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Is SRAM in decline?

Old 06-25-14, 08:41 AM
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IANative
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Is SRAM in decline?

"In decline" was the term used by the head honcho at my LBS the other day, noting that they don't stock many SRAM-equipped bikes because his customers want Shimano. He said it's a trend everywhere, and that SRAM's popularity is waning. He didn't say anything negative about their quality or customer service- in fact, he complimented them- but said it was entirely driven by customer demand.

In perusing the Spesh and Orbea sites, it appears that Spesh still has as many SRAM-configured bikes as they've always had, but Orbea has definitely removed SRAM from it's stable... I think they only have one SRAM-Red equipped bike in the line-up. I didn't look at any of the other bike brand sites. I know many of the top pro teams use SRAM, but I'm sure they're paid to do so.

So, do you think my LBS was correct? Is SRAM "in delcline?"
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Old 06-25-14, 08:47 AM
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No. /thread
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Old 06-25-14, 08:52 AM
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Another one of those subjective things in cycling. As he eluded to, it's a customer driven thing, but it's not everywhere.

There are a couple shops in my area that stock bikes with all three, but there is one smaller shop IIRC that has all Shimano spec'd bikes. This shop does a have a very limited inventory as well though.

Hopefully this doesn't turn into a Shimano vs SRAM thread as I know that was not your point, but we'll see.
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Old 06-25-14, 09:12 AM
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SRAM is currently on the decline, but I suspect its a cyclic and a combination of things.

1) SRAM has cut back on their pro-team sponsorship, and focused on neutral support, which may have cut demand some.
2) SRAM bet big on hydraulic road discs brakes. Then had a massive recall of said discs. Ouch.
3) SRAM doesn't offer any electronic shifting.

Other factors:
Shimano seems to do a better job with OEM deals than SRAM or Campy. That's a huge factor in what groupset you see on a bike.

Key things for the pendulum to swing back toward SRAM.
1) Mass market adoption of road discs.
Its already happening, and SRAM just introduced a full line of hydraulic road shifters. Shimano only offers hydraulics with Di2. This puts SRAM is a great position for a ~$2k carbon bike with hydraulic discs, which is a nice sweet spot.
Most of the new endurance frames have disc variants now, all it needs is a UCI ruling and it will really take off.

2) Rumors of a wireless SRAM set.
Compete at the high end with Di2.

My bet is on big resurgence in SRAM stuff for 2015, with Shimano playing catch-up in 2016 for hydraulics.
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Old 06-25-14, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by seymour1910 View Post
Hopefully this doesn't turn into a Shimano vs SRAM thread as I know that was not your point, but we'll see.
Certainly not my intent. Having been engaged in this passion for only a handful of years, I know just about enough to be wrong 50% of the time. "You don't know what you don't know." Eventually I will upgrade my bikes/components... this is simply research and an attempt to lessen my ignorance.
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Old 06-25-14, 09:18 AM
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i don't really have a clear idea what sram is for. shimano is the default and campag is the fancy stuff the fancy boys want above the hoi polloi. so what is sram for?

and before any sram fan boys accuse me of ignorance, you should accuse sram of not marketing itself more effectively so that they are better understood.
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Old 06-25-14, 09:22 AM
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Shimano is prevalent in my area shops as well.
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Old 06-25-14, 09:29 AM
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Campy doesn't do well at OEM but they aren't going away and neither will SRAM. I think SRAM still does a lot of MTB business.
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Old 06-25-14, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
so what is sram for?.
SRAM exists to make money for the owners, investors and employees. This is the same reason Shimano and Campagnolo exists.

FWIW: SRAM electronic: http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...confirmed.html
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Old 06-25-14, 09:41 AM
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but what market segment is it aiming at?
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Old 06-25-14, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
so what is sram for?

.
As noted, this stuff is cyclical, with the postioning of the 3 players changing through product cycles.

Right now, SRAM's niche is lightest 11 speed mechanical group, and they also have a price advantage over Campagnolo, and typically Shimano.

Obviously, SRAM's behind on electric, but wireless could allow them to leapfrog, until Shimano or Campagnolo comes out with a new electronic groupset, and the cycle continues.
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Old 06-25-14, 10:00 AM
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so are they for weight weenies?
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Old 06-25-14, 10:12 AM
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I think decline is poor choice of phrase, as it implies a lack of upside potential. They build a good mechanical product, but they don't have the OEM clout of Shimano (particularly at the low end road world where Shimano truly dominates) and they don't have the high end reputation of CAmpagnolo. They are leading the way in some segments (brakes) and lagging in others (electronics), and where one has really caught on, the other has had some teething problems.

In the next year or so, I would expect there to be a rebalance where they have competitive electronics, and the industry as a whole really starts to get rolling on the brakes sides, and the demand will come, and the OEMs will follow.

But consumer pressure plays into it pretty big, as does the simple size of the product matrix.

