Groupset quandary...

markmod
markmod Posts: 501
edited November 2011 in Road buying advice
Hi all,

I am in a bit of a quandary at the moment. I am off to Provence area of France net year to ride the Alps / ventoux, and I have a Bianchi via nirone 7 that I am going to pack and take with me.

My quandary is that the groupset on the bike is the campag mirage, xenon mix at the moment. It has a more plasticy feel rather than exuding quality. This has done very few miles but has played up a number of times (and is still playing up) slipping out of index either on the rear dérailleur or as now the front derailleur. Whilst this can be put right I am losing faith with this bottom of the range groupset. The last thing I want is to be let down in France on my hols next year. Although this is a compact the cassette on this is a mountain unfriendly 11-25 I believe.

So looking around I was interested in Athena 11 speed carbon/ black for the bianchi (my summer bike has chorus 11 speed which is superb) this would mean I can obviously swap wheels/ cassettes as needed. This groupset is the more expensive choice (even without having to buy new wheel) but will work great with my 11-29 cassette I have.

However I have now seen SRAM Apex with its even more mountain friendly lovely 11-32 cassette and it's available at a great price too. However it's a lower spec groupset again, but in its favour apparently Contador won the Giro, sporting a mix of this groupset... So he has no beef with it :D (sorry couldn't resist that!)

However this would also necessitate buying MORE WHEELS to work with SRAM (as My others are campag) but will be great for spinning up those mountains in France, once I get used to double.

What do you think. I am keen not to spend ridiculous money, as this will be my winter/ travel bike and will be at the mercy of the English winter, and the gentle touch of the airline baggage handler, but want to have some reliability.

Comments

  • ajb72
    ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    Have you considered Campagnolo Veloce as an alternative? Not quite the bling factor of Athena 11, but utterly reliable and many bargains to be had on tinterweb. It will last years and save a good few pounds into the bargain.

    Not a big SRAM fan personally - it all works well enough but I find the gear levers a bit plasticy feeling.
  • BBH
    BBH Posts: 476
    He he!! At least you have no 'beef' with contador and the giro win (sorry!!)

    You will probably get a million different answers to this question. As opposed the ajb I really am not a fan of campag and have ridden shimano sora, 105, ultegra and SRAM rival and force.

    IMO, I love the way SRAM shifts and feels and favour it above shimano. However, shimano are also a good groupset and equally capable and you will find only small differences between shifting at a 105 level and above.

    I would say SRAM apex would be a great way to go and have only heard good things. Combine an 11-32 with a compact set-up and I would imagine you will have no problems (as its basically a MTB set-up).

    You are obvioulsy not happy with your current set-up so even if it is a winter/travel bike, having a g/set change may not be a bad thing as it will at least make you happier and more likely to ride the bike and if you decide for more mountain trips, you will be prepared.

    Regarding new wheels, look at this way - new wheels are able to be put on another frame so go for a really nice pair for the trip. You may be able to convert to shimano/sram on your stock wheels or just sell them to fund the above purchase??

    Lastly, someone will soon be along to say 'italian frame = italian g/set'

    Good luck in your choice and let us know what you go for
    2012 Scott Foil 10 (Shimano dura ace) - in progress
    2011 Cervelo S2 (SRAM Red/Force)
    2011 Cannondale Caad 10 (Shimano 105)

    "Hills Hurt, Couches Kill!!"
    Twitter: @MadRoadie
  • fleshtuxedo
    fleshtuxedo Posts: 1,853
    Why don't you take your summer bike?
  • rc856
    rc856 Posts: 1,144
    Why don't you take your summer bike?

    +1
    If I was doing a trip like that (lucky you), I'd want my best bike to ride.
    Spend some money on a good bike bag/box instead 8)
  • markmod
    markmod Posts: 501
    Yes that's an option, I have just bought an evoc bike bag for the trip, so sorted there. The mrs to be fair said the above too. I'm just worried that it will get damaged in transit, although I will wrap the hell out of it with bubble wrap anyway. Perhaps my fears are ungrounded, but on my first cycle holiday I witnessed one of our group having a big dent 'added' to her pink planet x bikes top tube. I have always hired since then. This will be my first 'pack and cycle'.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    To be fair you could damage your summer bike in a crash at the local bike cafe.

