Upgrading Groupset to SRAM

Camus
Camus Posts: 189
edited December 2012 in Road general
My bike is currently running the stock Shimano Tiagra it came with which has been Ok if a little clunky; I'm hoping to upgrade the groupset sooner rather than later, especially since having a mess with some bikes running Ultegra/Dura Ace/SRAM Red and feeling the difference between what I have currently and what I could have.

I prefer the aesthetics of the SRAM Red over any Shimano, but was looking at SRAM Force as well, would it be worth getting that instead or should I just wait till I can afford the Red? Anyone care to share their experiences with Shimano (105, Ultegra, Dura Ace) or SRAM groupsets?

Comments

  • dave35
    dave35 Posts: 1,124
    Got SRAM Apex on my cyclo cross bike and a mix of Rival and Force on my summer bike-doubt you'd spot any difference betwen Force//Rival except more cash in your wallet, Red is very nice but so expensive
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    I've heard people say that Force is the best value groupset in the SRAM range. It works so very nearly as well as Red, is only a tiny bit heavier and much cheaper. I've got Red on one of my bikes, but only because the difference between Force and Red when I bought it from Planet X was only about £100. I've got Apex on my winter bike and while it's good, it doesn't shift as smoothly as Red and it looks quite industrial.

    I'd get Force.
    More problems but still living....
  • Camus
    Camus Posts: 189
    Thanks for the replies so far; I'm definitely leaning towards Force, similar looks to Red, only slightly heavier, pretty good value and saves the £££ that I would spend on more expensive group to put towards new wheels.
  • I've got Apex on my CX bike, I hate it with all my being. Hopefully the experience improves going up the food chain?
    Unfortunately it's put me off SRAM for good so currently looking for 105 components to upgrade it.
  • Have Sram Force on my winter bike and it works OK, have Red on the summer/race bike and only notice a slight difference when changing between the bikes for the first few rides, but they do feel similar.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • dave35
    dave35 Posts: 1,124
    Arthur, what problem do you have with Apex? I mentioned that people have problems with it to my LBS,they said it just need set up properly.
  • dave35 wrote:
    Arthur, what problem do you have with Apex? I mentioned that people have problems with it to my LBS,they said it just need set up properly.

    Hi Dave, several things but leaving aside the double tap itself, I've had a rear shifter fail after about 300 miles from new, the replacement was ok for a while but now while it upshifts ok if a bit clunky, downshifts are fine in the higher third of the cassette, the midrange it just refuses to shift properly, I have to overshift (two clicks, but it only shifts down one gear) then I have to release it with one tap to settle it down.
    I've set the gears up many times (using the method I use on my Shimano equipped bikes) but it never improves. I haven't replaced the cables yet but frankly even from new and working properly I disliked the heavy agricultural feel of the system with long throws on the shifter compared to the smooth as silk and low forces need to change on 105. There I've said it now :D
  • styxd
    styxd Posts: 3,234
    dave35 wrote:
    Arthur, what problem do you have with Apex? I mentioned that people have problems with it to my LBS,they said it just need set up properly.

    Hi Dave, several things but leaving aside the double tap itself, I've had a rear shifter fail after about 300 miles from new, the replacement was ok for a while but now while it upshifts ok if a bit clunky, downshifts are fine in the higher third of the cassette, the midrange it just refuses to shift properly, I have to overshift (two clicks, but it only shifts down one gear) then I have to release it with one tap to settle it down.
    I've set the gears up many times (using the method I use on my Shimano equipped bikes) but it never improves. I haven't replaced the cables yet but frankly even from new and working properly I disliked the heavy agricultural feel of the system with long throws on the shifter compared to the smooth as silk and low forces need to change on 105. There I've said it now :D

    bent mech hanger
  • Could be, looked at this but seemed true. Worth replacing anyway?
  • styxd
    styxd Posts: 3,234
    Yeh I would, its only a tenner.

    Make sure you have a nice loop of cable going into the rear mech aswell.
  • cheers
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Always liked the intuitive feel of SRAM on both my mtbs and my road bike. The small push small cog, big push big cog is so intuitive. The cassettes and chains wear a bit quick compared to shimano but that is it.
  • Arthur - I'll agree that SRAM can be a bit agricultural when it's dirty but my experience of it is that when it's set up right it runs fantastically and needs little to no adjustment. I don't know if your issues are caused by the mech hanger or something to do with the cabling but persevere a little before you write it off completely.

    +1 on Force being the best quality / weight / value groupset there is. I've been running it for 3 years and wouldn't change anything.
  • saprkzz
    saprkzz Posts: 592
    Hi,

    I have SRAM Red 2012 on my "Race" bike, and 2011 SRAM Force on my Moda, the difference that i can tell from a using point of view, is when Red is properly tuned it's amazing and actually feels different to force in the speed of shifting and precision. A press on the shifter and instantly its engaged. The weight difference also has a big play on a lightweight bike.

    However saying all of the above, I still love Force on my Moda. Did a training ride on Wednesday and it was perfect. Not as precise, maybe the Force isnt set up as well and my "Red" bike.

