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Need education on electronic groups - SRAM Force AXS vs Ultegra Di2

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Need education on electronic groups - SRAM Force AXS vs Ultegra Di2

Old 08-17-20, 05:48 PM
  #76  
GlennR
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Sounds like Di2 is the "safe" choice, i'm sure you'll be happy with it,

I can't comment on the Force AXS issues since I have Red 22 eTap.

Not a bad problem to have.
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Old 08-18-20, 02:45 AM
  #77  
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No direct experience with SRAM myself, but the biggest issue with AXS, apart from noise, is the front derailleur performance. There are numerous stories of endless chain drops, whole discussions on which chain catcher to use for AXS, etc. That alone would put me off AXS if I'd be in your situation.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:20 AM
  #78  
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My wife has not complained about her AXS being loud - she would if it were. And she has not dropped any chains yet, as far as I know.

That said, Shimano is going to go 12-speed soon. I don't know when, but they will. Campy and Sram have gone there, so they have to too. Once that happens, I suspect support for 11-speed Di2 will plummet. Shimano was very quick to cut support for 10-speed Di2 when they launched 11-speed - 10-speed parts became much harder to find new. Just something to consider.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:44 AM
  #79  
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It could be that the chain drops are not all the fault of the FD. Chain rings must also be designed with ramps and pins to produce the best shifting. I'm new to SRAM, but have been assembling my own bikes for 35 years. The SRAM FD installs and adjusts differently than any other I've used, but mine has been working perfectly for the 200 miles I've logged so far. I'm even shifting a 16T difference with a Campy chorus 12 crank. No chain drops so far.

The noise complaints were all on early Force models. Apparently the force level cassettes had a problem that some cured with a very pricey Red cassette. I'm using the new 10-36 force cassette and it's dead quiet, as is the chain. I've been using AXS chains for over a year. They are very quiet and wear well.

Since you're looking at new OEM bikes, ultegra 11 may be the safest bet. Just don't be surprised when it's replaced with 12 speed a couple of years from now. The sprocket spacing on the shimano 11-34 is goofy, with 2T jumps right from the start.
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Old 08-18-20, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
The noise complaints were all on early Force models. Apparently the force level cassettes had a problem that some cured with a very pricey Red cassette.
My Red 22 cassette has "stealth rings" and I wonder if putting then on the Force cassette will help.

They are basically rubber bands that sit between the cogs and I assume that the chain side plates sit on them and reduce the metal on metal noise.



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Old 08-18-20, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
It could be that the chain drops are not all the fault of the FD. Chain rings must also be designed with ramps and pins to produce the best shifting. I'm new to SRAM, but have been assembling my own bikes for 35 years. The SRAM FD installs and adjusts differently than any other I've used, but mine has been working perfectly for the 200 miles I've logged so far. I'm even shifting a 16T difference with a Campy chorus 12 crank. No chain drops so far.

The noise complaints were all on early Force models. Apparently the force level cassettes had a problem that some cured with a very pricey Red cassette. I'm using the new 10-36 force cassette and it's dead quiet, as is the chain. I've been using AXS chains for over a year. They are very quiet and wear well.