    You dont get racers going abroad and taking their winter bikes for fear of damage. Pack it well and it will be fine. My carbon bike has flown a dozen times in a soft bag and its been fine.
  • Another plus one for the summer bike. A trip like that really merits the best bike you have...
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • markmod
    markmod Posts: 501
    I'm no racer unfortunatley. Thanks for thoughts here.
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    My choice would be made by thinking about the long term consequences of running that groupset. If you already have Campag 11 speed then as you have already mentioned the interchangability of wheels is a positive. Also think of tools, if you are all Campag 11 speed then you only have to buy one set of tools(some of which are quite expensive for 11 speed) You'll also gain a greater amount of user knowledge for your chosen brand. There is also nothing stopping you taking off the old group, cleaning and carefully storing it then putting it back on if you sell the bike on. Regardless of brand loyalty I would go for the Athena group.
  • markmod
    markmod Posts: 501
    Yes I did think about ensuing the old groupset, I say old but it nearly as new, save some chain rub on the inner ring.

    I must admit I do crave the Campag athena but also love the idea of a 11-32 for the SRAM. I understand the double tap will take some getting used to, but with some miles in I should be able to swap nicely between mindset for both I reckon.

    Seems a bit overkill to have two sets of fulcrums, one for campag and the other for SRAM...
  • rc856
    rc856 Posts: 1,144
    Get a Centaur cassette with a 29 tooth sprocket for £40 odd.
    I've done Ventoux on 39/29 and suffered but was in the Pyrenees and did Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden etc on 34/29 and it was fine considering I don't get out as much as I'd like.
  • pilot_pete
    pilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    Just posted on another thread of my bad experience with 2009 Centaur shifting. It was never good, always seemingly not indexed correctly despite changes of cables, hangar and strip and rebuilt of the lever.

    As soon as I changed to Chorus there was no looking back. Absolutely sublime, so I now consider Chorus to be the minimum level I would ever fit to a road bike. Record would probably be my ideal choice when I win the lottery!! :mrgreen:

    PP
  • ads77
    ads77 Posts: 57
    As already said, you'll get loads of different opinions on this.... I have had 105, SRAM rival and now use campag Athena. I have found the campag to be far far better... Alot smoother and tighter than the others. However, alot depends on how you get on with the hoods and the different types of shifting. Some people don't like the campag thumb button whereas I do.

    I would say have a play with the different types of shifting and see which one works for you.

    Ads.
  • I see no reason why your current setup shouldn't work flawlessly. If it doesn't, probably you are dealing with a bad mechanic.
    Xenon and the likes are less durable than the higher spec groupsets, but if treated well, they can outlive an Athena mistreated by a long mile...
    I have had in my hands some 1990s Mirage shifters still flawless and I still have an Avanti (like modern Xenon) derailleur which is as good as a Record.
    You can spend a lot of money and fit an Athena groupset, but if it's the same person to fit it, you'll end up with the same problems.
    Save your money and change mechanic, that's my advice

    PS: all this bullxxxt about the feel of the levers and how precise a top end groupset is as comaperd to another is meant to part you from your hard earned cash.
    An electronic groupset is more accurate than a cable operated one, fact... the cable operated ones are all the same, just some are built with better materials and better machining tolerance, hence they tend to last longer... but only if treated well
    left the forum March 2023
  • I see no reason why your current setup shouldn't work flawlessly. If it doesn't, probably you are dealing with a bad mechanic.

    + 1.

    I've got a mix of Xenon, Veloce and Mirage on my commuter and it works fine, if set up properly it is a decent relatively cheap set up, have a play around with the set up and should work with no problems. Admittedly Athena is a much better groupset, feels much better quality throughout but I find the mix on my commuter does a comparable job.

    As for the trip, take the best bike you'll regret it if you don't, just get a decent bike box.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    Just posted on another thread of my bad experience with 2009 Centaur shifting. It was never good, always seemingly not indexed correctly despite changes of cables, hangar and strip and rebuilt of the lever.

    Not that relevant. I'm sure if we look hard enough we can find someone who had a bad experience with Chorus. My 2010 Centaur systems shift superbly and I'm sure the OPs existing system just needs a better set up. That said, of the current systems I would go Chorus as it is the cheapest Ultratorque but only for that reason but, extra cog aside, there is little real world, non bling based difference between 2010 Veloce and 2010 Record - let alone Chorus. Even Campag admit that in effect.