SRAM Road Groups - Apex, Rival, Force, Red
Shimano Road Groups - Shimano, Claris, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra, Dura-Ace, Di2

That is hard to compete with, and then you factor in all of the other SRAM companies that we tend to forget about as roadies, RockShox, Avid, Zipp, TruVativ and QUARQ and it is safe to say that SRAM may be in a lull, but I don't think I'd use the word decline.

( FWIW, I ride SRAM these days after 2 decades on Shimano )
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Old 06-25-14, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
so are they for weight weenies?
Yes.

And for budget minded as they do come in cheaper.

And for me, as their shifter shape fits my hand best and I like the double tap mechanism and in my experience all three work well when properly installed and maintained. Well, four if you throw in microshift which I have a small bit of personal use with.
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Old 06-25-14, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
so are they for weight weenies?
sounds that way
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Old 06-25-14, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
i don't really have a clear idea what sram is for. shimano is the default and campag is the fancy stuff the fancy boys want above the hoi polloi. so what is sram for?

and before any sram fan boys accuse me of ignorance, you should accuse sram of not marketing itself more effectively so that they are better understood.
SRAM is for people that want good shifting and ergonomics and care more about riding than about status
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Old 06-25-14, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
but what market segment is it aiming at?
SRAM is just another choice out there for people who want an alternative to either Shimano or Campy. SRAM has a different ergonomic 'feel' than Shimano and Campy, and in many cases is comparable in both price and quality.

Which component group is spec'd on an OEM bike is done purely at the Manufacturer level; it's been that way for years. Availability and price point always drive Component Group choices at the Manufacturer level.
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Old 06-25-14, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by coasting View Post
but what market segment is it aiming at?
Cyclists
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Old 06-25-14, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dru_ View Post
SRAM Road Groups - Apex, Rival, Force, Red
Shimano Road Groups - Shimano, Claris, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra, Dura-Ace, Di2
( FWIW, I ride SRAM these days after 2 decades on Shimano )
Interesting point. Where do the corresponding rosters of their respective offerings line-up (approximately)? For example, does Apex=Tiagra, Rival=Ultegra, etc.?
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Old 06-25-14, 10:44 AM
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SRAM seem a tad too expensive. I mean, Force 22 is significantly more expensive than it's Shimano equivalent- Ultegra 6800.
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Old 06-25-14, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by IANative View Post
Interesting point. Where do the corresponding rosters of their respective offerings line-up (approximately)? For example, does Apex=Tiagra, Rival=Ultegra, etc.?
There is no 1 to 1 comparison. Apex is closer to 105 in performance and weight. Red is equivalent to Dura Ace. Force would be Ultegra
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Old 06-25-14, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
There is no 1 to 1 comparison. Apex is closer to 105 in performance and weight. Red is equivalent to Dura Ace. Force would be Ultegra
SRAM's claim when they brought out Red was that Force=Dura Ace, and Red was going a step above. Rival=Ultegra, Apex=105 on this scale.
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Old 06-25-14, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
There is no 1 to 1 comparison. Apex is closer to 105 in performance and weight. Red is equivalent to Dura Ace. Force would be Ultegra
This is pretty close IMO. Red is very much their high end, and it competes well with mechanical Dura Ace though it is priced closer to Ultegra than Dura-Ace. Rival is priced closer to 105, but performance and weight puts it in-line with Ultegra, While Apex sits between Tiagra and 105 in price but roughly equal to 105 in performance and weight. SRAM really has nothing in the Road lineup to compete with Claris and Sora, but you will find the occasional hybrid running SRAM parts from their mtn bike offerings where they to cover a broader section of the matrix.

That said, you can mix and match SRAM components a little easier than Shimano, so it isn't unusual to find RED shifters in use with Force deraillleurs.

Personally I find the SRAM kits easier to maintain and adjust, but the thing that sold me was the shifter. IT is such a little thing, but using a single lever for up and down shifters with the 'double-tap' just works cleaner for me. IT took about 40 miles in the saddle to overwrite years of Shimano muscle memory, but the end result is a smoother shift for me, and I shift ALOT. But the reality is that both products are VERY good, and it boils down to personal preference.
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Old 06-25-14, 11:04 AM
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Purely anecdotal, but in my circle, almost all the sram users have switched to shimano.
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Old 06-25-14, 11:14 AM
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Well, if you're going to use OEM bikes as a gauge, then Campy must be dead then, because there are almost no OEM bikes with Campy.

Sram isn't in decline. Mechanics, like cyclists, have their preferences, and it's not uncommon for one to make disparaging comments about a brand he or she does not like. I've heard mechanics rip on Shimano, Campy and Sram at various points. Sram is behind the ball with electronic and it took awhile to go to 11-speed. (Sram really ticked me off when it rolled out 11-speed less than a year after it unveiled its updated Red 10-speed and said it would not go to 11.)

But the company is far from dying. Don't forget, Sram also owns Avid, Truvativ, Rock Shox and Zipp. And Zipp just released new wheelset line that fixed the shortcomings of its previous wheelset lines and costs a whopping $3,600.
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