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Maaaaan
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4,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using both Shimano and Sram drivetrains for over ten years now, and I can honestly say, that the Shimano drivetrain components currently have an edge in reliability and shifting performance. Especially since Shimano came out with the Shadow lineup.
The one exception, is the X.0 and X9 dérailleurs in downhill use.
The Sram chains in particular have a terrible lifespan.
I have been getting about twice the mileage out of HG-93 chains, as the Sram 900 series.
I also have less problems with missed shifts or dropping chains.
The Sram cassettes bend much easier as well.
Truvative, which is Sram's crankset maker, is clearly behind the Shimano cranksets.

I can't figure out, why people think Sram is so great right now.
 

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Registered
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851 Posts
Which Sram cassette did you have troubles with? I had alot of problems with a few of there cheaper models, but many of my friends have alot of success with there nice 900 series cassette. I just switched to an XT cassette...
 

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Feeding your addiction
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2,648 Posts
Ericmopar said:
I've been using both Shimano and Sram drivetrains for over ten years now, and I can honestly say, that the Shimano drivetrain components currently have an edge in reliability and shifting performance. Especially since Shimano came out with the Shadow lineup.
The one exception, is the X.0 and X9 dérailleurs in downhill use.
The Sram chains in particular have a terrible lifespan.
I have been getting about twice the mileage out of HG-93 chains, as the Sram 900 series.
I also have less problems with missed shifts or dropping chains.
The Sram cassettes bend much easier as well.
Truvative, which is Sram's crankset maker, is clearly behind the Shimano cranksets.

I can't figure out, why people think Sram is so great right now.
I think the whole Shimano vs. SRAM debate gets a bit overblown at times. They are both making great stuff and each have their strengths and weaknesses. I would agree on the cranksets, though Truvativ is certainly making strides there (and with recent price hikes XTR cranks are severely overpriced). The XT's are superb.

I'd have to say my experience with cassettes has been the opposite, I've seen FAR more bent XT's come through the shop than 990's. Shimano seemed to have a stretch there when their chains were breaking a lot, but the current ones are excellent.

I don't like the Shadow derailleurs personally. The low profile is great, but when they do take a hit they seem to be much weaker than the standard versions. That mounting tab is way too thin, I've seen numerous ones bend there and several broken completely off at the tab. Friend of mine broke an XTR one completely off at the tab without even bending his der. hanger. The current Shimano shifters are excellent though.

As a dealer I'd certainly rather support SRAM, I'm sure I'm not the only dealer who feels that way and I think it's one reason they've gained so much ground on Shimano over the last few years. Their support for their dealers has been far better in my experience (your mileage may vary).

Larry
Mountain High Cyclery
[email protected]
 

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Doctor
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264 Posts
The Sram chains in particular have a terrible lifespan

I'm a Shimano fan, but use SRAM chains because they last as long and shift as well as the Shimanos (XTR/DuraAce or IG-90), in my experience. They're generally cheaper, too.

That's why I buy SRAM chains. I do not use any other SRAM components

jeff
 

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Maaaaan
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4,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My cassette problems were with the 950 and 970 series. I've found that the ordinary Deore 11-32 is much more reliable and the LX are great here in the desert.
I've kept records on my chains. They are just post-it's, but they tell a story that I already knew about the Sram chains. They are lasting about half as long and I'm beginning to run into others saying the same thing.
I've found that some people around here (Las Vegas area) are claiming long life from Sram chains, but then you realize they don't ride any one bike to many miles a year. These are local shop personnel, that ride different bikes throughout the year, not just one bike like me. Or worse, they downhill only. Which means they don't put the stress on the chain that XC climbing does.
I ride up and down, so no one is going to convince me that downhill is tough on chains. Technical XC is horrible on chains and we have a bit of that around Bootleg.

I've only found a piece of a Shimano derailleur once on a trail here, and that was a cheap Acera one from what was probably a dept. store bike.
I've found several pieces of Sram X.0s around Bootleg over the years.
Hmmmm...
 

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sweet!
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260 Posts
I personally use a set of SRAM Attack thumb shiffters to shift my LX derailleurs, I run a SRAM chain on between my LX crankset and LX Cassette...why? Because I like thumb shifters, I like that the gear indicator is part of the mounting clamp, so it looks cleaner, also my Juicy 5 brake levers have a cut-out to accept SRAM shifters, so they fit together like jig-saw puzzle peices. As for the SRAM chain, 2 words, Power Link!

BTW I'm a clyd. (230 lb) and I ride XC and I've never had a problem with a SRAM chain, however years ago I had a Shimano chain break causing great personal pain to a very personal area. :(
 

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ups and downs
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15,600 Posts
When Shimano tried to take the Microsoft approach with the XTR 960 stuff and decided what it is we would want and how we would ride a bike, that ticked more people off than the introduction of 9 speed and coincident demise of 8 speed.

Then SRAM intro'd the X-0, it was responding to the general market dissatisfaction with the Shimano pieces. X-0 offered separate triggers and not dual control, and not Rapid Rise, and the instant release on the triggers. I loved the X-0 when it arrived and provided a good option for a high end 9 speed drivetrain.

But the new XTR 970 stuff is just so good, and has some nice features that i really love like the multi gear up and downshift triggers, and the best shifting chainrings I've ever experienced. Like most Japanese manufacturers, once Shimano figured out what SRAM was doing that people liked, they figured out how to do most of those things better. Did they get it all perfect? No, but waaaay more perfect than the 960 series XTR.

They're doing speedy trickle down of the good XTR features into the XT and SLX lines. There's some very cool new ideas, like the direct mount derailleurs for carbon frames. That is very slick.

Shimano is still being all Microsofty with things like the 15mm thru axle, the unique chainring spacing on the XT and XTR crank spiders so that even though the BCD is standard, the ring spacing is not the same as other chainrings. If there were one or two other serious MTB component grouppo suppliers then we'd likely see more standardization. Although Linux hasn't produced that much competition in software and operating systems, and just like computers, Shimano is still holding too much market share to feel real competition pressure.
 

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Banned
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16,457 Posts
I pick and choose:
SRAM RD's, and I ride in mud and wet sand and other awful conditions.

Gripshift. Never went back once I tried it. It's so much more natural and shifts fast.

KMC chains because SRAM chains now suck.

SRAM cassettes. Bent every Shimano cassette I've had, and since the red 990's came out, never a sram.

I use Truvativ cranks on both bikes. No more Race Face. SLX was my first choice, but not available at the time. Both cranks run great and the BB'a are pretty good. The one on my gf's bike is from 2005. I also like the extractor bolt on the other side.

Some Shimano disc brakes are pretty decent. I'm thinking about putting LX's on my future rigid SS commuter build.
 

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Justin Vander Pol
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1,756 Posts
gticlay said:
If you ever ride in mud, you will appreciate the SRAM leverage ratio. It is a godsend if you don't have just sun and mere dust to deal with!
True dat! I really like x9 derailleurs and either x7 or x9 shifters. However, I found that x7 derailleurs bend really easily after a moderate hit, or even just laying your bike over. SRAM rear D's just simply work in nasty winter goo. 1:1 is the real deal.

Sram cassettes have been great - Shimano XT 34 tooth cassetttes, not so much. Shimano cranks rock. Truvativ (SRAM) bars and stems are great bang for the buck. Shimano XT Enduro (776) wheels have made me happy. Avid Juicy(SRAM) brakes are fantastic, but noisy in the wet before they warm up. I've heard almost as good stuff about Shimano brakes, but a few bad things (like my buddy, today). SRAM 5mm shifter housing is really nice in Washington's rain/goo/slop/muck. Shimano 4mm housing clogs easily.

Lots of good stuff from both companies - and a few dogs from each. Competition is a VERY good thing.
 

