Recently on the Noxubee hills trails, a stick decided to destroy my rear derailluer. I had the Shimano Alivio 9speed and I’m not sure I wanna go back to that. So gonna be looking to upgrade the entire drivetrain probably from front to back. I know that is gonna be kinda costly, but I’m trying to figure out if I want to keep with a Shimano setup or go to a SRAM set up. I’ve had the low end drivetrains from both of these companies on previous bikes but never really noticed a difference between the two.
Are there any advantages/disadvantages between either the Shimano or SRAM drivetrains?
And what would be a good level of drivetrain to upgrade to? Shimano XT or SRAM x9? or go all out with the Shimamo XTR or SRAM XX1(which would get transferrred to a new bike when I buy a 29er frame and wheels in the future)?
Main questions are besides brand preference, which is a better setup?
I’ve run both Shimano and Sram–even mixed and matched the two in the same drivetain on the same bike. Both work well. I’ve had both XT and XTR along with Sram X9. Unless you have no money concerns and are a gram-counting xc racer, I wouldn’t go "all out." There is a huge price increase for very little wight savings and possibly even a durability penalty. I had a XTR rear derailleur as stock on the last bike I bought and within a couple months, broke the carbon fiber cage on it. I replaced it with an XT which has performed just as well for half the cost. I suspect there would be a similar relationship between the two Sram components at the top of their respective lines.
For Shimano: I have all XT on both of my bikes (all but the cranks, I’m using SLX on both), but SLX isn’t bad either. Both series come with 2-way release and detachable gear indicators. Biggest difference is the weight and you can shift more gears with one push on a XT-shifter (Not even sure, if this fact is stil right, after the latest changes).
Can’t say anything about SRAM, since I never used it
I agree with skibum on all accounts. Another thing to consider is new technology from both manufacturer’s to reduce chain slap. I am currently on a SRAM XX drivetrain (which doesn’t have Type 2 even on the 2013 model) but my next upgrade will definitely have one of these technologies. I’ve only heard good things about them – lots of head to head reviews out there.
I can’t find Shimano’s official page for Shadow Plus but there’s no shortage of info on other sites
My suggestion would be to look into the Shimano SLX components. If you get the ‘shadow plus’ RD, then you have what I consider to be the best value for your dollar. The higher end shimano stuff may weigh less, but there isn’t much difference in performance (from my experience, others may have seen different results)
You didn’t mention X0 in your post. SRAM X0 is my favorite drivetrain, but is pretty comparable to Shimano XT.
Also, as someone mentioned above, you’ve gotta get one of the new clutch derailleurs. Recently had to replace a SRAM XX with a SRAM X0 Type 2 derailleur on a test rig and the Type 2 is amazing!! I don’t think I’ve dropped a chain yet, and I’m riding a hardtail. VERY HIGHLY recommended.
Shimano does have their own version of a clutch, called Shadow Plus.