Sram vs Shimano…Can Shimano keep up?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Sram vs Shimano…Can Shimano keep up?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff Barber 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • #233000

    <p style=”text-align: center;”>I’ve noticed most top bike brands these days have sram eagle xo1 or xx components on their top models. Very few brands are using shimano xt or xtr on their top models. This has been beaten to death, but my preference goes to Shimano due to their brakes, but sram has them beat on gear range for sure with their 12 speeds. The introduction of the affordable gx eagle further cements their position. I have read a few articles stating predictions that Shimano is close to releasing their own 12 speed. If they do what they’re known for, this year they may release 12 speed xtr and next year and so forth xt and slx 12 speed. Thoughts?</p>

  • #233001

    I like Shimano brakes and sram brakes pretty equally. The sram gx eagle is definitely a game changer on the lower budget spectrum though.

    • #233002

      Totally agree; last year there was a lot of bikes specced with slx and xt, many of those models at those price points now come with gx eagle. Shimano is taking their sweet time.

  • #233017

    Well, one place where Shimano drivetrains currently have SRAM beat is on their pricing. I have a mostly SRAM 1×11 drivetrain, but when it came time to purchase a cassette, I bought a Shimano because it cost half as much for the same level of quality/weight. XT and XTR drivetrains are crazy cheap right now, especially if you order online from one of the UK retailers.

    And don’t forget, Shimano has an electric MTB drivetrain, and SRAM still does not. Coming up with a 1×12 system seems fairly trivial compared to designing an electric drivetrain. This fight is far from over. 🙂

  • #233018

    I have been a SRAM fan for more than a dozen years. It comes down to feel for me. SRAM shifting has always had a more distinct indent, “thunk” or whatever you wanna call it over Shimano. Shimano fans will tell you that big blue’s shifting is “smoother”, however to me it’s more vague. Whatever turns you on.

    That said, I definitely believe that SRAM has pulled ahead in the drivetrain wars. Their 1x systems are simple, durable and just plain work. They’ve brought the price down to levels accessible at just about all levels. The fact that Shimano’s initial response was the Di2 mountain groups with coordinated dual shifting tells one a lot about the designers at the helm. It is much more difficult to design simplicity than it is to make something more complex. Simplicity is more appealing hence why SRAM 1x systems have become ubiquitous. Even with Shimano’s rock bottom pricing (which has put the screws to the lbs) there are more SRAM-equipped bikes coming out.  SRAM is making manufacturers purchase entire Eagle groups which could hurt them, but that won’t last. Regardless, most bikes and companies have said okay and you’re seeing GX Eagle everywhere.

    Personally, I have XO1 Eagle on my bike and it works great. It has been troublefree and gives me more range than I generally will ever need. Prior to this, I had XO 11 speed, NX 11 speed, and a hacked XO 10 speed (Wolf Tooth 42t giant cog). All of them worked exceptionally well. One by drivetrains make sense. Party.

  • #233020

    For 1 x  drivetrains, I think there is no question that SRAM has Shimano beat for most people.   But I am also starting to see more and more 2x drivetrains returning on 2018 bikes.    Check out some of Trek’s Top Fuel and Procaliber bikes.     I also find the Shimano system easier to work with mechanically.  While the XD Driver is a nice concept, in practice, it just isn’t very refined to work on.    The first time I installed a SRAM cassette, there was so much friction in the rotating piece in the cassette, I couldn’t tell whether it was threading in or not.  I also couldn’t tell whether I was crossing threading.  Finally, I just had to blindly go for it hoping that the thing didn’t strip and thankfully it worked out.    But I know others who have stripped the threads.    I’ve also had to pull the cassette a few times to regrease contact points to eliminate creaking.

    I think for 2x drivetrains, I’d go back to Shimano for the cost and ease of maintenance.   Also, SRAM brakes are terrible.   I have a cheap set of Shimano MT 500s on one bike and SRAM TLs on another.  Everytime I switch bikes the differences is more than noticeable.

  • #233041

    @Jeff_Barber Shimano is definitely cheaper after market, but SRAM is way more aggressive on the OE front. Consider that they can offer a bike manufacturer everything under one umbrella, and they have way more leverage than Shimano. You can get a drivetrain, brakes, suspension, dropper post, wheels, bars, and stems from SRAM. Shimano’s catalog just isn’t that deep.