Since you're looking at new OEM bikes, ultegra 11 may be the safest bet. Just don't be surprised when it's replaced with 12 speed a couple of years from now. The sprocket spacing on the shimano 11-34 is goofy, with 2T jumps right from the start.
Something I hadn't thought about in depth, and I appreciate you bringing it up. I don't upgrade/trade out bikes frequently. I had my tri bike for over 10 years, my Trek 2300 for longer, so whatever I get I expect to ride for awhile. The planned obsolescence of Di2 11 hadn't really come to mind, but you are right that 12 speed Shimano is well overdue. The other thing I could consider would be buying a different or less expensive model, and perhaps saving the upgrade to electronic later. Just seems like new bike day is a good time to take the electronic leap. The new Trek Emonda with Ultegra is super clean looking (cables, not a comment on graphics). If I were to upgrade that later to a SRAM wireless, or even a Shimano Wireless (do we think this will really happen?), then that would be a pretty good setup. My trusty Scott CR1 Ultegra is still perfectly functional with rim brakes and 6700, so I'm not forced to go out and buy today. I've just been squirreling away for awhile and have finally gotten to the point when I could pull the trigger if I wanted to. I probably wouldn't be happy if I jumped in on Di2 11 speed and 12 came out mere months later. As a huge fan of Le Tour, I'll be eyeing those bikes closely, particularly to see if anyone is trying to stealthily try out a yet to be publicly revealed 12 speed group. I wouldn't put it past Shimano to paste fake wires on just to hide what they are working on. I remember back when compact cranksets really came into vouge, and in 2005 an FSA Gossamer was about the only game in town. It seemed like Shimano was about the last to the party to release major groupsets with Compact offerings, but when they did they nailed it. I suspect they have been working for awhile on 12 speed road groups and once we see them they will be well refined. I guess I'm just impatient.
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Old 08-18-20, 12:03 PM
  #82  
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One of the things that interested me in Di2 is that the levers are interchangeable as they just send signals. Hopefully, when Shimano introduces 12 speed, the cables and levers will still be compatible so all that will be needed is front and rear derailleurs.
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Old 08-18-20, 04:21 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Wait until Shimano finally catches up with 12 speed. Prices will go up. Right now you're comparing shimano's old technology with SRAM's latest. Genuine shimano wheels will no longer work with the microspline cassettes.

SRAM AXS has been way over priced, unless purchased as part of an OEM bike. Prices are now coming down.

From a price standpoint, Campy chorus 12 mechanical rim brake group is the low price leader for 12 speed. I bought two chorus 12 groups last July for $1060 each. No hub change needed. As it turns out, Campy and SRAM 12 sprockets have the same spacing, so either can be used with either drivetrain. When shimano 12 comes out, each brand will need it's own freehub body. Campy also has a new freehub body coming out, for new cassettes that will have 9 or 10 tooth first sprockets. Campy will soon have 5 options for cassette bodies, all interchangeable, assuming that microspline can be made to fit 130mm spacing. If not, then shimano 12 will be 142mm spacing for disc only.
When I was choosing drivetrain for my bike I was considering Chorus 12, but ended with Force. Some days i regret it, but the grass is always greener..
I'm no expert, but I read somewhere that the rollers of the Flattop chain (Force and Red) have a larger diameter, and as such, should not be compatible with Campy or Shimano drivetrains. I'm surprised it works with your campy chain rings. Don't get me wrong, i love the fact you're mixing it up, just wanted to throw it out there. It's not only the spacing on the cassette that matters.
(This is also why regular chain-checkers supposedly don't work - you have to measure manually or from back-to-back of the rollers)
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Old 08-18-20, 06:52 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by flx100 View Post
When I was choosing drivetrain for my bike I was considering Chorus 12, but ended with Force. Some days i regret it, but the grass is always greener..
I'm no expert, but I read somewhere that the rollers of the Flattop chain (Force and Red) have a larger diameter, and as such, should not be compatible with Campy or Shimano drivetrains. I'm surprised it works with your campy chain rings. Don't get me wrong, i love the fact you're mixing it up, just wanted to throw it out there. It's not only the spacing on the cassette that matters.
(This is also why regular chain-checkers supposedly don't work - you have to measure manually or from back-to-back of the rollers)
The axs rollers are .006 inch larger in diameter than standard #41 chains. They are a #40 . I've had no problem after a year of using the axs chain. I avoided force axs because it cost twice as much as Campy 12. It's still far more expensive, even with the recent price reductions.