    As for the Centaur 29 cassette - you can save money and buy the same block in Veloce form - about £30 or less irrc.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Rolf F wrote:
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    Just posted on another thread of my bad experience with 2009 Centaur shifting. It was never good, always seemingly not indexed correctly despite changes of cables, hangar and strip and rebuilt of the lever.

    Not that relevant. I'm sure if we look hard enough we can find someone who had a bad experience with Chorus. My 2010 Centaur systems shift superbly and I'm sure the OPs existing system just needs a better set up. That said, of the current systems I would go Chorus as it is the cheapest Ultratorque but only for that reason but, extra cog aside, there is little real world, non bling based difference between 2010 Veloce and 2010 Record - let alone Chorus. Even Campag admit that in effect.

    As for the Centaur 29 cassette - you can save money and buy the same block in Veloce form - about £30 or less irrc.

    Indeed... of course one can get a veloce groupset and find a 2010 or previous Ultra torque chainset... I recently bought one on offer at 66 quid.
    Yes, there was a time when top end Campagnolo components were effectively better, as they had better engineering solutions than the low end ones... right now Campagnolo offers way too many groupsets, all with the same solutions (the same can be said about Shimano and SRAM of course)... the only differences are slightly better bearings in the SR and carbon bits here and there to save (very few) grams.
    I recently got hold of a Gran Sport derailleur, class 1953... well, there is little innovation from that very first mechanism and most of the innovation since it's in the form of downgrading parts to lesser ones.
    I am losing focus here... what is the moral? The moral is that in 2011 investing in a high end groupset is a waste of money, as it uses the same engineering of a lesser one.
    Do you have money to spend and a frame built for purpose? Then buy Di2, or wait for the Campagnolo equivalent in 2013, as this is the only real novelty since the time of the Gran Sport derailleur, or at least since the time of the Ergo Levers (1992)
    left the forum March 2023
  • I would sriously consider taking your summer bike. You have already said theat is has a quality groupset that you find reiable. This is the key in my opinion. At the end of the day you are going to be climbing up mountains, not hills. For this you want reliability most of all. If you summer bike is carbon, then it is a must in my opinion.

    I also have a Via Nirone with Ultegra grouping & love it to bits, but compared to my Planet X Nanolight Carbon with entire Dura Ace grouping, the Bianchi falls long way short. This is a lot to do with the weight but also i find the Dura Ace superior to the Ultegra. In short i NEVER have bad shifts with Dura Ace & the weight difference between the two bikes when climbing is remarkable.

    My point is this. Why do we all buy super duper shiny bikes & kit if not to use them as intended & to their full potential? If you have the quality with your summer bike, USE IT! If you need a bigger gear ration you can always get a bigger cassette.
  • APIII
    APIII Posts: 2,010
    I'd take the best bike.
    If you're not convinced then I'd say Athena is a brilliant groupset and works just as well as Super record (although I'm sure someone has posted that the newer levers don't allow multiple shifts).
  • noiseboyfeetman
    noiseboyfeetman Posts: 719
    edited November 2011
    APIII wrote:
    I'd take the best bike.
    If you're not convinced then I'd say Athena is a brilliant groupset and works just as well as Super record (although I'm sure someone has posted that the newer levers don't allow multiple shifts).

    Planet X are currently selling the 2010 groupset with Ultrashift for £529.
  • I am not a fan of spending mega bucks on top end groupsets I don't see the return in performance for the added money.
    I have currently: DA7900, SRAM Force, Campag Centaur and Chorus on my bikes. I have ridden Record and Ultegra previously. Incidentally the new Campag levers although more comfortable do not shift as well (as the older shape) and do not feel as robust, that's on Centaur, Chorus and Record even for the added dosh.

    A well set up mid-range groupset like Centaur, Chorus or Ultegra/SRAM Force will give great performance, have almost all the features of the top end gear, shift nearly as fast and nearly as crisply; but with a slight weight penalty.
    Colnago C60 SRAM eTap, Colnago C40, Milani 107E, BMC Pro Machine, Trek Madone, Viner Gladius,
    Bizango 29er
  • APIII
    APIII Posts: 2,010
    In contrast to the above I find the new shifters less comfortable, but with better shifting! Braking performance is improved too. Agree about not getting vfm from the higher priced groups.