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w3rd.
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315 Posts
I'll bite.

Although my avatar is the Sram Frog, I will be riding more Shimano in 2009.

For all of those mud lovers - Sram did have the edge for a few reasons. The biggest ones I've experienced are 1) Stiffer spring pulling the chain back, and 2) stiffer spring for moving the actually device. Most people prefer that loud click when their gear changes.

However, cross races are very, very muddy and harder on drive trains due to the various weather conditions. I've been using 2006 Ultegra on my cross bike and I have nothing to complain about.

I'm switching to Shimano mainly because I feel like it. Sram has been fun, but I'm looking forward to lighter-action shifting, better cranks (I have Truvativ Noir's - nothing to really write home about), and stronger brakes (my Juicy's have been great, but the new XT's feel unbelievable).

I will agree with some that the chains and cassettes are crap. I've run the same XTR cassette and chain for quite some time - no problems. I've broken many Sram chains. And for those who say that the Powerlink is great - well, it works on Shimano chains too!

For the record, I'm going from all X9 to all XT. XTR and XO are both too much coin for stuff that's going to get dirty and break.

Till then
 

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i call it a kaiser blade
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744 Posts
i've mixed and matched shimano and SRAM for 5 years now.

the higher end stuff is comparable, with SRAM being less expensive for the most part as compared to shimano who until recently was overcharging their components.

what i've never liked, tho, is the intentional incompatibility of many shimano bits.
 

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Mines 29
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313 Posts
I run Shimano cranks nothing less then XT with X.9 or X.0. Shimano chain, Shimano XT cassette (Right now i am running a SRAM 990 tho), Shimano FD and Shimano Crank. The only thing SRAM is the RD only because I like their shifters better.
 

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Master of the Face Plant
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2,901 Posts
To me it is simple. Use what works best. Shimano shfters and deraillers were troublesome for me so out they went. X.9 and X.0 have worked flawlessly for me. I broke a few sram chains so its back to shimano. Never had problems with shimano cassettes and shimano cranks are always solid although I do like Race face.

I think shimano felt alot of pressure and market loss due to Srams superior rear deraillers and shifters and they had to step up. The new saint and xtr and shadow stuff is excellent. The competition between the two forces better research and development and in turn better products for us.
 

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bi-winning
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11,109 Posts
rockyuphill said:
Shimano is still being all Microsofty with things like the 15mm thru axle, the unique chainring spacing on the XT and XTR crank spiders so that even though the BCD is standard, the ring spacing is not the same as other chainrings.
I recently found that out when I bought an XT chainring and tried to mount it on my Deore crank... I was not really too impressed with the seemingly pointless lack of compatibility.
 

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I’m a firm believer in not being loyal to any particular company because sooner or later they will cock up and come out with something rubbish, Microsoft currently has IE8 beta out, it’s the most useless and problematic beta product I’ve ever seen so I’m using Google Chrome which was knocked up in a very short amount of time but is utterly brilliant to use.

Cassettes and chains would have to be Sram or Shimano for me, after this year I’d never mix again because with a standard coating of oil on a clean chain and cassette the narrower Shimano chain rattles and knocks as it passes over the wider Sram cassette teeth. At the moment I don’t particularly care about whether it’s Sram of Shimano on the cassette and chain part of the bike.

Cranksets I don’t particularly care, I’ve never had a problem with either of my Truvativ cranksets but I’m not impressed with the way they just roll up and start selling a BB completely incompatible with aftermarket BB’s and the rest of the crank market, it does them no favours when most people say the Shimano system is better and it does me no favours if I ever have a problem with one of their BB’s.

At the moment Shimano makes better shifters and derailleurs without any question, all of my 6 Sram shifters died in very quick succession from a multitude of causes and the same goes for the rear derailleur. Sram jockey wheels last an extremely short time compared to Shimano. NEWER Shimano shifters feel nicer, look nicer and allow for shifting in both directions. The gear indicators on Shimano shifters don’t stop working just because your bike falls over so it would be much better id Sram just didn’t have them on X7 and X5. Sram deraileurs are more likely to snap whereas Shimano ones bend. On top of that Sram front deraileurs have no chance whatsoever and Shimano’s Shadow design is really great.
 

