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  1. #1
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    SRAM drivetrains

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    I was reading a review of the SRAM Rival in Bicycling and my interest was definitely piqued. I currently have 105/Ultegra (rear deraileur and cassette only) but had been contemplating upgrading to Ultegra SL at some point. SRAM Rival is cheaper and about the same weight. Not that I really care about weight. I don't really know why I want to change my drivetrain so don't ask.

    I thought I read you can run the SRAM mountain cassettes on their road drivetrains, this would be a major advantage so I could have a climbing cassette for trips to the mountains or hill country. Anyone know if that is true? Anyone a fan of the SRAM drivetrains? I probably won't upgrade for some time since it is about $900-1000 without the labor but it is a thought now.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  2. #2
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    I was surprised to hear one of my local shop guys say he toasted a SRAM red chain in something like 500 miles. They're pricey to only last that long. However, that's *all* I know about it
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CA_in_NC View Post
    I was surprised to hear one of my local shop guys say he toasted a SRAM red chain in something like 500 miles. They're pricey to only last that long. However, that's *all* I know about it

    My guess is SRAM Red is light like Shimano Dura Ace. The LBS said they see Dura Ace and SRAM Red snap like uncooked pasta because they make it lighter but that takes out strength. Phil Liggett is always talking about how flimsy these new light chains are.

    Myself? I run a 105 or Ultegra (now) chain and don't stretch it until about 4-5k. Ran the factory chain on my Fuji for over 5k, changed the factory one on my Cannondale at about 5k. I am not a masher or too heavy so my chains like me a bit plus I keep my bike pretty clean and we have nice weather here. DH can go about 4-5k on Dura Ace because he is methodical about cleaning and lubing the chain. We go through way more lube than other people on this board say they do but less chains and cassettes, at least for our road bikes. He has over 10k on his bike and it now on chain number 3 but factory cassette.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  4. #4
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    The good thing about SRAM is that each component level is supposed to have the same mechanical feel and performance. So basically when you upgrade, you're mostly upgrading in weight. I guess the cranksets might get stiffer. But Rival should feel a lot like Red. Ultegra and 105 don't feel anything like Dura Ace, except maybe in front derailleurs. The shifter throw varies. Rear shifting and braking are also noticeably different. That said, Ultegra SL is supposed to be more like how SRAM does things: It's supposed to be functionally equivalent to Dura-Ace (at least DA 7800...I don't know much about 7900 other than it's way out of my price range!), but a bit heavier. As far as overall quality goes (maybe stiffness where it counts, bling-factor, and definitely weight), I've seen Ultegra SL and Force generally put on the same plane, though Rival is definitely above 105.

    I think that between Rival and Ultegra SL, I'd lean towards Ultegra SL. I think that you could do some mixing and matching now for really cheap. Get some Ultegra SL parts but throw in some DA7800 while it's all on sale.

    As for the mountain cassettes, I hadn't heard that. I know you can get a pretty good spread in the cassettes (up to 28t) with the road drivetrains, but I don't know about going higher than that without a longer cage rear derailleur.

  5. #5
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    SRAM's website says the Rival RD only goes up to 27T, same as 105/Ultegra; Red and Force accept 28T.

    Also, do you need a slightly longer cage when you have a triple up front? Since SRAM doesn't do a triple crank, might that be an issue?
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
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    Eh there you go Sundial. I live in the rollers and can't climb when we get to the big guys. I want a one size fits all solution.

    I will upgrade the entire drivetrain if I ever upgrade. New shifters, deraileurs, chain rings, cranks. So what is on my Cannondale now is a moot point as far as upgrading.

    Really I like the 105, it shifts clean for me and since I have never rode anything better I am happy with it. But I was hoping to be able to quickly change my cassette for traveling. Darn, I really want life easy and my brain doesn't comprehend that I can't have everything my way! Now I just need to a bike for the hills instead. Probably be easier to invest in a Bike Friday for my travels than wanting my Cannondale to be a do anything bike.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  7. #7
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    In the meantime, you can use a SRAM 11-28 or 12-28 cassette with your Shimano drivetrain. It might be best to use a SRAM chain on it, but Shimano or KMC would be compatible. To use a Shimano 11-27 or 28T cassette, you need to go DA7900 with the cassette and RD and spend a million dollars.

    Yes, if you have a triple, the RD is a longer cage, but I think it still has the same range limitations as the SS RD in the same component series.

    To put even more confusion out there, you could make the leap to the new Super Record 11 speed. Or just go Campy all the way. I believe some RDs may accept up to a 29t cog? But honestly, between 27 and 29 you aren't changing by many gear inches when in the little ring, so the difference may not really be that noticeable (if you really want a MTB cassette, then 27-29 cogs could all feel the same: too hard).
    Last edited by aicabsolut; 11-17-2008 at 02:38 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie_Ama View Post
    My guess is SRAM Red is light like Shimano Dura Ace. The LBS said they see Dura Ace and SRAM Red snap like uncooked pasta because they make it lighter but that takes out strength. Phil Liggett is always talking about how flimsy these new light chains are.
    I'm with Phil. I'm on my 3rd 1090R chain since I got the group earlier in the year. None of them broke, but they all stretched pretty fast. If I weren't switching to a new bike/group in December, I'd be replacing my current chain soon. I was lucky enough to get a really good discount when I got my group, so I've had spares, but once I start paying normal retail, I'll be getting something else. Granted, I ride a LOT, but I'd like them to last a bit longer!

    Other than the chain, I've got nothing bad to say about my Red group. I have ridden around a little on a bike with the new Rival stuff, and it does feel remarkably similar to Red.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

    Brick House Blog

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
    In the meantime, you can use a SRAM 11-28 or 12-28 cassette with your Shimano drivetrain. It might be best to use a SRAM chain on it, but Shimano or KMC would be compatible. To use a Shimano 11-27 or 28T cassette, you need to go DA7900 with the cassette and RD and spend a million dollars.
    I changed from a stock 12-25 to a 12-27 and saw a slightly noticeable change but it was what I expected, I felt like I could spin just a tiny bit further not all the way up. LBS doesn't like running SRAM 28's on the Shimano, they thing it really compromises the shifting that I am happy with. They felt if I am really happy with 105 (I am because I have never rode anything better) I might start to dislike it with the 28. They would do it but really 27 or 28?

    Where I live it is overkill to have a triple with mountain gearing but I hit the hills enough (once a month in the spring/summer/fall) to wish I could easily swap the cassettes but until I learn to do some real bike maintenance I can't do it myself since I will need to swap RDs too.

    So I will either have to bite the bullet and put a mountain drivetrain on my bike. Or maybe I just need to build up a climbing bike, a drivetrain switch would be about half the cost of my bike and there really isn't a one size fits all solution for rollers vs mountains (okay other than morphing into a mountain goat). Of course the reason I started thinking about the SRAM is I wouldn't mind upgrading my 105 to find a smoother shifting even though I keep my 105 tuned and it shifts great, I really don't know what I am missing and just assume Ultegra or something else would be better. Of course maybe I should just leave well enough alone, I like 105 why figure out I like the expensive stuff better? I am a cheap repair case right now and happy, that should be reason enough not to change!
    Last edited by Aggie_Ama; 11-18-2008 at 05:55 AM.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  10. #10
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    I can definitely see you noticing the jump between 25 and 27. But between 27 and 28? Not so much. The larger you go, you need more of a tooth difference to get as big of a jump in gear inches as you do in smaller cogs. Does that make sense? You can look on the Sheldon Brown gear calculator, plug in your little ring size and then compare the gear inches for a 25, 27, and 28 cog.

    I don't think you will have any shifting problems putting on a 28 with Shimano. You will need a slight adjustment of the rear derailleur perhaps, but it's definitely compatible. I've ridden both sram 12-28 (with shimano) and shimano 12-27, and the shifting is fine. Now I would use a SRAM or KMC chain with a SRAM cassette, but those work with 105 fine. I've heard that SRAM chains don't mate super well with FSA cranks.