    If your bike comes stock with SRAM parts, you’re kind of locked into buying their stuff when it’s time to replace it. Take their Eagle cassettes for instance. SRAM is pretty much the only game in town for 12-speed cassettes currently. Sure, you might be able to find SunRace’s 12-speed cassette that fits on a Shimano driver, but if your bike came with a SRAM cassette then you have an XD driver. So if you want the SunRace cassette that means you need to source an XD driver for your particular wheels. Depending on what wheels/hubs you have it may not be a realistic option. Most people will just suck it up and pay the extra money for the SRAM cassette.

    SRAM doesn’t currently make an electric motor as Shimano does, however they do offer an e-bike specific drivetrain that can be paired with other motors. It’s their EX1 group: https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/family/ex1#sm.00000typeiozs4e1gw9i4j5dyabk5

  • #233045

    What are you all talking about? SRAM doesn’t even make fresh -or- saltwater reels! 😉

    –sorry, MTB and fisherman here…..I’ll go back to my corner now.

  • #233055

    @JeffBarber: “And don’t forget, Shimano has an electric MTB drivetrain, and SRAM still does not. Coming up with a 1×12 system seems fairly trivial compared to designing an electric drivetrain.”

    I’ll defer to Einstein on this… “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

    Yeah, I have ridden Di2 equipped bikes (XTR, Dura Ace) and they do work. I don’t want them on my bikes though. They add more complexity and IMHO without added benefit. My rule with pretty much everything is Combine procedures/efforts/steps, Eliminate those procedures/efforts/steps that are unnecessary, Simplify everything and Enhance the result/experience. If a product or technique doesn’t do this I lose interest.

    • #233058

      @dr Sweets: I agree. Di2 isn’t for me, but some people are really into it. I’ll take simplicity and reliability over complexity any day.

  • #233069

    Yeah, I have ridden Di2 equipped bikes (XTR, Dura Ace) and they do work. I don’t want them on my bikes though. They add more complexity and IMHO without added benefit.

    Going to have to -strongly- disagree on this. I’ve had my Di2 for two seasons now and have had to futz and fuss over it far less than my other manual derailleurs. — FAR less. I charge it once in April, then maybe again in August and that’s about it. No re-indexing, barrel adjustments blah, blah, blah.

    I think this “Di2 is soooo complex” (hand to head swoon) mantra is empty hyperbole – at least from what I’ve experienced from my bike and club members’ rides.

    …my 0000002 cents.

  • #233071

    @RobertDobbs: ”

    Going to have to -strongly- disagree on this. I’ve had my Di2 for two seasons now and have had to futz and fuss over it far less than my other manual derailleurs. — FAR less. I charge it once in April, then maybe again in August and that’s about it. No re-indexing, barrel adjustments blah, blah, blah.

    I think this “Di2 is soooo complex” (hand to head swoon) mantra is empty hyperbole – at least from what I’ve experienced from my bike and club members’ rides.

    …my 0000002 cents.”

    I did not say that Di2 doesn’t work or isn’t reliable. However, it’s more effort than I want to mess with. I can make the same claim on 1x SRAM groups I’ve had. One set up and that was basically it. Then maybe even more important for me is the feel which as I stated earlier I prefer the “clunkier” SRAM tactile sense. Whatever turns you on so can ride on. Right on.

     

     

     

  • #233090

    I did not say that Di2 doesn’t work or isn’t reliable. However, it’s more effort than I want to mess with. I can make the same claim on 1x SRAM groups I’ve had. One set up and that was basically it. Then maybe even more important for me is the feel which as I stated earlier I prefer the “clunkier” SRAM tactile sense. Whatever turns you on so can ride on. Right on.

     

    Thanks for clarification…..for a second there I thought you and Jeff were going to start extolling the advantages of Model A’s and Penny Farthings as well! 😉

  • #233096

    for a second there I thought you and Jeff were going to start extolling the advantages of Model A’s and Penny Farthings as well!

    Haha, well I’m sticking with what I said. 🙂 Did you install the Di2 drivetrain yourself? I can’t even understand what parts I would need to order to assemble a working drivetrain! Last time I researched it, there were more than half a dozen different pieces. Plus, I feel like troubleshooting would be more difficult, but I guess it’s possible to learn how to do just like anything else.

    As for the reliability bit, I will soften my stance a bit and say “perceived reliability.” I’ve ridden a couple bikes equipped with Di2 and they worked fine, but my mind was constantly filled with what-ifs. Sounds like you and your buddies have found it to be really reliable, but I’m not fully convinced that it is as reliable as a traditional, mechanical drivetrain. Mechanical systems have been tested and abused by millions of riders over decades, and therefore (in my mind, anyway) their level of reliability is well documented and understood.

    But thanks for being an early adopter–there’s a very good chance we’ll all be saying you were right in a few years when electric drivetrains are even better and more affordable.

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