous poster suggested that SRAM has an advantage over Shimano in terms of cross-compatibility of shifters and derailleurs. In fact, it is the other way around because almost every Shimano rear derailleur made since they went to indexed shifting right up until the MTB 10-speed and Road 11-speed groups work on the same cable pull ratio and are perfectly compatible (with the exception of Dura Ace 8 speed and a few other, older models). In terms of modern equipment, this means that all road 9 and 10 speed shifters should work perfectly with all 8 or 9 speed MTB derailleurs (so the above comment that Shimano doesn't offer the "feature" of using a MTB RD with a road shifter is completely wrong). However, as I said above, this doesn't always work so well on tandems, which is why we've given up on the setup on our tandem (although I still use it on some of our single bikes), and the reason why it doesn't work so well on tandems can actually be understood better when you know the history.

    Because Shimano kept the same cable pull ratio from their early 6 and 7-speed indexed systems right up until road 10-speed, the road 10-speed shifters had to be designed to pull very little cable per shift. With the increased cable length needed on tandems, this leaves very little margin for error in terms of setting up the derailleur and so any resistance in the cable housing can cause a significant detriment to performance (this was made even worse when Shimano put the shift cables under the bar tape, which caused even more bends in the cable and housing and so more resistance). This is why Shimano decided to finally give up on their traditional cable pull ratio and broad cross-compatibility of RDs when designing their MTB 10-speed groups and road 11-speed groups - it was finally time to go back to pulling a decent amount of cable per shift so that the cable tension didn't have to be set so precisely; they therefore gave up the advantage of cross-compatibility of RDs in order to have more precise and reliable shifting.

  11. #11
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    It's worth noting why it was SRAM who came up with 1:1 actuation. In the early days SRAM had no road components (so no downtube or bar end shifters) and they had grip shifters down to the low end (so no thumb shifters). Being that the circumference of grip shifters are much larger than the take up cylinder on just about any type of lever they took advantage of the extra pull available.

    When they finally got into TT bikes they needed to develop the R2C shifter because they couldn't get enough pull in a standard design.

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