    Conclusion.. If money no object, and you can afford to replace the cassette and other wearing parts annually (or when ever required), then I would opt for Red, if you have money awareness and cringe when your missus needs an etxra £50 for something, then Force will do an excellent job. It was the force groupset that made me select Red for my other bike. If you get on ok with the Double tap system.

    I have never ridden a road bike with Shimano or Campag, so cant compare, but I do love Sram groupsets.
  • I would go for SRAM Force with a Dura-Ace chain (makes changes a bit smoother). The 2013 SRAM Force features ZeroLoss which gives instant gear changes. The front chainrings have also been improved to give added stiffness. Only go for SRAM Red if you can't bear the thought of carrying 250g extra weight.
  • Arthur - I'll agree that SRAM can be a bit agricultural when it's dirty but my experience of it is that when it's set up right it runs fantastically and needs little to no adjustment. I don't know if your issues are caused by the mech hanger or something to do with the cabling but persevere a little before you write it off completely.

    +1 on Force being the best quality / weight / value groupset there is. I've been running it for 3 years and wouldn't change anything.

    You're probably right, being my bad weather/commuter bike I do just tend to get on and ride it, so it's probably feeling a little neglected! If I can get it sorted I'm sure I can find something else to blow the money on.... :wink:
  • Well, I'm shimano through and through and have never had any problems with any of their groupsets.

    If you prefer the aesthetics of Sram go that way. I don't see swaping from shimano to Sram can be classed as an upgrade, no more than vice/verse. Unless of course you're actually upgrading the level itself.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • Gabbo
    Gabbo Posts: 864
    Surely changing from Shimano Tiagra to SRAM Force is a huge upgrade in itself?

    Isn't SRAM Force the Shiamno Ultegra equivalent in terms of cost and performance?

    As I'm here, I'll ask whether Shimano shifters are compatible with SRAM front and rear mech?
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,385
    Camus wrote:
    Thanks for the replies so far; I'm definitely leaning towards Force, similar looks to Red, only slightly heavier, pretty good value and saves the £££ that I would spend on more expensive group to put towards new wheels.

    That is by far the best choice! Good wheels will make infinitely more difference than whatever group you re using
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,385
    Gabbo wrote:
    As I'm here, I'll ask whether Shimano shifters are compatible with SRAM front and rear mech?

    Nyet - different cable pull ratios and all that...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,385
    Arthur - I'll agree that SRAM can be a bit agricultural when it's dirty but my experience of it is that when it's set up right it runs fantastically and needs little to no adjustment. I don't know if your issues are caused by the mech hanger or something to do with the cabling but persevere a little before you write it off completely.

    +1 on Force being the best quality / weight / value groupset there is. I've been running it for 3 years and wouldn't change anything.

    You're probably right, being my bad weather/commuter bike I do just tend to get on and ride it, so it's probably feeling a little neglected! If I can get it sorted I'm sure I can find something else to blow the money on.... :wink:

    Sounds to me like you need new cables to be honest. 300 miles in sh1tty CX conditions is certainly enough to kill a set of cables. Try and find some Gore fully sealed ones in a january sale somewhere.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Camus
    Camus Posts: 189
    Wow, lots of information, thanks everyone. I was under the impression that SRAM Force and Ultegra are equivalent since they are in roughly the same price bracket, Red is in the same category as Dura-Ace.

    I'm currently mulling over whether to go with Force, or whether to just get some Ultegra shifters as the first components in what will be a gradual but full upgrade to that group. Ruled out anything higher end since I'll probably never need it.

    With the Tiagra it's the shifting and the brakes that bother me the most, both feel more difficult than they need to be. Braking feels especially unresponsive, too much slack in the levers, even after I spent half an hour readjusting cables and calipers etc. After the shifters I will find some brake calipers, then move onto the derailleurs/cranks etc since that bothers me the least.

    Definitely going to be getting some Mavic Cosmic Elites so a gradual upgrade to Ultegra works out better financially than just blowing a slice of cash on SRAM Force. Anyone care to comment on the benefits/drawbacks of full upgrade all at once vs bit by bit?
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,385
    Erm - If you look online then you re likely to find really good deals on full groupsets. If you need to replace say the shifters and the crankset then you re likely to find a whole group for not a lot more...Merlin Cycles is a good place to look as is bike-discount.de.

    Obviously your LBS will not be too happy of you rock up having bought it all online and will charge you for doing the work so if you can then try doing it yourself. If you can adjust the brakes and gears, to be honest the rest is a doddle

    The benefits are that things will wear at the same rate and all be new together, so the first ride (with new cables!) will feel amezzin. If you put things on bit by bit this will be lessened, but it's a pretty small price to pay. Still I'd ride the Tiagra into the ground first and then updgrade all together though.

    Tiagra brakes are well known for being naff to be honest, 105 (or whatever you get with SRAM) are a cheap upgrade and will be far superior, it won't matter when you upgrade these either tbh. Mind you that new wheels with new rims will also make a difference.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver