Shimano Vs. SRAM Drivetrain?

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    • #194139

      I am looking to buy a new full suspension bike.  I consider myself to be an intermediate to slightly technical rider who would like to do more that what I can do with my dated Klein Attitude hardtail.  There are an immense number of options out there for frames and suspension, and I have been researching them and I have a pretty good idea of what I want.  Now the $64,000 question is what drivetrain to go with????  I am not completely sold on a 1X11 or a 1X10 as I think that needing to use a chain guide to keep your chain on the front chainring when at either end of the cassette is very poor engineering.  Unfortunately, it would appear that if I want to buy a new bike, that 95% of them come with one of these drivetrains.  That being said, which one is best???  Shimano???  SRAM???

    • #194142

      I prefer sram.  After riding both, sram has a more snappy feeling to me which i really love.  Also you dont necessarily need a chain guide in a one by set up if you are using a narrow wide, athoulgh i like the chain guides that provide a bash gaurd.

    • #194143

      the general consensus is Sram, that being said I have never run anything other than Shimano and never had an issue.


      1×10 or 1×11 with narrow-wide chain ring and a clutched derailleur you should not need a chain guide..  and again, I have not tried it, I am running 1×9 (no clutched derailleurs available for 9 speed) and I do run a cheap clamp on chain guide, but I do not think I really need it.

    • #194187

      To be perfectly honest, I don’t think you should sweat that decision too much.  I have owned 5 bikes, most of which have run both at one time or another.  I have done long term demos/reviews on dozens more bikes and have hundreds of miles on both.

      Bottom line:  they both make quality drivetrains.  Personally, I generally have a slight preference for SRAM but would never turn my nose up at Shimano.

      Rather than concern yourself with which brand, I recommend looking for the best deal you can get.  Study the levels  of drivetrain available (i.e. slx/xt/xtr etc by shimano, gx/x0/xx etc by SRAM) and find which level in each group corresponds to which in the other group.  The go for the best available deal in the level of component you want.

    • #194204

      I prefer Sram. All my bikes are Sram. I run a 1×10 on my fat bike and have a n/w chainring. I have not had a problem with it in 6 months of riding. The Sram  feels more snappy to me also. That being said I would not base my decision on the d/t that was on the bike. Shimano makes some great stuff. It is a personal preference.

    • #194231

      I rode Shimano for years and never gave it another thought. Had friends that rode SRAM. So this past winter I switched over to a 1×10 set up with SRAM shifter and rear derailleur. I am not sure I will ever go back to Shimano. Like said above the shifting is crisper and in general seems smother and tighter. I have loved the change over. Just my 2 cents. I run a N/W raceface crank and front chain ring 30 tooth. I don’t use a chain guide and have not needed one after almost 500 miles this year. I run this setup on a hardtail.

    • #194370

      I was also a Shimano man for a number of years before switching over to SRAM with my latest bike. I have about 500 miles on the SRAM stuff and, as others have said, SRAM has a nice, light feel at the lever and has been fairly reliable (I’m running XO FWIW). That said, I’m likely to go back to Shimano when my current SRAM runs its course because I’m starting to think Shimano has a little better long term reliability. I’ve gone through a cassette and two chains (SRAM) much sooner than I thought I would. I don’t remember Shimano burning out that quick. And just to reiterate what others have said, with a narrow-wide (N/W) tooth profile on the front ring and a clutch rear der., you DO NOT need a chain guide. Remember though, dropped chains can also happen on set ups with a very wide (11 or 12 speed) cassette paired with a small front ring (28, 30t) due to poor chain alignment. This is, in part, why SRAM made the 1×12 Eagle: not just for more gears out back, but to run a larger front ring (34t or more) and get the same “climb” gearing now with better chain alignment. It sounds like you’d be happy with whatever you end up getting and not knowing what your budget is, I’d try either SRAM GX if your looking for a good, cheap option or Shimano XT 1×11. That said, Shimano XT 2×10 was one of my favorite drivetrains ever made. It lasted forever and NEVER failed and I have no doubt they’re out there heavily discounted. Check your LBS!

    • #194553

      I totally agree with John..  You are getting a great drivetrain no matter what you go with. I’ve run shimano most of the time I’ve ridden (lx, xt, xtr..) and just put a new XO1 Sram drive train on my new bike. For my first time running Sram on an MTB, I love it. In my mind, that is what I would put on my next bike as well but, then again, I loved the last bike I had with XTR as well!

      Look for the great build. The great deal.  Don’t let the brands get in your way of a great ride!

    • #194748


      SRAM and Shimano are in a dead heat quality & price wise.  I speak from extensive experience.

      One important detail…SRAM 11 speed cassettes start at 10t and require an XD drivetrain.  Shimano starts at 11t and fits the same old cassette body we’ve been running forever.  SRAM and Shimano components are not interchangeable piece by piece as they once were.  Not a huge deal if you are happy with SRAM but for those with an overflowing spare parts box, or a backup rear wheel, or bargain bin shoppers it could be an issue.

    • #195179

      I have a 22 year old Cannondale rigid mtb with a 3×9 Shimano Alvio drivetrain that still works almost flawlessly today.  The next bike I bought happen to have a SRAM X1 1×11 drivetrain.  Its awesome. I don’t think you can go wrong with either, but I’m really in love with the simplicity, capability and performance of my 1×11 SRAM setup.  It’s a full suspension 11 speed and it’s not that much slower than my 27 speed hardtail.  Granted, it’s got 26″ wheels!


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