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SRAM Drivetrain Questions.

Old 08-19-11, 02:18 AM
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GrtSaint72
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SRAM Drivetrain Questions.

I'm upgrading my groupset and I've decided to go with SRAM. The question is which set. Is SRAM Force any better than Rival? Other than weight is Force worth the extra money?
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Old 08-19-11, 02:37 AM
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No they are almost nearly identical with the FD being exactly the same and the rest having the same design but different materials.
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Old 08-19-11, 04:32 AM
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I read hear at BF and other places that Force is the same a Red just different materials and weight and of course the Red FD is not as reliable as the Force which now I learn is the same exact part as Rival and that the entire group is the same as Force except for material.

So Rival = Red (except for weight?)

Is the additional cost really all about weight?

How "almost identical" are they?

I am genuinely curious as I am doing my first build and have decided to go with Sram.
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Old 08-19-11, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by markrj View Post
I read hear at BF and other places that Force is the same a Red just different materials and weight and of course the Red FD is not as reliable as the Force which now I learn is the same exact part as Rival and that the entire group is the same as Force except for material.

So Rival = Red (except for weight?)

Is the additional cost really all about weight?

How "almost identical" are they?

I am genuinely curious as I am doing my first build and have decided to go with Sram.
Red has 'zero loss' shifting on the front and rear. Force, Rival and Apex have it on the front only. That is the biggest functional difference. This is built into the shifters, so if you are going to splurge, that is where to do it. It's also a place to save some weight, it that's your thing. The next place would be the crank, where getting at least Force will make a difference. With all other Sram part you might as well get Rival/Apex.
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Old 08-19-11, 05:47 AM
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I feel like i see this atleast once a week with shimano or campy or sram. Yes as you near the top the diminishing returns becomes extremely more diminished but it is the group for a reason. If you have the money then buy it, if you don't then buy what you can.
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Old 08-19-11, 06:54 AM
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Hands down SRAM is SRAM. That's all that should be said. The only thing wrong with Force/Rival/Apex is no Zero-Loss on the rear. Other than that it's all good.
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Old 08-19-11, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by abikemechanic View Post
I feel like i see this atleast once a week with shimano or campy or sram. Yes as you near the top the diminishing returns becomes extremely more diminished but it is the group for a reason. If you have the money then buy it, if you don't then buy what you can.
This is bike forum. What should we discuss once a week? And in this case we have an OP who is trying to figure out the differences and what he might notice. I'd say he's doing the right thing. And you are always free to not click on the threads that start "Force or Ultegra or....?" They will do fine with out you.
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Old 08-19-11, 07:18 AM
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Can someone explain what zero loss shifting is anyways?

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-11, 07:36 AM
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zero loss is shift as soon as it moves. On the left shifter of SRAM(not sure of apex though) as soon as you start to push the lever the FD moves. With everything but red the rear has some 'play' before it engages. Zero Loss takes that out.
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Old 08-19-11, 07:39 AM
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Zero Loss means that as soon as you start moving the shift paddle the cable starts moving, no play at all. The orignal Force and Rival shifters had a long throw on the front shifter that could be a pain to shift, especially if you have small hands. It was also more difficult to get set up correctly. The zero loss is supposed to be a big improvement there. I haven't ever used a Red shifter, but I don't have any issues with my rival rear shifting so I don't know how much it is an improvement there.
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Old 08-19-11, 08:04 AM
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Red, with zero loss, still makes the loud clacking sound when shifting -- like the rest of the SRAM lineup -- but the throw is shorter when shifting toward the little cogs. I'm not sure it's a big deal.

Zero loss on the front derailleur was a HUGE improvement over SRAM's early efforts. It still takes a longer, firmer push to shift SRAM than other brands, but it's not unacceptable by any means.
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Old 08-19-11, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GrtSaint72 View Post
I'm upgrading my groupset and I've decided to go with SRAM. The question is which set. Is SRAM Force any better than Rival? Other than weight is Force worth the extra money?
Depends on how much money you are willing to spend. They are all great. For me, Force and Red are worth the extra money...depends really on how much extra money you have and how willing you are to part with your coin.