You don't need a chain checker to measure chain wear. A 12 inch rule or full length measurement will give you actual elongation and calipers between the outer plates gives you the roller wear.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roll...hain_standards
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Old 08-18-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
One of the things that interested me in Di2 is that the levers are interchangeable as they just send signals. Hopefully, when Shimano introduces 12 speed, the cables and levers will still be compatible so all that will be needed is front and rear derailleurs.
Is that also how it works with SRAM 11/12? Shifters interchangeable?
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Old 08-19-20, 06:02 AM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
Is that also how it works with SRAM 11/12? Shifters interchangeable?
Unfortunately no. The wireless communication used for the new etap AXS is not compatible with etap 11. Etap 11 also used shimano splined freehubs and AXS uses the totally new XDR freehub.
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Old 08-19-20, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Unfortunately no. The wireless communication used for the new etap AXS is not compatible with etap 11. Etap 11 also used shimano splined freehubs and AXS uses the totally new XDR freehub.
so itís a hardware issue with what creates the wireless transmission, and not a firmware issue? Iím not a tech guru, but that seems a little short sighted in SRAMís part. Would make sense as others have mentioned to be able to keep the shifters during a groupset upgrade (although I really canít imagine seeing 13 speed).
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Old 08-19-20, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Plainsman View Post
so itís a hardware issue with what creates the wireless transmission, and not a firmware issue? Iím not a tech guru, but that seems a little short sighted in SRAMís part. Would make sense as others have mentioned to be able to keep the shifters during a groupset upgrade (although I really canít imagine seeing 13 speed).
Not if you want to sell more product.
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Old 08-19-20, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Not if you want to sell more product.
While I agree that planned obsolescence is a strategy, I think it only works if either your product is vastly and demonstrably superior, or if all the other players are going along. In this case, if Shimano comes out in a few months with DA 12 speed AND declares that they are backward compatible with Di2 11 speed shifters, I think that becomes a huge win for Shimano. I'm guessing Shimano will use the same tech they use for their 12 speed mountain hubs, but I don't expect to see 12 speed Ultegra Di2 for at least a season after DA shows up. Maybe I'm wrong, it is 2020, I never saw murder hornets coming either. I feel strangely confident though that Shimano Di2 12 speed already exists and that it is being tested to the hilt. I can't imagine Shimano waiting this long when their two biggest competitors already have 12 speed road groups on the market (Campy for quite awhile now). Shimano has had 12 speed mountain groups, which makes me think we are going to see something in the Di2 offering that will shake things up from the current status quo. I could sit back and wait for a bit to buy, and may do just that unless some crazy price war takes place. Right now with the global bike shortage, costs seem to be going in the opposite direction though. Wish I could put my finger on why I still feel drawn to Force AXS though, as I can't explain it on paper. My local shop is getting a new Force eTap equipped bike in soon, so I'm looking forward to a close up look.
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Old 08-19-20, 01:33 PM
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My remaining complaint with the AXS road groups is the 13T difference at the crank. Makes no sense to add a sprocket and then take the range away with a restrictive crank. I'm up to 300 miles on Force AXS with Campy crank. No chain drops yet. Even with the recent price drops, the Force group costs nearly twice as much as a Chorus 12 group, but that's better than twice as much plus another $300. You might be able to get a complete group in the $1800-2000 range. I mostly see $1320 for what used to cost $1650 - the 4 piece partial group.
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Old 08-19-20, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
My remaining complaint with the AXS road groups is the 13T difference at the crank. Makes no sense to add a sprocket and then take the range away with a restrictive crank. I'm up to 300 miles on Force AXS with Campy crank. No chain drops yet. Even with the recent price drops, the Force group costs nearly twice as much as a Chorus 12 group, but that's better than twice as much plus another $300. You might be able to get a complete group in the $1800-2000 range. I mostly see $1320 for what used to cost $1650 - the 4 piece partial group.
I haven't really looked into the whole 13 vs 16 tooth drop thing. I did run the gear inches. From what I can tell, with a 10-36 cassette and a 43/30 crank, I would be climbing easier than I do with a 50/34 and 12-32, or even an 11-34. The loss comes with a 43-10 combo versus a 50-12 or 50-11, lower top end speed at the same cadence. Point taken though, I'm not sure why the move to a lower jump between chain rings. Suppose it may have something to do with the synchro or compensating shift functions, and not creating too large of a jump anywhere?
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Old 08-20-20, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
My remaining complaint with the AXS road groups is the 13T difference at the crank. Makes no sense to add a sprocket and then take the range away with a restrictive crank. I'm up to 300 miles on Force AXS with Campy crank. No chain drops yet. Even with the recent price drops, the Force group costs nearly twice as much as a Chorus 12 group, but that's better than twice as much plus another $300. You might be able to get a complete group in the $1800-2000 range. I mostly see $1320 for what used to cost $1650 - the 4 piece partial group.
Yes, could never understand why they reduced the difference at the crank to 13.
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Old 08-20-20, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
Yes, could never understand why they reduced the difference at the crank to 13.
I was trying to do some more research last night, reading reviews, watching videos, etc. In one it did mention the reduction in tooth difference and cited trying to achieve smoother/less abrupt changes when going between rings.
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Old 08-20-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Plainsman View Post
I was trying to do some more research last night, reading reviews, watching videos, etc. In one it did mention the reduction in tooth difference and cited trying to achieve smoother/less abrupt changes when going between rings.
I can understand that but with electronic, the shift of 14 teeth is so smooth anyway, so why? Heck, even with mecjh it's never been an issue.
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Old 08-20-20, 09:05 AM
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Here's a comparison of the top gear offerings. The 50/10 is like a 55/11, the 48/10 is like a 53/11, the 46/10 is like a 50/11 and the 43/10 is like a 48/11. At the top end, SRAM has matched all of the most common offerings from the other brands.

