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Review from another Shimani to SRAM convert

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Review from another Shimani to SRAM convert

Old 04-17-11, 12:48 PM
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Review from another Shimani to SRAM convert

I recently switched out my Shimano 105 (5600) group for SRAM. Red Shifters and Force brakes/derailleurs. I'm still using a Shimano ultegra crank and cassette. The biggest reason for the change is I hated the shape of the 105 hoods (although I like Ultegra 6700 hoods). I've got 6700 on my other bike, so I'm really comparing to that also. I've been riding it a little over a week, with a couple fast group rides and one race (crit).

Good - As I had heard, the shifting is very precise and quick. I prefer the action to Shimano (both 105 and Ultegra). The doubtap was much easier to get used to than I expected (I missed one shift in a crit when I was totally blowing up). One paddle is a better design from my perspective. I had heard that SRAM could be noiser than Shimano. The shifters do make some noise (the riders around you will know you're shifting), but the drivetrain is very quiet. However, I've got Shimano crank and cassette, the only thing touching the chain is the RD (not a fair comparison). I like the hood shape, but I'd rank it about the same as Ultegra 6700 for comfort (a wash, but much better than 5600). I really like the ability to shift from the drops with the single paddle you can pull in. That's probably the biggest functional improvement from my perspective, and I don't spend that much time in the drops.

Bad - I find it easy to accidentally downshift 2 gears if I'm already sitting in the smallest cog. Since there is no initial "click" when in the highest gear, you have to be careful to guage it properly. Not a big deal and hopefully this is more about me getting used to it. When in the largest cog, it's also possible to accidentally upshift if you are trying to go to a larger cog (which isn't there). There is a decent design to avoid this, but it's not foolproof. The shift effort is also a little higher than 6700 (and much higher than 5600), but not too bad. The biggest gap from my opinion is not being able to trim the FD in the small ring. I don't often run small/small, but would like the ability to trim out the chain rub when I do. They do offer trim in teh large ring, but I don't get any rub in any gear, so it's not needed in my case (I'm sure it could be on other frames).

In summary, I prefer the doubletap design of SRAM over Shimano's separate levers, all the other issues are minor +/-'s one way or the other. It's certainly not revolutionary or anything, but just my preference. I'll happily keep Ultegra on my other bike until there is a need to make a change. When I'm buying a new group going forward, it would be SRAM based on what I know today. A reasonably priced Electronic Ultegra could change that opinion, but hard to say at this point.
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