The key is "extra money", not everybody has those and some are not willing to spend, so they compromise. If you have to ask...
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Old 08-19-11, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by K&K_Dad View Post
zero loss is shift as soon as it moves. On the left shifter of SRAM(not sure of apex though) as soon as you start to push the lever the FD moves. With everything but red the rear has some 'play' before it engages. Zero Loss takes that out.
That sounds similar to their mountain bike line? I have X.7 shifters and an X.9 front derailleur on my mountain bike, works great.
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Old 08-19-11, 09:45 AM
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First of all, there have been a couple of false claims made here, but people repeat what they read in other threads (which I'm guilty of myself).

The SRAM Rival and Force FD are NOT the same. It's more than just weight. I used to think they were "the same except for weight," but I recently bought a Force FD to replace my Red RD, and I also compared them both with the Rival FD on my girlfriend's bike. The Force FD has a wider linkage where the cage connects to the body of the FD. It is wider than both the Rival and Red FD. Not only is it wider, but there is also more material on the cage itself right around the linkage. This is surely why the Force FD is known to be the best performing of the three. Also, the finish of the FD cage is polished just like the Ultegra and Dura Ace FDs are. The Rival cage has more of a rough/matte steel finish. The Red is a matte titanium finish, of course.

I have not had consistent and reliable performance with the Red FD on my Red equipped bike. This is why I bought the Force FD, but I haven't had a chance to install the Force FD yet. By the looks of the beefier/stiffer cage design, I can already tell the Force FD will work better. It reminds me of the Ultegra FD I had on my bike before I went to Red. I didn't like the Ultegra group as a whole, but the front shifting was the one thing that stood out with great performance. I hope I get similar performance fromy my Force FD.

As for the Rival vs Force debate, I'd go with Rival and save a few hundred bucks. I've seen/read about more instances of the magnesium Force levers breaking than the aluminum or carbon levers of Rival and Red. I'm also not a fan of the loud white on black graphics of the Force group. Both Rival and Force lack zero-loss on the right shifter, and overall performance will be exactly the same between the two (except for the FD being better w/ Force).

I'd go with a Rival group on eBay for $700 and then switch out the FD for Force. At ~2200 grams it's lighter than Ultegra and almost as light as Dura Ace. I think it performs better than both too. Can't get more bang for your buck than Rival.
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Old 08-19-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
Depends on how much money you are willing to spend. They are all great. For me, Force and Red are worth the extra money...depends really on how much extra money you have and how willing you are to part with your coin.

The key is "extra money", not everybody has those and some are not willing to spend, so they compromise. If you have to ask...
I don't doubt that you have your reasons for buying up, but what are they? Some people like to know what there extra money is going for even if it is "extra money".
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Old 08-19-11, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
I don't doubt that you have your reasons for buying up, but what are they? Some people like to know what there extra money is going for even if it is "extra money".
I think Red is worth having just because of the zero-loss on the right shifter. It really is sweet. That said, there is still nothing wrong with the Rival or Force right shifter action. I still think they are better than what Shimano has to offer - except for Di2, of course. I would be more than happy with a Rival group, a Force FD, and Red shifters. You can have this setup for under a grand and it will perform wonderfully.
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Old 08-19-11, 09:56 AM
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seems to me, from my reading here and my experiences with sram that the best 'bang for the buck' is to go for Red shifters, Force crank, and rival everywhere else... I suspect my next ride will be config'd in a similar manner...
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Old 08-19-11, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bonz50 View Post
seems to me, from my reading here and my experiences with sram that the best 'bang for the buck' is to go for Red shifters, Force crank, and rival everywhere else... I suspect my next ride will be config'd in a similar manner...
I'd say that's correct except subtract the Force crank and add a Force FD. The Force crank is nothing special except that it's carbon fiber, if that matters to you. The aluminum Rival crank looks better IMO and works just as well. The Force BB might use better quality bearings, but it's not like you'd be able to tell when riding.
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Old 08-19-11, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
I don't doubt that you have your reasons for buying up, but what are they? Some people like to know what there extra money is going for even if it is "extra money".