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2,472 Posts
the one difference that is apparent is the price difference.

in the usa and canada shimano is exspensive where as sram can be had really cheaply.

in the uk sram is uber exspensive and shimano is relatively cheap in comparison.

where my bugbear with sram lies is the engineering quality or lack of it,i have had a few shifters apart and the sram has gotta be the worst i have ever seen there cassettes still use plastic spacers and the chains have huge amounts of play in them.

after being on shimano on nearly evey bike i owned i did bite the bullet and buy sram,its a mistake i will not be repeating again.
 

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Former Bike Wrench
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15,976 Posts
Maybe a little late to the party, but the SRAM vs Shimano cracks me up...use what you like and feel most comfortable with. For me its all about what works best.

-Shifters...I like SRAM better, been using them for over 12 years (twist and triggers)
-Rear Derailleur...SRAM ESP, works soooo much better in the mud. Everytime I went back to Shimano I have regretted it once I hit mud
-Front Derailleur...Shimano still clearly has the advantage here, I've had mixed results with SRAM...recently replaced my X-7 with a Deore and shifting greatly improved
-Chain...Shimano chains have been much more reliable and durable for me, but I use a SRAM Powerlink on them
Cassette...never actually bent either (and I'm 220lbs), both work equally well IMO, currently running a SLX and like it
Crankset...Shimano chainrings shift better, but the compatibility issues are silly. Currently running Truvativ with no issues
Brakes...never run Shimano discs, been Hayes since 2001 until last year when I got Avid Juicy 5's, which compare nicely with the Hayes

So as you can see, I mix and match based on what I like and believe in...no loyalty except to my bike and myself.
 

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aka The Oxx
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42 Posts
Wow. I'm really surprised to see that so many people have had problems with Sram products especially the chains. For me, I've had the exact opposite experiance. I have broken countless Shimano chains B-4 I switched to Sram.
Back when I still raced many moons ago, I bought a brand new Shimano XTR chain just for a race, it snapped 3 times that day. Ever since then I've been running Sram chains and never have had a single one snap in over 10 years. I'm assuming when you guys are talking about other durabillity issues you're talking about the chain stretching. I've had chains last quite a while (6+ months). And I don't buy the most expesive ones either. I middle chainring most climbs, I weigh around 2 bills on a good day and I do alot of 18+ mile rides in the San Gabriels and Cleavland National Forrest. I just keep my chain well lubed with Rock n Roll Gold. I carry a small bottle of it with me so that as soon as my chain starts squeeking or making that stretchy sound I can lube it. A noisey chain drives me nuts!
As for the shifters I have been using Sram X-9s on my Foes FXR, I put them on over 2 years ago and haven't had to readjust them yet and they still work great. Just set them and forget them. But then on my Chumba XCL (that I've only had for about 3 months), I have Shimano XT shifters and a XT Shadow rear derailleur and I'm constantly having to adjusting them. The shifting just isn't as crisp, precise or as reliable as the Sram X-9shifters. I stay away from the X-0s. I just don't trust carbon fiber, plus I don't think they're worth the extra coin.
I've been running RaceFace cranks on all of my bikes for years now. It's not that I think they're any better or any worse than Shimano cranks It's just that I think you get more bang for the buck with RaceFace.
 

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Primative Screwhead
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325 Posts
rojomas said:
Back when I still raced many moons ago, I bought a brand new Shimano XTR chain just for a race, it snapped 3 times that day. Ever since then I've been running Sram chains and never have had a single one snap in over 10 years.
If you read earlier posts here and elsewhere, you will realise that recently SRAM chains are crap and that Shimano chains are now more durable.

Amen to that - my PC 991 chain snapped on it's second outing :rolleyes:
 
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