SRAM shifter problems

HonestAl Posts: 406
edited February 2010 in Workshop
Help, I'm just about to give up on SRAM but thought I'd give it one last try with you guys before I bin them, Couple of years ago I bought a Trek XO2, equipped with SRAM Rival gears. First new bike for years. Since then I've bought a couple more bikes, both of which have Shimano gears (one Ultegra, one Dura Ace / Ultegra mix)
My problem is that no amount of adjustment will make the SRAM gears behave as I'd imagine they're capable of doing given the good press they receive.

On the front it's a challenge to get from the small ring to the large ring. I know the SRAM upshift is a "one shot" effort and I CAN do it, but it's far, far more diffficult than on the Shimano gears. Essentially I have to take all pressure off the pedals and very gently turn them over to get it to change up. Plus the intermediate "trim" position doesn't work, just drops straight from big ring to small ring and no slight shift of the cage.

I can get the back set up so it shifts from high to middle gears OK, but the effort involved in getting it into the lower few gears is far greater than I'm sure it should be. To the extent that, for example, if my missus was to ride it, there's no way her fingers are strong enough to push it into the lowest couple of gears. Which makes me think that the cable tension is too high, or I've got the lower stop set wrong, but it doesn't seem so, it WILL go, but it requires a lot of pressure.

After I'd owned it about a year I took it back to the shop from whence it came, who charged me a pretty penny, explaining that it needed all new cables, plus chain, plus cassette. Bit surprised as I hadn't used it a whole lot (having bought one of the other bikes about 4 months later and ridden it almost exclusively) but I guess it was their standard MO for a service - change everything you can get away with doing - note to self: won't be going back to them again. Took it home and found little or no difference to the gear changing on either front or back (they clearly HAD put a new chain and cassette on, and assuming the cables were new, they'd have had to readjusted it I presume)

Since then I've had numerous attempts to sort things, never with much success (I can make it much worse and get back to where I am now) Conversely if and when any adjustment is needed I can always get the Shimano gears pretty much spot on. Nothing in the gearset is bent or visibly broken, nothing's been "bashed".

I'm not looking to open a "SRAM is crap, Campag is the answer to a maiden's prayer" nor "I love SRAM" debate, just looking to see if (a) anyone else has had difficulties with setting up SRAM gears, and / or (b) any great practical ideas that I might be overlooking.

I'm really reluctant to remove what's reputedly a good set of kit (is it? See lots of stuff about Force and Red but less about Rival) but it's spoiling the bike.

Thanks for your suggestions in advance
"The only absolute statement is that everything is relative" - anon


  • rake
    rake Posts: 3,204
    oil the shifters. the older rival had the trim on the smaller ring so it will go down a gear. the latter version has the trim on the big gear.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    If you've had a go with no luck and the first LBS basically sold you down the line, then I'd be tempted to try another shop.

    Unless anyone on here can suggest what's up.

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
  • I use SRAM Rival 2009 and don't have any of the problems you have described. I moved from Shimano to SRAM and prefer it. It sounds like the shop have set it up badly.

    SRAM does require a different set up from Shimano so it might be worth finding a LBS that sell SRAM bikes (not the one you first went to) and getting them to take a look.
  • Hi Al
    Have a look at these 2 pdf on sram set up they may help.
    Its hard to say what the problem is without seeing it but it could be the way the inner cable is fitted on the rear mech on sram it sort of loops round the mech if the shop has fitted it wrong it may pull so far then just not have enough leverage for the last couple of gears.If you live anywhere near me(leeds) i could take a look . :D ... ev%20B.pdf ... __1_06.pdf
  • I had a load of shifting problems when I first got my boardman.after taking it back 4 times they found out the chain was twisted.they replaced the chain and I've had no other problems with the rival shifters.don't know if this could relate to the trouble your having. But it's worth a look.
    oh my god not another hill !!!
  • HonestAl
    HonestAl Posts: 406
    Thanks for the replies guys. And thanks even more for the offer Murraymint. Sadly I live "darn sahf" so I can't take you up on your offer.

    I'd almost got to the end of my tether earlier this week and came close to deciding to replace the gears. I then remembered that I'd bought a spare rear derailleur (they were being sold cheap at the end of 2008 when the set was upgraded for 2009) Before I threw a shedload of money at the problem, or went to try to find another SRAM shop further afield I thought I'd have a go at swapping it for the one on the bike to see if it made a difference.

    Other than abject failure at removing the power link on the chain, I changed it over and set it up without too much difficulty. I've got to say that I have no real idea why but the "push like crazy" factor to get into the lowest gears seems to have gone. To be fair I've not really had a chance to ride the bike in anger this week (old war wound, well, OK, backache, getting in the way) but initial results are positive.

    Of course it's made no difference to the front change, but it was the back that concerned me most. I can only imagine that at some stage I'd given the rear a whack and bent it, not enough to be visible to the naked eye, but enough to make a difference.

    Fingers crossed that's sorted it.

    Now all I've got to do is learn how to remove a SRAM power link (seen endless videos and either the guys doing it have the fingers of the Terminator, or the links on youtube have been on and off a thousand times and it's only luck that's stopping them coming apart every time the bike hits a bump :D )

    "The only absolute statement is that everything is relative" - anon