I could lie and say I got them because of Zero-Loss, lighter, yadda-yadda...life is too short for such deep thinking on material things...in the end, I bought it because I perceived as cooler than Force or Rival

Other people have their own reasoning about why they do the things they do and some have this deep rationale and other justification about purchases. I bought it because I liked the way it looked and I can afford them.

It is probably not what you wanted to read, but if we are to be practical, most any shifter will work.

Last edited by tagaproject6; 08-19-11 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 08-19-11, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
I could lie and say I got them because of Zero-Loss, lighter, yadda-yadda...life is too short for such deep thinking on material things...in the end, I bought it because I perceived as cooler than Force or Rival

Other people have their own reasoning about why they do the things they do and some have this deep rationale and other justification about purchases. I bought it because I liked the way it looked and I can afford them.

It is probably not what you wanted to read, but if we are to be practical, most any shifter will work.
Your reason's make perfect sense to me, and I'm glad you got what you like. Unfortunately for me I have the opposite taste from you. I would pay big money for a group that functioned like Red (or DA or Record) , but was all polished aluminum. I was happy as hell when silver Rival came out, and wished it still looked that way when they added front zero loss. Carbon/plastic/painted parts just don't look good to me and as far as the aero shape of the newer shimano stuff goes I'll gladly burn the extra watts it costs me to pedal something that looks like my old 7400 did.
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Old 08-19-11, 11:09 AM
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I ride Force save for Red shifters. It absolutely makes a difference to have zero loss rear shifting. I had Force shifters prior, and after two warranty issues they sent me free Red shifters (!), theyre better. Not to say that the Force shifters didn't make the chain go from one cog to the next
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Old 08-19-11, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ilovecycling View Post
The SRAM Rival and Force FD are NOT the same. It's more than just weight. I used to think they were "the same except for weight," . . .
You can be excused for that misconception. Early SRAM advertising actually SAID that they were the same, except for the weight.

Over time, SRAM introduced a feature or two that differentiates between the groups. If it ever was true that they were functionally the same, it's not anymore. (Although they are nicely compatible with each other.)
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Old 08-19-11, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
You can be excused for that misconception. Early SRAM advertising actually SAID that they were the same, except for the weight.

Over time, SRAM introduced a feature or two that differentiates between the groups. If it ever was true that they were functionally the same, it's not anymore. (Although they are nicely compatible with each other.)
I have no idea what they used to be like, but my comments were towards the 2010 and newer stuff since that's what you would get if you bought something today. For some reason they are still advertised as "identical except for weight" even on websites like Competitive Cyclist. Oh well. I just wanted people to know there are *now* structural differences between Rival, Force, and Red front derailleurs. Being informed is better than not, right?

I'm going to take some pictures when I get home to show the structural differences between the three.
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Old 08-19-11, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ilovecycling View Post
I'd say that's correct except subtract the Force crank and add a Force FD. The Force crank is nothing special except that it's carbon fiber, if that matters to you. The aluminum Rival crank looks better IMO and works just as well. The Force BB might use better quality bearings, but it's not like you'd be able to tell when riding.
ya, i'd add the Force FD then, but I don't think I'd ditch the force crank, FD's are cheap enough any way that its a non-issue to go for even a Red FD if I chose to...
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Old 08-19-11, 01:28 PM
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Thank you everyone for the responses. After reading everything I think I'm gong to mix match the Red Shifters with rival and the force parts to save money. If you pick up a pair of take off shifters are you still covered by Sram's warranty?
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