    I don't think you'll notice a big jump in shifting ease in the front between Ultegra and 105 on a triple drivetrain. Most of the issues getting a triple to shift cleanly has to do with the nature of the triple more than the front derailleur. I have moved from 105 to Ultegra on the front with a compact, and they perform the same. I have noticed a difference with Dura-Ace, but I think some of that has to do with the Dura-Ace STI levers (different throw force and throw length). BUT you may notice you have better shifting with a stiffer crankset, particularly under load. I can't really judge Ultegra triples (my friend has one that works just fine), but I know that there's a big difference in feel between Dura-Ace and 105 from my personal experience. Shifting is crisper. The biggest difference, especially for triples, would be in the feel--the power transfer and acceleration feel. So maybe you'd get hooked on better components, but they aren't necessary if you're happy with 105.

    As for your mountains dilemma, I know exactly what you mean. I live in an area where I do just fine with a 50/36 and a 12-27. I can even travel nearby and hit some more hills. It also serves me well for racing in my area. Sometimes, we like to take training camps to the mountains, and I run out of gears and stress my knees climbing for 7+ miles with some grades in the high teens to 20s. My plan was to build a training bike. In case I didn't have the cash for more wheels (and since I'm pretty maxed out on the cassette anyway like you), I thought I'd just go with a 50/34. The little ring would be obnoxious for flatter training, but I'd have a good range for the 50. It could give me that little bit of push I need to keep my RPMs up when the grades increase. But now I've been offered a frame that would be better for racing, and I'm even considering a standard crankset. I may buy a 34t ring for my other crankset in that case and just put it on the couple times a year I hit the mountains. If I was going once a month, then it'd be on there for good. So maybe the climbing bike would be worth the cost.

    In that case, you could even stick with Shimano and use a lot of parts from your current bike and still upgrade your "good" bike if you want.

    If you stay away from carbon fiber levers etc. the highest end cassette and chain, you can still be in the cheap repairs range. For the crankset, you may eventually want to change rings. High end rings are more expensive, but it's not like a $700 carbon fiber finish RD (DA7900 or SuperRecord). Maybe put a compact double on the current bike and move the triple stuff to the climbing rig. The possibilities are endless.

    I agree having a backup bike sounds like the best for your needs because you don't want to be swapping your derailleur once a month, and it doesn't seem like you need rear mountain gearing the rest of the time.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2008
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    You will not be able to run a SRAM "mountain" cassette on an otherwise "road" SRAM drivetrain. The road drivetrain is designed for a 10 speed cassette. Mountain cassettes are all 9 speed. This means the space between the cogs is different between the two cassettes, and your road shifters will not move the derailleur the correct amount each shift for the mountain cassette. Hope that makes sense.

    I build up a lot of Shimano Ultegra SL bikes and have done a few SRAM. That being said, I really really like SRAM. What I really like as far as women are concerned are the brifters. The shape of them really works well for small hands, and the reach to the brake levers is very adjustable. This means for small hands you can bring the brake lever in quite close to the handlebar.

    Shimano offers their short reach 10-speed road brifters (the R700), but they tend to not be standard equipment on stock bikes. Also, the shape of the brifter hood can be a bit much for little hands. They are large.

    The only drawback for women roadies (imo) with SRAM is if you want to run a triple road crank. They aren't available (yet).

  12. #12
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    I'm with lunacycles

    mtn= 9spd
    rd=10spd (current high end shimano and all sram)

    so technically it doesn't work but I always wonder if there is a way.
    Thanks TE! You pushed me half way over!
    http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/seagull08/tnguyen

  13. #13
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    so technically it doesn't work but I always wonder if there is a way.
    There's always a way! If you want to run your mountain gearing with high end road shifters, you can do so with Campy 10-sp road shifters and rear derailleur and an otherwise Shimano or SRAM 9-sp drivetrain (double or triple)--cassette, cranks, front derailleur. You will have a "ghost" click on the right hand shifter and it is a little finicky to set up, but it does work. Warning, Campy will not warranty their parts if you mix and match like this.

    Here's my "cyclocross" bike--it's actually a mish-mash bike for mountain goating around my old neighborhood near Nederland, CO (all dirt and all hills): Campy Chorus Ergo shifters, Campy Triple rear derailleur, XTR front derailleur, XT cassette and crank. Works like butter.

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  14. #14
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    FYI, IRD does make an 10 speed, 11/34 casette, as that is what is spec'd on the 08 terry isis sport: http://www.terrybicycles.com/cycling...isissport.html

    I have no experience with it to know how well it works, but it appears to be an option.

  15. #15
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    Margo I like that picture!
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

 

 

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