In my case, if I were to change from my 48/32 Campy crank to a 43/30 SRAM crank, I'd lose 10% off my top gear to gain 6% additional low gear. I'd rather have a 46/30 to lose less top gear. If I were to select the SRAM 46/33, I'd lose both top gear and low gearing, compared to the 48/32. The 13T difference is NOT a positive change, IMO.

If you see a range chart with SRAM AXS having a tiny amount of additional range compared to 11 speed it's because they eliminated a one tooth shift or increased the number of teeth between two adjacent sprockets. In the case of the 10-36 there's no 14 or 16. I do notice the missing 14.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 09-02-20 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 08-20-20, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
And for those that the size of the RD is a real issue... they should get a fixie and eliminate it. Problem solved.
This is a very SRAM solution to a problem Shimano and Campy just don't have. Can't make a working FD? 1x! Can't make a decent looking RD? 1x1!

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Old 08-20-20, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
This is a very SRAM solution to a problem Shimano and Campy just don't have. Can't make a working FD? 1x! Can't make a decent looking RD? 1x1!

Sure instead of a small battery that's easily replaced, put a big battery in the seatpost. That way if it goes dead, the entire system is dead. With Sram you can mode the FD battery to the rear and still finish your ride.
Nothing wrong with my FD... works perfectly.

BTW.. I have a second bike with Rival CX1 and its great... don't need 2 chainrings for what I use it for.

Be constructive... not a H@TER.
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Old 08-20-20, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
This is a very SRAM solution to a problem Shimano and Campy just don't have. Can't make a working FD? 1x! Can't make a decent looking RD? 1x1!

I think SRAM just takes more precision when being installed than Shimano. Once it is dialed in, it seems to work fine. I am a Shimano person for no other reason then availability of parts and the vast majority of mechanics can work on it.
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Old 08-20-20, 08:25 PM
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So I got to lay eyes on a Force AXS eTap at a local shop tonight, and talk to the staff that has been using and building them. Some interesting insights. Regarding front derailleur adjustments, they haven't run into FD issues on the bikes they build, but said they have seen them on some consumer direct / Owner set up bikes, which makes me wonder if initial set up just takes a little more precision on the front end. Regarding the gearing, the bike I looked at comes with at 48/35 and a 10-33. While I'm still not sure I understand the unconventional chain ring sizes, I ran a gear inch calculator to compare the offerings to what I'm familiar with from Shimano. Right now I have a 10 speed 50/34 setup with a 12-32 cassette. The Force setup would give me more top end speed (by a bit) and an identical low end gear to a 34-32 (35-33=34-32). I would probably prefer the 46/33 up front, with a 10-36 on the back as that would still give me slightly more top end than I have with a 50-12 right now (I like to climb more, so that's plenty for me), and the 33-36 would give me even more low end than I have now, or would even get with a 34-34. I spend much more time in my little-big combo, than I ever have in the big-little.

Unfortunately, SRAM Force Cassettes and Cranks are not cheap, so I will be using whatever the bike comes with. A beautiful 2021 Scott Addict, and I actually liked how the Force group looked on it, just have to decide if that is the gearing I want to live with. A big investment for me.
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Old 08-21-20, 06:14 AM
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The 48/10 top gear is virtually identical to a 53/11, so you won't have your compact top gear. You'd need the 46/33 to get closer and get a little more low gear.
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